ACA members accepting the call of service work provide the energy we need to do the good work of ACA around the globe. There could easily be 300 million adult children in the world, so the work ahead remains steady. But we make progress each day. p.536
March 26, 2014. It has been my sincere pleasure to serve as Member and Public Services Committee Chairperson from April 2013 until now. In my 53 years I have never experienced anything as satisfying as this service; it is 2nd only to my family and my ACA recovery. If I could, I would give you all a teaspoon of it just so that you could see how wonderful it feels. We will never find all the adult children, but we can help them find us, and I can show you how. This coming year will be my 2nd year and my last year in world service. I believe I am standing in front of one person who would like to do this “job” but you just need help in learning how, so I am ready and able to share what you need to know so that you can do this too.
Since I started in April of 2013, the fellowship has sent in 4271 requests from all over the world. I remember that fateful day at the end of July when I woke up to a flooded inbox that just kept coming until it was 55 that day, and just recently I sent over 100 emails. Since I started in April, I’ve sent out 4747 emails. We started using Vonage voicemail on April 13, 2013, for which I volunteered as “switchboard operator”. In that time, we’ve received 982 calls which I’ve returned using Skype for anonymity. The thought of 982 people having my cell phone number in their phone forever…. and thinking it is WSO’s number…and calling me in the future….. ? I created 100s of pre-worded templates that help me so that I’m not constantly fumbling through the BRB and typing my answers fresh each time. While preparing this report, I took an interest in “outreach” history. I see that since the first email logged on 10/14/09 there have been 12,566 requests; the first one simply said one sentence, “I would like to talk to someone”. And since that time 10,269 replies were sent. I found the 1st time that I reached out to WSO on 6/22/2010. I smiled as I read it seeing that I sounded like the requests I get today, vulnerable, unsure but hopeful that “they” would give me my answer. It’s definitely come full circle.
International connections made:
UK France Romania Poland Germany Hungary Canada Australia Wales Munich Puerto Rico Russia Columbia Peru Thailand Ireland Spain Scotland Switzerland India Israel Venezuela Denmark Mongolia Zambia South Africa Sweden Taiwan New Zealand Belgium China Japan Serbia Turkey Mexico Slovakia Brazil Dominican Republic Netherlands Greenland Italy Iceland Czech Republic Nigeria Hong Kong Austria Vienna Bahrain
!!THE VERY FIRST ACA LIGHT WAS TURNED ON IN THE FOLLOWING COUNTRIES THIS YEAR!!
Member and Public Services (MPS) became the new name for Outreach. The change was one of common sense, we’re not reaching out, we’re answering members and public requests. The Hospitals and Institutions committee now falls under the MPS umbrella. The purpose of Member and Public Services in ACA is to support ACA Members in becoming responsible for their own well-being through ACA-related materials, and to provide information for the Public and professionals by providing ACA-related resources and services.
We received an invitation as a board to appear and speak and carry the message of ACA at a Puerto Rico conference named “Addiction and its Effects on the Family” and WSO participated.
For the countries which do not have ACA, the board passed a motion that will now provide a Meeting Starter Kit free of all charges in the hopes of spreading the ACA light around the world. The 6 countries I just mentioned were grandfathered in also. I am actively in follow up mode with Iceland, Slovakia, Bahrain and other countries for someone to start their “1st in country” meeting. I also work to encourage members to start 2nd and 3rd meetings in their countries by helping them out with shipping costs.
Website: Previously a long list of countries had difficulty using the shopping cart, this upcoming year’s new website will allow all countries equal access. Joan and I worked together on several occasions to create a 22 page document that encompasses responses for anticipated questions that will be asked on our new website. The verbiage can be inserted into the website under the appropriate place and hopefully continue to guide the now and future adult children to the resources that they need.
The board produced a wonderful service called the Board’s Book Initiative. This program is providing free literature to the professionals working in the trenches with clients who are adult children seeking answers while in their facilities, and other types of institutions that should have a fellowship text in their reference library, or on their professional shelf, etc. 400 books annually is where we are reaching.
———–AROUND THE WORLD:
It took me a good year to realize that I have a budget and I can use it to help carry the message. Now and then I can lessen a cost since the fellowship has provided donations expressly for that purpose. When a person or a group asks for help, I try to meet them in the middle so that they might benefit from WSO’s helping hand; keeping in mind the service commitment with which you have entrusted to me, to weigh my service work equally with prudence.
Documents came in from all over the world: China shared their meeting copy of the Laundry List, Zambia proudly sent their country’s amazing listing of 12 step fellowships ACA included, Switzerland sent a meeting’s newspaper announcement. Telephone and Internet meetings are considered “countries” and they each grew this year. ACA members from all over the globe can attend 80-90 meetings a day on the phone, Skype or VoIP.
