Helping hands in service

Bookmarks – April – Reflecting on Group Conscience Using CAL

Apr 22, 2021

My home group is talking about meeting in person again.

Since the weather got cold last fall, we’ve met virtually. Now spring is here and we want to see each other without looking through a screen. But we still want to be safe.

Maybe your group is having the same discussions.

We’re going to have a group conscience meeting this month, seeking everyone’s thoughts about when and where we should meet again in person.

There’s a wealth of information on the group conscience process in our Conference Approved Literature.

There’s a wealth of information on the group conscience process in our Conference Approved Literature. I personally love this sentence on page 102 in Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions (B-8):

“A unified message in our literature is the glue that holds Al-Anon together.”

So, for starters, I went to the Al-Anon blog on “Group Conscience. What is It?

It begins:

“Tradition Two tells us that ‘for our group purpose there is but one authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants—they do not govern.’ But what is a group conscience? How can it be achieved?

“The booklet Al‑Anon and Alateen Groups at Work (P-24) explains on page 51 that ‘the group conscience is the will of the group’ and is based on members’ use of the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts of Service as guides, maintaining ‘principles above personalities,’ and sharing information as equals. A group conscience determines in advance who votes and if decisions will be reached by a simple majority, two-thirds of the votes, or three-quarters of the votes. An informed group conscience is obtained when everybody has access to all the information before discussion. If someone disagrees with the decision, Concept Five reminds us that members have the right of appeal and can express their opinion, which members will consider before deciding whether to revote or proceed. Everybody supports the final decision.”

Participation is vital to a group conscience.

Participation is vital to a group conscience. The ability of all members to feel heard, understood, and acknowledged is critical. 

“By being part of an informed group conscience, gathering the information we need, letting our loving God guide us, and remaining trusted servants, we are all part of the group and support its decisions.” Paths to Recovery (B-24) page 45.

My group wanted to meet in a larger space than our previous small meeting room, to allow for better social distancing. The church annex where we have met now requires us to wear masks, and clean the tables and whatever we touch after we meet. Germophobe that I am, I’m happy to use Clorox wipes before and after we gather. I checked with the church secretary and we’re able to use a larger room. We agreed to meet there again in person on the first Monday in May. The decision was unanimous.

It will be so nice to see everyone!

We also decided that, when the weather is nice, we’ll meet again­—six feet apart— at the park where we met last summer. The breeze from the lake at the park was quite pleasant. We enjoyed meeting there so much we even met at one of the pavilions there when the weather got dicey.

These meetings have been … my spiritual comfort zone

These meetings have been my “church” during the pandemic, my spiritual comfort zone, and I so value the members of my group. When the pandemic hit, we all decided to stay safe. We have maintained our physical wellbeing and will continue to as we gather again in person. 

During our most recent meeting, each of us said how much we appreciate each other. Underneath that appreciation is love. I know there is no other group where I can freely express myself and know I will be listened to without judgment. It is such a blessing for me.

Using all the tools of Al-Anon has made this possible.

Thanks for letting me share.

In grateful service,

Ellen C.

Literature/Forum Coordinator

Panel 61