World Service Business Convention Report - 2019
2019 World Service Business Convention Overview
Thank you all for a really wonderful Business Convention this year! There were 625 members in attendance. Please see more details and information about our next conventions in the Convention Planning Committee portion of this report.
This report covers the 18th annual FA World Service Business Convention which was held from May 31st - June 2nd, 2019 in Danvers, Massachusetts. Whether you attended the Business Convention or not, all are welcome to download and read the report in its entirety. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would really like to express my gratitude to the fellowship and particularly to the members who attended the Business Convention this year. It was my first year as Chair of the World Service Board and it was a very humbling experience. I learned a lot about myself and I learned it the hard way. My nerves got the best of me and ironically it came out where I seemed a bit flippant. I apologize to anyone that may have been offended by my lack of sincerity. I also learned that I have to have a speech written. I thought that I could speak from my heart, but what I realized was that I didn’t say anything that I had hoped to say. That being said, it was still a wonderful convention and so many people contributed their time and energy to the cause of helping the food addict that is still suffering.
I am grateful to this fellowship for saving my life, and myself and the World Service Board will work just as diligently this coming year, as we did the previous year, to continue to get the message out to those who have not yet heard of Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous.
Thank you all and we hope to see you next year at the Business Convention in Danvers or in the fall at Saddlebrook Resort and Spa in Florida.
In Service, Bonnie H
Chair, 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 10,000 members now, collectively attending more than 608 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 made up of four officers and nine committee chairs. The specific committees are Bylaws, connection, Convention Planning, Literature, Office, PI, Service Group Support, Traditions Review, and Twelfth Step. Over twenty subcommittees support these WSI standing committees.
Six additional committees–finance, personnel, design, inquiry response, board motions review, and project resources–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.
OPENING REMARKS: ANN H., WSB VICE-CHAIR
I am honored to serve as vice chair of the World Service Board, and to have the opportunity to start these proceedings with a few thoughts.
My heart is full as I stand before you today. Nearly twenty-one years ago I finally took the first step after decades of struggle with uncontrollable eating, episodic bingeing, demoralizing weight gains, and the slow and steady erosion of any hope that I would be able to have peace of mind, or maintain a normal body size, for any length of time. By admitting complete defeat, as AA’s Big Book says, I was catapulted into an existence that has defied my imagination. The fact that I am standing before you today, albeit with knees shaking and heart beating wildly, is but one of the many miraculous changes that have come as a result of my ultimate surrender.
I have thought long and hard about what to say today. As fate, or divine intervention, would have it, a theme emerged in a conversation with an FA fellow. She was embarrassed about returning to meetings after a break in her abstinence. After we spoke for a bit, she opined, “Yes, we are all in this together.”
And that’s the idea I wish to start and leave you with today: “We are all in this together.”
We are a diverse fellowship. We come from all walks of life, from different continents, different parts of the country, different religious and economic backgrounds and age groups. Our reach has extended around the globe, and with that, we have expanded our understanding of a wide range of cultures. We may differ on how we approach the disciplines that undergird our individual recoveries. Our diets may vary. Our styles of sponsorship may diverge, but we have a common problem and a common solution.
I’d like to highlight today what all of us have in common. I think this is vitally important to remember as we delve into discussion of topics upon which we may differ. I believe it is essential that all of us hold these truths close to our hearts as we listen to each other and make important decisions about our fellowship.
We are bound together by common suffering. Each and everyone of us has suffered terribly from the disease of food addiction, whether the pain was physical, emotional, or spiritual, or, more likely, some combination of all three. Whether we come from poverty or privilege, or somewhere in between; whether we’ve had to lose or gain weight; whether we’ve isolated or over-extended ourselves; whether we’ve faced debilitating physical illnesses, or challenging mental health issues, or neither of these; food addiction has robbed us of our self-esteem, made us hate ourselves, and restricted and confined us.
We come here out of suffering, and we stay because we find, embrace, and cherish a way out. No matter how we work our programs, we share certain basic principles.
First and foremost, we are committed to ABSTINENCE. What does this mean? Let’s break this down a little. It means we hold true to the principle that half measures avail us nothing. That we put our recovery ahead of everything else in our life, because without it, we are unavailable to those we love, work with, and support. It means we make the extra effort of taking care of ourselves and our needs when we travel, attend family gatherings and events, and step out of our routines. We call hotels and caterers, we ask our hosts and hostesses what will be served, we invest in Tupperware, and we leave little to chance. We sometimes disappoint our families by bowing out of pizza night, or asking someone else to prepare the dessert, but we absolutely hold true to the maxim that nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.
We believe in the power of community. We are unwavering in our commitment to each other, and the certitude that we cannot face this deadly disease by ourselves. We stay connected to each other in structured and disciplined ways: by regularly attending meetings, consulting our sponsors, and calling each other frequently, so that we each have a dedicated support network that is there for us in good times and bad.
We learn how to strengthen our inner lives and trust ourselves, by cultivating our spirits and developing a viable, working relationship with a Power greater than our individual selves. Over time, we build trust in that Power and by doing so we gain confidence in our abilities to face our fears, maintain our connections, and live a life grounded in service to others.
