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~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~


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PODCAST – Item #’s B-16 / N/A – Courage To Change / Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2017

Episode 9 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, iHeartRADIO, & now the apps: Stitcher as well as TuneIn — you’ll be notified every time a new episode is posted).

In part 1 of 4, Pat shares how one particular sentence from page 199 (July 17th) from the daily reader “Courage To Change” (B-16) impacted her life.  She breaks down some of the major components that are involved in her recovery, how this reading ties into the second part of Step One, & which roles she identifies with from the pamphlet “Alcoholism, A-Merry-Go-Round Named Denial” (P-3).

The conversation continues in the second part about “Courage To Change”.   We explore more components that contribute to making it in recovery, which slogans have helped us out along the way, & how reading the literature can show that we’ve changed.  Also find out a few fun facts about this daily reader!

In part 3 of 4, she highlights sections from her favorite outreach piece of literature, the new “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2017” magazine.  Discover two things that were done on this edition that were a “first” in this magazine’s history.  We remember back to how we felt coming into our very first Al-Anon meeting & how desperation can be a gift.

Pat explains in the last part, (#4), that of all the things she has tried, how Al-Anon is the only thing that truly helped.  We discuss ways to enhance the magazine while using it for outreach purposes & she wraps up with a “Last Words” section about amends & Step Nine.

**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 # N/A – Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2017

afa-2017WHAT I LEARNED: 1. My next podcast guest said that “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2017” was her favorite outreach piece that she wanted to talk about on my “CAL Chat” show, so it was time to read it all the way through!  I had read entire versions of previous ones so I was struck by several “firsts” that this 2017 magazine has & have listed them below:

A) Ever since this magazine debuted in 2006 (for the 2007 edition), the first page inside always featured a “Dear Reader” welcome letter from Al-Anon’s Executive Director, Ric B.  However, now that Ric B. has moved on (as of April 2016), there is no letter in the 2017 edition.  It has been replaced with 12 questions to help someone identify if Al-Anon is right for them.  We’ll have to see if next year’s edition goes back to having a letter because I have to admit, I kinda miss it.  It seemed to make the magazine more personable, but maybe that’s because I enjoyed the 2 times I was able to talk to Ric himself.  He was instrumental & supportive when I mentioned to him that I wanted to start this blog about CAL literature & it was his suggestion to start every entry with “WHAT I LEARNED.”  Thanks Ric!  I’m still learning!!!

B) This magazine also now has the toll-free number & website listed on the right side of every single page.  I think this is very helpful!  Especially if someone only has enough time to read one article, then that info is right there & they don’t have to hunt for it.

C) On page 18, you’ll find the first time that there’s a page dedicated to just finding Al-Anon on Facebook & it includes 4 QR (Quick Response) codes people can scan with their phones.  Why 4 of them??  1 each for English, Spanish, French, & Alateen!  Whoo-hoo – go Alateen!

m-76D) Last but certainly not least, the best thing about this 2017 edition, in my opinion, is that the cover prominently features a black mother & son (& the mom has a tattoo no less)!  Per page 29 of the 2016 World Service Conference (WSC) Summary, this is part of their effort to include more people from diverse backgrounds.  I love seeing this & it ties in well with the most recent version of the outreach bookmark (item # M-76).  In fact, when I leave these outreach magazines various places, I think I’ll put a bookmark in each.  That way, if someone doesn’t want to take the magazine, maybe they’ll at least take the bookmark!

2. My favorite line comes from page 24: “My first Al-Anon meeting was the one I didn’t attend.”  Intrigued??  Since this is an outreach piece available to all, I’ve posted the entire magazine here at this permanent link so you can read the rest of the story by clicking here to download it: Outreach Magazine 2017-English.

3. Pasted below are screenshots of this magazine throughout the years that you can also find at my Instagram account that celebrates all things CAL: www.instagram.com/calchatfan1.  Al-Anon, you’ve come a long way baby! 😉

afa-slideshow_part-1-of-6_2afa-slideshow_2-of-6_2afa-slideshow_part-3-of-6_2

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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 # 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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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 # 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!)


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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!)