The second sentence in Tradition Two reads, "Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern."
I know our local 12-step fellowships function primarily as grass-roots organizations, that use traditions and steps to guide us in our recovery as individuals and as groups.
We strive to conduct our meeting as a fellowship of equals and rotate the leadership role. Sometimes a member keeps a service position out of a sense of responsibility because no one else seems likely to step forward to fill it.
I've been thinking lately about how a character asset can become a character liability or flaw. What may seem to me, to be a well-honed sense of responsibility may instead become a form of dominance. Such dominance can impede the success of a meeting and an organization.
In the EA group where I am active, there were several roles I once wore squarely on my own shoulders. When our treasurer, a founder of our meeting, stepped down, not only was I a group contact, but I was ordering literature, emailing meeting announcements, opening up for the group and instigating group conscience meetings. I wondered if our meeting would survive. No one could pick up the balls until I allowed myself to drop them.
When I called a meeting to find out how we would divide responsibility for our meetings met each week that summer, several people stepped forward and divided up each of the other responsibilities too. They left me to order literature and "be the old-timer." Devoid of those many other roles, I felt a bit naked at first.
In the end, I was glad when I realized I could "rotate out" of leadership. Today I really understand that any attempts to direct the group affairs get in the way of my own recovery just as surely as they prevent our fellowship from flourishing.
It brings me to wondering how our national 12-step organizations fit this scheme. Another time, perhaps?
Adapted from Hope For Today, July 1st