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At the January 2008 Board Meeting, the Board Presentations Task Force brought forward two suggestions: To create a presentation on the concept of “Abundance”—

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Presentation on theme: "At the January 2008 Board Meeting, the Board Presentations Task Force brought forward two suggestions: To create a presentation on the concept of “Abundance”—"— Presentation transcript:

1 At the January 2008 Board Meeting, the Board Presentations Task Force brought forward two suggestions: To create a presentation on the concept of “Abundance”— a reference to the Strategic Plan main idea, “Unlimited, Abundant Resources” To form task forces to create presentations on suggested topics for Area use The Abundance Task Force was appointed and its charge is to: Create a presentation on member and financial resources and any other yet-to-be determined resource that will demonstrate abundance. This presentation is to be used at the Area and district levels. Members of the Task Force met at the 2008 Conference, by , and via conference call. The following is the result of our labour. The definition of “abundance”: great quantity, plenty, wealth, profusion The definition of “spiritual”: mystical, devout “Why such a presentation?" Al-Anon members generally have an aversion to talking about money except to say that there is not enough. We can’t do it because we don’t have the money, the resources, or the people. We need an attitude adjustment! Our presentation is to turn that “lack of” to one of abundance—we have plenty of money, we have members to do service and carry out innovative ideas, and we have spiritual abundance. This means: thinking “outside the box,” using the resources we have, thinking of ways to implement our new thinking, and asking for help from our Higher Power. We need to think about our cup being half full instead of half empty. Al-Anon members are blessed with expertise, skills, and talents. How do we activate them into service? Before Al-Anon, I definitely felt I was not good enough, smart enough, talented enough, nor would I ever be able to speak in public. I was told to “risk a little,” to dig deep to find the willingness and the time. The hidden talents and abilities that I never believed I had, and then the courage to use these, came with the help of Al-Anon, a Higher Power, and a Sponsor who said, “You can do it.” What an attitude adjustment! I made a commitment to myself that I would give to Al-Anon the gifts that I have received because of this program. What a journey I have been on — it has been rewarding, exciting, and challenging. I have received an abundance of insight, expanded my horizons, and accomplished things I never dreamed I could do. It spilled over into my personal life as I live an abundant life surrounded by family, friends, and an abundance of nature in my environment which is an expression of my Higher Power. The Abundance Task Force presentation has been developed to inspire each of us to think abundantly in our spiritual lives, our personal lives, and our Al-Anon service lives so that we will use many methods to implement “Unlimited Abundant Resources.” Main Points: Negative thinking of Al-Anon members — not enough money, resources or people Change thinking to abundance of money, people with innovative ideas Feeling “not good enough” to contribute anything Al-Anon’s abundant gifts include friends, family, surroundings provided by Higher Power (and that “je ne sais quoi” mystical quality that life always offers) This presentation will include: PowerPoint Panel (20 minutes) — members will share on spiritual abundance; abundance in groups; members involved in service; financial abundance; and methods of accessing members with special skills, talents, and expertise Skit — ( minutes) Audience Participation (20 minutes) you will have an opportunity to share on abundance and let your talents, skills, and expertise blossom Summary — (2 minutes per person) — audience members will share on what we have presented

