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Starting out as an Intergroup Armed Services Liaison Officer (ASLO)

Suggested points to help a new Intergroup Armed Services Liaison Officer 

Getting started

  • Notify GSO that you have been elected to the post by email to gso@alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk
  • Talk to the outgoing or previous ASLO about what Armed Services Liaison work has been performed in your Intergroup before you were appointed to the post. Hopefully the outgoing or previous ASLO will be able to carry out a full handover, including records of the work performed, contacts, and resources. Be sure to inherit the Armed Services email for your Intergroup which will give you a valuable list of contacts and progress that has been made. If an AS email does not exist, contact York and they will set one up for you. 
  • If there has been no Intergroup ASLO in post for some time, talk to current or previous Intergroup ASLOs and/or the Intergroup Chair, who should know about any Armed Services Liaison work carried out by Public Information or other officers in the absence of ASLOs in role.
  • Read the sections Chapter One: Public Information and Chapter Two: AA and the Armed Services in The AA Service Handbook for Great Britain. Familiarity with the whole of The AA Service Handbook for Great Britain and The AA Structure Handbook for Great Britain is advised, but these two chapters are the most relevant to the liaison work.
  • Get to know who else is in service at Intergroup level in your Intergroup, in particular the other external liaison officers.
  • Attend every Intergroup meeting. Draw up a plan for actively carrying the message to relevant organisations within your Intergroup area. Establish your goals for your time in service, and make regular reports on how you are getting along. Experience shows this will make your service as ASLO productive and enjoyable.

Internal Communication

  • Attend the quarterly Armed Services Liaison meetings in your Region. The Regional ASLO normally chairs these, and they are attended also by the other Intergroup ASLOs. These meetings are good for coordinating activities.
  • Be prepared to attend special Workshops at GSO in York (a maximum of one a year, usually on a Friday and Saturday). These are called by the Board Trustee for Armed Services.
  • Ensure your local telephone office or service has your contact details, should an Armed Services Liaison-specific enquiry come in.
  • Contact the subcommittee member (currently aservices4.sc@aamail.org) to ensure you are on the national AS 12th Stepper List. 
  • Encourage local AA members who have been in the military, come from a military family, or are interested civilians, to get their names on this list. Occasionally check their details are up to date.
  • You can contact the Board Trustee for Armed Services, whose e-mail is in the confidential directory, to introduce yourself and find out about any developments nationally.  
  • If you are stuck or confused, ask for help, from current or former RASLOs and ASLOs in your or other Intergroups, from other liaison officers in your Intergroup, from the Chair of your Intergroup, or from the Board Trustee for Armed Services. Whatever problem you are having, someone else has likely encountered that problem and solved it.

Carrying the message externally

You will be working with relevant organisations within your Intergroup area. These broadly divide into three groups: the military, the veteran community, and the NHS/charity sector in both communities.

You can get in touch through -

  • British Army, Royal Air Force, and Royal Navy sites. In particular, focus on contact with welfare branches, e.g. the Army Welfare Services, Army HIVES, Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMHs), SSAFA and the Chaplaincy. Experience shows that proactively getting in touch using an AA email and offering to go to visit bases yields results. Try to ensure the welfare teams on each base has an up to date Meetings List for your area – emailing this is a useful tool to establish and maintain contact when it is updated. 
  • Other Ministry of Defence sites.
  • The Public Health Departments of Local Authorities, NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, and other NHS bodies with responsibility for veterans health, including NHS-organised Armed Forces Network events. Most of these are can be contacted as part of an umbrella organisation called the Armed Services Covenant team, at your local council. Every council is tasked to have one. 
  • Headquarters and branches of charities assisting serving persons and veterans. These can be found by searching online for service charities. There is an umbrella organisation of such charities, along with various other listings. Once again, a lot of these will be part of the Armed Services Covenant team via your local council.

Always remember that Armed Services Liaison work like all liaison work within AA requires a team effort.