A.A. and the Service Member

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Alcoholics Anonymous has had a close relationship with the armed services almost since the Fellowship’s inception in 1935. A.A. co-founder Bill W. was a second lieutenant in the field artillery during World War I (where he developed a love of French wine while serving overseas). When World War II broke out, A.A. requested and was granted extra gasoline rations in order to continue with the important work of carrying the A.A. message to alcoholics across the U.S. and Canada, known in A.A. vernacular as “Twelfth Step work.” The Grapevine, A.A.’s monthly magazine — often referred to as “A.A.’s meeting in print” — was first published in June 1944, in part to help connect alcoholics on the world’s far-flung battlefields; and post-war, A.A. groups sprang up on military bases and in surrounding towns from Okinawa to Munich, growth that has continued ever since.

For more on this topic, see or download About A.A. … A Newsletter for Professionals (Fall of 2017)

The Future is “All Year Long”

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Below is the last paragraph of an article in the Summer Edition of BOX 459, the Quarterly News Bulletin of A.A.’s General Service Office recapping the 2018 68th Conference. One can download directly this with other articles from AA.org.

While the efforts of the General Service Conference are felt year-round, the annual meeting held each spring is the culmination of a year’s worth of activity, a time when the collective conscience of A.A. in the U.S./Canada emerges to highlight a pathway forward that will help groups and members carry the A.A. message today and in the years to come. In this way, the Conference is a window to the future of the Fellowship, and as the 68th Conference receded, Conference members began to turn their attention toward the ongoing impact of our A.A. literature and the 2019 Conference with its theme: “Our Big Book — 80 Years, 71 Languages.”

Other articles of interest include a history of getting the Big Book to the verbal-only Navajo Nation, Myths and Misconceptions around the relationship of AA and the professional community, the A.A. practice of Fiscal PrudenceA.A.W.S./G.S.O. launching an YouTube Channel, and this one, the results of the recent conference.

PI/CPC: What are they?

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From CNIA Accents for June

HOW CAN WE BETTER REACH THE STILL SUFFERING ALCOHOLIC IN OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES?

Though the Public Information (PI) Committee has been around since 1956 and Cooperation with the Professional Community (CPC) Committee since 1970, many members are not familiar with the purpose of these two valuable services. Once learning of what can be done, the opportunities to reach out may seem unlimited. Perhaps there are opportunities in your own community that you have not realized.

Bill W. wrote about Public Information:

Public Information takes many forms – the simple sign outside a meeting place that says “A.A. meeting tonight;” listing in local phone directories; distribution of A.A. Literature; and radio and television shows using sophisticated media techniques. Whatever the form, it comes down to “one drunk carrying the message to another drunk,” whether through personal contact or through the use of third parties and the media.

Our literature describes CPC this way:

Members of C.P.C. Committees inform professionals and future professionals about A.A. – what we are, where we are, what we can do, and what we cannot do. They attempt to establish better communication between A.A.s and professionals, and to find simple, effective ways of cooperating without affiliating.

Want to learn more about PI/CPC?

Workbooks and Kits are available as an excellent source of information to getting started in PI/CPC service. Workbooks are available for a few dollars at aa.org and are suggested as a place to learn a great deal before moving forward. You may be surprised what you will learn and may feel enthusiastic about what you have read. Note: PI/CPC Committee has a few copies.

Sharing Sessions / Workshops are available to anyone interested in learning more, getting questions answered or sharing your own experiences with others.

Contact your PI/CPC Chair at alt-delegate@cnia.org for more details.

Web Sites like AA.org and CNIA.org can be an excellent source to information, pamphlets, helpful links, videos, and much more.

If you feel there may be a need in your community to better reach the still suffering alcoholic, maybe PI/CPC can help. Gain some knowledge about what is involved, form a committee, and consider ways that make sense for your committee members. Each committee has different strengths and resources but there is something for everybody to get started. Do what you can with what you have and build from there. You will learn more as you continue to grow in this service.

