(return to Guidelines)

A.A. Guidelines                     Literature Committees
from G.S.O., Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163

A.A. Guidelines are compiled from the shared experience of A.A. members throughout the U.S. and Canada. They also reflect guidance given through the Twelve Traditions and the General Service Conference. In keeping with our Tradition of Anonymity except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole, most decisions are made by the group conscience of the members involved. The purpose of these Guidelines is to assist in reaching an informed group conscience.


Today, as in the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous, the A.A. message of recovery from alcoholism is carried by one alcoholic talking to another. However, since the publication of the first edition of the Big Book in 1939, literature has played an important role in spreading the A.A. message and imparting information about the A.A. Twelve Step program of recovery.

The newcomer, walking into an A.A. group for the first time, may be given a meeting list, basic recovery pamphlets and, depending on the individual group conscience, perhaps a copy of Living Sober or the Big Book.

In 1992, the Conference Literature Committee suggested that the trustees' Literature Committee develop literature committee guidelines comprised of shared experience from the Fellowship.

These guidelines provide a summary of shared experience of A.A.s in the groups, central and intergroup offices, general service areas and districts who have formed literature committees and shared how they "Let Literature Carry the Message, Too."


Whether group, central office or intergroup, area or district, a literature chairperson:

Informs groups, district or area assembly members, through displays and other suitable methods, of all available Conference approved literature, audiovisual material and other special items.
Provides service-oriented literature for groups and area and district functions as funded.
Considers suggestions regarding proposed additions to and changes in Conference-approved literature and audiovisual material.
Encourages A.A. members to read and purchase A.A. Conference approved literature.


Write G.S.O. for a copy of the Conference-approved Literature Catalog, updated literature information and order forms.
Become familiar with literature and audiovisual material.
Ask for a Convention Kit Display.
Discuss literature needs of the central office, group, area and district.
Form a literature committee and make a traveling literature display.
Prepare a budget.
Plan ahead where you want to exhibit A.A. literature.


The group's literature chairperson makes certain that A.A. Conference-approved books and pamphlets, ordered from the General Service Office or purchased from the local intergroup (central office), are on hand for meetings and properly displayed.

A group literature chair or representative can obtain information on their responsibility by writing to the literature coordinator at G.S.O. Regular communications are sent to literature chairs from G.S.O., and G.S.O. also keeps a list of literature chairs and representatives.

Many A.A. groups purchase bulk subscriptions to Box 4-5-9 (a unit of 10 copies, 6 times a year, $6.00) for distribution to their members, thus providing them regular communication with A.A. in the U.S., Canada and countries throughout the world. Some groups also have bulk subscriptions to the A.A. Grapevine.


Experience indicates that a thorough knowledge of A.A. literature is a good way to assure that our primary purpose remains the focus for successful A.A. groups and members. You can be a part of the solution by emphasizing our books, pamphlets, videos and service material.

Some areas hold workshops to help local groups and district chairpersons learn about where A.A. literature comes from and the Conference process.


Suggested guidelines for a district literature chairperson:

Maintain a stock of suggested literature for D.C.M. to give new G.S.R.s.
Keep a stock of catalogs for Conference‑approved literature.
Keep an ample stock of all current General Service Conference approved pamphlets, books, videos and other material.
Keep current on new and upcoming as well as revised literature and material from G.S.O.
Set up this material for viewing and sale at all functions, including workshops, conferences and meetings.
Order literature for district activities as needed.
Become familiar with the general contents of all literature, in order to provide information to inquirers.
Be represented at and participate in literature committee functions and communicate as much as possible with the General Service Conference and trustees' Literature Committees.


An overview of the substance and content of our literature is found in the A.A. Service Manual (pages S129 - S133, '93/94 edition).
A "job description" for a literature chairperson is found in "The A.A. Group" pamphlet (page 28). This description equally relates to the district function.
Conference-approved Literature and Other Service Material (catalog) with corresponding order form.
Service Material Available from G.S.O. This service piece is an excellent source of material that will aid in informing your district and G.S.R.s.
Box 4-5-9 (order form). A.A.'s bimonthly newsletter carries the most recent A.A. announcements and news from across the U.S. and Canada, as well as A.A. worldwide. Encourage the G.S.R.s in your district to suggest that their groups subscribe to Box 4-5-9, and ask permission of your district to order a bulk subscription for your literature table.
The Literature Chairperson Information form (available from G.S.O.) may be filled out and sent to G.S.O.'s Literature Coordinator. Please make a copy available to your area literature chairperson. These forms may also be made available to the G.S.R.s in your district to take back to their groups to register their literature representative.


