DISTRICT 36 OUTREACH: LET THE MESSAGE BEGIN WITH ME • • • UNITY: * ”A SOCIETY OF ALCOHOLICS IN ACTION” *BILL W. SERVICE: BECOME AN A.A. “BRIDGING THE GAP” VOLUNTEER RECOVERY: SHARING THE STEPS, TRADITIONS, AND CONCEPTS • TIME: 9:00 AM to 4:OOPM • DATE: SEPTEMBER 9, 2006 • PLACE: LEXINGTON PARK LIBRARY » SPEAKERS: » COMMITTEE PRESENTATIONS and DISPLAYS: TOM R. and Bill L. ARCHIVES CORRECTIONS and TREATMENT (C&T) GRAPEVINE PUBLIC INFORMATION and COOPERATION with the Professional community (PI/CPC) DISTRICT 36 A.A. GROUP/SERVICE » ROUND TABLE and OPEN DISCUSSIONS NO ADMISSION FEE / PRE-REGISTRATION PREFERRED CONTACT: kathy atlas 301-475-2381 or gloria daniels 301-737-1138 FREEE COFFEE and TEA FEREE FREEE FREE SODAS and WATER CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST DONATIONS ACCEPTED “SEVENTH TRADITION” LUNCH DISTRICT 36 OUTREACH: LET THE MESSAGE BEGIN WITH ME Presented by the pi/cpc committee • UNITY: * ”A SOCIETY OF ALCOHOLICS IN ACTION” *BILL W. • SERVICE: BECOME AN A.A. “BRIDGING THE GAP” VOLUNTEER • RECOVERY: SHARING THE STEPS, TRADITIONS, AND CONCEPTS What Does P.I./C.P.C. Mean, anyway? • P.I. stands for Public Information and • C.P.C. stands for Cooperation with the Professional Community In 1956, the Public Information Committee of the General Service Board was formed to better inform the public about Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1971, the Cooperation with the Professional Committee was formed to better distribute A.A. information to those in contact with alcoholics through their professions. In some locales, P.I. and C.P.C. committees are separate, here they function as one committee covering two services. • Thus, P.I./C.P.C. What is A.A. Public Information? “Public Information (P.I.) in Alcoholics Anonymous means carrying the message of recovery to the still-suffering alcoholic [inside and outside the rooms] by informing the general public about the A.A. program.” (P.5; Public Information Workbook, 1994) The first Public Information committee in A.A. was formed by the General Services Board in 1956. At that time the following statement of “A.A.’s movement-wide public information policy” was written and approved by the General Services Conference: “In all public relations, 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 him, and to those who may be interested in his problems, our own experience as individuals and as a Fellowship in learning to live without alcohol. We believe that our experience should be made 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 A.A. are equally concerned with the serious problem of alcoholism.” (P.6; Public Information Workbook, 1994) As our co-founder, Bill W. wrote: “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.” (P.6; Public Information Workbook, 1994) Origin And Purpose Of C.P.C. “Our Twelfth Step – carrying the message–is the basic service that the A.A. Fellowship gives; this is our principle aim and the main reason for our existence. Therefore, A.A. is more than a set of principles; it is a society for alcoholics in action, We must carry the message, else we ourselves can wither and those who haven’t been given the truth may die.” (The A.A. Service Manual, “A.A.’s Legacy of Service” p.S1) What Are Our Public Information Goals? • • • • • • • To encourage, inform and stimulate active participation in outreach work at some level by the A.A. fellowship of District 36. To assure that all three branches of the St. Mary’s County Library has a routinely stocked literature rack and at least one copy of the Big Book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and Living Sober in both English and Spanish. Hopefully, in the next year we will also have the same in our local High School and College libraries. Place a literature rack in the Hospital and police station keeping it stacked with appropriate literature and meeting schedules. Put meeting schedules behind the front desks at every hotel, motel, and Bed&Breakfast. Participate in District and Area A.A. Seminars and conventions. Cooperate with the C&T, Grapevine, and Archives Committees Present at the local St. Mary’s County Fair in September and the St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival in October with a well-stocked information booth.. Send P.I. letters to every High School, College and Civic Organization, offering A.A. literature and/or a presentation on A.A. –what we do and what we do not do. What Are Our C.P.C. Goals 1. Prepare Literature packets for the various Target Populations for distribution and presentations. 1. Send letters to Professionals who may have contact with stillsuffering alcoholics; which includes Doctors, Nurses, Therapist, Counselors, Lawyers, DWI Monitors, Probation Officers, Juveniles Services, Social Services, Teachers, Employers, and Clergy offering A.A. literature and/or a presentation on A.A. – what we do and what we do not do. 1. Provide appropriate A.A. literature and meeting schedules to Doctor, Lawyer and Therapy offices/clinics. 