World Service Business Convention Report - 2013
Highlights from the 2013 FA World Service Business Convention:
- Four hundred forty-nine members attended from Australia, Canada, Germany, England, Scotland, the District of Columbia, and 30 of the United States of America. Four new qualification CDs were recorded on Friday afternoon, and there was an FA sharing meeting that evening.
- Saturday morning was complete with opening remarks, a website tour, a presentation regarding the new FA book, the treasurer’s report, and elections for the 2013-14 World Service Board. As of the close of the convention, over 2,900 books (including 1,600 on site) had been sold to FA members worldwide. In order to continue with projects like the book, and other services to reach the newcomer, members are encouraged to continue to give generously to the 7th Tradition. Elections resulted in four new committee chairs, and re-election of two board members serving their second term.
- Saturday afternoon included 3 discussion sessions regarding reaching the medical community, strengthening meetings at home and on the frontier, and making use of supportive resources within FA. Valuable resources discussed during these sessions are noted in the full Report.
- Saturday night afforded the fellowship our first ever Mocktail party, including a photo booth, lively entertainment and fun for food addicts from all walks of life. To those of you who were center stage, thank you for your bravery and good humor!
- Sunday morning included a sharing meeting, during which members with 15 years or more of continuous abstinence in FA shared about how service has helped strengthen their recovery. The meeting ended with a recap of current service needs and closing remarks.
- It is our pleasure to extend a heartfelt thanks to every member of this wonderful organization. Together we ensure FA’s ongoing success and that our program will continue to be here for every food addict who desires to get well.
Please mark your calendars. The next business convention will be held May 30 through June 1, 2014. We look forward to seeing you there!
Questions regarding any portion of this report may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in service,
The World Service Board
OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE
Practically speaking, the World Service Business Convention fulfills our legal obligation. As an
international non-profit organization, we are required, for instance, to meet annually to provide
conference members with a financial report and an opportunity to elect board members.
Spiritually speaking, each year’s convention helps us keep FA strong and helps us further our
efforts to reach the newcomer. This practice is working. Since our incorporation in 1998, we
have grown from less than 100 members then to over 4000 members now, collectively attending
550 meetings worldwide.
It is important to know that structurally, FA is a “bottom- up” service organization. World
Service, Inc., or WSI, is here to help reach the newcomer by serving FA as a whole and by
supporting intergroups. Intergroups support chapters and meetings, who in turn support the most
important entity- the individual FA member. WSI officers, committee chairs, and committee
members are not here to exercise power or authority. It is just the opposite. Our role is to humbly
serve and support.
To be useful to the overall fellowship, WSI needs some amount of formal organization. This
includes a board comprised of 4 officers, and 9 committee chairs. The specific committees are:
Bylaws, Chapter and Intergroup Support, connection, convention planning, literature, office, PI,
Traditions review, and the 12th-step committees. Forty subcommittees support these WSI
Six additional committees, including finance, personnel, design, inquiry response, board motions
review, and the newly established book publishing, distributing, and marketing committee,
support the board. Each year, if needed, the resolutions committee and the emergency new
business committees are available to support the conference with main motions.
SELECT ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
In concrete terms, our fellowship and its committees have:
• Participated in national conventions
• Sent hundreds of correspondence to healthcare professionals
• Obtained increased media coverage
• Maintained a central service office with two paid employees
• Successfully implemented and completed the meeting reregistration process for almost all 550 meetings
• Responded to dozens of inquiries related to meeting health and the 12 traditions
• Continued to produce literature in multiple languages
• Supported local service areas in their quest to strengthen FA in their particular regions
• Supported many members on the frontier from China to Mexico, to Alaska to Uganda
• Sustained our magazine
• Launched a newly designed website
• Published a new book
Commentary from the WSI chair
Wow! All this, and so much more! Who’d ever imagine that a bunch of addicts could be so
productive and useful?
This reminds me of a wonderful line in the Big Book. In the story entitled, A Late Start, a 75
year-old woman expresses her gratitude for her first 7 years of sobriety. She states, “AA has
filled my days with friends, laughter, growth and the feeling of worth that is rooted in
Yes, constructive activity. I think its fair to call it that. We are a service organization- and we are
good! We are here to support all this constructive activity. And in turn, of course, we get back
the gifts of laughter, growth, and feelings of self-worth. Thank you G-d for contented abstinence.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of hours have generously been given by so many recovering food
addicts in our fellowship. If I were to try to thank each person who contributed to all the service
acts just mentioned, we would be here all day just doing that. So instead, let me extend a
genuine, heartfelt thank you to EVERY person in this room. Together we are clearly a
committed and dedicated bunch, all “tiny, but essential,” all doing our best to help reach the still
suffering food addict. Let us thank each other, and of course, let us thank G-d!
It does seem a bit unfitting not to mention a few specific acknowledgements. These individuals
and committees worked especially hard, tending to the logistics of the weekend.
Adrienne P from CA, the convention planning committee chair, epitomizes “service with a
smile.” Each year, from the end of the last convention, to the start of the next one, Adrienne
cheerfully navigates the ins and outs to ensure that all the pieces of this weekend are sewn
together seamlessly. A big thanks to the entire convention planning committee, and the EAI
convention resource committee, who have also handled numerous details.
And to the staff of our World Service Office: Adrienne C, our Office Director and Lynne
Guzinski our Office Manager- Thanks to both of you for working tirelessly in regard to this
convention, while also maintaining the daily operations of the FA World Service Office. We are
very grateful for your diligence.
Thank you to all of you for your contributions!
(Delivered June 8, 2013, by Elissa P., WSI Chair)
Recently a friend asked me, in regard to these remarks, “What’s your elevator statement?” That
was her clever way of saying, “So, what’s the point?” Her question urged me to summarize my
message right from go. So, here it is:
FA is a program of attraction. We must remain attractive in order to grow. Without newcomers
FA will perish. Our attraction to others is contingent upon our emotional maturity and how we
conduct ourselves, both organizationally and individually. Assuring that both our World Service
efforts, and our sponsor/sponsee relationships, are supportive and responsive- rather than
controlling or authoritative-make FA an attractive 12-step program. Taking individual
responsibility and finding one’s own truth, while living the principles of this program, are
essential to this process.
My hope is that as a fellowship we will embrace these ideas fully, so that FA as a whole will
continue to flourish. I have recently experienced a heightened commitment to this and the result
has been a new happiness and a new freedom. Let me share with you some experiences that
have led to this.
Last fall, the board met for two consecutive days to address a whole slew of issues-- lots of
business related to the bylaws and committee procedures. It all seemed very important. We
appeared to be getting a lot done, and then, one board member did something incredibly brave.
She said, “Why are we discussing these things? Why aren’t we talking about how to reach the
newcomer?” Her questions were simple, yet profound. Eventually, after much heart-felt
discussion, and with G-d’s help, we arrived at a group conscience. From a list of 30 possible
goals and needs, we decided on the top 4 most meaningful.
We let go of some tasks and goals. But most importantly, we let go of a certain attitude. As a
board, we renewed our commitment to who we are in this “bottom-up” service organization. We
reminded ourselves that neither the board nor its committees are in charge. We are not here to
give permission or make decisions for anyone.
The board may provide tools that are well thought out; however, it is ultimately up to the groups
to decide for themselves how to use these tools. For example, while the board-approved Meeting
Guidelines may suggest using business meetings to review the responsibilities for each service
position, the meetings themselves need to decide if this is a valuable suggestion. Or, for instance,
when the fellowship reaches out to the Tradition Review committee regarding a potential
“violation,” the committee may help clarify FA principles. But, ultimately our responsibility is to
encourage individual members, meetings and intergroups, to explore their own truth about
difficult questions and concerns.
