WHAT I LEARNED: 1. As an Area Archivist once said, “I love my position because I get to time travel.” I too feel I get to step into the ‘Wayback Machine’ whenever I read discontinued Al-Anon literature. When this “Forum Favorites” book was first published in 1970 it was a hefty hard cover book & the title was almost going to be “The Best of Margaret” – since Margaret D., The Forum magazine’s longest-running editor, is the sole author of the book. But, in keeping with our Traditions, the official title became: “Al-Anon’s Favorite Forum Editorials” (item # B-2) as shown in the image to the right.
The book that I’m reading from is the soft cover version when the hard cover book was split into Volumes 1 & 2 in 1982 (see my previous entry on Vol. 2 (item # B-9b)). Volume 1 (item # B-9a) covers June of 1954 to June of 1966 & seems heavier with biblical quotes as well as references to war & H-bombs than compared to Volume 2. But it also chronicles a time when Al-Anon was more of a movement & the growing pains that go along with that! For instance, Margaret talks about the second World Service Conference in 1962 & receiving so many letters to Headquarters after Ann Landers mentioned Al-Anon in her advice column, that the work of answering the letters had to be split up among the volunteers because it was too much for one person. FYI: per “Many Voices, One Journey” (item # B-31) page 115: “In all, 6,500 people wrote in… Previously, the largest response… was an influx of 700 letters.” Yet Margaret continued to wonder about the one who is “still keeping the article, trying to gather courage to write.” -Vol. 1, page 94.
3. Even though the program was growing by leaps & bounds, the issues she wrote about in the early years are still relatable today: struggling groups, dealing with crosstalk, meetings being dominated by one person, how to welcome Newcomers, difficulty in finding speakers, etc… There’s even a reference to the “Three Deadly Enemies” (from the pamphlet “Alcoholism, The Family Disease” (item # P-4)). In 1956, the “enemies” were: Discussion of religion, Gossip, & Dictatorship. They’re now known as the “Three Obstacles to Success in Al-Anon” & other than switching “Dictatorship” to the word “Dominance,” not much has changed since then. As the saying goes, “What was old is new again!”
4. I have several favorite quotes from Volume 1:
From page 28: “The French have a saying that to understand all is to forgive all.”
From page 29: “What is life but a choice of values? We never lose anything by leaving it behind – we take it along in another form.”
From page 94: “The only way to Push is with Prayer.”
From page 96: “…our literature …is full of golden nuggets. But gold is where you find it. To find it, you have to look.”
From page 99: “…I learned to walk early but… it took me more than 3 years to learn the First Step…”
From page: 115: “Be generous with your past – someone needs it more than you!”
From page: 120: “We don’t develop character licking marshmallows.”
Paraphrased from page 130: Each one of us is 3 persons: who we were, who we are, & who we’d like to be.
From page 132: “…when you start looking for God, you have already found Him.”
**BONUS CAL QUESTION: Between both Volumes 1 & 2, there are 10 total December articles that mention Christmas. Nowadays, it’s rare to find any sharings about holidays, but of all 5 daily readers, can you guess which 1 does? (Hint: see item # B-27!)