Mid-Term Report 2019 - Jul-Dec
We are pleased to send the semi-annual report from the World Service Board. Please read the following cover letter from our Chair at your next business meeting and make copies of the full report available to your meeting. Further, please remember to add this report to your meeting’s resource notebook, with Documents 1-9.
Chair’s Report (Bonnie H.)
I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday and that your New Year is starting off happy, healthy, and abstinent! To follow is a brief update of the work that WSI committees have been doing since the Business Convention in June of 2019 in Danvers, Massachusetts.
Three hundred forty-eight members attended the Fellowship Convention in October at Saddlebrook Resort in Florida and we are hoping for a large turnout at the 2020 Business Convention June 12-14 in Danvers. More helpful information is in the Convention Committee report that follows.
Be looking for our FA Book to be presented in audio form and also as an eBook on Amazon. The Literature Committee is also working on a survey to see what the fellowship is interested in for the future, as well as rewriting pamphlets, recording FA members at conventions, translating, and obtaining ISBN numbers.
connection Committee launched a new platform for hosting the digital connection subscription in order to improve their digital presence across committees and is looking for articles from members on the frontier or who have lived on the frontier.
The Twelfth Step Committee continues to support four subcommittees including MESA, the Frontier Subcommittee, Gratitude in Action, and the new Conference Member Subcommittee. Please read further to hear the details of these four groups.
The Bylaws Committee has sent out information for the submission of motions with procedures and deadlines and is working on motions to be presented at the Business Convention in June. If your meeting has not yet elected a World Service Conference member, please do so at your next business meeting.
Major efforts are underway to develop a new FA website as the Office Committee works to improve ways to find a meeting, order literature, and register for conventions from both your computer and mobile device.
The SGSC maintains a document titled “Local Service Group Guidelines and Recommendations” and will also be hosting the FORUM on Friday afternoon at the Business Convention as they did last year.
The Public Information Committee continues to present the slide show presentation around the world and support interviews, articles, college outreach, podcasts, Weblinks, Blogwatch, Adwords, and Google Analytics, to name a few.
The Traditions Review Committee has fielded inquiries and offered guidance based on the Twelve Traditions. We encourage everyone to read these decisions which have to do with social media, and dealing with the press, among other topics.
There is also a report from the Inquiry Response Committee (IRC).
These are just some of the highlights! Please read the following reports for more detailed information.
Bonnie H. and the World Service Board
WSB Inquiry Response Committee (Jamie M., IRC Chair)
The Inquiry Response Committee is responsible for handling inquiries made to the FA World Service Board or to the FA Office. Responses are made by telephone to inquiries received from both FA members and non-members. An IRC member attempts to reach the inquirer within two weeks of the initial contact. The IRC consists of five FA members with at least seven years of abstinence and the WSB secretary who serves as an ex-officio member of the committee.
The committee often submits Traditions-related issues to the Tradition’s Review Committee (TRC) and meeting safety issues to the Meeting Safety and Effectiveness Committee (MESA) for review and response. If necessary, the IRC may ask a member of the TRC or the MESA to make the phone call to the inquirer.
*We have not received many inquiries this quarter, it’s been unusually quiet.
Samples of recent inquiries and responses:
Inquiry: A member wrote voicing concerns about having trouble finding a sponsor who would be able to support her need to avoid certain foods (which are on most member’s food plans) due to severe food allergies.
This concern comes up frequently from new members and members recently diagnosed with certain medical issues. We always let them know that there is no official FA “food plan” and that individual sponsors have different food plans that they are willing to pass on to a sponsee. We had a good discussion about the importance of addressing certain member’s food allergies with foods that are not addictive and helped her to find a sponsor who would be flexible enough to address her concerns and assist her in staying abstinent.
Inquiry: A member wrote to us about an issue at her AWOL meeting involving a verbal and physical assault from a member who clearly has some mental health issues. We had a discussion with her and, in addition, sent her a letter which gave her the resources to address issues of safety. We also referred her inquiry to the MESA committee.
Response: She appreciated the attention to this matter, the referrals and the literature from AA regarding safety issues at meetings. The person in question did not come back as she was asked to leave and not return by the safety officer at the meeting facility.