One area committee reviewed all A.A. literature and submitted a report, summarized here:

In carrying out this project, we have completed an inventory, not unlike the Fourth Step, of our literature. The result has not been an increased negative attitude towards our literature, but rather an awakening to our wealth of literature and the many possibilities for its use. Along with this awakening has come a spirit of cooperation in striving to make our literature the most effective possible.

Another area committee has formed guidelines for their literature committee elections, meetings, subcommittees and district liaison persons, budget, officers and their duties, and members' responsibilities.

Both committees concluded displaying A.A. literature and audiovisual materials at every possible area and district function and selling literature at those functions helps to carry the A.A. message and fulfill our primary purpose.

A district literature chairperson reports:

We have an inventory of all pamphlets and books and also most of the other items, such as tapes, directories, etc. We sell these items to the groups at the prices published by G.S.0. We do not give the groups the 20% discount that we get for pamphlets because that; amount helps offset the cost of pamphlets we give away through our H&I, Public Information and Cooperation With the Professional Community committees.

We have a monthly literature meeting with the groups in our district at which we talk about any new items that have been released by G.S.0. We also try to pick one literature item to discuss to help everyone learn about how important the literature is when it comes to carrying the message.

I also have made myself available to take a literature display to group business meetings, as well as group meetings for literature studies. This seems to be a very good way to get the literature message to several people at the same time.

My own opinion is that the literature is the best way to carry the message to the still suffering alcoholic. There can be no confusion with words when you see them in black and white. To this end I think that anything you can do to make people aware of literature is very acceptable.

An area literature chair shares:

My experience is limited to one year on the area committee and my observation of it for the prior year. We only deal with Conference‑approved items listed in the catalog, Grapevine is a separate committee. Our purpose at this time is to display the materials so that G.S.R.s and others see what is available to their groups.

We display all of the hardback and softback books, plus pamphlets and an assortment of the other lower‑cost service items. We set up our display at all area assembly and district committee meetings, our mini conference, the state conference when hosted and any other time we are asked, i.e., district workshops, area workshops and P.I. type events.

We are not displaying any other Twelve Step literature or anything not in the catalog or available from G.S.O. as a service item. We try to stock at least two of each book and five of each pamphlet. We carry one of all other items that we can justify costwise.

We do not stock many copies of the Final Conference Report or of the A.A. Service Manual, but they are for sale. We also tend to have more than five of the service pamphlets, such as 'he A.A. Group," "Your G. S. R.," 'The Twelve Traditions Illustrated." The reasoning behind multiple copies of books and pamphlets is as follows: If someone wants an item desperately, we will sell or give it to them depending upon the need. This is kind of a gray area and we could probably use some sort of policy. We try to present one item per month to the assembly/district meeting. Sort of a "If you never looked inside this, here's what's in it" deal.

I think it is safe to say we will never sell literature at a profit or handle non-Conference-approved items unless we all decide to drink again. We will probably not be in favor of individual groups using basket income for outside items either.

Another area reports:

Our area assemblies always have three or four tables of literature for sale and display, consisting of all books and pamphlets. The area literature chair usually asks the D.C.M. of the host district to get some volunteers from local groups to help staff the tables. This helps to get members interested in the literature. One lady, who had sat in only a couple of times before she moved from the area, helped get a literature committee started in another area.

All recovery material is placed together and in plain sight, including all formats of the Big Book, Braille and audio tapes, and extra Spanish material in areas where there is a large Spanish community. All P.I. and C.P.C. pamphlets and video and audio cassettes are kept together and arranged neatly. Other service pamphlets, Guidelines, and the Fact File are in another section with all Workbooks. Tables are always neat, with literature catalogs in plain sight and easy reach. Any literature chairperson should be informed of what is in stock and have a good idea of what is in each item, so, if asked a question, they would know where to look for the answer.

