Even in developed countries, as many as 20 percent of adults may not be literate enough to easily complete a job application. As OA members, we can be more sensitive and helpful to the non-readers among us. Here are some the things we can all do:

  • Be sensitive to the possibility that others cannot read. Adult non-readers walk among us, and unless we are professionally trained in adult literacy, we don’t usually watch for the signs to recognize the problem.
  • If someone in a meeting would prefer not to read out loud, don’t make a big deal (or even a little deal) out of it. Simply call on someone else to read.
  • If your sponsee is reluctant to write, make it easier. Many of those who cannot read are much more comfortable with sound than with vision, and you can help your sponsee use his or her voice instead of pencil and paper. For example, you could read aloud a question out of a workbook and have your sponsee say the response to you. You might even transcribe the response and show it to your sponsee.
  • Don’t come right out and ask someone if he or she can read. If the information is offered, accept it without judgment and reassure the individual that recovery is still possible.

In the future, we’ll have more OA literature available as audiobooks. In the meantime, we can all do things to help each other to find abstinence and recovery.