WHAT I LEARNED: “Later… [Bill W.] expanded the number to Twelve Steps so as to be sure there were no loopholes through which a drunk could escape.” – quote from softcover version of How Al-Anon Works (item # B-32), page 153.
WHAT I LEARNED: 1. This pamphlet’s additional title is: “Alcoholics Speak to the Family”, & so far on this “reading” journey it marks the second appearance of Bill Wilson’s contribution to our pamphlets. It starts with a small excerpt from his talk at the first Al-Anon trial conference in 1961. The other main sections are from a 1969 article from AA’s journal The Grapevine, & “An Open Letter to My Family” (based on material which appears in “Guide for the Family of the Alcoholic” (item # P-7)).
2. After reading The Grapevine article, I now know not to try doing Al-Anon 12th Step work with the alcoholic. …That must explain why it’s the only Step that is different from AA’s. It’s their responsibility to “carry this message to alcoholics”, & it’s ours to carry it “to others.”
WHAT I LEARNED: 1. This pamphlet is another example of outside literature being “grandfathered” in. “Thanks” go out to a non-member, Harold Black, & the initial Kentucky & Arizona groups for their contribution to this one. Per Many Voices, One Journey (B-31) (see page 104), it’s been around in various versions since 1952, but 1961 is the first publication date found on the back of the pamphlet because that’s when it was introduced as a “merged” pamphlet with new material from the Literature Committee – which probably explains why it’s 31 pages long!
2. There are several sections: Personal Stories, Slogans, Do’s & Don’ts, FAQ’s, WSO, Alateen, & the 12 Steps, but my favorite ones are: the Checklist to Evaluate Maturity, Thoughts to Live By, & Three Obstacles to Success in Al-Anon. I remember hearing about the 3 obstacles, but could only remember 1 of them until I read this pamphlet.
3. At the beginning of this pamphlet, there’s a quote from a person I consider the ultimate non-Al-Anon member: Bill W. It’s funny, but in a sad way too… 😦
4. FYI: This pamphlet sold for 25 cents in 1954. Going back to my online inflation calculator, the cost today should be $2.17, but it’s only 80 cents. Such a deal!
**BONUS: This is the only pamphlet in our CAL Catalog that is available in a large print version – see item # P-4L.
For the books that I’ll read for this blog, I’ll be going in order of “lowest sellers” to “highest sellers” according to what I’ve sold in the past year & a half to District 6 members. Not sure why Lois Remembers is on the bottom of this list… Maybe because it came out in 1979 & mostly the newer books are my top sellers? (This is just a guess though. Perhaps the answer will come as I continue on this reading journey to the top seller…)
When our District Treasurer saw I was reading this book, she lent me another book on Lois, however it is non-CAL so I won’t be discussing it here, but I’m looking forward finding out even more about AFG’s co-founder.
WHAT I LEARNED: 1. This book is very different than the 2 VHS’s: Lois’ Story (AV-1) & Lois W. & the Pioneers (AV-24).
2. It was unbelievably sad that the doctor (for whatever reason) decided not to call in Lois during Bill’s final moments on Earth. After everything the two went through, if I’m feeling devastated just reading about it, I think it speaks volumes about the strength of a person to live through it & not just give up on hope entirely. I’m glad she was able to still move forward – working on creating such a great program for all of us.
3. The book didn’t mention the other co-founder very much. So I’m on a hunt to find out more about Anne… Stay tuned!
**UPDATE (9/25/14): Another Al-Anon member recently read the following quote from this book & it’s now my favorite passage! From page 1: “Children seem to understand some great reality that is a mystery to grown-ups. As they grow out of childhood, they lose this secret knowledge. I did not want to grow up. An invisible wall seemed to prevent adults from entering my child’s world. I wanted to stay on the near side of that wall. As I inevitably climbed over it, I promised myself I would never forget what it was like to be a child. But of course I did. I remember only my desire to remember.”