Cooperation and balance – Episode 135

do all the thingsDo you try to do “all the things” by yourself or do you work in cooperation with others? How do you keep balance and serenity while moving forward? Can Concepts 11 and 12 help answer these questions?

Concept 11: The World Service Office is composed of selected committees, executives and staff members.

  • How does this concept help ensure that the work of Al-Anon is accomplished?
  • How does this concept help ensure that no one person is overloaded with tasks?
  • What does this concept teach me about delegation? About turning things over?
  • How can I bring this concept into my family?
  • What “committees” might my family have?
  • Who are the “executives” of the family? What are their roles? Do those roles ever change?
  • Who are the “staff members” of the family? How are they fairly compensated for their work?
  • How can me “taking control” make a bad situation worse?
  • How does this concept help me to pause and assess a situation before I react?
  • What is my purpose? In life? In my family? In my job?

Concept 12: The spiritual foundation for Al-Anon’s world services is contained in the General Warranties of the Conference, Article 12 of the Charter.

General Warranties of the Conference

In all proceedings the World Service Conference of Al-Anon shall observe the spirit of the Traditions:

  1. that only sufficient operating funds, including an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle;
  2. that no Conference member shall be placed in unqualified authority over other members;
  3. that all decisions be reached by discussion vote and whenever possible by unanimity;
  4. that no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy;
  5. that though the Conference serves Al-Anon it shall never perform any act of government; and that like the fellowship of Al-Anon Family Groups which it serves, it shall always remain democratic in thought and action.
  • What are the spiritual principles embodied in these Warranties?
    • Prudence, humility, substantial unanimity, personal responsibility, avoidance of controversy, mutual respect, and equality.
  • How do I practice prudence in my financial affairs?
  • Are there other areas in my life in which I could practice prudence?
  • Can I keep an “ample reserve” of all that I need? Money, energy, serenity, etc?
  • What is authority? Do I ever assume unqualified authority?
  • Can I listen to all sides before making a decision?
  • What is substantial unanimity?
  • Can I keep principles above personalities?
  • Do I like to stir things up?
  • How is my family democratic in thought? In action?
  • How can I use all the concepts to live my life more fully and well?

Our topic for next week is new topic. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Participation, harmony, and being heard – Episode 114

In your interactions with others, how do you find harmony? Do you sometimes feel that you are not heard? How do Concepts 4 and 5 help? Concept 4 says “Participation is the key to harmony.” and concept 5 states “The rights of appeal and petition protect minorities and insure that they be heard.”

  • How do you understand Concept 4, “Participation is the key to harmony”?
  • What can I do to participate more fully?
  • When I participate in a group, do I feel more a part of it?
  • When I feel part of a group, is it easier for me to be in harmony with its workings?
  • Do I participate actively in my Al-Anon group? In other groups in my life?
  • How do my relationships benefit when I participate fully in all areas of my life?
  • How do I let others participate?
  • What if I disagree with a decision of the majority? Can I still be heard?
    • In Al-Anon?
    • In my workplace?
    • In my family?
    • With my friends?
  • How willing am I to listen to Al-Anon? my family? at work?
  • How do the “rights of appeal and petition” help me find my voice when I am in the minority?
  • Why is it important that minority opinions be expressed and heard?
  • How has learning that I have a right to speak up changed the way I feel about myself?
  • When is it just as important to keep my opinion to myself as it is to share it?
  • How can concept 5 help me change how I feel about people who disagree with me?
  • What can I do when I react negatively to someone’s opinion?
  • How can I use steps 1-3 and “Let Go and Let God” in conjunction with these two concepts?
  • Final words?

Upcoming topics include service and obsession. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Right of Decision – Episode 110

StairsDo you have trouble letting others make decisions? Do you second guess your own decisions? Spencer and Akilah discuss the “right of decision”, as expressed in Al-Anon’s 3rd concept of service, “The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.”

  • What is “the right of decision?”
  • How do we use the right of decision in the program?
    • Example from Spencer’s home group: the “chair” chooses the person who gives the lead each week.
    • GR, delegates to assembly, etc.
  • How do we use the right of decision in our own lives?
    • From Paths to Recovery (pg. 265): “In our own lives, the right of decision means we have the right to proceed in the best way we know and to ask for help when it is needed.”
  • How does this concept connect with Tradition 2? (For our group purpose there is but one authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants—they do not govern.) With Step 3? (Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.)
  • Can I make a decision and be comfortable with it? If not, why not?
  • Do I ever ask someone to do a task and then try to direct the details of how it should be done? If so, how can I change this pattern?
  • The 3rd concept section of the AA 12, 12 and 12 study guide starts with the statement “We serve by acting on our conscience through our “Right of Decision” and we trust others when they exercise their ‘Right of Decision.”
  • Am I acting in any area of my life that is contrary to my own conscience?
  • Am I mistrustful of the decisions of others in authority over me?
  • Am I demanding that anyone else act contrary to their conscience in order to please me?
  • From Paths to Recovery: Is [concept three] not letting go and letting God?

Reference: 12, 12 and 12 study guide on Concept 3:

Upcoming topics include parenting, caretaking, and fun. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Responsibility and Authority – Episode 102

sing joyouslyDo you take responsibility for your own actions? Do you take on responsibility for the way others live their lives? Do you sometimes try to play God?

Spencer and Akilah talk about responsibility and authority, as set forth in Concepts one and two.

  1. The Ultimate Responsibility and Authority for Al-Anon World Services Belongs to the Al-Anon Groups.
  2. The Al-Anon Family Groups Have Delegated Complete Administrative and Operational Authority to their Conference and its Service Arms.

