Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tradition Three

"The relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend."

I like this Tradition, it keeps our program from being diluted or muddied. I like those last two words, "or friend." I appreciate the way we decide for ourselves if we fit that very loose criteria for membership. I am grateful that when I go to a meeting, no-one will try to force me to accept their  beliefs before I can be allowed into the group.

I have seen for myself what happens when we allow outside life to seep into our meetings - I once belonged to a group where one member encouraged other members to invest in a questionable financial scheme, with disastrous results - it turned out to be a pyramid scheme, and some lost almost all of their savings. It was horrendous. At the time, I was too new to program to be able to speak up, when this was first raised at a meeting, by the member involved - she had said she was having a potluck dinner at her house, for anyone interested in investing in blah blah blah.

If that happened today, I think I'd have no problem gently interrupting her, explaining this Tradition, and asking that she please not approach members of the Al-Anon group for this purpose. In retrospect, I have to wonder why the long-time members of that group didn't speak up about it. Fear, and people-pleasing, I guess.

Because of this experience, I feel quite strongly about the Third Tradition - I've seen the necessity for it, firsthand, and the unfortunate results when we don't abide by it.


  1. What a terrible thing. I guess I'm fortunate to have met quite a few beautiful people at Alanon meetings, not one person in the bunch trying to sell anything.

  2. I'm thankful that this tradition is strong and that such sales aren't done at meetings that I've attended. Nice approach on the traditions.