The Big Question session of the International Al‑Anon General Services Meeting (IAGSM) agenda is an opportunity to explore and speculate on the future. As a newcomer in service, these were the discussions I had the hardest time with. I knew how important the Al‑Anon program was to me, personally, so I often felt the need to “get it right” when it came to discussions at the Area level. I wanted every conversation to end in a motion, and I wanted every motion to go my way. Discussions like the Big Question, where we “just sat around talking” and never made a decision seemed like a waste of time.

Slowly, by example and error in equal measure, I learned the value of planning for the future. Not controlling and managing, as I had done before finding Al‑Anon, but planning using the spiritual principles described in the Concepts of Service: thoughtful estimate, prudence, and extensive debate. I saw these modeled at my Area and at the World Service Conference to plan for Al‑Anon’s future. Many years later, I’m more trusting and patient. I have less of a need to know and more willingness to listen. It was easy, therefore, for me to support the inclusion of speculative, forward-thinking conversation as part of the 2020 agenda, even knowing it wouldn’t end in a neat and tidy conclusion.

It was obvious from our interactions with members in our own structure, as well as around the world, that the topic of this year’s Big Question needed to be electronic meetings. Specifically, we wanted to know more about the impact for members and General Service Offices (GSOs) as they have come to understand and apply the current policy during this “boom time” of electronic meetings. What kind of questions are GSOs getting from members about registering electronic meetings? What benefits might a GSO experience if given the opportunity to register electronic meetings? What challenges might there be? We look forward to being able to share the highlights—but no conclusions—of that discussion with you in the IAGSM Summary.

By Kerri K., Associate Director—International

The Forum, February 2021

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