Each Al‑Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.
Please share your experience, strength, and hope as it relates to Tradition 5. The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the person who gave them. Take what you liked and leave the rest. Member sharing on the Member Blog may be used in future Al‑Anon publications.
When I first came into the program, I didn’t want to “understand and encourage” the alcoholics in my life. I wanted to FIX them! I was sure the problem was that they didn’t realize how wrong their actions were. Surely they needed me to point that out! If they would just do what I say, everything would be fine! But all my judgment and disapproval only made things worse. I’m so grateful for the many experienced members who showed me what detachment with love looks like. I’m learning now how to separate the person from the disease. I’m learning how… Read more »
Before Al-Anon, I thought it was me against the alcoholics in my life. Without the program I could never have thought that we could work as a unit. I like that this Tradition tells me I have to do the work to fix me and that I need to understand what the alcoholic is going through. They are not the enemy I once thought they were. I can encourage others by changing my own behavior. I can show compassion for their illness. And while all of that is going on, I have the support of my Al-Anon family.
I love this tradition. First it tells me what our purpose is: to help families of alcoholics (that includes me and my family.) Then it tells me how to do that. 1st by practicing the 12 steps. It was through these 12 steps that I helped myself and my family. When I was new I wanted to know what working a program meant. This tells me. Work the steps. By practicing these steps I am able to encourage and love the alcoholics in my life. I don’t know that I will ever truly understand alcoholism, but it is not for… Read more »
Tradition Five teaches me to take care of myself first, then and only then, could I try to take care of others. All my life, prior to coming to Al-Anon and thereafter, it had been the other way around. I was getting love and attention from others by taking care of them, which I needed desperately to survive emotionally in those days. In doing so, I became tired physically, emotionally and spiritually and I was feeling anger and resentment to a point that became destructive for me. With time, I learned in the program to love myself, to be kind… Read more »
I have learned a lot from the Fifth Tradition. It teaches me about Focus. I don’t need to be doing everything, yet I do need to be doing something. At the group level, that something is to help family members of alcoholics. I have applied this Tradition to my personal life, as a tool for goal setting. First I define the purpose I am trying to achieve, then I identify three strategies that will help me achieve that purpose. Ideally the three strategies represent some type of balance – approaching the purpose from 3 different directions. This works when I… Read more »
Tradition 5 brought Unity into my family because it focuses me on supporting and encouraging my alcoholic relatives. This recipe for a healthy relationship means that no longer is it acceptable to gossip about other people’s behavior. No longer is it acceptable to dominate the decision making in our family. I have learned that when my family members are supported and encouraged to participate in all family affairs, the common welfare is served and we as individuals experience personal spiritual progress. Our Al-Anon’s Twelve Traditions Illustrated pamphlet says it best! “We must change our attitude, grow past anger, fear or… Read more »
Tradition Five tells me that my recovery is contingent upon helping families and friends of alcoholics. I don’t get to keep it unless I can give it away. Showing up at meetings, welcoming newcomers, being willing to sponsor newcomers, holding a group officer position, serving at the district and area levels, submitting writings on the Al-Anon website and for The Forum are ways to continue my recovery. Al-Anon is a miracle! Thank you to everyone who gave their time and effort to ensure Al-Anon was there when I needed it.
Tradition Five suggests that concern, care and love, through encouragement and understanding, be given to the families of alcoholics. I felt ready to do just that, after few months in the program. However, the Tradition is written in an order that leaves no doubt as to the way help may be given. I had to apply the principles of the program to myself and to my loved ones, before helping others. To practice these principles of encouragement and understanding with myself, I had to gain some love of self, learn to respect who I was, treat myself with integrity and… Read more »
Thank you for the opportunity to tell this story. I was attending Al-Anon meetings in West Virginia in 2004. Whenever I missed one of my regular meetings, I would attend another nearby meeting. This particular day I sat outside on a wall near my work and prayed for my son in his disease to be wherever God wanted him to be. After some time of prayer, meditation and soaking up the sunshine, I started to drive to get something to eat before the meeting. My phone rang and it was my younger son screaming and crying. I was afraid something… Read more »
Tradition Five- Al-Anon’s Mission Statement. In summary: Reach Up. Reach In. Reach Out. First, we reach up to God/Higher Power. Second, we reach in to discover and uncover and recover ourselves. Then Third, we reach out to others like ourselves affected by the disease of alcoholism.
I grew up in a home with alcoholism. My father was the alcoholic. When I first got into Al-Anon, I didn’t want to believe the disease concept of alcoholism because that would mean my father was sick and my anger wouldn’t allow me to believe that. I knew nothing about the disease of alcoholism so it was suggested to me that I attend some open A.A. meetings to listen to the A.A. speakers. The last thing I wanted to do was to hear from another alcoholic because I believed that all alcoholics were the same, just like my dad. Al-Anon… Read more »