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Conference Approved Literature
Click any image to enlarge. Click the title for more information (the link opens a new window which goes to the Al-Anon Family Groups Headquarters website).
Why Read CAL?Conference Approved Literature (CAL) is one of the tools to help families and friends recover from the effects of someone else’s drinking. Our daily readers inspire many to change their attitudes, for we believe changed attitudes can aid recovery. It’s nice to know that we can turn to our literature for hope and inspiration whenever a meeting is not immediately available or our sponsor or other members cannot be reached at 3:00 am. Some of our literature explains in detail what the Al-Anon and Alateen programs are all about. In many pieces, members share their personal experiences of how they go about recovering from the deadly affects of alcoholism permeating their households. Other books cover specific topics such as learning how to handle loss, in all it’s many forms, found in the alcoholic drama swirling around us. Like any other tool, the more you use it, the better you’ll become at recovery. Al-Anon has a process of approving the content of its literature called the Conference Approval Process. This assures that the literature is identifiably Al-Anon in content and feeling, is understandable by the broadest based reading audience, is timely and factually accurate. The books, pamphlets and periodicals listed here reflect the experiences of Al-Anon and Alateen members as they recover from the disease of alcoholism. Literature that has completed this process include the words “Approved by World Service Conference Al-Anon Family Groups”. Many items are also available in Spanish and French (see SS-16 or FS-16).
How to Obtain Al-Anon and Alateen LiteratureAl-Anon members, the public and health professionals wishing to obtain Al-Anon or Alateen literature may do so in one of several ways. Meetings: Most Al-Anon and Alateen meetings have Al-Anon and Alateen literature available. They may sell the literature or ask for a donation, usually at the price that they paid for it. For a list of meeting locations, visit the Meetings Page. Literature Distribution Centers: Many Al-Anon and Alateen groups staff local centers where literature may be purchased. Some will also accept phone, FAX or mail orders. Some will also arrange to mail the order to you. Since volunteers staff most of the literature distribution centers, centers are open for limited hours. Click to find a Literature Distribution Center near you. Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters: To purchase literature from Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., write to 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617, click on this web site address www.al-anon.alateen.org or call 757-563-1600. Current Public Service Announcements (PSAs): All PSAs contain the WSO’s toll-free meeting information number for the US and Canada. Guidelines are available in PDF format on the Al-Anon Members Website.
Literature for Members with Special NeedsSome Al-Anon and Alateen literature is available in Braille, CDs and large print type. Some CD and large print books are distributed by Al-Anon Family Groups, Inc. and may be available locally. Details of available literature and where to obtain it outside of the Northern California area can be found in the Al-Anon/Alateen Directory for Members with Special Needs (pdf) from Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617, Phone: (757) 563-1600 Fax (757) 563-1655
Writing WorkshopsWhy is the NCWSA doing writing workshops?
- To encourage members to write their stories and share them so we may learn from each other.
- To encourage members to help WSO publish its new book on Intimacy and the Alcoholic Relationship. (Working title only, final title not yet decided.) They need a LOT more member stories to get the book out. Anything YOU think may be relevant to this issue IS relevant. They especially want unusual stories and diversity of members. So if you do not think your story has been printed, it probably has not, so YOU must write it! Please send any share to wso@ al-anon.org (Remove the space after the “at” sign before sending), and put Intimacy in the subject line.
- To encourage interest in The Forum!
CAL Quotes of the Month! (Lit Hits)Welcome to the NCWSA Quote of the Month! This is an opportunity to get more acquainted with our Conference Approved Literature (CAL) in Al-Anon. It is a service of the Literature/Forum Coordinator and Alternate Coordinator in Northern California Al-Anon. Find the answer to a quote and send it to the Literature Coordinator and see if you are the first to receive a Lit Hit Hurrah! Send your favorite quotes to the same email and see if you can stump the fellowship!
