When I first started attending Al‑Anon meetings, I was emotionally and physically exhausted from the drama that ruled my marriage. I had just enough energy to drive myself to and from meetings. I had asked a woman from my home group to be my Sponsor because she had many years in the program, and I wanted what she had. What I didn’t know at the time is that she had held many service positions. I was surprised and resentful when she immediately urged me to take on a service position. Couldn’t she see that my plate at home was already full? I was afraid of disappointing her, so I reluctantly stood for Group Secretary.
I had only been in that role for a few months when the Group Representative position suddenly opened up, and my Sponsor encouraged me to stand for it. Once again, I resisted, because I was still a newcomer. Certainly, someone more knowledgeable about the program would be a better choice! Plus, it involved travel to three Assemblies per year and monthly attendance at District meetings. It sounded just like work to me! I said I would think about it. I will never forget what she said next: If I’m sitting in business meetings, carpooling to an event with other Al‑Anon members, or doing any kind of service work, I’m focusing on Al‑Anon program principles and not obsessing about the alcoholic.
She was so right. By doing service I was allowing healthy thoughts to slowly replace the unhealthy ones. I was very nervous and self-conscious at first, because I was sure there was a certain way to do things. I didn’t want to draw negative attention to myself by making a mistake. Instead, I noticed how, if I forgot something, someone might gently remind me of it, but no one ever told me how to do my role. They loved me just as I was and kept thanking me for my service.
As time went on, I began happily volunteering for service, because I knew how much better I would feel. As a newcomer to the World Service Office Staff, I now have a broader perspective of how the cumulative effects of everyone doing Al‑Anon service creates unity within our fellowship. When we all do our part –by chairing meetings, greeting a newcomer, or participating on a Task Force—we help others around the world to recover and grow.
By Natalie M., Associate Director—Administration & Strategy
The Forum, November 2020
Feel free to reprint this article on your website or in your newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.