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~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~


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CAL – Item # M-57 – My Journey in Service

WHAT I LEARNED: 1. While perusing through some Al-Anon service tools in the Area Archives, I came across “My Journey in Service” (item # M-57).  At roughly 60 pages, the booklet is designed as a journal so it has lots of lined paper & blank spaces for writing, plus it includes a CAL service-oriented quote on each page!  It originally came out in 1998 & is now discontinued because it was just an item sold “while supplies last.”  As far as its intent, per page 52 of the 1999 World Service Conference Summary, “It is a tool to familiarize the membership with powerful quotes contained in our literature.”   I personally don’t do journaling as part of my program study but I do fill out workbooks, so I think that’s similar – which reminded me of this profound quote from page 7 of “Reaching For Personal Freedom” (P-92): “As we write our answers & participate in this process, we become co-authors of the workbook.  As we proceed, this workbook becomes a record of our personal path to recovery, while it also connects us to a fellowship-wide process that we have in common with other Al-Anon members around the world.”

2. I have 6 favorite lines from this book (sorry, the pages aren’t numbered in the journal):

  • “I know I am in Al-Anon for my own recovery, & by volunteering to serve on the necessary committees, I translate phrases such as, “Let It Begin With Me” into action.” – From page 124 of “Al-Anon’s 12 Steps & 12 Traditions” (B-8) – the original version from 1981.
  • “Our responsibilities & opportunities for service extend far into the future.” – From page 195 of “Lois Remembers” (B-7).
  • “Service work heals the emptiness within me by replacing my dark obsession for another with my own loving light.” – From page 308 of “How Al-Anon Works” (B-22).
  • “To find the courage to speak up when needed, the maturity to keep silent when I feel like attacking & the ability truly to listen to the other person’s point of view all bring about the harmony & spiritual growth offered in Concept Four.” – From page 274 of “Paths To Recovery” (B-24).
  • “I’ve come to think of myself not as a person with limited professional expertise, but as a person with many unclassified but useful abilities.” – From page 49 of “When I Got Busy, I Got Better” (P-78).
  • “Thus, whenever we truly give of ourselves, almost magically we find that there is more of our selves to give.” – From page 101 of “How Al-Anon Works” (B-22).


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PODCAST – Item # B-23 / Various – Courage To Be Me / Various Alateen Literature

Episode 8 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 3 of this very special Episode 8, four Alateen members share what they like best about Alateen literature – specifically the “Alateen Talk” newsletter (no item #), “Courage To Be Me” (B-23), page 26 (January 26th) from the daily reader “Alateen – A Day At A Time” (B-10), & pages 25-26 from the “Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual” (P-24/27).  They talk about a favorite Step, what Tradition One means, & some powerful characteristics that can define someone affected by alcoholism.

alateen-lit-2The conversation continues in part 2 of 3 with three more Alateen members talking about their favorite parts from “Courage To Be Me”, page 8 from the booklet “Alateen Talks Back On: Detachment” (P-73), & pages 268-269 (September 24th & 25th) from the daily reader “Living Today In Alateen” (B-26).  They highlight a letter written to a parent, how they struggle with expectations of love, & how a member can eventually resemble the image on page 269 from “Living Today In Alateen”.  Also find out what message is repeated several times in “Courage To Be Me” & how it’s like a warm reminder!

In part 3 of 3, Alateen members share what they would like to say to Al-Anon members, & they directly address the teenager that is living with alcoholism that hasn’t been to an Alateen meeting yet.  They explain how Alateen is like a family environment & that they don’t bite!  The show wraps up with a unique “Last Words” section from a couple of Alateen group sponsors, where they cover the importance of hearing from Alateen members, how the Seventh Tradition is practiced from an Alateen perspective, the unexpected benefits of doing Alateen service, & how participating in this podcast is similar to doing a gratitude list!

instagram**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 # P-90 – The Best of Public Outreach

p-90-previousWHAT I LEARNED: 1. The guest for my next “CAL Chat” podcast episode (#7) chose this booklet, “The Best of Public Outreach” (item # P-90), as his favorite outreach piece.  I’ll be posting that episode soon at www.calchat.libsyn.com, but wanted to get my review in this blog first.  This hardcopy booklet was originally printed in 2000 & it came in a folder with pockets.  It was subtitled: “A ‘How to Workbook’ for Public Outreach Service Activities” & was a huge success.  So much so that, per page 72 of the 2000 World Service Conference Summary (item # P-46), it made 3 other outreach kits obsolete: Interim PI, Institutions, & CPC kits (item #’s K-3, K-S, K-15) so the World Service Office discontinued them.  Then, in 2012, the booklet became available on-line only.  It can be found at the Members’ website: www.al-anon.org/members/pdf/bestofpublicoutreach.pdf.  It still says it was last updated in March of 2012, but certain parts of it have actually been updated very recently such as the new 2017 “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism” outreach magazine (on page 18) & the road sign posters available with different backgrounds (on page 26).

p-90-new2. I’m glad they updated the booklet!  The newer version seems more comprehensive, less gender-specific, & references current media avenues.  For instance, there is less emphasis on mailing items, using the phone book & fax machines, plus it doesn’t mention leaving literature in “canteens” or suggest outreach meetings that sound more like Tupperware parties with the recommendation to plan ahead & make “arrangements for a babysitter” (page 10).  (I guess that’s good for a glimpse of how Al-Anon used to be.)  I also learned that because the “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism” outreach magazines didn’t start up until 2007, copies of The Forum magazine were given out instead!

