2016 NERAASA Reports

March 16, 2016 | By | 1 Comment

Delegate’s report of NERAASA 2016

This 2016 NERAASA – North East Regional A.A. Service Assembly was the twenty-fifth annual, Area 31 hosting it titled it as, “Celebrate our Silver Anniversary in the Golden West”. The theme was “Our Spiritual Way of Life: Steps, Traditions and concepts”. This weekend event was held in Springfield, MA on the dates of February 26 -28, 2016. Room reservations where to be made at two Hotels the Springfield Marriot and the Sheraton Monarch Place which I stayed. The Sheraton had the main workshops, North East Regional Trustees Report, NERAASA business meeting, Round table discussions and most of the meals where on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The Hospitality room, Archives and the Saturday night banquet dinner where on the 6th floor in the Marriot. We had our own Area 47 servants doing wonderful presentations and our Area was well represented there. I noticed our Archives chair was there yet there was not a round table for the service position. I hope next year the hosting Area will have one scheduled. It was mentioned that the feedback on the evaluation sheets and I say, the hosting committee needs to be contacted to express importance of having one.

The purpose of the North East Regional Alcoholics Anonymous Service Assembly (NERAASA) is for GSR’s, DCM’s, Area Officers/Committee Members, Intergroup and Central Office Representatives of the North East Region to discuss General Service Conference related issues and concerns affecting A.A. as a whole, as well as pertinent aspects of recovery, unity, and service common to the Areas of the North East Region.

The Regional Trustee and the current Delegates shall have the responsibility for the overall implementation of NERAASA. If an Area wants to put in a bid to host NERAASA the site of the Assembly is considered and voted on 3 years prior at the General Service Conference. The Delegate that submits in the bid is responsible to put on the Assembly.

I was able to pass on experience to our new Panel 66 Delegates at our Round Table discussion time. This was a time for the Panel 65 Delegates to pass on information and experiences to encourage and prepare our newly elected Delegates. I learned from the experiences of our Panel 65 elected Committee Chairpersons as they went to the board meeting in January. What is important is we are elected into a position and we need to do our job. That job is to communicate with members, carry the message, serve A.A., pass on the group conscience and participate in a spirit of fellowship and trust.

Most importantly I want to encourage our GSR’s, DCM’s Area Officers and Committee Chairs and servants that what we do is important. Bill W’s commentary on Concept XII from page 75 of the A.A. Service Manual states, “Therefore we expect that our Conferences will always try to act in spirit of mutual respect and love – one member for another. In turn, this sign signifies that mutual trust should prevail; that no action ought to be taken in anger, haste, or recklessness; that care will be observed to respect and protect minorities; that no action should ever be personally punitive; that whenever possible, important actions will be taken in substantial unanimity; and that our Conference will ever be prudently on guard against tyrannies, great or small, whether these be found in the majority or in the minority. the sum of these several attitudes and practices is, in our view, the very essence of democracy – in action and spirit.”

Yours in Love and Service, Your P65 A47 CNY Delegate – Vicky S.

Link to .pdf of original report

NERAASA 2016, Alternate Delegate Report


Hosted by Area 31, Western Massachusetts – The Golden West

Theme: “Our Spiritual Way of Life: Steps, Traditions and Concepts”

Dates: February 26, 27, 28, 2016 Held at the Sheraton Hotel Springfield MA

The purpose of NERAASA is for GSR’s, DCM’s, Area Officers, Area Committee Members and Intergroup/Central Office Representatives of the Northeast Region to discuss General Service Conference related issues and concerns affecting A.A. as a whole, as well as pertinent aspects of recovery, unity and service common to the areas of the Northeast Region.

Five Panels gave presentations. The format for these was 7 minutes for the Presenter and 2 minutes for each question. A Time Keeper, armed with bell and buzzer kept everything moving, yet there were those that did not get to speak. Here are a few details of most Panels as I saw and heard them.

