Friday, February 6, 2009

Tradition Six: Half Way

Steve and I are half-way through our blogging on the Traditions. Whew......

Tradition Six in Al-Anon states that:
Our Family Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim. Although a separate entity, we should always cooperate with Alcoholics Anonymous.

The principle that comes to mind here is simplicity. We keep outside influences out of the program. And in relationships, I let others do for themselves and realize that there is strength through separateness.

I think that the idea of having separate fellowships via Tradition Six is an excellent one and needs to be observed at meetings. In general, the sixth tradition is observed but occasionally someone will identify themselves with the "other" fellowship or quote out of non-conference approved literature.

Generally, someone will come over after the meeting and remind the people who committed the faux pas that in Al-Anon, we only speak Al-Anon, share our E, S, and H and use Conference Approved Literature (CAL). There are lots of reasons for this. When Al-Anon members use AA literature for their meetings there is a tendency to concentrate on the alcoholic and his/her behavior rather than the family experience and our own recovery. I think what it boils down to is program integrity.

In interacting with others, I've found that it doesn't do any good to force my views on them, although I can have opinions. If others want what I have, then they can seek it out.

And likewise, my views don't necessarily reflect those of my family or friends. This is important in protecting the relationship and its unity. And that means that each of us is responsible for ourselves.

Neither my wife nor I can meet all the needs of the other. We are each responsible for taking care of ourselves, but we are enhanced by our association with each other. Our separateness is our mutual strength. It promotes a relationship of healthy equals.

A partner should be supportive spiritually, emotionally and physically to the relationship, but a mature partner doesn't do for the other what they can do for themselves. Doing so could promote an inflated ego which would divert the primary purpose of the relationship. And when dealing with an alcoholic, it would enable the disease.

In the Al-Anon fellowship, the purpose is to do God's will and not mine. God does not do for us what we should and can do for ourselves. God helps when we need something beyond our own power - this is part of God's love for us. Were I just to sit back and let God do everything would reduce me to a spiritual cripple and would compromise the greatest of all gifts: free choice.

This seems like a difficult tradition but it really isn't. Not being diverted from our primary spiritual aim is the key. And once again there is unity through being separate.


  1. simple's never been easy. i've noticed people tend to complicate where it's not necessary... but still, this is complicated to my mind today. gonna have to read it again....

  2. I so strive for simplicity in life. Simplicity of thought, speech, design.

    Your insights into the traditions of Al Anon are so well studied and thought out. Thanks for presenting them to us. It really gives me a better understanding of the Al Anon program.

  3. I agree with Scott W...I have learned much from your discussions the past two weeks, Syd. (Even though my wife is Alanon -grin.)

    A line from your blog: "Our separateness is our mutual strength. It promotes a relationship of healthy equals."

    What an interesting insight! It asks me to again consider the 50 States of our country, and how there is strength, our separateness. Fancy that!

    How about a rest until Mon or Tues?
    Of course, I probably would be at a loss--what to blog...without the committment -grin.

  4. It's a simple program for complicated people, eh? I try to always remind myself that I cannot know another fully, nor be what another needs fully, I am just me, and they cannot fulfill that for me either...sounds easy, but it is sooooo not!

    I just try to be aware!

    Thanks again for taking on the Traditions!

  5. Your blog has really helped me over the past 6 months. The traditions as you interpret them have given me a lot to think about. I have been working this program for a long time and there is still so much to learn. Thanks again for your insight.

  6. I love how you write about the Traditions!

  7. I'm lovin' reading your blog...
    easy readin'
    This blog is now part of my recovery reading...
    one of the most powerful things I read.
    Thank you for your willingness recovery and generosity
    If we went to the same meetings...I would find a way to sit by you....

  8. this reminded me of KISS - but I only say keep it simple so I guess thats actually KIS.

    Have a great weekend!

  9. I love how you related it to your personal life. (very nicely done).

    Tradition 12 is my favorite one.. can't wait to see how you do that one no pressure)

  10. I agree with Scott. I keep my program (and my life) as simple as possible.

  11. I can feel that guiding in hand a bit more just now, of course I would love to think my dad will get back a bit better at least, its a lot warmer where he is now downstairs in the room and more importantly he doesnt have to climb the stairs again.
    You have no problem giving your will over to a higher being when you dont know what tommorow might bring and so far i feel strangely calm

  12. I'm glad you are writing on the traditions.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.