World Service Business Convention Report - 2011
This report has been prepared by the World Service Board for the purpose of summarizing the business that took place at our annual World Service Business Convention in Danvers, MA June 3-5, 2011. Two-hundred sixty-eight members attended from Australia, Canada, Germany, England, the District of Columbia, and 24 of the U.S. states. Four new CD’s were recorded by FA members on Friday afternoon, and there was an FA sharing meeting that evening.
Eight business motions were discussed and all were passed with substantial unanimity. Motions 4 and 5 resulted in the creation of meeting standards for all registered FA meetings. This is discussed in great detail in the Letter from the FA WSI Chair seen below. WSI contacts were asked to read this letter at their business meetings.
The WSI committee chairs summarized services and resources available to the fellowship, and each intergroup and chapter chair also reported on their accomplishments this year. Elections resulted in two new officers, and four WSI committee chairs all reelected for a second-term. The first-ever FA sharing session took place for 45-minutes divulging a wide-array of successful PI activities used by meetings to help reach the newcomer.
The newly revised pamphlet, Your FA Seventh Tradition, was distributed to convention attendees, who were asked to take a copy back to the treasurer at each of their meetings. WSI contacts will receive a copy via postal mail to give to their treasurer if no one from that meeting was present at the convention. The pamphlet will also be a literature item for sale online and will be posted in the “Meeting Information” section in “For Members” on the website.
The WSI treasurer presented a thorough overview of how WSI funds are managed and reported the income and expenses estimated for this fiscal year (July 2010 through June 2011) and the planned budget for the next fiscal year (July 2011 through June 2012). Several projects, including the FA Book and the website and design changes, are in progress through next year and these projects use funds from the WSI project reserve. FA WSI continues to rely in large part on meeting donations to meet operating expenses.
Questions regarding any portion of this report may be directed to email@example.com.
Yours in service,
Kathleen M., WSI Secretary
Letter from the FA WSI Chair
July 11, 2011
Dear FA Fellows:
As many of you know, the 10th annual FA World Service Business Convention (WSBC) was held early last month. Last week we asked all WSI contacts to read a letter from the World Service Board that summarized the highlights, motions, and financial overview of the convention. As promised in that letter, this additional letter contains detailed information on two motions that impact meetings directly.
The eight motions presented at the WSBC were passed by the conference, all with substantial unanimity. While all eight motions resulted in significant change, there were two in particular, Motions 4 and 5, whose outcome affects FA as a whole, the newcomer, and FA meetings directly, and which now requires action on the part of your meeting.
With the passage of Motions 4 and 5, the conference voted to have standards for all FA meetings. These motions were passed in response to the conference’s concern that some FA meetings are evolving away from what the conference knows to work.
This is a great accomplishment for FA as a whole. This is FA being true to itself-- allowing us to be honest about what defines an FA meeting. FA was conceived so that its members could freely practice a program that in their experience worked. The intent is this: No matter where in the world one finds an FA meeting, one can readily recognize and find FA recovery in that room.
The list of standards is seen below. All new meetings going forward will be required to agree to these standards upon registration. Regarding all current meetings, please take a few moments to review this list together at your business meeting and ask yourselves, “Does our meeting adhere to each of these standards?” If the answer is yes, then keep doing what you are doing!
If the answer is no, then please take the time to rework your meetings accordingly.
To date, in order to register as an FA meeting, all meeting groups have agreed to:
- welcome all who have a desire to stop eating addictively
- adhere to the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
- sell or distribute only conference-approved material and literature
- elect a WSI, Web & Directory, and Intergroup contact
- elect one WSC member (if the meeting chooses to) and
- use a meeting format that includes:
the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, the definitions of food addiction and abstinence, at least ninety days of continuous abstinence in order to share, and at least ninety days of continuous abstinence in order to have a voice and a vote at business meetings
With the passage of Motions 4 and 5, the following additional requirements have been added in order to register as an FA meeting:
- a meeting shall meet for 90 minutes, in person, in a public facility and set up chairs in rows, facing the speaker. (Note: “Phone Meetings” are not FA meetings, as they are not, by definition, “in person.”)
- no food plans may be distributed as an approved meeting document (although sponsors can of course share a food plan with sponsees as a component of the complete FA program of recovery)
- only approved literature and material may be read at an FA meeting
- a meeting must elect a chapter contact, for meetings registered with a chapter the meeting’s WSC member (if one is elected) must regularly attend that meeting
- the format must also include: the FA preamble, How it Works, the Promises, the announcement of the 7th tradition, the FA Tools of Recovery, announcements welcoming the newcomer and identifying available sponsors, and a break approximately midway through for greeting newcomers.
All portions must be identical (unaltered) to those found in the Sample Meeting Format of the Meeting Guidelines.
The vast majority of FA meetings will not need to make any changes to continue to be registered as an FA meeting, but some will. In Motion 4, the conference charged the World Service Board with the task of defining procedures for how to address meetings that choose not to adhere to these standards. These procedures will be presented as a motion for the 2012 WSBC.
In the meantime, we hope that all meetings will take it upon themselves to become individually accountable and put these practices into place. If you see groups in your area that are not adhering to these standards, we encourage you to have conversations with your fellow FA members. The conference, i.e. the voting body of FA, is now very clear about what an FA meeting is and what is required for a meeting to call itself FA.
Thank you so much for your attention to this matter. Again, please take a few minutes now to confirm that your meeting adheres to these conference-adopted standards.
Many, many thanks again to all for your support at the convention and for your ongoing willingness to serve.
Yours in service, Elissa P., WSI Chair
(Delivered by Elissa P. on June 4, 2011.)
Welcome to the 10th Annual FA World Service Business Convention. Even though we’ve had this gathering many times before, perhaps it is still useful to remind ourselves why we are here.