This renewed understanding deeply affected the board’s work this past year. In preparing for this
business convention, we intentionally built an agenda based on how to reach the newcomer and
keep FA strong. In an effort to minimize the minutia that often comes with making changes to
our governance documents, we consciously decided not to put forward any board-generated
motions. This is a first-ever in the history of any FA WSBC and it feels like a very grown-up
decision. Even our parliamentarian, who is now out of a job this weekend, stated that this is “a
definite sign of FA’s growth and maturity.”
Now, no one would ever deny that most motions presented by past boards have proven very
useful! We have spent 15 years laying down this organization’s foundation, and no doubt, our
cornerstones and the scaffolding that protects us, have come in the form of board submitted
motions. But we have grown. We are currently in a place where our structure is strong. We can,
therefore focus this year’s convention almost entirely on service.
When I think of the benefit of allocating our time this way, I get tickled pink. If a newcomer just
binged at a convenience store and is rushing home to look on the internet for a way to stop eating
and puking, he or she likely doesn’t care that the organization is proposing a motion to amend,
for example, Article V, section 2, letter d. But, maybe because some FA member was personally
moved to do service and took time to post some literature, then that same desperate food addict
might be overcome with hope the next time she’s at the Laundromat or the library, and she
stumbles upon a rack with an FA trifold in it. Service is attractive. Service helps us grow and
When I first came into FA, I was rather immature, rather unattractive (in more ways than one!). I
didn’t want to make phone calls, go to intergroup, or get down on my knees. I didn’t want to
weigh 200 pounds anymore either, so I took suggestions, but I was resentful. As I progressed, my
desire to get well increased, but I still struggled. I relied too heavily on my sponsor to give me
my answers. It was hard to face my own shortcomings. It was hard to develop a dependence on
G-d. I also yearned to be a good sponsor, but I struggled with finding the balance between being
helpful and being controlling.
Seventeen years later I am still having my process, but, exactly as my fellows promised, it just
keeps getting better- more freedom, more happiness, more maturity. Last fall, a struggling
sponsee was upset because his committed meeting fell on Halloween night. He felt he should be
with his kids. In the past, if a sponsee had been hinting at this conflict, I might have likely cut
him off and said, “I don’t see the problem here. You have a committed meeting. You’re a food
addict. Go to your meeting.”
But this time something different happened. I was able to hear his concern. I was no longer
boxed in by “rules” that I had set up for myself, no longer afraid of whether or not I was, “doing
this right.” With G-d’s help, I was able to say to my sponsee, “Well, let’s talk about this. What
does Halloween mean to you and your family?” In the end, he went to his committed meeting,
but it was because of his choice, not mine. It was incredibly freeing not to tell him what to do.
Last week a sponsee asked me, “Do you think I broke my abstinence?” I used to think it was my
job to determine the answer to this question. I no longer believe that that is my role. I replied,
“Let me answer your question with a question. Given what you know about the principles of this
program, do you think you broke your abstinence?” We had an honest conversation. My sponsee
came to her own conclusion and in that process we both grew leaps and bounds.
In the spirit of emotional maturity, my role, as a sponsor is to just share my experience, in order
to help a sponsee find his or her own truth and own answers. Perhaps I have just stated the
obvious, but for me, for many years in this program, it was not obvious at all. It is only recently,
that I really came to understand the value of taking individual responsibility and owning my own
recovery, and encouraging others to do the same.
Emotional maturity does not come naturally to me. In sci-fi movies and cartoons, I really
identify with the alien who lands on earth and immediately says, “Take me to your leader.” I am
that alien- I instinctively and immaturely want and need to know that there is someone in charge.
I do not think I am alone in this way of thinking. I am certain that many a newcomer has sat in a
meeting wondering at some point, “Who’s running this show?” No matter how sincere our
attempt, he or she is probably not quite ready to hear us rattle off, “Oh, well, G-d’s in charge.”
How we as a fellowship address such a concern is critical to the well being of both the newcomer
and FA as a whole. The answer stems in part, from how we view ourselves in relation to both
World Service and sponsorship. There are no leaders in FA. If intergroups or meetings feel
subordinate to World Service, or if a sponsee is made to feel inferior to his/her sponsor, it will be
a breeding ground for resentment.
No intergroup, chapter, local service area, or meeting should ever be in a position where they
cannot help the newcomer because they feel as if, “WSI won’t let us.” This is not in the spirit of
the Twelve Steps, Traditions, or Concepts. So, if for example, some FA members are upset that
they cannot recommend phone meetings to a newcomer, we must only remember that this
decision evolved from the collective wisdom of the World Service conference. If some FA
members are upset that they cannot place religious material on the literature table, we must
remember that this too was an FA conference-approved decision. The conference- FA’s voting
members elected by FA’s members- determined, defined, and embraced these and other meeting
requirements and standards. The conference did this so that no matter where in the world one
goes, a newcomer can witness the continuity that makes FA, FA. These decisions came through a
process of honest, mature reflection, group conscience, and each voting member deciding his/her
This does not mean that any meeting or group of meetings should branch off and recklessly do as
they please. This means that within the context of the Traditions and the principles of FA,
registered FA meetings should use those principles to make their decisions. When exploring an
idea, a region is encouraged to turn to its Intergroup or World Service as a sounding board, but
not as the rule maker or heavy hand. As an organization, we have historically found comfort in
obtaining “approval” from our service boards. Moving away from this need to be governed is an
area where we are still evolving. But, when we successfully trust in G-d and in one another, it is
further evidence of FA’s maturity and we remain an attractive program.
I strive for my personal recovery to be attractive as well. As a sponsor, it is unwise for me to tell
a sponsee what to do. I am here only to lovingly offer what has worked for me, without judgment
or expectation. As a sponsee, it is unwise for me to robotically hang onto my sponsor’s every
word or look to her in the hopes that she will tell me what to do. It is a disservice for me to put
her on a pedestal. It is my responsibility to listen closely and be open to suggestions, and to then
honestly decide for myself what is right for me.
Again, this does not mean that it supports my recovery to do whatever I please. It means that
within the context of the 12 Steps and the principles of this program, I am to honestly weigh and
measure my actions. I need to humbly ask myself fundamental questions such as, “Is this
abstinent behavior?” “Did I ask G-d for help?” “Am I willing to go to any lengths?” and “Does
this choice help the newcomer?” When anyone of us does this, it is further evidence of individual
Each one of us is then well on our way toward being happy, joyous, and free- qualities that are
As is stated so clearly in our literature, “We are going to know a new happiness and a new
freedom… No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can
benefit others. . . Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. . . We will suddenly
realize that G-d is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
I am overcome with joy as I see these promises materialize for each of us-- amazed at how, in
recovery, people’s lives are changing every day. FA is a program of attraction. Each of us has
been transformed into healthy, happy, mature human beings filled with purpose and well-being,
ready to serve. What could be more beautiful?
FA WEBSITE TOUR
(Delivered June 8, 2013, by Joan M., Website Subcommittee Chair)
At the Saturday Morning Business session, attendees were introduced to the new FA website.
• Members were shown how to create their personal logins and to update their individual
profiles, which are necessary for all meeting change requests, individual transactions and
service position updates at the meeting level.
• Members were shown how to navigate the website, in order to access a vast amount of
o General Information: find a meeting; information for potential newcomers,
professionals and members of the media.
o Pages for WSI, EAI, WAI and chapter documents and information.
o International sections for English speakers from Australia, New Zealand,
Canada, United Kingdom; and also for German speakers; Spanish speakers; and French speakers.
o Pages for ordering FA literature (including the FA book), CDS and subscriptions.
