Incoming volunteers, like newcomers to AA, are the life blood of SDIAIC. From those volunteers, meeting panels are kept at full strength and new officers and coordinators are named. Due to attrition, it is necessary to have new panel volunteers available at all times. Sickness, death, transfers and transportation problems are a few of the reasons SDIAIC has a slow, but steady turnover of panel members, coordinators and officers. Because of the constant need for active, vital AA members to help with this type of AA Twelve-Step work, the hand of fellowship is always out at SDIAIC.
It’s easy to become a member of SDIAIC. Attend an Orientation Meeting on the third Sunday of the month at noon and complete the information requested on the sign-in sheet. (We also conduct orientation on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at AA Central Office.) This will place your name on our volunteer list. It also keeps track of attendance, because you need to have attended four meetings during the year to be eligible to vote at the annual October election. There are sobriety requirements for becoming a panel member, panel leader, panel coordinator, Group Institutional Representative (GIR) or officer. For those who wish to serve in hospitals and treatment centers, clearance is not required. For those who want to carry the message into correctional facilities, security clearance is required. Forms are available to accomplish this.
Don’t worry about having to take part in a strange meeting alone. This is not the way it is done. New members are always paired with an experienced member or two so that the newer person has a chance to learn the ropes. After an ample seasoning period, the new person will no longer be new and will be expected to carry the responsibilities of a panel member, leader or coordinator. New panel members are supplied with all necessary information to help them clearly communicate the AA message.
Each month a schedule of meetings is printed for distribution to members. This schedule provides the names of all meetings, the meeting times and the coordinators’ names and phone numbers. A panel member utilizing this system has a line of communication open all the way to the chairperson. In case of sickness or emergency, a call goes first to the panel leader asking for help to cover the meeting. If the panel leader cannot be reached, calls then go to the panel coordinator, Corrections or Treatment Chairperson, then to the chairperson. Help is sure to be found along the chain.
We are guests of any institution where our panels are held, and we must respectfully comply with the regulations of all institutions we serve. In correctional facilities, certain sobriety requirements must be observed. Those on parole or probation may be required to follow a procedure prescribed by authorities before they become a panel member at most correctional institutions. Furthermore, we do not talk down to either patients or inmates who attend our panels but treat them with the same respect and courtesy that we treat those people who attend our regular, outside AA meetings.
AA conference-approved pamphlets and books, as well as local meeting directories, are supplied through the SDIAIC librarian. Coordinators complete a literature request form at the business meeting, the orders are filled and the literature is ready to be picked up after the meeting. Literature can also (preferred) be ordered online ahead of time and picked up at the meeting. Should special literature be needed, the librarian will be glad to comply. The literature and books on hand are those most frequently used.
Any member of AA may register as a member of SDIAIC at the monthly business meeting. Following the required Orientation, please attend the Business meeting where the Coordinators will describe their panels and current need for volunteers. At that time, the new member can sign up for a panel commitment. All members must meet minimum sobriety requirements to share on any SDIAIC panel at any facility so served. Most Corrections panels require a separate orientation and clearance procedure prior to panel attendance. Treatment or hospital panels do not require clearances. If you have the sobriety, this is the way to find the high in H&I!
Your assignment to a panel carries a number of responsibilities. You are responsible to other members of the panel. Panels are of different sizes depending on the type of meeting and size group being served. Most panels consist of two or three AA members dividing the duties of the meeting. You are responsible to your panel leader who is the one to turn to in time of question or need of assistance. You can also contact the panel coordinator, being next in the chain of service. You are responsible to the institutional group because the members will form an opinion of AA from the opinion they form of you during meetings. Yes… it is a lot of responsibility.
You will not be expected to fly blind. You will be supplied with a copy of the SDIAIC Policy & Guidelines containing complete information regarding the operations of this committee. SDIAIC is a committee of the San Diego/ Imperial Area Assembly of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was formed with the power to act and the autonomy to form and live within its own guidelines which are voted upon by the members of SDIAIC. We accept contributions from groups and operate in accordance with guidelines derived from years of experience. At the present time, more than 1,000 members of SDIAIC are presenting more than 350 meetings monthly in over 50 institutions. Volunteers are given the opportunity to specify the type of institution they prefer and in many cases the specific institution listed on the schedule of meetings.
The Policy Council meets monthly to review matters of interest to SDIAIC as a whole and to individual panels. The council consists of all elected officers: Chairperson, Co-Chairperson, Treatment and Correctional Committee Chairpersons, Treasurer and Alternate Treasurer, as well as all appointed officers: Policy and Guidelines Chairperson, Librarian, Assistant Librarian, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Area 08 Liaison, Spanish Speaking H&I Liaison, Southern California Intergroup Representative, Imperial County Liaison, and Refreshment Chairperson. All are welcome to attend.