Recently I learned some interesting AA history. In 1950, Bill W. and Dr. Bob realized that something needed to be done to ensure AA’s future. At the time, all communication and decision-making basically led back to the two co-founders. The board of trustees consulted with them, the AA groups consulted with them, but there was very little interaction, if any at all, between the AA groups and the Board of Trustees.
After Dr. Bob was unfortunately diagnosed with a fatal illness, the two men realized that eventually they would both pass on. They wanted to make sure that, when it came to AA, there was a way to pass it on. And so it became that in 1951, the first annual AA Conference was held. Members from meeting groups all over the US and Canada attended, and the first Conference Charter emerged, thus giving the AA groups themselves, formal responsibility for all AA World Services.
Our annual FA World Service Business Convention serves a similar purpose. Each FA group who had one available, has sent a World Service Conference member from their meeting to offer a voice and a vote regarding all FA World Service activities. Of equal importance, many of you are here to attend WSI committee meetings or perhaps to observe, listen, and take-it-all in. Collectively, it is all for the greater good.
We are here at this convention ultimately to ensure the future of FA. Over the next two days we will address a variety of business that will allow FA as a whole to function more effectively. And most importantly, we are here to ensure that any person, suffering right now from food addiction, has a way to get help, and that every budding food addict who may suffer in the future, has a place to come when they realize their powerlessness over food.
When FA became incorporated on May 31, 1998 we had approximately 100 members. Today our membership includes over 4,000 individuals and nearly 500 meetings worldwide. Clearly something is working.
Why does FA thrive? There are many ways to answer this question. I’d like to share on one fundamental reason that I feel cannot be overlooked-- one that very recently, I nearly overlooked. This past January, I was asked to speak at an FA Information Session. During the question and answer period, the moderator specifically asked me to respond to, “What is food addiction?” Oddly enough, I had trouble answering the question. Our meeting format rang in my head and all I could stammer out was, “Food addiction is a disease of isolation.” My head went blank. I felt like a deer in the headlights.
With G-d’s help, I pulled myself together and described more about isolation and said something about loneliness. Loneliness was certainly something I experienced when I was a hundred pounds overweight and hurting myself with food, but loneliness and isolation aren’t exactly the answer to this question.
Yes, food addiction is a disease of isolation, but most importantly, food addiction is simply a disease. I truly believe that acceptance of this statement is the basis for our recovery. I cannot afford to forget that I am here to recover from a life-threatening, fatal, and incurable illness. Being in a right-sized body is very gratifying and I thank G-d for it every day. Having developed close friendships within this fellowship has created a sense of belonging that I will always cherish. Having a relationship with my higher power offers me a feeling of peace that is indescribable. But, if I become complacent and stay in FA just to be thin, just to have friendships, just to be closer to a higher power, or even a combination of all three, that won’t be enough. Accepting that I have the disease of addiction means being in FA first and foremost, because I know, with absolute certainty, that living in recovery is the only choice I have if I want contented sobriety.
This understanding needs to forever serve as my personal foundation. I also believe it is the starting point for what will serve us best as a conference. If we are going to be effective and work together, then as individuals, we each have a personal responsibility to keep our own foundation strong, and to pass on a program that helps others build from this same place. For me, this ongoing endeavor evokes some basic questions:
Do I fully accept that I will never again be able to consume flour and sugar normally? Do I fully respect the meaning behind individual binge foods—am I eating or drinking anything that lights up for me or anything that could trigger a binge? Am I fully surrendered to the fact that this disease has the power to kill, and that this recovery is saving my life? And, do I sincerely desire to do whatever it takes to stop hurting myself with food, to stay stopped, and to help others to do the same?
When each one of us answers yes to these questions then we are unified as a fellowship. When each one of us practices recovery that is rooted in this common denominator of abstinence and surrender, then we will be spiritually united in our actions. Personal recovery depends on FA unity. Likewise, FA unity depends on personal recovery. With this as our way of life, we are able to follow G-d’s guidance in our service efforts to carry the message, and to ever improve the FA organization. We reach this point being personally guided by the steps, and allowing our meetings to be guided by the Traditions. As a conference, we are guided by FA’s Twelve Concepts.
Many of us here were first introduced to the Concepts six years ago, shortly after they were presented at the 2005 World Service Business Convention. I wasn’t able to attend that year because of a family wedding, but my sponsor, who had attended, knew the full value of the Concepts and actually took the time to explain them to me in great detail one afternoon later that summer. Despite her clarity, everything my sponsor said to me went completely over my head. In good addict form, I succumbed to the fear of being unable to understand them; I just politely smiled as she described them to me in earnest. Time passed and I managed for several years to skirt around ever really studying the Concepts. It is humbling to admit that, despite having served on the board for the last five years, I’ve only just begun in the last five months to look at them closely. And, even having reread them now several times, I by no means understand them fully. But, I am grateful to understand the Concepts a little better, and I no longer feel afraid of them.
That being said, I’d like to summarize Concept Twelve, which states the spiritual practices that we the Conference agree to uphold. Bill W. calls them “a series of solemn undertakings.” Basically we are asked to practice six principles: 1) to focus on our collective spiritual power, rather than on the supposed power of wealth and authority; 2) to make sound and prudent financial decisions; 3) to refrain from putting any one member on a pedestal; 4) to strive for substantial unanimity in our voting; 5) to have mutual respect for one another, free of words or actions that are punitive or may incite public controversy, and 6) to act democratically, refraining from any acts of government.
In short, our fundamental duty as a Conference is to serve the will of FA members as a whole.
It is a bit daunting to try and figure out the will of over 4000 people. Lucky for us, we recovering addicts have learned that most answers are found, not in my will or your will, but rather, in G-d’s will. Of course, we can’t possibly know G-d’s will for all, but there is one thing of which we can be undeniably sure: G-d’s will, and the collective will of all those who sincerely want recovery-- this combined will rests in the decision to never again eat addictively and in the willingness to serve unremittingly.