A SUMMARY OF THE FA BOOK
(Delivered June 8, 2013 by Fran M., WSB Book Publishing, Distribution, and Marketing Committee Chair)
This summary is presented to you on behalf of the Book Publishing, Distributing and Marketing
Committee (BPC) and the (outgoing) Writing Editing Subcommittee (WES) of the Literature
Committee. The Writing Editing Subcommittee of the Literature Committee wrote and produced
the book. The Book Publishing, Distributing and Marketing Committee put the book in your
hands, at the conference or through the mail. In fact, well over one hundred people contributed
in a material way to this book. But when this report says “we,” it means the committees that
have put considerable thought into the FA book for a long time.
There is a lot of information that we think you should have and would find interesting. This
summary includes a brief history of the FA book project. Then, you will learn how the book was
actually written and produced. You will find some thoughts on integrating the book into your life
and your meetings, and finally, we will anticipate the future of the book.
A Brief History of the Book Project
In 2003, when Susan L. was chair, the FA Board embarked on a dream—the Board decided to
publish a book about the FA program and recovery. It took several years and many talented
people on the Literature Committee to produce a first draft of the book. It was an extraordinary
effort. It produced a solid collection of stories about recovery. We owe a huge debt of gratitude
to those who worked on the first draft because their service was so important to the ultimate
The Literature Committee, chaired at that time by Anne B., submitted their first draft to the
Board. The first draft was finished in 2008 and was presented for approval by the Literature
Committee to the World Service Conference (WSC) in June 2008. The first draft was made
available to the entire Conference, and read by many in the fellowship. There were hours of
discussion about it at the conference.
After extensive and intensive review, the WSC of 2008 approved the book as conferenceapproved
literature in substance, even though it was still in draft form. It was acknowledged
there was more work to be done on the draft. The Literature Committee asked the Conference to
trust the Literature Committee as trusted servants to bring the draft into publishable form. The
motion passed and the FA book, in draft form-- that is, not word-for-word but in substance--was
given World Service Conference approval.
In 2009, the Literature Committee, under Jane M.’s leadership, delegated the finishing of the FA
book to its Writing Editing Subcommittee (WES). The WES team consisted of Becca D., Ann
H., Kesaya N. and Franny M.
It took over three years. Over those years, the WES re-worked the entire draft, moved material,
did some reorganization, added the “family and friends” section, and discussion of the steps. We
recorded all new stories. WES brought it to a final draft, but we wanted to be sure that we were
on the track of what the Literature Committee and the Board wanted. So every word of the final
draft text and every production decision was reviewed and endorsed by the Literature Committee
and by every member of the World Service Board.
Now, in June 2013, the FA book is published! Because it was approved as Conference-approved
literature back in 2008, and because the Literature Committee and the Board endorsed all
changes made in the approved draft, this version is already conference-approved. We need not go
through that process again. If you look at the copyright page, it says so, right there in the book.
Writing the FA Book
This report would be too long were we to tell you all about our wonderful experience in writing
the book. This report highlights the most important elements.
Recording of Individual Stories
The bulk of the book was the stories. When WES began to re-write and re-work the stories, we
tested our approaches. We experimented and found that richer stories emerged when our story
tellers orally related their stories. Fuller, richer, and more rounded stories emerged when we
spoke them aloud—from the heart--and then transcribed the narrative.
The stories that were recorded were expertly shaped in a way that highlighted unique recovery
experiences. God guided us, and there was real writing and editing talent on the WES. It was
soon very clear that this process brought to the surface many golden nuggets of recovery. Real
truth about food addiction, recovery, and spiritual development—and stories that were
memorable, and perhaps quotable, and experiences that we could all identify with and benefit
from—came to the fore.
The Board approved our process and close to forty people recorded their stories and personal
experiences. We are enormously grateful to those people. You may be able to recognize story
tellers—and maybe you can’t. That is intentional. We deliberately masked the identity of those
fellows whose stories are in the book in order to protect the anonymity of those very generous
people. The BPC is committed to protecting the anonymity of the story tellers in the years
ahead. We ask that you do so as well.
Commitment to Diversity
We have been asked whether everyone who wrote their story in the first edition was included in
the final version. The answer is no.
We did our level best to reflect the diversity of the fellowship in our story teller selection. In our
commitment to diversity in our storytellers, we developed a spreadsheet, a grid. On it, we
recorded age, gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin, and religious preference. We kept
track of the nature of the illness presented in the book: morbid obesity, overweight, normal
weight, bulimia, and exercise obsession. We also tracked the range of life experiences faced by
recovering food addicts: divorce, pregnancy, incest, relapse, gastric bypass, mental illness,
depression, and more. We sought storytellers from outside the US.
It was not practical to have more than thirty stories in the book. So, we were not able to record
the stories of everyone who had contributed to the first draft and also, add in this diverse group
of contributors. Ultimately, we selected those stories we felt had the strongest messages of
recovery across the board. Undoubtedly we missed some terrific contributors—but, imperfect as
our process might have been, we gave it our best effort.
This was an enormous team effort undertaken by the FA fellowship. Almost forty people
recorded their stories and experiences. Five people volunteered to transcribe them: Alisa M.,
Misch E., Lori D., Sue H., and Bonnie H. It is very expensive to have transcripts prepared
professionally. These folks made a huge contribution and saved FA a lot of time and money.
We engaged one primary author-writer. We started with three editors- Becca, Ann H., and
Franny M. We adopted Abigail along the way, to total four editors, in all. All of the Board and
the Literature Committee (Jane, Diana, Theresa, and Karen) reviewed the text. We
commissioned three outside readers to critique the text. These were outside folks willing to read
and critique our book. They noticed problems and missing information that we didn’t see. They
also advised us on topics to avoid.
As to design, our goal was to produce a book that could be carried in the hand or shown in public
and still protect the anonymity of the reader. The Design Committee (Jan, Carlene, Anna, and
Sharon) worked with a Book Design group which included pretty much everyone else you’ve
heard about up to now. Can you imagine trying to decide on a color? Sharon spent hours on
paper, color, texture; her esthetic taste is demonstrated here. We engaged a professional editor
and designer to execute our plan. With a sigh of relief, we sent it off to the printer on April 1 of
So, now we had a book to distribute. Six people are on the Book Publishing Committee (Kesaya,
Jan, Anita, Debbi, Dave, and Fran) that got the book onto the tables at the Convention. There
were a dozen people selling it at the hotel. We were blessed by the operational genius of Anita,
plus office folks Adrienne C., Joan, and Lynn that organized the campaign to put the physical
book into your very hands. Books are being shipped at this writing.
This book represents the combined effort of over one hundred FA fellows. Thank you God, and
thank you all for your service.
The Writing Editing Subcommittee
The Writing Editing Subcommittee asked the Board to trust us with the plan we formed. We
asked them to give us the latitude to engage a staff writer, that is, to pay a professional writer to
write this book. We assured them we would do it in a business-like way, that is, with close
supervision and follow-up and that the fellowship would get its money’s worth. We delivered on
The four FA editors worked our hired staff writer very hard. She is not being named, because it
is not our custom to celebrate individuals. It is not a secret, but we have chosen not to declare it.
The staff writer is the very model of humility and modesty, and she would not want it any other
This is how it worked: The staff writer would produce text and the rest of us would red-line and
wordsmith it and offer constructive criticism. It is very difficult and sometimes uncomfortable to
put your written product out there for other people to critically evaluate. The staff writer
accepted our criticism heroically. She got sent back to the drawing board two and three times on
some sections, and did so with grace and humility. We imagine that at times it was very hard for
her, but she never lost heart. She incorporated suggestions and feedback and produced a sterling
text, because of her spiritual foundations and because we pressed her spiritual buttons so very
hard. These things are said so as to recognize her enormous contribution. And so that no one will
question whether she earned the money she was paid. She did.
And Now...Enjoy the Book!
We have printed 5000 books and as of right now, we have sold 2900 of them. They may be
ordered from the website. It is in your hands. Work it into your recovery in any way that is
meaningful to you and your sponsees.