Panel One – Our Spiritual Way of Life: Steps, Traditions and Concepts. Topics for the 3 Panelists were (1) Connecting with the Newcomer, (2) Connecting with each other and (3) Connecting with AA as a Whole. My arrival time did not allow attendance at this Panel.

An early dinner and opening remarks by Brian O., Chair of NERAASA 2016 preceded

Panel Two – Staying Relevant to the Professional Community. Topics were (1) Consider Retiring “Three Talks to Medical Societies” by Bill W. (2) Add Text re: AA & Medications to “If you are a Professional” and (3) Consider Feasibility of AA Presence on Sites Such as Linked-in. These 3 topics were all hotly contested with the debate swirling around letting go of the past and apprehension over embracing the web.

Panel Three – 7th Tradition: Where AA Money and Spirituality Mix. Topics were (1) Feasibility Study on Future Impact of Long Term Trends. (2) Explore Solutions to Declining Literature Sales and (3) How, or If AA should Focus on Ways to Increase Revenues. The trend appears to be downward on all sides with some possible band-aides while we all suggest that the “action” starts at our Home Group and Sponsor.

The Friday night Ice Cream Social was followed by Roundtable Sessions. I attended the Delegates and Alternates Roundtable where the Panel 65 Delegates put forth many “tips” on things one can do to survive and thrive at the Conference in NY. Questions from Panel 66 Delegates were welcome and answered by those who went before. The Roundtable was led by the NERT, Rich Purtell.

Panel Four, Communication with Others and Each Other. Topics were (1) Consider Admitting Reps. of Other 12 Step Programs as Observers to the GSC. (2) Consider All Conf. Members be Sent the Same Background Materia with the Exception of Digital Media and Works in Progress. (3) Consider Plans for Translation of all Conf. Background Materials and Impact On Submission Data for Conf. Agenda Items. Regarding Item 1…”They are already here!” The focus on the other Topics appeared to be on Spanish access to materials that had been translated or needed to be translated.

Panel Five, Literature. Topics were (1) Consider Dev. Of a Plain Language Version of the Big Book. (2) Consider Dev. Of Literature for AAs with Mental Health Issues. (3) Consider Revising Text in Concept XI Essay by Bill W. Plain Language testimonials refuted the need while the others queried “why not go for 80 languages when we already have 79?” The neuro-divergent people already have literature though perhaps the Sponsor needs some literature…answer the call for stories. Suggested that Concept XI need only remove 2 paragraphs and add a section to Amendments to resolve this.

Panel Six, Public Information. Topics were (1) Google-For-Nonprofits and Twitter for Carrying AA’s Message. (2) Develop Guidelines on Carrying the AA Message Online and in Social Media. (3) Reconsider 2011 Action Re: Use of Full Faces in AA Videos. AA already has accounts on U Tube, Google and Twitter – we need Guidelines for social media? Check out the Guidelines on AA.Org. The deaf can’t see faces to “read” lips – video will have more impact with full face.

Area 47 was well represented on the Panels with Karen M., Peter B. and Noella W. Past Delegate, Robert W. chaired a Round Table.

Saturday afternoon was filled with reports for business purposes, followed by the Banquet, Flag Ceremony and AA Speaker – Rich Purtell our NERT. More Round Tables and an open AA Meeting.

Sunday morning Roundtable Report Backs, remarks by GSO Manager David E., Past Trustee Panel and the Closing Remarks by Brian O., Chair, NERAASA 2016 brought us to the end of another NERAASA. If I have misstated any information etc. let me know.   This is just my take on this event and others may have heard it with different ears.

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Area 47 and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Anita Lee, Alternate Delegate

Link to .pdf of original report

NERAASA Report—March 5, 2016

From: Karen Mc., Area 47 Assembly Chairperson

NERAASA was great! Excellent experience to meet with others who hold some type of General Service position in AA. Besides being an attendee, I was also on one of the presentation panels.

Both Pete B and I were on the same PI panel.

