It’s Election Time—Are You Standing for Delegate?
When I was the World Service Office (WSO) Meeting Planner, the World Service Conference (WSC) seemed so mysterious to me! As part of my position, I helped with WSC registration, meals, room set-ups, etc., but I had no idea what was happening in that room—the General Session, where the WSC discussions and decisions took place.
As the Meeting Planner, the more I learned about the WSC, the more I worked toward a professional goal of becoming the Associate Director—Conference. And in 2007, I attended my first Conference and began discovering more about “the voice of world Al Anon and the guarantee that our world services shall continue to carry on under all conditions” (2022-2025 Al Anon/Alateen Service Manual [P-24/27] v2, p. 164).
Throughout the years in various positions at the WSO, as well as in my personal Al Anon membership, I have discovered the following about the WSC and its members:
• The WSC is Al Anon’s annual business meeting, which accomplishes an incredible amount of work in just four days.
• Those who serve as WSC members benefit from reading the “World Service Handbook.”
• The “Digest of Al-Anon and Alateen Policies” and the “Twelve Concepts of Service” sections of the Service Manual are also important to understanding the big picture of Al Anon Family Groups, Inc. (AFG).
• There are differences between Al Anon, the fellowship, and AFG, Inc., the organization.
• Some Delegates submit Chosen Agenda Item topics that affect worldwide Al Anon themselves, based on their knowledge of Area concerns, while others invite their members to suggest Chosen Agenda Item topics for them to submit.
• Trustees, members of the Executive Committee, and voting members of the WSO Staff are also eligible to submit Chosen Agenda Items.
• Conference days are long, and there is a lot of information to read prior to Conference.
• Conference members—Delegates, Trustees, Executive Committee members, and WSO Staff—step down from other service positions.
• Throughout the Conference, we do have some fun!
For those who are thinking about standing for Delegate, I hope this article has provided useful information to consider. It’s election time—are you standing for Delegate?
By Suzanne M., WSO Associate Director—Conference
You’re about to leave for your summer vacation, and you have a mix of emotions. There’s excitement for the time away but also worry about the possibility of drinking “hour” lasting all day long. One way to ease this anxiety is to make a plan before you travel. Look up meetings ahead of time and block off those hours on your calendar so that you can attend. Search by zip code at al-anon.org/meetings-near-me to find meetings close to your hotel, or plan to take in a meeting beachside (or wherever you are) using the Al-Anon Family Groups Mobile App.
Who’s Ready for Some Outreach?
Need an idea for a public outreach project? Got a great idea you’d like to share?
We are pleased to announce the launch of the Public Outreach (PO) Toolkit on al-anon.org. The best projects from the Best of Public Outreach are now available online through the PO Toolkit. It doesn’t matter how big or how small; this is a great way to share our experience, strength, and hope about carrying the AlAnon message. Go to al-anon.org/toolkit to explore the PO Toolkit.
New: Stories from Inside Al-Anon Family Groups
Statement of Purpose
“Inside Al-Anon Family Groups” presents news, policy, and commentary from Volunteers, Staff and readers sharing experience through service. Please feel free to reprint these articles on your service structure website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.
Frequently Asked Questions about Contributing to Al-Anon Family Groups
Is my contribution tax deductible?
Yes, individual contributions made directly to the World Service Office are tax deductible. Al Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. See al-anon.org/financial-info for related information.
Will I receive acknowledgment of my contribution?
You will receive acknowledgment and a receipt for your contribution in the mail unless you contribute via PayPal or the Al Anon Family Groups Mobile App, in which case an email confirmation will be sent upon submission. This email will serve as your receipt for tax purposes.
Can I contribute in someone’s honor or memory?
Al Anon and Alateen members may contribute to Al Anon in memory of anyone who is deceased. Contributions in memory of deceased Al Anon members from “family” who are not Al Anon members will also be accepted. These one-time memorial gifts of gratitude from non-members are limited to a maximum of $500.
What will my contribution support?
Al Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. is supported by members’ financial and service contributions together with the sale of our literature. Contributions support creating new literature to share our message of hope, helping members locate meetings, and conducting public outreach. See the World Service Office Annual Report at al-anon.org/annual-report for a detailed account of the activities your “gratitude in action” allows us to carry out each year.
How can I make a contribution?
There are several ways to give. Members can visit al-anon.org/donate-wso and contribute via PayPal or by credit card. You may also use the “Contributions” tab on the AFG Mobile App to contribute electronically via Apple Pay or Google Pay, or mail your contribution to Al Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. at 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA 23454.
We remain ever mindful of the many ways your generous support allows us to carry Al Anon’s message of hope.
“With sufficient membership contributions, Al Anon will always be there for families and friends of alcoholics.” Paths to Recovery (B-24), p. 193
Living Out the Al Anon Declaration
In my early days in Al Anon, I gained a deeper awareness of the impact of alcoholism on my life and relationships. Through Al Anon meetings, literature, and the shared experiences of fellow members, I recognized the effects of alcoholism and the behaviors associated with it.
