When I came into Al‑Anon, I did so not for the reason often heard at meetings—an alcoholic spouse or partner whose drinking negatively affected me. Instead, I came because I knew I was the problem. I recognized that I had grown up in an alcoholic home and that I had lost hope. So, when I looked into our meeting’s small box of literature to buy my first piece of Conference Approved Literature, I was attracted not to One Day at a Time in Al‑Anon (ODAT) (B-6), but instead to Hope for Today (B-28), with its gentler tone and broader appeal. Because I loved the literature and was too afraid to ask someone to be my Sponsor, I bought many books over the next year, including One Day at a Time, in an effort to absorb everything I could about this lifesaving program. Yet when I tried to read the ODAT, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, I found it old-fashioned, and I could not identify with it. In fact, it is fair to say that I truly disliked the book. At that stage of my recovery, I believed, rather I knew, that the ODAT had nothing to offer me.
So, this profound little book sat gathering dust on my bookshelf. Today I can imagine the ODAT, like the God of my understanding, patiently waiting for me to become ready to hear its wisdom, just as we as members wait for the newcomer to become desperate so they can be willing to walk through the doors of their first Al‑Anon meeting. After I had worked my Steps and the Traditions, I had occasion to pick up this powerful daily reader off the bookshelf and to make it part of my morning routine of reading, meditation and prayer. As I have experienced with all our literature, gems of wisdom suddenly jumped off the pages at me, where a few years earlier, nothing had applied. What I had once taken as irrelevant because I was focused on the differences suddenly became incredibly relevant. The simple, but profound guidance of our Al‑Anon program appeared to me in plain language, as found on page 28, which reads, “I know I am powerless to deal with my problem by myself. The more I struggle to work it out, the more difficult it becomes. I know that Divine Power can deal with matters which are beyond me. I will try to empty my mind of all fear.” I also discovered the true potential of having faith in the God of my understanding through passages such as those found on page 131, which reads, “What we are meant to know will come to our knowledge without any action on our part.”
I have found over the years that the God of my understanding has a sense of humor, and I imagine She is chuckling as She watches me writing this announcement of availability of One Day at a Time in Al‑Anon 50th Anniversary (B6-50), with its beautiful design and bookmark. As Staff, we can only hope that we have done justice in capturing the beauty and the power of the words within and sufficiently honored the incredible gift One Day at a Time in Al‑Anon has been for the thousands of members who have found solace, wisdom and hope on the pages of this profound little book.
By Vali F., Executive Director
World Service Office
My first book was the ODAT. It has become a treasured artifact. The covers have come off from usage, it has favorite poems, one line sentences, pasted and copied to the inside covers. If something was said at a meeting or something I read somewhere it ended up being stashed or written in the margins. It has coffee stains, underlined passages, highlighted phrases, and thoughts written in margins. And is used with loving care these days. I purchased this book back in 1971 with pennies and quarters saved, because the disease had literally left us penniless. It was my rock,… Read more »
My mother was in Al-Anon in the 60’s and 70’s. I kept her ODAT after she died in 2007 and have made it part of my morning devotions for years and mainly read it because my dad was alcoholic and I went to Alateen and knew the words could somehow relate to me. It wasn’t until 2 summers ago when I realized my problem all these years what that I am codependent or as we say in Al-Anon, a victim, that the precious words in the ODAT finally made sense to me and that they were indeed for me. To… Read more »
Whenever I am preparing to lead a meeting, I always look up the topic in ODAT, Courage to Change, Hope for Today, and A Day At A Time-the alateen reader. If the topic is covered by an ODAT reading, ODAT usually hits it out of the park for me. A Day At A Time offers clear and to the point readings on the topic (if covered), Courage to Change is wonderful for everyday reading, as well as topic searches. I seldom find my chosen topics covered in a usable way in Hope for Today-or the reading(s) on my topic don’t… Read more »
I certainly can identify with Vali’s sharing, as I read, re open previously read CAL I thought the “book fairies” had been visiting as there seemed to be new words and meanings I had previously not seen.
I wouldn’t start my day without reading ODAT and Courage to Change, both of these excellent books and still find wisdom in the ODAT after all my years of reading it. That old joke of “when did they put that in here” happens occasionally, and I’m reminded that we only see and hear what we need when we are ready to see or hear it.