Inquiry: An inquirer contacted the FA office to find out if there was someone within the FA fellowship who could sponsor a vegan. (We have many of these inquiries.) Response: We had a discussion suggesting that it may be difficult to find a sponsor but that there were sponsors who would sponsor a vegan and we were able to furnish her with some names and numbers of FA members with long abstinence who could help her.
WSI COMMITTEE REPORTS
Bylaws Committee (Norma Jean P, Chair)
Intergroups and Chapters have been sent notices and procedures, with deadline date, for the submission of motions for the 2020 World Service Business Convention (WSBC). The motion submission form is posted on the website. The deadline for motion submission is March 11,2020.
At this time one motion to change the bylaws, generated by the Bylaws Committee, has been reviewed by the Board Motions Review Committee (BMRC) for the 2020 WSBC. The Bylaws Committee is in process of developing an additional Continuing Effect motion.
World Service Conference (WSC) members will receive an email with all proposed motions early April.
If your meeting has not yet elected a World Service Conference member (voting member), you are encouraged to do so. In addition to registering for the convention, WSC members must register as a WSC member by March 11, 2020. All WSC members should read the World Service Conference Member manual prior to the convention. To locate the manual, enter WSCM in the search bar of www.foodaddicts.org.
Office Committee (Jan B, Chair)
When we ask newcomers how they found FA, more and more people are telling us that they found us online. The FA Office’s Digital Strategy Committee was formed to continuously analyze and improve our online presence, communications, and ability to reach those searching for a solution for food addiction.
New FA Website
Major efforts are underway to develop a new FA website that leverages new technologies and best practices to better reach the still suffering food addict while streamlining the user experience for our members. You can look forward to significant improvements and ease in finding a meeting, ordering literature, and registering for conventions from both your computer and mobile device.
Thoughts on Social Media
We are looking at, testing, and working with the board on possible ways to have a presence on social media while adhering to the Traditions. We will be addressing our social media policy, guidelines, and recommendations and keep you up to date as our efforts unfold.
Business Convention Underway
Registration has begun and the FA Office is working closely with the Convention Committee to make this year’s Business Convention an amazing experience for all who will join us in Danvers Massachusetts in June to conduct the business of our fellowship — reaching the still suffering food addict.
Podcasts Reaching New Audience
Podcasts, our members’ stories of recovery, are available online and are reaching new audiences every day.
Service Group Support Committee (SGSC) (Pam K., Chair)
The Service Group Support Core Committee consists of the following members: Chair, Secretary, Forum Planning Committee Chair, Eastern (EAI) and Western (WAI) Area Intergroup SGSC Chairs, Maine Chapter Chair, Chair of the LSG Guidelines and Recommendations Ad Hoc Committee, an EAI Local Service Group (LSG) Representative and two Consultants. We are currently looking to round out the Committee with an LSG Representative from WAI. In addition, we are considering starting a Sub-Committee that would be responsible for handling ongoing communication with the LSGs. The Core Committee meets bi-monthly to discuss call topics, LSG initiatives and any relevant potential policies and goals.
The SGSC holds bi-monthly calls for all who are interested in getting the FA message out through the efforts of Local Service Groups (LSG). A relevant topic is covered on each call starting with a short introduction followed by conversation and Q&A about ways the topic helps with our primary purpose - to reach the still suffering food addict.
These calls are not geared only to those areas with an active LSG. Fellows thinking about starting an LSG benefit from hearing others from around the globe share on initiatives that have been successful as well as those initiatives that did not hit their mark.
Call topics for this period included: It's Your Call: Working Together to Make the Most of It, LSG Guidelines and Recommendations Deep Dive, Intergroups and Chapter Reports, and Focus on Sacramento and Toronto LSGS. In November 2019, the call focused on LSG upfront preparation to increase the effectiveness of an Information Session.
Currently, we are working on a new initiative with the Twelfth Step Committee and will have articles in "Gratitude in Action" starting with the Spring 2020 edition. The focus of the SGSC's articles will be to highlight the work of Local Service Groups.
The SGSC brought back the Forum at the 2018 Business Convention. It was clear from the number of people in attendance and the positive comments written on the evaluations that the Forum should be repeated in 2019. Again, attendance and evaluations were positive and the SGSC Forum Planning Sub-Committee is well on its way to planning the Forum for the Friday afternoon at the 2020 Business Convention.
