Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tradition One

Tradition One reads as follows:

"Our common welfare should come first, personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity."

What does this mean to me? It means that when a member shares, and they seem to take forever to get to the point, or wander off-topic, instead of allowing impatience to block me from truly hearing what they have to say, in the spirit of unity, I strive to pay attention, and listen with respect. My Higher Power uses each of us to help the others in a meeting, no one person has any greater, or lesser value to the group. I learned this lesson fairly early on in my recovery - a member of the meeting, with whom I felt I had nothing in common, always seemed to say the one thing that stayed with me during the week.

When a member shares, and their anger provokes them to speak harshly or unkindly, I work to detach from any feelings they may have triggered, and treat them with the same consideration with which I treat everyone else in the group. (I may take them aside later, and gently ask that they try to please moderate their tone, and their attitude, for the sake of the rest of us.)

It means that I endeavor to "practise these principles in all our affairs" - outside of meetings, I try to put Tradition One into effect in all areas of my life - to show respect and courtesy to everyone I encounter.

Some days, I do not manage this very well. I may be showing courtesy outwardly, but my internal critic is alive and well, nattering away. Some days, it's all I can do to silence her; it takes a few Al-Anon readings, and some prayer and meditation.

I believe with all my heart that "personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity." I see this in action every week, at my meetings. When we treat each other the way we'd like to be treated, we are then able to hear widely divergent views on a topic, and learn from each, even if only to gain a clarity about how we may disagree with that viewpoint.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Cheryl. This is great because my inner critic can also say.."Please get on with it". That's not the spirit of Al-Anon. That's my ego.