And we live to serve! Service elevates us in deeply profound ways. FA is built on a legacy of prodigious amounts of volunteer efforts, and the work you will see before you today will take your breath away. We do not have leaders, or gurus, or experts: we have trusted servants who wish to give back so that they can keep what they have, and to pay a debt of gratitude to the program that has saved their lives. The richest rewards I have found in this fellowship have come from my willingness to raise my hand and step out of my comfort zone.
So, yes, we are all in this together, and as we roll up our sleeves to tackle the business ahead, let us please remember that, first and foremost, we are here to carry the message of FA recovery to the still suffering food addict. Let us respect each other’s opinions and let us move forward in a spirit of love, service, and gratefulness.
WSBC – June 1, 2019
TREASURER’S REPORT: STELLA J. FOR HOLLI, WSB TREASURER
PRINCIPLES FOR FA FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
From “Your Seventh Tradition” pamphlet
Our guiding principle is to carry the message
- Use prudent financial principles & have “sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve” (Concept Twelve)
- To maintain corporate poverty:
- Be self-supporting (Tradition Seven)
- Use FA funds wisely (Concept Twelve)
- Keep focused on our primary purpose (Tradition Six)
- Keep a prudent reserve (Concept Twelve)
- Pass on extra funds to support more FA work (Tradition Five)
SUGGESTIONS, REMINDERS, AND QUESTIONS
- Donate On-line to WSI
- Mailed checks are still acceptable
- Subscribe to connection for yourself
- Suggested donation: $2
- Changes to donation limits
- A member can now donate up to $3,000 per year
- A member can now make a one time bequest of $5,000
- WSC members can request a detailed report of FA financials – contact the Treasurer of WSI at email@example.com
SUMMARY Fiscal Year 2019: July 2018 – June 2019
(FY2019 Actual through April, + May and June Forecasted)
PROJECTED Budget Fiscal Year 2020: July 2019-June 2020
Projected Beginning Balance: $333,500
(including inventory & temporary liabilities)
Donations & Interest
Total Income & Expense
Funds from Project Reserve:
Total Net Income/Expense:
Projected FY20 Year-End Balance:
$286,600(including inventory & temporary liabilities)
BYLAWS COMMITTEE REPORT (NORMA JEAN P., CHAIR)
The Intergroups and Chapter were notified September 2018 regarding procedures for submitting motions for the 2019 World Service Business Convention.
Six motions were presented to the WSB for review:
- Credible body size from the WSB
- Meeting format update motion from the WSB
- New pamphlet “Food Addiction and the FA Solution” from the WSI Literature Committee
- Back-page language motion from the WSI Literature Committee,
- Board vacancy motion from the WSI Bylaws Committee
- Tool of Abstinence modification motion from the EAI.
Process: After motions are reviewed by the Bylaws Committee and/or the Board Motions Review Committee, the motions are sent to the parliamentarian for final review. The parliamentarian informed the board that the motion related to filling a board vacancy was unnecessary since the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure does not consider a partial term as a consecutive term. He also stated that the motion from EAI regarding changing the tool of Abstinence had to go through the literature review process (CEMM May 2009) since the Continuing Effect Motion was considered a standard rule under the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure. Both motions were removed from consideration.
The Board arranged two conference calls to review the remaining four motions with all WSC members. After these calls, the WSB decided to return the credible body size motion back to the Bylaws Committee for further consideration. Most WSB members agreed that credible body size was a significant key element of FA, but perhaps there were more effective ways to emphasize this principle. The Bylaws Committee will continue working on this project and present options by the next convention.
The following three motions were presented to the 2019 WSC. All three motions were passed with substantial unanimity.
WSBC MAIN MOTIONS 2019:
Meeting Format Motion: The World Service Board moves to adopt the revised meeting format (Meeting Guidelines Document 4: Sample FA Meeting Format).
Changes of note:
- Simplifying and moving the instruction about clapping.
- Indicating this is optional: “Is there anyone who is visiting or has recently reached 90 days, who is working with an FA sponsor, who would like to share first?”
- Changing “Definition of a Food Addict” to “Definition of “Food Addiction.”
- Shortening “The Promises of the Program” to the “The Promises"
Food Addition and the FA Solution Motion: The Literature Committee moves to approve the “Food Addiction and FA Solution” pamphlet for distribution to the fellowship and, specifically, to place it on the literature table as FA Conference-approved literature.
Back-Page Language Motion: The Literature Committee moves to adopt the back-page language developed for “Food Addiction and the FA Solution” for all existing pamphlets.
Other activities: The Bylaws Committee will continue to meet monthly to review the bylaws for areas requiring clarification. The WSB Manual, WSI Standing Committee Manual, and the Continuing Effect Motions Manual are in process of being updated and will be posted on the website by the end of August.