The SGSC maintains a document titled “Local Service Group Guidelines and Recommendations.” It is posted under the "Service Group Support" section of the FA website. Always under review for necessary changes, we have started a detailed review to enhance the document with a particular eye on offering clear and concise suggestions geared to LSGs holding Fellowship Days.
Convention Planning Committee (Vanessa C., Chair)
- Planning is underway for the 2020 World Service Business Convention, taking place from June 12-14 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Danvers, MA.
- Online Convention registration, including meal plan purchases, will close on April 11. No meal plans will be available for purchase on-site, but registration will still be available (this will include a late fee).
- Registration at the Convention will open on Friday at 9:00am, followed by an FA meeting from 10:00-11:30am, and then The Forum from 1:00-5:00pm.
- Additional information is available on the Business Convention page of the FA website, including all deadlines, a link to register for your hotel room, and details about open WSI Board member positions.
- If you have any questions about the Business Convention, please send an email to email@example.com.
- At the 2019 Fellowship Convention in Wesley Chapel, FL, we had 348 attendees from five countries: Australia, Canada, Israel, Taiwan/China, and the US. Twenty-seven US states were represented. Highlights of the weekend included sharing sessions such as “Staying Abstinent in the Real World” and “Don’t Quit Before the Miracle,” speaker recording sessions, connection art and writing workshops, a dance and photo booths, karaoke, yoga and Latin fusion fitness dance classes taught by FA members, and outdoor activities such as water volleyball, walk and talks, and meet and greets. It was a joyful, relaxed, recovery-filled weekend.
- Mark your calendars for the next Fellowship Convention to be held in Phoenix, AZ at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in October 2021.
Public Information Committee (Annie H., Chair)
- Media Watch made 242 contacts globally to introduce FA to media and other professionals and received seven personal responses
- Completed three radio interviews including:
- KGO Radio 810AM, San Francisco, The John Rothmann Show (11/22/19)
- Radio Fremantle 107.9FM, Western Australia, The Health Report presented by Kerry (11/11/19)
- Light FM - 89.9 FM Melbourne: In Conversation with Clayton (7/21/19)
- Two articles were published including:
- Akron - Record-Courier, "Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous hopes to expand into Akron area" Reporter: Bob Gaetjens (10/21/19)
- Concord Wicked Local, "Food Addicts in Recovery helping others take back control" Reporter Betsy Levinson (9/19/19)
Health Care Outreach:
- Completed four FA informational meetings for Healthcare Providers which were very well received using the Health Care Provider Slide Show including:
- National University in Sacramento area, to counseling students
- Diabetes Centers in San Francisco and Rochester NY
- Future presentations have been scheduled in Washington DC and in New Zealand.
- Work has begun on creating a video to be used to inform HCPs about food addiction and the FA solution.
- Focused on informing the FA fellowship about available PI tools and online resources:
- Sent all registered PI representatives the updated link to “Help for PI Representative”
- Consulted with Gratitude in Action editor to highlight PI work in GIA Newsletter
- Presented updated PI section of the website to WAI PI committee at Western Area Intergroup’s August meeting
- Presented PI tools to Eastern Area Intergroup general session in October
- Joined the WSI Local Service Group (LSG) support call to present tools for preparing for Information sessions
- Presented “Orientation to online PI Resources” on the December Frontier support call
- Presented PI announcement scripts to WAI Pacific Rim call to support PI reps and LSG work.
- Posted updated template for press release/generic article on FA Website
- Completed set of stickers to help members worldwide to customize Health Care Brochures with local information.
- During the last six months the Weblinks Committee was renamed the Digital Outreach Subcommittee to better reflect the many facets of online PI work being done. The subcommittee encompasses 8 branches of Digital Public Information: Weblinks, Blog Watch, College Outreach, Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Alerts, Calendar Announcements, & Podcast. (See diagram)
· Podcast Subcommittee:
- For the month of December 2019, FA podcast downloads reached a high of 3,600, bettering the August record of 2,800 downloads. There are currently thirteen podcasts up, including one speaker whose qualification was posted in December in both English and Mandarin. The Mandarin version has already had 577 downloads.
