Dear Members and Group Representatives:
Please pass on the information to your groups. I am including several documents for information. They are about the West Texas Assembly , May 18-20. at the Omni Hotel West in Dallas. Also, I am introducing a proposal to have a a thought force for considering the issues facing small town and rural groups. My report is the last official one for me as District Rep.
Kyll Hunter has volunteered to be the next DR. We will vote on this at our next District.AIS meeting which is TBA.
I recommend that all our groups consider going to the Fall Assembly in Abilene. It is usually the first weekend in November, is less expensive, and not as far. It is also fun to meet and share with other Al-Anons. Send a group rep, alternate group rep, or designate a member to represent your group there. Group conscience is the way.
New Service Manuals: I will be bringing 20 back, purchased by our AIS for any group or officer who'd like one. It is the key to helping us understand Al-Anon's service structure. WSO is no longer sending them out free. I estimate they will be about $7, depending on shipping costs. Dallas AIS is helping with this We will also have 30 new Newcomers booklets. I hope to send information out soon to outlying groups.
Please update your group's information with WSO. Go to the national website. Or, call and talk to the groups coordinator. Let me know if you have changes.
District 1, Area 54, Texas West
District 1 has 17 active Al-Anon groups and 1 Alateen. Outside of the 8 Amarillo groups, they are spread over the Texas Panhandle up to 2 hours’ drive from the city, creating challenges to membership. Groups, however, have experienced growth in Canyon, Canadian, and Silverton. The small Spanish-speaking group is looking for a new meeting place.
Unfortunately, the outreach meeting at Heal the City, a free medical clinic, did not take hold. Members from 6 Amarillo groups volunteered to facilitate it, but there were few newcomers. We were told it is a difficult community to reach. Further, the facility was not fully renovated and its programs were changing rapidly. Faced with challenges to building access, security, and acceptable meeting space, we decided in February to put the meetings on hiatus. Perhaps when Heal the City is more established, we may restart an Al-Anon meeting. Some members continue to place Al-Anon outreach material at the facility.
At the same time, a new and much-needed residential, community treatment center opened. Amarillo Recovery from Alcohol and Drugs (ARAD) started up in a former nursing home adjacent to the hospital complex. Staff has welcomed Al-Anon meetings and outreach. Families of patients must attend family days, so therefore Al-Anon’s message is encouraged and supported. The Just for Today group moved its Wednesday meetings to the café room, and also facilitated a Saturday meeting open to families of ARAD patients. District 1 and AIS voted to set the “Recovery Café” for 2 pm on Saturdays as a meeting for both members and visitors.
This report is my last official one as District Representative. Meeting so many others from all over West Texas, sharing experiences, learning from each other, and seeing the work of the Al-Anon structure in real time have all contributed to the breadth and depth of my own Al-Anon program. I appreciate the support of members in my District.
Kathy Wade, District 1 Representative
KBDM (Knowledge Based Decision Making) Worksheet
for introducing a topic for discussion at the AWSC or Assembly
Topic Title: Establish a Thought Force to Address Small-town and Rural Group Membership
Topic Statement or Framing: Due to vast distances, lack of resources, small numbers, isolation, cultural differences, small-town and rural groups are not participating beyond the group levels in Al-Anon Service.
History or Background: In small towns and rural areas, Al-Anon groups have low numbers. These communities face a changing demographic, that of an influx of refugees and immigrants. The population in many these communities is majority minority and non-English-speaking. Economic conditions have often weakened. Strong concerns for protecting anonymity stop many from coming to Al-Anon. Travel costs and time discourage participation.
What do we know about membership needs, wants, preference relating to this? We know that they lack both human and financial resources to help members. The graying of Al-Anon membership is especially acute in these communities, with many members unable or skilled to access the internet. Isolation is more than geography; it is also a state of mind affecting attitudes
regarding fellowship and service.
What do we know about our resources(finances, membership participation that is relevant to the topic? We know that the Area may have some financial resources to provide training, visitation, webinars, travel assistance, and skill sets available to help those who know little about Al-Anon service and structure.
What do we know about current realities (membership and culture, etc.) and our fellowship's environment (technology, spiritual principles, our Steps Traditions, and Concepts) relevant to this topic? We know that Al-Anon reaches out to all affected by another's drinking. Our Traditions, as well as Step 12, encourage unity, mutual support, learning, spreading the word of recovery, and giving voice to those in minority in our fellowship's business. Remoteness and economic disadvantage should be challenges to participation, but not barriers. Cultures where women are not as mobile, educated, or independent as in the American culture prove to be barriers to participation.
What are the pros and Cons?
Pro: Ability and willingness to reach out, help train, and support small-town and rural groups.
Using creative means to build and maintain the Al-Anon program through personal connections.
Con: Lack of skills or accessibility to digital and communication technology.
Strong concerns for anonymity and opposition by family members.
Culture of isolation.
What do we wish we knew? We wish we knew and understood more about cultural attitudes and traditions, especially women's roles, that discourage or prevent participation. How is the growing presence of substance abuse and commerce in small-town and rural areas affecting families? How do we break through the cultural and physical isolation and concerns unique to small communities? How are the dramatic demographic changes affecting access to Al-Anon? How do we work with the cultural and language diversity?
Summary: We propose a WTA Area 54 thought force to address and find solutions for increasing and supporting rural and small-town participation in all Al-Anon levels of service.
Kathy Wade, DR, District 1 Marilyn Lawhon, Amarillo AIS
Kay Roberson, DR, District 2 Margie Rhodes, Past Delegate, Lubbock
Patricia Stevens, DR, District 3 Connie Carroll, DR, District 7