Quarterly Report, July-Sept 2005
The following issues were reviewed by the Board during the October 30, 2005, Board Meeting
- Funding sign language at FA meetings. After substantial discussion, the Board consensus was that funding for sign language at meetings should come from the meetings themselves, with funding from the local chapters, intergroups, and WSI as needed. Because meetings know their own needs better than anyone, the Board feels that they can assess financial requirements most accurately. WSI supports the practice of using interpreters, and recommends that any meetings wishing to provide this service to their members should not hesitate to request financial assistance from their local service bodies (i.e., chapter or intergroup). If the chapter or intergroup needs additional funding to support their groups in this endeavor, they can apply to WSI with certainty they will receive financial support.
- The contents of the FA Stories book is under discussion by the Board. The Board discussed whether to include a history of FA, perhaps in the form of a timeline, or a factual summary of how we emerged as an organization separate from OA. The
Board agreed that the history will emerge primarily through the stories themselves, but that an additional explanation of our roots may be useful and important to include. The Board will continue discussion of this issue during the next quarter. In addition, Anne B., Literature Committee chair, reported that the book project manager has started to review the stories. Several issues have been raised, particularly writing quality and similarities among stories. The project manager has made it clear that the stories should have been collected in a targeted way. The committee is now looking at how to select categories of stories and people to make sure we get compelling details and a variety of experiences in the stories. The original date of having a rough cut of the book at the 2006 convention will not be met, but the committee believes it is more important to have a good quality book. Some members who haven’t written a story yet will be contacted and perhaps some of the stories already contributed can be salvaged.
- Terminology changes have been implemented to most WSO materials. The WSI website, corporate documents, and PI Kit have all been updated with the new terms. Work is continuing to update the FA pamphlets, and on the documents currently on the FADocs.org website. The Board is planning to complete all changes by the end of next quarter.
- Information sessions will be announced on the FA website. The Board voted that any groups wishing to post information session notices on the foodaddicts.org website should contact Lili, the WSO secretary, to post information about the session online.
- The Gratitude in Action newsletter will be posted on the FADocs.org website as of the next issue. The long-distance sponsorship list will not be included in the online version, to protect the anonymity of FA members doing service by being on that list.
The WSI committee reports for the third quarter of 2005 are listed below. If you have any questions about any of the committees’ activities, please contact the respective committee chair.
theConnection Committee Report, Joanna A., Chair
Convention Committee Report, Adrienne C., Chair
Much of this quarter was devoted to reviewing the evaluations of the 2005 Business Conference, writing the Business Conference Report, gathering information on potential sites for a possible 2007 Non-Business Conference, continued work on the Conference Manual, and continued work on our 2006 Business Conference.
Our next Business Conference will be held June 23-25, 2006, at the Sheraton Ferncroft
Hotel in Danvers, Massachusetts. We are working hard to lower the cost of the meal plan by having a cold lunch rather than lot lunch and only having one choice of protein for Saturday’s dinner. Look for registration forms late November/ early December.
Budget proposals for the 2006 Business Conference and a 2007 Non-Business Conference were outlined in detail and passed on to our Treasurer for FA planning and budgeting.
Extensive work on possible site location and projected cost for a 2007 Non-Business Conference was done by this committee.
The 2005 Business Report should be completed by the end of October for board review. [But this board meeting occurred on October 30. If the Business Report was not ready at this meeting, then we should say it will be completed sometime in November, should we not?]
Office Committee Report, Jennifer N., Chair
- Hired new Webmaster
- Established new office hours: M,W, F 10:30-6:30 PM
- Upgraded office equipment- Computer/Printer/High Speed
- Outsourced The Connection and other larger mailings to the Printer
Bylaws Committee, Sue G., Chair
The main item to report for this quarter is a review of the By-Laws, Policies and Procedures and Continuing Effect Motions in order to change to the new FA Terminology announced at the Annual World Service Convention.
Chapter Support Committee, George M., Chair
- We have membership representation thus far from Central and Southern Florida, California, England, Maine, Michigan, Texas, Washington D.C., and Massachusetts. We are looking for greater geographical coverage, such as North Carolina, Georgia, and Canada. Currently there are 13 members of the committee including the chair. Thanks to Sue G. and Misch for their help on the membership committee. Bonnie from Florida was also very helpful in the beginning.
- The Chapter/NEI/WSI Forum, November 12, and 13, 2005.
There will be a fellowship supper at Jeveli's on Saturday, November 12, at 6:00 PM. Call Darlene at 617-884-9061 if you would like to come. We have people who would be delighted to host out-of-town visitors for the evening if they need a place to stay in Boston. Call George for that at 781-449-2638.
Between 20 and 40 are expected to come from out of state for the Forum and about 40 people from Massachusetts.
Thank you, Fran of Boston, for doing so much work developing this year’s Forum. All of the NEI Chapter Committees have contributed to this effort as well.
Below is the outline of the forum agenda.
7:45 to 8:30
Registration (Jeaneena S.)