Retiring Board Members
- Secretary Allison G., CA
- Service Group Support Paul B., MA
- Literature Jennifer N., MA
- Twelfth Step Paula K., NY
- Treasurer Holli H., NC
Election of New Officers
- Secretary Abigail H., PA
- Service Group Support Pam K, CAN
- Literature Karen LB., MA
- Twelfth Step Regina M., NY
- Treasurer Stella J., CA
2019-2020 World Service Board
- Chair Bonnie, FL
- Vice-Chair Ann H., NY
- Secretary Abigail H., PA**
- Treasurer Stella J., CA**
WSI Committee Chairs
- Bylaws Norma Jean, OH
- Service Group Support Pam K., CAN**
- connection Dom, CA
- Convention Planning Vanessa, CA
- Literature Karen LB., MA**
- Office Jan B., CA
- Public Information Annie H., CA
- Traditions Review Patty R., ME
- Twelfth Step Regina M., MA**
** Indicates new board member
HIGHLIGHTS FROM CHAPTERS & INTERGROUPS
EASTERN AREA INTERGROUP: Christine W., Chair
Eastern Area Intergroup (EAI), serves over 350 meetings in the United States (AL,CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI & WV), Canada
(Eastern), China, Germany, Israel, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and Western Australia. Many of these meetings further organize themselves into Local Service Groups and we have one Chapter in Maine.
Highlights of EAI and its committees during 2018-2019 are as follows:
- Literature now being sold at “EAI Book store” on Intergroup Sunday. EAI members can buy literature and can receive free meeting trifolds.
- Audio and video successfully launched 7/2018 with GoToMeetings, capable of reaching 11 countries with potential of 150 people on the call.
- Changed board titles to service support weekend planning committee, service support committee, and added an EAIIT committee.
- PI committee updated webpage providing resources for PI reps highlighting a FAQ and best practices document, encouraging and providing guidance on multi meeting FA informational sessions. Health Fairs in May: VOW Health & Wellness Symposium in Hanover MA and the Healthy Living Expo in Plymouth MA. Outreach to local religious institutions has resulted in an FA Info session scheduled for late June and another promising lead for another.
- Teen and Twenties Kit updated and available on website, Teens and Twenties had 8 successful outreaches.
- Cancelled meeting insurance in Canada and USA per legal counselling recommendations. Announced to all EAI meetings they must provide their own meeting insurance.
- Participated in Fellowship Convention combined with EAI meeting in October 2018
- EAI body voted on motion brought forward by Atlanta meeting to be heard at WSI 2018 Business convention. Motion did not pass. EAI Board brought same motion to WSI Board to be heard at 2018 business convention. Motion was sent to literature committee per WSI.
- Voted in new time change to 8am start time to accommodate international fellowship for one year trial in May 2019
- Financial Aid awarded 2018 Business Convention ($5443.00), 2018 Fellowship Convention ($6967.00) and the 2019 Business Convention ($7133.00) totaling $19,453.00
WESTERN AREA INTERGROUP (BRANDON C., CHAIR)
The purpose of the Western Area Intergroup is to further the FA program in accordance with the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of FA.
WAI has 250 registered meetings in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Western Canada. On average WAI meeting attendance is around 200 fellows who participate in and do the work of 4 WAI committees and 3 World Service Inc. subcommittees (connection, weblinks, and service group support).
12th Step Committee:
The 12th Step Committee provides 12th step calls and homebound meetings for FA members unable to attend FA meetings due to illness, injury or physical condition. Coordinates Thank a Thons and manage the connection committee (WSI committee) and educate WAI on various resources from 12 Step Committee.
Highlights: The homebound committee coordinated 43 homebound meetings. There were 16 Thank a Thons coordinated and held in four states
Public Information Committee:
The Public Information Committee provides community outreach services 5 geographic areas. In addition, five groups meet at WAI to get the word out through public information: Weblinks, Blog Watch, Media Watch, the WAI Public Information Community Outreach subcommittee, and the WAI Service Group Support Committee.
Highlights: WAI Community Outreach participated in 19 Health Fairs and 6 FA Panel discussion events. Additionally, WAI Community Outreach and WAI SGSC collaborated and continued to work with fellows on the Pacific Rim through conference calls, outreach calls, and email to support their PI efforts
Service Group Support:
WAI Service Group Support Committee has five local service groups which meet monthly in person and by teleconference. Their activities include placing FA literature in the community, tracking the number of times the FA book has been checked out and returned to the library, posting FA meetings in local online classifieds and free community papers, and tracking the number of times Eventbrite postings have been viewed.
Highlight: Two new Local Service Groups have formed.
The Office Committee supports 250 meetings in WAI, manages the 1-800 number, maintains tri- folds in English and Spanish, and sells FA literature monthly at Intergroup meeting.
Highlight: Now provides a newcomer orientation for new WAI attendees.
Provides key information regarding Business and Fellowship Conventions
FA MAINE CHAPTER OF EAI (SHIRLEY H., CHAIR)
The FA Maine Chapter has four goals:
- To further the FA program in accordance with the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of FA
- To maintain a communications center for FA groups
- To provide unity
- To educate the public about the FA program.
FA members, whose meetings are affiliated with the FA Maine Chapter, work toward these goals at the meeting and chapter level.
At the meeting level, members work to maintain healthy meetings and carry the message of FA recovery in their local community.
At the chapter level, members work to maintain communication among the meetings affiliated with the Chapter, maintain a Maine FA Chapter presence on the FA website and coordinate PI and 12th Step activities on a regional level.
