Very often, I meet up with my Higher Power while hiking in nature. As a kid, I would ramble through the creeks and woods in my grandparents’ backyard. Through the years, I learned to be respectful of the boundaries I encountered on trails, both natural and human-made. Staying on the trail while hiking is important for my own safety as well as the protection of the landscape. This principle also holds true not only for my recovery program but for my service to the Al‑Anon fellowship as well.

During my three-year term as District Representative (DR), I’d let my thoughts wander about my next service position. Where was my Higher Power leading me…Delegate? Public Outreach Coordinator? Yet at the next Area election, I did not step up for Delegate or any position. I stayed seated. Why?

At that time, in addition to being a DR, I was raising a family, employed full-time, and working on a degree in organizational leadership. It was through these various roles in and out of the fellowship that I discovered the value of being a servant leader and leading from the middle. I didn’t have to stand at the podium at Assembly to make a difference. I could return to service within my home group, bringing the experience, strength, and hope that I gained through service at the Area level. Eventually, my recovery path was further enriched through Al-Anon Information Service (AIS) and Alateen service.

I’ve often heard that “there are no rules in Al‑Anon.” I now know that there are long-standing policies that provide direction for the Al‑Anon fellowship worldwide. By definition, policy is wisdom in the management of affairs. Al‑Anon policy is approved by our group-conscience process and wisely reflects the questions and experience of those who have travelled the path before us. The “Digest of Al‑Anon and Alateen Policies” guides all Al‑Anon members on our singleness of purpose.

Today, as a World Service Office (WSO) Staff member, like my fellow members who are gainfully employed in local Al‑Anon service centers (Literature Distribution Centers or AISs), I do “not serve as a volunteer in a policy-making position, such as Group Representative (GR), District Representative (DR), Area Assembly Officer or Coordinator, Delegate, or WSO Trustee” (2022-2025 Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual [P-24/27] v2, page 111). Likewise, my Al‑Anon friends who are also members of A.A. honor the separation of our two service structures by not serving in policy-making positions. Those Al‑Anon members who are also members of A.A. have unique opportunities to carry the Al‑Anon message and may serve in various ways (see the Service Manual, pages 86–87). The opportunities we have to serve our fellowship are many and take us far beyond the boundaries of the group and our own personal problems.

By Heather S., Associate Director–Community Relations

The Forum, November 2022

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