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Wed Sep 27, 2017, 10:40 AM

In Al Anon, someone who is also in AA can't be group representative.

Does anyone know what is the rationalization behind this?

14 replies, 1189 views

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Reply In Al Anon, someone who is also in AA can't be group representative. (Original post)
raccoon Sep 2017 OP
irisblue Sep 2017 #1
Rhiannon12866 Oct 2017 #2
KY_EnviroGuy Oct 2017 #4
Rhiannon12866 Oct 2017 #5
KY_EnviroGuy Oct 2017 #6
Rhiannon12866 Oct 2017 #7
KY_EnviroGuy Oct 2017 #10
Rhiannon12866 Oct 2017 #11
KY_EnviroGuy Oct 2017 #12
Rhiannon12866 Oct 2017 #13
KY_EnviroGuy Oct 2017 #3
raccoon Oct 2017 #8
KY_EnviroGuy Oct 2017 #9
Iggo Nov 2017 #14

Response to raccoon (Original post)

Wed Sep 27, 2017, 01:45 PM

1. well

someone in AA is dealing with the disease. possibly the Al Anon group doesn't want the overlap? alcoholism + the affect on the beloveds?
can you speak with the local group for a specific reason? i would want more specific info
support w/o info. hugs

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Thu Oct 5, 2017, 06:43 PM

2. It doesn't sound like a "tradition" that I'm aware of

In the groups I go to, folks go to all kinds of other fellowships, Alanon, ACOA, NA, HA, OA. Perhaps they had a "group conscience" on it? That would be the way to go, IMHO.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #2)

Fri Oct 27, 2017, 02:25 AM

4. Hi, Rhiannon - late in the game but found it.

See Post #3. Somewhat obscure rule, but it's there.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 27, 2017, 02:44 AM

5. Yikes, that is a great find but it took me looking at the page 3 times to spot it!

To me, that is the definition of "obscure," can see why most people wouldn't be aware of it. And it doesn't give a reason. But then Alanon seems to have more rules, but maybe that's just me. Early on, I carried all my books with me, treated AA as a kind of "classroom," which was what one of the old timers liked to call it. And when I showed up at an Alanon meeting, I was told I couldn't put my AA books on the table. Obviously, being chastised like that has stuck with me since that was many 24 hours ago.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #5)

Fri Oct 27, 2017, 03:09 AM

6. LOL.

The few Al-Anon meeting I've attended, I just keep my darn mouth shut and listened. I did me good to hear their stories.

I went to a Al-Anon convention meeting here once (probably 25 years ago) and actually got to hear a lady speak that knew Lois Wilson as a personal friend. She was of Italian heritage and man, did she ever have a powerful story - and it hit me right at home!

I hear you about the books, and carried mine everywhere - traveling a lot my first several years. Even took them to Germany on a business trip. The Daily Reflections and As Bill Sees It went with me into many restaurants to take the stress off at the end of my work days on the road. Hope I don't sound like I'm bragging, but my sponsor told me to do 90 meetings in 90 days at the very beginning and I was hell-bent to do it. I was traveling and actually did it, except for one day when I was flying.

That Service Manual referenced another book "Digest...of Policies" that probably one of my old-timer friends may have, but I would think this reference should do the job. Feels funny to refer to "old-timers", now that I'm 70, LOL.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 27, 2017, 03:38 AM

7. Oh, I so can identify, LOL!

It's par for the course around here to encourage new people to do 90 meetings in 90 days. I went to at least one meeting every single day for at least my first two years! I was very lucky in my sponsor, though. I met her at my second meeting - and she basically found me. In the beginning she took me to all the "A's," AA, Alanon, CoDA, OA, I've been to all of them...

And it did me good, too - I learned which meetings were most helpful, met people and heard what I needed to hear. I liked the literature meetings and the meeting that used As Bill Sees It was my favorite since that's my favorite book. I celebrated my first year at that meeting.

I now celebrate at a women's meeting - the meeting where I met my sponsor. I actually went there earlier tonight to support a woman who I now consider a friend who celebrated 10 years. I was very proud of her since she's usually quite shy, but she got up there and told her story, a lot of which I'd never heard before.

I like celebration meetings, they show those who are starting out that it really can be done - that is, unless it's me. The past several years I've had the good fortune to celebrate with a woman who has 43 years, sure takes the pressure off me, LOL. But this year she wasn't available. Her husband, who is also in the program, was injured and needed her at home. But I found the best person I could have imagined to celebrate with - and I sure hope she keeps coming back...

This woman has 49 years and got sober in NYC - and she actually knew Bill W! She has the most amazing stories - she used to have tea with Lois! She has stories about what they discussed and what it was like in their home... And I was just thrilled to hear what she had to say, my most favorite celebration so far - though I'd usually prefer to avoid it!