We have been asked: Will this replace the Big Book? The FA book was written as a supplement
and an addition--not a substitute--for the Big Book or any other book we now use. But how it
will actually be used is up to you! That is, it is up to you, and your Higher Power, and your
sponsor and sponsees. Time will tell. We don’t think anybody is planning to throw out their Big
Book--yet. Integrate it into your life.
The book is conference-approved literature. So use the FA book at FA meetings, if the meeting
group so decides! Read a story and discuss it. Or read an introductory chapter, or one of the first
three steps, just as you would in a Big Book meeting. Perhaps you will read the step sections
while participating in an AWOL. How you use it is up to you. Integrate it into your program.
The book may be made available for sale at an FA meeting. But let’s remember the Eleventh
Tradition: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. The primary
purpose of FA is to carry the message of recovery. The book is a convenient and portable means
of carrying the message. Our primary purpose is not selling books--the primary purpose of FA is
to carry the message of recovery.
By all means, make the FA book available for sale at your meeting; a copy will go in the starter
packet for new meetings.
It would be right to have at least one copy of the book displayed on the table with our literature
at FA-organized Information Sessions. It would not be consistent with our traditions to promote
the FA book or push it on a visitor or newcomer at an Information Session. We think that the
book should probably not be on the table at Health Fairs or in any venue unrelated to an FA
meeting or FA-organized Information Session. Remember, we are carrying a message of
recovery; we are not marketing books. Anyone who wants to obtain the book should be referred
to the ordering system on the FA website.
Generally, we don’t suggest that we press the FA book on people. In our enthusiasm, it can be
hard to hold back. But we might make newcomers uncomfortable if it seems we are just trying
to sell them something. No pressure, in other words.
We might want to buy the FA book for family and close friends. It is a terrific way for them to
better understand our program of recovery—if they want to know. But we want to be sensitive
to their feelings and we want to be sure of our motives. (Nobody would ever think of sending
the book to an overweight relative, who—we think--could really use the program, would they?)
Remember, like this program, the book is for people who want it, not for those who need it.
Same principle: If your doctor sees your recovery and wants to know more, buy it for her. But
we think it might be a waste of resources for chapters or intergroups to donate books to unknown
professionals, or to do unsolicited mailings. We don't suggest this, because from what we have
heard and personally seen, doctors and other medical people don't read materials they receive
from unknown sources. They are already flooded with information. But if professional people
are interested in FA and want to know more, have them call the FA office directly for help in
getting the book.
We leave you with this: In the words of Bill Wilson in writing on the Eleventh Tradition, always
present the FA book to the world with “great modesty and humility.”
The Future of the Book
We have been asked: is the book on Amazon? No. It is not yet in retail markets, like book stores
and online book dealers. Why not?
After much reflection, the Book Publishing Committee decided not to put the FA book into retail
book outlets in 2013. As we approached doing that—and we were very close—we began to
sense that we were moving too fast. We came to see that those of us already in this fellowship
needed to have the book in our hands first. We needed to read it and study it, and let it do its
work within the fellowship. We felt that FA needed to be ready for the flood of newcomers who
might arrive if our book became widely read.
The book suggests those who think they are food addicts go to a meeting; where else would they
go? Our meetings must be effective and must be populated by sponsors ready and willing to
teach abstinence to the newcomers. We felt that more time before the book went into retail
markets would make a difference in our own recovery and in our meetings.
At the 2014 Convention, the Book Committee anticipates asking the World Service Conference
if the time is right to put the FA book into the marketplace. What that means is that one year
from now, we will re-evaluate. If our organization is ready, we will make a motion to put the
book on Amazon and into Barnes and Noble.
Until then, it will be available to anyone who wants it from the FA website.
Future Plans for the FA Book
Digital delivery is the wave of the future. The FA book may appear in many new formats in
years to come. That will depend on our choosing the most efficient and effective distribution
formats, while being mindful of how our resources are best spent. FA is not looking to make
money or turn a profit, but these decisions must be made in a business-like way.
We are not professional book developers and so, our many dreams of new formats will need to
await our deeper involvement in the publishing world. For example, an independent publisher
we know works with a firm that can re-format our book into an e-book. But there are forty
different e-book formats now available, and the technology is changing all the time. Obviously,
we will need professional assistance in this area.
The same goes for the physical book: translations, large-print formats, mini-versions and audiobooks
will depend on effectiveness and demand. However, we are self publishers; that means we
do and pay for everything. But the book is alive with possibility.
The Writing and Editing Subcommittee and the Book Publishing Committee are honored to
have—with God’s steady guidance-- written, produced and delivered the FA book to you. When
you hold the book in your hand, when you read what God has permitted a group of food addicts
to accomplish, you hold proof that it is perfectly rational to believe in the miracles of this
On behalf of both committees, we thank you for the opportunity to have been of service.
(Delivered June 8, 2013, by Bob M., WSB Finance Committee Chair)
The WSB Finance Committee Chair presented an overview of how WSI funds are managed and
reported the income and expenses estimated for this fiscal year (July 2012 -June 2013) and the
planned budget for the next fiscal year (July 2013-June 2014). 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.
The primary purpose of 7th Tradition funds is to carry the message of FA, and to ensure that FA
continues to be self-supporting. 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.
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)
WSI Financial Practices
The World Service Board is responsible for managing WSI funds and is supported by its Finance
Committee. Each year the Board makes a budget, which has specific plans for 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: the 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.
Please see the illustrations below for more detail on 7th tradition funds, a summary from fiscal
year 2013 and the proposed budget for fiscal year 2014.
How 7th Tradition funds are used:
- Members donate to meetings
- Each meeting covers its expenses and
prudent reserve, then passes on
- Meetings registered with Intergroup
pass on extra funds to WSI and to
- Meetings registered with a chapter
pass on extra funds to its chapter
- The chapter covers its expenses and
prudent reserve, then passes on
- Intergroup covers its expenses and
prudent reserve, then passes on
extra funds to WSI
- WSI has expenses, prudent reserve
and a project reserve
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.
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 2013), there will be a net loss of $25,790 primarily due to projects for website/design costs, translation of literature, and PI health conventions.
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.
Many thanks to the 5 retired board members, who stepped down after several years of service.
We thank Rosa M., Ruth M., Jane M., Jim S., and Misch E., for their respective service as
treasurer and chairs of the Office, Literature, 12th Step, and Chapter and Intergroup Support
committees. Each of these board members, as a token of appreciation, was presented with a fullsize
afghan embroidered with the Serenity Prayer.
Newly elected Officers:
- Holli N. ran unopposed for Treasurer and was elected to serve a two-year term.
- Kathleen M. ran unopposed for Secretary and was elected to serve a second two-year term.
Newly elected Committee Chairs:
- Norma-Jean P. ran unopposed for Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee Chair and was
elected to serve a two-year term.
- Kris M. ran unopposed for Public Information Committee Chair and was elected to serve a
second two-year term.
- Linda N. ran unopposed for Twelfth Step Committee Chair and was elected to serve a two-year
- Tracy M. ran unopposed for Literature Committee Chair and was elected to serve a two-year
- Jane M. was appointed by the WSB as interim Office Committee Chair and will serve the
remaining one year of the unexpired term of the former Office Committee Chair.
