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Al-Anon Forum Magazine Featured Article

Speaking Up
I had a pleasant surprise at work yesterday. I attended a staff meeting where the director was telling us about a problem in another department. Two people had called in sick, which backed up the whole department and in turn, backed up other departments. Soon it backed up the entire hospital. Staff didn't get patients to their appointments on time, didn't discharge on time, or transport their medical records on time. Our director, who is big on teamwork, wanted to know what we thought of 'helping out' the next time a situation like this happened.
Even though I didn't agree with the way the director wanted us to help, I didn't say anything because I liked the idea of teamwork. A couple of my coworkers supported the idea and it began to look like we would put our plan into action the next time something like this happened. Halfway through the meeting, the director asked me what I thought of the plan. I told him I would do whatever the department decided to do, but that I didn't think it was a good idea. Then I listed my reasons. Suddenly, a coworker spoke up and agreed with me, then another and another until almost everyone was agreeing with me.
Later in the day I was talking with one of my coworkers who mentioned that he noticed our director specifically called on me and had done so quite often lately. I started thinking and realized I had never spoken up at a meeting like that, much less disagreed with anyone. If the director had asked me what I thought before Al-Anon, I would have said exactly what everyone else was saying. I started to realize how much I had changed after being in Al-Anon for seven years.
In Al-Anon meetings, the members listened to what I had to say. Even when I didn't know what I was talking about, they listened without criticizing and didn't give me advice.
The pleasant surprise wasn't that I had spoken up during the staff meeting. It was discovering that I'd been speaking up for a while and hadn't even realized it.
Todd S.
Published May, 2006
Alcoholism is a family disease. Those of us who live with, or have have lived with, this disease as children or adults sometimes have problems which the Al-Anon program can help us to resolve. If you have answered yes to some of all of the above questions, Al-Anon may be of help to you. You can contact Al-Anon by checking your local telephone directory, or from the Resources page. Phone numbers and Contact Information for the Austin Area are listed on the Contact Page of this website.
These articles were reproduced with permission from 'The Forum', the monthly inspirational newsletter of Al-Anon. Al-Anon World Headquarters, Inc. is located in Virginia Beach, VA. See www.Al-Anon.org for more information.