World Service Business Convention Report - 2012
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 1-3, 2012. Over 309 members attended from Australia, Canada, Germany, England, the District of Columbia, and 26 of the U.S. states. Four new CDs were recorded by FA members on Friday afternoon, and there was an FA sharing meeting that evening.
Four business motions were discussed and all were passed with substantial unanimity. 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 officers, and five WSI committee chairs all reelected for a second-term.
Questions regarding any portion of this report may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in service,
Kathleen M., WSI Secretary
June 25, 2012
Letter from the FA WSI Board
Dear FA Fellows,
As many of you may know, the 11th annual World Service Business Convention (WSBC) was held in Danvers, MA, June 1-3, 2012. In August, the entire 2012 WSBC Report will be made available to all. That report will include opening and closing remarks, a detailed financial summary, and detailed WSI committee reports and intergroup and chapter reports as well. For now, please enjoy the following summary.
Overview: 309 members attended from Australia, Canada, England, the District of Columbia, and 26 of the U.S. states. Four new CDs were recorded by FA members. One FA sharing meeting was held. WSI committee chairs summarized services and resources available to the fellowship. A preview of the newly designed FA website and logo was also presented. Both the website and the logo will be available for use in the coming months. Each intergroup and chapter chair reported their accomplishments as well. The WSI treasurer provided a financial summary for the last fiscal year and two officers and five WSI committee chairs were all re-elected for their second-term.
Motions: Four main motions were discussed and voted upon. Due to a lack of time, a fifth main motion was withdrawn by the World Service board and will possibly be proposed again next year. Motions 1 and 2 were passed unanimously, and Motions 3 and 4 passed with substantial unanimity.
Motion 1 resulted in a new procedure for helping all meetings to abide by the existing FA meeting requirements and standards. The current standards and requirements are included on the next page for your reference. Ultimately all FA meetings will be required to re-register in order to carry out the new procedure. Details for how this is to be done will be sent to meetings sometime in the next 4 to 6 months.
Motions 2 and 3 resulted in changes to, and conference-approval of, the Sample FA Meeting Format. Revisions have been made to the disciplines, the tool of service, and the “literature announcement.” A new “connection announcement” has also been added. The new Format is posted online, and is attached as well. WSI contacts, please ask your meeting secretary to print this format for use at your meeting.
Motion 4 showed a significant opinion in favor of continuing to hold bi-annual fellowship conventions. The next fellowship convention will most likely occur in the fall of 2014.
Many thanks to all for your ongoing service,
The World Service Board
FA Meeting Standards and Requirements
At the 2011 World Service Business Convention (WSBC), the conference voted to have standards for all FA meetings. The related motions at that time 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.
In order to register as an FA meeting, a meeting must agree to the following practices:
- 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; only approved literature and material may be read at an FA meeting
- 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)
- elect a WSI, Web & Directory, and Intergroup contact
- elect a chapter contact, for meetings registered with a chapter
- elect one WSC member (if the meeting chooses to); if so, such member must regularly attend that meeting and
- use a meeting format that includes:
the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, the definitions of food addiction and abstinence, the FA preamble, How it Works, the Promises, the announcement of the 7th tradition, the FA Tools of Recovery, at least ninety days of continuous abstinence in order to share, and have a voice and/or a vote at business meetings; announcements welcoming the newcomer and identifying available sponsors, and a break approximately midway through for greeting newcomers. All portions mentioned above must be identical (unaltered) to those found in the Sample FA Meeting Format of the Meeting Guidelines.
(Delivered by Elissa P. on June 2, 2012.)
Welcome to the 11th Annual FA WSBC. My name is Elissa and I am a food addict. Although we are all food addicts here, it is quite possible that each of us comes to this convention with varying intentions. We may be here to do service in a new way, to learn more about a committee, to vote on motions, or to just spend a weekend with two hundred of our favorite food addicts who are not eating addictively. Whatever our personal reasons, it is certain that we have one common denominator. We all support and believe in our primary purpose - to stay abstinent and to carry the message to the still suffering food addict.
The annual World Service Business Convention helps guarantee that FA will continue to be available for all food addicts in need. By addressing the business at hand, we help FA function effectively at an organizational level. In turn, our work can help support individual meeting groups who, in turn, support the individual food addict. Being here at this convention is one way 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.
Clearly we are on the right track. As an organization we are thriving: We have a solid set of governance documents. We are financially sound. We have a well-functioning central service office and clear guidelines for hiring employees when needed. We have a system for addressing concerns from within our fellowship, and a plethora of communication tools for sharing recovery internally. Further, we have strong resources for sharing FA with the public, all around the world, not the least of which are a new and improved FA logo and web site.
Our foundation is strong. We have something to lean on. We can have faith that FA, as an organization, is here to stay. We will not crumble. However, as the Big Book tells us, “Faith without works is dead.” So, we must continue to do our part and not “rest on our laurels.”
FA grows as an organization when we as individuals take care of ourselves. We must continue to live the twelve steps to the best of our ability. Recognizing our powerlessness over food and our need for a higher power, and then taking the action and inventory steps in sequence, ultimately allows us to make conscious contact with G-d and to practice the principles of recovery in all our affairs. Simply put: the twelve steps, well lived, make each of us available for service.
As the Twenty-Four Hours A Day book says, “A life of service is the finest life we can live. We are here on earth to serve others. That is the beginning and end of our real worth.”
