The holiday season can be a frustrating time for families and friends of alcoholics. High expectations sometimes lead to disappointment and despair, especially for those who have not yet tried Al-Anon.
Events during the coming holidays might cause people to try an Al-Anon Family Group meeting for the very first time. Professionals, relatives and friends who have been encouraging people to try Al-Anon for a long time might need a little help to make that first Al-Anon meeting a success.
Does your Al-Anon meeting display signs at the front door to indicate which room will have the meeting? Does your group have a plan to welcome newcomers, even if there is a festive celebration going on? Can you reconsider any plans to not meet during the holidays, even if only a few members are willing to attend?
Is your group information up to date, so when newcomers call they will receive correct information about when and where to find your group? This year is there a possibility that helping a newcomer during the holidays might add a significant spiritual experience to your own recovery?
Best wishes to you, your loved ones, and all the families and friends of alcoholics who deserve to enjoy the same kind of recovery that we are so privileged to enjoy in Al-Anon. Happy holidays!
Al-Anon members ask…should we sign or not sign?
Tradition Five tells us that “Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.” Giving comfort to families of alcoholics can occasionally mean verifying a newcomer’s attendance at an Al-Anon meeting by signing a court- or treatment center-required verification form so the newcomer can visit their loved one. Although it is not a requirement of any Al‑Anon member or group, members who may be willing to sign a required verification document could do so in keeping with the spirit of our Traditions.
Groups are within their autonomy to discuss how to handle this type of matter and make an informed group conscience decision that abides by the Traditions. Some groups tell us they use a rubber stamp or keep mailing labels with their group information on hand for this purpose. Other groups have shared that they leave it up to the individual member to decide whether or not to sign the document and how to sign it. Some members have shared that they provide personal contact information, while others sign only their first name and last initial, and, if a phone number is required, they provide the number of the local Al-Anon Information Service (AIS) and notify the AIS when they do so.
The CAL process and
The World Service Office (WSO) receives many questions about Conference Approved Literature (CAL), such as:
The WSO also gets asked often about copyrights and reprint permission. Frequent questions include:
- “How does something become CAL?”
- “Is this book CAL?”
- “Why do we read only CAL at meetings?” and more.
- “When do I need reprint permission?”
- “Why do I need reprint permission?”
- “How do I get reprint permission?”
Al-Anon’s literature is a very important tool of the program. To understand more about it, and find answers to these questions, see pages 104-107 of the 2014-2017 Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual here and the pamphlet Why Conference Approved Literature? (P-35) here. There is also a concise description of the CAL process on the back of the Area Literature Coordinator Guideline (G-6) here. All this information is available on the Members’ Web site, al-anon.org/members.
Volunteers needed to review translations of CAL
Did you know that Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature (CAL) is available in more than 35 languages? Al-Anon structures outside of the U.S. and Canada request permission from the WSO to translate and reprint CAL. Local members perform this service, but we are looking for Al-Anon members in the U.S. or Canada who are willing to volunteer their time to review the translated documents. Your contributions of time and talent are a valuable part in the process of carrying Al‑Anon’s message to members and prospective members all over the world. If you are able to review translations in Hungarian, Slovakian, Swedish, or Ukrainian, we would love to hear from you! Please contact the Associate Director—International firstname.lastname@example.org or call (757) 563-1600 for details.
In 1957, the World Service Office registered the first Alateen group, and within a year, there were 45 groups registered. Alateen adopted the Twelve Steps of Al-Anon and adapted the Twelve Traditions to fit the needs of teenaged children of alcoholics.
How will you, your group, and your district celebrate Alateen’s 60th Anniversary? Contact your district or your Area Alateen Coordinator to start the conversation!
This entire year, Al-Anon celebrates 65 years of service to family members and friends of problem drinkers. As part of the commemoration, a revised version of Al-Anon Then and Now (AR-2) is now available. This piece, which is a brief history of our fellowship, is on the shopping cart under the category of “Free Downloads.”
Then and Now (AR-2)