 

Applying Love,

Tom A.

PI/CPC Chair

CNIA 07, Panel 68

alt-delegate@cnia.org

 

NOTE: Local NorCal PI/CPC meets the third Monday of the Month (except when it is a holiday…then the following Tuesday or Wednesday) at the Redding Shasta County Library at 5:30 pm.

Post-Conference for Panel 68 2018

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Time is still left to attend the California Northern Interior Area 07 Post-Conference Assembly. Even if you are not part of General Service as a GSR, this is a way to hear the latest-and-greatest from the 68th General Service Conference results, and experience, from CNIA’s Delegate who spent almost 10 days in New York City in the latter part of April.

For more information, click here for the Flyer with registration and recommended lodging.

Airing the Message

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Public Service Announcements reach many…

Excerpts from Spring Edition of BOX 459,
the Quarterly Newsletter of General Service Office of A.A

…PSAs that are made for the public are very carefully produced in the spirit of attraction rather than promotion. Everyday words spoken by regular people (in many cases portrayed by professional actors) make the process of identification easier for the prospect as he or she listens in the privacy of a living or work space, on a car radio, or on earphones just about anywhere. Since our experience shows that most alcoholics rarely talk about their drinking problems, PSAs, like A.A. literature, are a way of reaching those who are isolated and isolating from their families and communities. They are a non-invasive and effective way for problem drinkers to learn that they are not alone.

…Putting PSAs out into the public arena has its challenges. There are a host of nonprofit organizations who create PSAs for their own purposes and getting them aired is very competitive. A.A. Public Information Committees throughout North America regularly contact local broadcasters to offer PSAs to their stations. The creation of A.A.’s download page has certainly made the final process easier, but getting the PSA physically on the air is where the challenge lies. Teddy W. has found it easier when district committees have some crossover with the professional community, like a personal contact at the station. (“It’s who you know.”) When that connection is not there, A.A.’s PSA requests often land in a stack along with countless others. As luck or providence would have it, there is sometimes a recovering alcoholic working at the broadcast site who may be able to help nudge A.A.’s request toward the top of the pile, but doing that without breaking anonymity requires great resourcefulness and delicacy. However, persistence, tact, the desire to help, and trust in the greater good continue to bring about positive results.
Most published PSAs are developed by G.S.O. and all are approved by the General Service Conference prior to distribution. If a member, group, or area has an idea for a PSA, they should send that idea to the Public Information assignment at G.S.O., something Clay R. welcomes enthusiastically: “We are always looking for new ideas… and if a group or community would like to create a PSA for local use, they are free to do so… and while G.S.O. stands ready to share A.A. experience with local committees, their group conscience can determine the type and content of a local PSA.” The General Service Board’s policy of not showing an actor’s full face is used for G.S.O.’s videos and many local entities follow this guidance, too. The only other guidelines are those contained in the Steps and Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and G.S.O.’s mission to share consistent and accurate information on A.A.

For more, see this, and past, issues available at:
https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/box-4-5-9-news-and-notes-from-gso

Final 2018 Agenda Items

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68th General Service Conference Committees Agenda Items

I.      Agenda

  • Review suggestions for the theme of the 2019 General Service Conference.
  • Review presentation/discussion topic  ideas  for the  2019  General  Service Conference.
  • Discuss workshop topic ideas for the 2019 General Service Conference.
  • Conference Evaluation:
  1. Review summary of the 2017 General Service Conference evaluations.
  2. Review General Service Conference Evaluation Form.
  • Discuss report on the Conference Agenda Process from the trustees’ Committee on the General Service Conference.

II.    Cooperation with the Professional Community

  • Review the trustees’ committee report regarding Linkedin as a platform for reaching professionals.
  • Consider revisions to the pamphlet “A.A. as a Resource for the Health Care Professional.”
  • Consider revisions  to  the   pamphlet  “Members   of the  Clergy  Ask  About Alcoholics Anonymous.”
  • Consider revisions to the pamphlet “If You Are a Professional…”
  • Review contents of C.P.C. Kit and Workbook.

