From the Delegate's Day of Sharing . . .
detailed notes are available for download in each of the four items.
A. Consider developing a plain language version of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous.
Background/focus – According to the Plain Language Association, “a communication is in plain language if the language, structure, and design are so clear that the intended audience can easily find what they need, understand what they find, and use that information.”
The Conference has reaffirmed on several occasions that the writings of our co-founders not be changed.
From the notes – In 2001 The Fourth Edition of the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous was approved keeping in mind the 1995 Conference Advisory Action which reads, "The first 164 pages of the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous, the Preface, the Forwards, 'The Doctor's Opinion,' 'Doctor Bob's Nightmare,' and the Appendices remain as is."
1989 Trustees' Literature Committee "Is AA for You?"easy-to-read version: Following review of material, the committee recommended to the General Service Board that a manuscript for an easy-to-read illustrated version of this pamphlet be forwarded to the Conference Literature Committee for approval; the working title to be "Is AA for Me?"
1990 Trustees' Literature Committee Advisory Action recommended that the text and illustrations for the pamphlet "Twelve Steps Illustrated" be referred to the trustees' Literature Committee for rewriting of the easy-to-read text, with the recommendation that this language be further simplified and shortened into simple statements that would direct attention to the illustrations, without attempting to the rewrite the Steps; and bring the text back to the 1991 General Service Conference for approval. Conference Literature Committee Advisory Action recommended that the proposed pamphlet be published . . . Estimated cost: $7,000.
1993 Conference Literature Committee discussed a request for a simplified version of the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous and determined that there is not sufficient expressed need.
1996 Trustees' Literature Committee discussed and declined the proposal to eliminate or combine "Is AA for You?" and "Is AA for Me?"
2008 Trustees' Literature Committee discussed and took no action on an area proposal that "a new booklet (similar in size of Living Sober) be developed using an up to date style of writing with simple basic language to explain the principles in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and the Big Book" to reach "pre-teens, teens, mentally challenged, those with literacy problems, those with English as second language and more simply those in early sobriety."
2014 Literature Committee discussed a request to produce an illustrated version of the Big Book for deaf, hard of hearing and less literate members. Again, they noted no widely expressed need in light of the current items we have to serve the deaf, hard of hearing and less literate members.
B. Consider request for revision/update to the pamphlet “Young People and AA"
Background/focus – The Board felt it would be helpful to include information on young people’s conferences in current A.A. literature and to review the pamphlet for possible revision.
From the notes – From time to time the General Service Office is asked if ICYPAA and the young people's groups are "part of AA." The answer is definitely yes. ICYPAA and its attendees are committed to reaching out to newcomers.
- No alcoholic is ever turned away, regardless of age.
- Young people groups bring the newcomer into the mainstream of A.A. recovery, service and unity through the Steps, Traditions and Concepts of World Service.
- Newcomers are shown by people their own age that using A.A. principles in their daily lives and getting involved in service can lead to a lasting and comfortable sobriety.
- Young people’s groups try to make the newcomer understand that 20-plus years of drinking coupled with loss of family, friends and financial stability are not necessary for one to be ready for sobriety.
C. Consider updating the pamphlet "Twelve Traditions Illustrated"
Background/focus – The pamphlet was written and illustrated in 1971. Various items were cited and suggested changes were submitted for discussion. It is suggested that groups review the pamphlet itself together with notes provided by Area 07 before responding.
From the notes – Area 07 made it clear they were not suggesting any specific language or approach to the revision. While they highlighted examples of some language that might benefit from updating, most of their concerns were with the illustrations in general and some quite specifically.
Tradition 2: Boarding plane illustration – people don’t board this way any more
Tradition 4: “Off beat groups” - hippie illustration is very dated
Tradition 5: Typewriter illustration – manual typewriter
Tradition 7: Bequest language – keep consistent with current giving level
Tradition 8: Payphone and Inbox illustrations – dated
Tradition 9: “Jungle” illustration – careening from “edgy” to “racist” pretty quickly
Tradition 11: Add info on electronic/social media -- in keeping with GSO guidance Strike “remember”
4) Treatment/Special Needs
D. Consider removing “Special Needs” from the committee name, Cooperation with the Professional Community/Treatment/Special Needs and throughout their Composition, Scope and Procedure.
Background/focus – The trustees’ committee reviewed the request to change the committee name of “Special Needs-Accessibilities” to “Diverse Needs-Accessibilities” and took no action. A subcommittee on Making A.A. More Readily Available to All recommended to the General Service Board that ‘Special Needs’ be removed from the name of the trustees’ Committee on Cooperation with the Professional Community/Treatment/Special Needs-Accessibilities and throughout the committee’s Composition, Scope and Procedure.
From the notes – Brig G. Special Needs Chair from Area 24 District 12 wrote a letter to A.A.W.S. and her Area Committee stating that after reading the first line in the Special Needs workbook she realized it contradicted itself.
She writes, The first line states, "While there are no special A.A. members there are members with 'special needs.'" If there are no special members how can our needs be special? Members who need the services of this committee are just that, members of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are not special; they are equal to the rest of the membership.
She goes on to state that, 'Diverse' is a blanket term that envelopes all types of needs and services without referring to members as different or disabled.
Her letter was followed by a letter from the Iowa Area Delegate a month later requesting the 2015 General Service Conference consider changing the name of the Treatment/Special Needs Committee to Treatment/ Diverse Needs Committee.