Experience with AA Online?
Hi! We are here! Waiting for you with virtual coffee and ((hugs)) A listing of online groups is found on the Online Intergroup of AA, www.aa-intergroup.org
Chat, mailing lists and bulletin board systems are the gathering places I have used and still use. I lived in Finland, an ex-patriate from the States, on an island far from the mainland. I discovered online AA then and met people all over the world who were ready to show me the life-saving recovery available in AA.
I moved to Estonia and there again I was able to connect with others online -- I found another Loner living there via the Loners.org email meeting and we started the first English speaking AA group in Tallinn. To do that we made use of the online help offered by the Central European Region of the UK service structure -- support and web access that meant everything to attracting and maintaining our group.
There are so many options it can be overwhelming, but it's like finding a home group in a large city -- just keep exploring and eventually you'll know that you belong.
Once you do, the opportunity to do service online is HUGE. I belong to a 12th step committee that answers help requests from all over the world night and day. Nothing else has convinced me so strongly that what I have is an illness than reading the emails from every time zone saying the same thing.
Technical opportunities to do service abound as well. There are chat rooms to maintain, bulletin board systems to upgrade, and spam to fight. It's a beautiful way to be involved in something other than Me!!
Meetings online are a wonderful supplement to face-to-face meetings and a gigantic assist to me -- even though I can speak the local language, I still have 2 kids to care for and a husband who travels. But I'm always close to my online AA family (as long as the broadband functions).
With regard to Traditions Six and Seven, I think it has to be made clear what is and what is not A.A. especially where the transfer of money is involved. According to information on the online intergroup website www.aa-intergroup.org it is a nonprofit corporation registered in New Jersey. I have found no evidence on the GSO website that this nonprofit corporation is part of the AA service structure. However, the online intergroup does imply this on its member’s page: "The Online Intergroup is a service entity established pursuant to Tradition Nine of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to operate on behalf of the participating online AA groups in accordance with AA's Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts." http://www.aa-intergroup.org/members.php The "Tradition Seven" monies collected by the online intergroup obviously go to the New Jersey nonprofit corporation.
I think there needs to be a greater awareness in the fellowship that private foundations and nonprofit organizations registered with the Internal Revenue Service are money making businesses which use their surplus profit to further their mission. History records that when run by alcoholics or drug addicts, these might not always be the legitimate charitable organisations that they appear to be. The leader of one such organization, which became a notorious cult in the USA during the 1960s and 1970s was interviewed by a national magazine in 1976 and quoted as saying: “Our tax-exempt privilege gives us the right, really, to hustle goods and services." Two years later in 1978, he was arrested and the Internal Revenue Service sued for $17 million in back taxes.
I would like to see some clarification from the forum moderators as to whether the online intergroup is, or is not, an official Alcoholics Anonymous corporation. If it is not, then the claims made on its website are a fraudulent misuse of the name Alcoholics Anonymous and AA members are being duped into thinking they are contributing to AA, when in fact they are contributing to an outside enterprise.
I think the future of online A.A. lies in separating the official from the unofficial; the latter being treated as AA members clubs. They must be entirely separately incorporated, giving absolutely no implication that they are A.A. I also think the AA Grapevine forums should not be used as a vehicle for endorsing outside enterprises, something which the AA Grapevine forum moderators could think about for the future, regarding Tradition Six.
In addition to the above post I do not think that the New York GSO website ought to be linking to the online intergroup nonprofit corporation website when the Conference approved internet guidelines state: “Due to the lack of a central geographic location, online A.A. meetings are not a direct part of the U.S./Canada service structure.” http://aa.org/lang/en/en_pdfs/mg-18_internet.pdf
The online intergroup is composed of a number websites and internet forums, some of which publicly solicit funds. Others link to recovery related businesses, or are forums on host sites which contain business adverts. I do not think it is sufficient for the General Service Board of AA World Services to cover itself with the following disclaimer on the link: “We have provided this link to facilitate information about local A.A. activities. Our links do not constitute or indicate review, endorsement, or approval. Thank you for visiting the A.A.W.S. Web site. We appreciate your interest and hope that you have found the information you were seeking.”
By its nature of being at the public level of the internet, and with international links, the online intergroup cannot be described as a local A.A. activity. The fact that there is a link from the GSO website gives the online intergroup website and all the websites linked therein, an affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied, to A.A. Therefore by providing the link the General Service Board of A.A.W.S. is in violation of Tradition Six (Long Form): “While an AA group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied.”
Relating to Traditions Six and Seven, where the transfer of money is concerned there cannot be the grey area of an organization not being a direct part of the service structure. Either it is part of the AA service structure or it isn’t. Either they are the transfer of AA funds or they are not.