III.       Corrections

  • Consider request to create a pamphlet for inmates who are to be released after long term incarceration.
  • Review contents of Corrections Kit and Workbook.

IV.   Finance

  • Consider developing a method to standardize increases to the limits on individual contributions and bequests to the General Service Board.
  • Review Self-Support Packet.

V.     Grapevine

  • Review social media report regarding Instagram, Facebook and Google for Nonprofits.
  • Review Audio Strategy status update.
  • Review report on 2004 Conference Advisory Action on Outside Sales.
  • Reconsider the 2014 Conference Advisory Action regarding La Vina.
  • Review revised text of the pamphlet “A.A. Grapevine and La Vina: Our Meetings in Print.”
  • Consider list of suggested Grapevine book topics for 2019 and later.
  • Review Grapevine Workbook.

VI.    Literature

  • Consider proposed revisions to Alcoholics Anonymous.
  1. Request to add an appendix reflecting recognition received from the Library of Congress.
  2. Request to add the A.A. Preamble and Responsibility Statement.
  3. Request to add an endnote to Bill W.’s story acknowledging co-founder, Bob S.
  • Consider request that A.A. (U.S./Canada) publish “The God Word1‘ (a pamphlet currently published by the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Great Britain).
  • Consider request for the development of a pamphlet for atheist and agnostic members.
  • Consider request for the development of a pamphlet based upon A.A.’s Three Legacies.
  • Review report and suggestions on the inclusion of language related to safety in A.A. literature.
  • Review revised draft pamphlet ‘A.A. for the Woman.”
  • Review revised draft pamphlet ‘A.A. and the Gay/Lesbian Alcoholic/’
  • Review draft pamphlet “A.A. for Alcoholics with Mental Health Issues.”
  • Review revised draft pamphlet “Inside A.A.: Understanding the Fellowship and its Services.”
  • Review progress report and draft revised text for the pamphlet The Twelve Traditions Illustrated.”
  • Review progress report on the update to the pamphlet “Too Young?”
  • Review progress report on the update to the pamphlet ‘Young People and A.A.”
  • Consider request for revision to Living Sober.
  • Consider request for the development of a new book combining Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions with Twelve Concepts for World Service.
  • Consider request to update the video “Your A.A. General Service Office, the Grapevine and the General Service Structure.”
  • Consider request to change the subtitle of the pamphlet “G.S.R. General Service Representative: May Be the Most Important Job in A.A.”
  • Consider request for the development of a new pamphlet for Spanish-speaking women alcoholics.
  • Consider request to add a section on anonymity to the pamphlet “Questions and Answers on Sponsorship.”
  • Review matrix of A.A. recovery literature.

VII.     Policy/Admissions

  • Approve request for one observer from A.A. in India to attend the 2018 General Service Conference.
  • Review dates for the 2021 General Service Conference.
  • Review report on the process, implementation and status on the site selection of the General Service Conference.
  • Review draft process for polling the General Service Conference between annual Conference meetings.
  • Review progress report on options for equitable distribution of the workload of Conference committees.
  • Consider request to develop a policy for the use of the Conference dashboard.
  • Discuss the following question from the trustees’ International Committee: “Does the US/Canada have a role/responsibility in assisting in the development of A.A. structures around the world through sponsoring other countries via direct invitations to observe our General Service Conference.”