8:00 to 9:30
8:30 to 9:30
NEI Board Meeting (open to chapter officers and chairs)
9:30 to 10:30
Chapter Liaison Committee Meeting (George)
10:30 to 11:30
FA/NEI General Meeting (Elissa)
11:30 to 12:45
12:45 to 12:55
Welcome (Elissa P.): Recognizing Chapters’ contributions to NEI
12:55 to 1:05
Keynote (Susan L.): The Importance of the Chapters to WSI and our group purpose
1:05 to 3:00
Panel Discussion of Chapter Issues (Moderator/Timekeeper: Fran)
This is an experience-based program, so we want to share our experience and learn from one another. There are no experts, just facilitators. On the panel will be the committee chairs and George; speakers have 5 to 8 minutes to speak to the topic, and then we’ll open it to the floor for the allotted time. I will ask each panelist to have at least one item to contribute on each topic so we never hit dead air. The only rule is no censoring of ideas publicly unless it is necessary.
1:00 to 1:20
Why form a chapter: benefits/downside? Speaker: Paula from New York
1:20 to 1:45
When should a group of meetings form a chapter?
Speaker: Bonnie from Florida
1:45 to 2:15
How do you build support for the chapter: increasing attendance and service: what works! Speaker: Jane from Maine
2:15 to 2:45
How can the Chapter carry our message? What works? Speaker: Sue G. From Florida
2:45 to 3:00
Summarize and close: George
- Chapter/Intergroup Best Practices News Flash. First edition is complete, thanks to Anne S. of Lexington and Fran of Boston. The committee has decided the initial target group for this one-page News Flash will be all the chapter, intergroup, and World Service Board members. It will be published electronically whenever we have enough items. This edition has flashes from Maine, Michigan, and Central Florida. WSI Board Members should receive their copies soon. Any feedback or news tips are encouraged.
- We have been working on the Policies and Procedures in our spare time. We are halfway through, and making very constructive progress.
- We have a great Committee!
Literature Committee, Anne B., Chair
New Literature Committee work since the last Board meeting includes:
- Hired a professional book project manager to guide our book project
- Compiled all stories for review by book project manager
- Awaiting recommendation from project manager of editorial team to edit FA stories and other book content
- Compiled a rough outline of possible FA book content and submitted to Board for approval
The committee has also continued the ongoing activities of:
- Gathering feedback about literature pieces for their next update.
Teens & Twenties Committee, Jean F., Chair
The Teens and Twenties committee became a much more formalized entity during this quarter. We have written subcommittee mission statements and a set of goals for the coming calendar year. These were sent to the chair, Susan L., for review.
The goals include making contact and developing relationships with the staff at several national educational and health organizations in order to provide information on the existence and function of FA. We hope to deliver two or more information sessions within the next twelve months.
The committee also hopes to increase internal communications by writing letters to professionals to be posted on the fadocs.org website, and to create other useful tools for internal consumption such as a modified PI Kit and an informal guide to sponsors of young people.
Twelfth Step Committee, Jamie M., Chair
Traditions Review Committee, Kesaya N., Chair
Traditions issues discussed by the committee in our last quarter.
Issue: Discussion of our policies and procedures – to be continued when there is time.
Issue: A member wanted to know if it would be all right to write an article about FA in the church quarterly magazine issue that describes all the groups meeting in the church. These include several 12-Step groups who typically send in descriptions of themselves.
Response: There would be no problem if it were made clear that FA is not in any way affiliated with the church. [The member ultimately wrote a short piece using sections of FA-conference approved literature.]
Issue: Visits to schools
The NEI Teens and Twenties Committee has been sending letters to school to see if there would be interest in having members of the committee come speak to students about FA. Because they have had trouble eliciting responses, they wonder if it would be a break of Tradition for someone to go to the school in person, with or without an appointment, to see if there would be interest.
Response: The committee did not feel that Traditions were involved but suggested that it would be good to apply usual business etiquette (a letter stating interest in making a presentation with the promise of a follow-up phone call). The committee noted that presenters should remember that no one speaks for FA as a whole.
Issue: Articles or interviews on the FA website
The PI chair wrote to say that her committee is considering the possibility of posting high-quality articles or shows about FA on the fadocs.org website. Though only pieces deemed accurate and useful would be posted, there is worry that people might download the material and use it on literature tables, though it is not conference-approved.
Response: The committee did not feel that Traditions were directly involved, but it suggested that problems could be avoided if the PI committee clearly described the reason for posting (the intended use of the articles) and stated that they should not be distributed as “literature.” The articles could be posted in read-only format so it would not be possible to copy them.
Issue: TV interview
A member who is a public personality and a psychologist contacted the Traditions Committee to ask if it would be a break of Traditions for her to be interviewed on television regarding her weight loss. The person said she would not mention FA but would discuss food addiction and the fact that she found recovery in a 12 Step or self-help program.
Response: A quick response was needed, so Kesaya emailed the committee. The committee was uneasy. Consensus was that it would be all right for the member to appear on the program as long as she was unspecific about the particulars of where she found recovery (some members felt that only “self-help group” would sufficiently protect FA; one member thought that “12 Step group” should be used. Kesaya emailed the member, reiterating the member’s own sense of how important it would be to make clear that she was not a spokesperson and that the problem and the solution were not “diets.” Kesaya was uneasy and brought up the topic at the following meeting, although it was too late to serve as a practical response to the member.