Bill W was clear of the dangers of public solicitations of money on behalf of AA.
“And already there have been a few alarming attempts at the public solicitation of money in the name of Alcoholics Anonymous. Few AAs will fail to imagine where such a course could lead us.” (Bill W. AA Grapevine June 1946, The Language of the Heart page 31)
“Conservative AAs realize that business ventures or solicitations carrying the AA endorsement are truly dangerous to us all. Were this practice to become general, the lid would be off. Promoters, AA and otherwise, would have a field day.” (Bill W. AA Grapevine May 1947, The Language of the Heart page 55)
Here is one public solicitation from one of the sites listed by the online intergroup non profit corporation website. (Dotted line indicates my removal of a name)
“You may send your contributions to: PO Box …..
You may make your checks payable to:……
…… is our Treasurer and is also a member of the Steering Committee. Any questions you may have regarding contributions can be e-mailed to him at…….. Funds are needed for renting Web server space and the balance of the funds (after prudent reserve) will be sent to GSO and to OIAA (50/50 split).
We would like to remind those wishing to contribute to …….. that AA Tradition (s) states that AA may accept donations only from members.
You may also contribute using PayPal by clicking the Donation button below. You will receive an e-mail confirmation of your contribution. PayPal is a fully secure site that allows contributions in Canadian Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling, U.S. Dollars, Yen, and Australian Dollars. You may use PayPal by clicking on the DONATE button below:”
I cannot see that there are the checks and balances of monetary transfers and accountability that exist in the AA Service structure. In the above case payment is being made not to AA but the website name and a private PO Box. Anybody can set up websites or internet forums and then falsify the money accounts. Unless Websites or forums are moderated by an actual intergroup, area committee, General Service Office, AA Grapevine.org or AAWS, which are part of the AA service structure, then I don’t think they can be considered to be A.A. How can accounts which are formulated online be reliably and independently validated and audited without there being any personal contact?
Bill W was clear about of being mindful of the careful use of the world communications net, for its potential to benefit or destroy A.A. I’m not sure which influence has got the upper hand at the moment. This is a matter which has to be considered with the utmost seriousness and caution.
AA already has a global internet forum called aagrapevine.org. I think there is further scope for AA to connect globally in unity by providing links to intergroup, Area, and GSO forums around the world on the New York GSO website; and to make these local or regional forums open to non-participant AA observers from around the world. This appears to be the case with the AA (Great Britain) GSO conference discussion forum
This has registered users from the USA, Canada, India, Ethiopia, Philippines, Honduras, Spain, Argentina, Netherlands, Austria, Figi, Burma, Greece, Iceland , Paraquay, Honduras, Zambia, Yugoslavia, Camaroon, Armenia, Afghanistan, Brazil, Sierra Leone, France, Germany, Hungary, Estonia, Guyana, Panama among other countries.
"A vast communications net now covers the earth, even to its remotest reaches. Granting all its huge public benefits, this limitless world forum is nevertheless a hunting ground for all those who would seek money, acclaim and power at the expense of society in general. Here the forces of good and evil are locked in struggle. All that is shoddy and destructive contests all that is best.
Therefore nothing can matter more to the future welfare of AA than the manner in which we use this colossus of communication. Used unselfishly and well, the results can surpass our present imagination. Should we handle this great instrument badly, we shall be shattered by the ego demands of our own people--often with the best of intention on their part.”
Bill W. (Extract from "Freedom Under God: The Choice Is Ours" AA Grapevine November 1960.The Language of the Heart pp 319-320)
It is almost beyond belief that our co-founder Bill W.
wrote those words in 1960. Over half a century ago he
warns us of our need to handle this great instrument with
great care. OR ELSE, we shall be shattered by the ego demands of our own members. And often with the best of
intentions. We must make a new venture into the true
meaning of the traditions Bill and his friends left for
us. Return to our purpose, alcoholics helping alcoholics.
Separate Alcoholics Anonymous from religious sects. Stop
the cult-like rituals. Make AA self-supporting, not just
keep striving for it as a goal. Reevaluate our spiritual
pride. Bill wrote in an article for the June 1961 issue
of the Grapevine, Humility for Today, printed on page 254
in Language of the HEART. Bill writes about fool's gold.
A true study of our eleventh and twelveth traditions will
reveal our faults. When we find them, we must admit them,
and then make changes. ANONYMOUS
I AM A RECOVERIN ALC. BEEN IN N OUT OVA TEN YEARS + NEED TO TALK BETTER YET NEED TO LISTEN !
That's right.Listen. Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.
