12th Step Service

Twelve Step service
In some areas, 12-step service is done entirely on the telephone. A phoneline volunteer answers
phone calls and gives meeting'information. If the caller want to talk with a recovering addict, the
phoneline volunteer will call someone on the 12-step list who, will return the phone call. In other
locations, the phoneline volunteer handles 'the entire call. Refer to the Phoneline Handbook for
more information about 12-step service on the telephone; This section of the PI Handbook will
discuss 12~step service on a face-to-face basis ..
12-step calls-are when we reach out on a personal basis to a still suffering addict ..Some PI
Committees have 12-step bureaus or ~12-step lists of volunteers, and 12-step service is an
organized effort. If your location has a separate phoneline committee, it-may be handled by that
committee. Some locations have decided to not engage in organizetf 12-step activities at,all. The
following are some of the benefits and concerns your committee should discuss when making its
12-steps calls in the best of circumstances can be the moment a still suffering addiGt fiMds that
first glimpse of hope that recovery is possible. It is a two-on-one personal experience for the PI
volunteers and .addkt alike. In PI, we never do service alone and especially not in 12-step ~ork.
12-step calls in the worst of circumstances have led PI volunteers into physically dangerous
situations that have sometimes resulted in threats of violence, actually violence, robbery, and
arrest of the PI volunteer as a result of actions by the still suffering addict.
If an area decides not to do 12-step calls, some members may become upset. They may point
out that the other fellowship does 12-step cans. We must remember we deal with a larger variety
of drugs and lifestyles that are often accompanied by illegal behaviors with more severe
consequences for the 12-step volunteer.
If your committee decides to develop an organized 12-step project, develop guidelines for your
volunteers and make them available to all volunteers. The following suggestions should be
considered :
Never go alone.
Don't go to anyone's home.
12-step volunteers should not be on probation or parole.
Don't carry large amounts of cash.
Don't wear expensive jewelry.
Men with men, women with women, or a mixed couple.
Be careful about giving rides.
For safety as well as legal reasons, it is best to not go alone. If a problem develops, we don't
want itto be the word of one individual against another. Further, problems are less likely to
develop with two PI volunteers present. 12-step service brings us in contact with a situation that
may threaten our recovery. We'd all like to believe our own recovery is strong enough for
anything, but the truth is we are aU vulnerable and the risk of going alone is too great.
Going to an active addict's home can be dangerous physically, legally, and in terms of personal
recovery. This can mean putting the PI volunteers face-to-face with drugs. It is always a
dangerous situation no matter how strong the recovery or how long the volunteers have been
clean. Weapons and violence sometimes accompany drugs in the lifestyle of the active addict.
The house may be under surveillance and the PI volunteers may find themselves in the middle of
a Sticky legal situation.
Although the caller may have been sincere about wanting to recover at the time of the call, the
situation may have changed by the time the PI volunteers meet with the addict. The caller may
have had a change of mind (or mood). The caller may be Sincere, but others in the household
may be threatened by the prospect of recovery.
, I
Be careful about rides. A using addict may have motives other than recovery, such as car theft or
robbery. Even with the best of intentions, the addict may be carrying drugs, paraphernalia, or
weapons that could accidentally, or in a moment or paranoia or panic, be left in the PI
volunteer's car to be found later by the volunteer, the volunteer's family, or the police. A routine
traffic stop can panic an active addict and cause complicated legal problems for the driver.
In some areas, 12-step calls only occur at NA meetings when two PI volunteers meet with the
active addict, perhaps shortly before the meeting. They might sit with the active addict during
the meeting lending confidence and explaining the meeting process, encouraging the newcomer
to raise his hand and introduce himself, and making sure the newcomer leaves with literature. It
may be appropriate to take the newcomer to coffee after the meeting (again, never alone). Even
in meetings, the PI volunteer does not do a 12-step call alone.
If your committee decides to organize a 12-step effort, it is important to train your volunteers
thoroughly and emphasize the concerns expressed here. The examples related above are from
the actual experiences of PI members. We need to remember where we have come from and
remember that new callers to NA are Still there.
Some committees have regular meetings with the 12-step volunteers so the experienced
members can share their experiences with newer members. It is also a forum to provide ongoing training and discuss the rewards and difficulties of this kind of service.
Recovery happens in NA meetings and our goal should always be to help active addicts find
meetings. We share our experience, strength, and hope with the still suffering addict. Not our
, money, property, and safety.