News 2018-01-17T20:35:31+00:00


The VCAAHI Newsletter, ‘H&I Lights’ is generally published twice a year to coincide with the Ventura County AA Round-up – ‘Serenity by the Sea’ and with the Ventura County AA Convention. The purpose of our newsletter is to inform those interested in our Committee, to inspire continued commitment to service and to attract sober alcoholics to become members of the Ventura County AA Hospitals and Institutions Committee. Contributions to the VCAAHI newsletter are always welcome. Please submit your personal H&I experience, some words of inspiration, an H&I anecdote, or information regarding an upcoming A.A. event. Contributions can be emailed from this website.

Personal Stories / Experience:

If you would like to share your H&I experience in this section, please email your submission to We reserve the right to edit as needed in order to respect the anonymity of others and uphold the full 12 Traditions of AA.

A Scheduled 12-Step Call I Could Put on My Calender

I got sober on August 14, 1986. Before sobriety, I had zero social life.

After sobriety, I found a fellowship I had craved all along, but didn’t know it. I had lots of friends, joined the meetings before and after the meetings, went to social gatherings of all kinds, and learned how to have fun.

Many of my friends would miss our regular AA meeting on the third Thursday of the month and I always wondered where they were. One Thursday, I asked where they were going, and they told me that the San Fernando Valley Hospital & Institutions Committee meeting was that night, and that I could come along if I wanted to. You bet I did!

We met that night in a tiny storage room at the back of one of the large churches. My recollection was that it was almost like a little mountain cabin. But, the next month, we met in the large social hall at the church. The Registrar took attendance; the Director explained that our purpose was to carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to people in hospitals, jails, and other institutions where they could not get out to meetings. That sounded good to me – a scheduled 12-Step call that I could put on my calendar. I went on my first panel at a hospital, on a Saturday afternoon in February 1987. I have no idea what I shared; I was very nervous. But I left there with a feeling of elation better than any I had ever had before. I was hooked on H & I.

Over the years, I have served in many different capacities of H & I. I very much want the Committee to keep taking panels out to recovering alcoholics. My first job was Registrar. I thought that would be a good way to get to know people. When I raised my hand to do the job, we took attendance on index cards, but when I took over the job they handed me a floppy disc. Good Grief! I knew nothing about computers, but I got to learn. Over the years, H & I has “taught” me lots of computer programs. Thank goodness for that!

I have always had at least one (usually two) committed panels each month. I went to Tehachapi State Prison for 11 years and enjoyed the experience immensely. We had meetings on the 3-hour drive up and the 3-hour drive back. We had a meeting at the prison, and usually shared a meal on the way home at a place in downtown Tehachapi. I have taken panels into detox facilities, work and fire camps, and mental health facilities. I always feel elated when I leave. I feel like they have paid a 12-Step call on me!

H & I is not only organized service, but it is a wonderful fellowship. I belong to two H & I Committees, because I feel the work is very worthwhile. We have a common goal – to carry the message to others. The committee meetings may be difficult for some people to sit through, but they keep the chaos at bay and keep us on track. When a panel fails to show up, it’s called a “dark night”. We used to say that the only reason for a dark night was a death in the family – yours. When we were drinking, we were undisciplined people; now we are responsible citizens of our community. And – it is a life beyond my wildest dreams! Come join us!

Darlene Van M. - VCAAHI Treasurer

Additional Inspiration:

Third Step Prayer

God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

Pg. 63 of the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous Copyright © Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

We maintain our sobriety through adherence to the program embodied in our Twelve Suggested Steps of Recovery and try to practice the principles in all our affairs.

Our message is hope and the promise of freedom. When all is said and done, our primary purpose can only be to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers because that is all we have to give.

An H&I Committee guarantees continuity of the AA panels. No individual can make this possible – only the coordinating continuity of a Committee can do so. Our members come and go, but the committee continues.