Thursday, January 22, 2009


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


  1. I have always loved going to the open AA meetings with my husband - it helped for me to hear other people' who could tell stories just like I had known about my husband...
    Unity is an important part of family.

  2. I've been hibernating all week due to temporary health issues and am glad to be able to get back to a meeting tonite. One of the best things I've heard lately on mutual respect is the difference between an opinion and a judgment. An opinion is when I decide that something is or isn't right for me. A judgment is when I make that decision for you.

    Namaste (great post on Unity)

  3. All I know is if my AlAnon group did not accept all addictions, I would have no meetings to attend.

  4. I wish more members felt like that, Unity is so important and ego seems to dominate the area I am in.

  5. Tis true...without the 3 legacies, just like a 3 legged stool, the person and their program will tip over.

    For the alcoholic, that means they get *tipsy* :).

    Great post!

  6. I recently hooked up with some former classmates through Facebook and I had put a comment on my page about Al-Anon. Turns out one of the girls is 21 years sober through AA and went to Al-Anon for 10 of those years.

  7. Always the word unity is beautiful and meaningful to me

  8. united we stand
    divided we fall

    Great post. Thank you!

  9. Thanks for the comment, Syd. I did misunderstand, and was happy to have that cleared up;)

  10. I love attending our local open AA meetings and always enjoy the inspirational messages. However, I would be concerned if anyone suggested people should go elsewhere if they weren't there just because of alcohol. In my case, my qualifiers are drug addicts/alcholics, so how would I decide if my Al Anon group was so rigid. Syd, are you saying that the group should have unity and not exclude others? Or how do you feel about the alcohol only edict?
    Blessings, Lisa

  11. Thank you syd.
    And there are other great support groups too like Nar-Anon and Co-Anon. I wish they could get more support.

  12. Thanks. I love it when I learn something I never knew about the program.

  13. Nominated you for a Lemonade award.

    I agree with you in many ways and really appreciate the post.

    But I do feel quite strongly that AA is Alcoholics Anonymous, not Alcoholics Unanimous. There is need for diversity and healthy conflict.

    I get nervous in meetings when unity is the only goal because dissent can reveal other truths.


  14. Thanks, I will take that glass of lemonade.


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