2 in Al-Anon Family Groups
Fields of Abundance in Al-Anon Family Groups

3 What are some types of abundant resources?
Spiritual Service-oriented Member abundance: expertise or skills Financial

4 How can we demonstrate spiritual abundance?
Beginning or rekindling our faith and spirituality through Al-Anon meetings Sharing with others at meetings Taking “First Things First” Marilee — Spiritual Abundance — a personal sharing When I walked through the doors of Al-Anon the first time, I was spiritually bankrupt. My marriage was in ruins; our family finances were in perpetual crisis; and I had hit rock bottom physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I crawled to Al-Anon. My first meeting was attended by two lovely older women, both war brides who spoke with a Scottish accent. I sobbed all the way through the meeting. A flood gate had opened and all the sadness of my life tumbled out. I grew up with alcoholism. The disease dominated our home. Both of my parents had survived the Great Depression and were fearful of not having enough. Scarcity has been an issue throughout my life. When I heard the phrase “a culture of poverty,” it resonated with me. I grew up in a culture of poverty. It has marked me. I am always concerned about not having enough. Not just in material things, but in love and in faith. By the time I reached the doors of Al-Anon, I had given up on the faith of my childhood. That belief system no longer had any meaning in my life. It created a vacuum I didn’t know how to fill. Life had no meaning without something to hold onto. At the first few meetings, I cringed at the talk of God or Higher Power. Gradually, I began to understand that this was a “spiritual program.” I began to comprehend the difference between “religion” and “spirituality,” that one did not negate the other and that it was okay to discover what the concept of a Higher Power means to me personally. In the 24 years I have been an Al-Anon member I have come to know that my Higher Power does for me what I am unable to do for myself. I have come to experience the many daily miracles with which I had nothing to do. My spiritual growth has astounded me. It permeates my everyday. Upon waking each day, I ask my Higher Power to guide me through this day. I feel blessed, I am aware of the abundance in my life. I have come to understand that once my spiritual house is in order the rest will follow—as the slogan says, “First Things First.” Main Ideas Alcoholism causes spiritual, physical, financial, and emotional bankruptcy Scarcity at home—“culture of poverty”. Spirituality versus religion. Spiritual growth—abundance in life. Listening and learning How did one member experience this?

5 Where can we find abundance?
Within our groups Within our districts Within our Areas

6 How did a group and district demonstrate abundance?
Listening to each other Showing compassion to members Being there for our members, if needed Walking like they talk Let’s listen to one member’s experience Leona — Spiritual Abundance in our Groups and Districts — a personal sharing My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer December After some discussion, we decided not to alter our lives because of the illness, so I continued to serve as District Representative. Throughout the 33 months that he lived after being diagnosed, I witnessed many occasions of spiritual abundance. Al-Anon members not only enveloped me with an abundance of compassion, love, and support, but they also displayed this same spiritual abundance for two terminally-ill cancer members, a Group Representative and a Public Information Chairperson. When it came time for the ailing Group Representative to resign, Al-Anon members banded together and took turns going to her home for brief visits even though she lived in the country. Another member offered to be the group’s Current Mailing Address. Not long after the Group Representative’s death, the health of the Public Information Chairperson declined. It was decided that we would have a celebration of her life while she could still attend. At the celebration, we not only shared our experience, strength, and hope, but we shared how she had helped us on our spiritual path of recovery. When her cancer forced her to resign, the district voted unanimously to carry out her commitments till the end of the term. Not long afterwards, the honoured guest at yet another “Celebration of Life” event was my husband who died in September The outpouring of compassion, love, and support from the fellowship was simply overwhelming. And though some time has passed since his death, Al-Anon members continue to show me this spiritual abundance “One Day at a Time.” Main Ideas: Adversity or problems at home or group Commitment Obstacle(s) within group and spiritual abundance Obstacle(s) at the district level and spiritual abundance Method(s) used to deal with problem(s) Personal achievement and spiritual abundance

7 Skit: We will now have a visit from some awe-inspiring people.
[Leave this slide on the screen during the skit.] [After skit, Continue with the next slide.]

8 How can we show financial abundance in our Areas?
Members share their personal resources by not claiming some of their expenses, if they choose Members have faith that their needs will be filled Members share their wealth and gratitude by making a donation to celebrate their Al-Anon anniversary Members pass it on, or as some say, “pay it forward” What was the personal experience of one of our members? Kerri — Financial Abundance Beyond the Group — a personal sharing The method our Area uses for preparing our budget is a little unconventional. Our process consists of estimating each line item of expenses and adjusting the group contributions line of income accordingly in order to “balance the budget.” You may wonder how we are able to continue to function as an Area using these accounting principles. The answer, of course, is that our expenses are never as high as we estimate. The reasons why vary. One of the main reasons is because people share their financial abundance as a way of helping to carry the message. When our Area and district coffers are full, we can use money to reach people who need the help Al-Anon can provide. To aid in this purpose, I know of members who return their Assembly expense reimbursements or refuse to take them in the first place. I know of members who conveniently forget to turn in receipts for supplies they purchased for the district workshop. I remember riding to an Area function with my Sponsor when I was a newcomer. When I tried to offer her gas money, she politely refused it on the grounds that she would have had to drive to the event anyway. These practices are the embodiment of an old idea called “passing it on,” sometimes referred to as “paying it forward.” For example, I once received a donated registration to an Area convention. When I asked my Sponsor about how to pay back the money I felt I owed, she told me that I didn’t need to pay it back, but that someday I might have the resources and opportunity to provide the same service to another member. Having faith that I would someday be able to “pay it forward” allowed me to accept with dignity the gift I’d received. The time came when I did have the opportunity to donate a registration to an event, and I was able to do so with humility. These are a few of my personal experiences with financial abundance. Acting with faith and in the spirit of abundance enables me to let go of my small worries and step into a bigger world where my actions help to ensure the health and prosperity of Al-Anon Family Groups for the future. Main Points Be prudent but have faith when making plans for the fellowship that the resources will be available to execute the plan. This is the financial equivalent of “presuming good will.” Remember what the money is for—keeping the Al-Anon program available for each other and for those who haven’t found us yet. Be gracious when accepting the help Al-Anon has to offer and look for opportunities to “pay it forward.” Shorter version: Be prudent, have faith, and “presume goodwill.” Remember financial commitment to members and to those still suffering. Accept help and “pay it forward.”