In April of 2019, the Chapter registered and staffed an FA information booth at the Maine Nurse Practitioner Annual Meeting. This event is an opportunity for over 200 primary care providers to learn about the FA program. The Chapter also helped to register and staff FA information booths at 8 community events, planned and coordinated the third annual Chapter FA Awareness Day and coordinated the 12th Annual Maine Meeting Support Day. The theme for 2019 was HOPE a gift Recovery. The day included fellowship and interactive sharing sessions. Members were also be able to purchase FA Conference approved literature and visit the Chapter Office, PI and 12th Step Committee's information tables.
These service activities support the recovery of current FA members, support the food addict who still suffers and ensure information about the FA program remains accessible to anyone seeking recovery from the obsession and compulsion of food addiction.
Registered Meetings in Maine:
- Number of individual, registered meetings at beginning of fiscal year: 22
- Number of individual, registered meetings at end of fiscal year: 22
Vice Chair Report: (MEViceChair@foodaddicts.org)
- The Vice Chair facilitates Chapter communication by drafting the FA Maine Chapter Highlights. The Highlights include information about resources, activities and service opportunities available throughout the Chapter. In addition, the Highlights communicate relevant information from WSI and EAI. The Highlights are published monthly and distributed via email to each meeting's Chapter Contact. Chapter Contacts read timely information during meeting announcements and business meetings.
Office Committee: (MEOffice@foodaddicts.org)
- Created a Google Drive Archives resource for Chapter documents dating back to 2002
- Began development of a secure online workspace for the Chapter Board and Committees
- Communicated with WSO to keep the Maine Chapter pages of the FA Website up to date
- Produced a monthly Database and Directory Report
- Produced and distributed the monthly Maine Chapter Meeting Directory to Chapter Contacts and other interested persons/organizations
- Distributed Maine Chapter Highlights & and the 12th Step Service List to Chapter Contacts monthly
- Maintained Chapter affiliated meeting registration database
- Maintained Post Office Box in Augusta
- Assisted FA members with navigating the FA website, accessing information and updating their profiles at Maine Meeting Support Day and upon individual request from FA members
PI Committee: (MEPI@foodaddicts.org)
- Registered and staffed FA Information Booths at 9 community events (New England Annual Conference of the UMC, UNE Community Health Clinic, Cancer Survivors Day, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Seniors Health Awareness Day, Spectrum Generations Health Fair, University of New England (UNE) Biddeford Campus, UNE Portland Campus, Maine Nurse Practitioner Annual Meeting)
- Presented the Healthcare Provider Slideshow Presentation to medical students and UNE Clinic staff and Western Maine Health Clinic.
- Supplied FA Banners, FA tablecloth, FA Meeting Directory trifolds, FA Information Booklets and registration fees to support participation in Health Fairs and Information Sessions
- Coordinated with the 12th Step Committee on the second annual Maine Chapter FA Awareness Day. The Chapter supplies FA Flyers and Meeting Directory Racks for meetings to distribute in their communities
- Managed the FA Maine Chapter Phone Information Line by coordinating a group of FA fellows who respond to calls received on the Maine Phone Information line. These FA fellows respond to caller questions and offer to mail FA information packets to individuals
- Reached out to FA Chapter Members, via the Chapter Highlights, to seek volunteers willing to help with PI activities
- In March of 2019 the PI Committee began a one-year pilot project which allows FA members to attend the PI Committee remotely via conference call.
12th Step Committee: (ME12thstep@foodaddicts.org)
- Hosted a Connection Writing Session in Southern Maine
- Coordinated with the PI Committee on the third Maine Chapter FA Awareness Day
- Provided an orientation for newcomers to the Maine Chapter at each Chapter meeting. The orientation is led by experienced volunteers from the Chapter
- Organized the 12th Annual Meeting Support Day
- Offered FA conference approved literature for purchase at Chapter Meetings
- Updated the FA Maine Chapter 12th Step List. Fellows on this list are willing to do FA service. The 12th Step List is circulated at the Chapter meeting and the updated list is sent to the Office Committee for distribution. Volunteers may also email their names to the 12th Step Chair or sign up at local meetings
- Provided Thank-a-thon information to meetings. Two Gratitude/Thank-a-thon meetings were held on Thanksgiving Day
- Presented a Meeting Health Skit which included an interactive sharing session at the December and January Chapter Meetings
Bylaws Committee: (MEBylaws@foodaddicts.org)
- The new Bylaws Chair focused on increasing knowledge regarding governing documents, EAI Bylaws and the 12 Traditions
- Located and arranged meeting space for the monthly Chapter Meeting and the annual Maine Meeting Support Day. Established dates for Maine Chapter monthly meetings for the 2018-19 year
- Provided feedback to the Chapter after exploring with EAI and the WSI Inquiry Response Committee the pros and cons regarding questions raised at the meeting level.
- Provided information regarding the WSI motions process for members of the FA Maine Chapter
- Convened an ad hoc committee to review the motion submitted by the Westbrook 8A Saturday Meeting
Intergroup Liaison: (MEIGliaison@foodaddicts.org)
- Facilitated collaboration with EAI to carry the message of recovery and support local meetings
- Attended monthly EAI Service Group Support Committee via conference call
- Informed the Chapter regarding EAI resources, current issues and activities
- Participated with fellows from the FA Maine Chapter and EAI in the 2018 WSI Fellowship Convention in Tampa FL
HIGHLIGHTS FROM WSI COMMITTEES
PUBLIC INFORMATION COMMITTEE (ANNIE H., CHAIR)
Healthcare Subcommittee (supports outreach to health care professionals):
- Prepared the Health Care Brochure, “FA and the Health Care Professionals for purchase
online at https://www.foodaddicts.org/order/health-care-brochure.