There were also two Area Chair Roundtable sessions on Friday and Saturday nights which I was able to attend. As my panel presentation was Sat afternoon, I was pretty exhausted by the end of Saturday night.

I’ve been able to follow up on some conversations with the other Chairs of NY — Area 48, 49 and 50.

Below is a copy of my PI panel session and the Area Chair Roundtable Report Back.

It was a blessing to represent Area 47 at NERAASA this year and I thank you for the opportunity.

Public Information Panel 6 – Saturday February 27, 2016 12:45-2:00 PM

Second speaker – Karen Mc.

Topic “recommendation to develop a guideline on “Carrying the AA Message Online & in Social Media”

Hi I’m Karen M. and I’m an alcoholic and your present Area 47 Central New York Assembly Chairperson.

I also work in technology marketing and love the Internet and Social Media. I couldn’t do my job without it.  So my panel topic today of “recommendation to develop a guideline on “Carrying the AA Message Online & in Social Media” would seem like a perfect fit.

There is some great information in the General Service Conference background materials on pages 680-694 on this topic.

AA online and in Social Media has been discussed quite a bit over the last 4+ years. We’re certainly beyond the “Tipping Point”. We absolutely need some guidelines to make sure we – and by “we” I mean GSO, Areas, Central/Intergroup offices, committees and AA members – are clear about how best to present ourselves and still honor and respect our Traditions – especially anonymity when online or in social media.

From the 66th General Service Conference background materials, I’d like to highlight the results of a recent survey of roughly 179.7M social media users. Believe many of us would consider Social Media to be the domain of the “young”.  Well – guess what – based on the survey results we are all “young”.

Ages 18-34   63.6M users

Ages 35-64   75.8 M users

Plus when we add the 14.6M users over 65 to the last grouping – We get 90.4M users between the ages of 35-65+ who use Social Media!

Currently, there are over 50 different social media platforms. The main ones such as Facebook, YouTube, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are broken out in the background materials.  I strongly agree there should be accurate information about What AA Is and Is Not on these key platforms.

  • … “the platforms themselves in no way infringe on our principles of anonymity or any other Traditions. It is the actions of the individual that may cause harm to themselves, to others, or to AA as a whole. For that we are, each of us, individually responsible to our fellowship, ourselves and to our personal higher powers.”

I’d like to share my own experience with two of these platforms.

On Facebook – I have AA members, non-members plus work colleagues on my Facebook contact list.  I also belong to an AA only Facebook group. Honestly, I’ve wondered if I should create a separate Facebook account for just my AA contacts.  Some folks are very open about their sobriety – posting anniversary dates or other AA related activities.

I have my privacy settings set at close friends so only they will receive my postings but anyone in that listing can access my friends contact list and view my Facebook page. I protect my anonymity.

Gratefully, many who post photos that I’ve been tagged in do not mention the event is an AA or sober event.

YouTube videos – I spoke with Rich Purtell, our Northeast Regional Trustee last week and he mentioned how powerful he thought the video “Unspoken Truths: Young People in Recovery” is. It was created and shown at the AA International Convention and is now posted on YouTube.  He mentioned the video has received over 1.6M hits!   Phenomenal!

BUT what I found unsettling was in the comments section under the video, some people broke their anonymity in identifying themselves as an AA member in their comments plus in some cases, their personal photo and full name would appear.

Is this the same as someone in the rooms letting their employer or other non-members know they’re in the program? But with social media the response and amplification is magnified 1000 times with the possibility of breaking someone else’s anonymity.

When I did a search for other Alcoholics Anonymous videos on YouTube,

I was surprised at some of the video titles that showed up on the first page of results.

