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~ My journey & joy through CAL & AFG adventures ~


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PODCAST – Item #’s B-22 / M-12 – How Al-Anon Works / Just For Today Bookmark

Episode 10 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, iHeartRADIO, & now the apps: Stitcher as well as TuneIn — you’ll be notified every time a new episode is posted).

Wendy shares, in part 1 of 4, about using the slogans from Chapter 9 of “How Al-Anon Works” (item # B-22 for hardcover, B-32 for softcover) as stepping stones to serenity & how serenity can eventually become a guiding force in our lives for making decisions.  We also look closer at “Let it Begin With Me” as not just something that we say at the end of an Al-Anon meeting or having to do with outreach.

In part 2 of 4, we focus on “Let Go & Let God” (especially the importance of faith in the 2nd half) & how a specific physical token can be used as a reminder to put this slogan into action!  I give recommendations on other CAL pieces to reference for a deeper dive into the slogans & lastly, find out why I consider slogans are similar to prismatic jewels.

The bookmark, “Just For Today” (M-12), is Wendy’s favorite piece of outreach literature in part 3 of 4.  We talk about the current conversation at Al-Anon’s headquarters, the World Service Office (WSO), regarding the recommendation to remove the PRAYER FOR TODAY section.  Using pages 57 – 60 of the “2016 World Service Conference Summary” (P-46), we explore the CAL process to remove, edit, or replace the prayer.  Wendy shares about the interaction between the Literature Committee & the World Service Conference (WSC) & how it’s important to not be afraid to have uncomfortable discussions that affect literature decisions.

In the last part (#4), Wendy shares what she is hoping for with a new change for the upcoming “2017 World Service Conference Summary” (P-46) due in August & what sets this item apart from the rest of the literature in the CAL Catalog (S-15).  She also reveals a unique location to leave the “Just For Today” bookmark that is too high of a risky spot for me.  Discover what is on the second “Just For Today” bookmark (M-13) & what one word on the wallet card version (M-11) is hidden in our literature!

**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 # 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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CAL – Item # N/A – Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2017

afa-2017WHAT I LEARNED: 1. My next podcast guest said that “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2017” was her favorite outreach piece that she wanted to talk about on my “CAL Chat” show, so it was time to read it all the way through!  I had read entire versions of previous ones so I was struck by several “firsts” that this 2017 magazine has & have listed them below:

A) Ever since this magazine debuted in 2006 (for the 2007 edition), the first page inside always featured a “Dear Reader” welcome letter from Al-Anon’s Executive Director, Ric B.  However, now that Ric B. has moved on (as of April 2016), there is no letter in the 2017 edition.  It has been replaced with 12 questions to help someone identify if Al-Anon is right for them.  We’ll have to see if next year’s edition goes back to having a letter because I have to admit, I kinda miss it.  It seemed to make the magazine more personable, but maybe that’s because I enjoyed the 2 times I was able to talk to Ric himself.  He was instrumental & supportive when I mentioned to him that I wanted to start this blog about CAL literature & it was his suggestion to start every entry with “WHAT I LEARNED.”  Thanks Ric!  I’m still learning!!!

B) This magazine also now has the toll-free number & website listed on the right side of every single page.  I think this is very helpful!  Especially if someone only has enough time to read one article, then that info is right there & they don’t have to hunt for it.

C) On page 18, you’ll find the first time that there’s a page dedicated to just finding Al-Anon on Facebook & it includes 4 QR (Quick Response) codes people can scan with their phones.  Why 4 of them??  1 each for English, Spanish, French, & Alateen!  Whoo-hoo – go Alateen!

m-76D) Last but certainly not least, the best thing about this 2017 edition, in my opinion, is that the cover prominently features a black mother & son (& the mom has a tattoo no less)!  Per page 29 of the 2016 World Service Conference (WSC) Summary, this is part of their effort to include more people from diverse backgrounds.  I love seeing this & it ties in well with the most recent version of the outreach bookmark (item # M-76).  In fact, when I leave these outreach magazines various places, I think I’ll put a bookmark in each.  That way, if someone doesn’t want to take the magazine, maybe they’ll at least take the bookmark!

2. My favorite line comes from page 24: “My first Al-Anon meeting was the one I didn’t attend.”  Intrigued??  Since this is an outreach piece available to all, I’ve posted the entire magazine here at this permanent link so you can read the rest of the story by clicking here to download it: Outreach Magazine 2017-English.

3. Pasted below are screenshots of this magazine throughout the years that you can also find at my Instagram account that celebrates all things CAL: www.instagram.com/calchatfan1.  Al-Anon, you’ve come a long way baby! 😉

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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 – Al-Anon & Alateen Groups at Work 2014-2017

p-24WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Recently on this blog, I did an in-depth review of the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual 2014-2017 (item # P-24/27).  If you read that review, then this entry will seem pretty similar for Al-Anon & Alateen Groups at Work 2014-2017 (item # P-24).  I used to think this item was a digest (or summary) of each of the 4 sections in the Service Manual, but that’s not the case.  This entire short booklet is word-for-word, exactly the same as only the first section (pages 7 thru 74) in the larger Service Manual.  At the current cost of $1.00, it’s a very inexpensive way to get the most crucial info out to each group or Group Representative plus it’s lighter to carry around than the Service Manual (which is pushing 300 pages)!