The area bought one Big Book in every language for a display (50th year) which was to be turned over to the archives at a later date, but most were sold at the assemblies.

Our local district has a traveling display board with all pamphlets, book covers, Guidelines, A.A. Fact File, Box 4-5-9, local intergroup's newsletter and business cards from our central office, with address and phone number.

One district chair reports:

I took a suitcase of literature out to different groups, would ask the chairperson of the group for a few minutes for a short pitch of what they had available in Conference-approved literature. This was received well, especially at groups in small towns that were some distance from our central office. One district in our area has a literature chair that writes an article in their district newsletter. He tells of some interesting parts of the book that he is reading at present.

A central office shares:

We have a good relationship with our general service committees, lending literature for display at district functions. The central office has a display rack with all pamphlets. These are placed near meeting schedules so a person looking for the schedules might see a pamphlet that would interest him or her. All books are at the catalog price. We have a fairly large Spanish community, so we keep a supply of Spanish literature. At all social events, we have a literature drawing and ask all groups to donate some literature for the event. This keeps sales up at the central office and gets the message out. Many times when someone wins a book, they ask if a newcomer needs it, or it may go to one of our committees.


It was recommended that:

1968: Conference-approved literature and G.S.O. Guidelines be displayed and distributed at assembly meetings.

1969: One group member be chosen to be solely responsible for the distribution of Conference-approved literature and its display.

1971: The delegates assume responsibility for informing A.A.s of all available Conference-approved literature, and that the updated spring and fall literature order blanks which are mailed with Box 4-5-9 be reviewed at district and assembly meetings.

1972: It be suggested that when a local A.A. facility (central office, intergroup, group, etc.) sells non-Conference-approved literature, it be clearly designated as such.

1977: It was suggested that A.A. groups be discouraged from selling literature not distributed by the General Service Office and the Grapevine.

1986: In an effort to strengthen our network of literature representatives to ensure that A.A. literature is available at meetings, as well as catalog order forms for books and cassettes that individuals are likely to want, it is suggested that groups appoint literature coordinators.

The spirit of the 1977 Conference action regarding group literature displays be reaffirmed, and recommended the suggestion that A.A. groups be encouraged to display or sell only literature published and distributed by the General Service Office, the A.A. Grapevine and other A.A. entities.


G.S.O. maintains a mailing list of literature chairpersons (U.S. and Canada). All are sent Box 4-5-9. Each newly elected literature chairperson receives a welcoming letter from the Literature Coordinator at G.S.O. Enclosed are: "The A.A. Group" pamphlet; literature catalog; service piece on Conference-approved literature; current issue of Box 4-5-9; 5 Box 4-5-9 subscription blanks; 5 postage-paid envelopes; list of service material available at G.S.O.

From time to time an update of new and revised literature is sent by G.S.O.'s Publications Department.


G.S.O.'s Publications Department has a direct phone number for customers placing change orders, researching orders, and having problems with orders received.

The direct number is: (212) 870-3312.

This number may also be used to get ordering information and current prices. Please do not use this number if you wish to be sent a catalog.

Call: (212) 870-3400.

Fax order form to us any time. Our line is open 24 hours daily: 1-212-870-3137; 1-800-437-3584.

Please keep in touch so that your activities may be shared through Box 4-5-9 and the Literature desk and your experiences can be added to the files, to help others who are involved in this rewarding area of service.



(return to Guidelines)


A.A. Guidelines                                     Cooperation With the Professional Community
from G.S.O., Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163

A.A. Guidelines are compiled from the shared experience of A.A. members in the various areas. They also reflect guidance given through the Twelve Traditions and the General Service Conference (U.S. and Canada). In keeping with our Tradition of autonomy, except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole, most decisions are made by the group conscience of the members involved. The purpose of these guidelines is to assist in reaching an informed group conscience.

By action of the General Service Board, January 1970, the trustees' Committee on Cooperation with the Professional Community (C.P.C.)-a spin-off from the Public Information Committee-was developed. A similar Conference committee was formed the following year. Since that time, A.A. members in local areas have been responding to local need by establishing C.P.C. committees.