At the top were paid video ad placement by Partnership for Drug-free kids

  • How to Talk about Drugs – Ad by Partnership for Drug-free kids 10,142 views


  • Keep Your Medicine Secure with 30,781 views

Alcoholics Anonymous – Steps 1, 2 and 3 – Back to Basics AA100011   4 years ago 342,683 views – SPEAKER identifies himself as a recovery alcoholic

Adam T – AA Speaker – by Odomtology 12-Step Recovery Media 2 years ago – 189,904 views (NO visual – only audio)

Top Ten Reasons to Run from Alcoholics Anonymous  Godlesspanther   8 years ago 230,722 views

Alcoholics Anonymous – Big Book Study by Joe and Charlie AA100011   3 years ago 177,913 views

AA Destroying the Social Lives of Thousands of Once Fun Americans   The Onion        5 years ago – 369,506 views – The Video is a satire so there are many comments in comment section.   Again, some identified themselves as being in AA with personal photos and sometimes their full names are appearing.

I’ll just close with this — AA is alive online and in social media with some really good information out there but there’s quite a bit of misinformation too.

We have some very smart people on the PI committees. I believe we should develop – sooner rather than later – an effective guideline on “Carrying the AA message online and in Social Media”.

Thank you

2016 NERAASA – Area Chair Roundtable Report Back

  • We had 20 Area Chairs and Alt Chairs in attendance (along with representation from two Canadian Provinces)
  • On Friday night we first went around the room and talked about each person’s basic responsibilities in their area.
  • We then developed 3 different topics for discussion and here are the questions that were asked and I will highlight one response to each question:
    • How do you address decreases in area participation/engagement?
      • “Effectively communicate job descriptions and help people better understand what each job is and what it does – Honor people’s time and make them feel respected.”
    • How do you work with Intergroups?
      • We have only 1 intergroup in our Area and we cooperate closely with them. Our Area and our Intergroup have seven (7) common committees that meet regularly with no “affiliation” issues.
    • How do you “sell” service in general?
      • Try to give GSR’s more meaningful information to take back to their groups. We try to do a better job of training our GSRs which excites them and encourages THEM to help US sell service on our behalf. In our Area, all GSRs have to be members of a standing committee.
    • On Saturday night, our roundtable chairperson, Cookie S., opened the meeting by reading the first paragraph of the job description of the Area Chairperson from the A.A. Service Manual and opened discussion for the group by posing the question – “Do you do it – yes or no?”
    • Chairs and Alt. Chairs in attendance started answering the question, and for the remainder of the roundtable, it seemed that “one thing led to another” and instead of trying to provide an overview of what was said, I think it would be most beneficial to you as you head back to YOUR Area to just share with you some of the actual quotes & best practices that came from these amazing trusted servants:
      • “There are times when we will send business items back to the groups for their input before we take a vote and develop an area conscience. Communications with the Districts and groups is an integral part of what I do.”
      • “My experience has been that it is good to align service positions with people’s ability to perform the job effectively. Key positions require people that you can depend on and in some cases we may need to teach them.”
      • “We maintain a service office in the southern part of the state and we have 16 districts so we have a monthly meeting at the service office and it can be hard for folks to make it to the monthly meetings. We do have 4 assemblies that Districts host which is moved around the Area to not only help with engagement, but to make it accessible to people who otherwise might not participate. We do the same thing with the convention in moving it around the Area.”
      • “We don’t wait to get invited to visit Districts, we invite ourselves.”
      • “Remote communities” for us is not geographical – ours is linguistic. It was suggested in our Area to not use the phrase “dark districts” due to the possible racial implications, rather to use the phrases “inactive districts” or “under-represented districts” We are trying to have more bi-lingual DCMs to help eradicate some of the language barriers. “
      • “We have strong participation from incarcerated AA members who actually do service for our Area (one is even our Grapevine rep).”
      • “Our area is going through a real turmoil with perception issues and in-fighting. We recently did an area inventory and through the inventory we have started to smooth out and are getting back to the work of the Area.”
      • “In our Area, we go “out to bid” to our Districts to solicit the hosting of future assemblies and we are currently booked up through 2018.”
      • “We have begun to address geographical issues by using freeconferencecall.com to conduct conference calls for our members”
      • “I believe that if we want to see our Districts change, we need to be that change ourselves.”