3. I’m familiar with Al-Anon as a fellowship, but this service tool talks about Al-Anon as a resource.  It stresses the importance of outreach projects mainly to professionals to improve Al-Anon’s name recognition & credibility, but it also has plenty of ideas for simpler outreach ideas to non-professionals.  One idea I liked, that was a small thing, is from page 19: “March 4th – ‘Leave Al-Anon literature’ on Lois W.’s birthday.”  I’ve already marked it on my calendar to make sure I do some type of outreach on that particular day.  Because doing public outreach service doesn’t have to be a big undertaking it’s just planting a seed.

4. And almost last, but not least, it talked about the public service announcements that are available to watch on the main Al-Anon site.  They’re at: www.al-anon.org/media-files.  There are 2 versions for TV, each 30 seconds long & they were interesting to see!

5. I have 3 favorite lines from this piece:

working-on-a-computer-smiley-emoticonFrom page 4: “It is Al-Anon/Alateen policy to interpret Tradition Eleven to include the Internet, as well as all forms of evolving public media.”

From page 9 (of the hardcopy booklet from 2000): “First make it fun & they will come!”

From page 39: “Remember to communicate with the various service levels about successes—and even ‘flops’.”


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CAL – Item # P-24 – Al-Anon & Alateen Groups at Work 2014-2017

p-24WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Recently on this blog, I did an in-depth review of the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual 2014-2017 (item # P-24/27).  If you read that review, then this entry will seem pretty similar for Al-Anon & Alateen Groups at Work 2014-2017 (item # P-24).  I used to think this item was a digest (or summary) of each of the 4 sections in the Service Manual, but that’s not the case.  This entire short booklet is word-for-word, exactly the same as only the first section (pages 7 thru 74) in the larger Service Manual.  At the current cost of $1.00, it’s a very inexpensive way to get the most crucial info out to each group or Group Representative plus it’s lighter to carry around than the Service Manual (which is pushing 300 pages)!

2. This booklet originally started out as a pamphlet in 1960 entitled Manual for Al-Anon Family Groups.  It was then re-titled in 1965 as Al-Anon Family Groups at Work.  It went through many revisions & kept being expanded but what I find most interesting (after researching the World Service Conference summaries) is that even though Alateen was started in 1957 (before the first Manual pamphlet was even published), the word “Alateen” does not appear in the pamphlet’s title until 1973!

3. What is covered in this booklet are primarily the basics that deal with the group level, i.e. how to start a group, what type of groups there are, what service positions are available within a group, etc  It doesn’t get into higher level District, Area, or World Service stuff until the last ten pages.  That’s why this is a perfect tool for everyone to have!  Plus, it has a meeting format outline in it, so whenever I have to chair a meeting & don’t have access to any of the group’s literature or meeting binder, this booklet has everything I need to open & close the meeting it makes me sound like I know what I’m doing!  Ha ha!  😛

4. I have 4 favorite lines from this book:

From page 7: “our benefits are measured by our willingness to share them with others.  For we know we can never give as much as we receive.”

From page 23: “In Al-Anon we find a Power greater than ourselves which can direct our lives into quiet, useful channels.”

From page 24: “Our program is based on suggestion, interchange of experience, & rotation of leadership.”

happy-friends-smiley-emoticonFrom page 69: “Each member puts forth his or her ideas, willing to sacrifice them, believing that the best outcome will come from the discussion.”

**BONUS: This is one of the few pieces of literature that mentions the “Three Obstacles To Success in Al-Anon.”  Which pamphlet also mentions them?  (Hint: see item # P-4!)

 


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CAL – Item # P-77 – Sexual Intimacy & the Alcoholic Relationship

P-77WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Well surprise, surprise, this is not an instruction booklet on how to have sex with an alcoholic!  However, it does reassure me that I’m not the only one who has had difficulty in this area.  Intimacy, especially sexual intimacy, is a topic rarely brought up in Al-Anon meetings.  This must have been still true back in the early 90’s when this booklet was approved as a concept.  Members sent in articles for The Forum magazine for 2 years & it’s from those, that this book was put together & published in 1993.

