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~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~


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PODCAST – Item #’s P-78 / B-21 – When I Got Busy, I Got Better / From Survival To Recovery

Episode 11 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 any of these sites/apps: iTunes, Google Play Music, iHeartRADIO, Stitcher & TuneIn — and you’ll be notified every time a new episode is posted).

Susan shares, in part 1 of 4, about how the booklet “When I Got Busy, I Got Better” (item # P-78) impacted her life.  We discuss the different types of fear in Chapter One, how service keeps us from isolating, & that we’re so glad there’s no performance review in service work!

In part 2 of 4, I ask her a question from page 23 of “When I Got Busy, I Got Better.”  She explains helping vs enabling, we discuss a quote from page 2, how we could use the second half of the book in a meeting, & the difference between being grateful & thankful.  A NOTE OF CAUTION: this is the first episode to include EXPLICIT language, so proceed accordingly!  😉

In part 3 of 4, her pick for her favorite outreach piece of literature is the book “From Survival To Recovery” (B-21) because she grew up in an alcoholic home.  She highlights the chapter “Picking Up The Tools” on page 107.  We also talk about why 1994 was a good year for Conference Approved Literature (CAL) & how this book marked a turning point for Al-Anon.

Susan & I talk about different ways (in part 4 of 4) to use that book for outreach purposes — including raffle baskets!  We also explore how one can contribute to Al-Anon other than putting money in the Seventh Tradition basket.  She singles out the section “Steps to the Future” from page 255 (or 257 depending on the book’s edition) & we remember what it was like growing up in an alcoholic home.  Lastly, we look forward to the brand new book that will be debuting at the international convention in 2018!  International Convention Website

**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-92 – Reaching For Personal Freedom

p92WHAT I LEARNED: 1. The guest for my next “CAL Chat” podcast episode (#7) chose this workbook, “Reaching for Personal Freedom” (item # P-92), as his favorite literature piece.  I’ll be posting that episode soon at www.calchat.libsyn.com, but wanted to get my review in this blog first  This workbook has the rare distinction of being the only CAL item to come from members sharing via several blogs on the World Service Office websites!  It debuted at the 2013 Al-Anon International Convention in Vancouver, B.C. & has the subtitle: “Living the Legacies.”  What exactly are the Legacies???  1) Recovery through the 12 Steps, 2) Unity through the 12 Traditions, & 3) Service through the 12 Concepts of Service.  To me, the book seems to be more personable than the other CAL books that have questions in them.  It has rather short sharings & the questions are based directly on the individual stories.  The other nice thing is that each individual Step, Tradition, & Concept is pretty short too – about 3-5 pages, which made it easier to read as well.

2. So I read this book twice, once straight through, then a second time slower because I wanted to create an index (because it currently doesn’t have one).  The reason is, I treat this as a regular book that I bring to groups & based on the meeting topic, having an index handy helps me select an applicable reading.  It was also a new way to look at the Legacies – patterns of words came up over & over that I wasn’t expecting!  For instance under Step 5 (“Admitted to God, to ourselves, & another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”), the words that came up 3 times or more were the following:

Admitting, Alcoholism, Behavior, Help, Honesty, Listening, Realize, Trust, & Understand.

The word that appears the most overall in the book is “help.”  But that’s because it was in a lot of the questions.  For example, “How did Tradition One help you to see your role in relationships?”

The word “family” & “relationships” came up a lot though in the Traditions section!  In fact, I’ve included my entire index, as well as a list of the words that appear 3 times or more for each Step, Tradition, & Concept, here: Reaching-For-Personal-Freedom_Index-Only & Reaching_Index-words-Repeated.  Hope you enjoy these documents!

3. Overall, I felt the theme of the book was about change & I can see why every Step, Tradition & Concept that is truly lived, not just studied, results in some kind of change.  But it’s interesting to note that while I was creating the index, that the word “change” came up a lot along with the word “fear” & I think that’s because the two are inter-related.  I don’t think I’ve ever had one without the other!

4. I have 5 favorite lines from this piece:

From page 19: “I limit myself & the world, but God doesn’t.”

From page 32: “God works within us, without us.”

From page 50: “Having a sense of entitlement is not attractive, serene, or spiritual.”

praying-smiley-emoticonFrom page 59: “Over the years, my prayers have changed because my prayers changed me.”

From page 79: “Once I found myself, I belonged wherever I was.”


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N. FL Area Convention 2016 – Days 1 – 3

WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Sanity is having the appropriate reaction to reality.

2. When things aren’t going your way, try not having one.

3. Life is only borrowed, & one day you’ll have to give it back.

4. I don’t take Steps 10 & 11 to make me feel better, I take them to make me actually better!

5. If the sentence doesn’t have my name in it, then it’s none of my business.

6. Wherever I look there is my Higher Power.

7. If they mind, they don’t matter.  If they matter, they don’t mind.

8. I’m not getting paid extra for worrying.

reunion9. Conventions are my yearly family Al-Anon reunion!!!

