Together We Make the Alano Club Strong


We admitted we were powerless...

How many times have you said those words? If you're a newcomer, probably only a few dozen. An Oldtimer, on the other hand, probably can recite the Twelve Steps in their sleep – much to the annoyance of an insomniac spouse.

"We admitted we were powerless..." When we choose to take the hardest step – the one across the threshold of the doorway that leads into our first meeting – those are the words that open the door to a new way of living.

Alano Club
The Alano Club

The newcomer usually has one of two reactions to the opening phrase of the Twelve Steps:

1. "Oh, yeah? Well, I'm not powerless over nothing. I just have a little problem," or

2. "Wow, I'm powerless over everything! Great! I don't have to be responsible for anything anymore!" Usually, this statement is shortened to a two word expletive: "Fiddley Dee!" (Hey, this is a public website, so no swearing!)

Explaining the true meaning of powerlessness is in the realm of sponsors, the Big Book and our Higher Power. That's not our purpose here.

This is about the first word of the Twelve Steps, the one that gets glossed over in our rush to admitting powerlessness.


Nowhere in the Twelve Steps does the word "I" appear. "We" appears seven times (in Steps 1, 3, 8, 10, 11 and 12). That is where the strength of the program lies. Not in the individual, but in the power of many individuals joined in a common purpose.

The ancient Romans had a symbol called a fasces, which consisted of a bundle of white birch rods tied together with a red leather ribbon to form a solid cylinder. Individually each stick could be broken, but joined together their strength was magnified a hundredfold.

Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial with
fasces supporting the arms

This symbol of "strength through unity" is so powerful it can be found above the door of the Oval Office, displayed in both the House of Representatives and Senate, and even incorporated as part of the chair in the Lincoln Memorial.

The simple of act of saying the Serenity Prayer at the beginning of a meeting has the power of transforming individuals from all walks of life into a group which in its unity of purpose can overcome our common problem. Attending a meeting bring us into the "we space" that has enabled thousands upon thousands of people to experience, One Day At A Time, the joy of being sober. If you are an Al-Anon, it is the joy of recovering your self, giving lie to the old joke, "An Al-Anon died and someone else's life passed before their eyes."

O.k., I told you that so I could tell you this:

See that picture of the Alano Club above? What is it missing? That's right, there aren't any people. Without people the Alano Club is just another building. It is the membership which transforms a structure of wood and stucco into a spiritual space.

That's what this essay is really about. The Alano Club gives us a place to join together to defeat our common problem, and it is through its membership that the Alano Club can perform this vital function.

It isn't enough to show up for meetings and drop a buck in the basket for the Seventh Tradition. We have to be willing to put the principles of the program into action and to take an active part in the Club.

Tradition Seven states: "Each group is self-supporting through its own contributions." In our meetings we know this means that we do service as well as donate money. We know when we give service a meeting flourishes; when only one person has all the responsibility a meeting withers and dies. This same principle is the foundation upon which the Alano Club is built. Its strength doesn't come from good physical construction but from the dedication and participation of its members – all its members.

Right now you're probably thinking, "Hey, it sounds like you're saying that if we go to meetings at the club we should become members."

Yep, that's what I'm saying.

For the Alano Club to continue to exist, it needs to be self-supporting through the contributions of those who benefit from the Club being here. And not only by paying dues, but by actively participating in the variety of activities that are offered – holiday parties and fund-raising breakfasts, spring clean up and membership meetings, potluck dinners and program-oriented special events. There are so many opportunities to be of service, and so much serenity and happiness to be found in participating in the fellowship.

So, think about joining the Club – no, don't think, Just Do It! You'll get back many times what you put in.

And you get to see your name on the Membership Board!