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~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~


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N. FL Area Convention 2017 – Days 1 – 3

WHAT I LEARNED: 1. When applauding an alcoholic’s total years of sobriety, I am actually applauding God’s work!

2. Tradition 4 is about protecting Al-Anon for future generations.

3. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection Connection to a Higher Power.

4. Sometimes I need to put butter on it, & “let it slide!”

**BONUS: Here’s the website for next year’s convention in Orlando: What’s Your Emoji?  It will be September 14 – 16th, 2018.  See you there!!

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PODCAST – Item #’s P-78 / B-21 – When I Got Busy, I Got Better / From Survival To Recovery

Episode 11 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 any of these sites/apps: iTunes, Google Play Music, iHeartRADIO, Stitcher & TuneIn — and you’ll be notified every time a new episode is posted).

Susan shares, in part 1 of 4, about how the booklet “When I Got Busy, I Got Better” (item # P-78) impacted her life.  We discuss the different types of fear in Chapter One, how service keeps us from isolating, & that we’re so glad there’s no performance review in service work!

In part 2 of 4, I ask her a question from page 23 of “When I Got Busy, I Got Better.”  She explains helping vs enabling, we discuss a quote from page 2, how we could use the second half of the book in a meeting, & the difference between being grateful & thankful.  A NOTE OF CAUTION: this is the first episode to include EXPLICIT language, so proceed accordingly!  😉

In part 3 of 4, her pick for her favorite outreach piece of literature is the book “From Survival To Recovery” (B-21) because she grew up in an alcoholic home.  She highlights the chapter “Picking Up The Tools” on page 107.  We also talk about why 1994 was a good year for Conference Approved Literature (CAL) & how this book marked a turning point for Al-Anon.

Susan & I talk about different ways (in part 4 of 4) to use that book for outreach purposes — including raffle baskets!  We also explore how one can contribute to Al-Anon other than putting money in the Seventh Tradition basket.  She singles out the section “Steps to the Future” from page 255 (or 257 depending on the book’s edition) & we remember what it was like growing up in an alcoholic home.  Lastly, we look forward to the brand new book that will be debuting at the international convention in 2018!  International Convention Website

**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 # B-23 / Various – Courage To Be Me / Various Alateen Literature

Episode 8 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).

In part 1 of 3 of this very special Episode 8, four Alateen members share what they like best about Alateen literature – specifically the “Alateen Talk” newsletter (no item #), “Courage To Be Me” (B-23), page 26 (January 26th) from the daily reader “Alateen – A Day At A Time” (B-10), & pages 25-26 from the “Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual” (P-24/27).  They talk about a favorite Step, what Tradition One means, & some powerful characteristics that can define someone affected by alcoholism.

alateen-lit-2The conversation continues in part 2 of 3 with three more Alateen members talking about their favorite parts from “Courage To Be Me”, page 8 from the booklet “Alateen Talks Back On: Detachment” (P-73), & pages 268-269 (September 24th & 25th) from the daily reader “Living Today In Alateen” (B-26).  They highlight a letter written to a parent, how they struggle with expectations of love, & how a member can eventually resemble the image on page 269 from “Living Today In Alateen”.  Also find out what message is repeated several times in “Courage To Be Me” & how it’s like a warm reminder!

In part 3 of 3, Alateen members share what they would like to say to Al-Anon members, & they directly address the teenager that is living with alcoholism that hasn’t been to an Alateen meeting yet.  They explain how Alateen is like a family environment & that they don’t bite!  The show wraps up with a unique “Last Words” section from a couple of Alateen group sponsors, where they cover the importance of hearing from Alateen members, how the Seventh Tradition is practiced from an Alateen perspective, the unexpected benefits of doing Alateen service, & how participating in this podcast is similar to doing a gratitude list!

instagram**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-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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CAL – Item # P-92 – Reaching For Personal Freedom

p92WHAT I LEARNED: 1. The guest for my next “CAL Chat” podcast episode (#7) chose this workbook, “Reaching for Personal Freedom” (item # P-92), as his favorite literature piece.  I’ll be posting that episode soon at www.calchat.libsyn.com, but wanted to get my review in this blog first  This workbook has the rare distinction of being the only CAL item to come from members sharing via several blogs on the World Service Office websites!  It debuted at the 2013 Al-Anon International Convention in Vancouver, B.C. & has the subtitle: “Living the Legacies.”  What exactly are the Legacies???  1) Recovery through the 12 Steps, 2) Unity through the 12 Traditions, & 3) Service through the 12 Concepts of Service.  To me, the book seems to be more personable than the other CAL books that have questions in them.  It has rather short sharings & the questions are based directly on the individual stories.  The other nice thing is that each individual Step, Tradition, & Concept is pretty short too – about 3-5 pages, which made it easier to read as well.