A.A. is considered by professional persons, almost without exception, to be the number one resource for alcoholics who want help. When there is a good working relationship between A.A. members in the community and paid alcoholism workers, the professionals give A.A. credit, A.A. members return the compliment, and the sick alcoholic is the winner‑he or she gets the help needed from both.

We are not in competition with these non-A.A.s, and vice-versa; we have our separate functions. A.A. is not in the business of education, research, medicine, counseling, treatment, prevention, or funding. We simply have a message to carry about a program of recovery for alcoholics-a program that works for hundreds of thousands who want it.

The professional can help the alcoholic want it-by education, counseling, and rehabilitative treatment-and can also be of aid through making the community aware of and care about the millions still suffering from the progressive illness that A.A. has helped us arrest. A recent survey of A.A. membership indicated that almost half of A.A.s surveyed credited a member of the professional community for getting them to our Fellowship.

It is our hope that these Guidelines will help to define the scope and function of a C.P.C. committee, and will facilitate its organization. It is suggested that in areas where there are existing public information and institutions committees, members from these committees be included in the organizational meeting of a new C.P.C. committee.


The following descriptions of the responsibilities of P.I., C.P.C., T.F. and C.F. committees are given for purposes of clarification.

P.I.-The purpose of P.I. service work is to provide accurate A.A. information to the public when requested. P.I. committees visit schools, businesses and community meetings for this purpose. They also serve as resources for our friends in the local media, emphasizing our Traditions of anonymity, singleness of purpose and nonaffiliation, as well as offering A.A. public service announcements to radio and television stations.

C.P.C.-Members of these committees provide information about A.A. to those who have contact with alcoholics through their profession. This group includes health care professionals, educators, members of the clergy, lawyers, social workers, union leaders, and industrial managers, as well as those working in the field of alcoholism. Information is provided about where we are, what we are, what we can do, and what we cannot do.

C.F. and T.F.-The purpose of C.F. or T.F., or combined institutions committees, is to coordinate the work of individual members and groups who are interested in carrying our message of recovery to alcoholics in hospitals, alcoholism treatment and rehabilitation centers, and correctional facilities.

In many areas, liaisons have been established among these committees- i.e., C.F., T.F., institutions and P.I. committees send a liaison to C.P.C. committee meetings. There are many instances of overlapping responsibilities. It should be clearly established that A.A. committees are not in competition with each other. Local circumstances determine who does what.


One of the best ways to start your C.P.C Twelfth Step work is to read the C.P.C Workbook, which is a bounty of information gathered from A.A.'s past experience in C.P.C. work. As an example, in many areas C.P.C committees are organized as follows:

1. Area C.P.C chairperson and co-chairperson elected or appointed by the area committee.

2. District C.P.C chairperson and co‑chairperson elected or selected in each district.

3. The P.I., C.F., T.F. and C.P.C. committees each assigns a member to attend meetings of the other three committees, thus maintaining communication and cooperation within A.A.

4. A budget figure from area committee funds is established and approved.

5. The chairperson of an area, district or intergroup (central office) C.P.C. committee is registered with the G.S.O. office in New York.

Whether you work primarily through the area and district structure, through the local central office or intergroup, or through the groups, it is a good idea to have an overall organization. If you don't, problems of communication, duplication of effort, and outright confusion will undoubtedly arise.


The C.P.C Workbook contains information on all aspects of C.P.C. service, including a history of C.P.C since its beginnings. The workbook also includes Guidelines, pamphlets and copies of Box 4-5-9 (which has a section on C.P.C. news) and About A.A., our triannual newsletter for professionals. It is suggested that the basic "text" for C.P.C. committee members is the Conference-approved pamphlet "How A.A. Members Cooperate With Other Community Efforts to Help Alcoholics."


One suggestion is to work with one group of professionals at a time. When a list of professionals, both individuals and organizations, has been compiled, members of the C.P.C. committee would make an initial contact (by letter, phone or face-to-face). Offer to come and talk about what A.A. can and cannot do, offer to take a professional to an A.A. meeting in your area. Provide A.A. literature describing our A.A. program of recovery, stressing our eagerness to act as a resource to the recovering alcoholic.

Some C.P.C. committees take an annual inventory to share past experience and plan future C.P.C. Twelfth Step work.


