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~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~


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CAL – Item # M-57 – My Journey in Service

WHAT I LEARNED: 1. While perusing through some Al-Anon service tools in the Area Archives, I came across “My Journey in Service” (item # M-57).  At roughly 60 pages, the booklet is designed as a journal so it has lots of lined paper & blank spaces for writing, plus it includes a CAL service-oriented quote on each page!  It originally came out in 1998 & is now discontinued because it was just an item sold “while supplies last.”  As far as its intent, per page 52 of the 1999 World Service Conference Summary, “It is a tool to familiarize the membership with powerful quotes contained in our literature.”   I personally don’t do journaling as part of my program study but I do fill out workbooks, so I think that’s similar – which reminded me of this profound quote from page 7 of “Reaching For Personal Freedom” (P-92): “As we write our answers & participate in this process, we become co-authors of the workbook.  As we proceed, this workbook becomes a record of our personal path to recovery, while it also connects us to a fellowship-wide process that we have in common with other Al-Anon members around the world.”

2. I have 6 favorite lines from this book (sorry, the pages aren’t numbered in the journal):

  • “I know I am in Al-Anon for my own recovery, & by volunteering to serve on the necessary committees, I translate phrases such as, “Let It Begin With Me” into action.” – From page 124 of “Al-Anon’s 12 Steps & 12 Traditions” (B-8) – the original version from 1981.
  • “Our responsibilities & opportunities for service extend far into the future.” – From page 195 of “Lois Remembers” (B-7).
  • “Service work heals the emptiness within me by replacing my dark obsession for another with my own loving light.” – From page 308 of “How Al-Anon Works” (B-22).
  • “To find the courage to speak up when needed, the maturity to keep silent when I feel like attacking & the ability truly to listen to the other person’s point of view all bring about the harmony & spiritual growth offered in Concept Four.” – From page 274 of “Paths To Recovery” (B-24).
  • “I’ve come to think of myself not as a person with limited professional expertise, but as a person with many unclassified but useful abilities.” – From page 49 of “When I Got Busy, I Got Better” (P-78).
  • “Thus, whenever we truly give of ourselves, almost magically we find that there is more of our selves to give.” – From page 101 of “How Al-Anon Works” (B-22).
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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.”