The Area 72 Treatment Facilities Committee has one purpose: To help A.A. members carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous into Treatment Facilities, and help “Bridge the Gap” between Facilities and A.A. If you are sober and have a desire to serve, we need your help!
When anyone anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that… I AM RESPONSIBLE.
What We Do
Treatment facilities committees are formed to coordinate the work of individual A.A. members and groups who are interested in carrying our message of recovery to alcoholics in treatment facilities, and to set up means of “bridging the gap” from the facility to an A.A. group in the individual’s community.
A treatment facilities committee may function within the structure of a general service committee on the area or district level or it may serve within the structure of a Central Office / Intergroup. Prior to forming these committees, this Twelfth Step work is sometimes handled by an individual group or member. As A.A. groups grow in number in a community, experience suggests that a committee works more effectively.
In some parts of the country, A.A.s interested in carrying the message into treatment and corrections facilities work together on Hospitals and Institutions committees independent of, but in cooperation with, general service and Intergroup committees. This structure also works well-especially in areas where lines of communication between the various service entities remain open.1
Why A.A. Members Carry the Message Into Treatment Facilities
Since it’s beginning in 1935, the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous has cooperated with treatment facilities. Bill W. himself was a product of a treatment facility-Towns Hospital in New York City. After he had finally put together several months of sobriety, Bill returned to Towns to try to work with other alcoholics. This was the beginning of A.A.s Twelfth Step work in hospitals. After he sobered up, Dr. Bob, a surgeon, realized the need for an alcoholism ward at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio, where he worked. With the loving assistance and dedication of Sister Ignatia, Dr. Bob established a ward for alcoholics; together, they reached over 5,000 alcoholics.
The principle of carrying the A.A. message to other alcoholics was fundamental to the recovery and continued sobriety of A.A.s co-founders and early A.A. members. Today, through the practice of this principle-the Twelfth Step-A.A. has grown and the A.A. message has been carried around the world. A.A.s who carry the message into treatment facilities continue to follow the path for sobriety laid out by A.A.s co founders. These A.A.s help alcoholics in treatment recover through the A.A. program and find happy, useful, sober lives.2
Some Suggested Activities for Treatment Facilities Committees
- Study Treatment Facilities Workbook and related materials.
- Purchase Treatment Facilities Workbooks for all committee members.
- Send a list of Treatment Facilities meetings to all D.C.M.s and to local Intergroup / Central Offices.
- Invite Correctional Facilities, Cooperation With the Professional Community, and Public Information Committee liaisons to Treatment Facilities committee meetings.
- Make presentations to three Treatment Facilities and offer follow-up presentations every four months to accommodate staff changes.
- Set up Treatment Facilities literature displays in district meetings, area meetings, seminars, conventions, etc.
- Create a local Treatment Facilities presentation based on the Treatment Facilities Workbook and local experience, i.e., for psychiatric hospitals, nursing homes, youth non-correctional facilities, shelters, halfway houses.
- Create a Temporary Contact (Bridging the Gap) program.
- Contact three nursing homes to offer A.A. presentations or meetings.
- Contact three psychiatric hospitals to offer A.A. presentations or meetings.
- Fight apathy within the Fellowship, find a co-chair and interested people in order to achieve all the above.
- Write to the General Service Office with additional suggestions for this list.
This list is intended as a committee starting point only. It is our experience that if a committee group conscience selects a single project and follows it through to completion, there is a great sense of unity and love and service shared by all committee members. For further experience, please review the Treatment Facilities Workbook, talk to experienced members in the area and remember that our first responsibility is to the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.3
Temporary Contact Programs to “Bridge the Gap” Between Treatment and A.A.
Simply put, a temporary contact is an A.A. member who works with clients who are being discharged from treatment facilities and helps them bridge the gap to A.A. in the local community.
The pamphlet “Bridging the Gap” was developed to provide information to A.A. members about temporary contact programs. It contains general guidelines and suggestions for temporary contacts and includes important points to remember.
Bridging the Gap through temporary contact programs may be handled differently in various parts of the U.S. and Canada. In some places, this service may be under the auspices of the Area Treatment Facilities Committee or a Hospitals and Institutions Committee. Some areas have formed “Bridge the Gap” Committees while others have a Temporary Contact Service as a committee separate from Treatment Facilities or Hospitals and Institutions (H&I).
In many places, A.A. committees inform treatment facilities about the temporary contact service and are given opportunities to present information directly to clients. Then it is up to the client to let A.A. know if he or she wishes to have a temporary contact upon discharge. Some temporary contact services accept request for temporary contacts from either treatment professionals or clients.
At least one area has produced cards describing their contact service. The cards are distributed to treatment facilities and the professional staff gives the cards to clients who may then initiate contact.4
To get more information or to request a “Bridge the Gap” contact, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org – either for more information, or if you need to request a “Bridge the Gap” contact.
Contact Email: email@example.com
1Reprinted from A.A. Guidelines, Treatment Facility Guidelines, MG-14 page 1, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
2Reprinted from Treatment Facility Workbook, page 3, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
3Reprinted from Treatment Facility Workbook, page 6, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
4Reprinted from Treatment Facility Workbook, page 15, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.