“Tradition Two talks about bleeding deacon and elder statesman… a bleeding deacon, sits in the problem.. a “it’s my way or the highway” type… (while) an elder statesman sits in the solution… open-minded, willing to listen and accepting for change… (as) an elder statesman, I have a better chance of staying away from selfishness and self- centeredness…the root of my problem in the first place.” – Working the Traditions in your Daily Life, ca.org
This morning I was talking to a member in the program about this tradition and how easy it is to feel like I’m running the show, and I should be, whether it be at work, with my family or in a meeting. But that attitude always ends up keeping me imprisoned in my own misery. Here’s a quick example.
Years ago I started an AlAnon meeting and was quite proud of myself. I decided on the format, how it ran, and most other details. I loved it. But after leaving on a trip I returned to find that when I came back it had changed. Some of my favorite parts of the meeting were changed around. I was told a group conscious had been taken and the group decided to change a few things.
“How dare they!!!” Although I didn’t say it out loud at that moment, later while talking with a friend I complained that it’s wasn’t fair. “That’s my meeting. I started it!” He reminded me that I am just a trusted servant in the program. So as punishment to them all, I chose not to go back to the meeting for over a year. By depriving them of my supreme leadership and contribution, they’d be sorry.
Guess what happened? They did just fine without me. The only one missing out was me.
Today, 15 years later, the meeting now barely resembles the meeting I had started. The time of the meeting has changed. The format is different. It’s even at a new location. About the only thing that’s the same is the day of the week. But you know what? It’s one of the best meetings on Maui, and one of my favorites, hands down. Without me the meeting actually got better. Can you believe that?
Thanks to that lesson and others, I’ve gained a bit more humility along with a deeper appreciation of Tradition 2. I really do want the best for everyone, and I really don’t always know what that is. But through a group conscious, by having the majority decide together what’s best for all of us, the decision that reflects what most of us want is made. And today, thank God, I’m ok if that decision is not the one I agree with.
I’m grateful that learning to be teachable and open to learning is something that will go on for the rest of my life. Because the more willing I am to grow, evolve and change for the better, the more ILML!