Recovery has shown me that my purpose here on earth is to get well and stay well, so that G-d may help me help another food addict get well and stay well. Despite this strong conviction, living life on life’s terms is not always easy. Sometimes my self-worth and my sense of purpose can get rattled.
For the past nine years, I have had and cherished the luxury of primarily being a housewife and mother of two, working outside the home just one day per week. One year ago, a change in our financial circumstances prompted a need for better employment. I accepted a position last fall and have been working full-time now since November.
Balancing this new lifestyle has been intense, with a capital I! Sometimes it has felt as if I’ve been given more than I can handle. At times, fear, doubt, and insecurity have unwantedly crept back in. However, time and again I am shown that service consistently converts those negative feelings into something much more useful. Fear, doubt, and insecurity are replaced by faith, trust, and hope, and an even deeper appreciation of this recovery. Doing service doesn’t eliminate the reality of my current situation. But taking action changes my focus, renews my perspective, bolsters my attitude, and lets me feel closer to G-d. Stepping out of self-centeredness keeps me far from the food; I get filled up instead on the possibility of easing someone else’s discomfort.
Serving is one small way that I am able to repay the debt that I owe to G-d, and to this recovery, for saving my life. When I reflect on my personal beginnings here, I am genuinely moved by how much collective service is behind any occurrence of reaching just one person.
At 9:00 a.m. on July 20, 1996, I weighed 200 pounds and was consumed with feelings of self-hatred and despair. By 12:00 noon on that same day, I felt less heavy and more hopeful. How did that happen? A good friend drove 35 minutes from her house to mine, to take me to the 10:00 a.m. meeting, one and a half blocks away from my front door. During the sharing at the meeting, someone spoke from her heart, humbly stating that she used to be 90 pounds overweight, but because of recovery she has been in a right-sized body for 15 years. At the break, someone took the time to introduce herself to me. At the end, someone was available to sponsor me. Behind the scenes, others made sure to handle business matters so that I could leave the meeting with the literature and phone list in hand. This kind of giving, this abundance of spiritual generosity, is a demonstration of gratitude in action; combined with a reliance on G-d, it is a significant part of what makes FA, FA.
The FA program gives each of us daily opportunities to serve. And, in serving we are insuring our individual recovery, as well as insuring the ongoing existence of the FA program. By being together this weekend, we are a pure embodiment of service in action. We have all made sacrifices to be here, but no doubt, this will result in something very worthwhile. Each time we take quiet time together before a business session, each time we do committee work, each time we share a meal together, each time we enter into G-d guided debate and discussion regarding the motions—each time we do any of these things, we are doing worthwhile acts of service for one another, and we are that much closer toward sustaining FA, so that the program may continue to serve others. I am so grateful to be here with all of you! Thank you for your willingness to be here too.
That being said, let us move onward with our agenda so that the work we do in here can keep reaching the newcomer out there.
VICE CHAIR'S REPORT
Personnel Committee – Summary:
FA currently employs 6 staff:
- Office director
- Web Designer
- Office manager
- Connection designer
- Connection editor
- Professional writer for the FA book
This fiscal year, we:
- Developed a hiring format/check-list for chairs when hiring long-term positions;
- Supported the office committee in managing the web redesign project, specifically regarding personnel issues;
- Ensured that our employees and independent contractors are being managed appropriately and constructively;
- Supported WSI committee chairs in the performance management/annual reviews of paid employees.
We have new resources for your groups!
Documents 1 through 7: Under Meeting Information/Meeting Guidelines. These have been revised and updated. These will be available on the web site by June 30. Titles are in your handouts.
Below is a brief summary of these revised documents:
Document 1 - Meeting Requirements, Standards, Registration, and Changes: Details new meeting requirements voted in by FA Conference in 2011 and slight changes in new meeting registration and meeting changes.
Document 2 - FA meeting essentials: Also details new meeting requirements voted in by FA Conference in 2011.
Document 3 - Format Options for Meetings: Stresses the importance of the newcomer at the meeting and how to choose a format that will best serve them. Gives new format options with recommended reading for Literature meetings.
Document 4 - Sample FA Meeting Format: Will include the requested changes made by the FA Conference in 2012.
Document 5 - Suggested Wording for FA Service Announcements: Revises announcements in accordance with new Sample FA Meeting Format.
Document 6 - Literature, phone lists, CDs: gives further clarification on material displayed on literature table and on maintaining a meeting phone list.
and Document 7 - Service Positions: Descriptions and Responsibilities: Updates service positions and business meeting format according to revisions in above documents. Also includes new information for connection rep. and treasurer.
(Delivered by Rosa R. on June 3, 2012.)
Income for fiscal year 2012 was $353,850. This included donations of $133,050.
Income from publications was $85,000, income from conventions was $135,800.
Our expenses for fiscal year 2012 were as follows:
- Operating expenses $131,700
- Publications $75,100
- Conventions $110,350
- Projects, such as the book, web and design, translations and PI health events,$107,100
This gave us a total income of $424,250. Leaving us a net income of -$70,400. This negative amount was planned. We have a Project Reserve of $57,000 and a Prudent Reserve of $172,400.
Meeting donations are down 10% and connection subscriptions are also down. We would like to encourage people to subscribe to the connection and please encourage your meetings to send in the 7th tradition to their intergroup and to World Service. Thanks for your support!
Elissa P. ran unopposed for Chair.
David I. ran unopposed for the Vice Chair.
Sue H. ran unopposed for the Bylaws Committee Chair and was elected to serve a second two-year term.
