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AA operates a telephone service for people to contact AA at any time of day, 365 days a year.

Local Helpline – 01452 418 515

National Helpline – 0800 917 7650

There is no “call centre” for AA, since because AA is a voluntary organisation, in keeping with AA’s traditions and principles, the telephone service is manned entirely by volunteers.

The System , which is operated by BT, works via the BT “plates”, which correspond roughly to the local area dialling codes, so calls to the NHN are automatically diverted to the local helpline number, i.e. local to the area from which the caller is phoning. It is, of course, somewhat more complicated for anyone calling from a mobile. Anyone calling the National helpline number from the Severn intergroup area will be diverted to the above Gloucester number. (This number can, of course, be dialled directly.)

Severn intergroup operates a 24/7 rota of telephone responders to answer incoming calls. There is no physical telephone handset for the LHN, so calls are automatically diverted again to the number of the telephone responder on duty at the time.

Responders do a shift on the helpline, morning, afternoon, evening, and overnight, and at the end of each shift, each responder hands over (diverts the call), to the next responder on the rota.

This arrangement requires the committed effort of 28 caring people to be available once a week to take calls from suffering alcoholics, who are often in the most precarious situations, listen empathically to their cries for help, and provide a ray of hope to people living in a world of desperation.

What can a telephone responder do for a desperate alcoholic?

All responders are equipped with a set of guidelines provided by AA head office (GSO).

The qualifications for being a responder are 12 months sobriety, having been through the 12 steps, and the recommendation of your sponsor. However the most important attribute of a responder is COMPASSION. Many calls are received from persons who are not in a state of desperation, but as a sober alcoholic themselves, a responder will know intuitively if a caller really needs what AA can give them.

A telephone responder will calmly listen to a caller, empathise with him or her, and suggest the caller makes further contact with AA locally. If the caller responds positively, and agrees they need help, the TR will obtain contact details from the caller and pass these to a 12th Stepper of the same sex who is local to the caller, for follow – up.

12th Stepper.

The 12th Stepper has the first intimate contact with the prospective alcoholic and shares his Experience, Strength and Hope. He is tasked with empathising and showing the prospect the meetings and the compassion within those rooms.

As you can imagine the 12th Stepper has worked the steps with a sponsor and has discussed His/Her intention of doing this work (may be wise to have a sponsor who has previously carried out 12 step work) possibly initially accompanying other 12 Stepper’s to gain experience.

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    Telephone Service