The Big Book states that recovery works because we are all addicts helping other addicts. No physician, psychiatrist, or clergy has ever been able to do for a food addict what FA has done for us. So, we are quick to see where those disciplines are right, but ultimately we addicts serve one another. We serve those of us fortunate enough to already be in FA, and we organize ourselves so that we are able to reach those still in need.
Three months ago my husband got laid off from work. When he got the news, he was traveling, on business. He phoned to tell me what happened. It was the kind of call that is entirely unexpected and initially quite devastating. But, as usual service saved the day.
When the call came in, I was in the grocery store. Dumbfounded, I leaned against the shelves of produce behind me. To my surprise, another FA member came down the aisle. He stayed and talked, while I had a short cry, and helped me decide whether or not to carry on with my shopping. Ten minutes later in the seafood section my phone rang- my first friend, called another fellow-friend, who in turn called to offer his support. He helped me move on to the dairy aisle. In the check-out line, the reality of my $300 bill made my stomach drop and the tears welled up again. As I signed my credit card slip, a third fellow came strolling by. She lovingly listened to my tale of woe and offered much needed reassurance.
Once back in the car, I called my sponsor from the parking lot, grateful for her soundness of mind. When I pulled into my driveway, the phone rang again. My husband had just landed back in Boston, and was returning to his office to clean out his desk. I felt so sad for him. I sat in the car to get my bearings, asking G-d for help. Seconds later a text message arrived from the WSI PI chair. It said, “Local Reporter wants to do a piece on FA. Can you please call him right now?”
I smiled, and thanked G-d. I let the groceries sit and went in to call the reporter. For 35 minutes I got to talk freely about this life-saving program. The reporter’s questions brought me right back to basics, giving me a chance to remember the misery of my past, and a chance to recognize the miracle that had just occurred- in the face of shock and sadness in the grocery store, I had no need to go down the Twinkie aisle.
My husband is still unemployed, but G-d is definitely hard at work. Support and suggestions from this fellowship have kept pouring in for my husband and me, making it impossible for our faith to waiver and allowing us to trust that everything will work out. A day at a time, there’s been no reason to eat, no reason to isolate, no reason not to keep giving back.
So, herein lies the great hope- as we are all afflicted with this disease, we are also all privy to the treatment for it- service. Service, both receiving it graciously and providing it freely, offers each of us a life filled with freedom, instead of a life filled with food. As Bill W. said, “Our freedom to serve is truly the freedom by which we live.”
On that note, let us let go, let us let G-d, let us live and let live, and let us get going!
(Delivered by Joan M. on June 4, 2011.)
The newly revised pamphlet, Your FA Seventh Tradition, was distributed to convention attendees to give to the meeting treasurer at each of their meetings and a copy will be mailed to WSI contacts for meetings which had no one at the convention, to give to their treasurer. The pamphlet will be a literature item for sale online and also will be posted in the “Meeting Information” section in “For Members” on the website.
The WSI treasurer presented a thorough overview of how WSI funds are managed and reported the income and expenses estimated for this fiscal year (July 2010 through June 2011) and the planned budget for the next fiscal year (July 2011 through June 2012). Several projects, including the FA Book and the website and design changes, are in progress through next year and these projects use funds from the WSI project reserve.
All FA service levels (meetings, chapters, intergroups, and WSI) continue to rely in large part on meeting donations to meet operating expenses and to carry on the work of FA, so please continue to contribute generously. This year, the average WSI operating cost is $265 per meeting per year, while the average meeting donation was $210/meeting/year. When Intergroup and chapter donations are added to meeting donations, the total is $283/meeting/year. Together they cover the average WSI operating cost and contribute towards projects. Your donations ensure that all levels of FA service can continue to carry the message of recovery.
Some key points from the pamphlet: Your FA Seventh Tradition
The primary purpose of 7th Tradition funds is to carry the message of FA, and to ensure that FA continues to be self-supporting. Members can donate at meetings and can also donate directly to Chapters, to Intergroups and to WSI.
Concept 12 guides all WSI and all FA service levels -- to use prudent financial principles & have “sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve”. In financial matters, we follow the spiritual and practical principles of ‘corporate poverty’ – to:
Be self-supporting (Tradition 7)
Use FA funds wisely (Concept 12)
Keep focused on our primary purpose (Tradition 6)
Keep a prudent reserve (Concept 12)
Pass on extra funds to support more FA work (Tradition 5)
Passing on extra funds – how donations support meetings, chapters, intergroups and WSI
How 7th Tradition funds are used:
Members donate to meetings
Each meeting covers its expenses and prudent reserve, then passes on extra funds
Meetings registered with Intergroup pass on extra funds to WSI and to its Intergroup
Meetings registered with a chapter pass on extra funds to its chapter
The chapter covers its expenses and prudent reserve, then passes on extra funds
Intergroup covers its expenses and prudent reserve, then passes on extra funds to WSI
WSI has expenses, prudent reserve and a project reserve
WSI Financial Practices
The World Service Board is responsible for managing WSI funds and it is supported by its Finance Committee. Each year the Board makes a budget which has specific plans of how to balance income, expenses and projects. To start each year, the remaining funds at the end of a year are separated into two parts: a prudent reserve and a project reserve.
The Prudent Reserve is one year's Operating expenses plus one year of Magazine expenses. The purpose of this prudent reserve is to ensure that FA work (and subscriptions) can continue in case our income or costs suddenly changed.
The Project Reserve has the rest of the funds from previous years, and it is used to fund special projects, which don’t occur every year or which extend over a longer time. Current projects include: FA Book, the Website and Design changes, Translations of FA literature, and PI participation at health conventions. The project plans are reviewed carefully by the Board with respect to the long term goals of World Service before they are approved.
The Operating Expenses are the costs for WSI’s ongoing Services & Functions that are needed every year (the Office, website, PI materials, and corporate expenses). The budget is planned so that donations cover operating expenses. publications and conventions are planned so that their income covers their expenses. Extra funds support projects.