VIII.  Public Information

  • Review 2017 annual report from the trustees’ Public Information Committee regarding aa.org and aagrapevine.org.
  • Review 2018 Public Information Comprehensive Media Plan
  • Public Service Announcements (PSAs):
  1. Consider approving the proposed video PSA “Changes.”
  2. Consider centralized distribution, tracking and evaluation of the proposed video PSA “Changes,” at a cost not to exceed $42,000, in addition to the work of local public information committees.
  3. Review the 2017 Report on the Relevance and Usefulness of Video Public Service Announcements.
  • Consider approving a Young Peoples Video submission.
  • Consider revisions to the pamphlet “Understanding Anonymity” which expand content on Traditions Eleven and Twelve and adds information related to safety in A.A.
  • Consider revisions to the pamphlet “A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous” which update language, contact information and information on the prevalence and severity of alcoholism and add information related to safety in A.A.
  • Review a progress report on the A.A.W.S. Google for Nonprofit YouTube channel.
  • Review the 2018 trustees’ Public Information Committee Report on the use of Google AdWords and Google Grants to carry the A.A. message.
  • Review contents of P.I. Kit and Workbook.

 IX.   Report and Charter

  • The A.A. Service Manual, 2018-2020 Edition:
  1. Review list of editorial updates.
  2. Consider request for changes to chapters 2, 3, and 5.
  3. Consider adding “Panel” to the Glossary of General Service Terms.
  4. Consider adding graphics on page S75, above the section A.A. World Services, Inc., that visually display the positions on each of the three corporate boards.
  5. Consider adding text regarding standing committees from “The A.A. Group” pamphlet.
  6. Consider removing the following statement from the section Area Newsletters or Bulletins: “Any group or district of the Fellowship is free to use the symbol of a circle and triangle on newsletters, meeting schedules or other A.A. material.”
  7. Consider developing a plan for a revised editorial review process.
  • Discuss A.A. Directories (Canada, Eastern U.S., Western U.S., and International).
  • General Service Conference Final Report.
  1. Consider request that Conference committee additional considerations be published in their entirety both in the printed Conference Final Report and the anonymity-protected digital version.

X.     Treatment and Accessibilities

  • Review the trustees’ committee report on Cooperation with Armed Services Exploration Strategies.
  • Review proposed revisions to the pamphlet “Accessibility for All Alcoholics.”
  • Discuss ways that remote communities concerns might be addressed by the Conference.
  • Review summary of the Fellowship sharing on the need for additional material to support carrying the A.A. message to Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing A.A. members.
  • Review contents of Treatment Kit and Workbook.
  • Review contents of Accessibilities Kit and Workbook.

XI.   Trustees

  • Review resumes of candidates for:
  1. Eastern Canada Regional Trustee
  2. Pacific Regional Trustee
  • Review slates of trustees and officers of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc.
  • Review slate of directors of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  • Review slate of directors of AA Grapevine, Inc.
  • Review proposal to censure the General Service Board.
  • Review proposal to reorganize the A.A. World Services and General Service Boards.
  • Review report on the regional geographic service structure.

XII.     Archives

  • Review draft of proposed publication, Our Great Responsibility: Selections of Bill W.’s General Service Conference Talks, 1951-1970.
  • Consider request from the AA Grapevine Board to post the 2017 General Service Conference presentation, A.A. Grapevine and La Vina” on AA Grapevine’s YouTube channel.
  • Consider developing a policy on distribution of audio recordings of General Service Conference presentations.
  • Review Archives Workbook.

XIII.    International Conventions/Regional Forums

  • Discuss selection of cities to be considered as a site for the International Convention in 2030.
  • Discuss inviting up to twenty-one non-A.A. speakers to participate in the 2020 International Convention at A.A.’s expense.
  • Discuss ways to encourage interest in Regional Forums and attract first-time attendees.

 

 

To download in its entirety, click here.

68th General Service Conference Preliminary Agenda Items

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68th General Service Conference Committees

Preliminary Agenda Items

Below are the preliminary agenda items for the 68th General Service Conference committees as of November 7, 2017. During the January 2018 meetings of the trustees’ committees, additional items received by the December 15th deadline may be assigned to appropriate Conference committees. Please keep in mind that this is a preliminary list and agenda items may be added or subject to change by the trustees’ committees at the January board weekend.