- Created a new webpage, “For the Health Care Professional”, which includes a brief introduction to FA and a “Read Only” version of the Health Care Brochure.
- Trained presenters in using the WSB-approved Health Care Provider Slide Show and coordinated 25 presentations in the US, UK and Australia.
PI Weblinks and Digital Outreach Subcommittee (develops ways to increase online presence of FA for the still suffering food addict surfing the web):
- Weblinks Committee reports a total of 2500 links posted to the FA website.
- Digital Outreach Committee analytics showed that in that past 4 years, 1.1 million searches have led to the FA website, and of these, 70,000 are due to the AdWords campaign.
- Added 500 new sites to Calendar Announcement Database has a total of 1500 international sites listed to support FA members in posting their meeting information online. Spreadsheet includes over 1000 free sites worldwide for members to post their FA meetings online.
- The College Outreach Subcommittee has added to its international database of college contacts, and sent out 6000 emails to 1,100 colleges, offering presentations and literature, resulting in formation of ongoing relationships with 20 schools.
- Blogwatch provides consistent, WSB-approved responses to blogs, online articles and comments, guiding new visitors to our FA. Since 2014They have posted a total of 700 responses, and as a result, over 75 new sites have posted the FA weblink. Website.
- Podcast Project: piloting posting FA qualifications to reach prospective members via ITunes and PodBean. So far, 7 qualifications (selected and edited by the Recording Subcommittee of the Literature Committee) have been posted as podcasts with 4870 downloads reported since it was started in November 2018.
Media Outreach Subcommittee (coordinates work with print, broadcast, and online media):
- Developed a new WSB-approved press release/article to aid in outreach to journalists.
- Mediawatch sent out over 300 letters to journalists and professionals who are writing about topics related to food addiction to increase public understanding and awareness of FA.
- Facilitated several interviews for print, radio, television, and podcasts.
PI Tools and Operations Subcommittee (provides simple, accessible resources to enhance everyday PI activities, from posting flyers at a nail salon to presenting to groups of health care professionals):
- Updated webpage on outreach to health professionals and posted orientation document for obtaining and using the Health Care Brochure, and composed HCB orientation emails for PI representatives and WSI contacts.
- Updated slides and speaker notes for the Health Care Provider Slide Show, incorporating survey data and input from presenters in the field. Subcommittee trained presenters in using the WSB-approved website.
- Updated survey results slides, now posted in Media/Professionals section of the FA website.
- Created, updated and posted several new tools in the Public Information section of the FA website, including two simplified flyers for meetings and information sessions, sand six new resource forms for health fairs and information sessions.
- Clarified the role of PI reps in updated online page titled “Help for PI Representatives.”
- Supported FA members to do PI outreach by personally responding to their questions and guiding them to online PI resources.
OFFICE COMMITTEE (JAN B., CHAIR)
The FA Office
- Worked with the Convention Committee in coordinating the 2019 Fellowship and Business Conventions
- Completed the re-registration of more than 600 meetings
- Completed the 2019 census
- Made updates to the backend of the FA website to make it easier to communicate with our members
- Coordinate ongoing communication to FA members through the FA website and emails
- Continued to assist the newcomer, FA members, Intergroups, Chapter, and World Service Board
CONNECTION COMMITTEE (DOMINIC K., CHAIR)
On the connection committee, we got a lot of great things done!
- We spread the word about our Frontier Focus section to FA members on the frontier to get more experience, strength, and hope for people in small fellowships or without any FA meetings within driving distance.
- The submission process has been fully transitioned online - submit now at connection.foodaddicts.org/submit
- The writer's guidelines were updated, as well as a list of topics to help spark inspiration. Find those on the connection website!
- This year's big project was making the digital magazine easier to access. Within the next month or two, we will be rolling out an updated digital connection that can be accessed on both desktop and mobile without having to download any PDFs. It will present like an e- book that is easily flippable on your smartphone or tablet.
- We are hoping for more art and article submissions this year. Please go to connection.foodaddicts.org to learn more.
TWELFTH STEP COMMITTEE (REGINA M., CHAIR)
Our mission is to encourage service among FA members and help intergroups, chapters, and meetings to carry the message of recovery. The committee serves as a resource to assist and support meetings and individuals who ask for help with meeting effectiveness. We provide outreach to those FA members who are isolated due to distance, language barriers, or physical restraints.
