Information About the Answering Service

The District 40 Answering Service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is financially supported by direct donations from district groups and meetings. The Answering Service Steering Committee works closely with, but is funded separately from, the regular D40 service structure. Our answering service telephone number (630-653-6556) is routed to a professional answering service company. The service will give basic date, time and location information for callers wanting to find a meeting. If the caller wants more than basic meeting information, the service takes down some basic information, and then calls volunteers (our “Phone Army”) who phone the caller back.

Phone Captains are assigned to certain timeslots during the day. When a Phone Captain is on duty, the answering service calls the assigned Captain who in turn does the dialing out to find an available volunteer from the Phone Army list to return the call. This saves money since the answering service bills for each dialout it has to make.

Phone Captains:
Phone captains have committed to take calls from our answering service during a specified period each week. The service is permitted to leave messages on their phones, and Captains agree to watch for them and handle the calls promptly. Captains can receive calls from male or female callers.

When the Captain is notified about a call, they have the option of phoning the caller back— for example, if the caller is a sober alcoholic who just needs meeting information. Or they may relay the caller’s information to a member of the Phone Army from the volunteer list. If that person is not available, no message will be left, and the captain will call another name on the volunteer list.

Phone Captains are currently “appointed,” and you can’t sign-up to be one. But if you have 12 Step experience and can commit to being available at the same telephone number for 4-5 hours per week on the same day of the week, call Judy at (630) 690-7314.

Phone Army:
You can join the D40 Phone Army if you:
- Are willing to help a fellow human being suffering from alcoholism; and
- Are available to take calls during the hours you indicated.
- Have at least one year of continuous sobriety;
- Have worked all 12 Steps; and
- Have discussed making this commitment with your sponsor.

How to Enlist in the Phone Army:
You can sign up online anytime on this web site. This is done on the ‘Volunteer Sign-up’ page.

When signing up, enter any phone number at which you can be reached, and the time periods during which you are available to take calls. Don’t forget to enter the city in which you reside.

You can also remove yourself or make changes to your sign-up information online on this web site. These actions are also done on the ‘Volunteer Sign-up’ page. To remove yourself using this web site, enter your first and last name, then select the ‘Remove my name from the answering service volunteer list’ option in the Subject box. To change your sign-up information, enter your first and last name, select the ‘Change my sign-up information’ option in the Subject box and make the appropriate entries and selections on the form.

How to Take Calls:
Once you have been inducted into the Phone Army, you could receive calls from our answering service or from one of our volunteer Phone Captains. (You may not recognize the number on your caller I.D.) Messages will not be left on your voicemail or answering machine. Please take the call.

If you are going to meet with the caller at his or her home, do not go alone—take another AA with you.

Keep a DuPage County meeting schedule handy. Many callers are looking for meeting information.

Additional Suggestions:
• Don’t make referrals to specific treatment centers, halfway houses, doctors, lawyers, etc. DO encourage the newcomer to seek medical treatment in the event of withdrawal symptoms or other physical problems.
• Be courteous.
• Share your experience, strength and hope—don’t preach.
• Read up on how to make 12 Step calls, especially Chapter 7 in the Big Book (“Working With Others”).
• The answering service is not a taxi service. Of course you can and should take newcomers to meetings (with another AA). Please urge them to get phone numbers at AA meetings and arrange for future rides.