The AA Groups in Chicago formed the Chicago Area Service Office (CASO) to carry out necessary AA functions that no single Group could perform. CASO Staff are special workers who are paid to ensure that Chicago AA has the resources necessary to carry out its primary purpose, “to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” The office works through the dedicated AA volunteers who give their time to the office and fellowship.
The purpose of the office is to provide the infrastructure – the resources – so that the fellowship can carry out its 12-Step work.
Here’s what CASO does to support AA service work:
The Central Office is directly responsible to the Chicago Area Service Assembly (CASA), the Group Conscience of the AA fellowship in Chicago as a whole. As a result, we help CASA and its committees carry out their service work. Perhaps the Number One task of the office is answering telephone calls from the thousands of members and non-members who need to contact AA. At the heart of these calls, of course, are the calls from alcoholics seeking help. The office volunteers then call members on the 12-Step list and they talk to the suffering alcoholic. All this is possible because we have a Central Office.
The Central Office is responsible for producing directories of all the meetings in the Chicago area – one for the city and one for the suburbs – every four months. These are distributed through the Bookstore and are available online. CASO maintains a complete database of 5,000 meetings to produce this directory.
Carrying the Message
The office provides the basic resources so that volunteers serving on committees can carry the message. Many take AA meetings into correctional facilities where alcoholics cannot attend meetings of their choice. Others visit hospitals and treatment facilities. Still others, particularly young AA’s, carry the message to schools, conferences and other events by handing out literature, speaking, and educating both the general public and professionals – doctors, attorneys, nurses, counselors – on AA and its 12-Step program of recovery. Volunteers also ensure that sign language interpreters are available for the hearing impaired and meetings are accessible for everyone. The CASO Bookstore provides AA literature and other recovery-oriented materials requested by AA members and Groups.
Keeping AA’s History
Chicago was one of the earliest areas to develop AA. The Chicago Area Service Office dates to 1942 and our major annual event, the All Chicago Open, celebrating the first AA meeting in Chicago dates from 1939. Your Central Office acts as a hub for the Chicago AA Archives committee and makes these events possible.
Several million people have probably heard or read about Alcoholics Anonymous since its beginnings in 1935. Some are relatively familiar with the program of recovery from alcoholism that has helped more than 2,000,000 problem drinkers. Others have only a vague impression that A.A. is some sort of organization that somehow helps drunks stop drinking. Included in this section are answers to many of the specific questions that have been asked about A.A. in the past. They add up to the story of a loosely knit society of men and women who have one great interest in common: the desire to stay sober themselves and to help other alcoholics who seek help for their drinking problem.
The thousands of men and women who have come into A.A. in recent years are not altruistic do-gooders. Their eagerness and willingness to help other alcoholics may be termed enlightened self-interest. Members of A.A. appreciate that their own sobriety is largely dependent on continuing contact with alcoholics.
Hours Of Operation
Office: Monday – Friday: 9 am to 5 pm
Bookstore: Monday – Friday: 8 am to 5:30 pm