CAL – Many Voices, One Journey (Item # B-31)

Many Voices One Journey - B-31 thumbnail

WHAT I LEARNED: 1. Initially, I was dreading reading this book.  I thought it was just going to be a boring history book with a litany of dates & facts that were as dry as sandpaper.  Turns out, this has been one of the best well-written books I’ve come across so far!!   It was designed so it could be used in group discussions (similar to a daily reader) so no section is long enough to become boring.  As it encapsulates each World Service Conference from Al-Anon’s beginning up until 2010, it also switches to member sharings from those different time periods & offers questions that bring large World Service Office (WSO) issues down to a personal level.

2. The overall theme definitely seems to be how a growing worldwide organization deals with change.  Whether it’s civil rights in the 60’s, acknowledging adult children of alcoholics in the 80’s, welcoming gays & lesbians in the 90’s, relocating the WSO office & owning property, establishing Alateen safety requirements, using KBDM thinking (see page 363), registering online meetings, or looking to increase diversity in the future it has not been as smooth of a road as I thought!  (Perhaps that’s why the WSO loves 3-year trial periods!)  I think a line on page 185 from the 2nd edition of Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism” (item # B-1) says it best: “all growth is accompanied by resistance, whether it is a seed struggling through compacted earth, the birth of a newborn, or a person’s effort to surrender negative views.” 

3. One of the most touching parts of the book for me was the “To Russia with Love” program in the early to mid-90’s that encouraged the “adoption” of Russian groups until they could be self-supporting.  The letter from a Russian member on page 284 still makes me cry.  If anybody ever asks me why I go to Al-Anon, I would quote this one line from her letter: “He drinks, but my hand shakes.”


Smiley on the beach**BONUS: In 1993, Tampa, Florida was one of 3 “narrowed-down” cities considered for the new WSO headquarters before they finally chose Virginia Beach.  I guess they had beaches on their mind after being in New York for so long!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Sharon E. says:

    Thanks for sharing. This book does sound interesting. Take care. Be well. You can go wrong with Al Anon 🙂

    1. Pat A. says:

      I haven’t gone wrong with it since I’ve been working it!

  2. Patty L. says:

    I have learned so much from your review. I had never thought about how world changes would be addressed by Al-Anon. Interesting. Thank you, Pat, for your service. I appreciate all of the time you spend reading and writing for all of us.
    Blessings. Patty L

    1. Pat A. says:

      I’m glad we’re all enjoying this “reading” journey together!

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