9 How can we practice our program and receive abundance?
Practicing Step Three — turn our will and our lives over to the care of our Higher Power Practicing Step Eleven — using prayer and meditation Asking for help knowing that Al-Anon’s abundant human energy is the root of our essence How did one of our members practice this principle? Esther — Abundance of Talent, Technology, Skills, and Spirituality — a personal sharing After attending the 2008 Al-Anon/Alateen International Convention, I felt a rush of joy and genuine satisfaction to be part of a fellowship that embraces with love thousands of people from all walks of life with different talents and needs and serves them well. I understood then that this abundant resource of human energy is the root of our spiritual essence, which endows the Al-Anon/Alateen members with special capacities. As members we know about challenges, but rather than dwell on insufficiencies, we’ve learned to seek guidance in our abundant spiritual resources. Our Eleventh Step about prayer and meditation leads us to optimistically initiate solutions to issues. Oysters remind me of Al-Anon members. Each starts with a grain of sand, but slowly evolves into a precious pearl. Likewise, Al-Anon members’ spirituality slowly matures into unlimited resources. We must learn to claim this energy as we face challenges with knowledge and trust in a Higher Power. The Third Step leads us to seek help. “Let Go and Let God” is an invigorating thought that can bring about innovative ways of coping with challenges. The concept of abundance comes alive when each member focuses on solutions and enthusiastically share ideas. Finding members with specific talents and expertise to serve is a common challenge. What can we do to access members with technological and other special talents and skills needed at the Area or WSO? I always feel that when in doubt, ask members individually. Let’s use our newsletter, Internet, and telephones to ask our members, “Can you help? What do you like to do? When can you lend a hand?” Let’s describe the vacant positions and become mentors to newly appointed servants. Knowledgeable people will be identified, and our spiritual resources will deliver the person with talent to offer, when we approach the task with faith in God. This abundant outlook can awaken enthusiasm and hope beyond our wildest imagination, creating visionary leaders full of possibilities that will encourage an optimistic attitude and allow us to knowledgably and confidently move forward. Tradition Two, which in part states, “… a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience,” is a significant tool to open the path of spiritual creativity and abundance. Main Ideas Al-Anon's abundant human energy is the root of our spiritual essence.  (Eleventh Step) Pearls in oysters evolve like the spirituality in Al-Anon members as we learn to "Let Go and Let God." (Third Step) Search for talented members—Ask and our spiritual resources will deliver. An abundant outlook awakens an optimistic attitude and the path to spiritual creativity.

10 How do you plan to practice abundance in your personal life, in your meetings, and in your Area?
[Pause for the audience to individually reflect on the question being asked]

11 What skills or talents do you have that you can share with members, your group, or the Area?
[Pause for the audience to individually reflect on the question being asked]

12 Let’s do a short inventory and ask ourselves, “What do I have to offer Al-Anon Family Groups?”
[Pause for the audience to individually reflect on the question being asked]

13 Question:  How can Al-Anon members think abundantly and demonstrate their abundant resources in their districts and Areas? Spiritual abundance Abundance of members involved in service Now it is time for you to participate (20 minutes): Everyone here has talents and skills, and having you contribute is valuable for all of us. We want to hear from you. (2 minutes each). We have a time keeper! This stays on the screen while members share. Financial abundance Attracting an abundance of members who have expertise, talents, and skills

14 Fields Of Abundance: 2 minute summary by a pre-selected audience member.
As a final comment, I would like to say that in Al-Anon we have the potential for an abundance of friendships and a spiritual bonding that we can take with us wherever we travel.

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