Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tradition Two

I decided to write some more about the traditions. My first post was on Tradition One, so today's post is about Tradition Two: For our group purpose there is but one authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

For me, the main principle of Trad. Two is humility. This tradition tells me that I give guidance (not advice), that I trust, be accountable and courteous. Just as I need to be heard, so do others. Guidance comes through sharing, listening, and pointing out choices. We are but trusted servants guided by a loving Higher Power, not dictators.

I like the idea that God is the boss. He is the one authority. I am working hard at subjugating my ego and allowing Him to guide me.

In my relationships, I can practice this tradition by not taking over responsibilities without consulting my partner. I don't dominate others. I've found that my wife will expect me to lead and there is a tendency when that happens for me to begin to feel indispensable and self-important. It's easy then to step over the line to manage things for her which leads to control.

My wife tends to be unsure sometimes and is happy to let me be responsible. And being the adult child of an alcoholic, I'm only too happy to slip into that familiar coat of assuming responsibility. But if I take over responsibility from another, then they are absolved of any kind of failure. Essentially, they get to skate free.

What this tradition means in my relationshiop is that both partners must actively participate in order for there to be love and growth. We must remember that active participation by both members in the relationship is vital to its growth. No partner can assume the position of speaking for the other without first having consulted him or her. This is simple courtesy.

I've always been amazed at how much courtesy we have for strangers. Yet when we are dealing with the most precious persons in our lives, we sometimes leave simple kindness out of our manner.

For me, the hardest part of this tradition is maintaining autonomy in a personal relationship. I have to work at keeping the focus on myself. I like the idea of people working together in unity but also maintaining their own interests. Coming from an alcoholic marriage, I could often want too much "togetherness" and that is confining and unhealthy. Autonomy doesn’t mean you don’t need the other person, but it means that I don't give up who I am to be in the relationship. I can maintain my goals, desires, and dreams but also respect and support the goals, desires, and dreams of another and allow them to be who they are, not who I want them to be. I think that this makes a healthy relationship.

To make this tradition applicable to Al-Anon meetings, it's important that each group not be a carbon copy of the other. I like individuality with the groups. In some birthdays are celebrated, in others there are speaker meetings. What I think makes Al-Anon special is the way that we can each express our thoughts without fear of criticism, interruption or gossip. We can in short be ourselves within Al-Anon.


  1. oh you've pointed out some very pertinent things to me here... taking over of responsiblities, courtesy shown to strangers and not those close to us, autonomy in relationships, these are some of my old habits that really keep popping up again and again.

  2. Wonderful post on Tradition Two. I really learned a lot. Great insight Syd!

  3. What a thought provoking post!!

    I heard this in my meetings. One person can't keep doing service; we are all equal.

    I know in my groups the same people step up to do services. I know I've been doing service every since I was was a NEWIE.. whether setting up chairs; or being for 12 weeks the person to set up for a Sunday meeting/make the coffee; or be the TOPIC Person... or now secretary and other books.

    IN my marriage of 9 years my husband refused to discuss anything. He would hand me his paycheck after I had my last child (the only one I had with him) and tell me to handle the bills; and the mortgage; and saving for a better home and on and on.

    I did it all. (no discussions). I would do without stuff but made sure he had everything so I could save for this last house (our 3rd)... and deal with mortgage folks and such while he basically waiting in the car and only signed things when needed.

    It was all on me ...The OX.. the child or an alcoholic home and than he would overdrink in the spring and summer routinely and not be HERE in our marriage. etc.

    I think I was super responsible.. because I maybe liked being in CONTROL since we had no control as children if we came from such homes.

    I think I did not want to focus on my childhood issues so I just took care of 3 children; the house; the bills; and all.

    Gosh once I got some insurance policies; etc; and he would not look at where I was keeping the copies etc.

    Well never again.

    My last relationships... the men lean on me............that now I recognized that behavior.

    I no longer want to be in a parasitic relationship BUT a MUTALISM symbiotic one. (side by side).

    Who am I to be in charge? It is kind of being controlling too; and yes, than when things go wrong it is my fault because i made the decisions solely.

    I like the way you wrote it all out.

    It sounds great and your marriage will grow more loving and closer too.

    Great picture too. Spend more time being a KID and not the super responsible one. :)

  4. great post syd. i have been wanting to get back to steps and traditions.. i feel i have veered off course a bit so it was encouraging to read your post today.

    there have been many times that i've told my hubby to please - at least treat me as well as you would a dear friend. that helped. but old habits die hard. if we REALLY realized the impermenance of a spouse, i wonder how that would change things. thing is, i know it intellectually but it feels so far out there that it doesn't seem real or something. so i can easily falsely feel he's going to be there forever and it is unfortunately easy to take another for granted.

  5. Syd, I like that you are going over the traditions here, I am less familiar with them and this is very helpful.

  6. This was great Syd. The traditions have always just been kind of boring to me. I never have gotten much out of them...until I saw them applied to family life. That really was helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Syd...
    Feel like I struck gold when I found your blog.Don't remember how long you have been practicing alanon, but it sure took!
    What a beautiful share.
    I love the traditons and presently studying them with another program friend. it's been powerful.
    Glad I found you.
    Thank you for your strong program.
    I certainly see myself in your post...a bit of the healthy, a bit of the unhealthy responses..Good news...I get to do it all over again today...I serve the God of second-chances.

  8. the comment above me, I too feel like I struck gold when I found your blog. You are able to touch me with your words about the Al Anon program and your understanding/practice of the traditions/principles. It's very helpful. I too am working at allowing God to guide me. It's tough, but boy does it make life easier when I just surrender! Who knew! Blessings and thanks, Lisa

  9. Good point that meetings are not carbon copies of one another! I just love the different "feel" of my various groups.

  10. This is a really interesting post. I like how you have applied tradition two to your personal relationships. I hadn't really thought about things in that way. It really is important to maintain a sense of self even when in a group. Compromise is key, but not excessive sacrifice or dominance.

    I like the hat on the dog. It looks a lot like my son's baby girl dog, Corona.

  11. First of all I love the photo!
    Secondly I have good friend who have been married for many years and they run their marriage by the rules of the 12 Traditions. It seems to work real well for them.

  12. Great post on tradition 2. I'm not trying to belittle our small local Al-anon group, but I sure wish there was a member amongst us that could explain the steps like you do. You have some great insight.

  13. It's interesting how our relationships with our parents, or more specifically, the roles we had to undertake to live under the same roof with them, remains a vital part of us throughout our adult lives.

  14. OMG! Syd, I had no idea you were "doing" the Traditions. I must have missed the first one, and just did not know.

    I'm so sorry, I began to write my own experiences starting with #1 tonight. It's already published. I don't wish to take it off, I worked on it too much.

    I will end my own planned weekly Trad. discussion, with Number ONE.

    Thank you for understanding...

  15. Well put. Thanks for going over the traditions, I love to see someone committed to their program in all aspects of it.

  16. Love the picture! And I am glad you are writing about the traditions.


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