2. This booklet originally started out as a pamphlet in 1960 entitled Manual for Al-Anon Family Groups.  It was then re-titled in 1965 as Al-Anon Family Groups at Work.  It went through many revisions & kept being expanded but what I find most interesting (after researching the World Service Conference summaries) is that even though Alateen was started in 1957 (before the first Manual pamphlet was even published), the word “Alateen” does not appear in the pamphlet’s title until 1973!

3. What is covered in this booklet are primarily the basics that deal with the group level, i.e. how to start a group, what type of groups there are, what service positions are available within a group, etc  It doesn’t get into higher level District, Area, or World Service stuff until the last ten pages.  That’s why this is a perfect tool for everyone to have!  Plus, it has a meeting format outline in it, so whenever I have to chair a meeting & don’t have access to any of the group’s literature or meeting binder, this booklet has everything I need to open & close the meeting it makes me sound like I know what I’m doing!  Ha ha!  😛

4. I have 4 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 23: “In Al-Anon we find a Power greater than ourselves which can direct our lives into quiet, useful channels.”

From page 24: “Our program is based on suggestion, interchange of experience, & rotation of leadership.”

happy-friends-smiley-emoticonFrom page 69: “Each member puts forth his or her ideas, willing to sacrifice them, believing that the best outcome will come from the discussion.”

**BONUS: This is one of the few pieces of literature that mentions the “Three Obstacles To Success in Al-Anon.”  Which pamphlet also mentions them?  (Hint: see item # P-4!)

 


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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!)


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CAL – Item # P-77 – Sexual Intimacy & the Alcoholic Relationship

P-77WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Well surprise, surprise, this is not an instruction booklet on how to have sex with an alcoholic!  However, it does reassure me that I’m not the only one who has had difficulty in this area.  Intimacy, especially sexual intimacy, is a topic rarely brought up in Al-Anon meetings.  This must have been still true back in the early 90’s when this booklet was approved as a concept.  Members sent in articles for The Forum magazine for 2 years & it’s from those, that this book was put together & published in 1993.

2. Almost all the writings are from women (as mentioned on page 5) & it seemed that each selection was just a bit too short, leaving me wanting more of the “how’s” & less of the “what’s”.  A few touch on the importance of having a sponsor & doing their personal inventory (from Step 4) as being helpful.  And I do have to admit that Chapter 2, “Sex As A Weapon”, hit home with me personally as something I’m definitely guilty of doing in my past relationship.  But I think I was judging this book too harshly because I had expectations before I even read it (go figure!) & I wanted it to solve my problems (which no book alone could ever do – let’s be real)!  I had to take a moment & look back.  Per page A-13 of the World Service Conference (WSC) Summary from 1993, it mentions that these “sharings are the opinions of members who are beginning their journeys with intimacy on all levels” & the reason all the sharings are short is because the nature of how they were submitted in the first place – as letters to The Forum.

yaysmiles3. The most important thing about this 44-page booklet, in my opinion, is that it was even made at all!  It was a step toward lifting the taboo of this topic & inspiring members to talk openly – whether to their sponsor, another member, or in a meeting.  Sadly, it was discontinued in 2002 due to low demand from the fellowship.  But there is hope on the horizon  A new book on intimacy is being worked on!  Not sure yet when it will be available, but it will discuss intimacy in general, including sexual intimacy, in alcoholic relationships.  So there exists a possibility that doors that have once closed, might be re-opened to shine light on this topic.  (FYI: If you’d like to contribute an article for this new upcoming book, click here to download the sharing sheet.)

4. I have 6 favorite lines from this book:

From page 9: “It has never been my experience that out of physical closeness a spiritual closeness can arise, only vice-versa.”

From page 32: “love is an attitude in my life that I don’t have to prove or have proven to me.”

From page 36: “Today I believe that a good marriage is one in which two people don’t only enjoy things together but one in which two people can endure things together.”

From page 39: “Also, I am married one day at a time. This simplifies my life.”

583ce4309fb2eaf37c477f3fc9924252From pages 40: “Today I have taken care of my responsibilities, done something nice for someone else, & something good for me.  Today I have had a successful day.”

From pages 41: “It is in the atmosphere of acceptance that intimacy develops.”

 

**BONUS: Two stories from this discontinued booklet are still available to read in a popular book that is currently in print.  (Hint: See “Putting Myself in My Higher Power’s Hands” pgs 114-115 & “Redefining Love” pgs 225-226 from item # B-15!)