Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tradition Nine: Lighten up
Our groups, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
The principles for this tradition are equal opportunity and rotation in service. The traits that I think this tradition embody are equality and "lightening up".
To me this tradition says that I don't need to control the group or people in my life. I need not do it all or know it all. I don’t need to be nor am I expected to take myself too seriously. I am responsible for my own growth and needs, and others are responsible for theirs. We are all responsible to share responsibility of service.
This seems to be one of the more difficult traditions to talk about, but what usually comes up in our group discussions is that there is no hierarchy here - no leader, no boss, no working your way up the ladder, etc.
I had to work my way up the ladder as a new Ph.D. I had to "get known" in my field. And then eventually I was put on various boards and national committees. That's probably true for many people in my meetings who are active in the community and in their career. After all, we may be a bit crazy, but we know how to do our crazy stuff responsibly! But Alanon is different from community and career work, and there is a lot of value in that difference. We do not make message boards or committees to "govern" us. Instead, we look to each other for the work that is needed. And it's all voluntary.
Tradition 9 is not as difficult or complex as I thought it was. It simply means we are a "fellowship" of people with like goals and hopes that are helped by each other. No one is above another, we serve each other, and as we get more seasoned in recovery, we may feel like we want to be of even more service to others. We are a "trusted servant" for the group.
This tradition is also an exhortation to have fun, be playful, and to lighten up. I'm learning not to take myself too seriously. Our lives have been very difficult at times, and for most of us there haven't been many laughs. I've given myself permission to have a lot of laughs and to exercise my sense of humor.
On another note:
I'll be hosting the chat on Sunday night, Feb. 15, over at the Second Road. The chat starts at 8 PM, and the topic is going to be how to get balance in your life. It's open to anyone who wants to show up. Let your fingers do the talking.
The Traditions will continue next Tuesday as Steve and I take a short break. Whew!