Link to .pdf of original report

NERAASA Report, P.I.


Here is my NERAASA report. This was my first time attending NERAASA. Needless to say not only was it exciting but also a wealth of information for GSRs, DMCs and Area members. The theme was “Our Spiritual Way of Life: Focusing on Steps, Traditions and Concepts.” I felt Area 47 was well represented.

The panels ran smoothly with panelists doing a great job on their research.

I was asked at the last minute to moderate the P.I. roundtable Friday and Saturday nights. I took down so many notes on what P.I. committees in the North East states are doing to carry the message of AA. With all this new information I plan to bring these ideas back to Area 47.

On Saturday, Rich P., Northeast Regional Trustee gave his report. Even though there was difficulty showing the PSA, “Doors,” it did prompt people to find it on their phones and tablets. He als gave a PowerPoint Presentation on our financial status and AA membership

It was a weekend packed with a vast amount of information. I’m so grateful that had the opportunity to attend. Thank you, Area 47 for allowing this wonderful learning experience.

In Service

Laurie S., P.I. Chair, Area 47

Click to download Peter B.’s NERAASA P.I. presentation.


Treasurer’s Report: NERAASA 2016

I was able to attend the 2016 NERAASA, held in Springfield, Massachusetts. In addition to attending numerous panels on upcoming conference agenda topics, and hearing our new northeast trustee’s presentation on how the past year at GSO went, I was able to participate in the treasurer’s roundtable Friday and Saturday nights. We met for an hour and a half each night, asking and answering all sorts of questions about best practices. Topics of discussion included:

  • Thank you letters: printing & postage costs
  • Multiple accounts managed
  • Prudent Reserve
  • Audits, Checks & Balances
  • Debit cards
  • Record keeping methods
  • Budgets & Stipends
  • Reimbursables
  • How to motivate donations
  • Electronic/online contributions
  • What to do with excess funds
  • How to set up a new bank account

Then we exchanged names and emails, so we have each other as a resource as things we’ve never dealt with before crop up. I can tell you last year’s NE treasurers emailed each other multiple times, mostly with questions about what other Area Assembly standards are (such as mileage reimbursement rates, what was covered under the insurance policy, etc.) The whole experience, and having this group knowledge to call on, was most helpful.

Respectfully submitted, Barb C – Area 47 Treasurer



NERAASA Report: February 2016

Colleen K., Website Committee Chair

NERAASA (Northeast Regional AA Service Assembly) 2016 was the first I’ve attended. I was there both as my home group’s alternate GSR and as the Website committee chair for Area 47.

I was impressed by how well prepared the presenters on each of the six panels were. They provided background details and research on such topics as “Consider Retiring ‘Three Talks to Medical Societies by Bill W.;’” “Explore Solutions to Declining Literature Sales;” and “Google-For-Nonprofits and Twitter for Carrying AA’s Message” among many others. The format of the presentations and the procedure for responses at the microphone was thoroughly explained at the start of each panel. The use of a timing device—two minutes per speaker—kept the program moving, allowing for plenty of input from the floor.

Since the stated purpose of NERAASA, is for GSRs, DCMs, Area Officers and Area Committee members and Intergroup/Central Office Representatives “of the Northeast Region to discuss General Service Conference related issues and concerns affecting AA as a whole, as well as pertinent aspects of recovery, unity and service common to the areas of the Northeast Region,” it made sense to me that the panels were very closely related to the 2016 GSC (General Service Conference) Agenda items. I’m not sure if that’s always how NERAASA panels are set up; but it helped me gain a better understanding of the issues Area 47 will be discussing with our delegate at March and April’s assemblies and to develop a deeper appreciation of the many viewpoints expressed. It also prompted me to look more closely at the background material provided by our delegate than I have in years past.