2. So I read this book twice, once straight through, then a second time slower because I wanted to create an index (because it currently doesn’t have one).  The reason is, I treat this as a regular book that I bring to groups & based on the meeting topic, having an index handy helps me select an applicable reading.  It was also a new way to look at the Legacies – patterns of words came up over & over that I wasn’t expecting!  For instance under Step 5 (“Admitted to God, to ourselves, & another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”), the words that came up 3 times or more were the following:

Admitting, Alcoholism, Behavior, Help, Honesty, Listening, Realize, Trust, & Understand.

The word that appears the most overall in the book is “help.”  But that’s because it was in a lot of the questions.  For example, “How did Tradition One help you to see your role in relationships?”

The word “family” & “relationships” came up a lot though in the Traditions section!  In fact, I’ve included my entire index, as well as a list of the words that appear 3 times or more for each Step, Tradition, & Concept, here: Reaching-For-Personal-Freedom_Index-Only & Reaching_Index-words-Repeated.  Hope you enjoy these documents!

3. Overall, I felt the theme of the book was about change & I can see why every Step, Tradition & Concept that is truly lived, not just studied, results in some kind of change.  But it’s interesting to note that while I was creating the index, that the word “change” came up a lot along with the word “fear” & I think that’s because the two are inter-related.  I don’t think I’ve ever had one without the other!

4. I have 5 favorite lines from this piece:

From page 19: “I limit myself & the world, but God doesn’t.”

From page 32: “God works within us, without us.”

From page 50: “Having a sense of entitlement is not attractive, serene, or spiritual.”

praying-smiley-emoticonFrom page 59: “Over the years, my prayers have changed because my prayers changed me.”

From page 79: “Once I found myself, I belonged wherever I was.”


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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 # P-24/27 – Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual 2014-2017

P2427WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Originally, I only read the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual on an as-needed basis, but when my next podcast guest said that this  was her favorite book that she wanted to talk about on my “CAL Chat” show, I had to dust off my manual & put on my scuba reading mask to do a deep dive!  (FYI: The podcast episode about this book is now available to listen to.  You can visit the “CAL Chat” webpage at: www.calchat.libsyn.com or you can subscribe to it for free on iTunes & Google Play Music as well.)

 

2. First, let’s look a little bit at its history by talking about its item # P-24/27.  Even though this is a book, it has a “P-” designated pamphlet item number.  That’s because it was originally 4 separate pamphlets:

1) Manual for Al-Anon Family Groups was first published in 1960.  It was then re-titled in 1965 as Al-Anon Family Groups at Work (item # P-24).

–No image available for the original P-24–

2) Digest of Al-Anon & Alateen Policies (item # P-25) which came out in 1975.

3) Al-Anon’s Twelve Concepts of Service (item # P-26) came out in 1970.

4) The World Service Handbook for Al-Anon & Alateen Groups originally began as World Service Conference (WSC) manuals, but first appeared in pamphlet form in 1973 (item # P-27).

Back in the day, you could buy them individually for $1 each or all 4 pamphlets as a set for a reduced cost.  It wasn’t until 1992 that they were combined into one book – with a separate index.  (And from what I can tell, this 1992 book marks the last time in our Conference Approved Literature that the Concepts were written as Roman numerals – so for example, Concept 12 appeared as “Concept XII”.)