- The Podcast subcommittee plans to add new recordings monthly, which can be accessed, free-of-charge, via smartphone, tablet, or computer podcast program by searching for “Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous.”
- People from all around the world have contacted FA or come to meetings telling us that they heard about FA from searching for help on the internet and coming across our podcasts.
· College Outreach Subcommittee:
- The College Outreach Subcommittee has planned three events at colleges, sent out over 1,390 emails to College Health Practitioners and Counselors, and sent out literature to four schools. They will be launching a second mailing in January 2020.
· Google Analytics Subcommittee:
- Total New Users to the FA website was 206,269. Forty-two percent of those users viewed two or more web pages on the FA website, showing active participation rather than bouncing right off without exploring further pages.
· Google AdWords Subcommittee Report:
- Paid Searches (Google AdWords) brought in over 131,450 New Users (people who clicked on one of our ads) with 29% or 38,100 viewing two or more pages on the FA website--an interaction rate that is up 10% over last year’s same period.
· Weblinks Subcommittee:
- Online referral traffic (i.e. traffic originating from a link to FA’s website found on a non-FA website), was 4,763 users. 70.4% of that traffic (3,330 users) viewed two or more pages on our website, showing participation and interaction with the site.
· Blog Watch & Google Alerts Subcommittees:
- The Google Alerts team sent 208 articles to Media Watch and 40 articles to Blog Watch.
- Over the midterm, Blog Watch attempted 142 posts, out of which 94 appeared, 45 were pending, and three rejected. Over the last months, our success rate has increased for the amount of posts accepted.
Eastern Area Intergroup PI Committee:
- Purchased a laptop and projector to use for Health Care Provider slide show presentations
- Beginning January 12, will offer GoToMeeting connection to our monthly PI early open form call and the regular committee meeting.
- WEI chair and Lisa B. from PI Tools Subcommitee presented online PI Tools as part of a PI Resources "Deep Dive" at the October EAI Body meeting in October.
- Successful information session at Debra's Natural Foods in Concord MA in September was the result of a project started in 2018 where PI committee reached out to religious institutions that have monthly support groups for women/moms.
- A Health Care Provider Slide Show presentation to bariatric surgery staff at Toby Hospital in Wareham, MA is pending a firm date in January or February. Committee is approaching the surgeons from the angle that FA can be helpful to their post-surgery patients and be helpful to their statistics on helping patients lose weight and keep it off.
Western Area Intergroup PI Committee:
- Completed 27 PI events: seven panel sessions (three with slideshow) and 20 health fairs
- Continued collaboration between WAI PI and WAI SGSC to support the PI work of fellows in the Pacific Rim with quarterly conference calls
- Supported fellows on the frontier who are organizing PI Sessions and tabling events for the first time. Support has included conference calls with planning committee and materials (e.g., event kit, FA literature).
Twelfth Step Committee (Reggie M., Chair)
The Twelfth Step Committee has four subcommittees. It is a dynamic, hardworking and thoroughly likable committee. We work well together and as a result get much service work done. We welcomed Lou C., from Rochester, NY the EAI Twelfth Step Chair to our monthly Core Call.
Before the subcommittee work is highlighted, it should be noted that updated policy and procedures were written for Thankathons. In addition, the Thankathon procedures was streamlined by the use of Google forms and spreadsheets.
The meeting format for Home Meetings and the Thankathon were updated with the assistance of the WSB Vice Chair and Secretary.
Here is what members have worked on since June:
Conference Member Subcommittee
The goal of this ad hoc subcommittee is to increase the attendance of Conference Voting Members (CVM) at the Business Convention. It was noted from the 2019 Business Convention, that about 1/3 of all FA meetings were represented at the Convention, and this subcommittee sought to determine the reason why. The committee conducted a survey, statistical information was produced, which will be shared with the WSB at a later date. Obtaining this information was a real grassroots effort with fellows from another subcommittee assisting, in addition to the FA office. This effort was a success on every level.
The Frontier Subcommittee continues to provide resource calls, the frontier newsletter, and the Long Distance Sponsor Lists to frontier members.
