Al-Anon Family Group

The material presented here is not Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature. It is a method to exchange information, ideas, feelings, problems and solutions on a personal level.

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Question about a local meeting...
Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:
Question about a local meeting...


There's a local meeting here, in the tri-state area, that I attend regularly. Like many, I feel it's an excellent meeting. The meeting, which is one meeting, for 90 minutes is structured the following way:

The meeting starts at 730pm. If there is a beginner present, they do a beginner's meeting opening, and they do a beginner's meeting for 45 minutes (until 815pm). Then at 815pm, they do the opening for the topic meeting, and then go into topic. If there are a lot of people, the person who does the topic, has the option of breaking up into two groups, perhaps three, so that more people can share in the time remaining, or staying together as one group, where obviously less people will get to share. The decision is given to the person who did the topic that night. Now, if there is no beginner present, they go right into the opening for the topic meeting, and they go right into topic.

About 3 years ago, one gentlemen brought forth a motion for a group conscience. He wanted to: a) shorten the beginner's meeting, substantially, (so that) b) more time would be allocated toward the topic meeting, and, c) (have the group) stay together for topic as one large group (and no longer give the topic person the option of breaking up into groups). When asked why "c" was included in this motion/group conscience, the gentlemen point-blank said "Because I like to hear everyone share, I benefit more when I hear everyone share, and when we break up into groups, I only get to hear the people who are in my group share, and I don't get to hear the people in the other group share." OK, so be it. So the motion passed and it went to a group conscience, and vote. During the 3 weeks the group conscience was discussed/announced, three or four people, who had not been attending the meeting regularly, found out about the group conscience/vote. They decided to show up for the vote. One came the week before and the week of the vote. Two or three others just came for the vote. All three or four don't attend regularly, but show up once every couple of months, show up for the anniversary meeting, they attend other meetings, etc.

End result -- the vote went 19-1 against the motion/changes proposed. The gentleman was not happy. He felt the vote "was stacked against him" and that it was unfair. Apparently, he harbored feelings about this, and did not let it go. He is now bringing forth a motion for a group conscience on establishing who gets to vote in a group conscience. He expressed -- 3 years after the fact -- that the vote was not fair and was manipulated. He said that he feels only certain people should be eligible to vote in a group conscience. He said, for example, only people who have been in program for a certain period of time should vote, only people who regularly attend the meeting, and for example, that a newcomer/beginner should not be able to vote, or someone who hasn't attended the meeting in a certain amount of time should not be able to vote. One person explained the previous vote and numbers to him -- that the vote would have been 15 or 16 to 1 anyway -- and that the vote was in fact fair. He disagreed vehemently and said he wants a group conscience on establishing rules that state who is eligible and who is not eligible to vote in a group conscience. 

With all that said -- my question is -- in light of the al-anon service manual, and of course the traditions...what are your personal thoughts on only having certain people be eligible to vote in a group conscience? Thank you very much.



__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2273
Date:

aww One time I had a chat with Betty- about these group conscience meetings in the USA.

    She said that mostly no-body went into the 12 Concepts.

So Bo- the gentleman has the right to raise these issues. Period. End of story.

If I had to travel attend a meeting I would be pleased that is was for 90 mins. I have learned, from your sharing here, that you have a strong focus the newcomer. And that shines through... ...in the way your home meeting is run. aww ...

Over long years I have seen some meetings run by bossy-boots who tended to run the show.

I could have been a bossy boots too! I think the daily readings in the readers gave me the most guidance. More so than the manuals...

               ...re-reading them here- and hearing the sharing- has bought a lot of learning back to me.

I do reckon that we get to live one day at a time a lot more as we get into Alanon.

Being flexible, within the guidelines, I think, makes for a healthy group conscience... smile ...

inspiring share, my friend. aww ...



__________________

A Universe that Creates Flowers : Has to be Trustworthy.

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

David, I absolutely agree he has the right to raise these issues. Without question.

My question is -- how do you feel about only certain people being allowed to vote in a group conscience? How do you feel about only certain people being eligible to vote? Thanks.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2273
Date:

 

 Disagree- about only certain people being able to vote, Bo.