4. Establish an “Outreach One-to-One Sponsoring” program where a Professional or Student is given an opportunity to experience first-hand an open A.A. meeting and real chance to get to know an individual A.A. member. “The A.A. program works when an active alcoholic wants help, and A.A. is on hand to give that help. However, somewhere in the background, there has usually been the help of a doctor, alcoholism agency or facility, relative, employer, teacher, someone who knew about A.A. and where to find it. Final PI/CPC Goal As Directed By The G.S.O. “Fight apathy within the fellowship, find a co-chair and interested people in order to achieve [the stated goals], and most importantly, keep your sanity and Stay away from the first drink”. (P. 8, Public Information Workbook) Three Levels of Doing Public Information Outreach in Our District: Public Information Outreach is Twelfth Step work in Action. It starts with the Individual AA and the Group. It progresses to the District, the Intergroup, and the Area on up to General Services. • INDIVIDUAL • THE GROUP • DISTRICT 36 Who Are Our Target Outreach Populations? • • • • • • • • • The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous of District 36. Newcomers and inquirers of A.A. Local treatment and corrections facilities. The General Public or anyone in need of A.A. literature and/or an A.A. contact. Professionals in contact and treatment of the still-suffering alcoholic. The clergy and their congregations. Employers and employees dealing with effects of alcoholism in the workplace. Teenagers and young adults in our local High Schools and Colleges. Civic Organizations Carrying the Message; To: Families and Friends Legal Services Teachers Medical and Therapeutic Services Students Clergy Still-Suffering Alcoholic Treatment Facilities Employers Media Correctional Facilities Who Can Be a “Bridging the Gap” Outreach Volunteer? • A.A.’s with an interest and willingness to take Twelfth Step work to another level of Service. • A.A.’s in Recovery with a minimum of one year continuous sobriety, who have/is working the 12 Steps of A.A. • A.A.’s with less than one year of sobriety who are studying and working the steps of A.A. and are co-sponsored by another A.A. with the afore-mentioned requirements. Carrying the Message; How: Sponsoring Professionals and Professional Students Celebrating Sponsoring the Newcomer Phone Contact Anniversaries Public Information Forums and Displays Conference Approved Literature “When Someone Reaches Out for the Hand of A.A. Let Me Be There. For That I Am Responsible.” What Can I Do As An Individual? – Share with your family and close friends about A.A. Encourage them to seek more information. – Greet the Newcomer and give them a Newcomer packet. Tell then about A.A. and to keep coming back. – Celebrate A.A. “Anniversaries” to show the Program works. – Become a Sponsor and part of a recovery network – Talk to an AA’s/ Sponsee’s family, if appropriate. – As a Sponsor, introduce your Sponsee to the 12 recommended Basic Information Pamphlets and help guide and prepare him/her for Service work at the Group, Intergroup and District levels. – Share information about A.A. with outside contacts – Doctors, Therapists, Lawyers, etc. – Attend , and hopefully participate in, District committees and local workshops, seminars and A.A. sponsored social functions. – Become a GSR or Intergroup Representative for your Home Group. – Become a Bridging the Gap Outreach Volunteer for the PI/CPC and/or the C&T committees. – Work and live the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and practice these principles in all your affairs. Service Sponsorship “…A.A. service is anything whatever that helps us to reach a fellow sufferer-ranging all the way from the Twelfth Step itself to a ten cent phone call and a cup of coffee, and to A.A.’s General Service Office for national and international action. The sum total of all these services is our Third Legacy of Service.-The A.A. Service manual/Twelve Concepts for World Service, p. S1.” (p.28, “Questions and Answers on Sponsorship”;6/05). Choose or Become a Service Sponsor “Sponsorship in A.A. is basically the same, whether helping another individual’s recovery or service to a group. It can be defined as one alcoholic who has made some progress in recovery and/or performance in service, sharing this experience with another alcoholic who is just starting the journey. Both types of service spring from the spiritual aspects of the program.” (p.28) Responsibilities of a Service Sponsor: Help individuals understand the distinction between serving the needs of the fellowship and meeting the personal needs of another group member. It is the Service Sponsors responsibility to present the various aspects of service: • Setting up a meeting. • Make the Coffee. • Be the Greeter. • Become the Chair, Secretary, or Treasurer of • • • • • a Group. Working on Committees. Be come a G.S.R./G.R. for the District or Intergroup. Participating in Conferences. Become a Committee Chair/Co-Chair. Become the D.C.M. Dr. Bob’s Viewpoint • • • • “I spend a great deal of time passing on what I learned to others who want and need it badly. I do it for four reasons: Sense of duty. It is a pleasure. Because in doing so I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on to me. Because every time I do it I take out a little more insurance for myself against a slip.” (p.29) What Can “WE” Do As A Group? – Be well-informed about the Steps, Traditions and Concepts of A.A. and practice these principles. – Welcome