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AA Guidelines for Cooperating with Court,
D.W.I. and Similar Programs
From the AA web site
AA will clam it has no part in Coercion and at the
same time tell it's members how to approach the Courts to get them
to force people into the AA Cult.
AA wants it's cake and eat it to.
Coercion would not be happening if AA hadn't
started making it happen a very long time ago.
In the USA we have a Constitution that protects us
from just such a thing.
Where are the Lawyers??
Judges force people into a Religious Cult and
answer to No One.
If people can be forced into one Religious Cult
then why not others?
Scientology -- Moonies --
AND WHY A.A. BEGAN
COOPERATING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
members from San Francisco brought the first A.A. meet-
ing into San
Quentin Prison at the request of Warden Clinton T.
Duffy. This example
led to A.A.’s cooperation with court systems,
communications with judges and parole and proba-
tion officials. The sole
purpose of this Twelfth Step work, then and
now, was to carry A.A.’s
message to the still-suffering alcoholic. To
fulfill that purpose, A.A.s
have learned how to share A.A. informa-
tion within court systems.
and parole officers, as well as judges, often require peo-
in alcohol-related offenses to attend A.A. meetings.
Some A.A. members
find it difficult to accept this “outside” policy in
light of our Third
Tradition, “The only requirement for A.A. member-
ship is a desire to
stop drinking.” Perhaps it’s helpful to remember
that our Traditions
apply to us, and aren’t affected by the regula-
tions established by
outside institutions—we cooperate without affil-
iating. By adhering to
all Twelve Traditions, many groups welcome
each newcomer regardless of
how they got to the meeting.
years, a larger number of “safe driving” programs have
been set up for
drivers in trouble with the law because of some
episode related to
drinking. These programs have many different
names—such as Alcohol Safety
Action Project (A.S.A.P.), Driving
While Intoxicated (D.W.I.), Driving
Under the Influence (D.U.I.), and
the like. Many A.A. committees that
cooperate with these programs
offer attendees a chance to learn about
A.A., and some are now
members of A.A. as a result.
89 of the Big Book,
experience shows that nothing will so much
insure immunity from
drinking as intensive work with other
alcoholics. It works when other
activities fail.... You can help
when no one else can.... because of your
own drinking experience you can
be uniquely useful to other alco-
holics. So cooperate; never criticize.
To be helpful is our only aim.”
Therefore, as long as carrying the message helps those of us
A.A. maintain our own sobriety, this kind of message-
carrying is a
success. Our responsibility is to make the seed of A.A.
What the sufferer does with it is not our responsibil-
ity. Only one
“statistic” interests us in A.A.—the next person who
may need our help.
BASIC ELEMENTS ARE COMMON
TO ALL SUCH NON-A.A. PROGRAMS?
cases, this general outline is followed by all court programs
Release, conviction, or case continued (if conviction, sentence or
probation comes next)
classes on alcoholism, regular (outside the court) A.A.
meetings, or incarceration
offender under suspended sentence or on probation may be
required by the
judge to attend meetings of one type or another.
court class (sometimes called an honor court meeting) usually
the court building, and may be one of three types:
Meetings about A.A., usually run by A.A. members, though
sometimes an officer of the court presides.
Meetings handled by several agencies, with a doctor explain-
alcoholism, and other professionals and/or volunteers talking
alcoholism. Usually, at least one session is turned over to
who put on a “sample” A.A. meeting. They tell
briefly their own stories,
and also tell how A.A. works. A.A. mem-
bers experienced at this say it
is important to avoid criticizing any-
thing. These classes seem to work
best when A.A. speakers
emphasize the benefits of sobriety and the A.A.
way of life.
Meetings sponsored by domestic relations or family courts,
may include sample Al-Anon and Alateen meetings held for
the spouse and
children of the offender. These are separate from
the A.A. meetings, of
important to explain the difference between these court classes
regular (outside) A.A. meetings, and to have A.A. literature on
Outside the Court
Sometimes meetings become so big that they lead to the formation
“outside” groups—regular A.A. groups which meet away
from the court
building and choose a new name with no relation to
some judges require offenders to attend regular A.A. meet-
ings, as a
condition of the suspended sentence or probation, they
may be legally
required to have each offender offer proof that he or
she attended the
required number of meetings.
