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.
A.A. co-founder Bill W., who often called the influence of A.A. literature “incalculable,” wrote in the May 1964 issue of the Grapevine, “Suppose, for instance, that during the last twenty-five years A.A. had never published any standard literature…no books, no pamphlets. We need little imagination to see that by now our message would be hopelessly garbled. Our relations with medicine and religion would have become a shambles. To alcoholics generally we would today be a joke and the public would have thought us a riddle. Without its literature, A.A. would certainly have bogged down in a welter of controversy and disunity.”
The Language of the Heart, (p. 348) Bill’s words ring just as true today. 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.
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
For those who want a Big Book, but only want to borrow one – copies are available at the following Public Libraries within District 40. A.A. Guidelines - Public Information
While there are no special A.A. members, some members need special help to receive the A.A. message. For the purpose of these Guidelines, we define A.A.s with special needs as persons who are blind or visually impaired; deaf or hard of hearing; chronically ill or homebound, those who are developmentally disabled, and many others who may have less visible challenges.
Illinois District 43 has posted under a section titled “Groupvine” (at the top of the home page), a subsection (scroll down) titled “Sober Hands” which has ASL videos (signed videos) for the deaf and hard of hearing that includes the AA preamble; 3rd Step Prayer; 7th Step Prayer; 9th Step Promises; A Vision For You; Serenity Prayer; St. Francis Prayer; The Twelve Traditions; and the Responsibility Statement. Also, under “Groupvine” there is another subsection (again scroll down) titled “Many Voices” which has recordings of the meeting literature signed in “Sober Hands” and read aloud for the blind or those with eyesight problems or those that have difficulty reading.
There is also a website that provides access to ASL online meetings. The website is located at https://doda.omnijoin.com. At this website, a list of ASL AA online meetings can be found. After clicking on the chosen meeting one is redirected to instructions as to how to access the meeting.
GSO is working on a video production of American Sign Language (ASL) translations of the Big Book and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. The initial filming was completed in January, 2018 and is in editing. The GSO has sent us an ASL video explaining the status of this project. Watch video here:
In trying to reach the alcoholic who is in an inpatient or outpatient treatment setting, A.A.s work together, insofar as possible, by using suggestions from those who have had experience carrying the message into these settings. These Guidelines provide a summary of that shared experience. A Treatment Committee Workbook, available from the General Service Office, contains detailed information about carrying the message into treatment and outpatient settings, including ways to approach treatment personnel, presentations and workshops, temporary contact programs, and other helpful information.
Modern communication in A.A. is flowing from one alcoholic to another in ways that are high-tech, relatively open-ended and evolving quickly. Protecting anonymity is a major concern for members, who are accessing the Internet in ever-growing numbers. When we use digital media, we are responsible for our own anonymity and protect that of others. When we post, text, or blog, we should consider whether we are publishing at the public level. When we break our anonymity in these forums, we may inadvertently break the anonymity of others.
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