It is suggested that area C.P.C. committees request to be placed on the mailing list with community, state or area professional agencies. Specific suggestions and information about exhibiting at professional meetings is available from the General Service Office. You may wish to borrow a C.P.C. Exhibit from G.S.O. Try to request this exhibit 6 to 8 weeks before the event. G.S.O. will also help to provide complimentary literature for professional meetings.


See the C.P.C. Workbook for samples of presentations you might give in your community. Most C.P.C committee members will be informed on A.A. and its history, and are able to give an accurate and positive impression of Alcoholics Anonymous. We stress our primary purpose, and Traditions of nonaffiliation, self-support and anonymity.

Please keep in touch with us so that we may share your activities through the C.P.C. section in Box 4-5-9 and in About A.A. Your experiences help others who are involved in this rewarding area of service.


(return to Guidelines)



A.A. Guidelines                                          Public Information
from G.S.O., Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163

A.A. Guidelines are compiled from the shared experience of A.A. members in the various areas. They also reflect guidance given through the Twelve Traditions and the General Service Conference (U.S. and Canada). In keeping with our Tradition of autonomy, except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole, most decisions are made by the group conscience of the members involved. The purpose of these guidelines is to assist in reaching an informed group conscience.


Like all of A.A., the primary purpose of members involved with public information service is to carry the A.A. message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Working together, members of local Public Information committees convey A.A. information to the general public, including the media.


The 1939 publication of our Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, was the first A.A. information available for the public. By 1941, several articles on A.A. in national publications helped to encourage understanding and acceptance of A.A. Also significant were good relations with professionals, such as Dr. W. D. Silkworth, Rev. Sam Shoemaker and Dr. Harry Tiebout.

In 1956, the Public Information Committee of the General Service Board was formed, with a corresponding Conference P.I. Committee established in 1961. The General Service Conference established this policy for A.A. Public Information:

In all public relationships, A.A.'s sole objective is to help the still suffering alcoholic. Always mindful of the importance of personal anonymity, we believe this can be done by making known to the still‑suffering alcoholic, and to those who may be interested in their problem, our own experience as individuals and as a fellowship in learning to live without alcohol.

We believe that our experience should be made available freely to all who express sincere interest. We believe further that all efforts in this field should always reflect our gratitude for the gift of sobriety and our awareness that many outside of A.A. are equally concerned with the serious problem of alcoholism.

By 1973, the General Service Conference confirmed that "We must recognize that our competence to speak about alcoholism is limited in subject matter to Alcoholics Anonymous and its recovery program."


Responding to an expressed need, the Conference recommended formation of a separate Conference Committee in 1971. Now known as the Cooperation With the Professional Community Committee (C.P.C.), its purpose is to better distribute A.A. information to those in contact with alcoholics through their professions. In some locales, C.P.C. and P.I. committees are separate; elsewhere they function as one committee covering two services.

It is clearly understood that both of these committees work within our primary purpose and are not in competition.


Whether sponsored by an area assembly, district, or A.A. central office (intergroup), P.I. committees are responsible to the A.A. entity they serve.

Getting Started: New committees usually begin by contacting the General Service Office (G.S.O.), where a staff person handles P.I. activities and maintains contact with local committees. The new chairperson is sent a welcome letter along with basic P.I. information and placed on the Box 4-5-9 mailing list, thus assuring that the committee can benefit by shared P.I. experience through articles in G.S.O.'s bimonthly newsletter. A P.I. Workbook is sent to all area P.I. chairpersons. Others are asked to purchase them.

Committee Members: The first qualification for doing P.I., or any other service work, is sound sobriety. All committee members need to be thoroughly familiar with the A.A. program and able to provide accurate information about the Fellowship. Experience in public relations is not essential.

An understanding of the Twelve Traditions, including a firm grasp of the Anonymity Traditions, is most important. This is often enhanced through committees studying basic P. I. material together.

From one area P.I. committee: "After the assembly acted to establish a P.I. committee, a few interested members met together and realized that we needed participation from the districts and background from G.S.O. Individually, we purchased basic P.I. pamphlets and the P.I. Workbook through our local intergroup or G.S.O. The committee decided to meet monthly to read and discuss the pamphlets 'Speaking at Non‑A.A. Meetings' and 'Understanding Anonymity,' the service piece Information on Alcoholics Anonymous and the workbook.

