Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.
I really like this tradition. It's about compassion, being non-judgmental, willing, and sharing. This tradition has to do with our primary purpose. With this tradition, meetings stay focused on the primary purpose of helping families and friends of alcoholics.
This tradition also tells me that I have a primary purpose in my life: to express love, loyalty, family and unity in all that I do and to share this knowledge freely with others. I have a healthy purpose of helping others today, rather than trying to enable or control someone like I did before Al-Anon.
I can remember my sponsor suggesting to me that I could encourage and understand the alcoholics in my life by allowing them the dignity to make their own decisions. Understanding is something that has come to me over time. For so much of my life, there was no one to understand how I felt living with alcoholism. Now I am around people who understand, and by sharing my experience, strength and hope with others I gain not only insight about myself but others as well. And by going to open AA meetings, listening to speaker tapes, studying the Big Book of AA, I've been able to understand more about alcoholism--the physical craving, mental obsession, and spiritual malady. Because this tradition is about love and compassion, I am reminded that I needed to learn to love myself before I could truly love others, including the alcoholics in my life.
This tradition also mentions practicing the 12 steps which are my tools to recovery. I've learned to identify my character defects and face my resentments, make amends and move on. Working the steps has brought spirituality into my life. And by coming to trust my Higher Power, I've acquired serenity.
And as part of my recovery and this tradition, I do my part to help families and friends of alcoholics. I've been told to never say NO to an Al-Anon request. I step up to do my part, trusting that God will give me what I need in order to accomplish the task.
The bonus is -- when I am helping others, I am also helping myself get healthier by focusing on someone else instead of feeling sorry for myself. By reaching out to help and comfort others, I gain tremendous rewards myself.A great part of this tradition for me is to welcome newcomers. I remember those who shared their phone numbers with me when I came to my first meeting. I called every single one of those people to thank them. And to say that I would keep going to meetings. They and many others made me feel that I was where I belonged. So I make it a point to offer my phone number to newcomers and make them feel welcome. I can share with those who ask for my help.Those who do not can be assured of my willingness to share should they ever be ready.They need not be judged or found lacking.
This tradition can also be applied in my life outside of Al-Anon. It is reflected when I have patience and understanding with others. I've always had empathy for others, but now I see how each person, regardless of circumstance, has something to offer.