The General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous has announced the selection of two new Class A (nonalcoholic) Trustees: Sister Judith Ann Karam, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, of Cleveland, Ohio, and Dr. Al J. Mooney, a pioneer in the field of addiction medicine, of Cary, North Carolina.
A.A.’s General Service Board is comprised of 21 trustees, 14 of whom are recovering alcoholic (Class B) trustees who are members of A.A., along with seven nonalcoholic (Class A) trustees whose professional backgrounds touch on aspects of service vital to A.A. Chosen for their professional or business backgrounds and the unique personal experience they can bring to A.A., the seven Class A trustees have always been able to do certain things the 14 Class B trustees cannot do, such as addressing the media head-on in connection with A.A. or using their full names in public without being in conflict with A.A.’s principle of anonymity for its members at the level of press, radio, film and other public media.
Sister Judith Ann served as president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System from 1998 to 2013. “A.A. has always been a part of my journey,” she says. “Alcoholism is a disease for which there is no cure, but A.A. provides a continuum of service in keeping alcoholics sober and has also been concerned, from the beginning, with family members, a very important element in recovery.”
At A.A.’s 80th International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia in 2015, Sister Judith Ann represented the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine when it received the ceremonial 35-millionth copy of the book Alcoholics Anonymous as a token of A.A.’s appreciation for the work of Sister Mary Ignatia, a member of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine who, in A.A.’s earliest days, cared for thousands of alcoholics at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron and later at Cleveland’s Saint Vincent Charity Hospital. Sister Judith Ann will now carry on that legacy as a Class A trustee, working with what she calls “the tremendous and caring community of A.A.”
Dr. Al J. Mooney is the son of a physician and surgeon whose wounding in World War II led to excessive use of alcohol and opiates that destroyed his successful medical practice. Dr. Mooney’s father was sentenced to prison for writing illegal prescriptions for narcotics. But when his father returned from prison, Dr. Mooney says, “it was like a different person inhabiting the body of the Dad I knew.” The reason was that his father had gotten sober in Alcoholics Anonymous. His mother, also an alcoholic, got sober and she and his father opened their home to recovering alcoholics. Dr. Mooney began to travel with his parents to A.A. meetings, conferences and forums. Alcoholics Anonymous simply “became a part of the way I looked at the world,” Dr. Mooney says.
Dr. Mooney is an addiction specialist and family practitioner in Cary, North Carolina. He served as Director of Willingway Hospital in Statesboro, founded by his parents to help alcoholics and addicts recover, and is still on its board. He was one of the first physicians in the U.S. to be certified in Addiction Medicine and is also co-author of a book on addiction and recovery. “I’m extremely grateful to have been given this honor of serving as a trustee,” Dr. Mooney says. “I have always loved the term ‘friend of A.A.’ I’ve called myself that for years and I hope during my time as trustee I can reach out to other friends of A.A. who are as passionate about Alcoholics Anonymous as I am.”