Gratitude in Action, GIA@foodaddicts.org
- Published 4 electronic newsletters focusing on meeting service positions: connection representative, treasurer, speaker seeker, and WSI Contact
- Spotlighted issues related to service that have been discussed by the WSI Traditions Committee
- Changed from seasonal to numerical titles to reflect the varying time zones of our worldwide fellowship
- Hosted monthly Frontier Resource Calls
- Developed and distributed monthly Frontier Newsletters
- Managed Phone Lists: Frontier Member List, Long-Distance Sponsor List, Universal Language List
- Developed a Digital Newcomer Packet (available on FA website, enter “Digital Newcomer Packet” in the search bar
Meeting Effectiveness Support & Assistance, MESA@foodaddicts.org
- Responded to a variety of inquiries providing direct support to meetings
- Created the “Meeting Effectiveness Assessment,” and inventory tool for meetings(available on Document 10 on the Meeting Guidelines on the FA website)
- Developed new guidance regarding service animals at meetings
- Developing guidance regarding disruptive behavior at meetings
- Prepared to assist meetings where a member is deaf or hearing impaired
Conference Member, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Established as a new subcommittee in November 2018
- Purpose: to increase the number of WSC voting members attending the Business Convention
- Established responsibilities:
- Gathering information and feedback
- Implementing actions to help “get the word out” to eligible FA members
LITERATURE COMMITTEE (KAREN B., CHAIR)
WRITING AND EDITING SUBCOMMITTEE (WES)
- Created the First Feedback Committee
- Solicited and incorporated fellowship feedback into “Food Addiction and the FA Solution”.
- Finished the final draft of “Food Addiction and the FA Solution”.
- Rewrote the backpage language for FA pamphlets based on fellowship feedback.
- German group: Completed professional translation of four pamphlets and the most current meeting documents including the format. The FA book is in the process of being translated.
- Hebrew group: Completed professional translation of five pamphlets and the meeting format.
- Spanish group: Professional translation of the FA Book is complete and currently in review by the Spanish committee. The meeting format is also translated and Living Abstinently is in progress.
- Please note: All translated versions of the FA book will be distributed as e-books.
AUDIO RECORDING SUBCOMMITTEE (ARC)
- Completed professional audio version of the FA Book, will be available soon.
- Identified speakers for the 2019 WSBC
- Working with the PI Committee to facilitate podcast production
- 22,190 regular print books have been sold since we first published in 2013. This year we have sold 1,834
- 15,932 Living Abstinently pamphlets have been sold since we first published in 2017. This year we have sold 3,013
- Working with the Design and Office Committee to finalize design and blurb for distribution of the audiobook via Amazon. Should be available by September.
2019-2020 IDENTIFIED PRIORITIES
- Launch FA Audio Book through Amazon
- Continue with translations of German, Spanish, Hebrew and Chinese literature
- Publish “Food Addiction and the FA Solution”
- Determine next project/priority for the Literature Committee (Pamphlets/Video Content/Podcasts/Survey)
CONVENTION PLANNING COMMITTEE (VANESSA C., CHAIR)
2019 Business Convention
- On May 31-June 2, 2019, FA hosted its 18th annual World Service Business Convention at the Doubletree by Hilton in Danvers, MA.
- 625 members attended from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Israel, Sweden, Taiwan, China, United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Business sessions included a general overview of FA's structure, opening and closing remarks, our treasurer's report, three motions (Revised Meeting Format, Food Addiction and the FA Solution pamphlet, and revised Back-page Language pamphlet), acknowledgement of outgoing Chairs, election of the 2019-2020 World Service Board, and highlights from the Maine Chapter, Western Area Intergroup, Eastern Area Intergroup, and WSI committees. We also held two FA meetings and a sharing session for members with 20+ years of abstinence. Other events included the recording of four new speaker qualifications, WSI Committee meetings, and our usual annual, lively dance party and photo booths.
- We also offered the "The Forum” on Friday afternoon. A common definition of “forum” is a “meeting where ideas and views on a particular subject can be exchanged.” This year’s Forum included a series of sharing meetings focused on topics to strengthen individual recovery, FA meetings, and the fellowship at large. The format included an opening session, four breakout discussion sessions, and a closing session in which the various panels were summarized and discussed. Topics included “FA Beginnings: It Was a Choice Then,” “It’s a Choice Now, Frontier: Giving and Getting Support,” :Growing to Love Your FA Tools,” :Local Service Groups: Catapult Your Recovery into the 4th Dimension,” :The Traditions Up Close and Personal: How They Bring Us Peace,” and “What Makes a Meeting Great.”
2019 Fellowship Convention
- We are looking forward to hosting the 2019 Fellowship Convention at the Saddlebrook Resort & Spa in Wesley Chapel, Florida from October 25-27. Registration will open in July 2019.
- At our last Fellowship Convention in 2018, we had over 400 FA members join us for an amazing weekend of fellowship and recovery.
- For more information, please check out the Fellowship Convention section of the FA website.
TRADITIONS COMMITTEE (PATTY R., CHAIR)
Traditions Review Committee
The TRC’s mandate is to consider how the Twelve Traditions guide us on various issues or situations raised by FA members or service groups. Inquiries are submitted to email@example.com, the committee meets to discuss the situations, then shares their opinion with the inquirer. The TRC is not a governing or policing body, nor does it get involved in resolving the issue; rather, it enables the person(s) to deal with the situation or the other person(s) involved.