Current Lit Hit
From the pamphlet P-35 entitled “Why is our literature Conference Approved?”.
“In the early days of Al-Anon, before there was a World Service Conference, individual groups wrote and distributed their own literature. Some of these materials reflected the principles of Al-Anon, others did not. A.A. literature was also used at Al-Anon meetings in the 1950s. In 1962 and 1965, the World Service Conference voted unanimously to recommend to groups the exclusive use of Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature. This encourages Al-Anon unity and assures that the Al-Anon message at our meetings will be clear and consistent.”
Past Lit HitsBelow is the history of the quotes which have been posted. They were originally posted only on the NCWSC list serve and were added to the NCWSA website Literature page in January 2013.
From the “Al-Anon Alateen Service Manual 2041-2017”, page 53. Reprinted with permission from WSO.
The group conscience is the result of the group’s business meeting discussions. The group conscience is the will of the group. The guiding principles for the group conscience are always the Twelve Traditions and the Twelve Concepts of Service. It may be helpful for the group to review these principles prior to any group discussions. Some simple group decisions may be decided quickly; however, others may take time. It is by taking the time necessary to hear from all members who want to participate that a group conscience evolves. In order to make an informed group conscience decision, members need access to all the information about the issue they are being asked to discuss, they need clarity on what their discussions hope to accomplish, and they are asked to trust each other’s motives and capabilities. By sharing information as equals, taking time for discussion, and maintaining principles above personalities during the discussions, groups are often able to reach unanimity in their decisions. If unanimity is not reached in the allotted timeframe of the meeting, discussions may continue at another time. Once a group conscience decision is made, the entire group supports the decision. Concept Five tells us that members have the right of appeal. If a member disagrees with the outcome of a group conscience decision, they have the right to submit an appeal for reconsideration back to the body that made the decision. After an appeal is heard, regardless of whether the decision is maintained or altered, the individual accepts the group conscience.
From “Inside Al-Anon“. Reprinted with permission from WSO.
The CMA (Current Mailing Address) provides a vital service to the groupThe service position of CMA (Current Mailing Address) provides a direct link from the Al‑Anon World Service Office to each Al‑Anon group. Whether the group’s mail comes to an individual member’s address or to a Post Office Box, the CMA is responsible for collecting his or her group’s hard copy and electronic mail, including the Group e-News publication, and taking it to the group. The group’s CMA provides a vital service in connecting members with the WSO, and is a position well suited for those with limited availability. All that is expected is a commitment to passing on information in a timely manner, and coordinating a replacement when not available. Group e-News is a monthly newsletter provided by the WSO, via e-mail, to the CMA for each group. Distributed in English, Spanish, and French, Group e-News contains announcements on the latest in recovery and service to enhance all members’ understanding and fulfillment in the Al‑Anon program. If your group is not receiving Group e-News every month, find out if your group has provided an e-mail address to the WSO. (This may be the CMA’s e-mail, another member’s e-mail, or a group e-mail address set up for this purpose.) Your group can contact your Area Group Records Coordinator or the WSO Group Records Department to verify or change the CMA information on file. The “New Group Registration/Update” section under the “Groups” tab on the Members’ Web site provides more information. Thank you to all CMAs who are doing their part to help connect Al‑Anon members with information for their recovery from the effects of someone else’s alcoholism.
The following is from WSO’s “Area Highlights“. Reprinted with permission from WSO.
Seventh Tradition – An Investment in Ourselves An Al‑Anon friend and I recently discussed a shortfall that was reported at a service meeting about the yearly budget for our Al-Anon General Service Office (GSO). My friend, a longtime member, and I decided we had to do something! When we came into the fellowship 20 years ago, we gave a pound a week and realized we still give a pound a week – even though our income has increased. I suggested to my friend that we each consider donating five times that amount each month to our group. This would be over a pound a week and allow the group to give a larger donation to the GSO. We agreed we had to do something to invest in the future of Al‑Anon because we realized that our financial support would ultimately be an investment in ourselves! Anonymous, UK and EireThe opinions expressed here are strictly those of the person who gave them and do not necessarily reflect the views of the WSO.