There are two new resources to help members on the frontier. One is a downloadable pdf of written experience strength and hope of those sponsoring and being sponsored on the frontier. The other is the Frontier Resource phone list. This is a list of members with experience living on the frontier and/or working with frontier members.
Gratitude in Action (GIA) Subcommittee
The GIA subcommittee continues to produce a high-quality newsletter any committee would be proud to call their own. Each newsletter highlights an FA service position. Since June of 2019, the subcommittee produced two newsletters. The third edition highlighted the Public Service position, and the fourth edition highlighted the WSB Convention Conference Voting Member. The GIA fourth edition was coordinated with the CVM survey which was ongoing at the time.
Finally, the GIA subcommittee has agreed to allow space in the newsletter for input from the SGS/LSG’s with Best Practices as the topic. This is an exciting time for the GIA!
Meeting Effectiveness Support and Assistance (MESA)
In the spirit of meetings are our medicine, MESA has concentrated on meeting effectiveness and how best to get and keep people abstinent and working the FA program.
MESA has concentrated on building the Meeting Health Person into the Meeting Effectiveness Support and Assistance (MESA) Representative (MESA Rep), which is a voluntary position for each meeting.
The Helpline continues to field inquiries. After much discussion, clear boundaries were established between the TRC, the IRC, and MESA.
MESA has reorganized into an IT team and a Writing team, which has proven effective and as a result has transformed into the MESA Advisory Group to help provide resources to MESA reps.
Guidance for meetings in the event of a disruptive member are complete and are posted on the FA website, linked to Document 2.
Finally, the MESA committee wrote a Seventh Tradition Case Study, which was used at a local Fellowship Day, and although requires additional work, is a great first step.
connection Committee (Dominic K., Chair)
We on the connection committee have been hard at work continuing to create a magazine for FA fellows all over the world to enjoy!
In September, we launched a new platform for hosting the digital connection subscription. After some time testing and researching, we felt this was a great place to start as we as a fellowship work to improve our digital presence across committees. We chose this platform so that it could live off of the FA site, could be easily read on mobile, and most importantly so that we could have a place to explore including audio recordings of articles for FA members who are visually impaired.
On that note, we discussed and agreed on a plan to very slowly and thoughtfully start trying out audio recordings to coincide with the digital magazine subscription. Look for something more about this in the coming months, but we are thrilled to be able to do something that could potentially help our members who are visually impaired.
Additionally, we have started to explore the idea of featuring articles in other languages in our magazine. We want our magazine to be inclusive of all members from different cultural/linguistic backgrounds and who live across the globe, and we hope to be able to make this a reality in the near future.
Thanks to a great suggestion at our most recent Business Convention, we are planning to add an Art Coach to our committee. This person will be a resource to artists in our fellowship who want to contribute but don't know where to start - very similar to what a Writing Coach does currently. We will have more information on that soon!
We are especially in need of article submissions from members who live or have lived on the Frontier. These articles should share how you stayed abstinent on the Frontier and focus on sharing your very specific experience of being a Frontier member with others.
Lastly, as always, we encourage members to do service by writing and submitting a story, and/or creating artwork, for the connection! Have you always wanted to write but just aren't sure where to start? Our writing coaches are here to help you. The team is comprised of extremely talented writers who can help guide you as you put pen to paper and finally get to writing your story.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for help!
For any questions about connection, or if you're interested in getting involved in our committee, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Literature Committee (Karen B., Chair)
Writing and Editing Subcommittee (WES)
- WSB approved retitle and rewrite of the Anorexic? Bulimic? Pamphlet. It is now called Bulimic? Undereating? Underweight? and does not use the term “anorexic” or anorexia.” The pamphlet is currently with the design committee
- WSB approved making the first two chapters of FA book into a pamphlet. WES wrote a preface for the new pamphlet.
- WES wrote a blurb for “Food Addiction and the FA Solution” for the website.
- WES wrote a literature announcement for WAI and EAI reports to draw attention to the new pamphlet, “Food Addiction and the FA Solution.”
- Obtained catalog of ISBN numbers for now and future library of work
- Decided to place eBook and audiobook on Amazon to be uploaded early 2020
- Posted four June business convention recordings to FA website and made available as podcasts.
