~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~

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PODCAST – Item #’s P-92 / P-90 – Reaching For Personal Freedom / Best of Public Outreach

Episode 7 of my “CAL Chat” podcast is now available to listen to!  To hear it, please visit the show’s webpage at: www.calchat.libsyn.com (or you can subscribe to it for free on iTunes & Google Play Music as well & you’ll be notified every time a new episode is posted).

p92In part 1 of 5 of Episode 7, Mark shares how he used the workbook “Reaching For Personal Freedom” (item # P-92) in studying the Steps, Traditions, & Concepts horizontally.  He also highlights how a section on page 12 led to a spiritual awakening for him.

Freedom is specifically discussed in part 2 of 5.  He compares this book to other Al-Anon workbooks, explains how it differs, & I reveal a surprise  I’ve created an index for this book!  (It can be downloaded here: Reaching-For-Personal-Freedom_Index-Only.)  Also, find out what patterns I learned about the Legacies from creating an index by downloading this document: Reaching_Index-Words-Repeated.

In part 3 of 5 find out what two words I discovered are inter-related after creating an index for the book.  Mark talks about how he used to be before he came in the program & explores what I call a “big ticket item!”

p-90-newHis favorite piece of literature to use for outreach purposes is the service tool “Best of Public Outreach” (item # P-90) in part 4 of 5.  He shares how public outreach is what first got him into service in Al-Anon & calls out a “Getting Started” part on page 7, as well as pages 12-19 for several lists of outreach ideas.  He also explains how the workbook helped with a big outreach project he was involved with that was done in honor of Al-Anon’s founder, Lois Wilson, & how projects don’t need to be big to be effective.  Lastly, we discuss what it’s like to talk to people that are not familiar with the Al-Anon program.

In part 5 of 5, the conversation continues about Alateen outreach to Alcoholics Anonymous & how service has helped his program.  He shares what moved him emotionally at his first Area Assembly meeting & how it was similar to a Newcomer meeting!  Click this link to find this outreach book online: www.al-anon.org/members/pdf/bestofpublicoutreach.pdf & you can view Al-Anon’s two TV public service announcements here: www.al-anon.org/media-files.  Before wrapping up, Mark explains how being powerless & being hopeless are not the same thing!

**BONUS: If you’d like to follow the “CAL Chat” show on Instagram, visit: www.instagram.com/calchatfan1 or you can search by the username CALChatFan1.  It’s a different way to enjoy Conference Approved Literature.  So, as always, I hope you enjoy & happy reading!


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CAL – Item # R-18 – Parents of Alcoholics

r18WHAT I LEARNED: 1. The item # for this short 12-page piece begins with an “R” because this is a reprint of various articles from The Forum magazine.  It came out in 2012 & reprints are typically only printed for a 2-year period.  However, demand for this piece must be high because it’s now 4 years later & it is still available for $1, but there’s a good chance that this will be discontinued in 2017 or 2018.  The World Service Office is currently putting together a brand new pamphlet with the working title “Parents & Grandparents of Problem Drinkers.”  It’s for a wider audience & I imagine once that new pamphlet comes out, it will replace this temporary R-18 reprint.  So stock up now if you like this item!

2. The main thing I got from this piece is the importance of, & difficulty with, letting someone you love hit their bottom.  And it’s different for everyone.  I would say to myself, “Surely being homeless & living in a drain, or being arrested & sitting in jail is his bottom.”  But what I thought (& desperately wanted to believe), was different than what reality actually was.  The only thing I really knew was when I had hit my bottom.  When my desire to go to an Al-Anon meeting changed from casual to urgent.  That’s the only true “hitting bottom” I can be sure of.

3. If you’re searching for more Conference Approved Literature that applies specifically to parents, see my previous entry on the pamphlet: To Parents of Alcoholics (item # P-16) or the entire Parents Newcomer Packet (item # K-24).