Anna B. ran unopposed for the connection Committee Chair and was elected to serve a second two-year term.
Adrienne P. ran unopposed for the Convention Planning Committee Chair and was elected to serve a second two-year term.
Ruth M. ran unopposed for the Office Committee Chair and was elected to serve a second two-year term.
Dan B. ran unopposed for Traditions Review Committee Chair and was elected to serve a two-year term.
Current World Service Board
The World Service Board for June 3, 2012, through June 9, 2013, 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 & IG 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, Canada
Twelfth Step Committee Chair: Jim S., CA
Motion 1: Meeting Compliance
Procedures to Help FA Meetings Abide by Meeting Requirements and Standards
a. Registration of New Meetings
New meetings that wish to affiliate with FA are required to register using the online registration form. The form obligates the new meeting to agree to abide by the FA-WSI meeting requirements and standards as stated in the June 2011 continuing effects motion. Submission of the registration form indicates the meeting’s agreement. Once registered, the meeting is added to the meeting lists of FA-WSI and the associated intergroup or chapter. It may then be included in printed meeting lists and on the FA website.
b. Renewal of Registration for Existing Meetings
All meetings in existence before October 1, 2012, will have ninety days from that date to renew their registration. This will assure that existing FA meetings are in alignment with the meeting requirements and standards established pursuant to FA Bylaws Art. IV, § 1(f).
The Renewal of Registration form requires meetings to abide by the meeting requirements and standards. Any meeting that fails to renew within ninety days will be given notice that it has an additional thirty days to do so. Failing that, it will receive a phone call from a member of a Board-designated committee to discuss its reasons for not re-registering. In this discussion, the committee member will offer guidance, support, and education to help the meeting with its final decision. The Board-designated committee will collaborate with the WSB in writing a letter to send to any group that does not renew or does not agree to the standards and requirements. The letter from the WSB will state that the meeting will be withdrawn from publicized meeting lists and the FA website.
c. Periodic Renewal of Registration
The Board shall require all existing FA meetings to renew their registration every three years. If FA meeting standards are changed, renewal of registration will be requested in the year following the change. The Board may shorten the interval between renewals for other reasons, if it deems it necessary.
d. Procedures When a Meeting’s Practices Are in Question
Meeting practices should always be addressed first at the meeting level. If an FA member attends a meeting that is not operating in accordance with the agreed-upon FA-WSI requirements and standards, the issue should be discussed face-to-face with the meeting’s WSI Contact in a supportive, respectful manner. The member should remind the WSI Contact of the requirements and standards that a meeting must accept in order to be considered an FA meeting. He or she will attempt to help the meeting better understand the registration process; the principles underlying our requirements and standards; and why the FA Conference, acting for the fellowship as a whole, does not support meetings that fail to abide by these standards.
If the meeting does not wish to abide by the agreed-upon standards and the member believes that the meeting’s practices could harm newcomers or FA as a whole, the member may approach the Board for support and guidance. The Board will designate a committee to respond to this concern (most likely the Inquiry Response Committee [IRC]).
The Board-designated committee will work with the concerned member regarding next steps. The committee will assess whether or not one of its own members should communicate directly with the meeting’s WSI Contact. The committee’s role is to provide support, guidance, and education both to the concerned member and the meeting.
If A Meeting Becomes Willing to Abide by Meeting Standards
After further conversations, if understanding is reached and the meeting agrees to the standards, it remains registered.
If A Meeting Does Not Agree to Abide by Meeting Standards
Through its group conscience, an FA meeting may decide to persist in practices that conflict with FA-WSI meeting requirements and standards. After thoughtful evaluation of the situation, the WSB, in consultation with the Board-designated committee, may conclude that the meeting’s practices pose a significant threat to newcomers or FA as a whole because the meeting identifies itself as an FA meeting. Essentially it is choosing to be something other than an FA meeting.
If the meeting is notified of the Board’s decision and still chooses to assert its identity as an FA meeting, the Board-designated committee will communicate with the meeting’s WSI Contact and again attempt to clarify the principles underlying the FA-WSI requirements and standards.
If the Board-designated committee determines that the meeting still rejects FA-WSI meeting requirements and standards, it will prepare a report for the Board recommending cancellation of the meeting’s registration. The Board will send the meeting a copy of the report and give the meeting thirty days to respond.
After the Board receives a response or sixty days following the meeting’s receipt of the report, the Board will decide by majority vote whether or not to continue to recognize the meeting as an FA meeting. If the Board decides against continued recognition, the WSI secretary will notify the meeting and instruct the World Service Office to remove the meeting from the FA website, the associated intergroup or chapter directory, and any other FA documents.
e. Procedure When a Meeting’s Practices Are in Question and the Meeting Wants to Remove Itself from the FA Meeting Directories
If a meeting decides through its group conscience not to abide by the FA-WSI meeting requirements and standards, it must send a meeting cancellation notice to its intergroup or chapter.
f. Procedure for WSB to Report Back to WSI Conference When and Why Meeting(s) Have Been Removed
When meetings are removed by the WSB from meeting lists, FA directories, and documents for reasons of non-compliance, for the purpose of educating the fellowship as a whole, the WSB will verbally report to the Conference at the next WSBC the reasons why each meeting, if any, was removed.
The WSB moves that the Conference adopt the concept that a Sample FA Meeting Format be approved at the Conference level.
The rationale for this motion was that the board was responsible for revising the document, but given that the meeting format is a very important document that identifies an FA meeting, the board decided that changes ought to come before the body (not just the board).
