Al-Anon Meeting Topic: Keep it Simple

The Program Itself Is Simple, Not Easy

Mid section view of a man holding a cup of coffee

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To me the entire Al-Anon "program" keeps it simple. I mean, that's what Al-Anon did for me -- make things seems so much more simple than I was making them.

I thought I was in this situation that nobody had ever been in before. I thought I was unique. They told me at my first meeting, "If you keep coming back, you will hear somebody else tell your story." I smiled and said, thank you, but inside I was thinking, "Yeah, right!"

He Told My Story

The next night there was a Beginners group that was recommended. So, I went and wow! Nothing like the first meeting with only seven people. There were 45 people there! I wanted to find a place to hide in the back But they were all sitting in a big circle. I was too intimidated to say anything, so I shut up and listened for a change.

Toward the end of the meeting, a guy raised his hand and started sharing and told my story! I thought we were married to the same alcoholic.

He said that Al-Anon had given him the tools to use to keep it simple. The slogans, which sound so simplistic, but really put the principles of the program into easy to remember terms like "Mind Your Own Business" and "How Important Is it?"

Using the Tools of the Program

The Serenity Prayer also gets it down to simple terms:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannon change,
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference

Can I change this situation or not? Is it my "job" to change it? Or is it my job just to accept it?

Needless to say, when he got through sharing I was hooked on Al-Anon. He made it seem so simple and there was a reason for that. Because when you get right down to it, it is simple - it's just not always easy.

Keeping Decisions as Simple as Possible

Over the years, as I put the principles of the Al-Anon program to work in my life, I found that what it helped me do most was keep things simple. When I have a decision to make, it comes down to a simple question, is it good for me or is it not?

The same with relationships. When I have the opportunity to enter into a new relationship, be they social or business-related, I try to keep it simple. Is this relationship going to be healthy for me, or is it unhealthy?

It's amazing how uncomplicated choices can be when you break them down to their simplest form.

Making Sense of the Insanity

It took me many, many weeks to ever speak up in that big beginners' meeting even though I was already chairing some of the other meetings I attended. When I finally got up the nerve to speak in that beginners meeting it was because I had gotten to the point where I wanted to share something that would keep it simple for the next newcomer - to try to help them make some sense out of the whole confusing mess.

Just as somebody did for me when I first came in.

-- BuddyT

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