Being a leader in Al-Anon is fundamentally different from traditional notions of leadership. As we highlight in our discussion, Al-Anon leaders are guided by humility and enthusiasm rather than authority and control. This approach is rooted in Tradition Two, which states, “Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.” Understanding this principle is crucial for anyone facing challenges in their service roles.

Diffusing Tension and Resolving Conflict

Conflicts are inevitable in any organization, and Al-Anon is no exception. The Al-Anon Traditions and Concepts are key to reducing and resolving conflicts. In particular, we highlight these:

Concept Three: “The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.” It’s essential to own the responsibility that comes with a leadership role and not let the approval of others dictate your actions.

Concept Four: “Participation is the key to harmony.” By participating, we can, at least, express our thoughts and opinions, even when the outcome is not what we might desire.

Tradition Four: “Each group is autonomous…” Respecting the autonomy of individuals and groups allows for a more harmonious environment.

We mentioned some helpful resources, such as the “Loving Interchange to Resolve Conflict” wallet card and the booklet “Talk to Each Other: Resolving Conflicts Within Al-Anon.”

Real-Life Experiences

Mark’s Insights

Mark shared his extensive service experience, emphasizing how the Al-Anon structure supports both horizontal and vertical communication. He pointed out that though service requires patience, it’s vital to remember not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. He highlighted the importance of allowing dissenting or minority views to be genuinely considered, which aligns with Concept Five.

Anne’s Perspective

Anne underscored the importance of humility and enthusiasm in qualified authority. She reflected on how these principles could have made her family life more sustainable, reinforcing the collective nature of Al-Anon’s authority.

Marylou’s Service During the Pandemic

Marylou shared her experience navigating service challenges during the pandemic. Her proactive approach in moving meetings online and ensuring safe virtual environments showcased the use of Tradition Five and the importance of keeping Al-Anon accessible to everyone.

Mary’s Experience with Bias in Service

Mary opened up about her unique challenges as a person of color in Al-Anon service. She faced bias and scrutiny but used Tradition Four and Concepts Three and Four (Participation is the key to harmony) to navigate her role effectively. Her resilience and dedication to service were truly inspiring.

Music to Inspire

We love connecting themes from our discussions to music. Here are the three picks from the episode:

1. Roar by Katy Perry: The lyrics resonate with standing up for oneself and overcoming challenges.

2. Human by The Killers: This song reminds us to embrace our humanity and respect the diverse experiences and opinions of others.

3. Brave by Sara Bareilles: An empowering anthem encouraging us to speak our truth and be brave in the face of adversity.

Eric mentioned a poster with QR codes that link to Al-Anon “find a meeting” and social media sites. You can download it here.


Service in Al-Anon, like any other aspect of recovery, is a journey. It’s filled with opportunities for growth, learning, and connection. By using the traditions, concepts of service, and other tools, we can navigate these challenges more effectively and continue to find serenity in service.

Readings and Links

We read from Hope for Today, Mar 25, How Al-Anon Works, Chapter 13, section “Dealing with Conflict”, p. 98.

Previous episodes on the traditions and concepts include

  • Episode 60, Tradition 2
  • Episode 86, Tradition 9
  • Episode 102, Responsibility and Authority (Concepts 1-2)
  • Episode 110, Right of Decision (Concept 3)
  • Episode 114, Participation, harmony and being heard (Concepts 4 and 5)
  • Episode 128, Leadership (Concept 10)
  • Episode 135, Cooperation and Balance (Concept 12 and the Warranties)

We also referred to Episode 284, Acronyms and Alliterations, and episode 313, Being Heard.

We found this post on the Al-Anon blog, Keeping Calm with the “Conflict Resolution Kit. It refers to 3 resources you can buy from the Al-Anon bookstore — 2 wallet cards and a booklet.

Mark read a passage from the Al-Anon and Alateen Service Manual. This weighty tome is available from the Al-Anon bookstore. You can purchase a paper copy or download it as a PDF for free. His reading is on page 202 of the current edition.

Upcoming topics

We are running a new series of episodes on 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.

Music from the Show

Katy Perry – Roar
Human – The Killers
Brave – Sara Bareilles

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