Effect of this motion: Any changes to the meeting format have to be conference approved.
The WSB moves that the Conference approve the Sample FA Meeting Format which is now posted on our website and has been sent to WSB contacts.
Below are the sections that changed in the format:
Free newcomer packets and phone lists are available at the literature table. In addition, books, pamphlets, CDs of individual stories, and copies of the connection magazine are for sale there as well. We also have trifolds to post in the community and letters to take to health care providers and/or faith community leaders. Someone will be at the table to assist you during the break and after the meeting. Would the literature person please stand and identify him or herself?
connection is a magazine of experience, strength and hope created by food addicts for food addicts. Subscribe at foodaddicts.org or purchase an individual copy at this meeting. You can also submit art and articles. Would the connection rep please identify him or herself?
Proposed wording: The Disciplines of the Meeting
- No smoking, food, or drinks please.
- We encourage people to arrive early to help set up the room and greet newcomers.
- Please refrain from texting, doing handicrafts, or engaging in any activity that might distract others.
- We do not mention food by name or describe it in detail, as this may make some of our members uncomfortable.
The Tool of Service
We do service by staying abstinent, giving us the freedom from compulsion and obsession with food to allow us to be available to others. Any service that will help reach a fellow sufferer adds to the quality of our own recovery. Sharing at meetings, talking to newcomers, answering the phone, putting away chairs, doing whatever needs to be done for FA, including supporting your intergroup or chapter and attending business meetings, are ways we give back what we have so generously been given. Do what you can when you can. “A life of sane and happy usefulness” is what we are promised as a result of working the Twelve Steps. Service fulfills that promise.
Meeting Format Must Contain:
The meeting format must contain the following:
- The FA Preamble,
- “How it Works”,
- the Promises of the Program
- the FA Tools of Recovery
- announcements of the 7th tradition collection
- welcome to the newcomer
- identification of available sponsors
- a break approximately midway through for greeting newcomers.
All portions must be identical (unaltered) to those found in the Sample FA Meeting Format of the Meeting Guidelines.
Things That Can Be Changed:
Additions to the disciplines such as:
- Perfume announcement
- No gum chewing
- Where to park
- Placement of announcements
- Collecting 7th tradition after qualification if you have a lot of latecomers.
The WSB moves that the WSC recommend that the Board continue to organize and hold a Fellowship Convention.
WSI COMMITTEE REPORTS
(Brief reports presented by the WSI committee chairs on June 3, 2012.)
Chapter & Intergroup Support: Misch E., Chair
The CISC serves three Intergroups and two Chapters:
- Eastern Area Intergoup
- South Eastern Area Intergroup
- Western Area Intergroup
- Maine Chapter
- Michigan Chapter
This CISC also currently serves six pre-chapter areas:
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Toronto, Canada
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Washington, DC Area
- Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Significant Events of the past year:
The South Florida Chapter closed their chapter at their January meeting
- The South Florida Chapter had been in existence for eleven years.
- Seven of the original participants when the chapter was formed were also at the closing.
- The primary reason for closing was the lack of enough people willing to do the service.
In light of this closing of yet another chapter, our core members are re-evaluating the current chapter model.
- The Central Florida Chapter closed their chapter last year.
- A chapter in New York State had closed a few years ago.
- The DC area once had a chapter that closed.
Work on the Chapter Manual has been suspended while the chapter model is being re- evaluated.
CISC plans for the coming year
Based on discussion regarding the viability of the current chapter model, the committee will make suggestions for chapters.
The CISC will examine the committee’s mission statement in light of the above decisions and recommendations.
connection Committee: Anna B., Chair
- Have you read the connection lately, or recommended it to a sponsee or a newer member? It is equally valuable for members on the FA Frontier and those in young fellowships, just like hearing a strong share.
- The connection is always looking for articles, we would particularly like to hear the experience of those of you who have been around long enough to know how and why FA came about.
- The magazine would also like your support by helping members to understand the importance of buying the magazine rather than borrowing it.
- Unfortunately there is a common misconception about meeting subscriptions. Folks think that a meeting buys a subscription and then lends that copy to its members, or uses that copy to read at its meetings. When this happens, nobody subscribes to the magazine or buys the individual copies.
- A meeting buys a magazine subscription for resale purposes only. Just like the literature person buys the Big Book and pamphlets—it is to sell at the meeting not to lend.
- Have you ever used the magazine at a meeting, like you might use a CD—in place of a speaker? Try it—it’s the best! Just be sure to use an older copy of the magazine sothat folks are busy buying the new ones!
Thank you for helping the magazine continue to serve!
Convention Planning Committee: Adrienne P., Chair
The next FA Business Convention will be held at The CoCo Keys Hotel and Water Resort in Danvers, MA on June 7-9th 2013.
Literature Committee: Jane M., Chair
- 31 stories completed and reviewed by the Board and Literature Committee; one pending to be shaped and reviewed.
- Intro and pre-story materials updated.
- FA readers and copy editor to review late summer/early fall.
- Book design to be completed by December 2012.
- Book sent to printer by March 2013.
- Subtitling 71 CDs for ease of identifying/ordering; 46 complete, 25 to be done.
- Considering process for creating downloadable qualifications for a fee.
- Continue to record CD qualifications at each FA convention and make them available for purchase on-line.
- German Pending: Food Addiction There is a Solution; Are You Having TroubleControlling the Way You Eat?