Circumstances have me house-bound 900 miles away from my home group, and I do have regular phone contact there. However, "online A.A." has now become a great mainstay for me. Over these past 30 years, I have never seen so much recovery in one place at one time and with so many newer folks hearing more than I had ever heard in even a month or two of face-2-face A.A. meetings. Truly, I am completely amazed and in love with "online A.A."!
Joseph Lee O.
Joseph you are so right....I love this site and it helps me stay sober. While I needed meetings when I was younger, now that I am retired on a disability, the internet is my sanity device. Keeps me in touch with the world. I do believe that newcomers need the face to face time with other people. I needed to make the coffee, set up chairs, tables.....I don't even drink coffee. The smoke drove me crazy until I found another non smoking group. 98% of us learn better with hands on...visually as learners.....meetings do that....reading grapevine or the BIG book brings the ideas into clarity.
But, when circumstances change God as we know him guides us to the right choice. Bless you
Mikey A. Colorado
My experience with online recovery meetings (in AA, Al-Anon
and OA) came after having several years in each of thoe afore-mentioned programs,so they have been in addition
to going to f2f meetings. There have been several times
in my recovery when I went to both f2f and subscribed to em
online meetings or subscribed to email recovery groups. There were also times when I was very sick or injured (so I was unable to get to meetngs) when my membership in the above online or email groups were my only contact with recovery. I have been disabled now for almost 6 years now, due to balance and coordination issues, I no longer drive. So I have to rely on rides from friends, the public bus system and the para -transit van (when I have money to pay for that.) So there are times that I don't have a way to get to a meeting,so I am grateful there are online meetings or email groups that focus on the recovery in the above programs. Thankfully I have found although we don't really know one another, we do know one another and therefore I have developped several strong supports in these
online meetings and email groups. I have been fortunate to
have f2f contacts as well as phone calls from (as well as have received some get well and sympathy cards (when my
father died) some of the members of the above groups. I also have had the opportunity to be an online sponsor to several OA members, as well as other service opportunities
in most of the above programs . Some of the online groups,
I learned about through supports from the rooms, others,
it's been so long since I've participated in online recovery
groups, I don't really remember how I found out about
them, I'm sure some I learned about just by using a search
engine on various key words dealing with alcohlism, addiction, Al-Anon,Overeaters Anonymous, recovery, etc. I do feel that the opportunity to be in online meetings/email groups is something that is great! Those kinds of things have offered me opportunities that wouldn't have existed years ago. I am awed to think that from the meeting of Bill W. and Dr. Bob, so much more has become possible. I don't know if my experience with online recovery meetings/email groups would have been so positive if I didn't already have a strong foundation which I developped in f2f meetings. My sobriety date is 3/10/89, I've been a member of Al-Anon since March of 1989 as well and began in OA in 1991, but now , by the grace of God, have about 10 years of abstinence. Hope that helps with some of the above questions.
There are more than 100 online meetings listed with the Online Intergroup of AA (OIAA) here:
Chat, Skype, email, discussion boards, telephone...and in several languages. There's more information in the March 2012 edition of the Grapevine, or you can fill out the contact form for help here:
I have been sober for 22 yrs. but this is my first on-line communication. I have not made my usual meetings lately because of work. My schedule lately has been crazy. 10-12 hr days. By the time I get off work I am ready for bed. I don't want to get the HALT thing going. Any suggestions?
Anyone wanting to stop drinking and needing to join an Online AA group should go to:
... where you'll find details of the various types of online groups - and, by following the links, will be offered a complete listing and details of how-to-join.
Ewart - AA UK
As I am reading through the shares on this forum I was so pleasantly surprised to see a name I recall with fondness and love. Ewart it is soooo good to see you. Yes, I still do online AA but am very involved in f2f AA meetings and service work. I will share my experience with online AA shortly
I don't know how to do this but would appreciate help if anyone gets this message. Thank you.
hello well you have made a big step your in the right place to find out how to get sober and live happy jois and free of the terror get a meeting , talk on line , but put the plug in the jug . my name is mike im a alcoholic , im sober for 8 months im 48 and have drank over 30 years . please give aa a chance , hang on till the miricelhappens get a sponcer , and keep coming back
I have a similar problem at times and was thrilled to discover Sober Voices. It's a meeting you can call in to and participate. People from all over the country do it and you get to know some of them. Do a web search for the number. They have a noon and 10pm meeting. There are other ones but I've only used Sober Voices.
I need some feed back on what to do when work gets in the way of going to meetings. I work 12 hr shifts at times. Of course I go to meetings when I am not working like that. I need a meeting on line when I can't get to one.
your being of service working !!! great