All finances are reviewed regularly by the Board and its Finance Committee.
How WSI manages its funds
WSI budget is planned so that:
Donations cover the Operating Expenses
Publications and Conventions: their income covers their expenses
Extra funds from donations, publications and conventions are applied toward projects
Projects are funded by the project reserve
Prudent reserve is one year of operating and connection magazine expenses, and is set aside and not touched.
Financial Summary Fiscal Year 2011 (July 2010 – June 2011)
The expected income covers operating expenses most of project costs with $5,900 used from project reserve.
(FY2011 actual thru April & est. thru June)
FY2011 (actual + estimate)
DONATIONS $ 148,900
OPERATIONS (Office, web, PI, Corp Exp.) $ 131,300
PUBLICATIONS (Lit, CD, & Mag) $ 112,200 $ 108,600
CONVENTIONS $ 41,300 $ 38,200
PROJECTS (Book, Web & Design, Translations, etc) $ 30,200
TOTAL $ 302,400 $ 308,300
At end of this fiscal year FY2011:
NET INCOME (income - expense) -$5,900
Remaining funds for next fiscal year FY2012:
Comments for Fiscal Year 2011:
This uses actual data through April and estimated data to end of fiscal year.
Donations do cover the Operating Expenses and extra funds go to projects.
Publications and Conventions: do cover their expenses and extra funds go to projects.
At the end of the fiscal year, the extra funds cover almost all of the project expenses and will pull $5,900 from the project reserve (net loss).
Then, the remaining funds become two reserves for the next fiscal year (FY2012).
Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 (July 2011 – June 2012)
The budget is based on moderate estimates for income and expenses with estimates for the project plans. Moderate estimates means using equal or lower income amounts and a small increase in expenses compared to previous year and estimating a moderate number of people attending the conventions.
With this budget plan, at the end of that fiscal year (June 2012), there will be a net loss of $58,900 primarily due to projects for website/design costs and FA Book costs. This means we are spending a portion of our project reserve for these large planned, one-time projects. Most years we are gradually adding funds to the project reserve and now we using those funds for their intended purpose for special large projects.
BUDGET SUMMARY FY2012
(as of 6/3/11) Income Expense
DONATIONS $ 148,400
OPERATIONS (Office, web, PI, Corp Exp.) $ 139,500
PUBLICATIONS (Lit, CD, & Mag) $ 97,600 $ 84,700
CONVENTIONS $ 151,100 $ 131,000
PROJECTS (Book, Web & Design, Translations, etc.) $ 100,800
At end of this fiscal year
NET INCOME (income - expense) -$58,900
Remaining funds for next fiscal year FY2013:
PROJECT RESERVE $ 48,000
Comments for Fiscal Year 2012:
This uses moderate estimates for income and expenses.
Donations do cover the Operating Expenses and extra funds go to projects.
Publications and Conventions: do cover their expenses and extra funds go to projects.
At the end of the fiscal year, the project expenses will pull $58,900 from the project reserve (net loss).
Then, the remaining funds become the two reserves for the next fiscal year (FY2013).
Dan B. was appointed by the WSB as interim Traditions Review Committee Chair (12/10) and will serve the remaining one year of the unexpired term of the former Traditions Review Committee Chair.
Jane M. ran unopposed for Literature Committee Chair and was elected to serve a second two- year term.
Kathleen M. ran unopposed for Secretary and was elected to serve a two-year term.
Misch E. ran unopposed for Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee Chair and was elected to serve a second two-year term.
Rosa R. ran unopposed for Treasurer and was elected to serve a two-year term.
Kris M. ran unopposed for Public Information Committee Chair and was elected to serve a two- year term.
Jim S. ran unopposed for Twelfth Step Chair and was elected to serve a second two-year term.
Current World Service Board
The World Service Board for June 5, 2011, through June 3, 2012, is as follows: Executive Committee:
Chair: Elissa P., MA
Vice-Chair: Dave I., Alberta, Canada
Secretary: Kathleen M., MA
Treasurer: Rosa R., CA
Bylaws Committee Chair: Sue H., CA
Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee Chair: Misch E., FL
connection Committee Chair: Anna B., ID
Convention Planning Committee Chair: Adrienne P., CA
Literature Committee Chair: Jane M., ME
Office Committee Chair: Ruth M., CA
Public Information Committee Chair: Kris M., CA
Traditions Review Committee Chair: Dan B., Toronto, Ontario
Twelfth Step Committee Chair: Jim S., CA
Motions 1, 2, and 3 were discussed and then passed by majority votes. Motions 4 and 5 were amended and discussed, and then passed by majority votes. Motions 6, 7 and 8 were passed by general consent (motion 8 generated some discussion before the vote was taken).
Motion 1: The WSB moves to create a conference mission statement to be placed in the Continuing Effect Motions Manual.
Effect of this motion: This motion gives the conference its own mission statement in order to specifically and intentionally document, in one central location, the primary purpose and guiding principles of the work of the WSC. The statement will serve to remind us of the primary role and function of the WSC and will typically be referred to at each year’s business convention.
Motion 1: WSC Mission Statement
In accordance with Concept One, the voting body at the annual FA World Service Business Convention, also known as the “Conference,” serves as the active voice and collective conscience of the FA fellowship. In accordance with the Twelve Traditions and the Twelve Concepts of FA, our mission is to:
- Carry forward the world services of FA, in an effort to reach the food addict who still suffers.
- Vote in accordance with the dictates of our individual consciences, in conjunction with whatwill best serve FA as a whole.
- Rely upon our trusted servants (the World Service Board) to act freely and effectively in our absence.
- Ensure our future effectiveness by supporting rotation of leadership at all service levels.
- Guiding Principles:
In carrying out this mission, we are committed to the six core principles defined in Concept Twelve:
- We shall never become the seat of perilous wealth or power.
- Sufficient operating funds plus an ample reserve shall be our prudent financial principle.