I.   Agenda

  • Review suggestions for the theme of the 2019 General Service Conference.
  • Review presentation/discussion topic ideas for the 2019 General Service Conference
  • Review workshop topic ideas for the 2019 General Service Conference.
  • Review the General Service Conference Evaluation Form and 2017 Evaluation Summary.

II. Archives

  • Review Archives Workbook.

III.    Cooperation with the Professional Community

  • Review contents of C.P.C. Kit and Workbook.

IV. Corrections

  • Consider development of a new pamphlet focused on long-term incarcerated alcoholics soon to be released.
  • Review contents of Corrections Kit and Workbook.

V. Finance

  • Review Self-Support Packet.

VI Grapevine

  • Review Audio Strategy status update.
  • Consider list of suggested Grapevine book topics for 2019 or later.
  • Review Grapevine Workbook.

VII.   International Conventions/Regional Forums

  • Discuss ways to encourage interest in Regional Forums and attract first-time attendees.

VIII.    Literature

  • Consider request to add an appendix to Alcoholics Anonymous reflecting “recognition received from the Library of Congress.”
  • Consider request to add the A.A. Preamble and Responsibility Statement to Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Review annual matrix of recovery literature.
  • Consider request that A.A. World Services, Inc. publish “The God Word” (a pamphlet currently published by The General Service Board Great Britain).
  • Consider request for the development of a pamphlet for atheist/agnostic members.
  • Consider request for the development of a pamphlet based upon A.A.’s Three Legacies.
  • Review report and suggestions on the inclusion of language regarding safety in recovery literature.

IX.  Policy/Admissions

  • Review draft process of polling the General Service Conference between annual Conference meetings.
  • Review dates for the 2021 General Service Conference.

X. Public Information

  • Review 2017 annual report from the trustees’ Public Information Committee regarding aa.org and aagrapevine.org.
  • Review Young People’s Video submission.
  • Review 2018 Public Information Comprehensive Media Plan.
  • Review contents of P.I. Kit and Workbook.

XI.  Report and Charter

  • The A.A. Service Manual.. 2018-2020 Edition:
  1. Review list of editorial updates.
  2. Consider request for changes to chapters 2, 3, and 5 in The A.A. Service Manual.
  • Consider developing a plan with a revised editorial review proccsc for The A.A. Service Manual.
  • Discuss A.A. Directories.
  • Discuss General Service Conference Final Report.

XII.  Treatment and Accessibilities

  • Review contents of Treatment Committee Kit and Workbook.
  • Review contents of Accessibilities Kit and Workbook.

XIII. Trustees

  • Review resumes of candidates for:
  1. Eastern Canada Regional Trustee
  2. Pacific Regional Trustee
  • Review slates of trustees and officers of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc.
  • Review slate of directors of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  • Review slate of directors of A.A. Grapevine, Inc.
  • Review proposal to censure the General Service Board.
  • Review proposal to reorganize the A.A. World Services and General Service Boards.

 

Click here to download

Excerpt from Keynote Address of 2017 67th GSC

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The following excerpt is from the Keynote Address of the
67th General Service Conference Final Report.

The theme of this year’s Conference is “Supporting Our Future,” and for me there is only one way we can support the future of Alcoholics Anonymous, and that is by embracing the great Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. I say “embrace” because enforcement has never worked in Alcoholics Anonymous; it is only when newcomers see those who came before them embracing the Traditions that they will want to embrace them, too. I am speaking of embracing all Twelve Traditions, not picking and choosing which ones are convenient. You will never win a popularity contest by standing up against a popular idea because your gut tells you it goes against one of our great Twelve Traditions, but it is every A.A. member’s responsibility and the duty of every leader in A.A. to do the same. We don’t embrace them out of fear but rather out of love for Alcoholics Anonymous, the only thing that has worked to arrest our alcoholism.

