The local helpline covers the East Midlands region, comprising Notts/Leics and Derbyshire Intergroups.
It is run by a committee which has been asked to revisit the principles we follow in accepting people into service as responders and 12 steppers so that, as required by the revised service guideline 6 on AA telephone services, we can show that "responders and 12 steppers are chosen with care".
The committee has decided that the most effective way we can ensure we meet this requirement is to ask the meetings in the three intergroups to sponsor people into service. Each meeting has forms for you to nominate people. The revised service guideline states that "a minimum of 12 months continuous sobriety is regarded as ideal for the roles".
Even if members of your meeting are already 12 steppers and responders could you still include them on the list so that we can establish the most up to date listing as possible (especially for 12 steppers).
We intend to circulate meetings regularly and have included additional copies of the form so that you can keep a record at your meeting of who you have sponsored into service.
The guidleines that follow include details of the service, the role of the responder and a note about 12 stepping. We hope these guidelines will make it clear what the roles entail for those considering service in this vital area of carrying the message.
THE EAST MIDLANDS TELEPHONE SERVICE is manned in four hour shifts through the day from 8am to midnight every day of the week by responders. They are able to route the calls to the helpline through to the telephone number in their home.
THE ROLE OF THE RESPONDER is to establish that the caller has a desire to stop drinking, gain the caller's confidence and obtain from them their name, telephone number and where they live. This is so, that with their agreement, they can be contacted by a 12 stepper of the same sex that lives near them. The responder explains that to the caller and gains the agreement of the caller to that action during the call. So the call is kept relatively brief as the 12 step work is done by the 12 stepper.
Responders are given an up to date 12 step list at the time of joining the service as well as a comprehensive information pack explaining the role in greater detail than the brief note above.
Any calls the responder makes can be claimed for from their intergroup treasurer.
We are looking for both permanent responderswho are willing to do a regular 4 hour daily shift and reserves who are able to offer cover from time to time.
The shifts are 8am to noon, noon to 4pm, 4pm to 8 pm and 8pm to midnight.
ROLE OF 12 STEPPER The main purpose of telephone services is to put the suffering alcoholic in touch with an AA member, or an AA group. For 12th step work it is vital that the responder links male caller to male 12 stepper, and female to female. This is a higher priority than a geographical link.
Every 12 stepper needs a copy of 'Hints and Suggestions for 12 Steppers' and every group should have a copy so that group members wanting to be nominated as a 12 stepper can refer to it.
As the 12 stepper, it is your objective to get the caller to a meeting, by sharing your experience strength and hope with the them, so that the caller can identify with the problem and see that you have found a solution. Some callers are not willing to consider going to a meeting and there is nothing further you can do if this is the case; AA has no other solution to offer.
The meeting you suggest should ideally be taking place very soon after the call, and be one that the caller is geographically close to, so they will easily be able to return to it in future. The best meeting will be your home group, if this is suitable for the caller. If you have offered to be available for meetings other than your home group, you should always consider the caller's needs when suggesting a meeting to attend together. Ideally you will meet the caller and attend the caller's first meeting together; you may choose to visit the caller at home or meet the caller in a public place before attending the meeting. This decision is up to you, and you should always follow the guidance in 'Hints and Suggestions for 12 Steppers'.
If the caller cannot or will not attend a meeting, encourage them to call the helpline again if they change their mind. If they want to attend a meeting that you cannot attend, try to put them in touch with a 12 stepper from that group - ask the caller if you can pass their number to X, so that X can continue the 12 step work.