I finally got a hard copy of the current service manual. I’m highlighting it using the old service manual as a guide. There were several places where I found the service manual extremely helpful in the past, so those are all marked up. I’m also moving my tabs to the new manual. I like being able to speedily find what I need.

I’m reminded of the central tension in group dynamics with Al-Anon. There are no musts in Al-Anon. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern. We practice obedience to the uninforceable. And yet, failure to adhere to the Traditions has consequences.

World Service will refuse to register a group that bars membership to any subset in Al-Anon. For instance, if you’re running a women’s meeting, and a man shows up, the group cannot bar the man without forfeiting registration. Because the only requirement for Al-Anon membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend. If you throw out that Tradition, you’re not practicing Al-Anon anymore and can’t be registered.

That can be tough to balance. Those of us in vulnerable populations need to feel that we have a safe space. And yet the whole point of the Traditions and Concepts is to make sure that we have a safe space.

Special focus meetings make a lot of sense. One reason to have them is so that when we show our experience, strength, and hope, there are other people who understand where we are coming from. They won’t try to apply viewpoints or attitudes that don’t apply to our situations. But again, the whole point of Traditions and Concepts is so that we can trust people anyway. And we have an overall principle of take what you liked and leave the rest when it comes to experience, strength, and hope.

Sometimes I feel like an Al-Anon cop and I don’t want to be. I want our Higher Power to express themselves in our group conscience. I want consensus whenever possible. And I want to feel safe and understood.

In the past, my approach to groups who are not adhering to the Traditions has been to gently suggest adherence to the Traditions, along with whatever experience, strength, and hope I might have and how to accomplish it. And then if the situation doesn’t approve over the next couple of meetings, dropping the group entirely.

I don’t know if that’s always right. I don’t know if that’s usually right or only sometimes right. Or not at all right. I’ll have to revisit that next time it comes up.

So much is going on right now.

I have a parent in the hospital who is getting better, but super confused. Combine that with the family disease of alcoholism and it’s hard to tell how to be of assistance without getting sucked into a relapse.

I have a certification exam coming up. The last couple have been traumatic, with the need for re-takes. I’ve always been great at both school and test taking, so these have been completely demoralizing. This one is supposed to be an easy one, but I dunno.

At work I have applied for three other roles in a higher pay band. I’ve been stagnating in my current role and my skills are super rusty. There hasn’t been a response in the last couple of weeks, but also it’s layoff season and there are hiring freezes, so that may take some time. Once I have gotten that exam off my plate, I need to do some refresher training on my previous skills so I can say least sounds like I know some stuff.

All the time I spend at the hospital has been time away from home, and there’s a lot of home maintenance duty stacking up. I just now got one task done and feel good about it. But there’s so much more.

I met one of my financial goals and now it’s time to completely change how I do finances so I can meet my next goal. So many fiddly wee details!

I have a big trip planned for end of next month. It was an event that I had to cancel due to COVID in 2020. Gonna be pissed off if hospital stuff or job stuff blocks me this year. Everything is paid up and non refundable.

I still feel disconnected from HP. You would think after everything we’ve been through together, I wouldn’t have trouble remembering HP is there for me and with me. Oh you would be wrong!

A strange thing happened while looking at photographs with a parent. They kept saying things like, “Look at this! You were so photogenic!” and, “This is so pretty! Look how smooth your skin was here.”

I don’t recall this parent saying a positive thing about my appearance my whole life. I grew up thinking I was so ugly because the criticism was constant.

Dunno what happened, but thanks to my program I can look at these pictures and see there’s a pretty cute kid there. I can like, and even love, that kid. I can appreciate that this parent now thinks my appearance was great. And I’ve let go the resentment for the criticism of the past. So now it’s just interesting.

I was thinking today about taking care of what’s mine and letting go what’s not mine. I thought of a good example.

Assume I am on a team where I was taught than when an email comes in that’s relevant to a ticket in the system, I am supposed to copy/paste that email into the ticket, if it’s not already there. I am diligent with this. I never forget to check if the email is there, and I copy it over if not.

But I notice that team members from another shift don’t do it. Emails are missing from the ticket.

Old Me would hunt down all the relevant emails and copy them into the ticket. Or Old Me would report the lack to supervisors.

Old Me would resent that I do all the things and my colleagues don’t.

New Me would apply “How Important Is It?” New Me would ask myself if the information in the emails is easily findable if necessary. New Me would ask myself if anyone would actually be harmed. If it’s not so important that someone would be harmed, could New Me let it go?

If it were truly that important, wouldn’t the lack be obvious? Wouldn’t corrective training be happening?

None of that is my business. I’m doing what I’m supposed to, and that’s what’s in my purview.

Now if something is going on where a harm is happening that is outside my realm, it’s my right and my responsibility to mention it. Once. And then I need to let go of the results. Speaking up often is an attempt to control. And we already established that it’s outside my realm.

“Your loved one is headed straight to hell. If you don’t take care of yourself, you are headed straight to hell too!”

You should have seen my shocked face. We don’t talk religion in here! And we surely don’t speak in the second person. What the heck?!?!

Turned out the speaker was speaking metaphorically, not literally. Addiction to alcohol or drugs is an ever-intensifying hell, and being a family member obsessed with someone in addiction is also an ever-intensifying hell. I can’t save them, but I can save me by practicing a program, changing the focus back to me and trusting in my Higher Power.

The speaker clarified that’s what they meant, and I felt a lot better after that.

I heard today a more orderly and succinct way to practice following my HP’s will for me. A speaker said that what she does when investigating a course of action is to take a single step and then ask HP to block it or bless it. And do that at each step. Generally, if it’s not HP’s will, a very clear obstacle will appear to block that course.

That is exactly how my HP has worked for me but I didn’t have the clarity to ask for block it or bless it. Now I can! Thanks, speaker!