My Favorite CAL Book (Non Daily Reader)
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This month we’re asking you to share your favorite non-daily reader Conference Approved Literature (CAL) book, and why?
Favorite book: Hope for today.
It took me years to read but it’s written so beautifully . There are a lot of guided prescriptions to live life, such wonderful readings like “walking in a country yard,” and “picked stones of defects,” and “how to resolve it,” and “triangle of recovery.” When I place someone or something at the top, the unmanageableness comes back and then I have to take a quick path of steps to see why I’m angry. I just love it and I love to call it a recipe book for life.
CAL has been so incredibly important for my recovery that it’s hard to pick a favorite. But the ones I keep going back to are As We Understood and the pamphlet Alcoholism, the Family Disease. As We Understood is so peaceful to read. It helps me calm down when I’m upset. And when I’m not upset it is inspiring to hear so many different descriptions of the way a Higher Power works in our lives. The alcoholism pamphlet has so many good sections. The Slogans are so helpful and encouraging. And the “Checklist for Maturity” is a great review for… Read more »
My personal favorite book is From Survival to Recovery. It took me years to be able to read the book through. I cried my way through the pages, realizing that I was not alone, or unique; that there were others who shared my experiences and pain. Those tears were, and are, healing. The sharings revealed to me that I wasn’t crazy, or defective but that I had survived a cunning and powerful force that altered my life in ways that the program of Al-Anon has been helping me come to terms with in my recovery. I give this book to… Read more »
Al-Anon has so much amazing literature!! My favorite is …In All Our Affairs: Making Crises Work for You. When I first came to Al-Anon, my life was a series of crises, or so it seemed to me. This book helped tremendously in guiding me to get a grip on my life, finding what was mine to deal with and what belonged to others, and how to shrink mine all down to a manageable size by using the Steps, Slogans, serenity prayer, and the experience, strength, and hope I found in this book. I found it hard to share at meetings… Read more »
So right now, my favorite is Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses.
My husband (the alcoholic that brought me to Al-Anon 20 years ago), just died in September. He suffered from dementia and I was his primary caregiver. Al-Anon CAL, meetings and service have sustained me through a challenging period of anticipatory grief and ambiguous loss. “Opening….” describes the many ways in which grief manifests and has helped bring comfort and clarity to me during a stressful period. It has helped me to process acute grief. Al-Anon is an elastic program, which is why I “Keep Coming Back.”
How Al-anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics covers a range of topics for the Newcomer, the Long-time member, and everyone in-between. I consider it our primer. I find it so valuable. The other books are good, but more specialized. I enjoy reading the basics, the Steps, Traditions, Concepts, Slogans, etc. I love “Lois’ Story” and some others toward the back of the book.
I am so very grateful that I recently had an opportunity to be reminded how important Conference Approved Literature (CAL) is in my recovery when listening to an Al-Anon speaker share her experience, strength, and hope. I am grateful for the members who have come before me who contributed their experience, strength and hope through the written word so that we may have CAL, as well as the members who continue to do so. It is hard to pick my favorite because I cherish so many, however when I look at how worn my pieces have become, I recognize in… Read more »
I love all of our pamphlets but especially two that I have read over and over since finding Al-Anon, now 3 decades ago. At first, I didn’t want to buy Living with Sobriety:Another Beginning (P-49) because I didn’t think that that day would ever come. However, a member did a meeting on pages 16-17, the paragraph on “Changing,” and I realized that it had something I wanted – a goal to reach for and what this program is all about. I continue to read this section to keep me on the path of how I want to behave with everyone… Read more »
My home group really likes Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses. We read from this book at least monthly when we are not reviewing a Step or Tradition. We pass the book around and everyone reads a paragraph. Afterwards we discuss what we have read. We have a mostly women’s group and really enjoy this book because it gets to the heart of our emotions and our deeply felt struggles with those we love whether it is our spouses, siblings, or children.
My most cherished Al-Anon book is As We Understood. It has an honored place on my bedside table. When I first came to meetings, I didn’t have any understanding of a Higher Power. I struggled trying to define who my Higher Power could be. This little book helped me tremendously by showing me lots of options and how other people thought of God or Higher Power. After 29 years in Al-Anon I still read it and take it with me when I travel.
I did not have to think too long or hard on MY FAVORITE Al-Anon book. All the Al-Anon literature has value, but this one touches my heart.
OK—Let’s see who can figure the answer from the clues.
1. First edition was printed in soft back only
2. First edition had no index
3. Came out in hard back in 1990
4. It’s a small book, there are only 273 pages including the index, Steps, Traditions, and Concepts.
5. Final clue and hopefully the giveaway…It is a “collection of sharings on spiritual growth”.
Drum roll…As We Understood
When I Got Busy, I Got Better has helped me to find my way. It inspires me and shows me the way to get busy in a healthier way. As it mentions in the book, “This is where the hearts are healed.” My heart is definitely healing “One Day at a Time” with help of my Higher Power and the fellowship.
Having Had A Spiritual Awakening has been my most impactful CAL besides Courage to Change. I came to Al-Anon later in my life partially because of my aversion to the word God. It seems a bit silly now but my past association with “traditional” ideas of God and religion were not positive and the word was a real roadblock. I came to realize with this wonderful book that people from all over the world have struggled with this very thing and reading about the ways they have grown through it has helped to open my eyes. The very idea that… Read more »
My favorite non-daily reader of CAL is How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics. It exemplifies our slogan “Keep it Simple” by using clear and simple language to articulate how our program works. There are many excellent sections – my most favorite being the beautifully written section on Forgiveness, pages 85 & 86.
My favorite (non-daily reader) book is hard to choose! I think the one I treasure the most is Having Had A Spiritual Awakening published and purchased in 1998. It is so beautiful, and the sharings are both spiritual and serene. There are some unusual perspectives from members. I love all my books, Al-Anon and Alateen. The literature is precious to me, and has made a big difference in my recovery. The most meaningful feature overall in all CAL is that it is the product of so many members, not just one or two people. How your literature committee members and… Read more »
My favorite Al-Anon literature is the book: How Al Anon Works. This book richly teaches Al-Anon principles; devotes chapters to the Steps and is filled with personal stories of both success and loss. For me, How Al-Anon Works is a wonderful source of teaching for newcomers and longtime members.
My favorite piece of CAL is Paths to Recovery – Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions, and Concepts. The main text of each chapter helps me to understand the Step, Tradition, or Concept. The Members stories then help me to understand how to apply what I have read to my own life. The questions at the end of each chapter give me an opportunity to write down how the Step, Tradition, or Concept applies to my life. I then share what I write with my Sponsor. This book has been a valuable tool in my recovery program.
The best kept secret – in my humble opinion – and some of my very favorite non-daily readers of CAL are the World Service Conference Summaries. I discovered their wealth of personal stories when I turned to the back of the 2009 summary and discovered the sharings from the outgoing Delegates (“I help others because the bridge to keeping my serenity is to give it away.” p 68) and spiritual lessons from the spiritual speakers (“Am I focused on the outcome or the action? Is my thinking outside of my current 24-hour window – either in the past or future?… Read more »
I love all the Al-Anon literature I am fortunate to possess but the one thing I return to again and again is How Al-Anon Works for Friends and Families of Alcoholics. It’s just the best “everything about Al-Anon” book I’ve ever read. Again and again it reminds me of the operational basics of the program. And the member stories are rich with wisdom and inspiration. A home run every time.
My favorite also is “How Al-Anon Works”. It feels like Al-Anon’s Big Book. It takes you through starting in Al-Anon and why, to how to get better. I love giving them to new members.