All members of the group should know about the meeting.



__________________

A Universe that Creates Flowers : Has to be Trustworthy.



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2709
Date:

Bo,

For me, this is not a deep dive. We are a fellowship of equals where each member in attendance has a right to vote - yes, no, abstain. With a selection of only certain members having voting rights, we would be a fellowship of personalities above principles. This would be dominance rather than all members having a voice. 

At meetings here, motions pass but without permanance. They come with a timeline. The change or addition to the meeting will maybe last 3 months, 6 months etc. A separate vote is taken to decide the length of time the change will last.  In other words, the fellowship wants to give a new change or addition to the meeting a fair chance.

Also, groups also don't want to see the same motion such as changing how we close a meeting coming up month after month by the same individual or two until enough people who are in agreement with them show up to vote and reverse the vote that has just been passed. The same topic can be revisited after the timeline expires and can be voted upon again. There is always open discussion before a vote is taken. 

This is one of my favorite things about Alanon. I can learn new ways of doing things, acceptance of others ideas, feel a sense of belonging because I my vote counted, have my voice heard, tolerance, unselfishness, maturity - lots of good stuff! :) Thanks for the question. Hope your group continues to keep with Alanon principles. 

TT



__________________

Surround yourself with people and elements that support your destiny, not just your history.

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

DavidG wrote:

 

 Disagree- about only certain people being able to vote, Bo.

All members of the group should know about the meeting.


 

Thank you David.



__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

Thanks TT...I greatly appreciate your insight and thoughts.

While a moot point, I absolutely agree with you. I also like the timeline aspect you explained. Excellent idea, which can provide a great deal of benefit for the group as a whole. Thanks!

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

By the way -- while the Al-Anon World Services Service Manual references something about one of the things that can be discussed at a group conscience is "who can vote" at a group conscience...I, like both of you feel this is simple...

In the context of Al-Anon -- conference approved, official Al-Anon -- I too feel that this is a relatively simple conversation and interpretation. The traditions, and everything else speaks to Al-Anon being a "fellowship of equals" as tt put it. It speaks to principles above personalities, it speaks to the group as a whole, what benefits the group as a whole, unity, and so much more. I think not allowing certain people to vote, for whatever reason, violates the spirit of what Al-Anon's traditions and material speaks to. I feel Al-Anon is supposed to be a safe, welcoming place, where no one person's anything is more important than the group's anything.

I was very, very surprised to see the reference to "who can vote" at a group conscience. While it's not a definitive reference, it is definitively referenced, and it was somewhat disturbing to me.

However, regardless...I agree unconditionally with both of you.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

Just so everyone has the exact reference I am speaking to...please see below...

Group Conscience: What Is It?

Tradition Two tells us that for our group purpose there is but one authoritya loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servantsthey do not govern. But what is a group conscience? How can it be achieved?

The booklet AlAnon and Alateen Groups at Work (P-24) explains on page 51 that the group conscience is the will of the group and is based on members use of the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts of Service as guides, maintaining principles above personalities, and sharing information as equals. A group conscience determines in advance who votes and if decisions will be reached by a simple majority, two-thirds of the votes, or three-quarters of the votes. An informed group conscience is obtained when everybody has access to all the information before discussion. If someone disagrees with the decision, Concept Five reminds us that members have the right of appeal and can express their opinion, which members will consider before deciding whether to revote or proceed. Everybody supports the final decision.


That said...as I said, even the reference to "who votes" very much surprised me, and initially was somewhat disturbing to me.



-- Edited by Bo on Monday 13th of July 2020 07:36:15 AM

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2709
Date:

I can see how this could easily be left to interpretation.

The Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual 2018-2021 page 51 Voting at the meeting - Many groups request that only members who regularly attend the meeting vote at the group business meeting.


The statement is ambiguous. What I do know is that at times we have visiting professionals or students whose purpose in attending is simply to expand their knowledge. Such people wouldn't cast a vote.  TT

 

 

 

 



__________________

Surround yourself with people and elements that support your destiny, not just your history.