4. I have 2 favorite lines from this reprint:

From page 3: “If I give one hand to my Higher Power & the other to someone in need, I will keep my hands out of other people’s business & I will be okay.”

super-mom-smiley-emoticonFrom page 8: “I listened to one woman say that after many years in Al-Anon & many open AA meetings, she had never heard a speaker say, “I was saved by my momma.”

**BONUS: Stay tuned to the next “CAL Chat” podcast Episode #5 where this piece is discussed even further & how the featured guest uses it for outreach purposes!

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PODCAST – Item #’s B-21 / S-25 – From Survival To Recovery / Did You Grow Up With A Problem Drinker?

b-21Episode 4 of my “CAL Chat” podcast is now available to listen to!  To hear it, please visit the show’s webpage at: www.calchat.libsyn.com (or you can subscribe to it for free on iTunes & Google Play Music as well & you’ll be notified every time a new episode is posted).

In part 1 of 2, Jan talks about her favorite section, pages 14-15, from the book From Survival to Recovery: Growing Up in an Alcoholic Home (item # B-21).  She shares which qualities of an Adult Child of an alcoholic that she identifies with, what a literature study group is like, & how this book can touch members of Alcoholics Anonymous too!  As she says, “You gotta feel it, before you can heal it!”

s25In part 2 of 2, the conversation with Jan continues with her favorite piece of outreach literature, the leaflet/questionnaire: Did You Grow Up With A Problem Drinker? (item # S-25).  This can be an eye-opening piece for people that realize they experienced the effects of alcoholism in their family, rather than just in their current relationship.  We discuss ways it can be used for outreach, workshops, & as a barometer for our recovery progress.  Find out what is like peanut butter & chocolate, & what we’d like to see on a bumper sticker!


CAL – Item # B-9B – Forum Favorites, Vol. 2

Volume 2WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Since I’m reading the entire discontinued Forum Favorites series from most recent to oldest (see my previous entries for Volumes 3 & 4), this Volume 2 (item # B-9B) came as a shock because it was immediately apparent that every story was in the same exact voice.  It’s not a compilation of writings from different members like I thought all the books were!

2. Volumes 1 & 2 were originally one book called Al-Anon’s Favorite Forum Editorials that debuted at AA’s 35th anniversary international convention in 1970.  In 1954, an early volunteer, Margaret D., became the editor of what we now know as The Forum magazine (which originally started as just a newsletter in 1950) & per page 66 of Many Voices, One Journey (B-31), Margaret held that post for “20 years & 229 monthly editions.”  Lois Wilson suggested Margaret write an “inspirational article” for each edition & of those, Margaret chose 180 as her favorites to be included in the book that spans 1954 to 1969.  It wasn’t until 1982 that the book was retitled & split into two soft cover volumes.

dancing-smiley-face-emoticon3. Volume 2 starts from page 137 at July 1966 & offers a glimpse back in time to when people were dancing the watusi & the frug (I had to look this one up!) as well as memories of the Clearing House, Lois W., “the AA’s”, World War II, & the hard work involved with getting alcoholism accepted as “a disease & not a disgrace” (page 253).  I also learned of 2 slogans Al-Anon had that have since fallen away: “Twenty-Four Hours a Day” & “But for the Grace of God.”

4. Here are some of my favorite quotes from Volume 2:

From page 180: “Even the desert blooms.”

From page 217: “any kind of listening is better than continual talking.”

From page 242: “Al-Anon responsibility is forward.”

From page 193: “Al-Anon must be boundless while there is one case of alcoholism not arrested.”


**BONUS: What other Al-Anon book was written in just one voice?  (Hint: see item # B-7 that is still in print today!)


CAL – Item # G-34 – Alateen Safety Guidelines

G-34WHAT I LEARNED: 1. According to this Alateen Guideline, any reporting of child abuse is done on a personal basis, not as an Alateen Sponsor or an AMIAS (an Al-Anon Member Involved in Alateen Service).  This is done with Tradition 10 in mind to keep the fellowship out of public controversy!