The readings in the books Paths to Recovery and Reaching for Personal Freedom include some writings on personal application as well as explanations of how it works on the service level.

  • What do “authority” and “responsibility” mean (to me)? What is the difference?
    • Authority: “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.”
    • Responsibility: “the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something” or “taking ownership of my thoughts, words, and actions.”

For concept one

  • For what part of my life am I ultimately responsible? What responsibilities might I share or delegate?
  • How do I contribute to the group conscience?
  • How does this concept help me to keep the focus on myself?
  • How can I learn to trust the decisions of others?
  • When have I assumed responsibilities that are not mine?
  • When have let others take on responsibilities that should have been mine?
  • Can this concept help to me to “Let go and let God”, knowing that I am not the ultimate authority?

For concept two,  the questions are:

  • Why is it important to delegate both responsibility and authority in general? In Al-Anon?
  • Am I able to share responsibility? What responsibility? Am I willing to offer my assistance to others?
  • When do I rely on others? Can I ask for help?
  • What responsibilities in my life could I delegate to someone else?
  • Whom can I trust to be reliable?
  • How does delegating responsibility help to trust the abilities of others?
  • How willing am I to work with others and to consider their ideas? How often do I trust the knowledge an experience of another person? Do I support and encourage others?
  • When delegating how do I define boundaries to separate my responsibility from someone else’s
  • How does my attempt to take charge of everything without delegating keep me from completing the work that needs to be done?
  • For what am I responsible?

A listener emailed some questions. Listen to the show to hear the whole email. We put the questions to you, in hopes that you will share your experience, strength, and hope with our listener.

  • Do any of you out there have any personal experiences setting ultimatums with your addicts that were not respected, acknowledged or met with insult?
  • How have you handled the negativity from your addict, and the anxiety and heartbreak of not knowing if the relationship will ever be restored?
  • What has it looked like for you to practice loving detachment with an intimate partner through a separation or divorce?
  • What is the next right thing to do once a boundary has been communicated?

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email Or just leave a comment right here.

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acceptance – a guest meditation by Scott B.


“Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life.”
Grenville Kleiser, Courage to Change P. 176
My first months in program, I couldn’t gather new tools fast enough. I tried everything I could, anything anyone recommended. One of the personal methods suggested was to repeat to myself; “I am good. I am unique. I am beautiful. I love you,” while looking in a mirror. I had the initial thought that it was cheesy, something crazy people said to themselves. Well, I was feeling crazy, so I took a deep breath, and said it out loud to my reflection. With my low self-worth and self-esteem, I didn’t feel comfortable. I felt awkward, embarrassed and ashamed even in the privacy of my home.
In spite of my mixed emotions, I said each of these four sentences again and again, day after day. I would say it in my car rear-view mirror while stopped at a light, (heaven forbid, never when another car was beside me) worried that someone might see me talking to myself. Faithfully, I kept repeating these phrases even without a mirror, now memorized by rote from many weeks of repetition. The words almost became a mantra.  Internally, I didn’t approach the place of transforming love I had expected to reach (and I expected to reach someplace, anyplace, much sooner). I felt no comfort from my repeated efforts over time.
Disheartened, I concluded that saying these simple things could not possibly work and there was no use in continuing. As time in recovery went by, I would occasionally break out a simple, “I love you.” in the mirror. Still, after all this time, I felt the awkwardness spread through me and my stomach tensed as I looked away. Forgotten in the depths of my mind (lost in one of those bad neighborhoods) my affirmations faded, though I continued going to meetings.
When I experienced what seemed like a long period of no growth in my program, I figured I had plateaued. A friend shared during a meeting that change, lasting change, happens on her Higher Power’s time. All she needs to do is her footwork, go to meetings and be patient. This stuck in my brain like a burr. It would not go away. It echoed in my head daily.
That summer I went on an eight mile walk, in eighty degree heat.  I rested, but I had run out of water about 3 miles from home. Dehydrated, I arrived at my house, filled up on water and poured an ice-cold glass of milk. I sat down in front of my computer. I reached for my mug of milk, my hand moved way too fast, and I spilled the white liquid all over my laptop. The screen went half black, the other half froze and I turned the laptop on its side, unplugged it, and ejected the battery.
Anger rushed through me. Powerlessness surrounded me. The feelings were coming and I couldn’t stop them. I felt overwhelmed. I had heard so many times not to try to stop feelings. It was best to recognize them, feel them and let them go. But I made a mistake! And not just a little one! How could I of all people, be human? The turmoil inside me swirled. Old tapes told me to shame myself. New behaviors told me to laugh and accept it. Before program I would spend months, even years beating myself up over such an incident. Which direction should I take? Help me God, what do I do, where do I go?
The mirror. The mirror? Now? Really? My gut feeling was to walk into the living room and stand in front of the mirror. I felt nudged. I looked deep into my own panicked eyes and said, “I love you, Scott and there’s nothing you can ever do to make me stop loving you.” There was no awkward pause, no feeling of inadequacy. I held my gaze and didn’t look away. A wave of gratitude washed over me. Tears welled in my eyes as I cried and laughed at the same time. My gaze was unwavering until it was blurry and I couldn’t see. Thank-you, God. Thank-you. I kept thinking that the feeling would leave, but there it was; solid in my Higher Power’s Love.
Only in looking back from now can I see that everything contributed to my growth; every meeting, every coffee, lunch and potluck. Each email, text and affirmation. Every conversation, every call to my sponsors, every vulnerable moment. All the Concepts, Traditions and every Step along the way. My Higher Power takes it all in and uses my experiences to change me into who I’m meant to be.
A meditation for October 16, 2013.

Continue reading “acceptance – a guest meditation by Scott B.”