However, awareness alone was not enough to facilitate my growth and healing. Acceptance became a transformative force in my recovery. Initially, acceptance was a challenging concept for me. I struggled to acknowledge my part in the challenges I faced, often avoiding or denying my responsibility. But as I worked the program, attended meetings, and developed a relationship with my Sponsor, I began to embrace acceptance as an essential part of my recovery journey.
Acceptance allowed me to release the need to control or fix the alcoholic in my life. Instead, it directed my focus towards my own behaviors and attitudes. I realized that change begins with me. The slogan “Let It Begin with Me” became my guiding principle. Setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and detaching from the alcoholic’s actions, I became a positive force for change in my own life and in the lives of those around me.
As I continued working the Al Anon program and progressing through the Steps, I experienced a spiritual awakening, as referred to in Step Twelve. This profound awakening deepened my connection to a Power greater than myself and gave me a renewed sense of purpose and meaning in my life. It opened my eyes to the transformative possibilities of recovery—not just for me, but for others as well—and provided me with the tools and guidance to carry the message of hope to others.
Throughout this journey of growth and spiritual awakening, I’ve learned the importance of working my program. Attending meetings, working the Steps, being of service, and living by Al Anon principles has strengthened my understanding of the program and my spiritual connection. Participation and service have enabled me to translate awareness and acceptance into real, positive action that has changed my life.
As a Staff member at the World Service Office, I want to assure you that you are not alone in your journey. Al Anon offers a wealth of resources and tools to support your growth and healing, many of them accessible on the Al-Anon website at al-anon.org. By embracing the power of awareness, acceptance, and action in the Al Anon program, I believe that you, too, can find the strength, hope, and ability to make positive changes in your life.
By working on ourselves and embracing the principle of “Let It Begin with Me,” we can create positive change in our own lives and in the lives of others affected by alcoholism. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to embark on your own journey of recovery in Al Anon. Take advantage of the resources available to deepen your awareness of the impacts of alcoholism, and embrace acceptance as a path to personal growth. Take action by living the Legacies (Al Anon’s Steps, Traditions, and Concepts of Service) to make progress toward your recovery goals. Together, as fellow Al Anon members, let us support one another as we navigate this path of recovery. And “Let It Begin with Me.”
By Bob H., Webmaster
Al-Anon copyright: what is infringement about?
Furthermore, the responsibility to protect our copyrights extends beyond the United States. In my position as International & Legal Specialist, I protect Al Anon by working with service structures in countries outside the World Service Conference to register Al Anon’s copyrights and trademarks in each country.
Likewise, in collaboration with the International Coordination Committee, permissions are granted to structures for the translation of CAL into the language of each country, thereby protecting the Al Anon copyright. Without this country-by-country process, our Al Anon name, copyrights, and trademarks would be at risk.
The descriptive text of Warranty Four in the 2022–2025 Al Anon/Alateen Service Manual (P-24/27) v2 states, “It has been said, ‘Al Anon is prepared to give away its knowledge and experience—all except the Al Anon name itself’” (p. 223). Protecting the Al Anon name reflects a vital aspect of self-support.
By Anne P., International & Legal Specialist
Serving as an At-Large Committee Member
When I was invited to share my experience as a member of the Forum Editorial Advisory Committee (FEAC), I was scared, but I jumped on the opportunity to further my recovery by reflecting upon and sharing my experience, strength, and hope in service as an At-Large member on an Al Anon/Alateen World Service Office Committee.
I came to Al Anon alone, broken, lost, and hopeless, at the suggestion of my therapist. Soon, I got a Sponsor, as my therapist also suggested I do. My Sponsor showed me so much love and patience that I could not help but respond and open up to her. I was not used to this. I was used to chaos.
Before long, I learned to open up at meetings. As I became comfortable, I took on the coffee maker position. From there, I went on to serve as Secretary, Literature Chairperson, and more. I loved my meeting and grew in confidence and self-esteem. Here, I was in a place where I felt loved and nurtured.
Unfortunately, my husband and I moved to another town to retire, and I lost the meeting that I had grown so fond of. Once settled, I found a new meeting to attend. Here, again, I felt the love and nurturing that Al Anon meetings bring. Yet something was missing. I knew the solution: service. Service would help me connect and grow again. I did not know what kind of service; I only knew that service was necessary for my recovery.
As luck would have it, an announcement was made at the new meeting that volunteers were needed to serve on the FEAC. This was a godsend! Literature and reading and writing were right up my alley. I applied but did not think I would get the position. I told myself that I was not good enough. They would never choose me to be on the Committee. But lo and behold! They chose me! Panic set in. Would I measure up? I felt cautiously optimistic. So, with fear and brawn, I set out to be my best at my new service position. I am forever grateful that I accepted the challenge.
As a member of the FEAC, I, along with four colleagues, read sharings that are submitted to The Forum. Each month, we are sent 50 anonymous sharings to review and comment on. We do not look for grammatical errors or anything like that; rather, we check to see if the sharing reflects the Al Anon program. Quarterly, we meet with the Forum editor to discuss recent issues and address any questions we may have.
