Recently I have been asked some very interesting questions by a member who wanted to understand the election procedures. And at the last Assembly an interesting question was raised.

The question asked at Assembly was “Why do we see the same faces in service at the Area level (Officers /Coordinators) year after year if we believe in rotation of Service?”

The other question was “Do you read A– 2 to mean only the current DR’s or any DR who has served an entire three-year panel as in A-1 can stand for an Officer’s position?” This question referred to the Election Procedures A1 and A2. which is below.

ELECTION PROCEDURES

A. ELIGIBILITY TO STAND for Area Trusted Servants

    1. Delegate and Alternate Delegate: Anyone who has, or will have, served a consecutive three-year term as DR by the start of the new term, has remained active at the TN Area level, and regularly attends Al-Anon meetings.

    2. Election of Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer: From the DRs. In addition to the DRs, the outgoing Delegate may be included on the slate for Chairperson.

A close study of these procedures really answers both questions. In A-1, any of the current DRs, or any past DR who is currently active at the area level (such as a coordinator or the Al-Anon Information Service (AIS) Liaison) would be eligible to stand for Delegate and Alternate Delegate, providing they served their whole three-year panel and are active Al-Anon members.

In A-2 what is not readily apparent at first glance, is that the election of the Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer would not be chosen from among the currently serving officers unless one of them is also a DR. Exception being if the Delegate stands for Chairperson. (With our current slate of officers, none of them are also currently DRs, so none of them would be considered for another officer’s position.)

This answers the question about rotation of service. We try to solicit our officers from current DRs because they would have kept abreast of the last few years of Area business and would know how Area business is done. Not solicited are the current officers who would just be trading places to serve in a different Officer’s position.

Should there be no one who meets those qualifications who is willing to stand, the GRs have the option to motion to accept the qualifications of one who is willing to stand. For example, in the past the GRs voted to accept a past DR into the position of Chairperson even though she was not currently serving as a DR.

WHY SERVE?

I can only relate my Experience, Strength and Hope (ESH).

When I came into Al-Anon, I was at my lowest. None of my plans had worked to cure the alcoholic in my life. I felt I was a failure. My self-esteem was non-existent. I sat for at least six months in the rooms with a closed mind I hated being there and I silently criticized everyone there. I was ready to set any of “those people”  straight if I ever did open my mouth. Although my plans had not worked, they were good plans and maybe they would help some of those crazy Al-Anon members to get their loved one to quit drinking. I wanted to help. I think wanting to help was one of my biggest “qualifiers” to bring me into these rooms. My HP kept me coming back and I finally began to listen. I learned that wanting to help, in itself, wasn’t bad, but what I didn’t know was that each time I tried to butt into the alcoholic’s life, I was hurting him.

Still, I had a compulsive and desperate need to help. I learned that if I came to the meeting early, I could set out the literature, and help get the meeting started. I felt needed and I learned that helping, in a healthy way, meant serving others. Doing for them what they could do for themselves was not healthy, nor was it helpful. I chose to get busy in Al-Anon, and that curbed my need do for the alcoholic, what he could do for himself. The first thing I did was I started sharing in meetings instead of sitting there like a stone. I put my name on the contact list for newcomers to call if they needed someone to talk to. I stayed after meetings to talk with other members. I didn’t know at the time that those things were service, but I did notice that the more I got involved, the more my attitude improved. I started to love the Al-Anon members. I volunteered to pick up literature for the group. I became the group treasurer.  These things kept me actively involved with the group. I began to make friends in Al-Anon, I was more pleasant at home. It was no longer a situation of “me” and “them” in the meetings, it was “we” and “us.”

That was the beginning of my service. I learned healthy ways to help others through service in Al-Anon. Over time, I have served in many positions, and in each one, the God of my understanding provided me with just the right tailor-made situation that I needed to grow in my journey of recovery. Being GR taught me that I didn’t own the group, nor it was not my responsibility to solve group problems. It taught me to seek our Higher Power’s will through group conscience voting. Being DR taught me to think before speaking and to listen closely to other viewpoints. All these lessons were intensified when I got to the WSC as your Area Delegate. There I saw what it can be like when everyone is working together for the success of the group. I saw how to state a minority opinion with a strong and sure voice and not to worry about the outcome because it was not about me, it was about the worldwide fellowship of Al-Anon. I could feel our Higher Power working with each of us for the good of the program and the success of Al-Anon. It was a spiritual experience that I will forever be grateful for. Had I not raised my hand when they asked for a literature person, or a GR, way back then, I would not have had the opportunity to grow or witness the spirituality and love that is offered in this program through service to others in my Al-Anon Family.

I would like to encourage each Al-Anon member who reads this to find a way to serve in Al-Anon for the good of your own recovery. If your Group needs a literature person or a GR, or your district needs a coordinator or a DR, raise your hand! Why limit your opportunities for growth and recovery? There are Area Coordinator positions that will be open to all Al-Anon members, such as Website/Group Records coordinator, Literature Coordinator/ Public Outreach Coordinator, AMIASs can stand for Alateen Coordinator, Newsletter Editor, and Archives Coordinator. If you are qualified, we need you!

Service has developed in me a conscious contact with the God of my understanding. It took me from a place of no self-worth to a place of patience, self-love and self-esteem. It can do the same for anyone who is willing.

With love in Service,
Your TN Delegate, Panel 55.