Today we had the organizing meeting for a new Al-Anon group. I am fortunate to be a part of this process as I had not done this before. The format for meetings is pretty much the same from group to group so that no matter where you go in the world, a person will know it is an Al-Anon meeting. It's the details though that more or less set the tone for the group.
One of the first things we had to do was decide on a name. A friend in AA said that the name could set the tone for the group. He was in the start up AA group High Noon and realized in retrospect that the name wasn't a good one. It invited those other than AA to come in and the meeting has become watered down AA. So the name was something that seemed to be important. I like the name for this new group, Primary Purpose, which was decided at the meeting. It is in keeping with the statement that the primary purpose is to help families and friends of alcoholics. It hopefully connotes what we are about.
The type of meetings seems to be important as well. We discussed what we wanted to hear. Having a topic meeting such as Anger, Resentment, Gratitude, etc didn't seem to be what those present wanted. The group conscience decided that we wanted something more focused. We decided to have a step, a tradition/concept, and a literature meeting each month with the fourth meeting being on a topic with open discussion. I like this because the focus is on recovery and the path to reach solutions. I think this group will be hard-core Al-Anon. As one lady expressed, "I have been searching for a real Al-Anon meeting since I arrived. It appears that this will be one."
We also agreed to have a group conscience every three months to take the pulse of the group. Changes can be made as the group evolves. That is a good thing--keeping an open mind.
I know that I learn something from each Al-Anon meeting I attend. But I do appreciate the singleness of purpose of the fellowship. I don't want the message to be diluted. And it appears that the message for the time being will be a good one. If this isn't everyone's cup of tea, then there are many other meetings where one can get what they want. It appears that there will be yet another opportunity to focus on Al-Anon recovery in this area. I am grateful to be part of this fledgling group.