The following is from “Inside Al-Anon” in the April Forum. Reprinted with permission from WSO.
”The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the person who gave them and do not necessarily reflect the views of “Inside Al-Anon.”
‘Our common welfare’ — World Service NotesThree simple ways you can help to increase awareness of Al‑Anon. When time is a factor, here are a few ideas for public outreach service activities that can make a huge difference in the lives of many: 1. Distribute copies of Al‑Anon Faces Alcoholism in the waiting rooms of your local doctors’ offices, or in the offices of any professionals whose clients may need Al‑Anon. 2. Visit the ‘Al‑Anon WSO’ Facebook and Twitter pages and the ‘Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.’ YouTube page, and share the posts with friends without breaking your anonymity by identifying yourself as a member. 3. Call your local TV and radio stations, and newspapers to thank them for playing Al-Anon public service announcements (PSAs) and for publishing articles about Al-Anon. Let them know they have helped to reach out to the more than 25% of people in the community who have been affected by someone else’s alcoholism, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). As you become involved in Al‑Anon service, enjoy the benefits you will receive through personal growth and recovery! Talk to your GR, DR, or Area PO Coordinator, or call the WSO, for more ideas on how you can get involved in service activities that will fit in with your schedule and interests. You can also visit the ‘Public Outreach’ section of the Members’ Web site www.al‑anon.org/members for a wealth of information about how you can get involved today.”
The following is from “Inside Al-Anon“. Reprinted with permission from WSO.Inside Al-Anon January 2013
The following is from “The Forum“. Reprinted with permission from WSO.
Talk to Each OtherThe opinions expressed here are strictly those of the person who gave them and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Forum. In the June 2009 issue of The Forum a Group Representative (GR) shared that the members of her group are not interested in hearing her report or in providing feedback for her to take to the District and Area meetings. Members from the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom responded! Below are some of their sharings. Here’s what you had to say: The following sharings were posted 11/01/09
“I have been the Group Representative for my home group for 2-1/2 years. Our group is small, and they listen politely when I give my reports. In our group we have reports as part of the agenda, before we begin discussing our main topic for the evening. I try to mention only the highlights or business that is pertinent to the group rather than mentioning Regional or World issues. I make copies of pertinent information for the Secetary’s folder that is passed around at each meeting. This folder contains flyers of upcoming open meetings, WSO flyers, etc. If there is business that needs to be discussed further, we table it until the next meeting in order to have enough time for our regular meeting topic. I have been in Al-Anon for over 30 years and have noticed that generally our newer members do not want to participate in group business. Having the report during the meeting is my way of communicating with all our members.”Linda D., WI
“I thought it was interesting that your request appeared across from a page that touched on the principle of “attraction” vs. “promotion.” I think this principle comes into play when bringing information to the group. When I was a GR, I experienced the same thing, so I thought: “What can I do to make this information attractive?” Here are my ideas:” “Keep it short. It is better to take three minutes at five meetings than 15 minutes at one meeting. Share one announcement at a time, if necessary.” “Keep the group in mind. How does the information pertain to them? Why should they care?” “Keep your chin up and keep smiling. If you are enthusiastic about your service, it will catch on. And even if it doesn’t, you are getting the benefit of it, whether the group gets it or not.” “Last but not least – I always think of this story. Apparently Lois was asked: which is the spiritual part of the program? And she said: “There is no spiritual part, it’s ALL spiritual.” For me, that definitely includes the business part of Al-Anon. If we don’t take care of our business, soon there will be no recovery from the family disease.”Love in service, Lisa W., PA