- No member should ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over another.
- All important decisions shall be reached by discussion, vote, and, whenever possible, by substantial unanimity.
- Our actions shall never be personally punitive nor incite public controversy.
- We will never perform any acts of government and will always remain democratic in thought and action.
[The above statement articulates a vision of the primary purpose of the work of the World Service Conference. It is intended to help clarify for all in our fellowship the role and function of the conference and it will help the conference remember the central purpose that should guide its decision making.]
Motion 2: The WSB moves to allow WSI committee chairs to appoint their core committee members without first securing WSB approval.
Effect of this motion: This motion acknowledges that the FA World Service Board entrusts the WSI committee chairs to appoint their subcommittee chairs and other committee members, e.g. secretary for the committee, vice-chair of the committee, etc. as they deem appropriate. This demonstrates a sound spiritual principle--the conference agrees to “trust our trusted servants.”
Article IX. Committees
Section 1. Bylaws
(a) Members are appointed by the bylaws committee chair.
Section 2. Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee
(a) Members are appointed by the chapter and intergroup support committee chair.
Section 3. Convention Planning Committee
(a) Members are appointed by the convention planning committee chair.
Section 4. Literature Committee
(a) Members are appointed by the literature committee chair.
Section 5. Office Committee
(a) Members are appointed by the office committee chair.
Section 6. Public Information Committee
(a) Members are appointed by the public information committee chair.
Section 7. connection Committee
(a) Members are appointed by the connection committee chair.
Section 8. Traditions Review Committee
(a) Members are appointed by the traditions review committee chair. All members of the traditions review committee must have a minimum of five years of continuous abstinence in FA, completion of one AWOL, as defined in Article II, Section 3 of these bylaws, and knowledge of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of FA.
Section 9. Twelfth Step Committee
(a) Members are appointed by the twelfth step committee chair.
Motion 3: The WSB moves to give voting rights at the WSBC to chairs of the WSB standing committees, which currently includes the Finance, Personnel, Board Motions Review, Design, and Inquiry Response committees.
Effect of this motion: It is valuable for these committee chairs, to have a voice and a vote at the convention each year. As trusted servants, they bring to the conference clear perspective and useful hands-on experience.
Article III. World Service Conference
Section 2. Voting Members
(a) Voting members (WSC members) are (1) members of the fellowship elected by FA meeting groups to represent the fellowship at the annual meeting, known as the World Service Business Convention (WSBC), (2) all duly elected members of the WSB as defined in Article VI, Section 1, (3) chairs of standing committees of the WSB, (4) all duly elected and appointed Board members of FA intergroups, as defined in Article IV, Section 2, and (5) all duly elected and appointed Board members of FA chapters, as defined in Article IV, Section 3.
Motion 4: The WSB moves to make the following changes to Article IV, Section 1 in the WSI Bylaws.
Effects of this motion: 1) WSC members must regularly attend the meeting for which they are elected; 2) The conference now has the freedom to create standards that define FA meetings; and 3) the WSB will create procedures for what to do if a registered FA meeting chooses not to adhere to these standards. These procedures will be approved by the WSC at the 2012 WSBC.
Article IV. Constituent Groups
Section 1. FA Meeting Group (a/k/a FA Meeting or FA Group)
(a) An FA meeting group is a local association of two or more food addicts who regularly meet together to share experience, strength, and hope about recovery from food addiction through the Twelve Steps of FA. FA meeting groups are the primary service bodies of FA.
(b) The primary purpose of an FA meeting group is to carry the FA message of recovery to those who still suffer.
(c) An FA meeting group must register with an FA intergroup or chapter and comply with applicable provisions of these bylaws and the bylaws of the affiliated FA intergroup.
(d) Registration as an FA meeting group requires that:
(1) An FA meeting group welcomes all who have a desire to stop eating addictively.
(2) An FA meeting group adheres to the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of FA as stated in the Sample FA Meeting Format, in the Meeting Guidelines posted on the FA website.
3) The format for the meeting shall include the following:
i) The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of FA.
ii) The definitions of food addiction and abstinence, pursuant to Article II, Section 3 of these bylaws.
iii) The requirement that only members of the fellowship with ninety days or more of continuous abstinence in FA be invited to share.
iv) The requirement that only members of the fellowship with ninety days or more of continuous abstinence in FA shall have a voice and vote at FA meeting group business meetings.
(e) Each FA meeting group may elect one member who regularly attends that meeting to be a WSC member to represent the fellowship at the WSBC, following the requirements defined in Article III, Section 2(b).
(f) The conference may adopt standards, in conformity with these bylaws, for recognition of groups. The conference empowers the WSB to refuse to recognize a group for failure to comply with the adopted recognition standards, through procedures established by the WSB with the approval of the conference.
Motion 5: The WSB moves to add a new motion to the CEMM regarding the Meeting Requirements in Article IV, Section 1 in the WSI Bylaws.
Effect of this motion: All FA registered meetings will be asked to adhere to the standards noted below. The hope is that now, no matter where in the world one finds an FA meeting, one can readily recognize and find FA recovery in that room.
Meeting Requirement Details as adopted by the WSC In addition to the description of FA Meeting Groups found in Article IV Section 1 of the WSI Bylaws, registration as an FA meeting group requires that:
(1) an FA meeting group meet in person for 90 minutes in a public facility.
(2) the chairs be arranged theater style, in rows facing the speaker.
(3) no food plans be distributed at a meeting as an approved meeting document; but food plans may be offered between a sponsor and a sponsee as a component of the complete FA program of recovery.
(4) no materials be offered for sale or distribution or read at an FA meeting, except as follows:
- FA Conference-approved literature.
- a. FA Conference-recognized material.
- c. WSI board-approved material.
- Material distributed by the boards or committees of WSI, FA intergroups, or FA chapters.
- Telephone lists (of registered FA meetings).
- Meeting directories (of registered FA meetings).
- FA Information Session notices.
