“Our Twelfth Step — carrying the message — is the basic service that the A.A. Fellowship gives; this is our principal aim and the main reason for our existence. Therefore, A.A. is more than a set of principles; it is a society of alcoholics in action. We must carry the message, else we ourselves can wither and those who haven’t been given the truth may die.” — from A.A.’s Legacy of Service by Bill W.
Below are a few activities our Bridging the Gap (BTG), Cooperation with the Professional Community (CPC), Answering Service (12-Step Calls), and Literature committees are currently doing to carry the A.A message of recovery.
Bridging the Gap (BTG)
BTG is a new committee launched through Southern Delaware Intergroup serving Sussex County, Delaware. The purpose of this committee is to help alcoholics coming out of a treatment facility assimilate into A.A. on the outside.
A client in a treatment facility requests that an A.A. volunteer contact get in touch with them, hopefully before they are discharged. This A.A. member will take the newcomer to their first 4-5 meetings in their area, preferably of different types. They will also introduce them to the concept of sponsorship, home groups, and the 12 steps, as well as answer any questions about what A.A. is and what it is not.
It should be relayed that A.A. offers only a spiritual solution to alcoholism – not housing, food, clothing, jobs, or other social services. Volunteer contacts will also help their newly released alcoholic find meetings in their area via sussexaa.org or the Meeting Guide app. It is also highly likely that the volunteer contacts will have to help introduce them to the online world of A.A. using meetings apps such as zoom.
During this uncertain time, we are asking for both in-person and virtual A.A. volunteers. The suggestion for either type of volunteer is six months of continuous sobriety, as well as the experience of going through the chapter “Working with Others” with your sponsor. Newcomers requesting a virtual temporary contact will be matched with someone who can help them with zoom meetings through the phone app or computer. Newcomers requesting an in-person contact will be matched with someone in their area who can help them get to in-person meetings (if available).
If you would like to volunteer for this very important 12th step work, please fill out a volunteer form. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for considering this very important and helpful 12th step work!
Carrying the A.A. Message to the Banyan Treatment Center
Carrying the A.A. message to hospitals and institutions can be traced back to June 1935, when two sober alcoholics (Dr. Bob and Bill W.) visited Bill D. (known as the man on the bed, or A.A. number 3). Bill D. remained sober for more than nineteen years until his death in 1954.
Today, both the BTG and Cooperation with the Professional Community (CPC) committees are working in partnership to carry the A.A message into the Banyan Treatment Center located in Milford, Delaware. This detox/rehab opened their doors this past September 2020. They currently have approximately 25 beds, but are planning on tripling in size this year! About 30% of their clients will be residing in Sussex County upon their release. We are very excited about this opportunity, as a number of treatment facilities have had to close their doors due to Covid-19.
Groups of two to four volunteer A.A. members from the local groups have been carrying the A.A. message into the center since December 9, 2020. Meetings are held on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:00 PM, and are oriented toward the Beginner and Steps 1, 2 and 3 with a speaker and discussion format. Approximately 15-20 Banyan clients attend this meeting on average. The intent of SDI is to obtain one-month commitments from our Home Groups to run these meetings and provide a speaker, much like has been done with the Sun Behavioral and Home of the Brave meetings, both of which have temporarily suspended their A.A. meetings until further notice due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Banyan’s Covid-19 requirements are mask/face covering during meetings and social distancing. All Banyan clients and staff are tested for the C-19 virus upon admittance, and on a regular basis. As of this writing, the months of February, March and April have been filled by SDI Home Groups.
Please consider joining with others while we work to help the alcoholic while in treatment, and to bridge the gap between treatment, and their arrival back to their home A.A. community in Sussex County. Banyan meeting scheduling is currently being coordinated by Paul S. More information can be found by sending an email to email@example.com.
Carrying the A.A. Message Through the Answering Service (12-Step Calls)
Answering Service volunteers are often the first contact a newcomer has with Alcoholics Anonymous. Southern Delaware Intergroup maintains a 24-hour answering service, with over 200 volunteers ready to help the newcomer with any questions may have about A.A., or for helping to find a meeting, or just to talk to someone who needs to speak to another alcoholic.
Volunteers are needed to oversee the Banyan A.A. meeting monthly group commitment calendar, and to sign up as a BTG and/or Answering Service A.A. contact. For more general information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carrying the A.A. Message Through Literature
Besides speaking or taking a meeting into an institution, distributing A.A. literature is another way of carrying the message. The literature committee has available, at cost, conference-approved books and pamphlets to A.A. groups, A.A. members and various facilities, in order to provide the A.A. message to as many people as possible.
Southern Delaware Intergroup is currently looking for a chair for this vital committee, as our chair, Leslie R, has had to step down due to moving out of the area. We are grateful to Leslie for getting this committee started, and wish her continued success in her future endeavors.
Carrying the Message of Alcoholics Anonymous
Finally, please see the February 4, 2021 letter from the Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (A.A.W.S.) Board in which they reflect back on the extraordinary events we’ve experienced since the onset of the pandemic, just about one year ago. They offer gratitude and thanks to everyone in A.A. for all of our “spectacular work” in carrying the A.A. message during these challenging times.
“A.A. members everywhere responded, adapted, and met calamity with serenity. We are a resilient lot. We have seen clearly that the message of A.A. and the lifesaving experience of our membership need not be limited by time, space, or custom. We are held up by 36 spiritual principles in our Steps, Traditions, and Concepts that we can absolutely rely on to guide us through any uncertainty or challenge ahead.” Amen to that! Let us all continue to works towards ensuring that any person needing the message of A.A. can find it.