The three-sided triangle that symbolizes our fellowship is a reminder that the Steps are for my personal recovery, the Traditions are for my use in my relationships with others, and the Concepts guide me as I perform service. My recovering from the family disease of alcoholism didn’t take off until I started dipping my feet into service. In the same way that I test the ocean water before diving in, I tested the waters of service. I had to start simply by showing up faithfully to my meeting each week. I knew that if I wanted this Al‑Anon stuff to work, I needed to be consistent. I kept hearing how what was shared in meetings was like medicine—if I wanted it to work, I needed to take it regularly.

Before Al‑Anon, I was never invited to join in activities—I was always the last person selected for the team in gym. However, my program friends invited me to participate in many activities. In my group, these included setting up and cleaning up, preparing refreshments, taking notes at business meetings, being responsible for the weekly basket collection, taking an inventory of our group’s literature, and chairing a meeting. At each step, members of my group paved the way. In this way, they were all like my original Service Sponsors. They modeled the behavior I wanted for myself.

When it was time to elect a new Group Representative, someone nominated me. I did not think I was worthy. What do I know?? What if I do something wrong? I thought, what if I do something that breaks Al‑Anon? I was gently reminded that this is a we program and that there are people to help who have done it before. So, I took the risk and dove in with both feet. As I continued to apply the spiritual principles of the Al‑Anon program, I grew more confident. This seeped into my relationships at home and at work. I was able to talk to my family and colleagues the way I spoke to my fellow Al‑Anon members in service—with respect and love.

My program Sponsor guides me through the Steps and the Traditions to help me recover from the family disease of alcoholism so that I become aware of my reactions in any situation. When that person is not available, I also have an Al‑Anon family that I can lean on that can offer support and love. My Service Sponsor shows me how to apply the Concepts as I perform service. Neither Sponsor is placed on a pedestal. Instead, they share of themselves and help me when I need it. Al‑Anon service is something I surely cannot do alone!

By Sue P. Associate Director—Group Services

The Forum, April 2019