(5) an FA Meeting Group elect the following required service positions:
- WSI Contact - to maintain communication with World Service.
- Web & Directory Contact - to be listed as a contact person in FA meeting directories andto manage meeting information for the website.
- Intergroup Contact - to maintain communication with the local Intergroup.
- Chapter Contact - (only for a meeting that is registered with a Chapter) to maintain communication with the local Chapter.
(6) in addition to the items listed in Article IV Section I (d)(3) of the WSI Bylaws, the format for the meeting shall include the following:
- The FA Preamble.
- The Big Book readings of “How it Works” and “The Promises.”
- The announcement of the Seventh Tradition.
- The FA Tools of Recovery.
- Announcements welcoming the newcomer and identifying available sponsors.
- A break approximately midway through the meeting for greeting newcomers
(7) Items noted above in (6) and in Article IV Section I (d)(3) of the WSI Bylaws may not be altered in any way from the Sample FA Meeting Format in the Meeting Guidelines posted on the FA website. Other portions of the format (e.g. disciplines or placement of announcements) may be adjusted by group conscience.
Motion 6: The WSB moves to amend the May 2009 Continuing Effect Motion which addresses materials that may be offered for sale or distribution at an FA meeting.
Effect of this motion: The CEMM will be free from redundancies.
FA Conference-Approved Literature includes only the following:
- Twenty-Four Hours A Day book (Hazelden).
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
- The Little Red Book (Hazelden).
- The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (AA).
- All FA pamphlets and books that have been approved by the World Service Conference, including both those in English and those translated into languages other than English. [Note: Items translated into languages other than English retain the same content as their English counterparts. Therefore, such items need not be individually approved by the Conference.]
Motion 7: The WSB moves to clarify the meaning of two outdated terms in the Twelve Concepts of FA. This clarification will be placed in the CEMM but will not appear in the Twelve Concepts themselves.
Effect of this motion: Definitions for references in the Twelve Concepts of FA have been clarified. To have changed them directly would have required that 75% of all FA meetings respond. This method reduces excessive amounts of work and achieves the same goal.
(a) The term “group delegate” as used in the Short Forms of some of the Twelve Concepts of FA shall mean members of the fellowship elected by FA meeting groups to represent the fellowship at the annual meeting, known as the World Service Business Convention (WSBC), as defined in Article III, Section 2(a) of the FA bylaws.
(b) The reference to the FA office in Malden, Massachusetts in the Terms and Definitions Sections of the Long and Short Forms of the Twelve Concepts of FA shall mean the central business office, known as the World Service Office, wherever it may be located within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at any given time.
(c) The reference to Policies and Procedures in the Long Form of Concept Eight of the Twelve Concepts of FA shall mean the FA Conference-Adopted Policies, now found in the Continuing Effect Motions Manual (CEMM). The CEMM is listed on the FA website under Governing Documents, along with the FA WSI Bylaws.
Motion 8: The WSB moves to make the following changes to Article X, Section 2 in the WSI Bylaws to clarify the provision regarding bequests to FA.
Effect of this motion: Humility.
Article X. Finances
Section 2. Contributions
(a) The activities of WSI will be funded primarily through contributions of its constituent groups and members of the fellowship.
(1) Individual members of the fellowship may donate directly to WSI no more than $2,000 in a single fiscal year and may make a one-time bequest of up to $2,000 directly to WSI.
(2) The identity of individual donors will be disclosed only to the treasurer or designees of the treasurer as may be approved by the WSB. The treasurer and such designees shall keep such information confidential.
(3) The acceptance of bequests or donations from non-members, outside organizations, and anonymous donors is prohibited. Donations restricted to a particular use are prohibited.
WSI COMMITTEE REPORTS
(Brief reports presented by the WSI committee chairs on June 5, 2011.)
Bylaw Committee: Sue H., Chair
Visit www.foodaddicts.org to view all WSI governing documents, procedure manuals, and service manuals.
Chapter & Intergroup Support: Misch E., Chair
The Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee currently serves 3 intergroups, 3 chapters and 9 pre-chapter areas. Our meetings are opportunities for these groups to share their experiences and resources. In addition, the CISC is working on a revision of the Chapter Manual.
connection Committee: Anna B.
Take a look at connection's new design and don't forget to subscribe!
Convention Planning Committee: Adrienne P.
The next FA Fellowship Convention will be held on September 23-25th, 2011 at The San Francisco Airport Marriott in Burlingame California. Hotel reservations are now available and on-line registration will begin after July 4th at foodaddicts.org. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next Business Convention will be held on June 1-3rd 2012 at The CoCo Keys Hotel and Water Park in Danvers, MA.
Literature Committee: Jane M.
The Literature Committee is shaping the FA Book for printing in late 2012 or early 2013, translating/publishing pamphlets into Spanish and German, and subtitling CD’s for ease of recognition.
Office Committee: Ruth M.
The targeted completion for the revised website is March 2012. This will include redesign of the logo, literature, overall branding and website development.
It is very important to keep your profile page updated. The first responsibility of a Meeting Contact, PI Rep. or Connection Rep. is to update their profile and let your Web & Directory Contact know it has been updated. Then the Web & Directory Contact will update the service positions using the Online Meeting Change Form.
Please contact email@example.com if you have any website suggestions, comments or if you have a problem with the website so we may help you.
Public Information Committee: Kris M.
Over the course of the two days of the convention, the PI committee discussed the new outreach tool helpful for PI activities with the healthcare community, the survey results posted on the Media section of the FA website, the preliminary version of the new PI rep cheat sheet, weblinks, mediawatch, and the new healthcarewatch. We also discussed the importance of having individual FA members stop posting to social media sites or on blogs. The PI committee has developed a blog response about FA, so now members who see blogs where they think FA should add a comment, can email the PI committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. An appropriate comment consistent to FA's goal of attraction rather than promotion will then be posted by the PI committee.
Traditions Review Committee: Dan B.