“After reading your article in The Forum, I wanted to reply with my own experience of being a GR. When I first took on the role and learned how much wonderful information I gained as a GR, I was so enthusiastic to go back to my group and “make it healthier,” but they didn’t really want what I had, at least, not right away. It took quite some time for the changes to happen, but they did. The most important thing I learned about my GR role, was to say something, possibly have a group conscience, and then let the group conscience decide what was best for the group. In other words, “Let Go and Let God.” I learned to try and let go of my need to make things better for my group. It was amazing but the changes did happen, just not by me or in the time frame I wanted.” “As far as how our group does business, it has set aside a short time at the beginning of the meeting where any notices or business are handled quickly. If more time is required or if there are concerns on how the group is running, we either call a group conscience or have a group inventory. Our group still has a lot of problems with filling service roles, but many other things have improved and it’s a lovely group to be a part of.” “Also, I found that I could just highlight the things that I felt were most important to the group, in any reports, rather than read out the whole thing. Plus I would bring a copy to leave for the group to read, should anyone wish to. Most people aren’t that interested; it took some time of informing the group for some members to start to get interested.” “There’s no doubt for me, I grew so much over this period and I’ve gone on to sponsor others in service, which has been a real joy.”Debbie, Hove, UK
“I read that someone was having a problem with getting their group to be interested in reports from District and Area meetings the GR attends. Wow! I’ve been a GR off and on for my tenure in Al-Anon – 40 years. I can picture the eyes glazing over, people getting up for coffee, and some actually raising their hands to stop me! I understand how hard it is to make service above the group level interesting. Let’s face it – it is boring. Assembly meetings can get out of hand with egos and long-winded reports.” “However, it is absolutely necessary, specially when I remind the group that without this part of our program, our wonderful literature would not exist. The basic guidelines that are available for group functions have all come about because someone gave service to the greater cause. We are a world-wide fellowship BECAUSE of someone going to District, or Area meetings.” “It is also good to remember that newcomers are clueless. A brief qualification of the report is necessary if there are newcomers. The report I give is from my notes, and I try to avoid names or details…just the facts. If there are financial statements to be reviewed, I try to give the bottom line and put them on the literature table for any who want a closer look. We usually bring back flyers and announcements but unless they are current, I leave them out of my report and make the announcements at a later time. I keep it simple and short.” “Service is all about attraction rather than promotion. If I smile, and share what a great time I had, it weighs greater than if I ask for reimbursement and tell each and every thing that went on. Next time I could have a whole carful going with me! I know – I’ve done both!!”Shelia K., CA
“I have found it more effective to send a clear binder around the group for routine announcements. On the photo called CoverGR, my finger is pointing to a pen that should be included and my thumb is pointing to the text that has this local service center information:”Anonymous
“Inside there are five clear pockets for these categories:”
- Hours of operation
- Phone #
- 24 hour phone number
- Web site
“I am not quite happy with the categories. I also face something backwards for the member to see as they page through the pockets. InsideGR shows the flyer asking for volunteers at the service center next to The Forum back issues folder. The back of the folder shows a glossary of Al-Anon terms and holds a pocket filled with member phone lists.” “I selected a clear folder to entice the members to look inside, and limited it to five pockets to keep it thin.” “Everyone seems to like the folder and it takes the entire meeting time to get from the beginning to the end.” “Hopefully this will be a useful idea.”
