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Posted Jan 22 2009 6:52pm

Does anyone like the group conscience? I know I don't, even when I have put something on the agenda. I don't like conflict. I don't like people disagreeing with me. I don't like how I feel when I want to defend myself but need to keep my mouth shut because I've already shared enough. So I'd really rather just change things on my own or with the help of a few friends.

But that's not how Al-Anon works. I need to bring my item before the other members of my group for discussion and sometimes further discussion before a vote, if it even comes to a vote. This keeps Al-Anon a true democracy, where we have no dominant leaders, just trusted servants who take their turns at service positions.

Anyone in the group can call for a group conscience, even a newcomer. In fact, all members are encouraged to participate because "Participation is the key to harmony." (Concept 4) And as in our meetings, we are able to share without the fear of being ridiculed or silenced. In that way, Al-Anon is a safe place to express my opinions. But I still don't like it, especially when I don't get my way.

Yet I've learned to ask, because that is part of taking care of myself. Just the other day, I asked for something outside of Al-Anon at a place I volunteer. I have no idea if I'll get it, but I certainly wouldn't get it if I hadn't asked. Plus it took courage to ask - courage I learned in Al-Anon meetings and group consciences. It is just one more way I am practicing these principles in all my affairs.

*The Group Conscience is a business meeting where the members make decisions about everything from format to where the money goes.

Labels: asking, courage, group conscience, participation, practicing principles

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