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Published: May, 2006; Vol 2, Num 12

Friends of Bill W.

Being in recovery from a drug and/or alcohol addiction can be very difficult under the best of circumstances. Take someone who is in recovery out of their daily environment and away from their support systems, and recovery can be even more challenging and stressful. This is a reality for LIUNA members who are in recovery and travel as part of their job.

Recognizing there was a need for support from within the LIUNA organization for people in recovery while on the road, the LHSFNA began coordinating 12-step meetings at major LIUNA-sponsored events. These meetings are referred to as “Friends of Bill W. Meetings,” after Bill W., one of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Friends of Bill W. Meetings are open to everyone who may be in attendance at an event where a meeting is being held, including family and friends of attendees. The meetings are typically held after the work day’s activities conclude and are led by LIUNA members who are in recovery.

The Fund is currently developing a list of LIUNA members who would like to lead such a meeting when they are in attendance at an event where a Friends of Bill W. Meeting is held. The goal is to have a list of people from all over the U.S. and Canada who can assist with leading these meetings on an as needed basis. If you would be interested in supporting this effort, please call Jamie Becker, Behavioral Health Care Coordinator with the Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America, at 202-628-5465. All inquiries and information discussed, as well as the list of meeting leaders, will be held confidential.

The feedback received from these meetings has been favorable. Knowing there is a very real substance abuse problem within our industry and a need for such support, LIUNA plans to continue sponsoring the gatherings. LIUNA takes safety and health very seriously. Reaching out and offering programs such as this is one more way to try and help union brothers, sisters, family and friends.