Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Al-Anon closing

A part of the closing statement for Al-Anon goes like this:

Talk to each other, reason things out with someone else,
but let there be no gossip or criticism of one another.
Instead, let the understanding, love and peace of the
program grow in you one day at a time.

I like the idea that we can talk to each other and reason things out with someone else. To me that means that if I reach out my hand for help, a hand will be there. Every group has some members that consider themselves or are considered by others to be wise and knowledgeable. They may or may not be the "someone else" that you want to reason things out with.

Occasionally, there may be a person who believes themselves to be the authority on a topic or in general, or the group may recognize them as an authority because of their time in the program or for some other reason. When I first came into the program, I heard a lot of people who had a great deal of wisdom. I couldn't relate to all of them. Eventually, I was able to find people whose perspectives were applicable to my situation. So if you don't hear what you need to hear, keep seeking until you find the soul who can provide the experience, strength and hope you need. The closing does not specify who that "someone else" should be, and leaves that to us as a freedom of choice to determine.

The meeting closing discourages gossip and criticism. I don't see that happening in the meetings that I now attend. But I do know it occurs in some meetings.  At times, I am put off by some of the things that I hear and see.  But when I remember that each of us is only human, and that the ego can really fool me and make a fool of me, I am much more accepting.  Although we all have many different personalities, the one thing we all have in common is we have been affected by the disease of alcoholism.

With all these different personalities come different opinions and different actions. Sometimes I don't like those actions, sometimes I don't especially like the people. But something I learned early on in my recovery is that I can learn something from people that I don't like, and I can respect their opinions.  They have the right to have their opinion which I may or may not agree with.  I don't have to gossip about them to other members or be critical. I can respect them for who they are. I can agree to disagree. "We aren't perfect." I am here to continue to recover, not take someone else's fourth step inventory. That's not my job, it belongs to their HP and to them.
The last part of the closing sums up the essence of the program: "Instead, let the understanding, love, and peace of the program grow in you one day at a time."


  1. Our conscience last night was about cross sharing and how to deal with it. This ending stikes me as something that could be looked at. Thanks Syd and thanks for the support.

  2. It is time to stop when you find the group in lock step with every opinion or attitude expressed. Until then just leave it thrive as it will.

  3. i think there is a lot of wisdom in that and it could be used just as well for a tag line for many realtionships...

  4. We aren't born knowing how live in harmony with others. We don't even know how to live in harmony with ourselves. We rush to judgment, we make assumptions, we don't know how to examine ourselves let alone evaluate others.
    Learning the principles of love and tolerance requires a lot of time in meetings and in conversation with wise people. Before we can shed our old beliefs and reactions, we have to be willing to believe we don't know everything. It's a very long process.
    We need the constant reminders in the Big Book and other recovery literature and in the sharing of those who are more mature. That's why people like you are vital. That's why the fellowship is vital. That's why doing the steps is vital. Recovery is a daily journey of retraining our minds.
    Thank you for your commitment, Syd.

  5. nice way to discuss gossip etc. In AA we rely on knowledge of tradition 1 'unity' to discourage gossip but many do not read the traditions and consider them surplus to requirements.
    Im glad al anon addresses it more explicitly at the end of each meeting.

  6. Some of my best teachers in Al-Anon, have been those with whom I'd have once said I had nothing in common. Program has opened my mind to the knowledge that I can learn from anyone, anywhere, if I am only open to listening.
    Great post, Syd.

  7. Also like that part in the closing about how "you may not like all of us, but you will love us in a very special way, the same way we already love you." I think it comes right before the part you talk about...

    My AlAnon sponsor encourages me to balance my programs... because I'm not only an addict, I've also been affected by the family disease in other ways, perhaps even more fundamental ways. The sameness of AlAnon's language has always comforted me.

  8. I look up to you syd as the man of wisdom, you are like my Yoda

  9. I love that it mentions "no gossip" . Gossip is highly under-rated in my opinion. It can be deadly and has ruined many lives.

  10. I live in and near a small town and my two home groups meet in these small towns. It is a two-sided sword. While I have learned the most from the old-timers, I felt it best to take my 5th with an outside professional. Al-anon teaches me that I have choices. And yes, we are all only human. :-D


  11. I had never read that before. That is wonderful. It should be included in all fellowships.


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