January 11th 2021
NEW guidelines from GSO
The following is an update from GSO from 16th May 2021.
The guidance from the government regarding face-to-face meetings has changed slightly. The maximum number of people who can attend a meeting has risen from 15 to 30. This number is still dependent on the risk assessment done by the venue, and the maximum capacity of that venue allowing for social distancing.
All other guidance regarding face-to-face meetings remains the same, and we must continue to adhere to the rules as set out by the government regarding social distancing, the wearing of masks etc. Tracey included this guidance in the minutes for our last intergroup meeting.
Please continue to monitor all national and local updates and be mindful of your safety and the safety of others at all times.
Alcoholics Anonymous is extremely fortunate that an exemption to the lockdown rules has been granted to us, allowing in-person meetings to take place. In accordance with our Traditions, and in order to protect our Fellowship, it is vitally important that all groups that are meeting in-person strictly adhere to COVID Secure Conditions at all times. As part of this, masks must be worn by those attending, and must be kept on for the duration of the meeting.
Please also be mindful that this permission has been granted ‘if there is no reasonable alternative available.’
A Message from our Intergroup Chair
The possibility of re-opening face-to-face meetings is a complicated matter, and it will be for each individual group to decide if and when it is the right time to re-open. However, I would like to remind groups that although Tradition 4 states that each group is autonomous, we must always be mindful of the second part of the tradition: ‘except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.’
The eagerness to re-open meetings is completely understandable, but it is crucially important that we get this right. We all have a responsibility to ensure that we strictly adhere to the government guidelines and only re-open meetings when it can be done safely. Not only must we ensure the safety of everyone attending meetings, but we also have a duty to make sure that the Fellowship is not drawn into any controversy or brought into disrepute.
Tradition 1, which states that ‘Our common welfare must come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity’ reminds us to make sure that our decisions as individuals and as groups does not negatively impact the Fellowship as a whole. Equally important, is the health and safety of members and non-members, as well as the wider communities in which we live.
Information sent out with the minutes from the July Intergroup meeting includes the current government guidelines, as well as some useful points to consider from GSO. Hopefully, this will help to ensure that groups are fully aware of everything involved in holding face-to-face meetings, and that they have all the information required to make an informed decision, remaining ever mindful of our responsibilities to our members, groups, the entire Fellowship of AA, and to society as a whole.
“Tradition 12: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
The spiritual substance of anonymity is sacrifice. Because A.A's Twelve Traditions repeatedly ask us to give up personal desires for the common good, we realise that the sacrificial spirit - well symbolised by anonymity - is the foundation of them all. It is A.A.'s proved willingness to make these sacrifices that gives people their high confidence in our future.”
(From Tradition Twelve, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions)
With very best wishes,