Upcoming Informational Event
Carrying the Message of AA behind the Walls
Workshop on Corrections and Bridging the Gap committees
August 17, 5pm – 8pm
Fifth and Henning
Saratoga Springs, NY
See flyer here.
There is a new corrections video, A New Freedom is now live. http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/a-new-freedom
Filmed inside correctional facilities in the U.S. and Canada, this 30 minute video features a diverse group of A.A. members who are currently incarcerated or have been incarcerated and are staying sober one day at a time. They share what it was like when they drank, what happened after participating in A.A. in prison, and what it’s like now as a result of working the Twelve Steps and continuing to participate in the A.A. Fellowship.
For more information on the video, contact the Corrections Coordinator at (212) 870-3085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tools and Ideas for Doing Corrections Work
When sharing about Corrections service, refer to an excerpt from a letter that our co-
founder Bill W. wrote to a prison group in 1949:
Every A.A. has been, in a sense, a prisoner. Each of us has walled himself out of society; each has known social stigma. The lot of you folks has been even more difficult: In your case, society has also built a wall around you. But there isn’t any real essential difference, a fact that practically all A.A.s now know. Therefore, when you members come into the world of A.A. on the outside, you can be sure that no one will care a fig that you have done time. What you are trying to be—not what you were—is all that counts with us.
(Reprinted from the Corrections Workbook, Page 8, with permission of A.A. World Services Inc. which is available here.)
Ideas to Stimulate Corrections Twelfth Step Work
• Utilize the video Carrying the Message Behind These Walls. Show and/or display the
DVD at local A.A. events and include in group literature displays.
• Host a corrections event that is solely targeted for members who are not involved in
corrections service and may be curious to discover “What It’s All About.”
• Show the DVD “A.A. in Correctional Facilities” in a workshop to share the
professional’s viewpoint on the value of A.A. as a resource in correctional facilities.
• Emphasize that when carrying the message in a correctional facility, we share
experience, strength and hope with other alcoholics as we do at any A.A. meeting on the
“outside.” Having prison experience is not a prerequisite – sobriety in A.A. is. Inmates
are more interested in learning how we got and stayed sober through A.A.’s Twelve
Steps, rather than hearing about time we may have spent in prison.
• Create PowerPoint presentations about A.A. corrections service, including photos
and discussion topics.
• Host A.A. round-ups inside correctional facilities similar to those previously shared
about in Box 4-5-9
• Contact G.S.O. for Box 4-5-9 corrections articles or visit www.aa.org.
• Send sharing on local corrections workshops and events to G.S.O.
• Discuss ideas in areas and districts regarding ways to collect contributions from
groups and members to purchase literature for local correctional facilities.
• Encourage areas and districts to budget funds for purchase of A.A. literature for local
• Include local corrections events on area websites.
• Introduce someone to corrections service by bringing them to corrections events
and/or A.A. meetings on the inside, or obtain a guest pass to bring them to a meeting
behind the walls.
• List Corrections, H&I, and Bridging the Gap Committee chairs with G.S.O. so they
receive useful corrections-related material and communications.
• Share about corrections service experience with excitement and enthusiasm.
• Encourage ex-inmate A.A. members to get involved in all aspects of corrections ser
vice, as well as emphasizing the effect A.A. had on his/her sobriety when they were incarcerated.
• Create a calendar of corrections events around U.S. and Canada.
• Encourage sharing regarding what might be “trends” in corrections, and how might
A.A. respond to growing needs. Send the sharing to G.S.O. for possible dissemination in Activity Updates, etc.
• Invite members to participate in the Corrections Correspondence Service (CCS) or
Prerelease Contact Program by keeping copies of flyers available and quoting from
Sharing From Behind the Walls on the value of these unique service opportunities.
• For members interested in becoming involved in Corrections service, give them an
issue of Sharing From Behind the Walls to read so they can see that the A.A. message
on the “inside” is no different than on the “outside.”
• Suggest groups collect past Grapevine and La Viña magazines, and hold “stitching
parties” to remove staples from these older issues to increase the chance of those mag-
azines being allowed into facilities.
• Mention that packs of back issues of Grapevine and La Viña can be ordered for a dis-
counted price. Also, subscriptions can be purchased for correctional facilities. Contact
the Grapevine at (800) 631-6025.
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