I told you my name, my service position, and that I am an alcoholic, but let me clearly state what I mean when I say I am an alcoholic. I am not a heavy drinker, a binge drinker, or even someone addicted to alcohol; rather, I suffer from an “allergy” to alcohol, an allergy that is clearly described and defined in two specific chapters in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, “The Doctor’s Opinion” and “More About Alcoholism.” Every time I drink I have a reaction to alcohol that normal people do not; my body tells me I have to and need to keep drinking. On top of this physical compulsion, the next day or night when I grow uncomfortable in my own skin, my mind tells me the only way to feel comfortable again is to have the first drink regardless of the consequences the last time I drank.

The courts might believe they can mandate me to get better, and others feel they can legislate this; some doctors and scientists believe they can invent a vaccination or medicate my recovery. But I have accepted that only a spiritual experience as the result of the Twelve Steps can arrest my alcoholism. I know today that you can’t sentence a spiritual experience, that you can’t legislate a spiritual experience, and that, even as a sponsor, I can’t schedule a spiritual experience. You can simply have a spiritual experience as a result of our Twelve Steps.

Just like the newcomer looks to the more experienced member for help with our Traditions, groups look to districts, districts to assemblies, and assemblies to the General Service Conference and General Service Board to set an example. A.A.’s leaders have a sacred duty to, above all else, embrace all Twelve Traditions. I do not believe we should ever look for a way around a Tradition or try to make something work if it does not feel right. I firmly believe that you can’t ask a newcomer to observe one Tradition while you ignore a few others. I believe it is time for many in Alcoholics Anonymous to stop using the Fourth Tradition to break other Traditions. History shows that the Fourth Tradition was not created to be a veto over the others; rather, it was created to give groups flexibility regarding group “customs.” If any group — including an area assembly, area officers, the General Service Board or service corporations — breaks a Tradition, it is affecting other groups and A.A. as a whole.

—end of excerpt—

William N., General Service Trustee

For continuation of this, and other complete presentations, see your GSR. Every Group should have a single Hard Copy of the Final Report. They should be available for pick-up at the October District 11 meeting.
Online Continuations are planned to become available as they are uploaded. Note that the Online Versions are ‘Anonymity Protected’ and are permissible for Online use.

New Service Material explained…

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From Box 459 for Fall of 2017

New Service Material Available

“The General Service Office has developed a new service piece that is now available to the
Fellowship upon request.

“Service material differs from Conference approved literature in that it has not come about through C o n f e r e n c e Advisory Action.

“Service material reflects A.A. group experience as well as specific and timely information that is subject to change.

“The new item (F-211) is titled Safety Card for A.A. Groups and offers statements that can be used at the group level regarding the safety of the group and its members. As noted on the card, ‘Alcoholics Anonymous is a microcosm of the larger society we exist in. As such, problems found in the outside world can also make their way into the rooms. For this reason, groups and members discuss the topic of safety — to raise awareness in the
Fellowship and to seek through sponsorship, workshops and meetings, to create as safe an environment as possible to carry A.A.’s message of hope and recovery to the still-suffering alcoholic.’
“Printed on yellow paper, the six-by-four-inch card has been made available as an optional service piece for those groups who wish to use it, and is available in English, French and Spanish. To obtain service material, including this item, please contact the General Service Office.”

 

Or contact District 11 or Intergroup for Northern California for your copy.

 

Click here for your current issue of Box 459.

Delegate’s talk at Conference…

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The following is another presentation of the 67th General Service Conference. This one, in its entirety, was by our Delegate, Vikki R.

Safety — An Important Consideration

My name is Vikki, and I am an alcoholic. I currently have the honor to serve as delegate of the California Northern Interior Area, Panel 66. I would like to thank Mary Clare and Rick for the loving invitation to speak today.

I thought it was interesting at the General Service Conference last year that the original presentation topic was   “Safety in A.A. — Our Responsibility.” Then, one of my favorite Class A trustees, Judge Ivan Lemelle, came to the mike and expressed concern about the public’s perception of what “our responsibility” really means and that perhaps it could be a liability issue. The Conference presentation idea was changed to its current form.

