I talked with my sponsor this morning. During the conversation I mentioned that one of the events at the Al-Anon convention was lead by a declared alcoholic who also happens to be a GR for a group that he started in the area. He is energetic, enthusiastic and glad to be of service. The conundrum is that he is also an active member of one of the open AA meetings that I attend. I see him there when I go, have heard him declare himself an alcoholic, and see him as a GR at our district meeting.
I know, as does my sponsor, that the World Service manual is clear that alcoholics cannot start an Al-Anon meeting nor can they serve at the level of GR. I've written about that before on here. My sponsor sees no problem that someone with long-term sobriety would serve as a GR. I disagree simply because I do believe that these are separate fellowships. Once an alcoholic serves as GR, regardless of how enthusiastic the person is, then a precedent is set in which others will do the same. I know that we both have strong feelings in opposition here.
There is a district meeting coming up in March. I am struggling with whether to bring this up as a topic under new business. Perhaps it could be handled by copying information from the service manual and stressing that "double winners" don't serve in GR capacities. But what if the alcoholic remains silent and decides to continue as GR and the "leader" for the group? It is a question of how dogmatic I want to be and whether I want to push the point.
One part of me says "back off" because feelings will be hurt. The other part of me believes so much in the traditions and in keeping Al-Anon at the level of GR and above for just Al-Anons. I go to open AA meetings and don't share, much less sign up for service. I have no problem at all with other service positions being fulfilled by "double winners". They may sponsor, serve as secretary, treasurer, work in outreach, and do a host of other service activities. And alcoholics have the right to the same recovery that I have found in the Al-Anon fellowship. The only requirement for membership is that they are affected by alcoholism in a relative or friend.
My father used to tell me that I always wanted to carry my point. I wonder whether this is another example of the dogmatism that has served me well at achieving goals over the years. But hurting others due to a dogmatic attitude is a different thing. I am going to pray about this and see what my inventory tells me. Do I need to just say "how important is it?" or do I need to make it important?