2013-14 World Service Board
Chair: Elissa P., MA
Vice-Chair: Dave I., Alberta, Canada
Secretary: Kathleen M., MA
Treasurer: Holli N., NC
Bylaws Committee Chair: Sue H., CA
Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee Chair: Norma Jean P., OH
connection Committee Chair: Anna B., Scotland
Convention Planning Committee Chair: Adrienne P., CA
Literature Committee Chair: Tracy M., OH
Office Committee Chair: Jane M., ME
Public Information Committee Chair: Kris M., CA
Traditions Review Committee Chair: Dan B., Ontario, Canada
Twelfth Step Committee Chair: Linda N., CA
The Saturday afternoon business session included three discussion sessions: “Public Information:
Reaching out to Doctors & the Professional Community”; “Services for Meetings and our
Fellowship on the Frontier”; and, “Making Use of Supportive Resources Available to our
Public Information: Reaching out to Doctors & the Professional Community
Because the 2011 survey of FA members indicated that healthcare professionals are the third
leading source of information for potential newcomers (numbers 1 and 2 are friends, and family
members), FA has been strengthening efforts to reach out to the professional community. Panel
members described ongoing initiatives, including attendance at the conventions of over 13
different national health-related organizations.
Specific strategies available to individual FA members, or FA groups were discussed at length.
• Distributing the Letter to the Healthcare Professional.
• Distributing a trifold developed specifically for healthcare professionals. This trifold
includes facts and statistics that supply empirical evidence about the success of the FA
program. (Availability of this trifold pending)
• Sponsoring trifold racks in waiting rooms, with permission of the office staff.
• Using a poster developed specifically for healthcare professional gatherings.
• Using the Healthcare Outreach Tool located on the FA Website: this tool helps track
ongoing communication with healthcare professionals and organizations, and provides
useful ‘scripts’ for approaching them.
• Notifying the relevant FA committee when encountering news, social media, or print
articles that are relevant to food addiction. email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Using the PI Booklet that is currently being tested by the EAI, for use in doctors’ offices,
health clubs, health fairs, appropriate literature tables or racks.
• Offering a copy of the new FA book to a doctor or other healthcare professional who has
potential contact with food addicts.
Services for Meetings and our Fellowship on the Frontier
This discussion session included a useful exchange about ways to support new or struggling
meetings, and how to help individual FA members who do not live near face-to-face meetings.
Strong mention was made of using the Frontier phone list to reach out to members working the
FA program without meetings. Although long-distance and international calls can be
challenging, the service is well worth it! There is also free, downloadable technology available
to make free international calls.
Other important facts:
• New meetings receive a Meeting Starter Kit, when they register online as an FA meeting.
• 12th step support available to new and struggling meetings includes regional lists of
speakers willing to travel to such meetings. Both Eastern Area Intergroup and Western
Area Intergroup have such lists.
• Western Area Intergroup offers a “Meeting Partnership” option, in which newer or
struggling meetings partner with a more established meeting, for help with sponsorship
and outreach calls.
• Western Area Intergroup offers Spanish Speaking Meeting support.
• Members can call in to a quarterly Meeting Orientation Conference Call organized by
Eastern Area Intergroup.
• Meetings needing help with issues of Meeting Effectiveness, Safety and Accessibility can
contact the MESA 12th Step Sub-Committee.
• Resources for individual members on the Frontier include: the WSI 12th Step
Committee’s Frontier Subcommittee; the Frontier Phone List; and the Frontier Sponsor
• Suggestions for how FA groups can support individuals living on the frontier included:
showing members how to download technology that makes possible free international
calls; dividing the Frontier Phone List among group members willing to commit to
calling FA members on this list, over the following month.
Making Use of Supportive Resources Available to our Fellowship
This session outlined numerous resources available to the fellowship at the World Service level,
at the Intergroup level and at the Chapter level. These include:
• WSI Bylaws committee: This committee maintains WSI governing documents. It also
considers, addresses and submits bylaws motion amendments for consideration by the
World Service Board. Finally, this committee provides guidance relating to bylaws.
• WSI Office Committee: This committee maintains the physical FA WSI office, including
paid staff. It also maintains the FA website, including the FA meeting directory, online
ordering and transactions, and the FAQ section of the website. Finally, it serves as a
central hub for communication with the fellowship and the general public.
• WSI Traditions Review Committee: This committee reviews and discusses how the
Twelve Traditions might guide the consideration of specific issues and concerns raised by
individuals, meetings, intergroups, chapters or the WSB. It will share its thoughts with
those who have sent inquiries, and with the general fellowship, when appropriate.
• WSI Chapter & Intergroup Support Committee: This committee supports development
and maintenance of local service committees, chapters and intergroups.
• WSI 12th Step – Meeting Effectiveness, Safety & Accessibility Subcommittee: Suggests
solutions to meeting challenges relating to accessibility, safety, and effectiveness with
goal to strengthen meetings and better serve the newcomer. Documents suggested
changes to meeting guidelines and format.
• WSB Inquiry Response Committee: This committee handles inquiries made to the WSB
or FA office, as directed by the executive committee. The committee ensures that
inquiries are addressed on a timely basis and with the utmost thoughtfulness so that a
helpful dialogue can occur.
• connection Committee: This committee is responsible for the content and production of
the fellowship’s magazine. The committee oversees the magazine’s writing (all by FA
members), editing, illustration and production. The connection committee is responsible
for production of the yearly magazine compilation, connection
• Intergroups: (Eastern Area Intergroup; Western Area Intergroup). These are regional
level organizations, which meet monthly to share experience, strength and hope. The
monthly meetings provide a context for committees to meet, discuss and report on their
work. Some Eastern Area Intergroup committees can be accessed remotely by phone by
members living over 2 hours driving distance from the Intergroup meeting. Intergroups
discuss issues that confront their meetings, and generate new ideas on how to support
each other and reach the still suffering food addict. Intergroups further the FA program
in accordance with the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of FA. They maintain a
communication center for FA groups in the region. They provide unity for these FA
groups. And they educate the public about the FA program.
• Chapters: Chapters are regional organizations affiliated with Intergroups. Chapters share
the bylaws of the Intergroups with which they are affiliated.
A CALL FOR SERVICE
One primary purpose of the Convention was to place service opportunities within everyone’s
reach. When an individual gets involved in service, the fellowship as a whole is enhanced. Even
more important, the individual’s recovery is strengthened, as well.
Examples specific to several WSI committees, are listed below. Each role was discussed at the
Sunday morning committee meetings. Many FA members stepped up to serve at that time. Still,
the need for additional help is ever present. If you are able to serve in any of the ways listed
below, please contact the corresponding committee chair as soon as possible.
WSI PUBLIC INFORMATION COMMITTEE:
Weblinks & Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Subcommittee Chair
Raise awareness about FA by identifying and responding to appropriate external organizations’
websites and EAP websites for inclusion of the FA link as a reference item on their websites.
