LDCdistrict6

~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~


Leave a comment

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).


Leave a comment

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’.”


2 Comments

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!)


Leave a comment

CAL – Item # B-9A – Forum Favorites, Vol. 1

B-2WHAT I LEARNED: 1. As an Area Archivist once said, “I love my position because I get to time travel.”  I too feel I get to step into the ‘Wayback Machine’ whenever I read discontinued Al-Anon literature.  When this Forum Favorites book was first published in 1970 it was a hefty hard cover book & the title was almost going to be “The Best of Margaret” – since Margaret D., The Forum magazine’s longest-running editor, is the sole author of the book.  But, in keeping with our Traditions, the official title became: Al-Anon’s Favorite Forum Editorials (item # B-2) as shown in the image to the right.

B-9A2. The book that I’m reading from is the soft cover version when the hard cover book was split into Volumes 1 & 2 in 1982 (see my previous entry on Vol. 2).  Volume 1 (item # B-9a) covers June of 1954 to June of 1966 & seems heavier with biblical quotes as well as references to war & H-bombs than compared to Volume 2.  But it also chronicles a time when Al-Anon was more of a movement & the growing pains that go along with that!  For instance, Margaret talks about the second World Service Conference in 1962 & receiving so many letters to Headquarters after Ann Landers mentioned Al-Anon in her advice column, that the work of answering the letters had to be split up among the volunteers because it was too much for one person.  FYI: per Many Voices, One Journey (item # B-31) page 115: “In all, 6,500 people wrote in…  Previously, the largest response… was an influx of 700 letters.”  Yet Margaret continued to wonder about the one who is “still keeping the article, trying to gather courage to write.” -Vol. 1, page 94.

3. Even though the program was growing by leaps & bounds, the issues she wrote about in the early years are still relatable today: struggling groups, dealing with crosstalk, meetings being dominated by one person, how to welcome Newcomers, difficulty in finding speakers, etc  There’s even a reference to the “Three Deadly Enemies” (from the pamphlet Alcoholism, The Family Disease (item # P-4)).  In 1956, the “enemies” were: Discussion of religion, Gossip, & Dictatorship.  They’re now known as the “Three Obstacles to Success in Al-Anon” & other than switching “Dictatorship” to the word “Dominance,” not much has changed since then.  As the saying goes, “What was old is new again!”

4. I have several favorite quotes from Volume 1:

From page 28: “The French have a saying that to understand all is to forgive all.”

From page 29: “What is life but a choice of values?  We never lose anything by leaving it behind – we take it along in another form.”

From page 94: “The only way to Push is with Prayer.”  animated-praying-smiley-image-0008

From page 96: “our literature is full of golden nuggets.  But gold is where you find it.  To find it, you have to look.”

From page 99: “I learned to walk early but it took me more than 3 years to learn the First Step

From page: 115: “Be generous with your past – someone needs it more than you!”

From page: 120: “We don’t develop character licking marshmallows.”

Paraphrased from page 130: Each one of us is 3 persons: who we were, who we are, & who we’d like to be.

From page 132: “when you start looking for God, you have already found Him.”

**BONUS: Between both Volumes 1 & 2, there are 10 total December articles that mention Christmas.  Nowadays, it’s rare to find any sharings about holidays, but of all 5 daily readers, can you guess which 1 does?  (Hint: see item # B-27!)


2 Comments

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!)


2 Comments

CAL – Item # B-9C – Forum Favorites, Vol. 3

Vol 3 B-9CWHAT I LEARNED: 1. After I became the North Florida Area Literature Coordinator in 2015, I was “bequeathed” a lot of CAL & some were discontinued pieces.  Whoo-hoo!  So I’m slowly making my way through them & decided to start by reading the entire Forum Favorites series from most recent to oldest.  (See my previous entry for Volume 4.)  This Volume 3 (item # B-9C) came out in 1991 & includes editorials (or “inspirational articles” as Lois Wilson called them) published between 1974 & 1984.

2. Because all the articles were selected by 3 past editors of The Forum magazine during that time, it reads quite a bit more formal than Volume 4 – which featured submissions by individual members of their all-time favorites.  Plus, Volume 3 doesn’t have any cute hand-drawn pictures in it which I just assumed it would since Volume 4 did, but I digress…  If you are able to borrow a copy of this discontinued book through your local District LDC or Archives chairperson, it is worth seeking out.  Even though the dates of the articles are becoming older every year, they do not feel dated.  It seems the editors had the foresight to know what would be timeless & that alone was worthy of being considered a “favorite.”

3. I had many favorite quotes from this book, but these are my top 4:

From page 42: “The constant practice of Al-Anon principles enables us to hear brilliant insights in the words of the uneducated, to find love in criticism, to be helped by those we’re helping & taught by those we’re teaching.  We can learn to see beauty in the most dismal surroundings, in the wrinkles on an aged face, in the mold on an old brick.  A positive attitude is a great blessing.”

extreme6From pages 82-83: “A Tibetan writer, Djwhal Kahul, has said that everything is spiritual which tends toward understanding, toward kindness, toward that which is productive of beauty & leads man on to a fuller expression of his divine potential.  Each advance we make in personal insight & awareness of others is spiritual growth.  We can leave the thickets of distrust & discouragement & climb up where we have new worlds at our feet & far horizons before us.”

From page 106: “Detachment is not the absence of love, but the absence of anxiety in love.”

From page 140: “I must stop pushing the river & just let it flow.”


Leave a comment

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!)