It’s a We program – Episode 139

the seaThe first word of the first step is “We”. It is often said “this is a ‘we’ program.” What does that really mean? How do we find recovery from sharing our experience, strength and hope?

    • All the steps (not just the first) start with “we”.
      • The AA big book prefaces the steps with “Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:”
      • The foreword to the 3rd edition of the AA “big book” says “… at its core it remains simple and personal. Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength, and hope.
      • We know who we mean
        • Tradition 3 says “… The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.”
        • Tradition 5: “… welcoming families of alcoholics …”
      • Fellowship
        • This word appears over 60 times in the text of How Al-Anon Works.
        • You may have first heard this word in the suggested opening words at your first meeting:

          We welcome you to [this] Al-Anon Family Group and hope you will find in this fellowship the help and friendship we have been privileged to enjoy. We who live or have lived with the problem of alcoholism understand as perhaps few others can. We, too, were lonely and frustrated, but in Al-Anon/ Alateen we discover that no situation is really hopeless and that it is possible for us to find contentment, and even happiness, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. We urge you to try our program. It has helped many of us find solutions that lead to serenity. So much depends on our own attitudes, and as we learn to place our problem in its true perspective, we find it loses its power to dominate our thoughts and our lives.

      • How it works
        • My experience
        • First meeting: no longer alone (I was “one more”)
        • Early meetings: finding commonality
        • Wanting “what you had”. Others had walked this path before me.
        • Getting a sponsor: A personal companion on the journey. A voice that is not mine.
        • Working the steps in a group: coming to trust. I’m not uniquely broken. Letting go of shame.
      • Step 12: “… to carry this message to others”
        • We do this. Not professionals, not specialists, but us, and only us.
        • Leading the “newcomers’ meeting”. Sharing our experience, giving those new to the program a place to share theirs and to ask questions.
        • Being a sponsor
      • I say “we” because I heal when you share your experience, strength and hope with me. I heal when I become part of “we”. And we know who we mean. And each day, we become (at least) one more.

Upcoming topics include the first gift of Al-Anon: “We will become mature, responsible individuals with a great capacity for joy, fulfillment, and wonder. Though we may never be perfect, continued spiritual progress will reveal to us our enormous potential.” How do you see this gift appearing in your life?

A suggested topic is “recovery after divorce.” Please share your experience so others can benefit.

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.


Spencer was inspired to this topic by a poem “The Low Road” by Marge Piercy.

Susanne recommended, as a resource for talks on recovery topics, including open talks, talks about the history of AA and many more. A partial list of topics includes AA Talks, Young People in AA, Al-Anon Talks, Adult Children, For Parents of Alcoholics, Relationships, Workshops & Conferences, Chuck C Collection, and Sandy B Collection.

The Recovered podcast was mentioned a couple of times. This recovery podcast focuses mostly on AA, but has been a valuable part of my recovery.

Music from the show



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.