Unity was a troublesome concept for me as a child. I was always told I that family mattered more than any friends. Our unity was about "us against the world."
But, as a teenager I often felt it was me against a dysfunctional family system. In our family unity, my opinion often was discounted. The whole was more important than my autonomy or well-being. All too often, I was the recipient of criticism and shame. Instead of feeling part of a healing whole, I felt like collateral damage. That's why I learned to isolate and heal in my own time and ways.
My stubbornness, in knowing there was a better way, led me to EA.
Being part of my EA and Al-anon fellowships, I've learned others share DO the same emotions and have similar experiences. But sometimes having so much in common, and having so much at stake, still feels strange. Because my point of view was often invalidated as a child, I overcompensated by holding on tight to my point of view, unable to fall in line. It continues to be a challenge to me to think of myself as being part of a larger entity and that my personal actions might effect that entity.
Our program principles foster unity, one day at a time, one experience at a time. Progress not perfection. The purpose of unity is to accomplish the greatest good for the greatest number. Our principles show me how to nurture unity in my life, without silencing my own (or others') dissenting opinions. Together we do what one cannot do alone. Tradition One is at work when each of us educates ourselves and participate in a group conscience. Tradition Four complements Tradition One, by reminding me that I am autonomous, yet not alone, and that I need to consider the effect of my actions on those around me.
I am grateful that our online communities, our face-to-face fellowships and our International Service Center all show me how to be a part of a group, so that I need never feel isolated and alone again.
The future of our 12-step groups lies in the group, not one individual. Yet, my voice is important. Together, unity and autonomy create strength and adaptability.
Inspired by July 21's reading in Hope for Today