- Recorded six recordings at October fellowship convention (four in English, two in Mandarin). They are titled and ready for publication.
- Published English and Mandarin recordings as free podcasts.
- Worked with Digital Strategies on developing intro/outro for podcasts.
- Developing a literature survey for fellowship--on final edit
- Distributed communication to EAI and WAI on new pamphlet “Food Addiction and the FA Solution”
- Translated the newcomer packet, “Food Addiction and the FA Solution,” “Living Abstinently,” and the updated Health Care brochure professionally into German. Now undergoing final edits.
- Completed Spanish translation and editing of the FA book, “Food Addiction and the FA Solution,” and the new health care brochure. They are now with the Design Committee. Updated the meeting format professionally and it is in final edits.
- Final editing done in Hebrew on “Just for Today,” “Before You Take that Bite,” “Twenty Questions,” and the Hebrew web page. All are with the Design Committee.
Traditions Review Committee (Patty R., Chair)
The TRC’s mandate is to consider how the Twelve Traditions guide the fellowship on questions raised by FA members or groups. Inquiries are submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, the committee meets to discuss these issues every other month, then shares their thoughts with the inquirer and with the fellowship (when appropriate) through various WSI reports and the GIA. An index of historical issues is also available to the fellowship on the FA website and is currently being updated. The TRC is not a governing or policing body, nor does it get involved in resolving the issue; rather, it empowers the person(s) to deal with the situation or the other person(s) involved.
Sharing the Traditions with the Fellowship
In recent years many members of FA have asked the TRC to help our fellowship become more familiar with the Twelve Traditions as they relate to our meetings. Over the next year, the committee will be making presentations to both intergroups, introducing the role of the TRC and demonstrating the use of the Traditions Index.
In addition, the FA World Service Board asked the TRC to conduct a three-month pilot program to determine how to best help meetings that may want to further explore the Traditions. A number of WSI representatives were contacted, and several meetings are participating from January through March. The meetings chose from three options of varying depths of discussion to be held during business meetings, ranging from a simple announcement that the TRC is available for assistance to a full discussion of a historical situation actually experienced by an FA meeting and addressed by the TRC. Depending on the level of interest and the results, a larger program may be introduced at the business convention.
Traditions Issues Addressed from June - December 2019
From June – December, the TRC received 22 inquiries at email@example.com. Of those, nine were responded to by the Chair, two were referred to another FA committee, and nine were discussed and responded to by the full TRC as reported below. (Two issues remain pending.)
In addition, the TRC shared its opinion with the WSB and other FA Committees on subjects including voting by substantial unanimity, clarifying the meaning and intent of “in-person meetings”, using Skype for speaker qualifications, and best practices for addressing disruptive behaviors in meetings.
Questions about any of these may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Responded by Chair using historical index –
- Providing Extra Gift to Minister at Meeting Venue
- Using First Names in Media
- Taking a Second Collection for Deceased Person’s Charity
- Posting an FA Information Session on Facebook
- Drinking Water in Meetings
- Making a Donation to an Outside Group
- What is the nature of the IRC vs. MESA
- One Meeting Supporting Another
- Giving a Holiday Gift to Meeting Venue
Referred to Another Committee
- How to List Member Service Positions
- Providing Promotional Items for Events
Discussed and Responded to by the Traditions Committee (inquiries and responses below):
- Group Retaining a Large Treasury
- New Meeting Split Group
- Is the Health Care Slide Show within the Traditions?
- Recording Frontier Resource Calls
- Funding EAI Board Travel
- Balanced Best Practices and Sponsor Seeker Info Sheet
- Projecting Photos at National Women’s Show
- Reporter Taking Notes at FA Meeting
- Anonymity on Facebook
Inquiries and Responses:
1. Group Retaining a Large Treasury
An FA group has over $300 in their Treasury. They want to know if they should send their funds to EAI and WSI now or hold onto it for an Info Session. There is no date yet for the Info Session because they do not have very many newcomers on a regular basis and want to know if they should host an Info session or a visit from two "old-timers" now, or wait until their fellowship is more established?
It is the experience of the TRC that when meeting groups work together to plan an FA Information session, the unity of the meeting group itself is strengthened (Tradition 1). The Info Session in turn helps carry the message (Tradition 5).
