This committee works to ensure that both A.A.'s message and its meetings are accessible to alcoholics with special needs. For instance, through its District Accessibilities Committee Chairs and Liaisons, this committee:

Presents Accessibilities Workshops or Informational Talks:

on special needs/accessibility issues at the Group and district level, especially districts lacking a committee chair. On April 9, 2005, Districts 2 and 3 co-sponsored a workshop at St. Mary's Hospital in St. Louis entitled "Accessibility for Everyone". On April 28, 2002, the Accessibilities Committee held a workshop in Park Hills, Missouri (District 6) entitled, "Accessibility Begins With Your Group." On August 18, 2001 we held a workshop in Columbia, Missouri (District 12) entitled, “Accessing the message.” On February 17, 2001 we held a workshop in Troy, Missouri (District 20) entitled "I am Responsible."

Trains and utilizes District Accessibilities Committee Liaisons:

these report to the Area Accessibilities Committee and are available to serve the district in the absence of a District Accessibilities Chairperson.

Contacts nursing homes in the districts:

we remind that anyone, or any district, wishing to visit nursing homes, should try to collaborate with the District or Area Public Information or Cooperation with the Professional Community committees. Nursing homes, in large part, are neglected by A.A. These homes, historically, have not contacted A.A.; it has had to contact them. Untreated alcoholism thrives in this environment. Leaving information with the homes may be enough in some cases, in others, meetings will have to be brought in, or rides to meetings provided.

Assists deaf alcoholics by working with deaf institutions and locating translators.

Helps to set up and support Spanish speaking meetings.

Works toward correct/complete information in meeting directories.

Provides and maintains the Accessibilities Committee Lending Library (described below).

Accessibility needs: who has them?

A.A.s from minority groups: Deaf, Native Indian, Spanish, African American, Gay, and Lesbian;

A.A.s from a variety of cultures that have primary languages that are not English;

A.A.s who are deafened or hard of hearing (do not use American Sign Language);

A.A.s who are house or hospital bound;

A.A.s who are parents that are unable to find suitable childcare to attend meetings;

A.A.s who do not have transportation;

A.A.s who are not able to drive themselves due to health conditions;

A.A.s who are house/hospital bound due to heath conditions;

A.A.s that are unable to drive as a result of receiving a DUI;

A.A.s who live in nursing homes/foster care homes;

A.A.s who are blind or have low vision;

A.A.s who use wheel chairs/walker/canes;

A.A.s who have limited English speaking, reading and writing skills;

A.A.s who are with a dual diagnosis (i.e., mental illness and alcoholism);

A.A.s who have head injuries; and,

A.A.s whose speech is difficult to understand.

Groups Can...

Download and make available Accessibilities materials.

The documents below are in PDF format and may be viewed, saved and printed using the free Adobe Reader.

A.A. Guidelines on Carrying the A.A. Message to the Deaf Alcoholic

A.A. Guidelines on Serving Alcoholics with Special Needs

Borrow from the Accessibilities Committee's Lending Library:

The Accessibilities Committee's Lending Library:is housed at the Eastern Area/Archives Office (14 Sunnen Drive, Suite 144, Maplewood, MO 63143). Its purpose is to give A.A. members with permanent or temporary accessibility needs the opportunity to access A.A. literature and materials which are designed for them. It is available to those in need. This library makes available many items that G.S.O. has regarding accessibility. To borrow the following items, please call our office at 314-644-1130.

Braille Book

Big Book

Twelve and Twelve

Daily Reflections

This is A.A. (pamphlet)

Is A.A. For You? (pamphlet)

44 Questions (pamphlet)


Big Book (1st 11 chapters and 1st 2 stories)

Twelve and Twelve

A.A. Comes of Age

Bill Discusses the Twelve Traditions (video soundtrack)

Three Legacies, By Bill

Voices of Our Co-Founders

A Brief Guide to A.A.

Large Print Books

Big Book

Twelve and Twelve

Films and Videotapes

Big Book (in American Sign Language)

Chapter 5, How It Works (in American Sign Language)

Twelve and Twelve (in American Sign Language)

Hope: Alcoholics Anonymous (close-captioned)

Young People and A.A. (close-captioned)

Steps 1-6 Interpreted for the Hearing Impaired

Steps 6-12 Interpreted for the Hearing Impaired

A.A.—Rap With Us (close-captioned)

Alcoholics Anonymous—An Inside View

Markings on the Journey

Bill’s Own Story

Bill Discusses the Twelve Traditions

Districts and large groups are encouraged to start their own lending libraries.

And, Groups Can...

Check their meeting locations for accessibility and make sure the local meeting directory correctly reflects accessibility:

To insure that the alcoholic with accessibility needs is informed as to the accessibility of the meetings he or she wishes to attend, most meeting directories include, along with other pertinent meeting information, some indication of whether the meetings are wheelchair accessible. For instance, the St. Louis Central Services Office, in its Where & When meeting directory, places either "MA" or "FA" (these two designations replaced the single "HF" upon the recommendation of this Committee) next to the meetings which are accessible; however, other designations have been used in throughout the districts.

“MA” designates that the meeting place alone is accessible to wheelchair, not the restrooms. In an “MA” meeting, and A.A. who uses a wheelchair would be able to move into and around the meeting place without obstructions. The following items are considered:

It offers accessible parking;

It has automatic doors or full-time greeters;

Its doors feature easy to grasp hardware;

Its doorways are at least 32 inches wide;

It is on a ground floor (if not, consider stairs and elevator, below);

There are handrails on all stairways necessary in navigation it;

Any elevator call buttons are centered 42 inches above the floor;

Its floors, if not carpeted, are slip-resistant; and,

If carpeted, its carpeting has a pile of 1/2 inch thick or less.

“FA” designates that both the meeting place and its restrooms are accessible by wheelchair. In an “FA” meeting, an A.A. who uses a wheelchair should be able to maneuver to and within the restroom stalls, etc., without assistance. To be so designated the restroom(s) for the meeting place must meet both of the following criteria:

At least one stall must be accessible by wheelchair. This means specifically:

-Sinks are 27 inches from floor to bottom of apron
-Urinals are 19 inches from floor to lip
-Mirrors are 40 inches from the floor
-Towel rack/dispenser is 40 inches from the floor
-Stalls with a 36 inch by 60 inch door that swings out
-Stall entrance is 48 inches from the wall
-Commodes with seats 20 inches from the floor; and,
-Grab bars in the stall, 33 inches from the floor.

On an accessible route from meeting place.

For more information or to get involved, contact the Eastern Area of Missouri’s Accessibilities Committee at: 314-644-1130 (Eastern Area Office), email, or locate and attend your district meeting by using the home page map.

To get involved contact:

Accessibilities Committee Chair