I chose a few countries on our website where there is no ACA meeting: Bahamas, Costa Rica, Greece, Iceland, Malaysia, Nepal, Romania, Slovenia. The population of just those 8 countries is 94,878, 533; and we all know that there are adult children walking around like you and I, before we found recovery. This need is very large.
Russia and Scotland provided their ACA “histories” and we received archival materials in the Signal Hills office from the 90s from a previous board member.
This year we’ve seen important strides with Intergroups. A member asked if some sort of guidelines could be established such as by-laws, etc., for Intergroup development. That is now in the works, it’s wonderful when a member asks for a service and then rolls up his own sleeves to help make it happen. Since April we’ve seen the following Intergroups develop and/or re-establish their IG: (USA) North Central PA, New York City, Ft. Worth/Dallas, Florida and Ohio. And internationally the Netherlands created an Intergroup. Russia asked about developing a Region. I recently reached out to all of the IG’s listed on our website that have email addresses, to touch base, get to know them, hear about their perspectives, etc. I’ve gotten wonderful responses, and I am getting to know who is doing what and it is very enlightening.
———– ACA Teen:
We’ve had the pleasure to watch an ACA Teen meeting grow from a dream in Las Vegas Nevada. The member initially spoke as a guest at the end of a Teleconference about her interest. She made a connection with Majbrit who offered her help because of her ACA Teen experience to help develop their format and meeting. It is now blossoming; trusted servants are supporting and sponsoring and the teens are arriving, returning and recovering. They’ve placed 2 literature orders and emailed their format to WSO in the hopes that it will somehow help other meetings develop an ACA Teen meeting too. We have teens inquire from time to time about meetings and if they can attend.
Last April marked Phyllis’ departure as Outreach Chair. It is she who laid the groundwork for me. Without her gentle hand, I never would have had the courage to step into this position. Our European Union Committee Chairperson, Majbrit and I joined forces. She and MPS work beautifully together to link WSO across the ocean to the EU. She is an absolute pioneer in the work that she is doing with no predecessor to follow and must be acknowledged for this wonderful service. This year I’ve sent her numerous requests for which she worked doggedly to fulfill. It took me the 1st half of the year to figure out what made up the EU, without Martin from England giving me gentle geography lessons, I would have continued embarrassing myself. I send translations requests to Larry, we had interest from Germany, Spain, China, and the Swiss. Without the underpinning of our special worker Gloria, I could never do this job, it would stall every day without her magical touch at the keys updating, editing and making the meetings appear on the website. She and I also team up on the events page, this year we had 6 events posted, including Latvia’s very first! Before Ines arrived I was using Google Translate to answer Spanish language requests and I hate to imagine how very interesting some of my replies were. ACA members from Mexico, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Spain, Brazil and other countries have benefited from her service. I can always count on our Hospitals and Institutions Committee Chairperson, Joan. This year she handled a great many requests; emails and voicemails with an excitement that truly made me grateful to know her in this service. There are many prisoners, mental health patients, halfway house residents, treatment center addicts and alcoholic ACA’s plus many many more adult children, who can curl up to ACA literature every day during this transition time of theirs, because of her humane touch. I can only assume that they will walk into an ACA meeting one day and continue their recovery with a “Joan book” under their arm.
——Public Information: This year we’ve updated or given information to: Worldwide Resource Guides, Helplines, Shelters, Doctors.com, medical centers, lawyers, judges, teachers, rehabs, social workers, therapists, pastors, students, Dear Abby, Wikipedia and more. A member wrote a thesis about ACAs and therapy.
—–Members: Members ask to post literature many places; in the books they’ve written, blogs, social sites, etc. Several members inquired about employment or volunteering in the Signal Hill office.
—–Common comments: -Does WSO have a list of sponsors? I need help updating my meeting. Where is the ComLine? I went to the meeting and it wasn’t there! I’m a new treasurer, how do we donate, and get an EIN, and get insurance? How do I find a meeting? My family member/neighbor needs ACA. Can all our literature be electronic? Do we have an audio or large print book? Could you send me your therapist list? I need help with my order.
—————–Service: A board member who heads a committee with no committee members, is not able to fully serve the fellowship, and we have many in that scenario today; we need help. In the “real” world, grocery store customers won’t get good service if the owner of the store bags groceries, runs the till and stocks shelves, so……Grab a pen, for an email address if you’re curious about serving at the worldwide level; I can’t express how great it is. There’s literally a world out there of potential ACA members who just need help to find ACA recovery; once they find it, they can continue their personal walk. I would suggest this service to anyone who has an inner child who has a desire to help, and a loving parent who can show that inner child how to help in a healthy way. There is something that will fit perfectly for you with the time and skills that you have to offer. If you have “no skills” but lots of willingness to learn, you are especially needed! To hear more about what’s available send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for allowing me to help you and to help the world.