In healthy meetings, no one tells any one else what to do. No one person is supposed to dominate. And I've learned by working with those I sponsor that I can't enforce the unenforceable.
But I do know that if people are to get better and approach anything like serenity, half measures won't work. Half measures don't avail us half results; "half measures avail us nothing" (from Alcoholics Anonymous). I heard this in a meeting a while ago: "I have to tell you from my 4 years of Half-Assing and No Musting, I think the folks that Get In, Do It, and Get Better are a WHOLE Lot Smarter than I found myself to be."
So my recovery was contingent on my working the whole program, not to cherry-pick the pieces that I liked. My sponsor told me what had worked for him and thousands of others. I took his suggestion to heart and action. When I got stuck on a step, he described how he had gotten unstuck from the same step.
I hear people in meetings talk about working the steps on their own. It's my opinion that trying to do these steps by ourselves constitutes attempting to fix what’s wrong with us with what’s wrong with us. As much as we need to learn the “program”, we simply need help in it’s interpretation through the eyes and experience of someone who has made it work successfully.
Also, I didn't want to intellectualize serenity. I wanted a spiritual solution. If not for having an “unbiased” but caring bystander, I would not be able to see more clearly and understand those portions of myself that I have had a great deal of trouble dealing with. And if you’re not sure what I’m referring to, there’s no doubt a sponsor or a spiritual mentor would be of great benefit.
Steps worked in solitary, are neither verifiable nor accountable, by virtue of our perversity when we first arrive. I know that I wasn't capable of applying a “program” I knew little about, and the results I would have gotten would have no doubt reflected that.
I heard at the Al-Anon Convention this year a member say, "There are no musts in Al-Anon ... unless you want to heal and then there are twelve."