In addition, during this period, the committee discussed the following two topics, and held two committee meetings during the convention, each of which had 30-40 in attendance:
- The development of an FA Facebook page, revision of FA’s Social Media Guidelines, and the use of digital advertising to increase FA’s social media presence. An official FA page will allow FA to control our own messaging, monitor the FA likeness in a public forum, and request that non-official pages be removed. The “test” site has already resulted in calls to the office for information. Questions were raised concerning users’ anonymity and how that impacts FA as a whole. This is a good opportunity to educate fellows on the wider concept of anonymity in terms of protecting the program.
- How can we help to increase the fellowship’s understanding of the Traditions? Possible future projects will be proposed to the WSB later in the year.
Traditions Issues Addressed
From January-June 2019, the TRC received 13 inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Of those, 8 were responded to by the Chair, 2 were referred to another FA committee, and 2 were discussed and responded to by the full TRC as follows. (One remains pending on the Committee’s agenda.)
Responded to by Chair (based on historical record)
- Using First Names with Media
- Request FA Book be sold in Bookstore
- Member’s Friend Posting on Facebook
- One Member Represented FA as a Whole
- Fellowship Gathering Charged Money to Attend
- 12 Concepts
- Facebook Postings Referred to Another Committee
- Questions about Speaker Getters – referred to MESA
- Listing FA on Craigslist – referred to Public Information Committee
Discussed and Responded to by the Traditions Committee (detailed inquiries and responses below):
- Use of Second Language in Meeting Caused Disunity
- Reporter Attended a Meeting
Inquiries and Responses:
1. Use of Second Language in Meeting Caused Disunity
The TRC received a letter from members of a fellowship regarding previous TRC opinions on the use of a native language in the reciting of the Serenity Prayer at meetings. The letter was followed by a phone call between one member and the chair of the TRC. In both instances the FA members expressed concern that the TRC had issued a judgement about the use of the native language and native prayers, which is contrary to the country’s culture and laws, and that the TRC had issued a ruling with which the meeting had to comply in order to be in good standing. They requested clarification along these points.
The Traditions Review Committee considered the concerns of the FA members and its previous two opinions on the use of the native language in the meeting. Those opinions were not intended as a judgment of the native culture nor attempting to dictate how any member of FA may pray.
As previously stated, the TRC is not a governing body; it simply issues opinions that are based in the committee members’ collective foundation in long-term, continuous abstinence and practical experience with the Twelve Traditions of FA and the principles of 12 Step recovery in FA. Any individual or any group may request an opinion from the committee and then may follow that opinion to the extent of their honest conscience. The requirement that an FA group must comply with the Meeting Requirements and Standards in order to be registered as an FA meeting is based in FA’s Bylaws. The TRC does not issue rulings in regards to any meeting’s “good standing”.
The TRC continues to be concerned about the process used to introduce the native version of the Serenity Prayer, which included the participation of members who did not have 90 days of abstinence and a very divisive vote that was not in keeping with the 12-Step principle of unity. There has been a painful rupture in the group that continues and the TRC hopes that steps may be taken to repair that rupture in the spirit of unity.
2. Reporter Attended a Meeting
A woman in a meeting invited a reporter to the meeting to gain exposure for an upcoming FA Information Session. At least one member attending the meeting was very uncomfortable with a reporter at the meeting and feels that group conscience should have been taken before allowing the reporter at the meeting. She also feels that an announcement should have been made prior to the reporter attending. The inquirer questions if Tradition 2 and 11 have been violated. [A member of the TRC was also present during the meeting in question and provided additional information.]
After some discussion the TRC did not feel that any traditions were harmed. Tradition 2 states “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants: they do not govern.” It is the opinion of the TRC that the FA member who invited the reporter had no intention of being an authority. She is an active member of the group, and a member of the local service group, who spent months developing a relationship with the press in order to increase awareness of the FA program in her community. The group seemed to be aware ahead of time that a reporter may attend the meeting because there were name tags prepared ahead of time with alias names on them.
Tradition 11 states “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion: we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.” The inquiring member was concerned that Tradition 11 was violated because member’s first names where published in the article after the reported talked with some of them after the meeting. Again, the TRC sees no intentional break of anonymity in this situation. The members wore alias name tags, so any use of their real names was “accidental” or due to a misunderstanding with the reporter. The FA members did not intend to have their names used. After FA members give interviews to the press. they are powerless over what the article says and if it interprets the program or anonymity correctly. Members who are willing to talk to the press take this risk.
It is the opinion of the TRC that no Traditions where ignored in this situation with the media.
SERVICE GROUP SUPPORT COMMITTEE (PAM K., CHAIR)
- The SGSC has six conference calls with Local Service Groups, Intergroups, and the Maine Chapter. During those calls there was a presentation on Weblinks, and the healthcare slideshow. The SGSC also facilitated a discussion with the Australian LSG and the Philadelphia LSG. One conference call highlighted ways to find health fairs and guidelines for a successful health fair.
- The SGSC has five core committee calls for planning the conference call, updating the Guidelines and Recommendations and updating the Policy and Procedures in the Standing Manual.
- The SGSC has two in person meetings at the business conference.
- The SGSC is charged with planning and facilitating the Forum that takes place on Friday of the Business Convention.
- The SGSC provides a medium for dialogue related to developing and maintaining intergroups, chapters, and local service groups throughout the world. The goal of these discussions is to support these groups as they assist their meetings in reaching food addicts who are still suffering.