1992_Manual

When I went to District Meetings or Area Assemblies, I always felt that others knew some secret – but it’s not that way at all – it’s just usually in the Service Manual.  Listed below is more stuff I just found out about that I didn’t know:

A) There is a section about drugs, narcotics, & prescription medications!  “Occasional discussion of this topic is acceptable at an Al-Anon or Alateen meeting as it may be one of the results of living with alcoholism.” (Page 124)

B) It’s possible that an Alateen member may be elected Delegate!  (Page 141)

C) We have caucuses!??!  (Page 132)

D) Why panel numbers always skip by 3.  “The elections of the three panels are staggered so that a Conference always includes one panel of Delegates with two years’ experience.”  (Page 133)

E) The language stating the corporation’s purpose on Al-Anon’s Certificate of Incorporation is quite a bit different than Al-Anon’s purpose found in Tradition Five.  (Page 138)

F) Paid staff members at the World Service Office (WSO) don’t do Twelfth Step work – per Tradition Eight.  (Page 34)

G) An Information Service Representative (ISR) is different than an Al-Anon Information Service Liaison (AISL).  (Page 39)

H) Al-Anon offers an inmate correspondence service!  (Page 73)

I) A state may only divide once.  (Page 142)  In looking over previous WSC summaries, this decision was made so that one state (or a few states), would not gain more representation/votes than others.

J) Major revisions are coming to the manual!!  “*The entire WSC committee structure is under review.  Text will be updated in the next printing.”  (Page 136)

3. If I had to pick a theme for this book, it would be evolution.  It’s replete with sidebar markings in the margins (that reflect the new revisions added), copious footnotes, & amendments galore.  In fact, this is one book that even though it’s printed only periodically (mine covers 2014-2017), revisions still come in from WSO on the Members’ website (www.al-anon.org/members-site) that are to be printed & inserted into my manual.  It’s a book that I have a responsibility to keep up-to-date because it’s ever changing.  I can’t say that about any other item in our catalog!

4. I was surprised to find that my favorite part is the Concepts Amendments section which begins on page 229.  It shows how the original text used to be in 1969.  They included it in case we ever lose our way & need to find it again.  🙂  Some of the original language is emotionally charged & on page 235, the first 3 paragraphs mention how the old timers were once fearful, but eventually felt more secure about the future of the fellowship.

To me, it’s like a grandmother, let’s call her Lois W., passing down her wedding ring to me & saying “I want you to have this.  It’s very special.  It carries with it all my good intentions.”

And she’s a little fearful of what might happen to it so to make sure I know it’s special, she tells me the history behind it & now it’s not just any ring, because it’s imbued with all this meaning & importance.

This Service Manual is about finding out about this ring!  This fellowship that has been passed onto me & entrusted to me.  And why it’s special & what I can do to look after it for the small amount of time that I have it before I pass it on too.

I found I was personally very moved by this Service Manual on an emotional level more than I thought I would be.

5. I have several favorite lines from this book:

From page 7: “our benefits are measured by our willingness to share them with others.  For we know we can never give as much as we receive.”

From page 89: “’Teaching’ is not compatible with the Al-Anon principle of sharing.”

From page 230: “Change does not necessarily spell progress.”

From page 235: “we found that our fears had been largely groundless.”

From page 238: “Our entire Al-Anon program rests squarely on the principle of mutual trust.  We trust God, we trust Al-Anon, & we trust one another.”

From page 261: “Penny-pinching could affect our services & deprive us of the confidence of our groups.  Such false & unimaginative economy could prove very costly—in spirit, in service, & in money.  Real prudence is neither hoarding nor recklessness.  We may occasionally be compelled to risk temporary deficits

From page 276: “Article 12 of the Conference Charter might be called ‘The Service Bill of Rights,’ because these Warranties, & especially this one, express deep & loving respect for the spiritual liberties of our fellows.  May God grant that we shall never be so unwise as to desire anything less.”

From page 279: “Al-Anon is prepared to give away its knowledge & experience—all except the Al-Anon name itself.”

From page 281: “There is no authority that has to be supported; no prestige, power, or pride that has to be satisfied.  And we have no property or money that is worth quarreling about.”

8_14_10From page 282: “Our freedom to serve is truly the freedom by which we live & have our being.”

From page 289: “no one wished to see a spiritual way of life incorporated.”

**BONUS: Besides this manual, only 2 other pieces of conference approved literature are spiral-bound.  What are they?  (Hint: see item #’s P-91 & P-92!)