Earlier this year, I visited Greece with the Chairperson of the Board, Debbie G. Our purpose was to meet with members of Public Outreach and Literature, as well as group members, to talk about how the World Service Office (WSO) can support this evolving Structure. Our trip took us to an international convention and group meetings in the Athens area. The convention provided an opportunity for us to reach out on an individual and international level. Debbie and I were each asked to give a 10‑minute personal sharing. Though we hadn’t planned on this, it turned out to be a great stroke of luck because it allowed us to be ourselves as Al‑Anon members and not just representatives of the WSO, which is sometimes perceived as distant. In my experience working and traveling on behalf of the WSO, members appreciate getting to know Staff and Trustees as Al‑Anon members.

Following the convention, we attended several meetings in the Athens area—a Monday evening meeting in the port city of Piraeus, a Tuesday morning meeting of the Parthenon group (the oldest meeting in Athens, as any of its members would proudly tell you), and a Wednesday evening meeting called Neos Kosmos (New World). Our local contact person coordinated a question-and-answer session to take place before the Neos Kosmos meeting. In two hours, we answered questions about conflict resolution, translation, applying the Traditions, finances, committee membership and structure, Alateen, Public Outreach and more. By the time this session took place, we had already met most of the people who attended. This was another stroke of good fortune because, since we had already connected with members on a spiritual plane and spent time talking with them, we understood each other’s needs and motivations. While still relying on the experience of others, these groups are ready to grow, make their own decisions and learn from their own experiences. This encounter abroad reminded me that leading in service isn’t always about saying, “Follow me.” Sometimes it’s about saying, “You’re ready.”

By Kerri K., Associate Director—International

The Forum, October 2018