Newcomers and provide them with Conference Approved Literature. – Pass around a Where and When for A.A. phone #’s for the Newcomer. – Have an active Sponsors List available for any AA who may need it. – Encourage the Newcomer to “Keep Coming Back”. – Encourage the fellowship to participate in the District and Intergroup outreach projects. – Have an active GSR and Intergroup Representative who gives monthly reports to the fellowship. – Have an active Secretary who informs the Home Group of upcoming anniversaries, events, and Committee, District, Intergroup and Area meetings What Can “WE” Do As A District? • • • • • • Be fully acquainted with Conference Approved Literature, Guidelines and the A.A. Service Manual. Assure the proper use of the Traditions and Concepts within the District. Develop and Support Outreach Committees such as PI/CPC, C&T, Grapevine and Archives. Develop open communications with the Intergroup (SMIA) organization. Participate in Area Conferences. Provide Information to GSR’s to disseminate to their Home Groups. Become an Outreach Sponsor to Professionals and Professional Students Many professionals and professional students who treat/service alcoholics have never been to an open A.A. meeting. “The goal is to eradicate stereotypes about A.A. by giving the professional/professional student first-hand experience of A.A. meetings and the chance to get to know an individual A.A. member.” (p.19, Cooperation With the Professional Community Workbook; 1995) G.S.O. Guidelines for Volunteer Outreach A.A. Sponsors from the C.P.C. Workbook, page 20-21 • A Volunteer Outreach A.A. Sponsor should have a minimum of one to two years of sobriety, knowledge of the Traditions and service structure, and some service experience (group, intergroup or general service). • Volunteers should contact the prospective professional/student promptly and let the PI/CPC Committee know of any difficulties. • Schedule the meeting at the professional’s/student’s convenience. • Attend only open A.A. meetings, preferably those the volunteer sponsor is familiar with and where he or she is known.. Avoid hospital, rehab, or institution meetings. • In order to help the attendee experience a typical meeting, introduce them as a professional/professional student to the entire group after the meeting rather than before. • One-to-one contact is important. Do not travel to the meeting with other A.A. friends. • Let the attendee ask the questions; don’t tell them everything. • When sharing a personal opinion, make it clear that you do not speak for A.A. as a whole. • Offer the attendee a Conference Approved Literature packet. What is Our PI/CPC Currently Doing? 1. Our P.I. Committee is currently trying to arrange for local TV coverage. 2. We need to look into Radio coverage. 3. Our P.I. Committee has donated books, in English and Spanish, to all three branches of the St. Mary’s County Library and maintains literature racks at each branch. 4. Maintenance and location of other literature racks need to be reviewed and re-organized. 5. St Mary’s County Meeting lists are provided to every hotel, motel and Bed & Breakfast. 6. Our P.I. Committee is participating for the second year with an Information Booth at the St. Mary’s County Fair and the St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival. 7. Our P.I. Committee in cooperation with the C&T Committee is facilitating and communicating with the staff at the Compass House. 8. In cooperation with the C&T Committee, our P.I. Committee is trying to organize and schedule women to take meetings into the jail on a regular basis. 19. The use of an A.A. meeting sign is not generally used here in St, Mary’s. It is worth discussing. 10. Future plans include putting A.A. books in all the High Schools and in the two local Colleges. 11. Public Information Outreach letters are planned to be distributed for late winter to all the High Schools and the two Colleges. Other target groups will be done periodically. Note: 1. Our Southern Maryland Intergroup (SMIA) is responsible for publishing their # and the “800” information # in the local phone directories. It currently appears in the Verizon phone book, the Southern Maryland phone book and in the St. Mary’s County Community Phone Book. Why Conference Approved Literature and Other Service Material? • Conference approved literature consists of books, booklets, pamphlets, guidelines, audio and audio-visual material that has been specifically approved and published by the General Service Office(G.S.O.) of Alcoholics Anonymous in order to assure that everyone receives the same, accurate A.A. information. The literature is a compilation of A.A.’s experience, strength, and hope for the last 66 years. Working Within The Traditions “The Twelve Traditions are Our Traditions and the responsibility for preserving them is Ours…We cannot expect others to understand and observe the Traditions if we are poorly informed ourselves…An understanding of all the Traditions and a firm grasp of the anonymity Traditions are especially vital.” (p.9) More About the Traditions “Thoughtful reading of A.A. literature (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and the pamphlets “A.A. Tradition – How It Developed” and “The Twelve Traditions Illustrated”) is