~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~

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PODCAST – Item #’s P-92 / P-90 – Reaching For Personal Freedom / Best of Public Outreach

Episode 7 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).

p92In part 1 of 5 of Episode 7, Mark shares how he used the workbook “Reaching For Personal Freedom” (item # P-92) in studying the Steps, Traditions, & Concepts horizontally.  He also highlights how a section on page 12 led to a spiritual awakening for him.

Freedom is specifically discussed in part 2 of 5.  He compares this book to other Al-Anon workbooks, explains how it differs, & I reveal a surprise  I’ve created an index for this book!  (It can be downloaded here: Reaching-For-Personal-Freedom_Index-Only.)  Also, find out what patterns I learned about the Legacies from creating an index by downloading this document: Reaching_Index-Words-Repeated.

In part 3 of 5 find out what two words I discovered are inter-related after creating an index for the book.  Mark talks about how he used to be before he came in the program & explores what I call a “big ticket item!”

p-90-newHis favorite piece of literature to use for outreach purposes is the service tool “Best of Public Outreach” (item # P-90) in part 4 of 5.  He shares how public outreach is what first got him into service in Al-Anon & calls out a “Getting Started” part on page 7, as well as pages 12-19 for several lists of outreach ideas.  He also explains how the workbook helped with a big outreach project he was involved with that was done in honor of Al-Anon’s founder, Lois Wilson, & how projects don’t need to be big to be effective.  Lastly, we discuss what it’s like to talk to people that are not familiar with the Al-Anon program.

In part 5 of 5, the conversation continues about Alateen outreach to Alcoholics Anonymous & how service has helped his program.  He shares what moved him emotionally at his first Area Assembly meeting & how it was similar to a Newcomer meeting!  Click this link to find this outreach book online: www.al-anon.org/members/pdf/bestofpublicoutreach.pdf & you can view Al-Anon’s two TV public service announcements here: www.al-anon.org/media-files.  Before wrapping up, Mark explains how being powerless & being hopeless are not the same thing!

**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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PODCAST – Item #’s P-24/27 / B-16 – Service Manual / Courage To Change

Episode 3 of my “CAL Chat” podcast is now available to listen to!  Once again, I had such a great conversation – this time with my guest, Cindy, about how the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual 2014-2017 (item # P-24/27) has improved her life, that I didn’t want to edit anything out so I had to break it up into 4 parts.  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 4, we discuss the spiritual principle of anonymity (from pages 91-94), how the manual is not a rule book, that it’s always evolving (much like our own recovery), & what it has in common with a Sponsor.

In part 2 of 4, we explore pages 68-69 about moving forward, what progress realistically looks like, & how disagreement can actually be a good thing!  Pages 229 & 235 are also highlighted from the Concepts Amendments section & how it reminded me of a ring being passed down in a family.  Cindy shares about how this fellowship is an opportunity to belong to something bigger than ourselves & where newcomers & long timers can meet together on pages 26-27.

Part 3 of 4 moves into discussion about how childhood experiences can influence how we see perfection, the Warranties (especially nonresistance from page 224), & punitive actions.  She also relates how Concepts 6 & 7 (from pages 193-194) have applied to her relationship with her children.

Outreach literature is the focus of part 4 of 4 where Cindy describes how she has creatively used the daily reader Courage To Change (item # B-16, B-17 for large print, eB-16 for the electronic version, & eA-16 for the audiobook version).  We eventually move into talking about Alateen literature & how those pieces can flow into Al-Anon & vice-versa because it’s all one program.  Everything is available to be read by anybody!  Lastly, listen to find out what page is possibly read the least in each daily reader!


Hope you enjoy listening & happy reading!!  😉



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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 # 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!)


MTG – Orlando – “You’re Not Alone AFG”

WHAT I LEARNED: I carry a tiny magic wand with me.  I told the newcomer that if I could wave it & make everyone better (including myself), I would have already done it & gotten on with my life.  I keep the wand with me as a reminder that it’s not about wishes it’s about work.  wizard


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.”


CAL – Item # B-21 – From Survival to Recovery

B-21WHAT I LEARNED: 1. For the fellowship, this book marked a major turning point in fully welcoming adult children of alcoholics in the mid 90’s.  At 300 pages, it’s probably only a few pounds, but it felt so much heavier than that because of all the memories it brought back up for me growing up in an alcoholic household.  Some of the stories even venture on being poetic in their agony – grab some tissue & see page 269 for “Untangling Confusion,” page 85 for “Saying It Aloud Helped Me” & page 89’s “All I Knew Was Bitterness.”

There’s a possibility that these pages won’t match up exactly if you have the 1st edition.  I’ve got the 2nd edition which was revised in 2007 to remove an excerpt of Al-Anon’s “promises” or “gifts.”  Per the 2005 Conference Summary, “It was the Committee’s further consensus that the passage not be promoted or reproduced as ‘promises’ or ‘gifts.’  In Al-Anon we offer newcomers our experience, strength, & hope.  We don’t make promises because each individual’s needs & situations are different.”

2. A short version of the book’s recurring theme is about creating something from nothing – or as stated better on page 206: “We are becoming the mature people we lacked in our childhood homes.” From parents that couldn’t give what they didn’t have, to reaching understanding & forgiveness, freedom is possible once we make peace with our past.

3. My favorite line is from page 229: “My family may have given me the disease, but it was my own actions & reactions that impaired me.”