~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~


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.”

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CAL – Item # G-32 – Area Forum Coordinators

G-32WHAT I LEARNED: 1. This Guideline is the first place I’ve seen that states in writing what The Forum magazine doesn’t accept: skits, prayers, fictional stories, or poetry (except Alateen poetry which is being accepted on a trial basis).  This information is left off of The Forum Writing Guidelines sharing sheet (item # F-1).  Here’s the link so you can see for yourself: Forum Sharing Form

2. Question Who is The Forum representative at the group level?   Answer The GR (Group Representative)!  As a side note, an entire document called “Tips for GR’s as Forum representatives” is available as item # F-2.help

**BONUS: I recently had to reach out to my local Area Forum Coordinator for help from WSO.  See my entry on Guideline item # G-29 to find out why!

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


CAL – Item # G-29 – Outreach to Professionals

G-29WHAT I LEARNED: 1. This Guideline mentioned a phrase that was very curious to me: “sponsoring a professional.”  I had never thought of it that way before, but I guess a professional that isn’t aware of the program would be similar to a newcomer & would need a “go-to” person for guidance that was committed & knowledgeable

2.  Another thing that struck me was that Al-Anon is described as a credible community resource.  This got me thinking about the importance of integrity not just within the rooms, but outside as well & how we (as a fellowship) are perceived by others.  Traditions #6, 10, & 11 anyone???

3. Last but not least, according to this Guideline, a professional subscription of The Forum magazine is available at a discounted rate.  I’m going to look into this because I’m not sure if this info is still accurate.  I’ll post an update to this entry on what I find so stay tuned

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

***UPDATE (9/15/14): Here’s the answer I just got back from WSO regarding the discounted professional subscription to The Forum: “Thank you for your email regarding the Guideline G-29.  To answer your question, the information on the Guideline is incorrect and hasn’t been revised in a very long time.  The price for all Forum subscriptions in US is $11.00 USD and overseas/Canada the price is $23.00.  We have brought this information to the attention of the appropriate department for correction.”

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WORKSHOP – Melbourne – Day of Service Workshops

96082be0bcth_writingWHAT I LEARNED: 1. The main reason I went to this event was to attend a Forum Writing Workshop lead by our Area Alternate Delegate.  I thought, “Well, I’ll go, but I don’t have anything to write about.”  Then she mentioned the topic to write about was service work & how whatever I come up with doesn’t have to be perfect or lengthy.  If I have something to say, then I have something to put on paper & submit… & so I did!

2. I learned what a Shoo-Fly pie is!  🙂

**BONUS: All the sharing sheets you could possibly want (including the brand new one for Alateen Talk’s 50th Anniversary for 2014) can now be downloaded directly from the District 6 website by clicking this link: Sharing Forms

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CAL – Item # B-9D – Forum Favorites, Vol. 4

B-9DWHAT I LEARNED: 1. To see the early beginnings of this multi-volume book, we have to go back to an AA event, specifically the International Convention in 1970 where it made its debut as a hardcover book: Al-Anon’s Favorite Forum Editorials (item # B-2).  (Side note: Al-Anon didn’t start having its own International Conventions until 15 years later!)  Margaret D. spent 20 years editing 229 Forum magazine issues & this was a collection of her best editorials.  In 1982, the book was re-titled, printed as a softcover, & split into Volumes 1 & 2 (item #’s B-9A & B-9B respectively).  Volume 3 (item # B-9C) came out in 1991 & included editorials from the past 4 editors.  For Volume 4, which came out in 1993, members submitted so many of their favorite articles that the editorial committee only considered pieces that were published between 1954 & 1979.  The reason I bring all this history up is because there originally were plans for a Volume 5 that was going to be based on sharings from 1979 through the present, but WSC denied this motion in 1994 & all 4 volumes were eventually discontinued in 2000.  I had such fun reading this book that I think now, in 2014, it’s high time to see Volumes 5 & 6!

2. This book was so refreshing like having a cool sorbet after so many meals of meat & potatoes.  At 144 pages total, it quickly covers main principles of the program as well as new ways to look at the Steps & Traditions.  My favorite article is “The Prince Frog” that begins on page 37 & tells how warts can come & go whether we’re still living in a swamp or not. 🙂

3. Even though this book is no longer in print, I’ll be donating it to our District archives chairperson so she can add it to her lending library for others to check-out & enjoy a literary palate cleanser!

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CAL – Item # P-60 – Al-Anon’s 12 Traditions Illustrated

P-60WHAT I LEARNED: 1. This pamphlet answers the age-old question, “What do principles look like?”  The drawings accompany short explanations about the Traditions that originally appeared over the course of 1983 in The Forum magazine.

2. When I think of the Traditions, I usually think “Oh, they’re about unity they’re for the group, etc” but what came across to me in this pamphlet is that they’re also for the Newcomer.  Not in the sense that a Newcomer needs to start on them right away, but if the group isn’t working them continuously, then it’s the Newcomer that’s affected the most.  They are coming to the rooms to get out of a dysfunctional situation, not to walk into a different one.  Who would want to come back to that?  So Al-Anon keeps the Traditions around, because it’s the Traditions that keep Al-Anon around!  It’s like the program’s Möbius strip!

3. The other thing I used to think about the Traditions was that they kept the program from changing.  But that’s not the case at all.  They’re a guide as the program changes.  Al-Anon isn’t done growing yet & hopefully it never will!

Mobius Strip


CAL – Item # B-1 – Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism

AFA - BookWHAT I LEARNED:  1. To me, there’s something intriguing about reading discontinued books.  I feel like I’m uncovering something they no longer want me to know.  This is how I felt reading Al-Anon’s second book, Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism, that I got from our District archives chairperson.  It originally came out in 1965 at a time when the concept of alcoholism as a disease was gaining ground & AFG was trying to legitimize itself as a resource for professionals as well as for people from all walks of life.

While I was also given the 1st edition, the one I read was the 2nd edition from 1984 (where about half the book was overhauled).  The book was officially discontinued in 1998 because it was felt an annual outreach periodical could keep up better with current thinking on the disease – hence the title of the book was transferred to the magazine we have today.

2. The book is made up of 3 sections: articles from professionals, members’ sharings, & principles of the program.   The first part was refreshing because so much of our literature is emotional & from within the fellowship, but the assessments from doctors & psychologists were matter-of-fact clinical views from the outside looking in.  Especially the first article, where each stage a family goes through is detailed to the point that if I walked into an office to get a diagnosis, they could say, “Yep, you’re at this particular stage & this is what’s coming up…”  I’ve always thought what I went through was so chaotic & unpredictable, but apparently the path has a distinct pattern that is very well-worn.

3. I enjoyed that the stories were much longer than what is typically printed nowadays.  I came across one that was similar to my own, but then I remembered that the beginning of the story mentioned World War II.  Another talked about memories of Prohibition.  It was like reading a time capsule & feeling connected to the past.

4. My 2 favorite lines from this book are:

1) “If you have been put in your place long enough, you begin to act like the place.” (Sounds like my childhood!);

2) “A worldwide friendship.”  I’m so used to hearing “worldwide fellowship”, but I like “friendship” better!

**BONUS:  This is 1 of only 2 Al-Anon books given to the White House staff at “The 1970 White House Conference on Children.”  What was the other one?   (Hint: an early version of item #B-5!)

**DOUBLE BONUS:  The 1st edition of this book features a quote from a speech given at a Temperance Society gathering way back in 1842 that compared alcoholism to other hereditary diseases.  Who said it?  (Hint: the same person quoted on item # M-12!)