Tradition 12: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
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 realise that the sacrificial spirit - well symbolised by anonymity - is the foundation of them all. It is A.A.'s proved willingness to make these sacrifices that gives people their high confidence in our future.
From Tradition Twelve, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
Tradition 7: For methods of sending donations to GSO, click here
22 July 2020
Helping Newcomers find their first AA Meeting
In these rapidly changing times, AA members doing service from their homes are currently providing details of AA meetings to over 1,500 newcomers each month
Members of the Online Response Team (replying to help emails) or Chat Now Responders (replying via instant chat on the main AA website) are totally reliant on the AA Meeting Finder for this purpose.
If your group is not listed in the AA Meeting Finder, the details cannot be provided to the newcomer.
Many more newcomers will use the meeting finder directly without asking for help first. The meeting finder is being used over 10,000 times per month and Telephone responders may also rely on it, especially when taking calls from newcomers from outside their local area.
This is therefore a reminder to all AA groups to please provide (up to date) meeting details to the General Service Office who will update the meeting finder
Either use the online form here: https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/AA-Meetings/Submit-Your-Meeting-Information-(Pink-Form)
Or, if your meeting has moved online or is open again having been closed during lockdown, and to make any other changes to your listing, don't complete a Pink Form, just email email@example.com
Please also let us know if a meeting is no longer available, even if it was an online only meeting. Newcomers particularly can be frustrated if, after overcoming any initial hesitation to attend an AA meeting, they find it is closed when they get there.
29 June 2020
We at the General Service Board and the General Service Office know that many members will be excited by the prospect of meeting in-person again.
Specific guidelines have been and will continue to be set by government agencies of various nations that are covered by our service structure. Please check what is applicable where you live and where your meeting takes place. Be particularly careful where members homes and meeting venues might come under different jurisdictions.
The facilities in which we meet may also have their guidelines which should be taken into consideration.
We urge groups to consult and follow these suggestions to protect our members, our fellowship, and others with whom we come in contact
Other Important Considerations
Each group is autonomous," we often note when making group decisions. The second part of the 4th Tradition is just as important: "except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole." Tradition 1 tells us "Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity." These traditions remind us that we must ensure that our group decisions do not negatively impact our fellow members or A.A. as a whole and that we as individuals act in ways that ensure our common welfare. Traditions 1 and 4 are important now more than ever. We should always consider the health and well-being of both A.A. members and non-members, as well as protect the positive reputation and goodwill of A.A. in the community.
Questions to Consider
1. Does your group have a complete contact list to communicate with group members? Do you need one?
2. How will your group confirm the maximum number of people permitted in your meeting space?
3. How will your group ensure that this maximum is not exceeded?
4. How will your group ensure the appropriate social distance is maintained?
5. How will your group ensure face masks are worn where appropriate?
6. Will your group require members to have temperature checks, for instance, at home before the meeting, or even at the meeting?
7. How will your group sanitize contact surfaces before and after each meeting?
8. Will your group provide sanitizing gel or wipes for those arriving?
9. What if someone in your group needs to be tested for COVID 19? Will you keep a record of each attendee at each meeting so they may be informed while results are awaited? Who will hold this list? At what point may this list be destroyed?
10. What if contact tracing is necessary? How will your group help local health officials do contact tracing? Note: It is not necessary to break another member's anonymity for contract tracing. Members may simply say they met as friends or as part of a spiritual gathering.
11. If passing a physical basket is impossible, how will your group collect Seventh-Tradition contributions? Has an electronic account been set up? Some groups are using contactless card readers. Another suggestion was to restrict donations to coins dropped into a small sack that can all be disinfected before being handled? Click here to go to GSO banking page
12. How will physical materials (Steps, Traditions and Concepts banners, literature, meeting and phone lists, etc.) be handled? What about the set-up and breakdown of a meeting? Can physical meeting materials be replaced with virtual ones?
13. Will your group eliminate the distribution of coffee and food?
14. What will be your group's policy if an attendee is openly sick (e.g., coughing or feverish)?
15. Does your group have insurance cover? If not, should your group get a policy?
Please note the above list of questions is not intended to be exhaustive.
Practicing Step 12
Please be sure to consider older A.A. members or those with compromised immune systems who may not be able or comfortable returning to your physical meeting until there is an effective COVID 19 vaccine.
Hybrid or Concurrent Meetings
If your group decides to make a physical meeting accessible via Zoom or other electronic platform, we suggest procedures be put in place to alert attendees that the meeting is being broadcast via a virtual platform, and how anonymity will be protected when doing so. Meetings should not be recorded.
An alternative is to have both physical and virtual meetings of your group to ensure the hand of A.A. is always available to those who need it.
Please be sure to keep the General Service Office updated on both your physical meetings and virtual ones, the General Service Office's meeting list is the only one referred to by members doing service as first point of contact to the still suffering alcoholic, if they don't have up to date information, they cannot pass it on.
a copy of this article here
Group Generic Email Addresses
AA Service News has been distributed electronically to groups with a generic email address, to get a copy sent please update your group's information to include a generic email address via the 'pink form'
AA Online Shop
Our shop is still open and we are taking literature orders. Please note there is a delay with the post at present and many items are taking longer than usual.
