Welcome to ACA. Adult Children of Alcoholics is an anonymous Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition program of women and men who grew up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional homes. We meet with each other in a mutually respectful, safe environment and acknowledge our common experiences. We discover how childhood affected us in the past and influences us in the present (see The Laundry List, and The Problem). We take positive action. By practicing the Twelve Steps, focusing on The Solution, and accepting a loving Higher Power of our understanding, we find freedom from the past and a way to improve our lives today.
How to Start an ACA Intergroup or Regional Service Committee
In areas where many ACA meetings exist, an Intergroup is generally formed to provide a forum for conducting ACA business within a given geographical area. The individual groups continue to conduct their own group business; however, the groups can select a meeting representative to represent the group at an Intergroup meeting. The Intergroup, therefore, is composed of members from the various ACA groups. The Intergroup helps coordinate helpline functions, public information efforts, hospitals and institutions meetings, and ACA events in a given area. An ACA Regional Service Committee serves a similar function by helping coordinate ACA functions and fellowship business among Intergroups in a geographical area.
When an Intergroup is formed, each ACA group elects an Intergroup representative, who attends a monthly or quarterly Intergroup meeting. If there is no Intergroup in your area, your group can elect a Group Service Representative, who can attend the Annual Business Conference. A Regional Service Committee serves as a coordinating point for several Intergroups in a geographical area. Intergroup Representatives attend Regional Service Committee meetings as well. Here is how to establish an Intergroup or Regional Service Committee directly responsible to those they serve.
- Contact ACA WSO for information on starting an Intergroup or Region. Also review material in this section on starting an ACA meeting. These suggestions may be helpful in forming ideas for election of officers and how to conduct a business meeting.
- Think about your reasons to start a new service committee. Are you starting the Intergroup or Region to help yourself and others? Are you starting the committee to reach out to adult children and to promote ACA’s growth and unity?
- List the needs of your geographical area. Does your area need an ACA helpline or part-time special worker? Do you need to coordinate hospitals and institutions meetings? Are the activities within your area coordinated so that the events are announced in a timely manner? Is there interest in a public information committee?
- Locate and arrange for meeting space and announce an organizational meeting for the Intergroup or Regional Service Committee.
- Invite interested adult children to attend this introductory meeting providing them with the time, day, and place; exchange contact information. If possible, invite members from an established Intergroup or Region to your first meeting.
- To create an agenda for the first meeting, get input from those who might attend the meetings.
- Ask for help to run the meeting and set up the room. Ask someone to chair the meeting.
- Prepare a flyer announcing the meeting time and location. Also describe the purpose of the organizational meeting. Post the flyer at interested ACA groups or hand them out to ACA members. Maintain an attitude of inclusiveness and enthusiasm. Ask ACA members if they are interested in helping ACA reach suffering adult children throughout your area.
- When the meeting day arrives, convene the meeting. Distribute the agendas and circulate a sign-in roster for telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. This will facilitate correspondence between meetings. Also pass out copies of the segment from this book on how to conduct an ACA business meeting.
- Introduce yourself and those helping organize the new Intergroup or Regional committee. Explain the reason for the meeting and the goals you hope to accomplish.
- Elect a temporary secretary to take minutes and a meeting leader to present the agenda.
- If appropriate, elect officers to establish the new service committee. (Officers would be a chairperson, secretary, and general committee members. A treasurer might be elected if there are group funds or the potential of group funds to be donated.) If more discussion is needed on the need for the new committee, delay the election of officers until the end of the meeting or until the next organizational meeting.
- Prioritize any identified needs as urgent, important, low priority, or short-term solutions (In the beginning, keep it simple. Most new Intergroups focus on establishing an area helpline, organizing area events, or organizing volunteers for hospitals and institutions meetings. See the guidelines for a hospitals or prison meeting.)
- Using a prioritized list, brainstorm possible solutions.
- Select reasonable solutions, and ask for volunteers to work on implementing the solution.
- If appropriate, elect officers to establish the new subcommittees. The subcommittees could be public information, helpline, hospitals and institutions, or activities.
- Agree on a time and place for the next meeting. Adjourn the meeting.