“Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.”
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.
Office: Monday – Friday: 8am to 5pm
Bookstore: Monday – Thursday: 8:30am to 5:00pm
Friday-8:30 am to 4 pm
Bookstore open 2nd Saturday of every month: 10 am to 1:00 pm
Directions & Parking
180 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 346-1475
Bookstore: (312) 346-8451
Toll Free: (800) 371-1475 (Illinois only)