I went to an open AA meeting recently that is called the Three Legacies group. It's a speaker meeting. What made this meeting different was that the speakers wear a suit. And that it's stated up front that if there are problems other than alcohol, people are asked to go to the appropriate 12 step meeting for help. In other words, this meeting stresses singleness of purpose.
I like the fact that the group is called the Three Legacies. And I thought that I'd write some posts about those legacies and about the traditions in Al-Anon. I've come to understand that the steps are my guide to recovery and help me get my life together. The traditions teach me how to live with others and help guide my behavior.
I've heard that the unity of AA and Al-Anon is the most cherished and valuable quality that our fellowships have. Our lives and the lives of all to come depend upon it.
Tradition One in Al-Anon states that: Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity. The principle of this tradition is unity. And the traits of this tradition are honesty, open-mindedness, mutual respect, and willingness to be vulnerable.
Unity is based on harmonious cooperation. It means that I am willing to listen to the ideas, feelings, and opinions of others with an open mind. It means that I can share my own views but not insist on promoting my own way as the only way. Without unity, our groups would fail. And without the group, there is no place for the newcomer to go.
I've seen the result of overbearing opinions and how detrimental that can be to a meeting. Ultimately, disregard for unity of the program is destructive. It drives people away. If egos drive a meeting, then God is driven out. This is something to think about before going to a meeting.
Unity also applies in relationships outside the program. We each have needs and rights, but it's important to also have mutual respect for each other in relationships: with members of our family, with business associates, and friends. With unity, the whole is greater than any of its parts. I may think that I'm right, but it's also important to see the other person's viewpoint and allow them the dignity to do what they need to do. Living with another is much easier when I don't insist that my way is the only way.
"Unity presents not only the necessary climate for the growth of Al-Anon as a whole but also the atmosphere in which each member within the group may acquire peace of mind. " from The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions