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April 2008

Full Contact CPC

Inside and Outside the Pamphlets

After I was elected delegate for my Area, I eagerly awaited my committee assignment. Although corrections work was my service of choice, a power greater than myself had other ideas. I was assigned to the Cooperation with the Professional Community (CPC) committee.

I tried to understand the meaning in this. I wondered if I had, perhaps, been chosen to find a way to prevent professionals from sending non-alcoholics to AA. Maybe I was meant to save Alcoholics Anonymous.

Recommended reading for new delegates was AA Comes of Age. I was concerned that I would not be the perfect delegate, so I did as suggested and found that I loved reading about AA's history and the events leading up to Alcoholics Anonymous today. I realized that without the love and dedication of nonalcoholic professionals, early AA did not stand a chance. The list of those who backed AA is long--Reverend Tunks, Dr. Silkworth, Leonard Strong, Sister Ignatia, Reverend Sam Shoemaker, and others.

My own desire to do service for AA was driven by the alcoholic destruction I faced--I was beaten into a state of reasonableness. These nonalcoholics, however, did not have to first undergo a psychic change in order to be of service. Without first experiencing alcoholic hopelessness, they could recognize that miracles occurred within the Fellowship. This tradition of nonalcoholics devoting uncounted hours in service to the Fellowship continues to this day.

Today, many professionals are in a position to be of immense help to AA, but are not properly informed about what AA has to offer the sick alcoholic. The CPC committee I served on reviewed the many pamphlets created to help carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous. Some groups and committees believe they are carrying the message if they have pamphlets on hand.

But during this era of cell phones, text messages, and emails, perhaps we have lost focus on the importance of personal contact. Sometimes, I thought it was enough to mail a busy professional a pamphlet with information about AA, and assume that they would read it and become an expert on our program. But I know that when I get my mail, the first thing I do is dispose of anything that looks like junk mail.

When I contact professionals, the pamphlets are useful--but it's even more useful to know what those pamphlets contain. Since this revelation, I have had the joy of contacting many kinds of professionals. It is not unusual, after such contact is made, to find alcoholics led to our meetings by these same professionals.

Today, I am convinced of the importance of our singleness of purpose. I become concerned, however, when I attend CPC committee meetings and the main topic is nonalcoholics being sent to AA. In some cases, I think we are tempted to think of CPC work as insuring that our meetings are protected from the nonalcoholics sent to AA by uninformed professionals. It is my prayer that we return to what our founding members knew: the importance of nonalcoholic professionals to the survival of our Fellowship--as well as to the individual alcoholic.

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