Engaging members with long-term experience is valuable no matter the number of members in the fellowship.
Meetings are generally encouraged to send their money to their Intergroup or WSI. If all meetings were to hold onto hundreds of dollars, for an extended period of time, it could affect FA as a whole. If meetings do not send money to Intergroups and WSI regularly, the FA organization may not have enough money to be self-sustaining (Tradition 4).
2. New Meeting Split Group
Recently two new meetings have been established "by two different 'factions.'” Both are scheduled on Saturday mornings, at two different locations, close to one another, one at 8:30am and another at 10am. The person submitting this question indicated that, to date, she has largely ignored the conflict and dissension. However, she would like to "do what's right" and is seeking guidance as to how she should personally address the issue.
Differences of opinion or “factions” within FA is an unfortunate reason to decide to start a new FA meeting. It goes against Tradition 1 in that our personal recovery depends on FA unity. The day, time, and location of meetings has the potential to affect FA as a whole and to impede our ability to carry the message (Traditions 4 and 5). Scheduling two meetings at overlapping times (i.e., one starts immediately as the other ends), is not in the best interest of the newcomer. One purpose for starting a new meeting is to increase ease, access, choice, and frequency for the newcomer. The two meetings noted in this inquiry do not appear to support this.
The TRC recommends that the members of this area meet together and use the lens of Traditions 1, 4, and 5 to inform their decisions regarding their funds, Information Session, and meeting groups.
3. Is the Health Care Slide Show within the Traditions?
An FA member shared her recent experience with the presentation of the Healthcare Slide Show at an education session for healthcare professionals. She felt there were some challenges with the technological aspect of setting up the presentation. She also expressed concern that members who were not professional speakers may have difficulty presenting the slide show. In addition, she asked the TRC to consider if the slide show was in conflict with Tradition 10 (no opinion on outside issues) since the presenters were asked questions about OA and FAA. She also questioned if the presentation created issues with Tradition 11 (attraction rather than promotion). She felt "that we are putting ourselves at risk as individuals in recovery and FA as a whole by presenting information in what appears and feels to be promotional and representing FA.”
The Traditions Review Committee reviewed the slide show in its early stages of development. The TRC did not see any conflict with Traditions 10 or 11 at that time and we still do not see any conflicts with those traditions. However, we feel the inquirer has raised some important practical questions about the presentation. The TRC recommends that the PI committee consider additional training be required for anyone presenting the Healthcare Slide Show and to increase the minimum abstinence requirement to five years for all FA members who share.
4. Recording Frontier Resource Calls
In the past Frontier Resource Calls were recorded and stored without all the participants’ knowledge. The Frontier Resource Committee asked the Traditions Review Committee to determine if it was a break in anonymity to store and use these past recordings, if they should be edited to remove names, or should be destroyed. The committee also inquired whether future calls should be recorded, stored and available on the FA website for use as a tool.
The TRC had a lengthy discussion regarding many areas of this inquiry and the overall consensus is that although participants were not told of the recording, the practice does not break anonymity. All participants on the call are FA members so their identify as food addicts is known to other participants. Also, since only first names are used, and the recordings are only for use within the FA fellowship there is no Tradition 12 conflict. Members of the TRC did not think it necessary to edit previous recordings, but that going forward it is the “right” thing to do to let members know they are being recorded. If the fact that it is being recorded might stop someone from being as open and honest as they might, that is their choice.
There was some caution expressed about posting these recordings on the website, which could result in members of the public having access. However, again, as long as only first names are being used it is less of a concern.
5. Funding Intergroup Board Travel
The TRC was asked by an Intergroup Board member to opine on whether it is in keeping with Tradition 7 for two or three members of the IG Board to receive financial aid to travel to another country to participate in an FA Fellowship Day. There is plenty of time to get inexpensive airfares in order to keep expenses low. Both members have long term experience that can be of service in terms of sharing best practices. A third Board member who speaks German may also travel as a translator. They will follow the same requirements for any other FA member to receive aid from the Travel Fund: participate in the Fellowship Day and lead FA meetings.
On the whole, the TRC saw no conflict with the spirit of Tradition 7, as long as they keep expenses low and stick to the requirements spelled out in the standard application for the Travel Fund and the Financial Aid Committee approves it.