essential for anyone who works with non-A.A.’s. Of course, all the Traditions are important in this Twelfth Step work; and Traditions Six, Eight, Eleven and Twelve are directly related to it.” (p.9) “The pamphlet “Understanding Anonymity” and the Anonymity Wallet Card are useful in making the A.A. anonymity principle clear to the public. (Remember , it is not a break of Tradition Eleven when you privately identify yourself as an A.A. member to non-A.A.’s encountered in the course of P.I. (C.P.C.) work.)” Anonymity in Public Information Outreach Film Press Radio No Frontal Pictures OR Full Name Disclosure The Importance of Anonymity An understanding of AA’s 12th Tradition of anonymity as it applies to individuals and to public information is essential and is considered to be the cornerstone and greatest single protection assuring the continued existence and growth of our fellowship. Our co-founder, Bill W., wrote extensively about anonymity more than forty plus years ago. These inspired words still stand true to form today as they did when first written. The following 12 quotes expresses the core of this principle. Anonymity – the Need 1. “In my belief, the entire future of our fellowship hangs upon this vital principle. If we continue to be filled with the spirit and practice of anonymity, no shoal or reef can wreck us. If we forget this principle, the lid to Pandora’s Box will be off and the spirits of Money, Power, and Prestige will be loosed among us. Obsessed by these evil genii, we might well founder and break up. I devoutly believe this will never happen. No A.A. principle merits more study and application than this one. I am positive that A.A.’s anonymity is the key to long-time survival.” (A.A. Comes of Age, pp. 131-32) Bill’s Last Message 2. “Anonymity has two attributes essential to our individual and collective survival; the spiritual and the practical. On the spiritual level, anonymity demands the greatest discipline of which we are capable; on the practical level anonymity has brought protection for the newcomer, respect and support of the world outside, and security from those of us who would use A.A. for sick and selfish purposes.” (Bill’s Last Message) Anonymity as a spiritual message 3. “We are sure that humility, expressed by anonymity, is the greatest safeguard that Alcoholics Anonymous can ever have,” “…anonymity is real humility at work. It is an allpervading spiritual quality which today keynotes A.A. life everywhere. Moved by the spirit of anonymity, we try to give up our natural desires for personal distinction as A.A. members both among fellow alcoholics and before the general public. As we lay aside these very human aspirations, we believe that each of us takes part in the weaving of a protective mantle which covers our whole Society and under which we may grow and work in unity. (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 187) Sacrifice and Survival 4. “The spiritual substance of anonymity is sacrifice. Because A.A.’s Twelve Traditions repeatedly ask us to give up personal desires for the common good, we realize that the sacrificial spirit, well symbolized by anonymity, is the foundation of all these Traditions. It is A.A.’s proven willingness to make these sacrifices that gives people high confidence in our future.” Anonymity as a Personal Choice 5. “…While it is quite evident that the most of us believe in anonymity, our practice of the principle does vary a great deal. “Of course, it should be the privilege, even the right, of each individual or group to handle anonymity as they wish. But to do that intelligently we shall need to be convinced that the principle is a good one for practically all of us; indeed we must realize that the future safety and effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous may depend upon its preservation.” (The Language of the Heart, p. 15) “It should be the privilege of each individual A.A. to cloak himself with as much personal anonymity as he desires. His fellow A.A.’s should respect his wishes and help guard whatever status he wants to assume.” (ibid) Anonymity at the Group Level 6. “In practice then, the principle of anonymity seems to come down to this: with one very important exception, the question of how far each individual or group shall go in dropping anonymity is left strictly to the individual or group concerned. The exception is: that all groups or individuals, when writing or speaking for publication as members of Alcoholics Anonymous, feel bound never to disclose their true names. It is at this point of publication that we should draw the line on anonymity. We ought not disclose ourselves to the general public through the media of the press, in pictures or on the radio.” (“A.A. Tradition – How It Developed,” p. 41) Anonymity at the Public Level 7. “Great modesty and humility are needed by every A.A. member for his own permanent recovery. If these virtues are such vital needs to the individual, so must they be to A.A. as a whole. This principle of anonymity before the general public can, if we take it seriously enough, guarantee the Alcoholics Anonymous movement these sterling attributes forever. Our public relations policy should mainly rest upon the principle of attraction and seldom, if ever, upon promotion.” (ibid) “The