By: Dave K
The ninth concept states that “All elements of our service structure have the responsibility to carefully consider all viewpoints in their decision-making processes.” Where do these different viewpoints come from? They may come from addicts who are part of the service group, or they may come from addicts who are not part of the service group. For example, at a home group business meeting, viewpoints may come from those who are part of the home group, as well as addicts who are not part of the home group. Although we may attend business meetings of more than one group, it is important that we only cast votes at one group. It is important that all viewpoints be considered.
It is particularly important to hear the viewpoints of those who may disagree with what seems to be the consensus. It may be easier to hear the viewpoints of those who agree, but it is important to seek out opposing points of view. Sometimes everyone will agree on a course of action except for a single addict. It is still important to hear that 1 addict’s point of view even though the overwhelming majority are going to win the vote.
It is important to hear the viewpoints of those who have varying amounts of clean time. Sometimes an addict without a lot of clean time may have personal experience with an issue we are considering. We should not just seek out the opinions of those with substantial clean time.
Concept 9 is not only about our obligation to listen to all viewpoints, but also about how we are all encouraged to speak up and not keep our views to ourselves. It can be intimidating to have a different viewpoint than everyone else, or to have a different viewpoint than a popular addict with substantial clean time, but we help form the best group conscience possible when we have the courage to express our viewpoints and not hold them in. It is important to have this courage, while remaining respectful to everyone.
By blocking out an individual’s contribution to group conscience, we are blocking out the guidance of a loving God who expresses himself through everyone. It is important that we not be so self-centered to think that the way we see something, is the way everyone else sees it.