How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics

This book is a wonderful basic text on the principles of the Al-Anon program. I think it was a brilliant idea the WSO had a few years back when they made this book a paperback and suggested all groups give copies away to newcomers because until then, this book was a hidden gem. I have sadly heard people say this is a “new” book because they never heard of it before the paperback version, but the truth is, it was first published in hardcover in 1995.

I began my journey in Al-Anon in 1998, but still I did not discover this book for a year or two after that. Why is that I wonder? Please do not let that be the case for newcomers in your groups.

How Al-Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics is a step-by-step guide to getting started in this program. This book has it all: what you can expect in a meeting, what the slogans mean, what the Steps, Traditions, and Concepts mean and many personal stories as well. It is great for newcomers and great for more seasoned members as well. It also makes a great resource for meeting topics.

I carry this book to meetings with me along with my daily readers and the Service Manual. It is a great go-to source for valuable information when questions arise or just as a quick idea starter. Not only should every member own a copy of this book, but also every newcomer should be sent home with one at their FIRST meeting.

If I had had this book at my first meeting, maybe it would not have taken me so long to get back to my second meeting. What I like to do is write a little something on the inside cover to remind those newcomers where they got the book from and why. It does not matter if we ever see them again at the meeting where they received the book; we can all share in this mission and benefit from it. I like to hand-write the words to make it more personal, but that is completely a personal choice. It all depends on how many of these books each group goes through. Some groups have massive numbers of newcomers where other groups have only a handful each year. But if you are interested, this is what I came up with as the inscription:

“This book is a gift to you from the Plano Al-Anon Family Group to help you in your personal recovery from the effects of alcoholism, the family disease. This book was paid for by the personal contributions of our members and we hope that as you continue to attend meetings and gain the serenity this program teaches us, that your future contributions will help us to be able to continue to send each newcomer home with this valuable tool in their time of need. Keep Coming Back!”

Use the inscription or not, but please do use the book. It is beautiful; yet simply written, and gently lays out a new philosophy for life for those of us who live with, or have lived with, an alcoholic.

Literature Coordinator
Illinois North, Panel 55

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