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Post Info TOPIC: Do we really want to allow Dual Members to perform Al-Anon duties below group level?


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Do we really want to allow Dual Members to perform Al-Anon duties below group level?
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When we consider electing individuals to perform service work at Al-Anon district, area and world service level, who are members of both Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon, let’s look at who we are talking about.

 

Many dual members are adult children and grandchildren of alcoholics and qualified for Alateen and Al-Anon years before they discovered alcohol.  These members may have had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps and used AA to quit drinking, but then found the solutions to their real, underlying, family related people problems in Al-Anon.

 

We are considering our members who developed a true love for Al-Anon because of the miraculous results achieved by subscribing to Al-Anon’s program of spiritual recovery and have a passion to serve that is fired by their love and respect of the pure and undiluted Al-Anon program.

 

Should Al-Anon members who first and foremost consider Al-Anon their primary program of spiritual recovery be judged and restricted based on something they do outside of Al-Anon? 

 

With all the open mindedness that Concept Five embodies, let’s look at our literature and legacies.

 

For clarity, please note the current policy from Page 87 of the 2018 - 2021 Al-Anon/Alateen service manual regarding dual members in service.  “Al‑Anon members who are also members of A.A. participate fully in all group activities, including group conscience decisions.  However, they do not hold Al‑Anon service positions that vote in matters affecting another group or Al‑Anon or A.A. as a whole.

Tradition Six

Our Family Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property or prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim.  Although a separate entity, we should always cooperate with Alcoholics Anonymous.

B-24 Paths to Recovery - Page 186 states: “As individuals we may support, volunteer, or endorse anything or anybody or any activity we like as long as we do not do it as Al-Anon members or as an Al-Anon group.”

 

The current policy regarding dual membership contradicts Tradition Six.  It is clear that dual members cannot support, volunteer, or endorse anything or anybody or any activity they like outside the Al-Anon arena if they would like to serve below group level.

 

 

Tradition Eight

Al-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employee special workers.

B-24 Paths to Recovery - Page 204 states: “Tradition Eight reminds us who we are – a fellowship of equals sharing our mutual experience, strength and hope in order to recover and help each other along the way.”

 

The current policy regarding dual membership contradicts Tradition Eight which clearly states we are a fellowship of equals.

 

 

Tradition Nine

Our Groups, as such, ought never be organized: but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

B-5 Al-Anon Family Groups - Page 60-61 states: “We speak of Al-Anon as a fellowship or society, indicating that each member is equal to every other.  It is not an organization, for that would mean that one or more individuals, or committees, boards or executives would have the authority to make rules and enforce them.  There is no such thing in Al-Anon.”

 

The current policy regarding dual membership contradicts Tradition Nine because it does create organization where certain members have authority.  Because of this policy, there really is such a thing as inequality in Al-Anon.

 

 

 

 

 

Tradition Ten

The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

B-5 Al-Anon Family Groups -Page 62 states: “This is an extension of Tradition Six, warning us against involvement, as a group, in any cause or organization outside Al-Anon.  As individuals we are free to engage in any activities that interest us, so long as we do not in any way involve Al-Anon.”

 

The current policy regarding dual membership contradicts Tradition Ten.  It is clear that dual members, as individuals, are not free to engage in any activities that interest them if they would like to serve below group level.

 

 

Tradition Ten

The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

B-24 Paths to Recovery - Page 220 States: “Members are always free to act as individuals in favor of their own personal causes, as long as they keep Al-Anon’s name out of it.”

 

The current policy regarding dual membership contradicts Tradition Ten.  It is clear that dual members are not free to act as individuals in favor of their own personal causes if they would like to serve below group level.

 

 

Concept Four

Participation is the Key to Harmony.

P-24/27 2018-2021 Service Manual - Page 186 states: “Participation also responds to our spiritual needs.  All of us deeply desire to belong.  The Al-Anon ideal of a working partnership could never regard any member as second class.  This is perhaps the main reason we have struggled to achieve participation at every level.”

 

The current policy regarding dual membership does create a second class of members who clearly cannot participate at every level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concept Four

Participation is the Key to Harmony.

B-24 Paths to Recovery - Page 272 states: “In Al-Anon, working together harmoniously requires that we have respect for one another.  This is not the forced respect we might have given an authority figure who had power over us.  We respect each other as we want to be respected – as equals and partners in a spiritual enterprise.”

 

Due to the current policy regarding dual membership, the ability of dual members to respect and be respected is limited because they are not equals in Al-Anon’s spiritual enterprise.  This policy also creates authority figures because some members can hold certain office positions that other members cannot.

 

 

More on Tradition Six

Our Family Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property or prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim.  Although a separate entity, we should always cooperate with Alcoholics Anonymous.