- This month’s events
- Future events
- Other Area meeting flyers
- The Forum back issues
- District information
“I am a GR and have been to two District Meetings. Before I go to that meeting I announce that I am going and ask if there is any business, input, or questions people have that I may try to get answered. When I return from the meeting I give a short informative report during the announcements. I talk to the people who had questions, separately, after the meeting or call them. I also have led a meeting with a topic I from the District meeting. One time, I brought back enough Al-Anon Declaration Cards (M-8) to give out at the closing and used that as the closing.” “I find people are very involved with their own recovery for the first couple of years or so and are not that interested in anything to do with Al-Anon beyond that. I tell them I am available for questions and comments and if anyone would like to get involved with District work they are welcome. I also make sure the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual and other pamphlets from the District are at the meeting.” “The important thing to remember is to let go of my need to get others involved. They will when they are ready. I fulfill my needs by going to as many District events as I want to and by relating to the District Reprepesentative. We ride to and from the District meeting together and talk regularly during the year. Being a GR is a rewarding experience for me.”Anonymous
“This is a reply to Sandra P., California, who asked in the June 2009 issue of The Forum for input about members not wanting to hear the GR report, and asking how it is done in our groups. Thank you for offering to forward replies to her.” “First I will describe how it is done in my District and then move on to why we do it that way. Every meeting that I attend has a space built into the script where the Secretary asks, “Are there any Al-Anon announcements?” This is where, as a GR, I give my report. Because I know some members do not like to hear a lot of business during the regular meeting, I break up my reports over time, usually only sharing a minute or two any given week. I try to find a theme for what I’m sharing when possible or some other way to help members connect with the information. I have created handouts and charts. I have chanted or sung things I heard at Assembly. I usually try to connect business announcements to our Three Legacies and/or talk about how much awesome recovery I find among people doing service so that members can start to connect the announcements to their own recovery. Many members find inspiration in this. I cannot let the ones who don’t find inspiration stop me from performing my service functions. I think the GR job is essentially that of messenger, a function that goes far beyond delivering the mail, schedules, and newsletters.” “When I started as a GR and heard a couple of members complaining about taking time for a GR report during the regular meeting, I discovered that it was an opportunity for me to gain some recovery about not basing my decisions around what other people think. I learned from Concept Three that as a trusted servant I have the right of decision regarding how I want to perform my service. Some detailed reports might best be given at a business meeting, but much of what I had to say belonged in the general meeting. At first I thought that because every meeting asks members to limit their shares to three-five minutes that if I spent under five minutes on my report and I did not share during the rest of the meeting, I wouldn’t be taking up any of the group’s time. Later I realized my shares have just as much value as anyone else’s and I did not have to diminish myself in that way. As for the reports, I did not speak every week, and when I did, it was usually only for a couple of minutes.” “I learned from Tradition One that personal progress depends upon unity. Being the link between our group and Al-Anon as a whole really contributes to that unity if I do my job and give my GR reports. Anyone who does not want to hear them can take care of themselves in ways that might range from quietly meditating to choosing to enter the meeting a little later. It is not up to me to take care of them. The group conscience of Al-Anon as a whole is expressed in our Principles and Conference Approved Literature (CAL), including the guidelines for service positions. I can detach with love from individuals who do not agree with the guidelines.” “Our District recognizes that most GRs will run into this problem at some point, and so we include a document in our GR Packet called An Open Letter to a Group Representative. This letter describes how a member grew from wishing the GR would not “take up valuable meeting time” to realizing just how valuable the GR’s reports are. What I know is that our Higher Power is in charge of whether or when any individual member comes to that realization. I just need to do my service and not worry about what anyone thinks about it.” “The vast majority of members are very appreciative, but the rewards of service do not depend on other people’s approval. According to Concept Five, members have the right to speak their minority opinion. I can hear that and then choose to follow the GR guidelines and do what I need to do in service. Talking about our service structure, the Principles of the program including how our Three Legacies get applied, and the varieties of opportunities that our group has to connect with Al-Anon worldwide lets me pass along experience, strength, hope, joy, and gratitude.” “I like to say at the end of my reports, “Thank you for letting me be of service.” It has been my experience that plugging away with these reports over time can really turn a group’s attitude around. They begin to thank me as well! Over a three-year panel of service I am able to see the miracle of recovery at the group level.”Love in service, Anonymous
