Al‑Anon Family Groups’ cofounder, Lois W., would be celebrating her 130th birthday on March 4, 2021. One of her familiar quotations is, “It takes only one person to start something, but many others to carry it out.” With our Legacies—the Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts of Service—we are well-guided to continue to “carry it out.”
After Lois died in 1988, the Board of Trustees approved “March 4th into Service” as the 1989 World Service Conference theme. Affectionately describing the act of supporting the fellowship through service, “March Forth” became encouragement to step up to service. But different members “March Forth” in different ways. Some group service positions don’t feel like service at all—putting out chairs, displaying Conference Approved Literature, or welcoming members.
Other times, though, a bit of creativity is needed in meeting the needs of the group. Electronic Meetings may have use of a helping hand—managing technical features, staying on before or after the meeting to give a personal welcome to newcomers, or sharing resources for literature.
My own path to service was somewhat reluctant at first. Certain that other members would ensure the Al‑Anon program’s future by doing all the work, I was content to stay on the sidelines, plodding along in my recovery. Eventually, I stepped into service simply to spend more time with others who were in recovery by attending District and Area meetings. Little did I know that it would help break down my walls of isolation, self-reliance, and insecurity. Members from other places welcomed and valued my input and helped me broaden my understanding of our Legacies. As I began to acknowledge the incredible improvement in my life that was so affected by alcoholism, I felt a greater need to carry Al‑Anon’s message of help and hope in any way I could.
As a Senior Group Services Specialist at the World Service Office, I hear firsthand how members embrace service and “March Forth” with courage and care. Many have displayed the courage to help others be obedient to the unenforceable and provide care to keep the program clear and consistent. Some members take their time to step into service, while others jump right in. No matter how, when, or why we get involved, we know that we can “March Forth” together.
By Christa A., Senior Group Services Specialist
The Forum, March 2021
Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm 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.