This year, the Traditions Review Committee reviewed and discussed how the 12 Traditions might guide the consideration of numerous issues or concerns raised by individuals, meetings, intergroups, chapters and the WSB. The TRC shared our thoughts with those who sent the inquiries and the general fellowship. The TRC also referred multiple inquiries to other resources within FA, when applicable.
12th Step Committee: Jim S.
The Twelfth Step Committee heard reports on activities by the Meeting Accessibility Safety and Effectiveness, Frontier, and Communication subcommittee chairs and by the chairs of the EAI, SAI, and WAI Intergroup 12th Step Chairs. The members discussed current and planned activities and offered suggestions.
CHAPTER AND INTERGROUP REPORTS
(Presented on June 6, 2011 respectively by each corresponding chairperson.)
Eastern Area Intergroup Report (EAI)
This past year the committees and executive board of EAI have endeavored to reach out and strengthen our whole area, from the Mississippi River to Germany, with activities, programs, and communications that better support our six constituencies: which are our food addicts who are still suffering, our meetings, our pre-chapter and development areas, our chapters, WSI, and our Fellows. To get an in depth look at our programs, activities, communication, please write to the email@example.com., and we can mail you our report.
Southeastern Area Intergroup Report (SAI)
In the past year, SAI has participated in many health fairs, panel discussions, and educating the medical field about FA. Our efforts have been geared toward reaching that still suffering food addict and we pray we will have even more opportunities to do the same in the coming year
Western Area Intergroup Report (WAI)
During this past year WAI has continued to implement ongoing and innovative activities striving to reach the food addict who still suffers while supporting existing meetings, local and frontier members, and encouragement for pre-chapter stirrings within our intergroup’s distant service areas. Focus has been given to website links, health community outreach, public media article responses, meetings brought to homebound members, connecting larger meetings with smaller ones for support, and an ongoing effort to keep all meetings informed on Intergroup service opportunities while upholding FA standards through 12th Step service. For a more detailed report on the year’s accomplishments, contact WAIoffice@foodaddicts.org.
Maine Chapter Report
The Maine Chapter of EAI supports 22 meetings in Maine and New Hampshire, with 20 members attending chapter meetings, working in Office and PI committees. In 2010-11 we assisted meetings in updating their registration online; provided banners, literature and newspaper advertising for 8-10 information sessions during two separate times of the year; distributed 70-80 brochure racks to meetings; held the 4th statewide meeting support day; considered a motion for the convention; and hosted EAI’s chapter support day. As a result, interest in and support of the chapter has increased throughout the state, both in participation and 7th Tradition contributions. For 2011-12 we will be adding a 12th Step Committee, changing our phone information line to an 800 number, and continuing PI activities around the state.
Michigan Chapter Report
The Michigan Chapter serves 38 meetings by encouraging and supporting healthy meeting practices and new public information activities. Our current focus is to increase participation in Chapter activities by emphasizing service and fellowship.
South Florida Chapter Report
The South Florida Chapter is the smallest chapter. We meet quarterly and concentrate on PI and helping our meetings increase their PI efforts with racks and letters to the health professionals. We serve 21 meetings, but many of those are not within driving distance of our chapter meeting, so we serve them with emails and telephone contacts. We usually have about 12 participants at our meetings.
Vice Chair’s Closing Remarks
(Delivered by Dave I. on June 5, 2011.)
My name is Dave and I’m a food addict.
From the big book we read… “We are average [people]… who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined.
The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in harmonious action.”
My fellows, as we prepare to disperse from our 10th Annual FA World Service Business Convention, and hurriedly prepare to travel home to various locations around the world, let us stop for a few moments and reflect upon this fellowship, what holds us together, and this understanding among us that is “indescribably wonderful.”
Service is, at times, hard work, and the path of service is not always the easier way, even though it’s the better way. Keeping this lifeboat of recovery afloat and in good repair is not always enjoyable or comfortable, especially as this lifeboat is getting very large now and in need of continual upkeep and repair. But the service we render here and at our local level is the rent we pay for the program of recovery we have so generously been given. And with this service comes enormous growth!
I’m sure every one of us has had more than one reluctant thought about the personal and financial sacrifice it takes to be here. But when these thoughts come to me, I am now able to step back and remember where I have come from: on a Sunday morning before recovery, I would be in the middle of a weekend binge - walking aimlessly through the pantry, looking for something to fill that hole inside of me; feeling bloated, bleak, and hopeless from a night of eating, stuffing myself with more food to cover up the feelings of inadequacy from not being able to stay on whatever diet I was on; then sitting alone in front of the television, flipping through channels, hoping that something would lift me out of my self-centered depression. When nothing held my attention, I would then wander back into the kitchen to find something else to eat, knowing full well the answer wasn’t there, but not having a clue where else to turn.
But I am standing here today in front of you, a part of something that is more important than my little ailments and complaints, being useful in my own small way, free of self-hatred and the depths of despair that I lived in for so many, many years. The gratitude I feel today goes beyond words, and doesn’t necessarily come from the results of the service that I render, but rather from the experience of being of service. Thank you all for being a part of my recovery that enables me to realize this.
So… as we head home I leave with you three simple messages.
First - there are no small service positions. No service positions in this room and in this program are more important than any others. Going back to the Big Book’s analogy of the life boat, how can you say that helping row the life boat for awhile is any more important than repairing a hole in the bottom of the boat where water is seeping in? Just because some of us sit at the head table, it does not make our positions any more important than that of the person who sits at the registration table and greets the shy and nervous member coming to the convention for the first time. While I have deep respect and love for the enormous efforts that I have witnessed among my colleagues on this board, we all do good work and we each, in our small and sincere way, make a difference. For me, the real recognition comes not from the world but from God, such as when I retire at night and sit for a few moments of stillness and experience with gratitude, the peace and self-respect that comes from a day of abstinence and the choice of service over self-interest.