- Spanish/German future: Meeting Format (Spanish) and Meeting Guidelines (German)
- *German future: Before You Take the Bite, Men in Recovery, Just for Today (All pamphlets require English updating first.)
- FA Book e-publishing and print copy book publishing plan being developed
- Pamphlets updated and published:
- English updates: To Our Families and Friends; There is a Solution; The Twenty Questions; Teens and Twenties; Some Thoughts on Sponsoring; Men in Recovery; Are You Having Trouble Controlling the Way You Eat?; Anorexic/Bulimic There is Hope.
- o Spanish Updates: Are You Having Trouble Controlling the Way You Eat?; There is a Solution.
- o Spanish NEW: Some Thoughts on Sponsoring; Twenty Questions.
- o German NEW: Some Thoughts on Sponsoring; Twenty Questions.
- o German Pending: Food Addiction: There is a Solution; Are You Having TroubleControlling the Way You Eat?
Office Committee: Ruth M., Chair
A preview of the newly designed FA website, logo, and pamphlets was presented.
The new login and profile pages were also displayed with emphasis on the importance of keeping all your personal information correct.
Your Profile contains all the information for your FA transactions and for the various communications sent from FA.
- If your email address is correct you will receive your Intergroup, Chapter, WSI, GIA, and Frontier emails
- If you’ve forgotten your password, you will need to sign in with your email and request to reset the password.
- If your address is correct, you will receive your Connection, Literature, and CD orders.
- If your phone information is correct, then the correct phone number will be on the Meeting Directory (for people who are Web & Directory Contacts).
If you have any problems, questions or suggestions about the website, please send the information by email to email@example.com.
Public Information Committee: Kris M., Chair
- Discussed MediaWatch and potential contact to Mayor Bloomberg and the Michelle Obama website.
- Discussed Healthcarewarch and outreach at large national and international health conferences, including the national Primary Care Today Physicians' Conference in Toronto and the National Association of Addiction Treatment Professionals in Austin, TX. We also discussed participation in the Walk for Obesity in MA, Los Angeles, and Charlotte.
- Discussed new PI documents released including the Board statement on social media and paid advertising, the PI Rep cheat sheet trifold called So You're a PI Rep, Now What? and the Anonymity Letter to the Media.
- Discussed Weblinks which reaches out to college and corporate websites where relevant to ask for the FA link to be added to their resources pages.
Traditions Review Committee: Dan B., Chair
The TRC has been charged by the WSI to review and discuss how the Twelve Traditions might guide the consideration of specific issues and concerns raised by individuals, meetings, intergroups, chapters, or the WSB.
We are a sounding board for the fellowship for meeting level issues. The TRC shares the results of our discussions and thoughts with those who have sent inquiries. We also report regularly to the general fellowship. Members submit their issues by email which is listed on the “contact us” page of the FA website. The committee meets quarterly and communicates by email more frequently and does our best to get back to members as soon as possible.
To give you a taste of the type of issues we deal with, I’m going to quickly summarize two examples of issues we reviewed this year:
- A member heard a radio show broadcast where another member was interviewed and was concerned about the content of the interview being seen as promoting FA.
The TRC members listened to the interview and came to a consensus that the caller was not promoting FA or conflicting with the traditions. Although it is more of a public information issue, the TRC noted in the quarterly report to the fellowship that it is recommended that at least two members with longer term abstinence are there to represent FA when interviewed by the media, particularly on live radio or TV.
More details on this recommendation can be found in the Public Information Kit on the website.
- Secondly, a meeting was asked to donate money to a new FA meeting that was struggling. Ensuing discussion at the business meetings resulted in a disagreement. The meeting requested guidance in light of the Traditions. In response, the TRC pointed to Tradition 7 which says that each meeting should be self-supporting, declining outside contributions. The TRC saw two alternative interpretations of Tradition 7:
o Option #1 - a one time, reasonable donation would be acceptable, if it was from another FA meeting and not from outside FA. However, after this donation, we suggested that this meeting should be able to stand on its own. If, the meeting needs ongoing or substantial help, they should consider if the meeting should close until there is sufficient financial support available from its members.
o Option #2 - If however “outside contributions” were interpreted to be ANY donations from outside a meeting’s 7th Tradition collection, the TRC felt this would also be a reasonable interpretation
The TRC often receives questions that are not specifically related to the Twelve Traditions. In these cases, the committee reviews the issue or concern and decides to which other WSB committee the inquiry, and the resulting TRC comments, should be forwarded.
Issues outside the TRC purview are referred to multiple committees and resources. TRC was asked to review the convention motion relating to the implementation of procedures to address the previously approved Meeting Standards & Requirements.
The TRC reviewed this motion as it stood in late January and provided comments to the WSB and the responsible sub-committees. The motion has been since modified by the WSB, Bylaws Committee, and other relevant committees in advance of the World Service Convention.
The TRC consists of a chair elected by the conference, a vice chair, secretary, and members-at-large. The Bylaws Chair also has a voice on the committee. Members are appointed by the chair according to our selection and application process. All members of the TRC must have:
- a minimum of five years of continuous current FA abstinence;
- completion of one FA AWOL; and
- knowledge of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of FA.
The application form can be requested by email. All applications received will be held until committee positions become available, and then will be considered.
If you’re interested…please apply!
12th Step Committee: Jim S.
