Telephone service

Corona Virus and 12 step calls

A quick update on where we are with telephone service and phone responding given all the changes over the last week. The Southern Service Office is still open, but the evening and weekend volunteer teams are asked not to come in until further notice. The contingency plan which has been put in place stops calls from the 0800 number being diverted to the London office. The 12 step calls for London will be taken elsewhere and passed on to a small group of volunteers (including the two London Region reps, Bill and Ian) who will pass them out to us.
As far as you are concerned as responders, you will still get calls from phone office volunteers based in London, they just won't be sitting in the Southern Service Office. Passing out 12 step calls is now quite different and we need to think about that when passing calls out. When we call people on the 12 step list, we are going to need to check that they have thought about how to make the approach to the newcomer, now we cannot accompany someone to a meeting. My first thoughts about what a 12-stepper can do now are:

  1. Inform the caller that AA meetings are usually face-to-face but are rapidly moving online due to the current circumstances.
  2. Check if they are familiar with the Zoom platform which many meetings are now moving to, and whether they need any guidance on getting set up on Zoom.
  3. Ask (gently) if they can take the suffering alcoholic's email address, in order to share the websites with links to Zoom meetings which we are all getting now.
  4. Explain how to get literature and how to access information on the AA site (which includes free PDF access to Big Book).
  5. Let them know that AA facebook, Whats App groups etc are now where a lot of communication is happening and encourage them to consider joining in there. Also to try and get phone numbers for other members - joining a Whats App group is one way of doing this now we can't attend meetings.

I think that if we call out to a 12-stepper and they are not confident about providing the guidance above (e.g. if they have not attended online meetings) we can suggest that they make the first call and talk to the newcomer generally about the AA programme and message. They can point the newcomer to Zoom meetings, but if the person needs guidance and help getting on there, the 12-stepper may need to ask if someone else can contact them to provide that.

How you could get involved

A training session for telephone service is held at 1930 on the first Monday of each month at the Southern Service Office, 1 Raven Wharf, 14 Lafone Street, SE1 2LR. Please come along if you would like to learn how telephone service works and you have at least one year's continuous sobriety.