“Have you thought of having a group inventory ? Do you have a Service Sponsor? Possibly, there are hidden issues which are at play here and of which you’re unaware. This often happens and a Service Sponsor would definitely help you. Have you thought of visiting other Groups to see how their meetings are run? This might be beneficial in several ways.” “As a GR, what I do is solicit any news from among the group members that is relevant to their volunteer participation in Al-Anon activities. This allows us to cut down on the report time. For example, once a month we have a brief business meeting to make certain that our finances are in order, that we have enough reserves to contribute to WSO as well as to purchase literature and look ahead to send our GR to Assembly. I will also give a written recap of what takes place at District meetings for the members to read at their leisure.” “Other than that, the important business the group needs to know is listed in the form of weekly announcements in our Minutes. We list our events on our Area Web site as well as notify other groups of our own and our District’s events. I also encourage subscriptions to our Area newsletter. This cuts down on the time I need to mention everything to my group and they’re kept aware of what’s happening.” “I hope these ideas are of benefit to you.”Mark M., N.B., Canada
“As GR of my home group I ran into the same problem, years ago. The way our group decided to deal with it (and the format has been working for the past 10 years at least), is that we set aside two 15-minute business meetings each month, on the second and fourth meetings of the month. We set the timer, if there is no business, we get back to the meeting, but if there is business, we have time to do it up right. This seems to work quite well for us.”Sue G., MT
“I too as a new GR felt the pressures of communicating all the information being filtered from WSO, my Area, and my District to my group. Along with this information were the countless day-to-day group level topics and decisions that needed to be made. This was all to be done in what is termed as a “brief business meeting.” To manage the information flow, I created a monthly flier for the group members. It is called District Connections. In the flier are highlights of what is happening in the District and Area and things that require individual member follow up and general information. On the business meeting night I am the greeter and distribute the flier to members. The leftover copies are placed on the literature table for the month. Additionally, I send a copy to our District Web site for posting and it remains there for one month. During the business portion of the meeting attention is drawn to the flier and the Web but discussions are focused on group level actions and needs only. The process has been well received by the members of our group.”Carl F., Ontario, Canada
“The members of the the group where I am currently the GR were reluctant to allocate time for information concerning the fellowship. It is very difficult to fill our open service positions.” “However, we decided to split the meeting time of 1-1/2 hrs in half and to begin with our group conscience meeting followed by the Tradition of the month meeting. Also, at every meeting there is a folder with updated “News and Current Events” that is circulated. We also have two bulletin boards with information and Minutes from District and Area meetings. It takes knowledge and persistence to be a Group Representative.”Maggie R., IL
“My son has been in and out of the A.A. program for ten years. His alcoholism was more difficult for me than my husband’s because it’s harder to let go of a child that I carried for nine months and then tried to raise to the best of my ability. Though I love them both deeply, I think that the physical connection with my son makes it different from the connection I have to my husband. In meetings, I often speak about that difference. When we have newcomers who have a child with the disease, I think it’s important to let them know they are not alone. I tell them to call me between meetings because I truly understand the pain and the difficulty of letting go of a child. I believe the best gift I gave my son was to expose him to the program. He grew up around the programs but this disease does not care about that. He has to choose to want it and use it. Through our son’s slips, I picture him in the arms of my Higher Power, as I see that power, and I say over and over, ‘Let Go and Let God.’ That, along with other Al-Anon tools, helps me deal with a child who has this awful disease.”
This is from Ellen M., in CA, in a Forum magazine dated March of 2010. Reprinted with permission from WSO.
