Carrying the message into Treatment Facilities &
should an A. A. member have to carry
Some good sobriety.
Personal experience of alcoholism and recovery.
of course, is the chief, and unique, qualification we have. You do not need to
have been hospitalized yourself to twelfth-step someone in a treatment facility.
No more than you need a prison record to carry the message into a correctional
is important to share is the pain we once felt and the joy in recovery we now
A common sense approach.
Fellowship of amateurs firmly resists getting organized, as A.A.s know. We do
not want A.A. rules or bosses.
professional treatment facilities have to be well organized to do their job and
to meet various legal requirements. Their personnel often have to be
professionally trained if the agency is to be properly licensed. Staff members
must be highly disciplined to take orders. They do not take their duties
lightly, nor do they appreciate jokes at their expense.
is a grave illness. Our A.A. message of hope, experience, and strength is not to
be treated lightly either. We just cannot take ourselves too seriously, or get pompous, or bossy.
ex-drunk who gives a cup of coffee to a newcomer hardly deserves a medal of
honor. After all, we do it primarily for ourselves, don't we?
Freedom from vanity.
prestige, acclaim, praise, and applause are what we need, this kind of twelfth-stepping
is probably not going to satisfy us very much. If we like to hear ourselves
described as great sponsors, working with alcoholics in any kind of treatment
facility will very rarely offer such reward.
simply put the message in front of the alcoholic in treatment. What the
alcoholic does with it is not our legitimate business. He or she may flush it
away, or ignore it, or use it well in recovery. The alcoholic needs to be free
to choose without our getting vain if the message is used, or angry or
discouraged if it is ignored.
Ability to follow directions.
sort of twelfth-stepping will not be very satisfactory to anyone who needs to be
a boss. In treatment facilities, one's personal will is submitted to other
authority in at least two ways.
the ultimate authority for this A.A. work is, of course, the group conscience of
all A.A.s. Sometimes, for the good of A.A. and for the good of those we are
trying to help, we as individuals have to do things differently from the way we
might ourselves like.
the professional treatment facility is in charge of its patients or clients and
is responsible for them. If A.A. members do not conform in every way to the
rules and regulations of the facility, it has a perfect right to keep A.A.
carrying the message into such places calls for patience and self-discipline.
an A.A. commitment is made to any non-A.A. institution or organization, we
cannot let our Fellowship down by not living up to the agreement fully. We go to
any lengths to perform faithfully the services promised in the name of A.A. We
try to be completely reliable, never letting weather, a bad mood, some personal
event, or anything else interfere with keeping our word. (We almost never let
such things interfere with our drinking, did we?)
What people think of A.A. depends
on us. If we are reliable, then A.A. seems so. If we are not, it makes A.A. look
In the same way, a good-natured
friendliness is helpful. A.A.s who cheerfully fulfill commitments without
grumbling give our Fellowship a good reputation. Angry, gloomy, bossy, or
fanatical A.A. members are not so welcome.
Since A.A.'s public relations
policy is based on attraction, not promotion, that leaves it up to us to make
the A.A. way of life look attractive.
7. Broad knowledge of A.A.
Members who have been to meetings
in only one or two A.A. groups in one community do not have a broad acquaintance
with our Fellowship.
To be the best possible message-carrier,
it helps to know all the local groups and lots of different members, of many
sorts. Familiarity with many approaches to the A.A. program increases our
usefulness to newcomers.
In addition, a thorough knowledge
of A.A. literature helps. It would be good to know what A.A. material would be
helpful to a potential member who may be very different from you.
A cramped, narrow view of A.A. is a
severe handicap. The deeper and broader our understanding of all aspects of our
Fellowship (including all three of our legacies: Recovery, Unity, and Service),
the more we have to offer the troubled newcomer.
8. Ability to stick to our own business.
Carrying the message to alcoholics
in treatment facilities can challenge our ability to keep focused on A.A.'s
We are not in the business of educating non-alcoholics about alcoholism,
religion, or medicine, or anything else. We carry our own personal message to patients
in a treatment facility, not the professional staff. We have no business
criticizing any professional agency or person, or telling them how to treat or
not to treat alcoholics. Those are not A.A. purposes.
Our nonprofessional status is a
valuable asset -our standing as simply amateurs who volunteer our
services. We do not claim to be experts. We are just recovering alcoholics. We
do not have to get into deep scientific or philosophical debates.
We have had the personal experience
of alcoholism, which we now share, along with what we have learned about
recovery. Our suffering and the recovery we now enjoy can give valuable hope to
other still-suffering alcoholics. More than that -giving it away freely, without
any thought of reward, strengthens our own sobriety.
With Permission: AA in Treatment Facilities, pg 10-13 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
|1- Arrive on time, parking in designated areas.|
|2- Dress appropriately.|
|3- Refrain from using obscene or inflammatory language.|
|4- Be polite and respectful.|
|5- Remember that you represent A. A. and not other Fellowships, introduce yourself accordingly.|
|6- We share, in a general way, what we used to be like, what happened and what we are like now.|
|7- We present our experience, strength and hope, not our opinions or social commentary|
|8- If possible, hang around after the meeting to talk with anyone that wishes to speak with you.|