The result of an increased number of FA links posted on the web will increase the presence of
the FA website in search engine search results. Minimum Abstinence Requirement: 5 years,
completion of one FA AWOL
Radio Station Contact
Raise awareness about FA by ensuring that the generic FA Public Service Announcement
recording is aired regularly on radio stations in all major cities. The RSC would also contact
these same stations prior to FA Information Sessions with a request to air PSAs tailored
specifically for the info session. Minimum Abstinence Requirement: 3 years, completion of
one FA AWOL
Cable Station Contact
Raise awareness about FA by ensuring that the generic FA Public Service Announcement is
aired regularly on cable stations in as many regions as possible. The CSC would likely be
involved in creating a channel slide that could be distributed universally. The CSC would also
contact these same stations prior to FA Information Sessions with a request to air PSAs tailored
specifically for the information session. Minimum Abstinence Requirement: 3 years,
completion of one FA AWOL
Information Session Contact
Ensure that all information sessions are listed on the Information Session Calendar on the
website. The ISC would also reach out to each meeting’s PI rep after each info session to collect
and archive post-info session evaluations. The ISC may also help areas find appropriate venues
for regional information sessions. Minimum Abstinence Requirement: 3 years, completion
of one FA AWOL
PI Materials Contact
Serve the fellowship by ordering and tracking the distribution of various PI materials as needed,
e.g. banners, 20 questions signs, tablecloths, table tents, enclosures for starter kits, plastic sleeves
for 12th step paperwork, labels for trifold racks, envelopes that contain the FA logo to be used
especially for letters to health care professionals, faith community leaders, etc. 20 questions
signs, tablecloths, table tents, enclosures for starter kits, plastic sleeves for 12th step paperwork,
labels for trifold racks, envelopes that contain the FA logo to be used especially for letters to
health care professionals, faith community leaders, etc. Minimum Abstinence Requirement: 3
years, completion of one FA AWOL
WSI 12TH STEP COMMITTEE:
List Manager, Universal Language List (ULL)
Facilitate communication between FA members who speak languages other than English. The
ULL is compiled and distributed quarterly to meeting World Service Contacts. Also, members
on the ULL are contacted quarterly to confirm they want to remain on the list. The List Manager
is a member of the Communications Subcommittee of the WSI 12th Step Committee. Minimum
Abstinence Requirement: 2 years, completion of one FA AWOL
List Manager, Frontier Phone List
Facilitate communication between FA members who have no access to FA meetings (none
within 100 miles or 161 km.) in order to provide support to members in outlying areas. The
Frontier Phone List is compiled and distributed monthly to listed individuals and to meeting
World Service Contacts. Also, the Frontier Phone list is contacted quarterly to confirm that
members continue to wish to be listed. The List Manager is a member of the Frontier
Subcommittee of the WSI 12th Step Committee. Minimum Abstinence Requirement: 2 years,
completion of one FA AWOL
Chairperson, Frontier Subcommittee
Facilitate communication between FA members who have no access to FA meetings (none
within100 miles or 161 km.) in order to provide support to members in outlying areas. The
Chairperson sits on the WSI 12th Step Committee Service Council, and oversees the list
managers of the Frontier Phone List, Frontier Sponsor List and editor for Frontier
Communications. Minimum Abstinence Requirement: 5 years, completion of one FA
WSI TRADITIONS COMMITTEE:
Traditions Committee Secretary
Participate in and take minutes of TRC meetings. Disseminate minutes for committee review.
Assist in the compilation of historical responses into an index/database and update going
forward. Maintain a directory with names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and dates
of appointment for all current members of the committee. Keep and distribute a separate running
roster of all members (including past members) who have served and their dates of appointment.
Helpful qualifications include: understanding of the Traditions, secretarial experience, excellent
knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and experience working with databases. Minimum
Abstinence Requirement: 7 years, completion of one FA AWOL
WSI LITERATURE COMMITTEE:
Translators - Spanish and German Speakers
Assist the Language Translation sub-committee in various translation tasks.
Minimum Abstinence Requirements: 5 years, completion of one FA AWOL
WSI OFFICE COMMITTEE:
Organize and arrange FA’s historical information into a meaningful and useful collection.
Minimum Abstinence Requirement: 5 years, completion of one FA AWOL
CD Speaker Contact Information Coordinator
Manage the spreadsheet of CD speaker contact information and periodically update the list by
calling or emailing each speaker to verify his or her info. This person could potentially work in
coordination with Lynne in the World Service Office. Minimum Abstinence Requirement: 2
years, completion of one FA AWOL
(Delivered June 9, 2013, by Dave I., WSI Vice-Chair.)
I’m Dave and I’m a food addict.
There was a time when farmers of the Great Plains would run a rope from their back door to the barn
at the first sign of a blizzard. They all knew stories of people who had wandered off and froze to death,
having lost sight of home in a whiteout while still in their own backyards.
Every day, for the quarter century before coming into recovery at the age of forty in 1996, I lived
with a progressive disease, the whiteout of food addiction. I had, indeed, lost sight of my
spiritual home while in my own backyard. I was plagued with a craving to eat and an obsession
to be thin. This uncontrolled storm within me slowly wore away the fabric of my character,
eventually giving in to the craving, binging, bulimia, self-hatred, depression, rages, and hopeless
resolve that became a part of my life for so many, many years.
Over the subsequent years of recovery, the obsession and cravings have, by the grace and care of
the God of my understanding, been lifted and replaced with freedom. A new attitude toward food
has been born within me. To paraphrase the words of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, I
am no longer fighting food, neither am I avoiding temptation. I have been placed in a position of
neutrality – safe and protected… This program has been the rope that has brought me home
through the blizzard of addiction. From the 24 Hour A Day Book we read that calm comes after
a storm. After the storms of our disheveled, unmanageable lives comes the calm of recovery.
While blessed with freedom and neutrality around food, however, I am not yet done.
• After a successful day at work or of service, I can still wake up the next morning with a
profound sense of failure and inadequacy.
• Emotional binges can still erupt in me when I am sitting in traffic, late for a flight, or
after an over-booked day. In the moment of emotion, I believe that the anxiety, tension, and
anger will somehow get me to the airport sooner.
• Judgment and impatience can still override kindness in an effort to control the people in
my life I care most about.
• I can still feel anxious and alone in this room even in the midst of being with my closest
What this all shows me is that recovery is not a destination to be achieved but rather a life to be
embraced. I once heard in a meeting, “I am changing but I am not yet changed.” I am recovering
but I am not yet recovered. However, through self-acceptance, I no longer have to present an
illusion of sainthood or perfection. While I still find myself, from time to time, trying to manage
people’s impression of me in order to fit in, I know that I am simply growing along spiritual
lines. I sometimes wonder if being more spiritual is actually learning to be more fully human.
This is a good thing. I am appreciative that recovery does not come with a pill. If recovery
would have come with a prescription, I would surely have taken it years ago and if I had, think of
what I would have missed! I would not be here with you today. I would have squandered the
opportunity to find meaning in life through service. I would not have the life-long friendships
that I have in this room. I would have, by all predictions, remained restless, irritable, selfcentered,
and unhappy. This is because, as we all know, the food was not the problem. The food
was the symptom.
Years ago, I was told by a doctor that the key to a long and happy life is to be diagnosed with a
chronic, life threatening illness and have to take care of it every day of your life. While he was
referring to diabetes, no truer statement could be said about me and, I am sure, many in this
room. If you want confirmation of this, just pull out your pictures. How many us look and feel
better today than you did five, ten, twenty, thirty years ago? Those who maintain their spiritual
condition by working this program are healthier and happier because we have accepted our
illness and surrendered to the solution.
Just as we are all on our own unique and ongoing recovery journeys, so too is our fellowship. As
we stay abstinent and mature every day, so does this organization. As we face our defects, let go
of our fears and resentments, find greater acceptance of others and ourselves, we grow healthier,
and so does FA as a whole. Of course, we continue to experience growing pains, both personally
and collectively, but this is what a recovering life and a recovering organization must face in
order to maintain our spiritual condition.
You may have noticed that this business convention was a little different than they have been in
the past. We, as a board, like all of us, learn from taking risks. In future board meetings we will
take a careful inventory of how the convention went this year. I am personally thrilled about all
the information that came out in the panel discussions yesterday, even though it was a lot to take
in. It never ceases to amaze me, the extent to which service is done in this organization. I also
have to say that I did miss the open, honest dialogue and resolution of our differences that come
in the discussion of motions. I trust that the right motions will continue to come to the body in
future business conventions. Please give us your feedback as to how the convention worked for
you this year. We particularly want to hear from people who have been to previous conventions
so we can get a benchmark of how this convention compares to others. We also made a decision
to focus on supporting the final climb to the summit of two vital and wonderful projects this past
twelve months: our beautiful book and our amazing, newly-built and launched web site.
So… we are not finished. We have not graduated in our growth. We, like this organization, keep
evolving. We, like this organization, are a work in progress as we reach new levels of spiritual
growth. We have continual work to be done. In my own personal recovery, I am learning to
connect without criticism, appreciate without judging, and to have courage without being
controlled by fear.