2. Almost all the writings are from women (as mentioned on page 5) & it seemed that each selection was just a bit too short, leaving me wanting more of the “how’s” & less of the “what’s”.  A few touch on the importance of having a sponsor & doing their personal inventory (from Step 4) as being helpful.  And I do have to admit that Chapter 2, “Sex As A Weapon”, hit home with me personally as something I’m definitely guilty of doing in my past relationship.  But I think I was judging this book too harshly because I had expectations before I even read it (go figure!) & I wanted it to solve my problems (which no book alone could ever do – let’s be real)!  I had to take a moment & look back.  Per page A-13 of the World Service Conference (WSC) Summary from 1993, it mentions that these “sharings are the opinions of members who are beginning their journeys with intimacy on all levels” & the reason all the sharings are short is because the nature of how they were submitted in the first place – as letters to The Forum.

yaysmiles3. The most important thing about this 44-page booklet, in my opinion, is that it was even made at all!  It was a step toward lifting the taboo of this topic & inspiring members to talk openly – whether to their sponsor, another member, or in a meeting.  Sadly, it was discontinued in 2002 due to low demand from the fellowship.  But there is hope on the horizon  A new book on intimacy is being worked on!  Not sure yet when it will be available, but it will discuss intimacy in general, including sexual intimacy, in alcoholic relationships.  So there exists a possibility that doors that have once closed, might be re-opened to shine light on this topic.  (FYI: If you’d like to contribute an article for this new upcoming book, click here to download the sharing sheet.)

4. I have 6 favorite lines from this book:

From page 9: “It has never been my experience that out of physical closeness a spiritual closeness can arise, only vice-versa.”

From page 32: “love is an attitude in my life that I don’t have to prove or have proven to me.”

From page 36: “Today I believe that a good marriage is one in which two people don’t only enjoy things together but one in which two people can endure things together.”

From page 39: “Also, I am married one day at a time. This simplifies my life.”

583ce4309fb2eaf37c477f3fc9924252From pages 40: “Today I have taken care of my responsibilities, done something nice for someone else, & something good for me.  Today I have had a successful day.”

From pages 41: “It is in the atmosphere of acceptance that intimacy develops.”

 

**BONUS: Two stories from this discontinued booklet are still available to read in a popular book that is currently in print.  (Hint: See “Putting Myself in My Higher Power’s Hands” pgs 114-115 & “Redefining Love” pgs 225-226 from item # B-15!)


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CAL – Item # P-80 – Worried about someone’s Mental Health?

P-80WHAT I LEARNED: 1. This pamphlet was 1 of 6 of an “Al-Anon Can Help” series that was introduced in 1995 as part of a big push for service in institutions.  It was designed to invite family members & friends of alcoholics at or in institutions to try Al-Anon where they live.  This pamphlet didn’t stay around long though because it was discontinued in 1999.  The World Service Conference decided to combine another discontinued pamphlet, “Concerned about your Mental Health?” (item #P-79), with this one to produce “Doubting Your Sanity?” (P-89) which is still available today!

2. The info in this pamphlet is pretty straightforward & I still see some of these displayed at meetings however it does list a discontinued booklet on the back (Homeward Bound (P-8)) & there’s no website info for WSO either.  That’s because the “Al-Anon/Alateen World Wide Web Site” (as it was called back then) was not launched until October 12th, 1996!

**BONUS: Of the 6 original institutional pamphlets from 1995, only 2 still remain in print.  (Hint: see item #’s P-81 & P-82!)


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CAL – Item # P-86 – A Guide to Alateen Sponsorship–An Unforgettable Adventure

P-86WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Here’s another instance of me sitting down to read a piece of literature & thinking “I won’t relate to anything in it” & then finding it so interesting!  Topics are covered that I never even considered, such as: how to handle members with ADD, intrusive parents, reporting abuse, kids liking the group sponsor more than their own parent, how an Alateen group can still be self-supporting if the school won’t accept donated money, kids attending Alateen in secret, having an Alateen institutions group, kids afraid of becoming an alcoholic themselves because it’s in their family, & most mind-blowing of all parents removing a kid from Alateen as a way to punish or “ground” them!

2. The overall theme of the booklet is that even though Alateen has its own unique characteristics it is still fundamentally Al-Anon, & that being an Alateen sponsor is Twelfth Step work because the message is being carried forward!

3. In 1993, when this piece was given conceptual approval, it was simply called the Alateen Sponsorship “How To” booklet.  But it turned out to be so comprehensive that when it was published in 1996, three other pieces were discontinued: “Operation Alateen” (item # P-30), “Alateen, Sponsor to Sponsor” (# P-51), & the Guideline “What’s Expected of an Alateen Sponsor” (# G-17).  Alateen e-ManualEventually this booklet met its own demise in 2005 (in fact, I’ll be returning this to our District archives chairperson so she can add it back to her lending library for others to check-out).  It was replaced by a service tool, which I’m thinking is the new “Alateen Service e-Manual” (but I haven’t read that yet to compare & contrast).  😉

4. I have 2 favorite quotes from this book:

From pages 127128: “Examples of things we are powerless over:
1. Alcohol
2. The weather
3. Other people
4. The color of our hair, eyes, and skin
5. When we get sick, or the time of death
6. To whom we are born
7. Our dreams
8. Ocean waves
9. How much we grow
10. Which way the clouds go
11. Loose teeth”

And from page 41: “The problems shared are more likely to be related to school than to home.  It’s amazing how few problems there are in the summer!”

choir**BONUS: When this booklet was originally introduced to the delegates at the World Service Conference, the Alateen Committee serenaded them with their own version of the song “Unforgettable!”