**BONUS: The new website is now up for next year’s convention in Tampa Bay:  Recovery Rodeo 2017.  It will be August 25 – 27th, 2017.  See you there!!

convention-2017

 


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CAL – Item # B-22, B-32, eB-22, eA-22 – How Al-Anon Works

B-22_B-32WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Originally, I was going to read this book as the very last one of this blog since I was making my way up to the top seller & according to WSO, this one is it.  It would be like starting a climb by already being at the top – I would miss the journey!  But now that I’m venturing into doing a CAL podcast, the book my very first guest chose was How Al-Anon Works.  (The podcast is now officially up & running as of today!  For all the meat & potatoes, 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.)

CAL Chat Podcast

2. Per page 73 of the 1996 World Service Conference (WSC) Summary (item # P-46), “Al-Anon’s biggest book” (item # B-22) was first made available in hardcover at an International Convention in 1995.  If you happened to buy it at that Convention, you were also given a “commemorative bookplate with ‘friend’ written in 13 languages.”  By the following year there were already plans for revisions but the second printing wasn’t until 2008 & featured a new Concepts chapter, a revised Traditions chapter, & an expanded index.  (By the way, if you’d like an entirely different way to read this book, try reading it by the index keywords!  At the end of this paragraph is a link to an Excel document you can download to use a list of recovery keywords which are already sorted by page number from the preface to page 396.  Enjoy a new reading experience: How Al-Anon Works – List of Index Keyword by Page Number.)

3. The softcover version (item # B-32) was issued on a trial basis in 2011 “with the intent that the membership pay its gratitude forward for the program by giving the softcover version of the book, free of charge, to newcomers” per page 18 of the 2013 WSC Summary (item # P-46).  This third printing included a full description of the “Three C’s” (“Didn’t Cause, Can’t Control, Can’t Cure”) & is found on pages 16-17.  If you have a hardcover book that has the number “11-11” in the bottom left corner of the copyright page, you’ve got the new pages!  My hardcover has “08-10” so it does not include this section, however when comparing this to the updated softcover version, it looks like the World Service Office made a very good effort to fit in the new info (through some tight kerning adjustments) so the pages & the index of the softcover & hardcover still match up. 🙂

FYI: A note about the e-book version (item # eB-22): my e-Reader doesn’t show page numbers, but it still includes the new section under Chapter 4: Understanding Ourselves & Alcoholism.  I haven’t downloaded the audiobook yet (item # eA-22), but I’m assuming it’s there as well.

4. After finishing the book, I can see why this is Al-Anon’s best seller & is one of the few available in almost every format.  (Not sure when a large print version will come out though)  It’s a treasure-trove that has something for everyone.  If you want info about the Legacies (recovery, unity, & service) plus Al-Anon’s history, see Part One which goes up to page 149.  The phrase “Many of us” reoccurs frequently in Part One (78 times to be exact – thanks e-Reader!), which emphasizes the “we” part of the program.  However, if you’re looking for the individual side, proceed directly to Part Two for the personal stories.  The overwhelming theme in this section is about learning.  In fact, the word “learn” is mentioned 205 times in Part Two – which averages almost once per page!  As a final word, be sure to read one of the first: “A Special Word to Anyone Confronted with Violence” which appears after the preface right before Part One.

5. Besides the entire story “Finding Reasons to Live” on page 301, here are some of my other favorite bits:

From page 85: No one ever found serenity through hatred.

From page 108: We are all experts because of our experience & we are all beginners because our lives are in a constant state of growth & change.

From page 284: The beauty of your writing extends beyond the written word.

From page 323: I have had a million dollar experience that I wouldn’t pay a nickel to repeat.

From page 390: I believe that recovery is a process, not an event.  The further I go into recovery, the less I know.

**BONUS: Only 3 personal stories in this book do not include the word “learn” in them.  Which ones are they?   (Hint: the ones that begin on pages 333, 354, & 391.)

 

UPDATE 7/1/16: At this year’s World Service Conference, the decision was approved to re-extend the trial basis of the softcover version for another 3 years!  Yay! 🙂

 


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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!)


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WORKSHOP – Orlando – Summer Service Workshop

WHAT I LEARNED: If Al-Anon was not supported by its own members, think of everything that would go away  groups, CAL literature, phone hotlines, websites, Gratitude Dinners, Conventions, & even the World Service Office.  The 7th Tradition reminds me that no one is an island & it makes me grateful for everything that we do support as members in this program.  No 7th Tradition basket was passed during today’s service workshop, but none was needed, for we were all donating something else: time, energy, & love!  Awww23_30_126


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CAL – Item # G-31 – Ordering Literature

G-31WHAT I LEARNED: 1. One might think that since I’m an LDC (Literature Distribution Center), that this would be my favorite Guideline of all, but that’s not the case.  It focuses more on how to order literature directly through the World Service Office & only mentions in passing that ordering from your local LDC supports local services.  (So this Guideline is not all about me, like I thought ha ha 🙂 )  So what are local services exactly?  Money from buying a book could go toward helping pay for: rent at a District meeting location, the telephone hotline bill, a District website’s hosting fees, meat at a Gratitude Dinner, a donation to an Area Convention, or even on a larger scale a donation to World Service so they can continue to print more books for us to buy.  It’s the circle of literature!  (And Tradition 7 in action!)

2. I wasn’t aware of the “printing codes” on each item’s copyright page until I read this Guideline.  These are different than the catalog item numbers & have a completely different use.  I’ll have to look for them next time now that I know how to decode them

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