Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic
Please see the ‘stop press’ section on the landing page
Below is a notice issued by GSO & followed by a notice for
Head Office in New York:
CORONAVIRUS – SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FELLOWSHIP
STAYING SAFE AND KEEPING OTHERS SAFE
The AA meeting is our basic building block but it may be a place where infections such as Coronavirus can spread. Within AA are many who are vulnerable to this virus (over 70s, smokers, diabetics, asthmatics, etc). We have a duty of care to protect our members from Coronavirus. It is suggested that we follow Government guidance to keep our members safe by temporarily adjusting the way we operate. We meet in small rooms, may visit several meetings in the course of a week, and make close contact with other members. These factors make us more likely to catch and spread the virus – so what can we do? Here are a few suggestions based on “doing the next right thing”.
Suggestions for the Individual Conscience of the AA Member
- If you feel unwell, and certainly if you have been advised to self-isolate, attending meetings should be avoided. Make contact by phone or online instead.
- AA online meetings can be found at: https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/AA-Meetings/Find-a-Meeting/online
- Wash your hands before and after attending a meeting.
- Avoid touching, handshakes, hugging and kissing in meetings.
- Meetings with (uninfected) sponsors and 12th Step visits may be carried out, with handwashing, avoidance of handshakes and keeping a safe distance being observed.
- Ask yourself some questions about attending other meetings:
- Do you really need to travel to another town to attend a meeting (as opposed to want to do so)?
- Could you carry the infection there, or bring it back here?
- Remember that your action – or inaction – may affect others, both inside and outside the Rooms.
Suggestions for the Group Conscience
- Consider not holding hands for the Serenity Prayer.
- Where possible, ventilate the room before and after the meeting.
- Where possible, leave larger spaces between chairs.
- Remind members to wash their hands and avoid contact.
Tradition 4 – it is suggested that actions (or inaction’s) by a Group may affect other Groups if for no other reason that members often attend more than one Group.
Tradition 5 – we need to make every effort to keep meetings going if we are to continue to carry the message.
Tradition 10 – This is not an “outside issue”. It affects AA in the same way as it affects the general population. By adhering to Governmental guidance (and not stating an opinion on it) AA is acting responsibly.
(GSO UK’s Coronavirus statement can be found at www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/members/ )
The General Service Office in New York has sent out the letter below providing advice to groups with regards to the COVID-19 virus. Please review and discuss with your groups.
The General Service Office (G.S.O.) has been receiving inquiries about how groups should respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus). Groups and members are concerned about health and safety issues, and are looking for guidance on how to address this question.
The General Service Office is a repository of shared group experience and functions as a resource centre for A.A. members and groups who are looking for the shared experience of the Fellowship. Providing guidance on health issues is outside the scope of the A.A. sharing that G.S.O. offers. However, we might suggest contacting your national, state/provincial and local health authorities for appropriate information.
We do have some general experience to share regarding how some groups and members have begun to address this issue. Our collected experience suggests that talking about these issues before they arise can help a group be prepared to address them in a sensible and helpful manner and allow the group to continue keeping the focus on our common welfare and primary purpose.
Some groups have discussed making changes to customs at their meetings. Some examples have included: avoiding shaking hands and handholding; making sure meeting hospitality tables are sanitary; or suspending food hospitality for the time being. Regardless of group decisions, each individual is responsible for their own health decisions.
Some groups have considered contingency plans in case the group is temporarily unable to meet in person. Plans have included: creating contact lists and keeping in touch by phone, email or social media; meeting by phone or online. Providing members information for the A.A. Online Intergroup (www.aa-intergroup.org) may serve as an additional helpful resource. If a group isn’t holding its regular meetings, they may want to communicate this to local A.A. resources, such as the district, area and intergroup or central office.
G.S.O. has received inquiries about the A.A. events it coordinates throughout the year. Visit www.aa.org for up-to-date information regarding G.S.O./A.A.W.S. coordinated events. Please be assured that the health and safety of attendees is a priority. G.S.O. is closely monitoring relevant health advisories regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus).
We hope this limited sharing is helpful.