“The one thing I really learned was not to feel sorry for the alcoholic. I spent most of my time wondering and worrying about my son. What was he up to now? I wouldn’t sleep soundly, waiting to hear him arrive home safely. When he moved out, there were hard feelings. I’d still wonder about him. I’d cry. I’d jump whenever he called. Today I still have a long way to go, but I find that Al Anon fortifies me with courage. I work at getting through today—and I don’t worry about my son. I still feel sad…especially when I think about my daughter-in-law and granddaughter. I see my son trying his best, but I see the downward spiral that alcohol can bring. I don’t cry anymore for my son. Rather, my concern goes to my daughter-in-law and granddaughter. I try to focus on myself. I have come to realize that alcohol made me hide feelings and sad memories of growing up, that alcoholic patterns continue on, and that this disease can be brutal. But the one thing I really learned was not to feel sorry for the alcoholic. I have learned to respond differently to the effects of my son’s drinking. When things go wrong I don’t jump anymore. I don’t try to resolve his problems. I don’t try to help him mend the consequences of drinking. I think he may come to realize his alcohol problems if he learns to deal with them himself. Instead of reacting to my son’s disease, I give love to the baby, and pray to my Higher Power for the courage to carry on each new day. I’m glad I came to Al-Anon.”
This is by Dianne, Ontario. Reprinted with permission from WSO.
“We sometimes get so used to using words that we forget their meaning might not be so clear to others, and this can happen even within Al-Anon. This month, for instance we received two letters asking ‘what are the principles of Al-Anon that we’re supposed to “practice in all our affairs”?’ I’d always thought these were self-evident, and proceeded to answer the letters, telling the writers that the Steps contained the principles of surrender (First and Third), faith (Second and Eleventh), trust (Fifth), humility (Fourth and Fifth), fairness (Ninth), honesty (Fourth and Ninth), and brotherhood (Twelfth) among others. And then I realized that this is the way I see it! Perhaps others view the Steps and principles of Al-Anon quite differently. Who am I to spell it out for someone else?”
From “Forum Favorites“, Volume 3 page 39, 2nd paragraph.
“How to protect children in the home of an alcoholic is a problem very close to the heart of every Family Group parent. In spite of all that can be done, children of active alcoholics usually become aware that there is something seriously wrong in their playmates. Consequently, many of these young folks have been more or less emotionally hurt. Though we cannot here discuss all these damages in detail we can suggest remedies for most of them”.
From “The Al-Anon Family Groups Classic Edition (2000)“.
“Because we practice the Twelve Steps and carry the message of recovery to families of alcoholics, it is necessary for Al-Anon’s growth that we develop good personal leadership. Each and every member of Al-Anon has the potential to become a leader. Because of our service structure and the way Al-Anon rotates service positions, member have many opportunities to develop their leadership qualities. In world service, leadership is provided by the Board of Trustees in recognizing, understanding and defining the message of recovery and in making the vision of recovery available locally and throughout the world.”
From my copy of Paths to Recovery page 301, Concept 9
“Recovery is a process of learning to know ourselves. As a process, it is never completed, and change continues to occur It’s part of being fully alive. As certain problems are solved, we are led to deeper levels of consciousness. At first this may seem discouraging but long-time members have found it a blessing, because even after a crisis has been overcome there is always growth and ever-deepening serenity. Finally we come to feel gratitude for the very agonies that brought us to these rooms and acquainted us with Al-Anon, for we recognize that ours is a lifelong journey, and all the tasks and support we need are here for the taking.”
From “From Survival to Recovery“, page 144
“Actually, anything could happen whether we let go or not. It is an illusion that as long as we cling to the situation we have some control and can prevent distressing outcomes from touching our lives. Surrender means accepting our powerlessness to change many of the realities of our lives, even when we find those realities to be devastating. It means trusting instead in a Power greater than ourselves. Faith has been likened to being in a dark tunnel and seeing no glimmer of light but still crawling forward as if we did. Though our circumstances may seem dark indeed, when we turn to a Higher Power rather than to our own stubborn wills, we have already begun to move toward the light.”
From “In All Our Affairs“, pg 106.
“We who have turned to Al-Anon have often done so in despair, unable to believe in the possibility of change and unable to go on as we have before. We feel cheated out of a loving companion, over-burdened with responsibilities, unwanted, unloved and alone. There are even those of us who are arrogant, smug self-righteous and dominating. We come to Al-Anon, however, because we want and need help.”