Safety in Zoom Meetings
A guide has been put together by members of the Fellowship to help people make the most of Zoom, protect individual anonymity and to prevent the meeting from being hijacked. Download it here (updated 17th April)
New to AA
YOU CAN STILL CONTACT US
If you are new to AA and thinking of contacting us for the first time, please do not hesitate to make contact as all of our services are still available. Our free national helpline, our firstname.lastname@example.org and our ChatNow service are all manned by AA members working from home and they will be more than happy to hear from you
Whilst most of our meetings have had to close following Government guidance during this unprecedented time most of our groups have been able to establish on-line meetings. Following your initial contact with AA you may like to attend one of these and our contacts should be able to help you to do this.
There is a wide range of literature that is recommended for new members available on our Newcomers section on this site, please make use of this.
Meeting Finder / Meeting Changes
Given that in accordance with Government instructions all meetings will now be closed, GSO will stop adding that information to Groups' entries in Meeting lists. However over the past 10 days or more, GSO staff have been on request flagging meetings as Closed, and again where requested creating new online meetings. Most online meetings have no location so will not appear in a geographical search, by town or Near me. Searching Online will of course list all online meetings but sorted by creation date so recent entries are likely to be at the bottom of the list.
From now on, where it is clear that a meeting has moved online from a physical location, the existing meeting title will have Online added and joining instructions for the online meeting will be entered in the Details section. This means that searching for a meeting in a given town will now show all existing meeting information with an indication of online activity where it exists.
It will take some time to get all entries updated so please bear with us.
If your meeting has moved online but is not yet showing as described above, or to make any other changes to your listing, don't complete a Pink Form, just email email@example.com.
Further down this page, you will find GSOs bank details to allow any part of the structure to send donations directly to GSO. We have been asked whether we suggest that Groups publish their bank details to allow individual members, in the absence of The Pot, to donate to their Group. This is of course a matter for the Group conscience to decide, and whether their Intergroup might agree to publish this information on their microsite.
Share and Roundabout April issues have been printed and posted to personal subscribers. Because of meeting closures some Groups may be unable to collect, so a downloadable file of each will be added to the relevant website page for viewing or printing off. Watch this space: https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/Members/Fellowship-Magazines
Some concern has been expressed about helping newcomers at their first, or early online meetings when everything is strange. It has been pointed out that Zoom allows the creation of breakout rooms separate from the main meeting room, suitable for small group chats. Click the link below for information and note particularly the para re recording. We pointed out on March 20, in MEETING CHANGES below that certain features in Zoom need to be disabled in order to help protect anonymity. This is an important one. Click here for guidance
24th March 2020
Meeting closures and Online Anonymity
Due to the large number of group closures we are working under the assumption that groups are closed unless GSO is informed otherwise in which case a note will placed on the Meeting Finder showing under the group details
As detailed below and in emails to all Members in Service, we are updating the Meeting Finder with specifics of online meetings and this in some cases includes links to online providers offering Video and Audio meeting services. All Members should be particularly mindful of using their names and email addresses when starting and joining such meetings as often personally identifiable information is clearly visible when you log in or join.
Click here for some guidance on registering Online Meetings with us.
While anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, personal anonymity is a personal responsibility.
Due to a reduced staff at GSO although literature orders will still be processed these will take longer than usual to be delivered. Please help the staff by placing your orders online. We will keep you updated in the event of a full office closure. Thank you for your patience.
23rd March 2020
Please note that General Service Office, Northern Service Office and Southern Service Office cannot receive visitors at the present time.
Our GSO staff are working under severe pressure at the moment. They are doing their very best to keep meeting information up to date, but it would be wise to check with local contacts before travelling to a meeting which might well be closed.
For those looking for suggestions on online meeting set-up please scroll down the page.
Online meeting software
WhatsApp, Group text messaging
Audio and Video
Skype, Zoom, Webex, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Facetime, Google Hangouts
To preserve Anonymity you should check carefully the settings on the below mentioned suggested solutions. Some examples of this may be:
Require Encryption for Third Party Endpoints
Disable Auto saving chats
Disable File transfer
Disable Screen sharing
Disable desktop/screen share for users
Disable Remote control
Disable Local recording
Disable Cloud recording
Disable Automatic recording
Disable Local and Cloud recording features
Take care when using your name or email address to log in as these may be displayed at the start of the video call
Free and standard now on many PCs and laptops. Capable of handling meetings with up to 100 participants (just increased from 50).
How-to guide here
Free for meetings of up to 40 minutes duration. For longer meetings, one member (the host) must upgrade to the Pro version.
How-to guide here
Free for up to 100 participants. A WebEx meeting can be started by anyone with an account who then just shares the single meeting link and people can join by simply clicking the link - whether they have an account or not.
How-to guide here
Members can make their contribution direct to GSO by bank transfer see below. We are presently setting up a PayPal Giving Fund which operates slightly differently from other just giving services in that it charges no fees or commission on monies donated. We hope to have that set up and running within a few days. Details will be posted on this page.
For the account of : The General Service Board
Sort code: 40-47-31
Account number: 63930408
13 Parliament Street
Bank details for overseas payments/donations are:
IBAN - GB74HBUK40473163930408
BIC - HBUKGB4B