Now… as we prepare to embark on our journeys home around the world, I would like to leave you
with three messages:
Message #1. Celebration Through Humility, Gratitude, and Service
In my recovery I have learned not to seek personal recognition for what I am used by God to
accomplish. The men and women in FA who realize contented abstinence are humble people.
When I stop to think that, “but for the grace of God I might be into food right now,” I can’t help
feeling humble. Gratitude to God for the grace in my life makes me humble. When I think of the
kind of person I was not so long ago, the person I left behind, I feel a profound sense of
I have that same feeling of humility and gratitude as I reflect upon my being a small part of this
growing organization and of the thousands of hours of selfless service done by the people in this
room and in our fellowship around the world this past year: the collective work to post a new and
magnificent, beautiful, functioning web site; to write, edit, and publish an eloquent FA book,
outlining so beautifully what we offer to the suffering food addict; to have produced another year
of connection magazines—which are now earning revenue for the Fellowship, our Gratitude In
Action Newsletter, numerous FA appearances in the media and health fairs, the committee work,
the board meetings, the conference calls from dedicated FA members around the globe.
Especially noteworthy, and often forgotten in our focus at the World Service level, are the hours
and hours of dedicated service done within our Intergroups and Chapters. Healthy Intergroups
and Chapters remain integral to the success of our organization. And of course, there is service
and leadership at the local level, helping a newcomer at meetings and sponsoring, that is the
foundation of our program… This list goes on and on and on… Even coming to this convention
and sitting and listening patiently with an open mind, is wonderful service. Like the awe I feel
when I reflect upon my recovery, I feel that same sense of gratitude and grace when I reflect
upon the contribution of each person in this amazing fellowship.
I believe it is important to pause and celebrate our achievements- and how far we have come as
an organization. Not only are we a humble group of people, we are also a group of people who
are very hard on ourselves. Like so many in this room, I am continually striving, bettering
myself, and seeking to learn, to grow, and to do more. Let us be careful not to turn this
commitment to progress into a defect of inadequacy for not doing enough. It’s okay to stop and
celebrate today, and to bring that spirit of grateful, humble celebration back to our respective
meetings. We all need to be reminded of what we have accomplished together, with the help of
the God of our individual and collective understanding, as a growing fellowship. We learn from
the Big Book of AA that what we focus on is what grows. Growth, both in ourselves and others,
comes more easily and freely through the power of love, not the weight of degradation. We’ll get
much farther with a flashlight shining a light on what we are accomplishing, than with a stick
trying to beat ourselves and others into progress.
From time to time we all might wonder, “What difference does my small offering make?” “Who
will remember me five minutes after someone else takes over my service position?” “What’s the
point of all this work that I do?” Yet, these little stones of service each of us puts into the mosaic
of this fellowship make a worthwhile pattern, both personally and collectively. With
perseverance, we find the harmony and beauty of a flourishing fellowship and a prosperous life. I
grow through service and by being a part of this fellowship. I am a better person by being here
with you. As I watch each and every one of you grow, I am strengthened in my recovery. Your
commitment to your recovery by contributing to this fellowship truly inspires me. Each and
every one of you strengthens my recovery and my life – as we all do, with - and for – each other.
Message #2. Unity Through Acceptance
Love means seeking the face of God in everything and in everyone. The expression of God
distressingly disguised as an inappropriate newcomer, may well have been sent to be our greatest
teacher. That sick and suffering food addict who can’t come to a meeting without chewing gum
might well be there to instill compassion within us. That person at the front of the room who gets
off topic in their sharing might well be there to teach us patience. Just like Ebby Thatcher, who
introduced Bill Wilson to the spiritual principles of this program and then went on to struggle
with his sobriety for the remainder of his life, you never know what that person sitting beside
you or standing in front of you was meant to bring you or teach you.
This brings me to an important and difficult topic. This is the topic of the continuing divisiveness
in our fellowship, and I would like to address it head on. …We need to remember that when we
speak of lines we are speaking of people. When we speak of lines are we dividing, and when we
divide, we needlessly and sadly, separate – and isolate - from each other. We have all lived too
long in isolation. In recovery we depend on unity.
Letting go of a focus on personalities is no easy task, a fact I recognize through my own painful
experience. In my own insecurity over the years, I have been as guilty as anyone of focusing on
personalities, and on “who sponsors whom.”I’m humbled to admit that in my phone calls, I have,
in the past, asked my fellow members who their sponsor was. If I didn’t ask, I would wonder. If
I found out who their sponsor was, my response would be contingent on the judgments I held,
positive or negative, both of their sponsor and of their recovery. But who wants to call people
who are going to judge them? What kind of spirit of attraction was I? Unless you are seeking
more fear, control, misery, and tension in your life, who would want what I had?
I don’t know what it is that triggers a judgmental response when I’m with my fellowship.
Probably, the same occurrence that triggers a judgmental response toward my family, those
closest to me. But it doesn’t really matter. When I see myself judging someone, I have a spiritual
opportunity to let go of that defect, and to grow in my recovery.
By trusting myself, I allow myself and those around me the freedom to be as they are, when I
learn from - and let go of -the differences I have with people without rigidly imposing my idea of
how things should be, when I focus on what we have in common, and simply show up in my
meetings and phone calls in the spirit of love and the courage of my convictions, my
conversations and my interactions are, frankly, just a whole lot more enjoyable. By relaxing, I
am able to receive the medicine I need that enables me to stay well. Somebody in program told
me once that they are “done with guilt.” It was enormously freeing when I heard this. My
intention is to be similarly “done” with judgment and fear of others in this program. This
fellowship is doing just fine, as it rests in the hands of God. There is no war to be won here. You
can’t sink half a ship.
We learn in the Big Book of AA how to respond to the challenge of disunity (that will inevitably
arise) in a growing organization. We learn that acceptance is the answer to our problems today.
When we are disturbed, it is because we find some person, place, thing, or situation unacceptable
to us, and we can find no serenity until we accept that person, place, thing or situation as being
exactly what it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s
world by mistake.
From my experience, acceptance is not “passive politeness” or an absence of open, constructive,
respectful dialogue. It is, after all, through conflict that we have an opportunity to grow. I have a
chance to grow as a human being every time I see myself react with fear, impulsively go to
judgment, and then step back and make new choices. This is a spiritual challenge for our entire
fellowship, and is responded to at an individual level. Let us join together in practicing
acceptance of one another—regardless of sponsorship. This decision will move our society
another step toward “coming of age.” We owe this to ourselves and to the suffering food addict
who enters our rooms –our common welcome must come first. For on FA Unity depend our
lives, and the lives of those to come.
Message #3. Attraction Through Spiritual Growth
To paraphrase a passage from the 24 Hour-A-Day Book:
Today, look upward toward God, not downward toward ourselves. Look away from unpleasant
surroundings, from lack of beauty, from the imperfections in ourselves and in those around us. In
the unrest, behold God’s calmness; in our impatience, God’s patience; in our limitations, God’s
perfection. Looking upward toward the God of our understanding, our spirit grows. Then others
will see something in us that they also want. As we grow in the spiritual life, we will be enabled
to do many things that seemed too difficult for us before.
As we go back into our recovering lives, away from the sanctuary that we find here this
weekend, I pray that we keep our eyes trained above the horizon of ourselves. I pray that we may
see infinite possibilities for spiritual growth, for spiritual progress must form the foundation of
our growing FA society. As we read in our literature, FA may be human in its organization, but
it is Divine in its purpose. And that purpose is to point us toward God and a better life.
