Chicago Area Service Office (CASO)

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:

Supporting Volunteers

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.

After hours, a committee of volunteers answers the phone from home, ensuring drunks have another drunk to talk to 24/7.

Fellowship Information

The Central Office is responsible for producing directories of all the meetings in the Chicago area. CASO produces two directories - one for the city and one for the suburbs - every four months. These are distributed through the Bookstore. This same directory is available online. To produce the directories, and to answer the many questions we get about Chicago meetings, CASO maintains a complete database of 5,000 meetings and AA members who answer 12-Step calls, who are General Service Representatives (GSRs), meeting contacts, or fill other service positions.

The CASO Bookstore provides AA literature and other recovery-oriented materials requested by AA members and Groups. It serves Groups, clubs and treatment facilities across the Midwest. It is also a walk-in facility, carrying conference-approved literature, the Grapevine (the international journal of AA), and other recovery materials.

Carrying the Message

The office provides the basic resources so that volunteers serving on committees can carry the message. Many take AA meetings into the jails, prisons and other 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, so teenagers can learn that there is a solution for the disease of alcoholism. Visiting conferences and other events allows AA's to hand out literature, speak, and otherwise educate both the general public and professionals - doctors, attorneys, nurses, counselors - on AA and its 12-Step program of recovery. Volunteers also make sure that meetings are available where signers interpret for the hearing impaired.

In short, CASO provides a focal point for selfless volunteers who make the message available to everyone possible.

Chicago AA 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 - dates from 1939. Volunteers gather and display our rich history and make it come alive for the fellowship.

Other service workers make the Grapevine available, put on events like the All Chicago Open, our annual workshop for GSR's or a workshop on the Traditions. Some maintain our internal structure, address the complex financial questions facing any area like ours with more than 50,000 alcoholics, or coordinate with AA Groups through our service structure.

Your Central Office makes these things possible. It is here to serve the fellowship. Your support is key to its success.

Tradition Eight

"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.

Contact: The Chicago Office or the Webmaster