Friday, January 22, 2010

Statement of Purpose

In most of the Al-Anon meetings I attend, a Statement of Purpose is read at the beginning of the meeting along with the steps, traditions and Just for Todays.

I love this because it keeps the important principles of Al-Anon at the forefront. Meeting formats vary considerably, but these things are universal.

A blog I read this morning got me to thinking about this blog. What was my Statement of Purpose, and was I living up to it?

At Al-Anon meetings, the Statement of Purpose is intended to let you know what to expect. It varies slightly from group to group as decided by the group conscience, but usually goes something like this:

"We welcome you to the (group name) Al-Anon meeting and hope you will find here the help and fellowship we have been privileged to enjoy. Our meeting lasts approximately XX minutes.

Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination or institution. We come together for mutual help for one purpose: to help friends and families of alcoholics.

We ask that you avoid the use or mention of any material other than Al-Anon conference approved literature and avoid discussion of other institutions, treatment centers or self-help programs. Such discussion is confusing, especially to the newcomer. We thank you for helping us stick to Al-Anon principles."

I've spent the day mulling my own purpose in starting this blog. The idea began as part of my 12th step work.

I wanted to be of service and carry the message of Al-Anon. The Al-Anon Declaration says "When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, let the hand of Al-Anon and Alateen always be there, and Let it begin with me."

I do other things, of course. I take service positions in my home group, sign up to chair meetings. I hope to volunteer in the Al-Anon program in the state prison. But as a journalist, a blog seemed a way to do be of service that was also in keeping with my skills and background. I talked it over with my sponsor and off I went.

Over the course of the day, I've reflected that I've written things here that I wouldn't have said at a meeting. I was comfortable doing that because this is not a meeting, and it's all been in the spirit of sharing my experience, strength and hope.

But I've presented this blog very specifically as journaling about my recovery in Al-Anon. For that reason, I feel I need to restrict what's in this blog according to the traditions. I've gone back and deleted the posts I felt uncomfortable with from that perspective.

Here's what you can expect from me, my Statement of Purpose:

"I welcome you to this Al-Anon inspired blog. I write for one purpose: to share my experience, strength and hope with anyone who is interested in learning about Al-Anon. I pledge to do so as honestly as I am able.

I plan to avoid the mention of other institutions, self-help programs or treatment centers, and the use or mention of materials other than Al-Anon conference approved literature.

Here are my exceptions: I may use a small excerpt of something other than conference approved literature that I see or read that reminds me of an Al-Anon principle, but only as to how it relates to my program. An example is the Wall Street Journal article that inspired my post on amends.

In my line of sponsorship, we study 'Alcoholics Anonymous,' more commonly referred to as the AA Big Book. Some of the meetings I attend have agreed by group conscience to use AA literature. I will do the same.

I may also discuss the Al-Anon promises. I have heard it said that these promises are not conference-approved, but they appear in an Al-Anon pamphlet and in the book, 'From Survival to Recovery.'

I may refer to, quote or hyperlink other recovery blogs.

I'm not perfect. I don't pretend to have all the answers. This blog reflects my journey of recovery in Al-Anon. I welcome you to follow along and share your reactions, questions and your own experiences. I will do my best to let the understanding, peace and love of the program infuse these writings one day at a time."


  1. Hey Kathy, I think the issue you have raised is a good one to stop and ponder once in a while. Without knowing our purpose, what we stand for for, it is a bit like driving on the motorway aimlessly, without direction or destination.
    And it sounds as if you have found yours. Well done!
    It does sound as if Al-anon can start to take up quite a bit of time, if you let it? Or is it, do you feel, a matter of giving back to those that went before you? Just curious.

  2. Thanks! It's a matter of giving back to the program that gave me so much. The 12th steps says: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other and to practice these principles in all our affairs. There's a saying I've heard in various 12 step programs, not just Al-Anon, that we can only keep what we have when we give it away. I believe that's true.

  3. Nothing wrong with stating your purpose, and some blogs are specific. I find that many who have been blogging for years tend to blog on different topics because you just run out of things to say, or (like me) you want to blog about other things. I do write things I would not say at a meeting, but I'm not trying to be strictly AlAnon. I try to relate my experience with addiction..before, during, and after AlAnon.

  4. Kathy, it is a bit the same when you find God, and become an apostle, sharing the Word and His works... : )
    All good.