The second message I’d like to leave you with is to remember why we do this. As we are reminded in our meetings, we are not saints. We are simply growing along spiritual lines. We claim spiritual progress, not perfection. Our service here this weekend and beyond is obviously helpful to our fellowship, but it’s also immensely important to us as individuals. I do this work to strengthen my own recovery. I accepted this position on the board for the opportunity to grow.
To be perfectly honest, it’s easier for me to work with newcomers than to serve as Vice-Chair. Business meetings, board meetings, dealing with motions, and learning to communicate in a clear and respectful way, are not easy for me. Even going to business meetings at the group level is not easy. It’s uncomfortable for me to be in relationships where my defects will inevitably surface. But self-respect doesn’t come from doing what’s easy. It comes from doing what’s right and what’s needed.
And all this service is far better than living a life of isolation, unaware that I even have defects, or clueless about what to do with them! Needless to say, I continue to grow enormously in service positions in FA, especially this year on this board, and I wish to publicly thank my fellows at the world service level who have graciously and respectfully tolerated me and grown with me during my first year in this position. My friendships and love have deepened with so many that I have come in contact with as a result of being in this position. Believe me, I’m a better person for having known and worked with you all this year. We learn from the 24 Hour- Day book that, “Material things have no permanence.” But the peace that comes from doing this work does in fact sustain me, as an individual, and also sustains all of us, collectively, as a fellowship.
The third message I leave you with is this: Let us all remember how much we need each other. It’s not always easy to continue to weigh and measure our food in a world that wonders why we keep doing this. (How do you explain to an in-law that eating one appetizer could eventually send you to a psychiatric hospital?) It’s not easy to take the high road and work on our own defects in a relationship rather than blaming, complaining, or spreading gossip. It’s not easy to sustain an adequate spiritual condition in order to maintain freedom from food in a world where food is so pervasive. It’s not easy having a respectful conversation with a person in your fellowship who remains very heavy and yet continues to hold service positions. But we are not alone in these challenges and growth opportunities! Not only do we need a God of our own understanding in our lives and the structure of the 12 Steps to make that Power real, we also need each other. You can’t sink half a ship, and you can’t sink half a lifeboat. What each of us does affects each and every one of us.
The good news is we aren’t sinking! We are growing. We are, indeed, stumbling forward, with and through the grace of God, and as we grow, the need for unity remains ever more vital. Bill W. once said that we “come together in our weakness, and grow together in our strength.” How true for all of us here this weekend, and in the FA fellowship worldwide. Think about why you came into FA, and why you stay in FA. It’s messed up relationships—with ourselves and with others—that bring people here, and it’s relationships—healthy ones now that we are in recovery—that keep people here. Living an abstinent life, free of food and fear, and working toward freedom from our defects, is inspiring – at least to those who are ready for the message.
I must admit that much of my recovery, especially in the early years, has been driven by fear – fear that if people at my meetings didn’t do what I do, that somehow my program would be weakened. I was around in 1998 when we separated from OA, and I have been, at times, afraid that our fellowship will go back to OA. This fear inevitably results in judgments, rigidity, tension, and a “rule-based” recovery instead of a principle-based program. I go to meetings to get my medicine, but I’ve been so uptight at times that the medicine couldn’t get to me.
After several AWOLs and trying to live honestly over the years, there are a few things I’ve learned and need to continuously be reminded of:
There is no need to fear if I have let go and let God (the essence of this entire program). I know what kind of program I need, and I know what I need to do to keep my spiritual condition strong. I am enormously grateful that I have been given a program with such clarity, boundaries, and healthy structure – both for meeting the newcomer and for meeting the demands in my life. There is no need to fear, because no one is capable of taking my program away from me without my consent.
When I let go of my fears and turn them over to the care of a God of my understanding, I am then free to listen to others with an open mind. And I make room to learn something! If I am judging, I am in fear. And if I am in fear, it means I have lost conscious contact with God. I recently experienced this in my own fellowship. There is a person there that I have judged for some time. I judged her program. I judged her sponsor (even though I didn’t even know who her sponsor was!). And I judged this person’s character. She called me one day and I didn’t want to return her call. But I let go of the fear and made a decision to be kind and loving when I called her back. In our conversation, I began to open up with her about a significant relationship challenge in my life. What I got back was actually a very helpful response. I discovered that she was a wise person, but until that moment my judgments had prevented me from accessing this wisdom.
What we need in our fellowship is conversations, not condemnation. How can we possibly be a spirit of attraction to a newcomer, much less live a peaceful life, when we are in fear, judgment, and resentment? We need to seek first to understand. Through a desire to understand, and bringing an attitude of “letting go and letting God,” my fears dissolve. Then, if there is an opening and willingness, to be understood. We can be a light, rather than a judge. We can decide to assume that every person who comes to a meeting comes with good motives, and our actions will flow from that decision to practice love, rather than fear. Every challenge is God’s way of providing us with an opportunity to grow.
So… to return to my original quote from the Big Book, what is this common way that we can all absolutely agree upon? What is it that we share?
First, we share the disease of food addiction, and the awareness that this is a disease, not a moral weakness.
Second, we share a unified definition of abstinence, and, as of yesterday, we now have a unified definition of what an FA meeting is! I am thoroughly convinced that the way this motion came about, through the voice of sane individual and collective thinking – the wisdom of group conscience - was not driven by fear but by clarity. Like all important decisions in this fellowship (including the definition of abstinence), the definition of an FA meeting was not a board-driven mandate but rather a conference-led decision.
And third, we share a commitment to recovery – in our own unique, God-guided, weighed and measured way.
As we set forth now to fulfill our responsibilities on our respective committees, boards, groups, and individual efforts, it is my hope that we each remember to be guided in every decision and every action by our primary purpose: to help reach the suffering newcomer. This is what we are ultimately all here for!
Safe travels, my friends, and until we meet again, may God bless, support, and sustain you all in this vital work.