Quotes from GR's Past & Present

Someone who recognizes that being trusted with a service role is an honor and a serious responsibility; it's also humbling, elevating, and builds self-esteem.  Learn how the folks below benefited from their service role.

"My term as GR was greatly helped by the fact that I served as alternate GR the term before.   Perfection was still a pretty strong force for me and serving as alternate GR first gave me the experience I needed to feel more comfortable in the role of GR.  Assemblies (especially Fall Assembly) were very hectic and for the first couple of years I would go back to the room at lunch just to take a nap and/or chill out in the quiet.  Overall, the GR experience was a good one and if I didn't believe in rotation of jobs I would stand for GR of my group again."  Lynn C.

"A fellow member asked me if I was attending the Fall Assembly one year.  I thought, wow, an extra dose of recovery! Sign me up!  What I quickly realized was WOW there are a lot of people here!  Members from many areas of Maine and in various capacities of service.  They were talking about changes, events, and other information that I had not heard about in my group meetings.  So, I asked some questions.  Turns out, my group had no group representative nor did our district have a district representative.  That is how the information flows into the groups.  Through its service members.  Next, I became a group rep and our membership coordinator helped us elect a district rep to get the information flowing again.  Now our meeting knows about upcoming anniversaries, conventions, assemblies and workshops.  Finding time for service helped my recovery by surrounding myself with wonderfully insightful souls and giving me a safe place to practice what I was learning in the meetings.  Outside of Al-Anon, it has given me the confidence to take on projects and challenges that I never would have and to succeed at them.  My fear of rejection is reduced and it is so rewarding to feel like you are helping someone else find their serenity just by passing on a little information."  Dawn P.

"My first service position beyond the group level was alternate Group Representative (GR).  I was elected and the next week the GR stepped down due to a family emergency and I became GR.  The following week I was at my first Fall Assembly. I found the whole experience fascinating as I watched people work through issues & topics without drama. The tone was very different from business meetings in my professional life.  I was intrigued, so I continued doing service and discovered that I had much to learn. 
One big lesson I learned is that my listening skills needed improvement.  For instance, I would attend district meetings only if I thought something important or of interest to me was going happen.  Otherwise I would stay home.  Over time I realized that my limited view was keeping me stagnant.  And I was frustrated with my lack of personal growth. 
For me, real growth happens when I move outside my comfort zone.  Through Al-Anon service work, I learned that listening to those I would normally tune out is one of the greatest challenges and one of the most rewarding experiences in the program. 
Now as I sit in service meetings and work through complicated and challenging issues, I listen differently. 
I listen to long-timers tell stories about their experiences.  This helps me understand the background and history on a topic.
I listen to members share their feelings and emotions, this allows me to appreciate the commitment that people have to an issue.
I listen to myself speak.  Is my tone of voice encouraging and reassuring or is it annoyed and frustrated?  Are my comments advancing the conversation forward, or are my personal opinions adding only negativity to the dialogue?
And when I’m feeling especially clear, I listen to my Higher Power.   And the quality of what I share vastly improves.
I still fall short of my ideal Al-Anon self, but slowly a more trusting and willing person is emerging.  The new and improved me is better able to participate and embrace the wonderful learning experience that service work offers." Melissa F.

"The first time I was a GR I was very confused and really did not feel I was capable of being in that position.  I was very fotunate to have past delegates and a wonderful district representative that took us through the service manuals and taught us by example what we needed to learn.  I got a service sponsor by asking one of those past delegates to help me go through the Traditions and Concepts so that I would better understand what they really meant and also to have someone to discuss issues that might be happening in the group that I did not know how to handle.

My first assembly was at the New Meadows Inn in Brunswick in 1983.  I remember Louise C was chairing the meeting and that it was an election assembly.  What i remember the most was the election for Delegate - there were three or four candidates standing for the position and it took four votes to finally elect the delegate.  It was a great learning experience and overall a huge step in my growth in service."

Lucy T.

Fear of Success

“What if I began to dominate the affairs of my group or became distracted from my own 
recovery by our deliberations about business?” 

When I think of how this question relates to me personally, I have to go back to page 1 (When I Got Busy, I Got Better) 
in the booklet where it says “The Twelve Steps helps us to heal as individuals, but they also 
help us to heal our relationships and to work with others.” 

I have held many leadership positions in my work life. I never thought of my style as 
domineering so I didn’t have that fear when I began service.  
After I had served as Treasurer and Literature person for our group for 5 years, I began 
to harbor resentments toward other members of the group for not doing what I thought they 
should do to support the group. As I talked with my sponsor about my feelings and read more 
about service positions in CAL (including the service manual), I realized that I hadn’t 
appreciated the spirit of rotation and that I needed to learn to let go of my role in the group 
and to be better at asking for help. If I allowed myself to continue to feel resentment I was 
only hurting myself and my recovery. It was time for me to let go and move on. My ego got 
downsized a bit at that time—and I am grateful for the experience. 

I moved on to group GR. Once again my “domineering” side raised its ugly head. Our 
group had a tradition of quarterly business meetings. These were held rather sporadically and 
I felt they should be more regular. I drew up a yearly schedule and plugged in a MONTHLY 
business meeting. When I distributed copies at the meeting people were not happy—one 
long time member asked who decided on monthly meetings and when did we have a group 
conscience about it? I was surprised and embarrassed.  
After my clumsy apology, we continued to have quarterly business meetings and I 
spent time rethinking and learning more about my role as group GR. I have learned that, as 
the booklet says, “I could make a contribution without feeling that I alone could provide 
guidance.” These have been valuable lessons for me and have helped me look at my family 
dynamics with a different perspective. These experiences have helped me to shed more 
layers of my over developed sense of responsibility—a great step in gaining and maintaining 
my serenity.  I thank my Higher Power every day for the Al Anon program and the things I am 
learning through service.

Rae L.