Although the Rountable discussions at the end of each day were late in the evening, the Website session was well attended, well moderated and well documented. I am grateful to Thea from Area 48 for emailing her Report-back to all of us. Here are her notes:

 Website Report back (courtesy of Thea, Area 48):

  • I’d like to thank Blaine for asking great questions and inviting us to go deeper, and especially, Don M., past Trustee, for constantly bringing us back to the principles. For instance, when we were discussing how it’s sometimes hard to get new ideas passed in an area, Don reminded us that we can have the humility to be the person who submits the first draft that can be beaten up.
  • Several themes emerged from our rich discussion. First, AA websites exist to serve three “customers,” – the drunk trying to find us at 2 in the morning; the sober member of AA looking for information; and the professional. We noted that aa.org now has three large boxes at the top of their homepage directing each of these audiences to the content they are likely looking for. 
  • Another theme was the tension between being a decentralized organization and efficiency. How can we cooperate and collaborate when each area is autonomous?
  • We also had a lot of discussion about the different roles and perceptions of the committee within the area and service structure. Does the committee have right of decision or does it have to go back to the area body for approval for every change? Is there a regular process for updating guidelines to encompass developing technology? 
  • We noted that there is a growing trend towards the “website” committee being called the “technology” committee. These committees with expanded duties also advise on social media policy, manage emails for the area and sometimes the districts, and even, in at least one case, advised on the budget and purchasing of computers for the area. 
  • And finally, more than most committees, the tech people worry about rotation.
    We want to be sure that your websites and other technologies continue to carry the message in the best way possible. There were several people in attendance who were not very tech savvy but were willing to learn. As we struggle to meet today’s need, we have to be mindful of preparing for tomorrow’s needs as well.

On Saturday after hearing panels on “Communication With Others and Each Other,” “Literature,” and “Public Information,” Rich P., Northeast Regional Trustee gave his report, which included a Powerpoint presentation detailing the financial health of AAWS and Grapevine. He tried to share the PSA (Public Service Announcement) “Doors,” but had technical problems. He made the point, that very few members actually knew it existed—a Public Information problem that AAWS hopes to address.

Note: “Doors” can be viewed at http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/doors-psa but it’s not yet available for embedding in Area websites. It must be viewed by linking to aa.org.

On Sunday morning, we heard Report-Backs similar to Thea’s (above) from all the Roundtable sessions as well as remarks from Greg T., GSO General Manager.

The conference provided a ton of information and plenty of interaction with AA members from all over the northeast—Maine to Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut etc. I’m very glad to have made the trip and grateful to Area 31 for so capably hosting. I especially appreciate the overall sense of cooperation, tolerance, collaboration, and enthusiasm with which our fellowship faces its future—always with the clear purpose of being available to the still suffering alcoholic seeking a solution to our common problem.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve my home group, my area, and the AA by attending NERAASA 2016.

In Service,
Colleen K.
Alternate GSR for Baldwinsville Monday Night Group and
Area 47 Website Committee Chair

Link to .pdf of original report

Treatment Committee 2016 NERAASA Report

In my capacity as Area 47 Treatment Committee Chairperson I attended the 2016 Northeast Regional Alcoholics Anonymous Service Assembly (NERAASA) held February 26-28 in Springfield, Massachusetts. This was the 6th year that I have attended and as with other years Area 31 (Western, MA) did an outstanding job of hosting this event. Though there were no panel presentations that directly addressed treatment, I found that all of the panels and their question and answer sessions were very informative and of tremendous value to my ability to carry the message as Treatment Chair, and as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

This year I was invited to and had the privilege to speak on the Public Information Panel. A link to a copy of my presentation can be found on this site.

I attended the Hospitals and Institutions roundtable sessions held on Friday and Saturday nights. This year there was not a “stand-alone” treatment roundtable as there has been in years past. The institutions roundtable combines treatment and corrections. There were approximately 20 participants in attendance on each night. Service positions held by these individuals included treatment and corrections representatives from groups, intergroups, districts, and areas. The amount of experience in carrying the message into treatment facilities by these individuals varied from almost none to more than 30 years. To a person, the primary reason for attending the roundtable session was so that each person could help better carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Below is a copy of the report of the roundtables secretary, Jessica P.,  (Area 48, District 5, Treatment Chair), who has done a much better job of summarizing than I could ever dream of doing.

