Literature – Getting Started
As the Literature Distribution Center for New York City and the Southern Assembly, Intergroup provides literature to countless meetings. We have distributed several thousand books and pamphlets since May – and that’s our slowest quarter. We can fill orders online or serve you in person at our office which is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 12:30-5 and Thursday from 4-7.
As a service to our members – especially those forming new meetings – we’ve developed a sort of Getting Started List of literature to have on hand. It’s a good beginning and can be supplemented as the meeting grows.
- Beginner’s Packets
- Pamphlets – Merry-Go-Round of Denial; Detachment; Alcoholism, the Family Disease
- Daily Readers – One Day at at Time, Courage to Change, Hope for Today
- Books Explaining the Program - How Al-Anon Works, Paths to Recovery
As your meeting grows, you can add workbooks and books and pamphlets on additional topics, which we’ll discuss in next month’s column. But back to our Getting Started List of books and pamphlets… Beginner’s packets are chock full of information about the program. They include:
- Information for the Newcomer
- So You Love an Alcoholic
- What Do You Do about the Alcoholic’s Drinking?
- Understanding Ourselves & Alcoholism
- Al-Anon Spoken Here
- Dear Mom & Dad
- Just for Today, Al-Anon Bookmark
- Sponsorship—Working Together to Recover Bookmark
The pamphlets answer some of the most frequently asked questions by newcomers and the bookmarks offer spiritual insights and support. They can be slipped in a pocket or purse and are a good way to carry the program with you.
- A member shares, “My newest favorite is a pamphlet called Alcoholism, the Family Disease. I heard an old timer share about this piece of literature in a meeting yesterday. She says she keeps it in her glove compartment, and pulls it out whenever she needs to. Inside there is a list of some of the slogans, with a brief description below each one, and she says that while she goes down the list reading them, it feels like a chiropractic adjustment to her spirit.”
- A member shares, “The Merry-Go-Round of Denial is only a pamphlet, but it packs a punch, by clearly and simply addressing the different aspects of the disease of alcoholism and the three roles we as Alanonics may inadvertently play. Powerful and helpful information for anyone suffering from the chaos and pain of the disease and the relatively predictable cycles inherent in it. It is a short but it gets to the meat of the problem!”
- A member shares, “I remember the first time I picked up A Merry-Go-Round of Denial. As I read through what I initially thought was an old fashioned pamphlet, it hit me – this whole alcoholic thing was a cycle. You’d have a crisis and then the alcoholic would beg for forgiveness, things would be okay for a while and then boom – it would happen again. I never realized that this cycle – this merry-go-round – was the disease. I was riding around and around thinking I was getting somewhere when I was actually heading right back to the same bad place. It really opened my eyes.”
The Daily Readers – One Day at at Time (ODAT), Courage to Change, and Hope for Today – provide a concise page of thoughts and meditations on an Al-Anon topic for every day of the year. They are also indexed by topic so that, for example, a member looking for readings on serenity or rage might find half a dozen references.
- A member shares, “I’ve often had occasion to look up rage in the Courage to Change index. By the time I’ve paged through the book and read all the readings on rage, I’m not angry anymore!”
- A member shares, “My first day in Al-Anon was, I was informed, an "ODAT day". Huh? I had no idea then what an ODAT, or an ODAT day might be. I surely learned quickly that ODAT, our One Day at a Time daily reader (the first) was, for me, an indispensable tool of my program. It was joined on my table by the other 2 readers, Courage to Change (ODAT II) and Hope for Today, which are also indispensable for me.
- A member shares, “The first Al-Anon meeting I ever ventured into was using Courage to Change as a starting point for sharing. As the meeting began, I was worried that I didn't really belong there--until someone started reading aloud the day's page from that book and I heard the central issue of my life being described. I was even more amazed when my turn came to share and I heard words on the topic coming out of my mouth.
- A member shares, “Courage to Change changed my life. For almost 12 years it has been my constant companion. I've read lots of CAL since then, but nothing speaks to me, year in and year out, with the precision and power this book still does. The range of topics it includes and the honesty of the stories shared in it never get old for me. I recommend it to newcomers. I even give it to people who aren't in Al-Anon. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to say how much I love Courage to Change.
The books that explain the program are a good next step. How Al-Anon Works takes the reader step by step through the experience of entering the program – starting with the feelings of hopelessness and despair common to newcomers, how to find help, the friendly welcome of the meetings, the growing awareness of the problem and the solutions Al-Anon offers. Paths to Recovery focuses on the steps, the traditions and the concepts, digging into them one at a time.
- A member shares, “I like to use Paths to Recovery because I can focus intently on one step or page back and forth and connect the step, tradition and concept. I often use this book to prepare for speaking at step meetings. The questions at the end of each section are a great tool not only for my own recovery but also for doing service. “
- A member shares, “ The thing about How Al-Anon Works? When you read it, you don’t feel so alone. You’re not the only one going through this. That was huge for me. It let me see that maybe there’s some hope.”