I had the topic for Monday night's meeting. Here's how the meeting went:
- Newcomers are really digging the meeting because they are cross talking all over each other.
- I am the Al-Anon marshal (=chair) for the night so I explained that we don't interrupt each other in meetings. (Translation: let's not have a free-for-all ladies. Remember Tradition One??)
- The next share is by a newcomer who said that she chose to leave her active alcoholic for her emotional health.
- The next newcomer sharing asked, "Well, aren't you supposed to stay with someone in sickness and in health? If alcoholism is a disease, then aren't we supposed to stick around with the diseased person, just as we would for a person with cancer? We wouldn't leave them, so why leave the alcoholic?"
- I, as the Al-Anon marshal, say with a great deal of sincerity that we aren't here to question the actions of another but to share our own experience, strength and hope. (Translation: Whoa, better break this up before things get nasty!)
- Then another newcomer started quoting biblical scripture.
- I'm hoping that the bible quoting will be brief. It was. (Translation: I'm glad that I didn't have to explain that religion is one of the obstacles in Al-Anon).
- Another newcomer shared that she was accosted by a drunk fellow in the grocery store. He was "stalking" her, asking for help and said that he was drunk. She wheeled around and said, "I'm Al-Anon. And you stink! Get away from me!"
- At this point, the room erupts in laughter.
- I am realizing that I'm really not the Al-Anon marshal here. (Translation: I'm deputy to this petite, blonde newcomer who wants to take names and kick ass)
- After the laughter died to a chuckle, I manage to mumble something about keeping the number for the AA intergroup handy to give to drunk people who follow (=stalk) us. And that we maintain anonymity (=don't shout Al-Anon at people) via Tradition 12.
- Finally, after the meeting ended, I talked to the person who had blown my anonymity by telling my story to a relative. (Translation: I had done a Step 10 and needed to be honest about what was bothering me).
- I was glad to get out the door and into my car for a fast get-away.
Newcomers are important to the fellowship. Yet, as Tradition One states, our common welfare comes first. I didn't particularly like the role of having to provide a reminder to the newcomers but maybe it will help not only them but everyone else as well.
As my sponsor said later, it seems that we hit on just about every one of the three obstacles and a few of the traditions. It was a learning experience for all of us. I'm turning in my badge for a few weeks.