Frontier Phone List & Communications
- For FA members who are 100 miles or 161 km or more from an FA meeting
- Do service by making calls
- To get on/receive list: FrontierList@foodaddicts.org (provide name, phone number, city, state/province, country, email address)
- Updated monthly
- WSI Contact responsible for distribution of list
Frontier Sponsor List
- People who assist FA members in finding a sponsor
- Primary purpose is for members 100 miles or 161 km or more from a FA meeting
- To be on list: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Members on the Frontier receive the current list monthly
- Get it at www.foodaddicts.org
- “Contact Us”
- o “WSI 12th Step Committee”
- o “Request Frontier Sponsor List”
Universal Language List
- FA members with conversational fluency in languages other than English
- No abstinence requirement to be on the List
- To be on list: email@example.com;
- To get the list, see the WSI Contact at your meeting.
Gratitude in Action Newsletter
- E-newsletter of FA news
- Purpose is to promote gratitude and service
- Send comments, feedback, and submissions to GIA@foodaddicts.org;
- To get it, establish username and password at www.foodaddicts.org and receive the newsletter by email, or see the WSI Contact at your meeting.
CHAPTER AND INTERGROUP REPORTS
(Presented on June 5, 2012 respectively by each corresponding chairperson.)
Eastern Area Intergroup Report (EAI)
Overriding Goal and Theme
- Strengthen fellows and meetings through improved communications using phone, internet, email and face to face events, so that we can better support each other as we strive to reach the suffering food addict.
Purpose of EAI:
- Further FA program in accordance with the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of FA
- Maintain a communication center and unity for all FA meeting groups, local service organizations, and chapters affiliated with FA-EAI
- Educate the public about FA.
- EAI Contact Calls
- Speaker Phones at Committee Meetings on EAI Sundays- PI, Teens andTwenties, 12th Step
- connection Committee Writing Sessions, Michigan, Maine, Florida and CLSOM Support Weekend
- Developed web page and presently adopting WSI’s new program.
- C L S OM Support Weekend and Reachouts
- Streamlined EAI Report
- Rebuilding our liaison program to Chapters and Local Service Organizations
- Expanded financial Aid Program to include Reachouts
- Nine WSI Voting Members received financial aid
- Funding travel for PI Meetings
Some Major Programs
- Established Chair of Public Outreach
- Launched Literature Kit and Waiting Room Booklet with our 35 coordinators and 80 meeting reps for distribution
- Conducted 13 T &T outreaches (college health fairs, public high school, recovery high school)
- National and International PI events in Boston
- With help of WAI, established Weblinks
- Substantial increase in liability insurance coverage for individual meetings throughout EAI
- 12th Step financial help for individual area needs (banners, travel).
Southeastern Area Intergroup Report (SAI)
- Conducted panel discussion with two bariatric clinics
- Spoke with staff members, including surgeons, nurses, intake coordinators, exercise physiologists, dieticians and psychologists
- Added position of connection Chair and established writing team of four members who are committed to submitting articles three times a year
- Participated in the NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) walk.
Western Area Intergroup Report (WAI)
- Established in 2000
- Monthly meetings with 270 average attendees
- 221 meetings served in Australia, California, Western Canada, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, New Zealand, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington.
- Income $47,634
- Expenditures $34,956
- Donations to WSI $12,317
Public Information/Media Committee
- Teens & Twenties
- Community Outreach
- Trifold Racks
12th Step Committee
- Target Area Resource/Partner Meetings
- Homebound/12th Step Calls
- Speaker Travel Fund
- Spanish-speaking Meeting Support Liaison
- Outlying Area Speaker List
- WAI Meeting Directory
- Tracking meeting changes
- WAI Meeting Summary distribution
- Active 800# phone information line
- On-site literature sales
Maine Chapter Report
- Serve 19 meetings in ME & coastal NH
- Monthly meetings with approximately 20 people. Three committees meet separately (more effective)
- New 12th Step Committee provides list of FA members willing to travel to qualify
- New Toll-free Phone Number 1-888-998-5297
- Meeting Effectiveness question developed with EAI monthly. Sent with Highlights to all meetings. Groups discuss at business meetings and come to Chapter to share
- Assist Web/Directory Contacts. Provide meeting directory trifold
- 5th Annual Meeting Support Day with chapter meeting, panels & group discussions on service (75-100 attend)
- 7th Tradition donation to EAI/WSI = $2,900 (FY11-12)
- PI Committee: waiting room booklets; Info Sessions for health professionals, corporate employees, university staff; paid advertising; listing in state-wide health and social services website ("211"); brochure racks with meeting directories; health fairs
- Annual Board retreat for planning, team building
Michigan Chapter Report
Provides Service Opportunities
- EAI/WSI Committee conference calls
- Reachout planning
- Liaison between chapter and meetings
- Chapter meeting attendance.
Encourages Healthy Meetings
- Communicates with each meeting by phone and email
- Encourages maintenance of web information and use of website resources
- Discussion of Healthy Meeting Practices.
Reachout in cooperation with EAI
- Reaches Out to Sick and Suffering Food Addict
- 800 Phone Line
- Information Sessions and Health Fairs
- Shares ideas for Public Information activities
- Waiting Room Brochure Pilot Program
Vice Chair’s Closing Remarks
(Delivered by Dave I. on June 3, 2012.)
I’m Dave and I’m a food addict.