old files at A.A. headquarters reveal many scores of…experiences with broken anonymity. Most of them point up the same lessons. “They tell us that we alcoholics are the biggest rationalizes in the world; that fortified with the excuse we are doing great things for A.A. we can, through broken anonymity, resume our old and disastrous pursuit of personal power and prestige, public honors, and money-the same implacable urges that when frustrated once caused us to drink; the same forces that are today ripping the globe apart at the seams. Moreover, they make clear that enough spectacular anonymity breakers could someday carry our whole society down into the ruinous dead end with them.” (Best of the Grapevine, Vol. 1, p. 278) Media Attitudes Toward Anonymity 8. “…almost every newspaper reporter who covers us complains, at first, of the difficulty of writing his story without names. But he quickly forgets his difficulty when he realizes that here is a group of people who care nothing for personal gain.” (The Language of the Heart. Pp. 17-18) “For many years, news channels all over the world have showered A.A. with enthusiastic publicity, a never-ending stream of it, far out of proportion to the news value involved. Editors tell us why this is. They give us extra space and time because their confidence in A.A. is complete. The very foundation of that high confidence is, they say, our continual insistence of personal anonymity at the press level.” (Best of the Grapevine, Vol. 1, p. 280) Anonymity Breaks 9. “Of course, no A.A. need be anonymous to family, friends, or neighbors…But before the general public-press, radio, films, television, and the like-the revelation of full names and pictures is the point of peril. This is the main escape hatch for the fearful destructive force that still latent in us all. Here the lid can and must stay down.” (Best of the Grapevine, Vol. 1, pp. 279-80) “…we are certain if such [worldly] forces ever rule our Fellowship, we will perish too, just as other societies have perished throughout human history. Let us not suppose for a moment that we recovered alcoholics are so much better or stronger than other folks; or that because in twenty years nothing has ever happened to A.A., nothing can.” (ibid, pp. 278-79) “Our really great hope lies in the fact that our total experience, as alcoholics and as A.A. members, has at least taught us the immense power of these forces of self-destruction. These hard-won lessons have made us entirely willing to undertake every personal sacrifice necessary for the preservation of our treasured Fellowship.” (ibid, p. 280) Bill’s Experience 10. “…I was once a breaker of anonymity myself…I learned that the temporary or seeming good can often be the deadly enemy of the permanent best. When it comes to survival for A.A., nothing short of our best will be good enough.” (ibid, p. 280) Rationalization of Anonymity Breaks 11. “…they [anonymity breakers] express the belief that our anonymity Tradition is wrong-at least for them…They forget that, during their drinking days, prestige and achievement of worldly ambition were their principle aims. They do not realize that, by breaking anonymity, they are unconsciously pursuing those old and perilous illusions once more. They forget that the keeping of one’s anonymity often means a sacrifice of one’s desire for power, prestige, and money. They do not see that if these strivings became general in A.A., the course of our whole history would be changed; that we would be sowing the seeds of our own destruction as a society.” (From a letter by Bill W., 1958, As Bill Sees It, p. 41) Consequences of Anonymity Breaks 12. “Any who would drop their anonymity must reflect that they may set a precedent which could eventually destroy a valuable principle. We must never let any immediate advantage shake us in our determination to keep intact such a really vital tradition.” (“A.A. Tradition – How It Developed,” p. 41) Reflections on Anonymity from the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions from Page 30 of the Public Information Workbook “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion.” “To us the Tradition of anonymity is far more than a sound public relations policy. It is more a denial of self-seeking.” “We need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.” “Anonymity to this extent is actually the practice of genuine humility.” “The spiritual substance of anonymity is sacrifice.” “Moved by the spirit of anonymity, we try to give up our natural desires for personal distinction both among fellow alcoholics and before the general public.” “We are sure that humility, expressed by anonymity, is the greatest safeguard that Alcoholics Anonymous can ever have.” “Even within the Fellowship every member’s name and story needs to be confidential if the member so wishes.” “As a Fellowship, we wish to publicize our principles and our work but not individual members.” “This Tradition of anonymity is a constant and practical reminder that personal ambition has no place in A.A.” Our Special Thanks to Bill and Bob! Remember, we are never alone! The End • “Thank you” to everyone who has helped prepare and put on this wonderful workshop. and • “Thank You” to all of you for attending and participating.