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1082
Date:

For me personally, I wouldn't put a limit on who can vote, except for professional/student visitors. But then again, the only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend, and maybe that visitor has an alcoholic relative. I have heard wise words from newcomers in a meeting as well as from long-timers. Sure, it's possible that a newcomer would not have as much invested in a group's way of doing things as a long-timer, but then again a long-timer might be missing a perspective that a newcomer could bring. Oftentimes the Service Manual doesn't tell us exactly what we should do -- as each group is autonomous in matters that only affect that group.

Now for me, I think I would abstain on a vote in a meeting that I hadn't attended long, even if I thought the motion was a bad idea. One time I did vote at a meeting that I only attend once or twice a year -- but on reflection, I wish I had abstained. It felt disrespectful to the people who had attended every week for years and had been discussing the topic of the vote for several weeks.

In some group conscience meetings, I've seen the practice where a change is voted on in three consecutive meetings, and the votes are all added up to determine the outcome. So if I attended all three meetings and voted Yes each time, then that would be counted as three Yes votes in the grand total. This could be a way of giving consistent members' votes more weight, and allowing a vote by someone who happened to be absent one time, but not excluding anyone from voting. It would also allow me to change my mind, if I reflected on the topic in between meetings and wanted to vote differently.

__________________
Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

Freetime, thank you very much for your insight. I agree with you -- I would not put a limit on who can vote. Yes, a professional, or student, or visitor might be an exception, but in this case, this is a closed meeting, so no professionals, students, or visitors are allowed. If one did, and they were "welcomed" and allowed to stay, I would suspect they could not vote. While the material may say it can be discussed, I personally feel it violates the traditions and the principles of what Al-Anon is about.

In addition -- and very important -- the Service Manual very often doesn't tell us exactly what we should do, and yes, each group is autonomous, which I always viewed as the group having the ability and the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs in matters and issues that only affected that group.

As far as your insight on what you have seen in some meetings, and the practice where a change is voted on in three consecutive meetings, and the votes are all added up to determine the outcome -- that's an interesting idea -- and thank you very much for that.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2273
Date:

 

 A few weeks, before our local group folded, I asked if we could read from Hope For Today- just once in a while-

I was told I couldn't because it wasn't conference approved. I didn't want to kick up a scene- with new members and asked if we could have conscience meeting to discuss this point.

Then I was told that if we held a conscience meeting, all the women would vote against me.

At that point- I had been in Alanon for over 30 years and had never been a group rep. I was group rep at this time- and had done 15 or 18 months. That one person told me that I had to stand down and hand the role over to a women.

So I really had no-one to turn to-in the group no support.

This one person used the Akronym- NUTS. Not conference approved, really. Not Using The Steps.

 



__________________

A Universe that Creates Flowers : Has to be Trustworthy.

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

David, I hear you. I am sorry you were in that position.

Side note -- "Hope For Today" is a conference approved book. It is of course still sold by Al-Anon World Services. The daily sharing's in Hope For Today are from Al-Anon's adult children members.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

I've been spending time reviewing the Traditions. I've heard people say numerous times -- the steps are for the individual and the traditions are for the group.

My own personal viewpoint, perspective, has always been -- the beginner is the most important person in the room. After that, the group, what is best, healthiest, for the group. The benefit is for the group, the masses, not the needs and wants of the one.

While this person's motivations may be very transparent and very self-serving, it is not my job to be the "opponent" in any way, shape, or form. I have faith that the group will see what they will see, and will vote the way they will vote. I also have faith that all of them, except for one, will vote with what they feel is best for the group as a whole.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 10703
Date:

We allow any/all regular members (not visitors, service professionals, students) vote on any/all matters. 'Regular' is different for all - some people come each day, some come once a week, some come once a month. We don't define or put boundaries at all on what regular is. If recovery has taught me anything, it is certainly that every person defines various things based on their own experience.

David - based on what you share above, it makes sense the meeting folded. I've seen that here - when a few people, and they are usually women, but not always - try to manage/control others, people do not like that and find other meetings. How 12 Step groups survive is the continuity of change, intended to improve the experience for all members, by the members.

