Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Needed: Courage to Change

One of my favorite things about Al-Anon is the Just for Todays.

Since my first Al-Anon meeting, I have thought they contained the recipe for a good life.

The only thing was, how could anyone possibly do those all those things every day? I mean, spending "a quiet half-hour all myself" to relax sounds like heaven. But some days I could barely manage to get dinner on the table, nevermind a quiet half hour.

Then there was this one:

"Just for Today, I will do someone a good turn and not get found out."

That was the one I couldn't get my head around. I wasn't that creative. How could I think of something like that to do every day?

Then, at a meeting, the woman who was delivering a greeting for the newcomers talked about the Just for Todays. She said the suggestion she had been given was to focus on just one of those Just for Todays each day.

"Some days, it's all I can do just to 'be courteous and criticize not one bit,'" I remember her saying.

I was grateful for that bit of advice. But I confess it allowed me to pick and choose the Just for Todays I liked the best.

Doing someone a good turn and not get found out still bedevils me.

If it bedevils you, too, I can offer a suggestion.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know of the Al-Anon service work that I do in the state prison, and you no doubt remember that the meeting I attend struggles with attendance. But that's not the case with all the meetings.

There are six different facilities in the prison, and each of them has an Al-Anon program. Some of them are quite large and growing. The prison coordinator, who is my Al-Anon partner at the meeting I attend, told me they are struggling to fill the demand for books.

At this point, the prison has only authorized the book "Courage to Change."

When they attend Al-Anon meetings, inmates bring an attendance sheet that is signed by the Al-Anon volunteers at the meeting. Once they have attended six meetings, they are given a book.

The only problem is that there haven't been enough book donations to cover the number of inmates who have earned them.

The prison coordinator, who lives in a different district closer to the prison, asked me to coordinate a donation effort in my district. I'm doing that.

But I thought I'd also bring my appeal here.

If you're looking for a way to be of service, that won't cost you much in time or money but that could make a big difference in someone's life, I'd ask you to consider the donation of a new or used "Courage to Change."

My local Al-Anon information center stores the books for the prison program. If you are interested in helping, I'd ask that you send a copy of "Courage to Change" or a check for $12 with a note that you'd like to purchase a copy of "Courage to Change" for the prison. In either case, please be sure to clearly indicate that you intend your donation for the prison program.

Here's the address:

East Valley Al-Anon Information Center 1320E Broadway Rd, Ste #109, Mesa AZ 85204

Thank you.

Hubby and I are off on assignment later today and will be gone for a few days. I hope you all stay well. I'll drop by for a visit when we return.


  1. Just a question, do you think Spanish copies of 'Courage to Change' would be useful for this cause?

  2. Thanks for this great question! My initial impulse is to say "yes," considering that we're located in a border state. But I honestly don't know if there are any Spanish language meetings being held in the prison right now. I will check and report back.

  3. Great work Kathy. I do the random act of kindness as my Just For Today---letting people in line while driving or at the grocery store, opening doors, giving out smiles. Just a few random acts to do every day.

  4. What a great idea Kathy, and sounds like it is much needed. Hope you anjoy your assignment.

  5. Maybe you can find a Spanish meeting and one of the people there would be ready to assist? I know we do have Spanish meetings in Tampa, border state too ;-)

    I lvoed you courage to change post so much, because for a few days I struggled if I actually thought I progressed.... I plugged up the courage and made an inventory of my last few months. Yep, I did made progress. And random acts of kindness are becoming more often. Mill of hugs to you.

  6. your heart is amazing....your kindness touches me and your courage inspires...

  7. Even if the meetings aren't in Spanish...I've always thought I would rather read something like C2C in the language with which I am most comfortable...and for some people that is going to be Spanish.

    I think this is a great idea, either way.

  8. What a great idea!

  9. Thanks for all of your comments. I checked into Kelly's question. The prison coordinator says there are no Spanish language meetings. That said, I think her point is well taken, about people feeling most comfortable reading in the language they are most comfortable with. So if you have a Spanish language book you want to donate, I'm sure someone in the prison would be grateful.

  10. Kathy today you left a comment on my blog that really hit home with me...I bet you didn't realize how profound I found it. So today you did a good turn and you didn't even know it!

    Duh! He is not hearing me! Seriously, I never really in internalized that until today.