Unity is vital if any addicts are to recover. If you could have recovered by yourself, you would have done so long ago. This means that the early AA idea of one addict helping another is crucial to the recovery process, and so unity of the fellowship is of utmost importance.

Addiction and Isolation

Remember that the addiction has a vested interest in your isolation. As long as you can focus on the differences between yourself and others in the Program, and while the addiction can keep Twelve-Step group members squabbling among themselves over what rules are to be followed, what food plan is correct, or who is going to run the meeting, the disease is winning.

A simple challenge for unity is what you call yourself when you begin speaking at an AA or other Twelve-Step group meeting. The traditional beginning is, “My name is _____, and I am an alcoholic.” This introduction, or slight variations, reminds AA members of their primary purpose, and eases others’ fears that they are in the wrong place. It also reinforces the speaker’s belief that he or she is an addicted person.

Recovery and Unity

There are many threats to unity. To beat those threats one can ask these questions:

  • Is there anything I can do to promote unity?
  • How can I better tolerate those whose opinions differ from mine?
  • Am I willing to turn this matter over to the care of my Higher Power or Program?

The amazing thing about Twelve-Step recovery programs is that they can survive and prosper in almost any condition except rigid control. Nothing will kill the effectiveness of an anonymous fellowship quicker than trying to “make it right.” Freely translated, that means to make it as you think it ought to be.

Unity, service, and recovery. These things are paramount in a group, and they will thrive without a shred of organization. Structure everything, and you have nothing but an institution. Leave control and ego on the doorstep, and you will find love and a Higher Power or the Program within.

Unity, see also: Alcoholics Anonymous, Anonymity, Attitudes, Community, Gratitude, History of Twelve-Step groups, Honesty, Humility, Meetings, Other support groups, Paradoxes in addiction, Service & giving, Spirituality, Step Twelve, Traditions of AA.

Updated 12 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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