Sixteen years ago I raised my hand and said for the first time in an AA meeting that I needed help. There was no FA fellowship in Canada at that time and for the next twelve months I shifted between OA meetings and AA meetings in an attempt to find a program that would provide me with a solution to a problem that was slowly taking my life. Bingeing and purging between meetings, with suicidal thoughts, bouts of depression and rage, and an increasingly unmanageable life, I just kept going, somehow trusting that one day I would find a way out. Eventually, by the grace of an unseen power that to this day I do not understand, I went to a meeting where two women had flown more than two thousand miles from Boston to speak in a city that had no FA program. An indescribable sense of relief came over me as I felt joined together with two other recovering food addicts. Hope was born in me that day. I was no longer alone. Soon after, I asked one of these women to be my sponsor and began a journey that has saved my life. Eighteen months later I went to my first meeting in the Boston area, at Luke’s Church in Chelsea, and sat with what seemed like a hundred other recovering food addicts. Once again, I was inspired. Once again hope was born in me. I knew then that if God could do this in Chelsea, that God could do this in Canada.
While the recovery in this room is, for many members now over three decades, today Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous is fourteen years old. This means that while we are far from being a new organization, we have not yet “come of age.” We are still in adolescence, approaching maturity, but not there yet, and as such cannot escape the challenges and responsibilities that come with a growing organization.
The work that has been done at this convention over the past forty-eight hours is the culmination of thousands of hours of service this past year in committee meetings, conference calls, information sessions, supporting outlying groups, writing and proofreading, developing motions to help our fellowship grow, leading and sharing at meetings, and of course, sponsoring. That’s why I love this program. It’s a program of action, not a program of analysis. Every one of us, by doing our part to help reach a suffering newcomer, also does our part to make FA what it is today, a growing fellowship that is spreading across the planet.
As we prepare to travel to our respective destinations after another amazing business convention and celebration of this program and our recovery, I wish to send you home with three messages:
My first message is that as we move toward the next stage in our organization’s maturity, we need to continue to trust God and trust the strength of our recovery.
I came into this program at the age of forty with the emotional maturity of about a four- year-old. I dealt with every problem in my life, whether in my relationships, my career, or myself, by turning to food for the solution. Instead of developing the resources and capabilities to solve those difficulties, I turned them into unresolvable food problems with yet another diet or exercise regimen that would eventually lead to failure, despair, and self-hatred.
I had to be re-parented. For the first six months, I had to be told everything: what to eat, what time to call my sponsor, what time to get up, what time to go to bed, how to deal with my wife when I was angry, and how to deal with the day-to-day challenges and stresses of life. At first, I had to learn to be honest and to surrender, which I learned was the foundation of my recovery. I did this by trusting my sponsor and letting go of my will.
Like a child, my dependence on her was intense. I learned to stop fighting, to take the food off the scale when it got to 6.0 ounces, and to choose the medium fruit.
…And then it was time to grow up. While my food plan and my meetings will always belong to my sponsor, and the fundamental disciplines of surrender around my food will be with me a day at a time for the rest of my life, every other area of my life will continue to be a work in progress as my sponsor guides me to my own truth and to my own experience of God.
Just as a child must mature into adolescence and eventually into adulthood, so too must our fellowship. I often hear statements of fear and self-criticism, even among members with long-term abstinence, such as:
“I can’t be trusted because I’m an addict,” or
“My mind is a bad neighborhood. I can’t go there.”
I have my own version of this. For several years, when I came to this convention as a voting member, I didn’t think for myself. When it came time to vote, I looked across the room and voted the way my sponsor voted. Like a child, I wanted someone else to make my decisions. But this over-reliance on my sponsor kept me chained to immaturity and simply wasn’t good for my recovery.
We learn in AWOLs to “know thyself.” By being honest with ourselves and others and being willing to live a life that we believe God wants for us, the understanding of ourselves deepens and in the process we come, through humility, to trust ourselves. While my contented abstinence needs to be the framework for all my decisions, sometimes I am confused. In these times it is important to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n enough to be still and listen and trust my inner voice, the voice of my Higher Power. Of course we need to share our confusion, fears, and uncertainty with our fellow members when they arise. But ultimately, we must risk making a decision, even if we aren’t 100% certain, and then take responsibility for the consequence of that decision. If I make a wrong decision, God will help me make another decision later to correct it. We might be wrong, but unless we risk, we can’t grow. I have learned that there is a God in my life, even when I make mistakes – and that I’m never really free until I live with trust, knowing that I’m in the stream of goodness, carried on this path to recovery.
The reason I am saying all this is because it is time for us to feel good about ourselves; to step forward with confidence; to trust that our motives are solid and our recovery strong; “to appropriate, not supplicate” (24 Hours a Day); to know that we have something to say and something to offer; to bring this fellowship another step forward in our continued responsibility to reach newcomers around the world. This will not only be good for our maturing recovery; it will also be good for our maturing fellowship.
My second message is to bring courage into your commitment to service. Everyone in this room understands the vital importance of service in our own lives and for the future of FA as a whole. The book 24 Hours a Day asks us to take a periodic inventory:
Do I feel a deep sense of loyalty to the whole [FA] movement?
Am I not only grateful but also proud to be a part of such a wonderful fellowship? Is there an opportunity somewhere to advance the world of [FA] that I have been putting off or neglecting?
