By Thomas B.

“I saw a former sponsee in jail at a meeting. People at outside meetings have said they remember me bringing meetings when they were in jail.”

How did you hear about the position and what made you decide to take it?

An old timer at one of my regular meetings would make a weekly announcement. I was rotating out of another H&I commitment and the old timer knew of some of my peers who were looking to replace a member who was moving.

What are the responsibilities of the position?

Make an A.A. meeting happen at Alameda County Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. Usually with one or two other members from the outside, alternating the secretary role, devoting about half the time to outside speakers and half of the time to residents.

What do you like most about it?

I often ride with another member out to Dublin. It is almost like having three meetings: in the car there, at the jail and in the car back.

Have there been any surprises?

I saw a former sponsee in jail at a meeting. People at outside meetings have said they remember me bringing meetings when they were in jail.

Have there been any opportunities for growth?

I have gotten to know people through our common commitment that I would not otherwise have met or gravitated towards at outside meetings. Sometimes the meetings would not happen due to circumstances at the jail so it helps to be willing without expectation of results. The jail has rules for visitors, making meetings somewhat different than on the outside, but reinforces the need to focus on the A.A. message and not peripheral matters.

Thomas’ home group is Up to My Neck, which meets Saturdays, 6:30 PM, in Oakland. The H&I meeting at Santa Rita has not been meeting since early 2020 due to pandemic-related restrictions. 

To learn more about H&I or to volunteer, attend the monthly meeting on the first Wednesday of each month. Orientation for new folks is at 7:00 PM followed by the business meeting at 7:30 PM. The meeting is currently on zoom, to get the zoom code contact the area chairperson, Chase C., at area53handi@gmail.com