Gratitude in Action Fall 2017
What Is GIA?
GIA is a quarterly email publication of the WSI 12th Step Committee. Its purpose is to inspire FA members to engage in service, and to carry the message of FA recovery to those who still suffer from food addiction.
Personal Reflections… Why Do Service?
“Service gives me the opportunity to grow spiritually. When I am first asked to do service, it often seems impossible to me. My first reaction is fear. I have the fear of not doing well, the fear of giving up my time, the fear of asking for help. My recovery has taught me to bring all these fears to God. I must turn them all over to God. I am given the opportunity to practice the action of trusting God.
And then miracles happen. I accept the opportunity to do service, and then I walk through my fears with God by my side. I have learned through these experiences that fear cannot stop me, as long as I bring God into the mix. My belief and faith in God always grow stronger than my fear. I really get to know what it means when we say, 'God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves'. And I get to give back. Service gives me these gifts.”
Colleen B., Peabody, MA
Spotlight On Service: Sponsor-A-Rack
Sponsoring a trifold rack consists of placing a brochure rack filled with FA literature (usually trifolds) in a public establishment and resupplying the literature on a regular basis. Many current FA members first discovered FA through a trifold placed at a local library, gym, or doctor’s office.
Meetings that decide to take advantage of this service opportunity usually ask a committed member to fill the Sponsor-a-Rack service position. This member will oversee efforts to ensure that display boxes of FA information left in public places are monitored and refilled as needed.
Here’s How Your Meeting Can Undertake This Important Service…
All it takes are three easy steps:
- Get Started – Agree at your business meeting to place brochure racks in places that can be monitored frequently. Set aside funds, as necessary, for member(s) to purchase racks and cover the cost of copies. Identify members (one year of abstinence recommended) to take responsibility for keeping the racks updated with new trifolds. Ask for a volunteer to fill the Sponsor- a-Rack service position and keep track of the group’s efforts. Suggested sites for racks include:
- Health care providers (doctors, hospitals, clinics, chiropractor, dentist, etc.)
- Community Centers (gyms, local community centers, senior centers, YMCA, etc.)
- Health food stores
- 12 Step recovery meeting sites
- Hair/beauty/nail salons
Remember - it is important to ask permission from the management of any establishment before placing a rack. If you are interested in receiving a template spreadsheet for keeping track of your trifold racks, please write to PI@foodaddicts.org.
Personal Reflections… Sponsoring Racks
After placing racks in as many locations as possible around our large city, I soon discovered that the job was unmanageable. I brought this dilemma to our meeting’s group conscience. We decided to simplify. We suggested that members sponsoring a rack should only put racks in places they go to frequently. Spots in the immediate vicinity of home or work will limit the amount of travel needed and make the task far more manageable. We also encouraged people to sponsor a reasonable number of racks in order to avoid burnout.
Everything happens in God's time
On a personal note, I have experienced great fulfillment from this service position. There is something really rewarding about putting out a rack and finding that it needs refilling on a regular basis. At the same time, I often wonder, “With all this restocking I do, why don’t we have more newcomers turning up at our meeting?” I am reminded by other members that I am doing this service simply to get the FA message out into the community. The results are not up to me.
I also have to remember my own story. It took two years from the time I was given information about FA to the time when I gathered the courage to do anything with it. Everything happens in God’s time! I just need to do my one percent, without expectations about the results.
Adam S., Melbourne
Sponsor-a-Rack by car
When my kids were young, and I was out and about doing a lot of driving, I did a variation of the “Sponsor-a-Rack” service that was great fun. I kept racks and pamphlets in the trunk of my car. While on errands or looking for a quick pick me up on a rainy day, I would find somewhere to spontaneously place a rack. It always filled my heart to know that in doing so there was one more store front that now put FA in someone's reach. But…the challenge with doing it this way was that it was very hard to maintain. I ran out of steam to check the racks with any regularity and it never occurred to me to ask for help from others in refilling the racks. If I were to engage in this service again, I would share the load—many hands make for light work.
Traditions Corner – Tradition Seven
Supporting Struggling Meetings
As our fellowship grows, new meetings often start with very few members. Recently, an established meeting was asked to make a donation to help a new meeting pay expenses. Discussion of the request at a business meeting resulted in a disagreement, and a fellow contacted the Traditions Committee for suggestions.
Tradition Seven states that "Every FA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions." While "outside contributions" could be considered donations from outside the meeting itself, the TRC was comfortable with a one-time, reasonable donation from one FA meeting to another, new FA meeting. Many of us are familiar with Jim's Story, in the Big Book, which tells about an established meeting giving financial support to another group because of its small collection.
The FA Traditions Review Committee cautions, however, that after the initial donation, the new meeting should be expected to stand on its own. If it is unable to support itself (paying rent and maintaining a literature table), the meeting may need to consider closing until there is sufficient support from its members.
Personal Reflections… Tradition Seven
At a recent Business Meeting, we received a request to offer financial support to a struggling meeting, by providing a one-time contribution from our Seventh Tradition fund.
The group conscience decided that while we could provide financial support, it would be of far greater benefit for some of our members to actually attend and qualify at the struggling meeting. We decided to set up a schedule, so our members could offer what was needed most: our time and presence.
Several months later, I was asked to qualify at the struggling meeting. I was thrilled to see that it was getting stronger. There were both new and familiar faces there. Service had really helped us all take part in the gift of recovery.
Shawna O., Toronto, Canada
Words To Live By
“Service begins with abstinence. Before we can help anyone else, we need to take care of ourselves. Abstinence is our most fundamental form of service. One day at a time, abstinence gives us the spiritual strength, stability, and clarity we need to help other food addicts, and be available to our families, friends, and community.”
Living Abstinently: A Guide to the FA Program, p. 33.
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