We bid you welcome, who come with weary spirit seeking rest.
Who come with troubles that are too much with you.
Who come hurt and afraid.
We bid you welcome, who come with hope in your heart.
Whoever you are, whatever you are,
Wherever you are on your journey,
We bid you welcome.
Richard S. Gilbert
In the discussion of Al-Anon's third tradition, in the book How Al-Anon Works, we read that “newcomers are always welcome in Al-Anon.” Tradition 5 says that we have ” but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. … welcoming … families of alcoholics.” I know that I was made to feel welcome at my first meeting. I walked out of that meeting knowing that I was no longer alone in my struggle. I felt welcomed, loved, and not judged for loving an alcoholic.
How do I pass it on? How do I “practice these principles”? In short, how do I help welcome newcomers? Sometimes, it might be as simple as just smiling at someone I don't recognize in a meeting, someone who perhaps looks a little bit lost, like they're not sure if they're in the right place. I might smile and ask “are you looking for Al-Anon? If so, you're in the right place.” I might volunteer to be a greeter for a month. If I'm in a meeting that has a tradition of doing a “first step” for newcomers, I don't groan and think “Oh, not another first step!” Instead, I tell my story, trying to balance “what it was like” with “how it is now”, letting my higher power guide my words. My home group's introduction reminds us, every week, to “remember to address the newcomer, our most important member at the meeting tonight.”
There are times when each of us needs welcome, whether we have just arrived, or if we've been around for a long time. I have been welcomed when I needed it. I can pass that on to those who need it today.
A meditation for April 21, 2013.