Tradition 6 – Episode 75

Tradition 6 says “Our Family Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim. Although a separate entity, we should always co-operate with Alcoholics Anonymous.” What does this mean? How do we understand and apply it? How do we use it in our personal life?

Spencer and Ruth talk about Tradition 6, guided by these questions:

  • Why do I think we have this tradition?
  • What is “our primary spiritual aim”?
  • What are some examples of “outside enterprises”?
    • Religions
    • Treatment programs
    • Other 12-step programs
  • What are some hazards of promoting, endorsing, or talking about such “outside enterprises” in our meetings?
  • In what ways does Al-Anon “cooperate with AA”?
  • How can I apply this tradition in your personal life?
    • Am I allowing material or financial concerns to gain priority over my personal spiritual needs and serenity?
    • Am I allowing personal problems or successes to overwhelm me?
    • Am I letting them get in the way of how I treat others?
  • How do these slogans relate to Tradition 6?
    • Easy Does It
    • Keep It Simple
    • Live and Let Live
    • Let Go and Let God


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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Tradition 5 – Episode 73

Have you wondered what Al-Anon is about? Why do we keep coming when we feel better? What does Al-Anon tell us about our alcoholic friends and relatives? These questions and more are addressed by Tradition 5. “Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.”

Ruth shares her experience with being welcomed into the fellowship of Al-Anon, and about how she came to understand what it means to “encourage” her alcoholic loved one. Then Spencer shares his musings on this tradition, roughly following this outline.

  • What does it mean to “understand and encourage our alcoholic relatives”?
  • How can we gain understanding of alcoholism?
  • How does this help us?
  • How can I “encourage” my alcoholic relative(s)?
  • In what ways did Al-Anon welcome me?
  • How do I welcome others?
  • How do I give comfort to others?
  • Why is it important for me to work the 12 steps?

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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Tradition 2 – Episode 60

At the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

Spencer and Adrienne discuss Tradition 2, which says “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.” Which, when you think about it, is a pretty radical statement. Have you been in any other groups that functioned without “leaders”?  What does it mean that our leaders are “trusted servants?”

We start with a reading from the blog al-anon journal about Tradition 2. Our discussion was shaped by these thoughts and questions:

  • From Courage to Change Page 215:
    • We strive to conduct our meetings as a fellowship of equals and to practice rotation of leadership. No single member has the right to take charge.
    • When I insist on having my way, I am tampering with the spiritual nature of AlAnon as a whole
    • Any attempt to manage or direct is likely to have disastrous consequences for Group Harmony
  • Why do we have this tradition?
  • How can it work? Can it really work to have no one person deciding how things will be?
  • What is a “group conscience?” How is it determined?
  • Is this sort of like Steps 2 & 3 for the group?
  • How can you use this tradition in your personal life?
    • In relationships
    • At work
    • With friends
  • How does Tradition 2 support Tradition 1 (welfare of the group comes first)?
  • Does this tradition remind me to not “take charge”?
  • What is a “trusted servant?” How do you lead without governing?

Our topic for next week is the question “is it Intuition or the Will of my Higher Power?” How do we hear our Higher Power’s will, which we are told to ask for in Step 11? Is our intuition the same thing? What do you think? 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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Tradition 1 – Episode 55

20130814-130029.jpgSpencer and Maria are joined by special guest Ruth to discuss Tradition 1, which says “Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity.” We are guided by these questions:

What does “common welfare” mean to you?
What does “unity” mean to / for you?
How do you think that this tradition supports personal progress.?
What are some ways you observe this tradition in your group(s)?
How does this tradition inform or affect the “rules” your group(s) use in meetings?
How does a group or meeting suffer when one person shares to long or otherwise dominates the meeting?
Have you been affected by that behavior? Have you done that?
How can and do you use this tradition outside the program, in your personal life?
The reading in Pathways suggests that “a loving, spiritual community” provides the best chance for personal recovery. How does Tradition 1 help to build and maintain such a community?
Do you share your experience, strength, and hope in your group meetings?
Do you give others the opportunity to share equally? Do you listen when they share?
How do sharing and listening attentively help to unite the group?
How does taking control destroy unity?
Does this tradition mean that everyone in the group must be happy or satisfied with a decision? Why or why not?
How can you use what you have learned about this tradition to bring balance into your relationships?

Ruth is in Germany, so we asked her to read Tradition 1 in German, which is “Unser gemeinsames Wohlergehen sollte an erster Stelle stehen; persönlicher Fortschritt für möglichst viele hängt vom Einigsein ab.” (

Our topic for next week is communication. Do you have trouble communicating your needs and feelings to your loved ones? Do your attempts to ask for what you want always degenerate into an argument? How have you learned to communicate better in this program? 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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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.

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