This fellowship will continue to grow, in part, due to the courage of the convictions of every person in this room. However, we all understand the gravitational pull of complacency, especially as our years of abstinence increase and our lives get more full. Now, more than ever, courage is needed in the lives of each and every person here. In this fellowship there are a growing number of members who are disconnected with the way many of us work this program. We now have members in outlying areas who have never heard of committed meetings, quiet time, the discipline of three phone calls a day, the 24 Hour A Day book, or even that there is a WSI or an annual business convention. Not only are some of our members drifting from their roots, many aren’t even aware that there are roots! Courage means standing tall on our convictions. Courage means sharing in our meetings and our phone calls, the actions we take each day to stay abstinent. Courage means taking on that one extra sponsee, even though we are afraid it may disrupt our morning. Courage means sharing our experience, strength, and hope beyond our own meetings by making the extra effort to bring our stories into public venues where we are invited, including health fairs, high schools, college classrooms, and health-care associations. Courage means talking to our physicians about our recovery and about what this program means to us. Courage means taking the time to submit articles to The Connection magazine. Courage means resisting the tendency to let others do the service. On behalf of the outlying areas, one of the best ways to bring courage into your service to us is to continue to return the phone calls of the newcomers who call you. Courage means being willing to be uncomfortable for the sake of our fellowship and to act our way through our fears and our complacency.
My third message is to continue to bring unity into your fellowship.
As long as I am asked to serve in the capacity as Vice-Chair, and as long as I give these remarks you will hear me talk about unity.
It appears to be human nature that when societies form, polarity emerges. In the United States, you have dealt with the North/South division. You have Democrats and Republicans. In Canada, we have Liberals and Conservatives, and French and English. In our program we have the “West Coast” and the “East Coast.” We have those who read one page of the Big Book at night, and those who read two. Those who say “thank you” after someone shares, and those who don’t…
While diversity and debate are essential for the survival of a democratic society, leadership in recovery requires stepping back and transcending these divisions, while reaching for higher order thinking and responding that will reach for the common good, the underlying and unifying force that binds us together.
I am in full support of our commitment as a conference to have clarity as to what makes an FA meeting, to educate and support groups who have been either misguided or are run with self-will. This is our work. We must continue to be a light not a judge. This is a time to listen and understand, not govern; to attract, not promote; to share, not preach.
Diversity is a gift because it provides us with an opportunity to learn something about ourselves. I recently found myself judging a man I work with. By sharing the situation with my sponsor, I discovered that this man reminded me of my father who was inappropriate and embarrassed me when I was a child. He triggered judgment in me because I had not yet accepted who I am. Learning this has helped me be more accepting of this person, of my father, and, most importantly, of myself. As a result of working through this “difference” and potential conflict, and applying the 12 Steps, I’m a better person. People who trigger us are here to teach us.
For a long time I would come to meetings with a subtle, unacknowledged judgment that there was one “right” program for anyone who wanted recovery from food addiction – and I had found it. Deep down, I arrogantly believed that I “knew” what this program was and that anyone else who didn’t work the program the way I worked it, had less recovery than I did. This led to “tolerating” people rather than respecting them. While I acted the part of a spiritual member who tolerated people who were different than me, I was still filled with judgment, tension, and fear. When I’d go to meetings I’d get uptight just driving into the parking lot when I saw the cars of people I secretly wished wouldn’t be there. If this is meant to be a program of attraction, I certainly wasn’t very attractive. What I’m coming to learn is that recovery in a fellowship means respecting each individual’s right to find the kind of program that is right for them. There is no “right” or “wrong” program for anyone except ourselves. This goes beyond tolerance to a deep respect, acceptance and appreciation for others without the need to make anyone different.
As we read in the 24 Hours a Day book. “The human mind is so delicate and so complex that only its Maker can know it fully.” Who am I to judge how anyone else works their program or what kind of program anyone is called to live? I have a hard enough time knowing what is right for myself, let alone what is right for anyone else.
Every problem, every conflict, every challenge, every loss, comes to us as a spiritual opportunity. These are opportunities to turn to God, to reacquaint ourselves with an abiding Higher Power that lies within us to support and sustain us, to retake Step Three, and to learn from the experience. By doing so we have an opportunity to find true meaning in our mottos, “Let go and let God,” “Live and let live,” and “Easy does it.”
While we reflect on the evolution of our fellowship since its conception in 1998, we may not be unified in a way that many had hoped, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t experience unity. We need to let go of the expectation of everyone doing the program the same, and create a new vision in the challenge of diversity.
My vision of unity is to attain a sincere respect for the diversity of the human – and thus recovery - experience. Thank you God we, as a fellowship, are unified around our definition of abstinence, our commitments to AWOLs and working the steps, and our obligation to adhere to the meeting guidelines as established by this body, our challenge, in the next stage of our maturing fellowship, is to let go of the idea that unity means conformity. Unity is not the same as everyone doing the same thing or thinking the same. To mature we must learn that unity means acceptance amidst diversity. That is the challenge ahead of us. We have nothing to fear if we lean into the strength of the God of our own understanding, if we are confident in the strength of our convictions, if we maintain, with humility, an open mind, and are willing to seek to understand before attempting to be understood.
There is an old First Nations saying that goes:
“What we do not listen to, we do not understand; what we do not understand, we fear; what we fear, we seek to destroy.”
How we treat minority ideas and how we learn to embrace diversity will be a test of our spiritual maturity, both within ourselves and within our fellowship.
From The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions (Illustrated) we read:
“This we owe to AA’s future:
To place our common welfare first
To keep our Fellowship united
For on AA Unity depend our lives
And the lives of those to come.”
We read in the 24 Hours a Day book this morning, that “Love is the power that transforms our life.” As I look over this audience, I know that the love and gratitude I experience from each and every one of you, and for each and every one of you has, indeed, transformed my life.
Travel safely, my good friends. Our fellowship and our very lives depend on the contribution that each and every one of you make.