Gratitude in Action - December 2011
What is Gratitude in Action?
It's a newsletter designed by the WSI 12th Step Committee to bring you the latest FA worldwide information, remind you of tools and resources available to you within FA, and highlight upcoming FA worldwide events. Gratitude in Actions' primary purpose is to inspire you to get involved and do service so that you and others can be helped.
Service keeps us abstinent!
The FA Fellowship Convention in Burlingame, California took place September 23rd through the 25th. Below is a recap of the fellowship weekend with comments from each of our convention committee chairs.
WSI Convention Planning Committee Chair:
"As I was during our last Fellowship Convention, I am again in awe of how smoothly and graciously everything ran. I know that this was due to the commitment, dedication and enthusiasm of the Convention Planning Committee and all its volunteers. It was truly a privilege to be a part of planning an event that means so much to our members. I am eternally grateful that God gave us all the strength to bring it to fruition with the greatest hope that it will help us all to stay abstinent for one more day at a time".
Chair of the Fellowship Convention:
I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to serve as Fellowship Convention chair this year. It was truly a privilege to be asked, and an invitation that I did not take lightly. I was also a little intimidated by the task. The work itself is not that unlike the work I do to earn a paycheck. It was more the witnessing of past years and how seamless the conventions seemed to run, how everyone worked together so well and how meaningful the experiences I personally had at the conventions felt that felt daunting to me.
I was humbled and filled with gratitude at the thought of being part of creating a space where so much recovery could be strengthened and grown, and so many meaningful connections made. What I learned is that I didn't have to be intimidated. I feel so blessed to have found FA for many reasons, but among those, is to be engaging with people who are so generous with their hearts. Everyone who served on the committee, from the note taker, to each of the sub-committee heads, their partners and all who made it happen, did so with such grace and willingness to be of service. Being a part of that team truly fills me with gratitude.
And there was an underlying trust I felt in the process of it all. At times it felt like details were so scattered and unattended that I had a hard time envisioning it happening. But I knew deep inside that all, including myself, were putting the convention in God's hands, and with that there could be no failures. And as my faith in the process and in FA proved true, the convention seemed to take on a life of it's own that had nothing to do with me. I was a part of it, but it was so much bigger than just myself. I am so grateful for the experience and my life is truly richer for it.
There's nothing like doing service with other FA members, and this past Fellowship Convention was no exception. The amount of dedication, willingness to try new things, sense of responsibility and good cheer amongst everyone who volunteered to help with registration was simply amazing. I loved the team effort and how generous everyone was with their time and focus. The hardest part was finding enough time slots for everyone who wanted to help--we actually had to turn people away! What a gift to be in a program with people who are so eager to give back what we have all so generously been given.
"Working on the Internet Resource Tables gave me the opportunity to work with volunteers, and meet fellows from around the world. It was amazing to meet a sister sponsee, from Nairobi, Kenya, in person, as she came over to ask about our website. And then I had a fellow come over to check out our resource tables, only to discover that she's from Chagrin Falls, OH - a really small town where some of my family is from!
The connection Chair:
Doing service for the fellowship convention meant that I was in constant contact with a great team of committed FA members entirely devoted to making the convention as meaningful as possible for others. Delegating, fostering an atmosphere that invites new ideas and in turn being open to those ideas, trusting others to follow through and letting them shine – as an isolating food addict - these are all foreign skills for me. Seeing the devotion, creativity and hard work of the team, both on the connection committee and the convention committee was awe-inspiring.
At the convention, having service to do helped keep me grounded amidst all the excitement of the convention and helped me stay focused on serving newer members rather than wondering whether I was missing out on something more exciting in the next room.
Both planning for the convention and the convention itself came at a difficult time in my life and I was living in an outlying area. Having something to do that was part of a team, positive, and most importantly focused outside of myself was not only valuable, but also vital for my recovery. The fact that the connection activities were met with such enthusiasm at the convention was a happy testimony to the power of service.
Doing service for the hospitality committee at the fellowship convention was a great way for me to let go and see God at work in the fellowship and in me He provided willing volunteers and when I asked God for help he filled in the pieces that were missing while on-site at the convention. Plus, normally, my ego would get in the way and I would think I had to do it all or do it my way. But I got to see that it is best when “I Let Go and Let God”. Recovery at work…no big surprise!
This is the second time I've led the orientation at the Fellowship Convention, and each time I've found it to be so rewarding. In preparing to speak to people who've not been to a convention before, I am reminded how important it is to emphasize "easy does it." Even though there are many people to connect with and meetings to attend throughout the day, the most important aspect of attending a convention is to stay abstinent and take care of ourselves. That is what I love so much about FA – where else are you reminded so frequently that you must take care of yourself and that you don't have to try and fit everything in? I also love reminding people that coming to convention is not a popularity contest – we are all here to get recovery, to stay connected and to welcome others into the fellowship. Thank God for service opportunities, not only to be able to give to others, but also to be reminded of what we need to hear.
I had the privilege and opportunity to be of service by heading up the Entertainment Committee for the 2011 Fellowship Convention. It was so nice to have the ability to come together as a fellowship and be with people who want recovery and truly understand the nature of this disease. I loved being able to put faces to names and meet new people. It was such a gift to see hundreds of fellows from all over the world enjoying themselves – singing their hearts out during Karaoke, packing the dance floor and dancing the night away, or just sitting and talking face-to-face. Service really is the gift that keeps on giving; you always get back more than you put in - at least 10 fold!