Hospitals and Institutions Roundtable

Friday & Saturday Night, February 26-27, 2016, 9:15pm
Stonehaven Room, Sheraton Hotel, Springfield MA
(Moderator: Keith D., Area 48; Recorder: Jessica P, Area 48)
Friday Night Attendance (approx. 45 people at time of count)
Saturday Night Attendance (approx. 40 at time of count)
Opened with the Serenity Prayer and Introductions

It was determined there were 2 main entities in the room, Treatment and Corrections and the discussion will be divided into two parts to adequately cover each group with a brief discussion on Bridging the Gap, which reaches both areas and was also represented in the room – the main purpose of Friday night discussion is to highlight common issues and concerns within both areas


A.  ISSUE: How to Handle Bridging the Gap efficiently


1. Intergroup handles Corrections BTG, Area is responsible for Treatment

a. Different forms: Corrections – Contact for Inmates while they are within, Contact for when they leave; Treatment forms (handled by Area Office)

2. Within Corrections it differs by county and state facility; the forms are sent either to a District email address or District PO Box

3.  The BTG service is predominantly for Treatment; the average member does not want to pick up the prisoner; BTG is a joint effort with their Intergroup

4.  Business cards have been created with contact information to hand out with email addresses (1 email per area of service) as the pamphlet seems to get lost


A.  ISSUE: Recruitment (not enough help available)


a. Corrections Connection meetings (for both applicants for service and administration for the facilities)

b. Be readily available with information regarding qualifications and have applications available to hand out

c. Use of the word “Temporary” to recruit

d. Promote enthusiasm and be able to discern the desire in people to serve in this position

e. Sponsors encouraging their sponsee

f. Stay positive

g. Passing information around at the Group level

h.  Would you like to do some time?  You get out in an hour

i. Let potential volunteers know it is ok that they have not been in jail or prison – it is about the solution (not how you got to the solution)

B. ISSUE: Processing people into the system (takes anywhere from 6 weeks-3 months (county level; up to a year and a half at the state level)


a. Must have qualification information available

b. Be aware this varies from facility to facility – be aware of the regulations per facility

c. Keeping good relations with the correction institutions – stay consistently respectful and communicative and pass this message on the next chair (and those who go into the facilities to do the service)

C. ISSUE: How do you contact professionals in the jail or prison?


a. In NY State, each hub has a Volunteer Coordinator for the facility

b. Outlined in the Corrections Service manual

D.  ISSUE: Relations with the Corrections Staff


a. Always be respectful and NICE – the importance of handling the Administration with “kid gloves” and maintaining our spiritual principles no matter how hard it may be

b. Be aware this will always be a fluid process as anything can change with a change of staff or regulations

E. ISSUE:  Bringing literature into the facility is becoming more restricted as literature is being used to smuggle certain drugs (i.e. Cipolin) and/or is being used as currency

a. Must be familiar with and follow the process of each institution

I.  Calls in the Gatekeeper

ii. Maintaining a good relationship with the person who approves the literature coming in

iii. Stamps all literature with the Intergroup name

b. Vet outside “for profit” agencies that are asking for AA to supply literature, member found they are often being paid for the literature but they are asking AA to donate the literature and thereby pocketing the profits

F. ISSUE: No correctional facilities in the District


a. Locate an adjacent district that can share correctional facilities

b. Offer service at continuing care facilities

c. Work the BTG program for inmates being released into the district

d. Educate GSRs

e. Correspondence program participation

G. ISSUE: Jail does not offer NA meeting but inmates identify as addicts


a. While many identify as only addicts keep in mind denial often runs very deep – keep talking, they may find they are alcoholics as well – often we just need to “let them come to their own realization”

b. Talk to them about when they do go into the community and what it means to be an addict in the AA meeting

c. A Box 459 article on Primary Purpose and Denial (in the Treatment facility) was mentioned as a reference (article not verified for purpose of group minutes)

d. Explain Tradition 3

e. Hands out open meeting schedules

f. PI comes in to speak at the facility to educate about AA about every 3 months

g. Speak to the Identification of the disease – from the Big Book, “Acceptance is the Answer” and “The Jaywalker” are great examples that speak to the solution