At the second discussion, the committee agreed that we weren’t really comfortable with the situation because the FA member is known by TV viewers, her full name would be used, and her face would be photographed. Should the occasion arise again, we thought we would suggest that the member not mention her own story at all or that she not appear on the program (unless completely protecting her anonymity). Regarding our own process, we decided that when there is supposed need for a quick response, if we do not feel clear in our own thinking, Kesaya should not rush ahead.
Issue: Public Service Announcements
The PI chair forwarded an email from one of her committee members about the possibility of making a PSA in video format. The chair had questions regarding the high cost of production.
Response: The committee had a long discussion. The question of cost does not directly involve the Traditions except in the sense that we must always consider how we can most effectively meet our primary goal of serving the addict who still suffers (money spent developing a PSA versus money spent in other ways). The committee did not think that we were in a position to say that a PSA should be made or not made. Should the creation of a PSA be under the care of the World Service PI committee (versus an intergroup committee)? We thought yes. One danger is that a PSA could confuse us with diet groups. The suggestions for possible clips using animation, celebrities, or actors and actresses seemed to us to suggest a high level of production—something that we felt would move into the realm of promotion/commercials. A PSA would have to be developed carefully in order to avoid a tone of promotion. One committee member worried that if a large amount of money were committed to production, we might feel pressured to accept the final product, regardless of appropriateness. Another noted that a notice in a newspaper is neutral, while AA video PSAs leave a definite impression— positive or negative (somewhat negative for one committee member who has seen them). Another member shared that her group sends notices to cable TV, and the written notice is run at the bottom of the TV screen during the weather or other shows. The Traditions committee thought that if the PI committee were to move ahead with the project, it should happen at the world service level and that it should be discussed first with the World Service Board.
Issue: Use of “FA” email lists.
A member in Los Angeles wrote upset because an email was sent to “everyone in the Los Angeles area FA fellowship” promoting a comedy show done by an FA member. The show highlighted a particular religion and religious orientation; it also involved characters of particular ethnicities. The email sent to the list requested members to purchase tickets and attend the performance. The emails that followed embroiled the list members in heated discussions of the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the original email. The member cited Traditions 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12. She asked if Traditions were indeed violated and if anything could be done to increase understanding of the Traditions—and to safeguard them.
Response: Kesaya emailed the L. A. member to say that the Traditions committee noted that everything hinges on the nature of the list. If the list were controlled by the intergroup and created for official intergroup use only, it would be a break of Traditions, definitely, to send an email promoting a performance. However, it appeared that the list has grown organically and that it is used by FA people to stay in touch with each other and “share recovery,” without anyone defining what that means.
It is clear that many problems can arise from an open list, reminding us why we have the Traditions. When FA is not kept separate from religion, from issues related to ethnicity, and from the promotion of individual enterprises, people can be alienated or offended, and our primary message is distorted or completely lost. However, no one has control of such lists, and it seems inevitable that problematic emails will at some point be sent. Kesaya noted that no one (including the WSB and the intergroup) can mandate anything, but she said she would bring the issue to the attention of the WSB to inform them of the situation.
Issue: A PI committee member would like to send a press release as a follow-up to the press contact established prior to two information sessions. The add-on paragraph to their standard release would be “something like: Bathing suit season has come to an end. Whether the pre-summer goal was to lose 10 pounds or 100 to fit into the latest swimwear, it’s too late for a majority of Americans who have lost this annual, time-sensitive personal battle with food and weight obsession. So, what of the rising number of battle veterans for whom diets no longer work, those who have tried and failed, only to try and fail again, year after year? A solution to food and weight problems can be found within the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) adopted years ago by a growing program called Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA).
Response: Committee members thought that the paragraph above definitely confused the issue with weight loss. We reminded ourselves that it is not our place to try to wordsmith work done by the PI committee, but we suggested that the paragraph itself be reconsidered. The issue needs to be framed in terms of addiction. A Traditions committee member raised the question about whether this was doing more than simply providing information about who we are and what we offer. Are we trying to entice the media to seek us out versus simply informing them? Kesaya will get back to the person who brought the question, but she will also bring up the topic at the next Traditions committee meeting.
Issues brought forward that will be discussed at the next Traditions meeting:
- FA member: Do clothing swaps at FA meetings violate Traditions?
- FA member: A member says, “I would like to do an FA Weekend” – staring with a Friday evening PI, a Saturday AM tools meeting, an afternoon qualifying meeting, “something fun in the evening,” and a Sunday morning Big Book Meeting. This would be held at a camp facility. Any problems with this?
- PI committee member: Further discussion of the press release.
Ad hoc Twelve Concepts Committee, Susan L., Chair
The committee will be meeting next quarter to review the proposed revisions and confirm what we will be presenting in the form of a motion to the FA Conference at the 2006 business convention.