A.A. TRADITIONS GUIDE US IN
COOPERATING WITH THESE PROGRAMS?
them, but these have been specially mentioned:
common welfare should come first; personal recovery
depends upon A.A.
our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a
loving God as He
may express Himself in our group conscience.
G.S.O., Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163
Guidelines are compiled from the shared experience of A.A. members in
various service areas. They also reflect
guidance given through the
Twelve Traditions and the General Service Conference (U.S. and Canada). In
keeping with our
Tradition of autonomy, except in matters affecting other
groups or A.A. as a whole, most decisions are made by the group
conscience of the members involved. The purpose of these Guidelines is to
assist in reaching an informed group conscience.
Cooperating with Court,
and Similar Programs
leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to
group has but one primary purpose—to carry its mes-
sage to the alcoholic
who still suffers.
A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A
name to any
related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of
and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues;
hence the A.A. name
ought never be drawn into public controversy.
Eleven—Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather
promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at
the level of
press, radio, and films.
Twelve—Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions,
reminding us to place principles before personalities.
ARE SOME COMMON PROBLEMS
AND HOW ARE THEY SOLVED?
Getting A.A. members involved.
members are not aware that this kind of Twelfth Step
work is available
and that they can participate in it.
locales, this service is coordinated by the Committee on
the Professional Community (C.P.C.). Often
ongoing Twelfth Step work
within the court system leads to a sub-
committee connected to the
district or central office/intergroup.
It’s important to include enough
A.A. members to cover A.A.
commitments in the court system without
detracting from other
it is up to members of these committees to share this
other A.A.s, so that more A.A.s understand how to
take part in this kind
of Twelfth Step work. (See Which A.A.
Members are Best Suited... p.3)
Misunderstanding of these programs by A.A.s, and by the
members are upset when they hear about this Twelfth
Step service. For
such a program first starts, a small A.A. group may
newcomers than regular members at its meetings.
Some members feel their
group is being “invaded.”
usually be solved by setting up a meeting with the judge
and members of
several nearby groups, asking the judge to spread
the newcomers around
among several “open” meetings.
option, when many newcomers under court order turn up at a
for the members to divide into small discussion groups,
with a few
regulars sitting with each set of newcomers.
case, it is probably a good idea for the judge to refer people to
A.A. meetings, in the event that some of those referred do not
themselves to be
alcoholics. Often, providing the court with a
list of “open”
meetings will avoid referrals to “closed” meetings.
members have the mistaken impression that such pro-
“affiliate” A.A. with outside enterprises, or constitute “endorse-
by A.A. of a court or D.W.I. program. However, A.A.’s coopera-
these programs no more constitutes “affiliation” or “endorse-
than do A.A. meetings held in hospitals and prisons.
members involved in court classes, or meetings about A.A.,
these are not regular A.A. meetings. It is pointed out
that A.A. is
self-supporting, so A.A. groups do not accept rent-free
meeting rooms or
literature furnished by any non-A.A. source, and
are totally independent
of a court or other enterprise. It is shown
that A.A. groups do not force
attendance, or keep attendance
records. Courts can do these things as
they are not bound by the
Mandatory attendance at A.A. meetings.
us sober in A.A. know that to get well we really had to want it
ourselves—eventually, if not at first. We could not stay sober
because we were “required” to, or for anybody else.
a real sense, every A.A. member is at first “sentenced” to
by their employer, family, friends, doctor, or by their own
suffering. In A.A., we are not concerned about who or what
the alcoholic to us. Our responsibility is to show A.A. as a
way of life,
so that all newcomers who need it might want it.
hostile attitude of some who are required by a law
enforcement agency to attend A.A. meetings.
these newcomers originally approach A.A. very resentful
at having to be
there. This is easy to understand. It is up to us to be
tolerant toward the newcomer.
sending offenders to A.A., one judge tells them about the
hands each one a small card showing information
about meetings, plus
suggestions for behavior at A.A. meetings
including being on time,
staying for the entire meeting, not being
disruptive, etc. When a judge
is willing to do this, it helps to prevent
offenders arriving late,
interrupting to demand signed attendance
cards, and otherwise disturbing
of attendance at A.A. meetings.
important for the judge to understand that attendance at A.A.
does not guarantee anybody’s future sobriety.