"Our study meetings gained in enthusiasm as we read together from one basic P.I. pamphlet at a time. New members joined, and before long we each began to enjoy taking part in 'practice talks' during our monthly meetings.

"A 'practice talk' session was led by a committee person who had prepared a presentation, asking us to 'pretend' to be a certain audience (high school students, church or business group, etc.). After the talk, the 'audience' would ask questions suitable to the supposed group. We concluded by offering loving suggestions for improvement or clarification.

"After six months, we informed the local community of our availability. The next year, we were able to visit 20 schools, sharing A.A. information with more than 7,300 people."

In locations with sparse populations and small number of A.A.s involved in P.I. service, the need to regularly share experience and information is just as vital, and may be conducted by phone or mail. P.I. committee meetings are less frequent, but the purpose, need for guidance and link to an A.A. service entity remains the same.

Financing: Most often the cost of doing P.I. service work is met from group contributions to whatever body forms the committee-general service area, district, central office/intergroup or, in smaller communities, one or more A.A. groups.

Usually, funds for the committee's work will be included in the "budget" of the A.A. entity served, and P.I. expenses are regularly reported. Occasionally, there is consideration of a special allocation for P.I. projects such as distributing Big Books to local libraries.


What follows are the essential services, which may be altered or amplified by the group conscience of the A.A. entity supporting the P.I. work.

P.I. Visits: Some examples of visits might include schools, local businesses, church and civic groups. Where no C.P.C. committee exists, P.I. committees might also be in contact with professionals such as the clergy, health-care providers, lawyers and teachers. In advance of initial contacts, P.I. committees often distribute a simple letter describing their availability and how interested persons can make contact for more information. They might also plan a visit by two or more committee members.

A P.I. visit might include distribution of A.A. literature, a brief talk and/or showing an A.A. video. It is essential that participating A.A.s agree on the basic outline for the visit, and are familiar with the details in "Speaking at Non-A.A. Meetings" and "Understanding Anonymity."

A few points to remember:

Open by describing the need for personal anonymity at the public level; give your first name and A.A. membership.

Avoid drunkalogs, keep your A.A. story general and brief. Use humor with good taste; what's funny to A.A.s may not be laughable to nonmembers.

Confine your comments to A.A. information; remember that we're not experts when speaking as A.A. members. We don't try to speak for A.A. as a whole.

If appropriate, offer A.A. Literature such as "A.A. at a Glance," "A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous" or the A.A. Membership Survey flyer. Include information on local open A.A. meetings.

Be on time. Dress simply and neatly. First impressions are important.

Public Meetings: Some P.I. committees host informational meetings that are open to the public. Careful advance planning is important to assure a successful outcome.

Staffing an A.A. Booth: Many P.I. committees are active in staffing "A.A. booths" at health fairs in the communities they serve. The invitation to participate may come directly to the local P.I. committee or through the G.S.O. staff person on the P.I. desk. The local P.I. committee ascertains that taking part serves A.A.'s primary purpose. The invitation is acknowledged with appreciation whether or not the invitation can be accepted.

Many times a simple table is provided by the organization hosting the function, and two or more committee members staff the booth. P.I. committees rotate this responsibility to assure that all have an opportunity to participate.

A.A. literature specifically for the public is set out on the table and offered to interested passersby, along with "P.I. mailing labels" from G.S.O. for those wishing more information. Soon after the event, completed mailing labels are sent to G.S.O., who sends information packets for each.

G.S.O. can help by sharing experience and by furnishing basic literature to the committee undertaking this service ("A.A. at a Glance," "A Message to Teenagers," the most recent A.A. Membership Survey pamphlet or display, "A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous," etc.). It is vital that requests for special event literature be received by G.S.O. in ample time to allow for packing and shipping-usually 3 weeks notice is sufficient.


A.A. has enjoyed excellent relations with print, radio and television journalists.

Anonymity: By Conference Advisory Action, G.S.O. annually sends several thousand Anonymity letters requesting that those working in print, radio and TV journalism observe our Tradition of personal anonymity at the public level for all A.A. members. Some P.I. committees distribute copies of this Anonymity letter locally, while others use the text on their letterhead for a mailing to local media outlets.

