Al-Anon Welcome text change?

Question: When was the statement “Al-Anon is an anonymous fellowship…” changed to “Anonymity is an important principle of the Al-Anon/Alateen fellowship…” in the Suggested Opening on page 39 in the “Al-Anon/Alateen Groups at Work” section of the Service Manual?

When did the change take place and who has the responsibility for the changes to the “Groups at Work” section of the Service Manual?

Answer: Changes to the “Groups at Work” section of the Service Manual are made by the World Service Office to reflect changes in other parts of the Manual or other discussions at the World Service Office.

The wording change began in 2002, when the Group Services Committee began discussing the ‘Newcomer’s Welcome’ that was in the Group Binder (M-59). At the January 2003 Policy Committee, the Communication Section brought a discussion question regarding a proposed wording change to the ‘Al-Anon/Alateen Welcome’. The Policy Committee approved the change regarding anonymity and other grammatical changes.

That is when the statement: “Anonymity is an important principle of the Al-Anon/Alateen program” was added to the Welcome. The Policy Committee decided that the old statement implied that the Al-Anon/Alateen program is anonymous and that the new language regarding the principle of anonymity clarified the intent of the statement.

The revised Suggested Al-Anon/Alateen Welcome was sent to all groups as enclosures in the 2003 fall issue of Inside Al-Anon Xtra along with copies of the original text of the three legacies, the Steps, Traditions, and Concepts of Service.

At that same January 2003 meeting, the consensus of the Policy Committee was that Al-Anon needed to have only one “Welcome” in all publications, including the Service Manual. That decision led to the deletion of the ‘Newcomer’s Welcome’ from the Group Binder. After further discussion in the Group Services Committee, this decision was reported in the 2004 Conference Summary.

There are groups who have not read or heard about the change to the Group Binder and continue to use the document. In the spirit of unity the WSO does ask that groups not use it in the meetings.

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