And kudos to you for finding that answer! It doesn't make sense to me, but I'm sure they know more than I do.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #7)

Fri Oct 27, 2017, 06:56 AM

10. Thanks for all those good shares!

I think the 90/90 brings a little discipline into the newcomer - it sure did for me, especially since I had to find many of them while traveling (that's some interesting stories for another day). I really enjoyed going to meetings all over the city (Louisville), and that kept me from getting into the personality hang-ups early on. I always felt I learned more and benefited better emotionally when I didn't know the people (sounds strange, I suppose).

My first sponsor actually found me - in the hospital! I was so sick, I had to be hospitalized and go into detox for a week, and he kept in contact with our Central Office for "new wet ones" to call on. That was 1990 and he brought me a Big Book which I still have. I got very, very lucky and was treated by one of the best doctors in the US at the time for severe alcoholic disease.

I'm actually inactive right now, but stay close to my co-sponsor, an old gent I've known a long time. He and I both are struggling with aging issues and have family and friends to help, so we're busy most of the time. I sponsored a lot of guys in my first 10 or 15 years, but as I got older, I found I evidently was not as much of an attraction to newcomers anymore. We had younger guys that needed to start sponsorship anyway.

I'll never forget something an old timer said in a meeting in Rock Springs, Wyoming back in the 90s - something to the effect that as we get older in AA, we need to fade into the shadows and let the youth take over and learn things with a little pain. If they need us, they will ask.

I spent 10 years or so with an all men's group as my home group, but had to leave them because religion was creeping in way too much and no one wanted to help with service work (I was GSR for way too long). The meeting grew to be way to big for me as well. I found a new smaller (and closer to home) home group that is open discussion and a good group of open-minded folks.

If I recall, you may live in upstate NY? If so, have you ever visited Bill and Lois' home?

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #10)

Sat Oct 28, 2017, 05:20 AM

11. Yes, I'm in Northeastern New York - but I have yet to visit the Bill Wilson House

Though I know several people who have - and they all come back feeling inspired. It's definitely on my wish list.

I used to go to an Alanon group regularly when I first started out, but it conflicted with the women's group where my sponsor found me. She told me that I should go back to the women's group and she was right, there are women with 20, 30 even 40 years who attend that meeting regularly and I really needed to learn from them - still do.

My other "home group" is a beginners' group - I celebrated my first year there and it is my chance to give back. There's a whole lot of turnover, the meetings are at a halfway house. My As Bill Sees It Group moved there and I followed it. A lot of the people who attend are mandated - many in County Drug Treatment Court - live either at the halfway house or in "supportive living" the next stage in that program. The girl who was the GSR and ordered the coins (we give out 24 hours up to 11 months on Mondays and Fridays) graduated from Drug Court, quit going to meetings, went back out and ended up in a world of legal hurt, and since I was the only one around with enough time to qualify as GSR, I took over both jobs and have wondered if I'll be doing it forever since a lot who go to those meetings just got out of rehab... but it's not a lot to ask and it sure keeps it green for me...

And we sure could use a few more "old timers" like you at any of our meetings. I bring it up at every district meeting when they ask what our groups need - there are 4 meetings a week there and one is a step meeting and it's tough if there are only beginners there. My district is notorious for people not stepping up, my fellow GSR from the women's meeting just found someone else to take over, she was GSR a lot longer than I have been.

Your area - and you - sound a lot more proactive than we are here. And I can identify with the religion issue. My sponsor is Jewish and not much more religious than I am so it works well for both of us. I sometimes get frustrated by those who conflate religion and spirituality, but I figure whatever works for someone else should be okay with me - I've learned to "take what I want and leave the rest..."

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #11)

Sun Oct 29, 2017, 02:46 AM

12. Rhiannon, thanks again.

I'll never make it to Bill and Lois' house, but years ago on a field service job up north, I was going past Akron on the way home and visited Dr. Bob's house. I rarely have good luck at anything, but that day I did. There was only me and the caretaker, a member of course. He gave me the grand tour and we even sat down at Dr. Bob's kitchen table and had coffee. He had some great tales to spin on Dr. Bob's drinking shenanigans, too. Never forget that as long as I live!

I've attended several meetings where most attendants were court ordered and those can get messy. I've always had suspicions about the wisdom of court-ordered AA meetings because it violates our concept of "desire", rather than force. Seems to me that strong suggestion would do fine, so if they truly want to stop drinking, they know where we are. It also can get difficult to get enough reliable AA members to attend and keep thing in order and based only on the Program.