I love the camaraderie and singleness of purpose we enjoy at these meetings. And I love how this service has given me a connection to the worldwide fellowship. I have learned that I do not have to be perfect to serve on the Committee. I am okay as I am. My willingness and love for the fellowship is all that is needed.
By Marianne M., At-Large member, FEAC
So Much Support for Service!
When I was first asked to consider becoming a Group Representative, I had no idea what was involved. It was the love of other members that gently guided me to further understanding, directed me towards the abundance of service tools available, and gave me the opportunity to grow in recovery together with them. I learned that there are many, many resources to support participation in service both in and beyond the group.
I was grateful for the abundance of service tools provided by the World Service Office (WSO). The Links of Service (S-28) can be downloaded for free and explains how one of our most valuable resources is our members themselves. The pamphlet Service Sponsorship: Working Smarter, Not Harder (P-88) showed me how to receive extra support in my service role by connecting with someone who had “been there and done that.” I came to understand that my recovery would blossom in service, not because I would do everything perfectly, but because I was not alone. Others with service experience were there to talk things through and reason things out with me.
As I moved beyond service in my group to become a District Representative (DR), I found it essential to use the Al Anon/Alateen Service Manual (P-24/27), sometimes referred to as the “secret book of knowledge.” It gives guidance not only about group situations, but also regarding Al-Anon policy, resolving conflict, and applying the Traditions and Concepts of Service beyond the groups at the District, Area, and World Service levels. In addition to the Service Manual, I found the pamphlets The Twelve Steps and Traditions (P-17) and The Concepts—Al Anon’s Best Kept Secret? (P-57), as well as Talk To Each Other—Resolving Conflicts within Al Anon (S-73), to be useful guides for participating in service.
Additionally, the Al Anon website, al anon.org, is a rich and ever-evolving source of service tools. A searchable, digital version of the Service Manual can be found there under the “Member Resources” tab, as can a whole library of Al Anon Guidelines, which represent the collective service experience of countless members. The Guidelines address everything from Al Anon Information Services and Literature Distribution Centers to Newsletter Editors, Area Forum Coordinators, and Public Outreach. The website also features a dedicated Public Outreach page at al anon.org/PO with various tools, suggestions, and downloadable posters that can be customized with local meeting information.
Of course, our Al Anon Conference Approved Literature (CAL) is perhaps one of our best-known resources, and, as a DR, there were many times I needed to see the full list. The CAL Catalog (S-15) can be accessed directly at al anon.org/S15 or go to al-anon.org/shop to browse the Online Bookstore. The CAL Catalog includes a complete list of service tools.
Whether in service or not, all members can subscribe to Al Anon’s email newsletter In The Loop, where announcements are made about new CAL, changes to policy, and other useful information such as the Chairperson of the Board Letter, which keeps members who are involved in service updated about worldwide Al Anon on a quarterly basis. Sharing information from In The Loop with your group, District, or Area is a valuable service in itself.
Finally, AFG Connects is our password-protected online community for members in service beyond the group level; it linked me to members outside my Area and allowed me to share and receive experience, strength, and hope. This most valuable resource from fellow members not only enhanced my service roles when I was a DR and Coordinator, but also enriches my current work-related responsibilities. WSO Staff members post news and information on the site, while members in service participate in discussions related to their service roles and have access to archived materials. AFG Connects truly demonstrates recovery in service. Sadly, it is often a forgotten service tool. If you are serving beyond the group level and need further information or support on how to access and use AFG Connects, please reach out to us at the WSO.
By Tracey S., Group Services Specialist
Are You Ready to Welcome Newcomers this Holiday Season?
The holidays are approaching quickly. For newcomers seeking help at this time of year, please make sure that your group meeting information is correct.
Ask yourself and your group, “What did I need when I went to my first meeting?” Specific location or login instructions about your meeting can be helpful to a newcomer attending Al Anon/Alateen for the first time. We want everyone to feel welcome in our Al Anon and Alateen meetings!
• Has the group’s temporary electronic meeting information been removed from your group record if you’re back to meeting in person? Is it current, if not? Go to al-anon.org/temp-elc-mtg-change-form to update.
• Is there a special door to gain access to the building or a room number for the Al Anon/Alateen meeting?
• Are there passwords or login instructions needed to join the Al Anon/Alateen meeting electronically?
• Is there a sign on the door or chat notice to alert people if your group won’t be meeting that week? (For example, “Not meeting on Thanksgiving.”)
• Is there a volunteer from the group to be a “Greeter” for those attending your Al Anon meeting for the first time?
Submit your Al Anon group changes at al-anon.org/update anytime throughout the year. For help with submitting Alateen changes, contact your Area Alateen Process Person.
In the loop: everybody can subscribe!
To sign up and receive our ‘In the Loop’ emails, us the link below. In the Loop is a regular email newsletter with WSO news and contains worthwhile reading materials and news.
The following links are to our World Service Office Website, which may provide more information, particularly for Professionals.