G-3 Al-Anon Guidelines – Page 2 states: “Because of the separateness of the Al-Anon and A.A. fellowships as stated in Tradition Six, Al-Anon policy is that world service offices beyond the group level, such as Group Representative (GR), should not be filled by Al-Anon/A.A. members.”

 

This statement actually contradicts Tradition Six.  The true meaning of Tradition Six is about simplicity, how we are not diverted through recommendation and how we mind our own business through focused sharing of our own experience with Al-Anon’s program of spiritual recovery.  The current policy regarding dual membership does not represent simplicity; it does divert certain individuals by recommending they not serve below group level and is an example of how we do not mind our own business.  Tradition Six is really about keeping Al-Anon a safe, no strings attached spiritual program.  Tradition Six actually supports dual members in Al-Anon service because as individuals we may support, volunteer, or endorse anything or anybody or any activity we like as long as we do not do it as Al-Anon members or as an Al-Anon group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important at this point to clarify between the group’s primary purpose and the individual’s primary purpose.

 

When Al-Anon assigns the AA Groups primary purpose onto individuals who are dual members, it is a clear case of imposing perceptions onto someone else and this contradicts the autonomy that Tradition Four offers.  The individual’s primary purpose may be different than one or more of the recovery programs they belong to.  Path to Recovery Page 158 “Accepting that alcoholism is a disease keeps us on track with our primary purpose, learning to live a full life despite the effects of someone else’s drinking.”  Even though this was written as an “our” or “us” statement, it is clearly the authors primary purpose.  Another example of an individual’s primary purpose, Path’s to Recovery Page 188, “My own primary purpose is to practice and to apply the principles of the Al-Anon program in all areas of my life.”  We should not automatically assign an individual’s primary purpose.  An Al-Anon member whose primary purpose is to become sane and help others achieve sanity should not be precluded from service below the group level regardless of what other fellowships they might be involved with.

 

It is clear that each program has a different primary purpose.  The primary purpose of Al-Anon is to help families of alcoholics and the primary purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous is to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.  The difference in the group’s primary purpose should not take away a members right to serve in Al-Anon below the group level.  If we are going to preclude certain people from various service positions based on the primary purpose of other groups they belong to, then we should preclude members of Narcotics Anonymous because their group’s primary purpose is to carry the message to the addict who still suffers and members of the Catholic Church because their group’s primary purpose is to bring people back to God and to help them maintain their relationship with Him after that relationship has been re-established.

 

 

It appears inconsistent that a person can be a member of CA, CLA, CMA, DA, FA, FAA, GA, HA, MA, NA, OA, OLGA, PA, SA, SA, SAA, SCA, SLAA, UA and WA (complete list attached) and by the way of their Al-Anon membership perform service below the group level while members of AA cannot. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Considering that according to the 2006 Al-Anon/Alateen Membership Survey at least 14% of Al-Anon members are dual members and that 0% of the World Service Conference are dual members, even though their decision to not seat dual members was made through group conscience, their action is governing.  The World Service Conference decision to exercise a directing, restraining, and controlling influence over dual members violates Tradition Two.  Because of the lack of dual members in the World Service Conference, it is impossible to hear, understand, value and incorporate their opinions into the decision making process and that violates Concept Five.

 

 

The flow chart titled “Criteria to Determine Dual Members’ Service” (see attached) is a good example of compromise rather than resolution.  I hope that moving forward, in the spirit of Concept Five and Concept Twelve, we work to resolve our issues with dual membership instead of continuing to compromise on dual membership matters.  

 

 

The time has come that we, as a society, stop violating our own values and take action to address the issues caused by the current policy regarding dual membership.

 

To answer the question “Do we really want to allow Dual Members to perform Al-Anon duties below group level?” we ask a couple of other questions.

 

Are we ready to take the necessary action to correct the policy that creates judgment and inequality in our fellowship?  Are we ready to ensure all Al-Anon Members will have freedom and belonging at all service levels in the future?  If the answer is “yes” then we do we really want to allow Dual Members to perform Al-Anon duties below group level.

 


 

CA - Cocaine Anonymous

CLA - Clutterers Anonymous

CMA - Crystal Meth Anonymous

DA - Debtors Anonymous

FA - Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous

FAA - Food Addicts Anonymous

GA - Gamblers Anonymous

HA - Heroin Anonymous

MA - Marijuana Anonymous

NA - Narcotics Anonymous

OA - Overeaters Anonymous

OLGA - Online Gamers Anonymous

PA - Pills Anonymous, for recovery from prescription pill addiction.

SA - Sexaholics Anonymous

SA - Smokers Anonymous

SAA - Sex Addicts Anonymous

SCA - Sexual Compulsives Anonymous

SLAA - Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous

UA - Underearners Anonymous

WA - Workaholics Anonymous


 



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