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~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~


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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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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!)


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CAL – Item # P-36 – Al-Anon Fact File

P-36WHAT I LEARNED: 1. For the professional community of the 70’s, they would have received this Fact File in a PR kit as a coated sheet.  To reduce costs in 1980, it became a “self-cover” & is still a good outreach tool that explains AFG’s public relations policies by paraphrasing the Traditions for the uninitiated (ha ha).

2. This is the first pamphlet I’ve come across that finally mentions the internet in the anonymity sentence: “At the public level of press, radio, TV, Internet, & film”  (And yes, internet was printed with a capital “I”.)  I’ve been waiting to see if this was listed anywhere in our literature & here it is!   From what I’ve seen lately though, Tradition 11 won’t be officially changed anytime soon to include the word “internet” because it’s considered covered under the word “press” but the word “TV” wasn’t added until 1960 & networks had already been broadcasting for more than ten years, so I’m still holding out hope!

3. This pamphlet also lists 8 “vital elements” to recovery in this program.  Vital element #3 is my favorite.

**BONUS: This Fact File is third to the last on my lowest sellers list.  What’s my absolute lowest selling pamphlet?  (Hint: see item #P-59!)


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CAL – Item # P-41 – Facts about Alateen

P-41WHAT I LEARNED:  This is the sixth item in the Professional Packet & is very cut & dry info about Alateen – no extra frills or sharings in this pamphlet, just the facts ma’am!  I did find it interesting that while the Alateen 12 Steps are exactly the same as Al-Anon’s, some of their Traditions are slightly different – especially Tradition Five.


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CAL – Item # S-17 – Are You Troubled by Someone’s Drinking?

S-17WHAT I LEARNED:  1. This is the fourth item in the Professional Packet & is one of my top selling outreach items – now I can see why.  This questionnaire is written very broadly so it can apply to anyone affected by alcoholism – including adult children of alcoholics & kids that might be thinking about Alateen as well.

2. This item could almost double as a list of coping mechanisms, games I played, & the emotional impact of my attempts to control the uncontrollable.  So if someone asks me “What were you like before the program & what did you do?” I can hand them this leaflet & say, “Here’s a list of 20 things just to start off with!”


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CAL – Item # S-20 – Has Your Life Been Affected by Someone Else’s Drinking?

S-20WHAT I LEARNED: This is the third item in the Professional Packet & is a leaflet of 20 questions that I’m presuming the professional would give to a kid to see if Alateen is for them.  …If only the counselor I was forced to see back in my high school days would have given this to me!   Because I always find myself wishing that I would’ve learned about this program earlier!!

Smiley Phone**BONUS: This questionnaire is just 1 of approximately 80 items that are available electronically.  Many are from the Outreach materials category & are great for sending to someone that prefers reading from their phone!   Visit either of these 2 sites to start downloading free literature:   AFG CAL Store   or  AFG Members’ Website


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CAL – Item # S-37ES – Fact Sheet for Professionals

S-37Last week I finished the Men’s Newcomer Packet (item # K-23) since all the other items in the packet are ones I’ve already commented on.  Time to move onto the next packet…

WHAT I LEARNED: 1. This is the first pamphlet in the Professional Packet (K-30) & the AFG program is not described as a therapy group, but rather as a Community Resource.  In fact, so far the only literature I’ve seen that mentions Al-Anon as therapy is in The Al-Anon Family Groups (Classic Edition) (B-5) – see page 151.  Nowadays, I see the term “mutual support” &, of course, AFG can never be considered a self-help program because it’s a we program!

2. There’s a figure quoted in this pamphlet from a 2006 AFG survey that about a third of members are referred by professionals.  That’s more than I thought.

**BONUS: I’ve done a little bit more research on members referred by professionals & according to the latest survey from 2012, this number is now up to almost 50%!  There are nine categories of different types of professionals that are doing the referring.  Click here to see the survey results yourself: AFG Members’ Website