Updated Work-Anon Meeting Guidelines and Format
Work Anon Meeting Guidelines
Welcome to the twice-monthly telephone meeting of WorkAnon. My name is ____, grateful recovering Work-Anon, and the meeting chair for this evening. Work-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of workaholics who share their experience strength and hope in order to solve their common problems. We believe that work addiction is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.
Work-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Work-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.
Work-Anon has but one purpose: to help families, friends, and co-workers of workaholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Work-Anon.
For Newcomers: (or For newcomers but to be read each meeting as a reminder to all)
For some of us, Work-Anon was a last resort: we were in pain, we were desperate, some of us had abandoned hope. We came to our first meeting – and we kept coming- to find relief from the terrible pain we had grown accustomed to feeling. We knew that our suffering was related to someone else’s work addiction, and we knew that we were unable to lead a normal life because of it.
As newcomers to Work-Anon Family Groups many of us wondered what the group would be talking about. The things we heard – and did not hear- at meetings may have surprised us. We may have thought members of Work-Anon might teach us how to stop the workaholic from acting out with work. Some of us had come into the program believing that once the workaholic found abstinence, our pain would magically disappear.
A great many myths were laid to rest at our meetings. We heard that we could not make another person stop working compulsively; that abstinence does not necessarily mean “happily ever after;” and that we are each responsible for dealing with our own pain. We also heard about placing our trust in a Power greater than ourselves.
When we first come to Work-Anon Family Groups, full of hurt, frustration, and anger, we may see the workaholic as the immediate source of our pain. Our impulse may be to focus our discussion on that person. We may also be so unaccustomed to looking at ourselves that we tend to talk about everything but ourselves. In Work-Anon we come to realize that much of our discomfort comes from our attitudes, and to learn about our responsibility to ourselves. This helps us discover feelings of self-worth and furthers our spiritual growth. The emphasis is lifted from the workaholic and placed where appropriate – on ourselves. When we tell our story, therefore, it is not the work addict’s story, it is the story of our own recovery.
We continue to come to Work-Anon because it succeeds in reminding us to focus on ourselves. It succeeds because it is a positive program that is grounded in the common experiences of its members; people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s work addiction. We welcome you and hope that here you may find experience strength and hope and learn how to recover through using the Twelve Steps and this fellowship.
[Chair will read the Twelve Steps and the Tradition corresponding to the number of the month.]
The Twelve Steps of Work-Anon
- We admitted we were powerless over work—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Became entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to the friends and family of workaholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The Twelve Traditions of Work-Anon [Read the one corresponding to the number of the month]:
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon Work-Anon unity.
- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as expressed in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
- The friends and relatives of workaholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves a Work-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for Work-Anon membership is that there be a problem of workaholism in a relative or friend.
- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or Work-Anon as a whole.
- Each group has but one primary purpose: to help families of workaholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of W.A. ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our workaholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of workaholics.
- A Work-Anon group ought never endorse, finance or lend the Work-Anon name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
- Every Work-Anon group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- Work-Anon should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- Work-Anon, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- Work-Anon has no opinion on outside issues; hence the Work-Anon name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all W.A. members.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Meeting Format Overview:
By group consensus, we avoid crosstalk, which means we speak in the first person and do not give advice. In our shares, we focus on our own behavior and thinking, not that of the workaholic. Members of other fellowships, including W.A., are encouraged to focus their share on the program of Work-Anon.
Our format is that we will read from Work-Anon or Al-Anon literature (with word substitution). Then we open the meeting up for a round of sharing. Feel welcome to share up to three minutes so all will have time to share. We pause at 45 minutes through the meeting to answer any newcomers' questions. Anyone who likes to can exchange phone numbers and email addresses directly after the closing of the meeting.
Reading from Literature: [Chair reads from Work-Anon or Al-Anon conference-approved literature and pauses for rounds of sharing.]
Pause for Newcomers Questions at 45 Minutes Through: [Chair pauses at 45 minutes into the meeting to ask the newcomer if there are any questions]
Closing: [At 5 minutes until the end, the Chair reads the closing]
Optional Closing Reading – [Chair selects and recruits someone to share a final reading, which could include pages 269-270 in FSTR.]
Seventh Tradition Announcement - "By our seventh tradition, we are self-supporting, declining outside contributions. The money we collect goes to support meeting expenses and outreach to the still suffering families and friends of workaholics. Donations can easily be made at our website, at [Read the web address out loud:]: "www.workanon.org." If this is your first meeting, please don't contribute. In accordance with Step Twelve, contributions of service also strengthen our recovery. If you are interested in service, please let us know after the meeting or by email to workanon AT gmail DOT com."
In closing we ask that all respect the anonymity of everyone here and all that was shared. At our meetings, we share our experience strength and hope with one another, keeping the focus on ourselves and on the Work-Anon tools of recovery. Personal recovery through spiritual growth and the common welfare of the group are of prime importance. By concentrating on our own feelings and attitudes toward our situation, rather than on the details of the situation, we contribute to the group’s unity and our recovery. We talk about how the disease of workaholism has affected our thinking and our behavior. We talk about the part we played in our problems and how we change our attitudes and actions by applying the Work-Anon program to our lives. We may find that basing our group discussion on a Step, Tradition, Concept or Slogan or various other program tools helps to improve our understanding of the program, foster growth, and bring serenity.
Will all who care to join me after a moment of silence, please join me in the Serenity Prayer followed by “Thy will not mine be Done.”
God, Grant me the Serenity
To Accept the Things I cannot change,
Courage to Change the Things I can
And Wisdom to Know the Difference.
Thy Will Not Mine be done.
Exchange Contact Information:
[Chair invites attendees to exchange and share phone numbers and email addresses. Chair notes these down and distributes them afterwards, including sending a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org]
Corrections 01/20/2008 and 5/11/2009
Updated with format highlights and crosstalk statement on 3/7/2010
Updated with tweaks and optional Promises reading at the end – 11/7/10
Tuned up with Headers for Sections of the Meeting - 1/2/2011
V1.8 - Removed the Work-Anon Promises for Revision 6/7/12
V1.9 - Added 7th tradition language per group conscience 7/15/12