2. Even though I’m not a certified Alateen Sponsor, I can still serve Alateen by letting parents know of Alateen meetings in the area, discuss Alateen literature in Al-Anon meetings, & bring material with me to public outreach functions.  In fact, some of my biggest selling items at an AA Gratitude Dinner was the information on Alateen!

**BONUS: An electronic version of this guideline can now be downloaded directly from the District 6 website by clicking this link: District 6 Website


CAL – Item # B-8 – Al-Anon’s 12 Steps & 12 Traditions – Original

B-8 OriginalWHAT I LEARNED: 1. If you’re following along with each post chronologically, then you’ve come to this entry to find out what is different in this original (now discontinued) version from 1981 compared to the revised 2005 version.  If the program hasn’t changed, why did the book change & what am I missing that was included in the original?  Here’s a brief breakdown:

A) Overall, the original book is less cohesive & less streamlined (aka: “more words”).  Here are 2 examples:

“By working Step 10, we…” used to be: “The basic message of Step 10 added up to just this, we…”;

“Al-Anon’s primary purpose is…” was originally written by a member as: “Al-Anon’s reason for existence is…”

B) The personal stories are different for Steps 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, & Tradition 6.  In my opinion, (with the exception of Step 11), the switched-out ones in the revised version have more value-added substance!)

C) The original book included references to AA, faith-based terms (such as “Buddhist” & “Golden Rule”), as well as other pieces of literature (some of which have been discontinued).

D) Slogans were not capitalized.

E) Being gender-neutral was not a concern.  (Interestingly enough, in one essay, “God as we understood him” now shows up in the revised book as “God of our understanding.”)

F) After the 12 Concepts, the General Warranties of the Conference are not listed at all.  Couldn’t find out why they were left out, but it seems to be standard practice now to have the Warranties in all the books.

vil2_rejoice2. My favorite line comes from the Step 11 story on page 72: “There is not one moment when you are not using, or experiencing, in some way, one of God’s miracles, only ‘miracle’ isn’t the word, because what I am thinking of is not the exceptional, unusual, or rare phenomena, but the ordinary experiences we have all the time.”


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CAL – Item # B-9D – Forum Favorites, Vol. 4

B-9DWHAT I LEARNED: 1. To see the early beginnings of this multi-volume book, we have to go back to an AA event, specifically the International Convention in 1970 where it made its debut as a hardcover book: Al-Anon’s Favorite Forum Editorials (item # B-2).  (Side note: Al-Anon didn’t start having its own International Conventions until 15 years later!)  Margaret D. spent 20 years editing 229 Forum magazine issues & this was a collection of her best editorials.  In 1982, the book was re-titled, printed as a softcover, & split into Volumes 1 & 2 (item #’s B-9A & B-9B respectively).  Volume 3 (item # B-9C) came out in 1991 & included editorials from the past 4 editors.  For Volume 4, which came out in 1993, members submitted so many of their favorite articles that the editorial committee only considered pieces that were published between 1954 & 1979.  The reason I bring all this history up is because there originally were plans for a Volume 5 that was going to be based on sharings from 1979 through the present, but WSC denied this motion in 1994 & all 4 volumes were eventually discontinued in 2000.  I had such fun reading this book that I think now, in 2014, it’s high time to see Volumes 5 & 6!

2. This book was so refreshing like having a cool sorbet after so many meals of meat & potatoes.  At 144 pages total, it quickly covers main principles of the program as well as new ways to look at the Steps & Traditions.  My favorite article is “The Prince Frog” that begins on page 37 & tells how warts can come & go whether we’re still living in a swamp or not. 🙂

3. Even though this book is no longer in print, I’ll be donating it to our District archives chairperson so she can add it to her lending library for others to check-out & enjoy a literary palate cleanser!