I always enjoyed 12 and 12 meetings and believe going through the Traditions is vital for maintaining an interest in service work. Otherwise, how are people going to learn about the structure of AA, and how important (and rewarding) service work is? In a 12 and 12 meeting group, you can say, only have a tradition topic once a month to make sure the Steps are always adequately covered. It's also good to drag another member (or two) to the district and regional meetings! We also have quarterly city business meetings for Louisville's Intergroup. The Louisville area has over 300 meetings each week (Louisville metro and southern Indiana metro), and we have a one-person central office downtown that serves as an AA hotline answering service. They also sell AA and Alanon literature. So, there's plenty of service opportunities here. It's just that people have gotten lazy and don't seem to have much sense of duty these days.

Being the ultimately curious type, I went through about 5-years of exploration to find my spirituality - conceptually and in practice. Actually, it's still a work in progress 22 years later, LOL. That's a good topic for another day.

Have a great Sunday!

PS: May I PM you with a news link?

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #12)

Sun Oct 29, 2017, 05:01 AM

13. Wow! That sounds like a terrific visit!

We hear so much about Bill Wilson - and the Wilson House - in my area, but not nearly so much about Dr. Bob. That really does sound fascinating, meeting someone who actually knew him and had stories! I'll have to ask the woman I celebrated with who knew Bill W if she ever met Dr. Bob, but she probably would have mentioned it, especially since she talked about meeting up with Lois Wilson as well. You really were fortunate to have an experience that very few of us AAs have!

And since I'm GSR for the beginners' group(s), I do meet a lot of those who are mandated. Since the meetings are at a halfway house - and within walking distance of "supportive living" - they are the ones who mostly come to those meetings. I'm always appreciative when any long-timers make it a point to attend and we do get them, but they aren't the majority. And I've also noticed that we get more who are further along than those who actually live there - which puzzles me since we bring the meetings to them. However, our meetings there aren't actually associated with the House, it's just our venue and we pay "rent," so it's up to them if they decide to show up. But I have to say that once they get into the habit of coming and get to know people, they do tend to "keep coming back..."

In my district, "service" has been a constant problem. We have over 80 meetings in the district, but I can often count the number of GSRs who show up at the district meetings on one hand. It's about half GSRs and the different "chairs," DCM, secretary, treasurer, etc. For awhile we were considered a "dark" district since we had no DCM. The one we had timed out and the alternate moved away, so we had no one until the treasurer stepped up - but then we needed to find another treasurer.

We're planning a "Joy of Service Day" which I really hope works out. Our current Alternate DCM - a woman who recently moved to the district and is very proactive - is heading it up and she is doing a great job. It was supposed to take place earlier this month but there was a rumor that the media might show up, people panicked and dropped out and so it was canceled. I'm really hoping it works out because we're always short of volunteers for everything. My beginner groups are pretty changeable since we have so much turnover. At the moment we don't necessarily have regular coffeemakers. However, a few years back we had such a cohesive group that we hosted an AA picnic that had a great turnout - we just never know.

We also have a hotline, but that's been around for ages. We're still looking for more volunteers to bring meetings to the hospital and to the local jails. I've actually brought meetings to both and was supposed to join my friend at a hospital meeting recently, but she said it had been canceled since not enough volunteers were showing up. And I did accompany my sponsor to bring a women's meeting to the county jail - but they have since made things much tougher, background checks, fingerprinting - the time I went with my sponsor, all I had to do was hand them my car keys. And those in my beginners' groups wouldn't be eligible anyway. It's not unusual to get those who got out of rehab the day before. That's one reason I think it's important to represent those groups at district - since we do have some unique needs.

Sorry for going on - but I have gotten involved - and of course it likely helps me more than it helps them. And of course you can PM me. I "keep coming back" to DU, as well. I found DU in 2003 during the buildup to the Iraq war and it's been my online home ever since...

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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Fri Oct 27, 2017, 02:20 AM

3. See the Service Manual, page 47.

Found it in the Al-Anon/Alateen 2014-2017 Service Manual, page 47, bottom footnote.

Go to : https://al-anon.org/member-resources/service-manual

To save some time, type in "49" in the little page number window above the book and hit "enter". That will take you to page 47. The software index is two pages greater than the actual page numbers.

Not sure of the reasoning, but General Services or their conference must have had some logic to it. Maybe conflicting "primary purposes", LOL.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #3)

Fri Oct 27, 2017, 06:16 AM

8. Muchas gracias! Nt

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Response to raccoon (Reply #8)

Fri Oct 27, 2017, 06:22 AM

9. You're quite welcome - I just got lucky in finding that.


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Response to raccoon (Original post)

Sat Nov 4, 2017, 03:12 PM

14. I've always seen and treated Al Anon as a safe space from addicts.

Putting one in charge seems kinda stupid.

(I know I'm late to the party, but I finally boiled it down to a two sentence reply...lol.)

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