Nevertheless, some judges
require legal, written proof that offend-
ers have attended a certain
number of meetings. Often, when the
court-ordered newcomer attends an
A.A. meeting, the group secre-
tary (or other group officer) is happy to
sign their first name, or to
initial a slip furnished by the court saying
so-and-so was at the
meeting on a particular date.
involved recognize that neither the group nor the members are
any way by the signature, nor does this courtesy signify
the group with any other program. It simply illustrates
areas, courts furnish cooperating A.A. groups with sealed,
envelopes addressed to the court. In general, the secre-
tary of the
group announces that anybody needing an envelope
may get it after the
meeting. The newcomer takes the envelope,
privately writes his or her
name and/or return address on it, and
other areas, each cooperating group has a sheet, furnished by
that the secretary announces is available for court-
ordered newcomers to
sign after the meeting. The secretary
mails the sheet (in envelopes
furnished by the referring agency)
to the office sending prospects to
A.A. Thus it is not the A.A.
but the prospect’s own signature which affirms he or she
was at the
important to note that an Advisory Action of the 1983 Conference
Committee on Cooperation With the Professional Community states
does not provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers,
officials, social agencies, employers, etc.”
by an agency to pay A.A. members for taking prospects
from A.A. meetings.
important for A.A. members to explain to the agency officials
that A.A. is strictly self-supporting (see Tradition
Seven) and that A.A.
members do not accept money for Twelfth
(or any other) Step work (see
Tradition Eight, on nonprofessional-
ism). We work with other
alcoholics for our own sobriety, not for
money. It is our
responsibility to make this clear to court-ordered
members, we are not qualified to judge, endorse or oppose
program in the field of alcoholism, nor is it a good idea to
impression that we are professional, scientific experts. We
can help only
with our own experience.
A.A. members who are hired to work as professionals in the
alcoholism are, of course, a different matter, since they are
professional services. Even so, they are not paid to do
A.A. MEMBERS ARE BEST SUITED FOR
COOPERATION WITH SUCH PROGRAMS?
member may join with other A.A.s in this valuable asset to
seems that those who have been most successful at it
are A.A. members
several years’ continuous sobriety, serenity and stead-
with a clear grasp of the purpose of Twelfth
wide A.A. experience, not only in more than one
group, but also in
central office (intergroup) and general service
— have an
understanding of A.A. experience recorded in the Big
Book, A.A. Comes of
Age, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,
and other A.A. publications.
CAN YOU HELP START A PROGRAM IF NONE
EXISTS IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
already made a good start by familiarizing yourself with this
Follow that up by finding out whether any other A.A.s in
are interested in and knowledgeable about
whether your local central office or area general service com-
knows where such help is needed.
over with other A.A.s, and meet with some groups in the
inform them of your plans, and to see which groups
would be willing to
cooperate, and in which ways. (Be patient—not
all members may be
interested in this work; their feelings need to
be respected, as yours
have a nucleus of A.A.s, two or three of you might visit
with a local
court official. Take along A.A. information, such as the
You Are a Professional” and “A Brief Guide to A.A.,”
and offer to take
the court administrators to an “open” A.A. meeting.
If this is the right time, the program will happen. If it doesn’t,
for a more appropriate opportunity.
Members Cooperate With Professionals”
Tradition—How It Developed”
Twelve Traditions Illustrated”
Are a Professional...”
“Speaking at Non-A.A. Meetings”
Guide to Alcoholics
Be Friendly With Our Friends”
Beats Sifting in a Cell”
There an Alcoholic in the Workplace?”
of the Clergy Ask About
Service Material and Guidelines
Information on Alcoholics
Experience on Coping With Influx of New Members
Guidelines (on) Cooperation With the Professional Community
Beats Sifting in a Cell
the Message Behind These Walls
People and A.A.
Experiences and what were found to be
Some may find this information
disturbing or think of it as bashing, a
group but The Truth Is The Truth and we
have every right to share our Life
Experiences because it might help the
next person, by presenting information
that is normally suppressed.
is this information suppressed and why
is necessary to set up a web site to
bring information that should be freely
given to us from our free press and free
Where is our Free
Where is our Free Media??