Public Information & Cooperation with the Professional Community
The Public Information (PI) and the Cooperation with the Professional Community (CPC) committees are combined into one committee called PI/CPC here in Edmonton.
Their meetings are held the third Wednesday of the month, 6:00 pm at the Alano Club (10728 - 124 Street NW). Get more information about this committee by emailing the committee chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Public Information work and Why Should AA members Do It?
Public Information in Alcoholics Anonymous means carrying the message of recovery to the still-suffering alcoholic by informing the general public about the AA program. We carry the message by getting in touch with and responding to the media,schools, industry, and other organizations which can report on the nature and purpose of AA and what it can do for alcoholics. Those undertaking PI work for the first time, whether it be at the area, district, group, or intergroup/central office level, are encouraged to read and take guidance from the information contained in the PI workbook, available from the General Service Office. It is suggested that members taking part in PI work should have several years of continuous sobriety. The first Public Information committee in AA was formed by the General Service Board in 1956. At that time the following statement of “AA’s movement-wide public information policy” was written and approved by the General Service Conference:
In all public relations, AA’s sole objective is to help the still suffering alcoholic. Always mindful of the importance of personal anonymity we believe this can be done by making known to him, and to those who may be interested in his problems, our own experience as individuals and as a Fellowship in learning to live without alcohol. We believe that our experience should be made available freely to all who express sincere interest. We believe further, that all efforts in this field should always reflect our gratitude for the gift of sobriety and our awareness that many outside AA are equally concerned with the serious problem of alcoholism.
As our co-founder, Bill W., wrote:
Public Information takes many forms—the simple sign outside a meeting place that says “AA meeting tonight;” listing in local phone directories; distribution of AA literature; and radio and television shows using sophisticated media techniques. Whatever the form, it comes down to “one drunk carrying the message to another drunk,” whether through personal contact or through the use of third parties and the media.
What is Cooperation with the Professional Community (CPC)?
CPC came into being as a distinct entity in 1970 when the trustees’ committee was formed as an outgrowth of the Public Information Committee. In 1971, the Conference CPC Committee was established. Today, many local communities, areas, and regions consider CPC an activity separate from public information, treatment or corrections work. In some places, though, there is overlap. Members of CPC committees inform professionals and future professionals about AA - what we are, where we are, what we can do, and what we cannot do. They attempt to establish better communication between AAs and professionals, and to find simple, effective ways of cooperating without affiliating.
CPC Work and Why AAs Do It
Cooperating with nonalcoholic professionals is an effective way to carry the message to the sick alcoholic. Such people often meet the alcoholic in places where AA is not present. Through professionals, alcoholics may be reached who might otherwise never find the program, or they may be reached sooner with the help of informed non-AAs. A professional can be anyone who deals with problem drinkers in the course of their work. Many of these people often encounter the suffering alcoholic, and in spite of public awareness, many of them simply don’t know what to do with a drunk. Here is a list of professions that CPC. committees have approached. Your committee may think of others: alcoholism or other counselor; armed forces officer; athletic coach; corrections officer; court official; educator; employers or employee assistance professionals; health care professional (doctor, nurse, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.); clergyperson; judge; juvenile services professional; law enforcement officer; lawyer (prosecutor, defense attorney); probation or parole professional; professional student; public health official; senior services professional; social worker; union official. A professional can be a family doctor or other health care professional, a member of the clergy, a law enforcement or court official, an educator, a social worker, an alcoholism or other counselor, or anyone who deals with problem drinkers in the course of their work. Many of these people often encounter the suffering alcoholic, and in spite of public awareness, many of them simply don’t know what to do with a drunk. CPC work can begin when individual A.A.s reveal their membership to their doctors or drop a quiet word in the ear of a pastor, priest or rabbi that an AA member is available to the congregation. Some AA members, AA groups, or committees share a single issue of the AA Grapevine, La Viña or La Vigne with the professionals, explaining how our meeting in print paints a picture of the Fellowship in action through members’ stories and letters. Groups can further participate in CPC by welcoming professionals and future professionals to open meetings and offering a subscription to the AA Grapevine, La Viña or La Vigne. Committees on the area or local level actively seek ways to make contact with professional people and set up programs to increase knowledge and understanding of Alcoholics Anonymous.
What a committee decides to do will be dictated by local needs and experience. A look at our history shows clearly that cooperation with professionals has been an integral part of the Fellowship since our beginnings. AA might never have gotten off the ground, or progress would have been much slower, without the help of nonalcoholics such as Dr. Silkworth, Sister Ignatia, and the Reverend Sam Shoemaker. It is important that CPC workers understand the importance of AA’s Traditions and learn how to explain them to nonalcoholics. The cardinal fact is that the Traditions are our Traditions, and there is no reason non-AAs should be expected to understand them unless we take the initiative and explain them.