Information on Local Events: Upon request, some P.I. committees assist by distributing information about upcoming A.A. conventions, or Regional Forums, to community and local newspapers. Basic details are included in a simple press release as described in the P.I. Workbook.

For Small Community and Foreign Language Papers or Publications: P.I. committees may request that A.A. information be included in the public service page or community bulletin board. The committee offers a simple description of who A.A. serves and how to obtain more information locally.

Public Service Announcements: Whether audio or video, A.A. Conference-approved P.S.A.s are widely accepted as a way to provide information on A.A. All are described in the literature catalog available at your central office/intergroup, or by contacting G.S.O. The spot announcements vary in length from 10 to 60 seconds, and prices are reasonable.

P.S.A.s are usually purchased from G.S.O. and distributed to local stations. Many times, P.I. committees find that a personal visit to deliver the cassette often results in an opportunity to share A.A. information, emphasizing the principles of anonymity and nonaffiliation. It is always helpful to request that the station lead into an A.A. radio or TV P.S.A. with a statement such as "Here is a public service announcement from Alcoholics Anonymous."

A.A. Videos: Conference-approved videos are listed in the literature catalog and serve as an excellent way of telling the A.A. story visually. Occasionally, a TV station is willing to air information on A.A. in more detail than can be included on P.S.A.s. "Hope: Alcoholics Anonymous," "A.A.-Rap with Us," and "Young People and A.A." are suitable for this purpose. Keep in mind that no A.A. video or P.S.A. can be altered without the permission of A.A. World Services, Inc. Contact G.S.O. for details.

Requests for A.A. Presence on Radio or TV: Such requests are carefully considered to assure that: a.) Anonymity of members will be protected; b.) A.A. cooperation will adhere to our primary purpose and Traditions. Methods for successfully protecting the anonymity of A.A. members appearing on TV are described in the P.I.. Workbook.

Two suggestions seem to be essential for a good outcome: 1) Discuss the request with other A.A.s involved in service, seeking input from a wider group conscience beyond the P.I. committee; and 2) If the decision is to proceed with A.A. participation, use members with good experience in discussing our program with the public.

The 1969 General Service Conference considered this matter and approved this resolution:

"We will endeavor to avoid participation on radio and TV programs, unless:

a. We are given adequate time for preparation;
b. Our presence will serve an A.A. objective;
c. The primary discussion is appropriate for A.A.--not concerned with crime, sex, controversy or any other sensationalism;
d. We are satisfied that our anonymity is guaranteed."


The Conference-approved Literature and Other Service Material catalog has a section on P.I. (and C.P.C.) specific items, including the P.I. Workbook and pamphlets mentioned in these Guidelines. Additionally, G.S.O. has P.I. Discount Packages for sale to help

P.I. committees with quantity purchases of basic A.A. information for the public.

Displays of A.A. literature are often placed in public areas ire cooperation with the responsible officials. Such displays might be placed in libraries, schools, businesses, bookmobiles, church literature racks and hospital reading rooms or carts. An example of how this works is where a P.I. committee cooperated with the local library system to determine a suitable location in each branch, along with a system for replenishment. The result was a small, attractive A.A. literature display with information on how to obtain local A.A. meeting information.

Some literature for P.I. committees is listed below. For information about Discount Packages, please contact G.S.O., Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 459, New York, N.Y. 10163, or call (212) 870-3400.


For Committees:

A.A. Guidelines (on) Public Information
"Speaking at Non-A.A. Meetings"
"Understanding Anonymity"
"A Member's Eye-View of Alcoholics Anonymous"
"A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous"
A.A. Fact File
Public Information Workbook
Anonymity Statement for Public Meetings
Anonymity Wallet Cards

For the Public:

"A.A. at a Glance"
Information on Alcoholics Anonymous "A Message to Teenagers"
"Alcoholics Anonymous Membership Survey" "Problems Other than Alcohol"
A.A. Preamble placard
A.A. Membership Survey display (easel back) "A.A. in Your Community"
"Members of the Clergy Ask About Alcoholics Anonymous"
"If Your Are a Professional, A.A. Wants to Work with You"
"Alcoholics Anonymous and Employee Assistance Programs"

(return to Guidelines)