WHAT I LEARNED: 1. The guest for my next “CAL Chat” podcast show (Episode #7) chose this workbook, “Reaching for Personal Freedom” (item # P-92), as his favorite literature piece. I’ll be posting that episode soon at www.calchatpodcast.com, but wanted to get my review in this blog first… This workbook has the rare distinction of being the first CAL item to come from members sharing over 4 years via several blogs (in English, Spanish, & French) on the World Service Office websites*! (*The blogs were available on Al-Anon’s Members’ website which originally was a separate site than the main website, but one could get directed to the blogs from both websites.) It debuted in 2013 at Al-Anon’s 5th International Convention in Vancouver, B.C. & has the subtitle: “Living the Legacies.” What exactly are the Legacies??? 1) Recovery through the 12 Steps, 2) Unity through the 12 Traditions, & 3) Service through the 12 Concepts of Service. To me, the book seems to be more personable than the other CAL books that have questions in them. It has rather short sharings & the questions are based directly on the individual stories. The other nice thing is that each individual Step, Tradition, & Concept is pretty short too – about 3-5 pages, which made it easier to read as well.
2. So I read this book twice, once straight through, then a second time slower because I wanted to create an index (because it currently doesn’t have one). The reason is, I treat this as a regular book that I bring to groups & based on the meeting topic, having an index handy helps me select an applicable reading. It was also a new way to look at the Legacies – patterns of words came up over & over that I wasn’t expecting! For instance under Step 5 (“Admitted to God, to ourselves, & another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”), the words that came up 3 times or more were the following:
Admitting, Alcoholism, Behavior, Help, Honesty, Listening, Realize, Trust, & Understand.
The word that appears the most overall in the book is “help.” …But that’s because it was in a lot of the questions. For example, “How did Tradition One help you to see your role in relationships?”
The word “family” & “relationships” came up a lot though in the Traditions section! In fact, I’ve included my entire index, as well as a list of the words that appear 3 times or more for each Step, Tradition, & Concept, that you can download by clicking here: “Reaching For Personal Freedom” – Index Only & “Reaching For Personal Freedom” – Index Words Repeated. Hope you enjoy these documents!
3. Overall, I felt the theme of the book was about change & I can see why… every Step, Tradition & Concept that is truly lived, not just studied, results in some kind of change. But it’s interesting to note that while I was creating the index, that the word “change” came up a lot along with the word “fear” & I think that’s because the two are inter-related. I don’t think I’ve ever had one without the other!
4. I have 5 favorite lines from this piece:
From page 19: “I limit myself & the world, but God doesn’t.”
From page 32: “…God works within us, without us.”
From page 50: “Having a sense of entitlement is not attractive, serene, or spiritual.”
From page 79: “Once I found myself, I belonged wherever I was.”