From the pamphlet “Understanding Ourselves and Alcoholism“.
“The spiritual awakening that came to me through the Al-Anon Steps shows me how to find and use that unseen force in every area of my life, one day at a time.”
From “As We understood” page 104.
“If I were to find a single word to describe my experience of growing up with the family disease of alcoholism, that word would be loneliness. Until I came to Al-Anon, my loneliness was so intense and all-encompassing that I assumed it had always always been with me. I though I was, by nature, a shy, quiet, withdrawn loner who was better off not even trying to communicate with anyone.”
From “Survival to Recovery” “I had choices” page 190 in my edition.
“Al-Anon has taught me that change is possible, in fact, inevitable, so that I don’t have to be mired in unhappiness when things go badly, or regret that something is gone when I lose someone or something I love. A new beauty, a new life, will spring out of everything that happens if I keep practicing the Twelve Steps and learn to live joyfully, acceptingly, one day at a time.”
From “As we understood“, page 68.
“Along the lines of Easy Does It (but do it), I sometimes need to expand the scope of this slogan: ‘Think’ (in moderation), ‘Think’ (and pray), ‘Think’ (out loud with a sponsor), or ‘Think’ (and feel).”
“Think is an invitation for clarity, but not endless rumination. God help me to think, but not too much!”
From “In Hope for Today“, p. 36, February 5th
“While most of us know that alcoholism is a disease, too few recognize it as ‘family disease’, which may emotionally, spiritually, and often physically affect three or four people in addition to the alcoholic.”
From the beginning of P-4, “Alcoholism The Family Disease“
“It is said that we never get more than we can handle. This can be hard to believe as we watch the door slam shut on twenty years of marriage or sit in an emergency room with undeniably broken ribs from the latest violent alcoholic episode . . . “
Clue – it was groundbreaking CAL when it was published. Let us know why, if you know the source. Not only did a member find the quote, but knew why it was a special publication – the book In All Our Affairs, page 7. This landmark book opened issues of abuse and violence in the program and gave them validity, no longer treating them as outside issues.
“If my faith has been dimmed by disappointment I can begin to regain it by clinging to a spiritual idea like the ones expressed in the Serenity Prayer. This living philosophy will give me a secure foundation of faith.”
From “One Day at a Time (ODAT)“, October 10th
“Living with an alcoholic, drunk or sober, can be a mind-altering experience. . . This uncertainty can carry over into every aspect of our lives, including matters of sex and intimacy. Our ability to have healthy sexual relationships can be hurt by the effects of alcoholism in our lives.”
From “Discovering Choices“, p.40.
August 2, 2012
“We look for our answers in other people, ‘If only she’d change, –I’d be fine’ — yet can never quite convince anyone else to go along with or plans. As a result, we feel victimized by these ‘insensitive’ people who, we believe, could make our lives better if they cared about us enough to make a few changes.”
From “How Al-Anon Works“, p. 6.
July NCWSC, 2012
“When we reach this point of letting to, we can begin to see others for who they are, rather than for who we hope they will become.”
From “Opening Our Hearts“, Chapter 2, Loss of the Dream, p. 42
July 12, 2012
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”
From “One Day at a Time“, p. 84.
June 4, 2012
“There’s something more than my own weak will that keeps me coming back to Al-Anon.”
From “Opening our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses“, page 152, under the chapter of “Taking Care of Ourselves”.
May 5, 2012
“We hear a lot in Al-Anon about unconditional love. Such love makes no demands, exacts no payment, has no expectations. . . Unconditional love asks for nothing except expression. It blesses both the giver and the receiver.”
From “How Al-Anon Works“, Chapter on Service, beginning paragraphs, p. 101.
April 13, 2012
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
From “Alcoholism the Family Disease“, page 21, under Thoughts to Live By.
March 8, 2012
“Besides the noble art or getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
From “Courage to Change“, p. 281.