I've said it before that I seek service positions that do not require me to attend business or district meetings. In 32 years, I've attended enough, done enough and heard enough. It is in the business meetings and district meetings where I've been witness (not always, but more often) to those who prefer personalities over principles. I did not like politics when I was working and certainly go out of my way to avoid in retirement. That's the beauty of recovery - there are tons of positions and roles that don't require attendance and they're better suited for me.

As such, I am more than willing to accept unconditionally changes made by the group conscience. If they don't work for me, I'll venture out and find a different meeting. I am loyal to me today, no home group, no preferred group, etc.

__________________

Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1015
Date:

 

 

Principles above personalities was how I got in and stayed in the fellowship of the program after having much trouble for a long time in the groups.  I came to understand that guidelines meant "rules", "laws" with powerful benefits for the entire program.  Like it or not it was how we remained together and after a bit found the strength of the group.  I majoritize in Alanon where it comes to how we are kept together.  I  don't always like it and I don't always have to.  "Kill your Ego" is one of my best slogans.  EGO...Easing God Out...UhUh!! (((hugs)))smile 



__________________
Jerry F


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2273
Date:

 

  Hmmm looking at the bigger picture- Alanon WSO, As far as I know covers the USA, Canada and Puerto Rico. So all other countries are run by their own GSO's.

So, for me, it does come down to tradition 4. I think everyone really wants Alanon to grow and to thrive.

It is a miracle, really- considering the condition we arrive in- at the door to the rooms... smile ...  



__________________

A Universe that Creates Flowers : Has to be Trustworthy.

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

Tradition 4...

"Each group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole."

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

The person who brought forth the motion for the group conscience -- on establishing rules that state who is eligible and who is not eligible to vote in a group conscience -- is now soliciting votes. Of course he did not send me an email or text, but another long-time alanon member said he got a text from the person -- a group text which was sent to 12 people, and not 10 others -- asking him to support his motion and vote with him.

I didn't reply. But I probably will -- with something along the lines of -- vote the way you want and what you feel is best for the group.

I feel when it becomes self-serving, selfish, or about the "one" -- not only is that not principles above personalities -- but I also believe the group can suffer.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 2273
Date:

 

  smile OMG! If he has that level of support why doesn't he go and start another meeting?

       Where he can do as he blimmin-well likes... biggrin ...

 

[My Notes}

when a group reaches a certain size- holding a second or third meeting a week-

will give members more time to share, and a spare meeting if they miss one.



__________________

A Universe that Creates Flowers : Has to be Trustworthy.

Bo


~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1788
Date:

DavidG wrote:

 

  smile OMG! If he has that level of support why doesn't he go and start another meeting?

       Where he can do as he blimmin-well likes... biggrin ...

[My Notes}

when a group reaches a certain size- holding a second or third meeting a week-

will give members more time to share, and a spare meeting if they miss one.


 

Oh David...he does NOT have that level of support. He contacted the 12 people seeking support. I would be surprised if more than 2 support him and vote his way. As I said, the last time the vote went 19-1. After that he made a motion which never even got seconded. I feel bad for him and his situation. Unfortunately, he simply wants the meeting format and structure to be what he wants it to be. It's very much what he wants, what he likes, and what works for him.

The problem is people are getting fed up with it, and when people get fed up, sometimes they are not vocal in their opposition. Sometimes they just walk away. They don't need or want the aggravation or frustration. This is not why they came to the meeting. So, sometimes they just walk away. This is the only men's meeting in the county.

Me, I am letting this go. I don't want to be a part of the dynamic and be the target for his anger and accusations. I will rely on the group to do what is best for the group.

Thanks David!



__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

Status: Offline
Posts: 1082
Date:

Reminds me of a line in "Three Obstacles to Success in Al-Anon", Service Manual page 22 -- "Dominance ... Any attempt to manage or direct is likely to have disastrous consequences for group harmony." I hope your meeting makes it through this rough patch and that this one person's behavior is not a turn-off for other members.

__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.