Safety & Inclusion Committee

 

Safety and Inclusion became a standing committee of Area 58 through a substantial unanimity vote by the Area Body in May 2023. The committee’s principles are Unity, Personal Responsibility, and the ability to have loving, productive conversations even when personally challenged.

Service Positions

Purpose Safety and Inclusion Committee

 

1. Be a resource to groups and districts who want to ensure all members feel safe and welcome. We do this in requested workshops that offer A.A. guidelines, literature, and resources based on A.A.’s steps and traditions. We will also do this through online, area-wide workshops.

2. Be a resource to Area 58 through member surveys that help us understand and address priority needs among our membership.

3. Be a resource to individual members who do not feel safe or welcome in a meeting or meetings. We can offer resources and suggest next steps that respect both personal well-being and the group’s well-being and autonomy.

4. Be a conduit to other Areas and A.A. as a whole as we all work to lovingly extend the hand of A.A. to anyone who has a desire to stop drinking.

    Safety

    From “Safety and A.A.: Our Common Welfare”

    A.A. groups, whether they meet in person or on virtual platforms, are spiritual entities made up of alcoholics who gather for the sole purpose of staying sober and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

    There is no government within A.A. and no central authority to control or direct its members, but we do share the experience of groups and members in applying A.A. principles to issues that have arisen. As expressed in Tradition Two and Tradition Nine, it is through an informed group conscience that individual members and A.A. groups find solutions to group matters as they relate to safety. Service entities such as areas, districts and intergroup/central offices are available to help provide A.A. services and shared experiences.

    Alcoholics Anonymous is a microcosm of the larger society within which we live. Problems found in the world can also make their way into A.A. As we strive to share in a safe environment, alcoholics can focus on maintaining sobriety and the group can fulfill its primary purpose — to carry the A.A. message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

    Group Safety and Unity. Situations that groups have addressed through their group conscience include sexual harassment or stalking; threats of violence or bullying; financial coercion; racial intolerance; sexual orientation or gender orientation intolerance; pressuring A.A. members into a particular point of view or belief relating to medical treatments and/or medications, politics, religion, or other outside issues. In addition, there may be other behaviors that go on outside of typical meeting times that may affect whether someone feels safe to return to the group.

      Inclusion

      From Bill W. in The Language of the Heart—
      Bill W’s Grapevine Writings—From the 1950’s and For Today

      “Could AA really and fully transcend all of those formidable barriers of race, language, religion, and culture; all of those scars of wars, recent and ancient; all of those kinds of pride and prejudice of which we knew we had our share in America?”

      Here, Bill acknowledges that AA exists in and of a time and place. He asks if, inside the rooms, we can transcend its divisions, and he suggests the following:

      “We need to learn how to communicate across cultures not just language. We need to understand the difference between intention and impact and be sensitive to it in order to successfully carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. We need to not worry about what other people are doing or not doing in this regard. We each need to take that responsibility on ourselves.”

      He also gives an example to remind us that being able to communicate across differences doesn’t mean we ignore them or pretend they don’t exist. In fact, loving communication not only sees difference but honors it, uses what’s unique about our differences to bring us together where we can then acknowledge our shared humanity and solve our common problem.

      “In the beginning, for instance, it was four whole years before AA brought permanent sobriety to even one alcoholic woman. Like the high bottoms the women said they were different; AA couldn’t be for them. But as the communication was perfected, mostly by the women themselves, the picture changed.

      Let’s apply Bill’s words to Safety and Inclusion today: When we have a true desire to stop drinking, that desire makes itself known through our behavior. We stop fighting. We start listening. We take our part. That doesn’t mean that we are responsible for feeling unwelcome or unsafe. Instead, it can mean that we are responsible for helping to solve the problem. The early women in A.A. stayed and, as Bill says, helped the men understand how to communicate with them—how to treat them as full and equal human beings suffering from the disease of alcoholism. Then it was up to the men to take their part and listen, even if it initially made them uncomfortable. Bill’s wisdom can be applied anytime issues of safety and inclusion are raised. If a member is brave enough to try to find a solution with the group, then we can listen with open hearts and minds and strive to put away our own defenses and self-centered fear. We can see each other fully as human beings, not by ignoring difference but by understanding it. Isn’t our journey, after all and most of all, a journey of love?

        SI Committee Meetings

        First Monday of the month 6pm – 7pm

        For more information to come to monthly meetings or request a workshop/sharing session, please contact the Chair of the Safety and Inclusion Committee si@aa-oregon.org.