Reopening Meeting Spaces for A.A. Meetings Safely

Step Seven Set Me Free
June 23, 2020
Alcoholics Anonymous vs. Other Approaches: The Evidence Is Now In
June 26, 2020

The online AA General Service Office workshop, “Reopening Meeting Spaces for A.A. Meetings Safely” was a huge success. The “Zoom Room” reached the 300 member capacity.

I believe the workshop fulfilled its aim of creating a time for reflection on possible questions which may present themselves to groups as meeting spaces reopen, all while respecting the fourth tradition— “Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.”

At the workshop, reference was made to the following relevant service pieces: “Safety and A.A.: Our Common Welfare” (SMF-209), “The A.A. Group” (P-16), as well as the the memo “Responding to Health & Safety Issues,” recently distributed by the General Service Office (see, under “Updates on Corona Virus (COViD-19)”)

In reflecting on issues of safety which may arise as physical meeting spaces reopen, Jane E.—Delegate, Area 49, Southeastern New York (SENY), Panel 69, raised a number of reflective questions which may be relevant to the groups of 618:

  • Has your home group scheduled a group conscience or business meeting to consider resuming face-to-face meetings?
  • Is your group familiar with the latest CDC, state, and local regulations concerning large group meetings? Where can these regulations be found? How can these regulations be communicated to the group?
  • Has your group considered how its actions and decisions could affect other groups, or could affect AA as a whole?
  • Will your group’s regular meeting place limit capacity while following government mandates regarding physical distancing? If not, how will your group meet the needs of alcoholics and also avoid controversy?
  • Will your home group consider the use of online or call-in meetings during live, face-to-face meetings and why would this option be considered? If online or call-in meetings are utilized during a live, face-to-face meeting, will this raise issues of anonymity?
  • Concerning COVID-19, should our group be concerned with any legal liability issues? If so, what might these be?
  • Will hospitality service continue? If so, what safety measures could your group adopt?
  • Will your group supply hand sanitizer? If not, how will your group conduct meetings safely?
  • Will your group continue to share literature between members during in-person meetings?
  • If masks are required, will your group supply a mask for those without one? Will the greeter’s role be expanded to offer masks? Will there be a need to create new group service commitments regarding safety? Will a member be asked to leave if they do not wear a mask—And how can this be handled lovingly?
  • How will your group practice Tradition 7? Has your group considered vectors in passing a physical basket? If so, how can the basket be passed safely?
  • How has your group considered following government regulations in light of practicing the Traditions—specifically Traditions 4, 5, 10 and 11?

In service,

Erik L., DCM-618, SENY Area 49

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.