Growing up, I was often tasked with chores nobody else wanted to do, many of which required manual labor outdoors in the middle of the desert. I remember being hot and miserable for days on end without any help. As a young teenager, I had no control over how chores were assigned. My high-functioning alcoholic father worked and provided for the family. My mother took care of the cooking and cleaning around the house. My younger brother was responsible for keeping his room clean. I was left to do whatever else needed to be done.

Even though I felt like I got the short end of the stick, we each had our place in the family and contributed based on our abilities. Because he assigned me such difficult chores, I would often wonder why my dad didn’t love me. Looking back, I can appreciate how we all contributed to the family in different but important ways.

I recall two specific projects that had me outside in the hot Arizona sun with a shovel and pickax, digging through sand and caliche, a cement-like layer below the soil surface. One was digging holes for two trees in the front yard, which, once they were planted, were beautiful and added much to our home’s curb appeal. The other was leveling the spot for an above-ground swimming pool, which I think I lived in for many of those hot desert days after it was installed. So, while I did not enjoy the required work, I was able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I only wish I had truly appreciated it back then like I can now.

Unlike in my childhood home, where there was little to no risk of anyone wanting to take over digging from me—although it would have been greatly appreciated!—on Al‑Anon-related social media, the risk of double-headed management is great.

In April 2022, the World Service Conference (WSC) approved changes to the “Digest of Al‑Anon and Alateen Policies” regarding social media. On pages 127–128 of the 2022–2025 Al‑Anon/Alateen Service Manual (P-24/27) v2, the new policy defines who can create a social media page and identifies the boundaries of public outreach relevant to the membership they serve for each of the following:

  • World Service Office
  • Areas, Districts, Al‑Anon Information Services/Intergroups
  • General Service Offices and national structures
  • Groups
  • Individual members

Some groups have asked if they can create a Facebook page to attract newcomers to their group. On page 128, under the heading “Social Media—Groups,” the policy states, “In keeping with Tradition Five, the purpose of an Al‑Anon Family Group is to help the families and friends of alcoholics. Groups do not create social media pages. Groups are encouraged to support service arms’ public outreach efforts.” Likewise, under “Social Media—Individual Members,” the policy states that “individual members do not create Al‑Anon/Alateen social media pages,” but they are encouraged “to share social media posts from the WSO and other service arms for public outreach,” always maintaining the principle of personal anonymity and respecting Al‑Anon’s Twelve Traditions.

While we may not be assigned the chore we want, hopefully, through a unified effort with each member doing their part, more people affected by the family disease of alcoholism will be able to find the love and support of our program.

By Scot P., Associate Director—Brand Communications

The Forum, February 2023

Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.