The main purpose of each 12-level group is to get their message out and give comfort to others who are still suffering. This is set out in Tradition 5.
- Alcoholics Anonymous Tradition 5: “Each group has only one main purpose: to get their message across to the alcoholic who is still suffering. “
- Al-Anon Tradition 5: Each Al-Anon family group has only one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and welcoming and comforting families of alcoholics.
The purpose of 12 step groups
Individual members bring their own needs to the 12-step rooms and each progresses at their own pace on the path to recovery. Everyone is different. Each member has a personal reason to come back week after week.
But when group Their only purpose is to reach out to others who are still suffering. Their goal is to share with others the experience, strength and hope they found in the rooms.
A classic car was once asked why it kept coming back after all these years. His answer was simple. “Because someone was there for me when I came through those doors.”
Love and service
AA groups are made up of a multitude of people who in many cases are unlikely to mingle if it weren’t for the shared bond of alcoholism. They know that to stay sober, they have to help the next drunk through the door.
Maryann notes, “Nothing else is more important to your sobriety – not your religion, your politics or what you do for a living. The group’s focus cannot deviate from its main purpose of the group and becomes individuals and their agendas, then it is no longer for the newcomer or the members there. ”
Some classic cars say they no longer need the meetings. But even if they don’t need the meetings, the group still needs them. One trustee notes, “If you want a classic car in your meeting, keep filling your own chair and one day there will be a classic car at your meeting.”
One way for personal growth
Lin, a member of Al-Anon, notes these important elements of Tradition 5. The first part of the tradition calls on members to “help families of alcoholics”. That doesn’t mean giving them money. It means being kind to them, listening to what they say, encouraging them when they are frustrated, and showing them that you really care. Listening is very important. When you hear what another member says, you find that others have felt the same way and gone through many of the same situations as you. It can help you not feel alone.
When others listen to you, you know they understand what you are going through and where you have been. She notes that some people are very fragile and the smallest thing can break their composure. Sometimes just telling them, “It’s okay” or “I understand” is enough to regain their composure. Share your strength with them.
The fourth section of this tradition calls on you to encourage and understand your alcoholic relative. This can be easy to do when that person is in recovery, but more difficult to do during a relapse. However, you can understand that alcoholism is a disease. Just as you would show compassion for a relative with cancer or diabetes, you can learn to show the same compassion for an alcoholic. You can still love the person and hate the disease. If they say hurtful things, learn not to take them personally. Think, “It is the disease, not him, that says it.”
The final part of the Fifth Tradition is “Welcoming and Comforting Families of Alcoholics”. Greeting newcomers to meetings is part of this tradition. The chairman of the meeting can greet the newcomers, but other members should do the same. You may remember the despair and hopelessness that led you through the doors – only to find unconditional love, support, peace and hope within yourself.
When you give comfort to families, you will feel better about yourself. You can provide comfort to others by participating in meetings, including ways in which to deal with various situations. Let someone know you understand. Sponsoring a newbie also helps you welcome and comfort someone. Focusing on someone else instead of feeling sorry for yourself can help you become healthier.
The fifth tradition is simple, but it covers many aspects of your Al-Anon growth. It’s about love, understanding, comfort and work. It can be easily applied to achieve harmony in other areas of your life.