A.  ISSUE: Defining the job of the Treatment Chair when there is no one available to mentor or pass down the information


a. The Treatment workbook is available online (free) and is downloadable (M-401) (Pamphlets also available as well as the Corrections workbook, M-45i – NOTE: information on specific policies and regulations varies from area to area) – the information found at AA.org is streamlined and the basic resource of consistent information regarding this position

b. “It is our job to bring meeting meetings into the facilities – this is done by having the Intergroup meet with the facilities and having Area communicate with the groups and opening the lines of communication”

B.  ISSUE:  Managing a meeting in Treatment


a. No client to client interaction in the meeting

b. Bring in 3-4 members to lead the meeting

c. Allow clients to ask questions for about 5-10 minutes at the end of the meeting

d. Educate members on what the Treatment meeting is

e. Speaker meetings only

f. Keep format exactly like a typical AA meeting and use literature or an (member) given topic to maintain the structure (Do not let the group select the topic)

C.  ISSUE:  Recruitment


a. Have a group take a 1 month commitment

D.  ISSUE: Adequate orientation is not being done


a. Come to NERASSA, ask for help, take suggestions and watch how it changes

b. “A committee cannot be a committee of 1

c. Open lines of communication with the facility

d. Bring in God and the spirit

e. Call the GSO and speak to the Treatment or Corrections desk (Ph.: 212-870-3400)

E.  ISSUE: Facility requirements that either make it hard to bring members in to be of service (i.e. 5 year sobriety requirement) or requirements that become a Tradition break (i.e. the inclusion of a professional to make a meeting “billable” to the facility insurer)


a. We must abide by the requirements of the facility or we cannot enter the facility to carry the message

b. If we cannot abide because it is a tradition break to our fellowship we cannot service the facility but keep it is important to keep in communication with the administrators/staff at the facility in the case of changing regulations

c. We must always remember that we are the “guests” of these facilities  

Strict requirements on who can come into the facility and be of service (i.e. physical by medical staff, 5 year sobriety)

F. ISSUE: Bringing meetings (and donating literature) into halfway houses when clients are able to leave to go to outside meetings


a. Can be done as a Twelve Step call if you have a second person and you don’t or can’t bring in a formal meeting

b. If we are asked to do it, we bring it regardless as part of our responsibility

G. ISSUE: Qualifying the member who wants to do this service but who may not be appropriate or qualified without excluding them from doing service and/or approaching someone in the commitment who you known has been inappropriate or shared outside of our primary purpose


a. Qualifications are readily available in the Treatment workbook

b. It is ok to hold someone accountable for inappropriate actions

c. Point out what was objectionable and ask them if they have discussed it with their sponsor

d. Don’t invite them back if they cannot correct the behavior

e. If behavior is severe, talk to the group who has elected the member to serve in the committee (leaves the autonomy at the group level)

f. Encourage service sponsorship

g. Do not allow anyone to go in without someone more experienced for at least a minimum of six months

h. It is imperative to speak to the person BEFORE AA is removed from the facility

i. Use an orientation to help cover the dos and don’ts and to discuss the importance of individual responsivity


Pete B.

Area 47 Treatment Chairperson 

Link to document .pdf   


Filed in: 2016 NERAASA, AA General Service, NERAASA

Comments (1)

  1. Tom T

    Thank you all for the wonderful reports. And, thank you for your service and the responsibility you’ve shown to go there. You are all great examples of an A.A. Trusted Servant.

Leave a Reply

Trackback URL | RSS Feed for This Entry