Caution was urged, however, around Tradition 2, that no member should be presented as an authority or expert while sharing “best practices” in service.
The TRC also considered Tradition 5 – that our primary purpose is to carry the message to the food addict who still suffers – and whether participation in a Fellowship Day involving existing members was equivalent to an Information Session in meeting the requirements for the Travel Fund. Most members felt that supporting a growing/young fellowship on the Frontier by bringing FA's strong message of recovery and tools to support their meetings would help reach newcomers and is thus consistent with Tradition 5. Encouraging the fellowship to inform the public and welcome the community through an Information Session is suggested but that is for the Financial Resources Committee to decide.
6. Balanced Best Practices and Sponsor Seeker Info Sheet
The WS Board asked the TRC to review the “Balanced Best Practices” and “Sponsor Seeker Info Sheet” and give its opinion on whether this is in keeping with the Traditions, specifically Traditions 1, 2, and 10, and any others.
Most members of the TRC agree that distributing this document is a break in Tradition 1 and 4 because it affects the welfare of FA as a whole and FA unity. Tradition 5 is also involved since this document and referenced links are confusing to the newcomer. Tradition 10 is impacted because there are opinions expressed on outside issues. In addition, it is also a break in Tradition 2 as it paints various members as experts on FA (e.g. “Memories of the Early Years of Food Addicts in Recovery (FA)” states on page 2, "This memoir is the personal recollections, stories and archives of [member’s name], January 2014”).
One member thinks that if this information were to be passed only from sponsor to sponsee, a discussion of break of traditions would be moot. It was also mentioned that in this age of technology, written documents, even when initially meant to be shared with only one person, quickly become public domain.
We recommend this material be taken out of circulation.
7. Projecting Photos at National Women’s Show
A local service group has taken a booth at a national women’s show and three members will present a 30 min information session. They have the opportunity to have photos shown on a screen behind the speakers. Is this considered too promotional?
It is the unanimous opinion of the TRC that projecting before and after photos on a large screen is indeed more promotion than attraction; it goes against our commitment to humility and could leave the impression of these people speaking for FA as a whole. Thus, it runs counter to Tradition 11. The photos would also be more likely to leave the viewer with the impression that FA is purely a weight loss program. The subtleties of the differences between FA and weight loss programs would be lost to that first impression. Instead, it has been recommended in the past that the FA logo, a photo of the trifold or the 20 Questions might be projected.
8. Reporter Taking Notes at FA Meeting
The TRC was asked to consider whether there is a traditions issue when a member of the press was invited to a FA meeting. The reporter sat in the back row typing notes throughout the qualification which fellows found disruptive.
Fellows attending the meeting were not informed of the reporter’s presence until after the qualification, during the Healthy meeting announcement. Because the reporter was taking notes, sharing at the meeting was altered, some fellows did not share and others directed their sharing to the press.
As a whole, the TRC did not have an issue with the press being invited to an open FA meeting. While it is beneficial to have the press attend FA meetings for PI purposes, the TRC felt it was inappropriate for any member of the press to be taking notes. In this situation, meeting members should have been informed ahead of time that the press was invited and the reporter should be informed about the importance of protecting the anonymity of meeting attendees. The member who invited the reporter could have asked them to stop typing during the meeting. The TRC recommends the PI Committee add guidelines to the PI kit under Working with Media for reporters attending a FA meeting.
Tradition 5 states that our primary purpose is to help the still suffering food addict. Therefore, it is important to create a safe environment for welcoming newcomers as well as for members to share their experience. The presence of a reporter taking notes does not create such an environment. When members alter their sharing for the press, the message is not focused on the newcomer, and there is a conflict with Tradition 5.
9. Anonymity on Facebook
A member inquired about sharing her FA story within a private group of approximately 500 women on Facebook. She proposed to share her struggle with food and that she found a solution without mentioning FA, but state that anyone interested could contact her privately. Would this be within the Traditions of anonymity?
The WSB social media statement clearly states that we are not to make any references to FA online. The TRC was unanimous in its opinion that as long as this member does not mention FA, this stays within the guidelines of Traditions 11 and 12.