That got me thinking. What is the public’s and professional communities’ perception of Alcoholics Anonymous? Specifically, do they think Alcoholics Anonymous is a safe place to be, and, if not, how did they arrive at that perception?

We all know there are many ways A.A. meetings can be unsafe. There are physical dangers that include, but are not limited to, misinformation about medications and treatment programs, bullying, sexual harassment and inappropriate touching. There are liability dangers and the potential for vandalism of one’s property. There may be financial predators lurking in the rooms looking for victims, and, of course, there are members with behavioral health problems.

How do we handle potential danger or safety issues? Fortunately for us, the Traditions have already been put in place to guide us. Tradition One tells us we have an obligation to our common welfare. Tradition Three states, in part, we have only one requirement in Alcoholics Anonymous. Tradition Five reminds us about our primary purpose. Tradition Ten states we should not be drawn into public controversy. Tradition Eleven reminds us that our public relations policy is based on attraction, not promotion, and Tradition Twelve tells us to place principles before personalities.

Besides the Traditions, there are many ways to increase safety in meetings. Good sponsorship is another tool we can use to increase safety. We can start by talking about potential dangers and potentially dangerous people. It doesn’t have to be a secret. If there is an individual who is known to the group as a predator, let the new person be aware. Predators are like cockroaches: the only way to get rid of them is to shine the light on them.

Also, it is important to select good leadership in our groups, districts and areas. Good leaders should know the proper procedures in case of an emergency situation and know how to stay calm but firm when potential dangers arise. A good leader should make awareness of the safety issues a priority by organizing presentations and workshops.

There are no “A.A. police.” The General Service Office has no authority, legal or otherwise, to control or direct the behavior of A.A. members and groups. So, who has the responsibility? We all do! Collectively and individually, it is up to us.

Develop a plan or course of action in your home group’s business or group conscience meeting. Decide what to do if a situation requires police involvement and who should call the police. Just because A.A. is considered a safe haven from drinking doesn’t mean it is a safe haven from violence. If your group conscience dictates, don’t be afraid to ask disruptive members to leave the meeting. Remember, our common welfare comes first. If one person is preventing other members from hearing the message of Alcoholics Anonymous, it is okay if one or two members take that individual outside to talk. If the disruptive behavior continues, a member can be invited not to attend that group for a while. We do not kick people out of A.A., but if behavior warrants, we can ask them to attend a different meeting.

It is important to our future to make sure our Fellowship is attractive to the alcoholics still out there suffering. Nobody wants to attend a meeting they hear is unsafe. Does our Fellowship seem attractive? In order to answer that question, we can review the current Feasibility Study. This study clearly states our membership numbers continue to remain flat. Why is that? I believe part of the answer is our lack of Public Information/Cooperation with the Professional Community (P.I./C.P.C.) efforts.

Did you know there are members of Alcoholics Anonymous across the United States and Canada who aren’t even aware we have P.I./C.P.C. committees? Back when Bill W. was around, we had the support of many doctors, lawyers, clergymen, etc. Newspapers were flooded with wonderful stories about our Fellowship and our members. Today, most of the A.A. coverage in public media that I see is negative in nature. As a Fellowship, we cannot stand idly by and let others define us. It is time for us to have a more visible presence on the Internet so that misinformation does not go unchallenged. We cannot give one message about A.A. to the public and ignore educating our own members about how our behavior affects A.A. as a whole.

In the March 1958 Grapevine, Bill W. wrote, “Millions are still sick and other millions soon will be.… Why haven’t these millions come to us?” Responding to his own question with a solution, he wrote, “The answer seems to be in education — education in schoolrooms, in medical colleges, among clergy and employers, in families, and in the public at large.… Sound education on alcoholism, and far more of it at all levels, will clearly pay off.”

Remember that we have found a way out from a terrible illness. Our own survival lies in our ability to carry this message of hope to fellow sufferers. Let us not squander this responsibility.

Vikki R., California Northern Interior