Bookmarks – February – Focus on The Forum
The Forum remains the best bargain in Al-Anon. Monthly issues—either digital or in print—cost only $11.
But it’s the content of The Forum that makes it so vital. The stories are by Al-Anon members, by us and for us. They are short and inspirational. Here are some recent titles: “Letting Go of My Children and Grandchildren,” “I Gave Up Control and Found God,” and “The Willingness Package.” There are also articles written by Alateen members.
I got a lot of good ideas last month during my first virtual meeting of Forum coordinators from throughout the U.S. and Canada.
One coordinator talked about holding raffles within her home group for a copy of The Forum. As soon as the raffle basket had $11, a winner was picked. Then they started another Forum raffle. Eventually, everyone in the group had a copy and the group uses it as a meeting resource for sharing.
We want our members to subscribe and read The Forum, but we also need members to write about their experience, strength and hope.
Several of the coordinators talked about holding Forum writing workshops during their area conventions. They passed out copies of The Forum writing guidelines at the workshops, and gave participants 20 minutes to write. Then, if they wanted to, the writers spent 20 minutes sharing what they had written. Again with the writers’ okay, the submissions were collected and mailed to The Forum.
You don’t have to wait for a writing workshop. You can find the writing guidelines by going to Al-Anon.org and putting “Forum writing guidelines” in the box with the magnifying glass. Submissions can be sent electronically or by mail.
Most of the articles are signed with the writer’s first name and the initial of their last name, along with their state or Canadian province. Some are simply signed “Anonymous.”
Not all submissions are chosen for publication. Our World Service Organization meeting host said a WSO committee follows a selection process. But the coordinators talked about how thrilled the writers were that they know whose articles have appeared in The Forum.
I personally think that once the people who come to Al-Anon find the courage to talk about their own story, they can also find the courage to write about it—so that it finds a wider audience in The Forum. It’s all about willingness, and a little nudge from our Higher Power.
Since I’m chairing this year’s PA AFG Convention in June, I hope to offer a Forum writing workshop to encourage our members to write their own unique but universal stories about moving from fear and loneliness to hope and community through our Al-Anon Family.
Thanks for letting me share!