A spiritual life means being a light, being a spirit of attraction through a continual commitment
to developing the qualities of strong character. Choosing love over fear is the best service any of
us can render, for this is the spirit that will draw the suffering food addict to want to be a part of
Dr. Bob once said that the AA program could be boiled down to two words: love and service. 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. Words do not
express my gratitude to have found that rope of recovery to hold on to in on our journey home,
As this convention draws to a close, travel safely, my good friends. Feel very good about the
work we have all done this weekend and this past year, and the difference you each make to the
cause of a growing fellowship, ever better able to reach the food addict who is out there still in
misery. Remember to stop and celebrate! And don’t ever doubt that our fellowship and our very
lives depend on the contribution that each and every one of you makes. I know that I am a better
person for being around every one of you.
Thank you so much.
HOW CAN I HELP? SPECIFIC WAYS EVERYONE CAN BE OF SERVICE
From June 7, 2013-June 9, 2013, 450 FA members gathered in Danvers, MA for the 12th Annual World
Service Business Convention. To those of you able to attend, thank you! To those of you unable to attend, we hope to see you next year! To the entire fellowship, let us thank each other and thank God for all the service each of us has been guided to do. Service is a cornerstone of our program. Without it, FA will perish. We hope the snapshot below will help you continue to organize your service efforts. Many thanks for all you do! Need help? Please send all questions and concerns to email@example.com or call 781-932-6300
1. REGARDING THE WEB:
a) Visit www.foodaddicts.org.
b) Create your personal Login and keep your personal Profile information updated regularly.
Remember to log in every time you enter the website.
c) View the Convention Report at For Members> WSI Documents> WSI Reports.
d) Update meeting information, register new meetings, order literature, etc.
e) Sign up to receive the Gratitude in Action (GIA) newsletter.
f) Lost? Just click on the FA logo in the upper left corner on any page to return home.
g) Email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, ideas, concerns about the web.
2. REGARDING THE 7th TRADITION:
a) Please continue giving generously to the 7th Tradition.
b) Help WSI avoid transaction fees by mailing in meeting donations, rather than submitting them by
c) Subscribe to connection.
d) Purchase speaker CDs, rather than copying them.
e) Purchase Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous.
3. REGARDING THE FA BOOK*:
a) Read it. Study it. Enjoy it! Integrate the book into your recovery, your AWOL, your life.
b) Place it on the literature table at your meetings.
c) Consider having an FA Book Meeting (if the meeting is unable to sustain a Sharing Meeting).
d) Freely share the book on an individual level, giving it away to others one person at a time.
e) Please do not press the book or send it unsolicited to anyone.
f) Please refrain from bringing the book to health fairs and other venues that are not FA-specific.
The book will not go “public” for at least one year.
g) Always present the FA book to the world with “great modesty and humility.”
4. REGARDING PI-RELATED SERVICE:
a) Offer to bring an Information Session to your physician and his/her staff .
b) Use the Healthcare Outreach tool (This is an easy tool that helps you keep track of which doctors
you've reached out to and includes a script for calling doctors' offices. You can find the
Healthcare Outreach Tool under the Healthcare & Faith Community Outreach section of the
Public Info tab in the For Members section of foodaddicts.org:
c) Distribute the Healthcare Professionals trifold to all who are interested (pending completion).
d) Bring a letter to your Healthcare Provider and/or Faith Community Leader.
e) Contact Mediawatch, Healthcarewatch, Blogwatch, and Weblinks as appropriate.
f) Post trifolds in your community (ask your PI Rep for copies).
g) Ask your meeting to sponsor trifold racks at appropriate locations in your community.
h) Take on a related service position, including but not limited to:
- Health Reporter, Radio Station, and/or Cable Station Contact
- Information Session and or PI Materials Contact
5. REGARDING MEETINGS AT HOME AND ON THE FRONTIER:
a) Download an app on your phone in order to make international calls free of charge.
b) Call a member on the Frontier Phone List.
c) Add your name to the Frontier, Sponsor, or Universal Language List.
d) Opt in on the website to receive the quarterly email of Gratitude In Action.
e) Participate in EAI’s monthly meeting (in person or by phone), bi-monthly Contact call, quarterly
New Meeting Orientation call, or a “Road Trip.”
f) Review EAI’s 14-page Resource Guide.
g) Bring the EAI Information Booklet to appropriate locations.
h) Access the WAI Meeting Partnership resource.
i) Join the WAI Outlying Area Speaker List.
j) Support Spanish-speaking meetings.
k) Support small meetings or qualify at meetings two hours away.
l) Submit art & articles to connection at email@example.com.
m) Ask members at your business meeting to commit to sending in a submission.
n) Subscribe to connection individually or as a meeting.
o) Take on a related service position, including but not limited to:
• List Manager: Universal Language List, Frontier Phone List.
• Frontier Subcommittee Chair.
6. REGARDING AVAILABLE RESOURCES:
a) Familiarize yourself with the entities available to support you and your meetings:
• Intergroups, Chapters, and Local Service Committees.
• Inquiry Response Committee.
• Meeting Effectiveness, Safety, and Accessibility Subcommittee.
• WSI Bylaws Committee.
• Traditions Review Committee.
• Chapters and Intergroup Support Committee.
• Office Committee.
• connection committee.
b) Take on a related service position, included but not limited to:
• Traditions Review Committee Secretary.
• Spanish and German Translator.
7. REGARDING FUTURE CONVENTIONS:
a) Mark your calendars! The next World Service Business Convention will take place May 30-June 1, 2014 in Danvers, MA.
b) The next FA Fellowship Convention will take place October 24-26, 2014 in Santa Clara, CA
*For additional information, please see the July 2013 letter, “More About the FA Book.”
More About the FA Book
Dear FA Fellows,
Last month, FA published our book Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. The book is easily
available on foodaddicts.org. All are encouraged to read it, study it, and enjoy it. Integrate it into your
recovery in any way that is meaningful to you!
Several questions have surfaced with the release of the book:
Will this replace the Big Book? The FA book was written as a supplement and an addition--not
a substitute--for the Big Book or any other book we now use. But how it will actually be used is up to
you! We don’t think anybody is planning to throw out the Big Book!
Should we use it at meetings? The FA book is conference-approved literature. If the meeting
group so decides, the book may be used to hold an “FA Book Meeting.” Read a story and have members
share on it. Read an introductory chapter, or the chapter on Steps 1 through 3, just as you would in a Big
Book meeting. The section specific to all Twelve Steps may be a nice addition to one’s AWOL.
Should we sell it to all newcomers? The book may be made available for sale at an FA meeting.
But please remember the Eleventh Tradition: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than
promotion. By all means, make copies available on the literature table, but it is best not to press the FA
book on people. In our enthusiasm, it can be hard to hold back, but we might make newcomers
uncomfortable if it seems we are just trying to sell them something. In other words, no pressure-- FA is a
program of attraction.
Should I send it to a loved one who appears to be struggling? We might want to buy the FA
book for family and close friends. It is a terrific way for them to better understand our program of
recovery—if they want to know. We want to be sensitive to their feelings and sure of our motives.
Remember, like this program, the book is for people who want it, not for those who need it.
Should we bring it to information sessions and outreaches? It is consistent with meeting
practices, to have the book available at information sessions and outreaches that are organized solely by
FA. However, even in those settings, it would not be consistent with our traditions to promote the FA
book or push it on a visitor or newcomer. In other settings, such as Health Fairs or any public venue that
is not FA-specific, it is best not to include the FA book at this time. Nonetheless, anyone interested in
ordering the book can easily be referred to the FA website.
Should I bring a copy to my doctor? If your health-care professional sees your recovery and
wants to know more, buy it for him/her. We think it might be a waste of resources for chapters or
intergroups to donate books to unknown professionals, or to send unsolicited mailings. If professional
people are interested in FA and want to know more, please have them call the FA office directly for help
in getting the book.
We leave you with this: In the words of Bill Wilson when he wrote about the 11th Tradition,
always present the FA book to the world with “great modesty and humility.”
Many thanks and Yours in service,
Elissa P. (and friends), WSI Chair