Treatment Committees are formed to coordinate the work of individual A.A. members and groups who are interested in carrying our message of recovery to alcoholics in treatment and outpatient settings, and to set up means of “bridging the gap” from the facility to an A.A. group in the individual’s community.
A Treatment Committee may function within the structure of a general service committee on the area or district level or it may serve within the structure of a central office/intergroup. Prior to forming these committees, this Twelfth Step service is sometimes handled by an individual group or member. As A.A. groups grow in number in a community, experience suggests that a committee works more effectively.
In some parts of the country, A.A.s interested in carrying the message into treatment and correctional settings work together on Hospitals and Institutions committees independent of, but in cooperation with, general service and intergroup committees. This structure also works well in areas where lines of communication between the various service entities remain open.
Ever since A.A.’s co-founders first stayed sober by carrying the A.A. message into hospitals, many other alcoholics have discovered the great value to their own sobriety of working with suffering alcoholics in treatment settings.
In 1934, Bill W. kept trying to help drunks in Towns Hospital in New York City. None of them seemed interested at that time, but Bill stayed sober. Dr. Bob worked with thousands of alcoholics at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio. In 1939, Rockland State Hospital, a New York mental institution, was the site of one of our first A.A. hospital groups.
Today many A.A. meetings take place in inpatient and outpatient settings all over the world. Twelfth Stepping and sponsoring other alcoholics —where they are—has long been one of the most important and satisfying ways of keeping ourselves sober.
Service to treatment facilities used to be combined with service to corrections facilities under the title Institutions Committee. In 1977 the General Service Conference voted to dissolve its Institutions Committee and form two new committees, one on correctional facilities and one on treatment facilities. For more information on A.A.’s work in hospitals and treatment centers, see the book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age.