CONCLUDING REMARKS: BONNIE H., WSB CHAIR
My name is Bonnie H and I'm from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida — originally from Boston.
All I can say is, Wow!! That sharing meeting of fellows with over 20 years of abstinence was great – sharing their lives, being vulnerable and open to us, that is what this program is all about.
I have often shared in my earlier years how I would love to be with the beautiful people. And today I thought, person after person got up here to share... and we are amongst the beautiful people. They were all willing to open themselves up and be honest, willing to share who they are, willing to share their recovery in order to pass it on to brand new newcomers.
We had a wonderful convention and it went so incredibly smoothly. I was actually in shock when there were no objections to the motions. It does go to show that when you do the preparation as the two presenters of those motions did, it pays off. They held many conference calls, were open to hearing from people via email or phone and it just worked out wonderfully.
We have these conventions, as I said at the beginning of the day yesterday, to give a treasurer’s report and to make sure that these positions are rotated. Yet, we do so much more! You get to hear the World Service Committee Chairs speak all about the work they’ve done all year and join these committees to see firsthand. You get to hear the Eastern Area Intergroup Chair, the Western Area Intergroup Chair, and the Maine Chapter Chair share the work that they’ve done all year also. We gather together as volunteers, as trusted servants, just doing what we can to further the mission of FA: to help that sick and suffering food addict.
I’ll tell you a little about myself because some people don’t know me. I grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts, and I came from a family of seven children and two healthy adults. I wanted to be anywhere else but in that family. It was too boring to me, way too normal, and I wanted that excitement and that feeling of living on the edge. I found that my thinking brought me to disease and destruction. And when I walked into these rooms in 1980, I was broken, completely broken. I had a will of iron, and I saw how I had to do things differently.
My first signs of this disease were as a young child, full of that fear that we all talk about, and I would just run. I would run away from home. I’d run from conflict. I’d just run from my family of origin. My teenage years were particularly difficult. That’s really where my disease took off. I was eating a lot, escaping through eating and escaping through withdrawal. Just really escaping from life… and all the while having this façade on my face, like, “I’m fine. Nothing wrong here.”
At 19 I got pregnant and quickly got married. So I was twenty years old and a mother. I didn’t know what to do as a young mother, and soon found out I was married to an alcoholic. I had no idea at that time that I was a food addict. We were both young, and at that time we were partying and drinking along with our other young friends. But through my 20s I realized there was a major problem. Through those 20s he only beat me up three times. And that is where I was coming from. I didn’t have that common sense to say, “hey, I’d better do something about this.” Somebody once said to me, “If somebody hit me once, I’d be out of there”. I was full of fear and thought, “Really”?
Prior to coming into FA, I had done all the diets there were to do. The only one that ever got me to my goal weight was the liquid protein diet. I got to my goal weight and immediately started gaining weight again as soon as I could eat. So, I had done all of the diets. I had tried therapy, I had tried the self-help books and diets in magazines. I had tried it all.
I just didn’t know what to do or how to do my life, and that started in my early teens, if not earlier. So, when I walked into these rooms in 1980, I felt, “I’m home.” At the same time, however, I kicked and bucked and fought the discipline required.
A little back to my family… It’s been very interesting to me because I talk about them being boring, but I had one brother with cerebral palsy. He took a lot of the energy at home, but he died at 55 of diabetes and had a very rough life. My youngest brother had a heart transplant and is climbing mountains today. My younger sister, who I’m closest to, had Stage 4 ovarian cancer, and she has survived that for over six years now and is living in remission in Africa. So it makes me chuckle when I think about boring families. It became quite an interesting family.
In those early years of recovery, I had to keep choosing this FA family. Here is where I felt that I could be myself. I felt that I could be honest to the best of my ability. I didn’t do it well, but I heard the people around me doing it very well, being honest, being vulnerable, and talking about how they didn’t eat one day at a time. I was just very fearful and full of shame, so it was difficult to let people in. I had many sponsors because of my desire to do it my way rather than let someone else make the decisions around food for me.
Last year we celebrated 20 years as an incorporated Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous program. I would really like to honor those people who back in 1998 chose to break away from the umbrella organization. There were 35 very brave food addicts who got together in Darlene’s living room and decided to be honest. They decided to be true to the new program that they had been developing over the years. It was in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that the AWOLs that Cynthia spoke about in the History CD were starting. I think there had been two AWOL’s by 1980, and there were also the 200 people meetings in Medford. It was in the Chelsea meetings, I’m pretty sure, where they were developing the Definition of a Food Addict and the Definition of Abstinence. I was in the periphery of all of this.
Now I had moved to Florida by then, and I was finally in enough pain to surrender in 1992. I had tried all the different ways people did the food plans within program, so it was at that point when I was ready to do whatever it took to stay abstinent. So I tried to listen to my sponsor and take her suggestions so that I could keep up the recovery I finally had after all of those years of struggling.
When I first qualified, I would think, “Who on earth is going to relate to me?” I struggled for twelve years in this program hearing the strong recovery but unable to do it. I was just so stubborn and so self-willed, but I'm grateful that I just kept coming. If there are any newcomers here today: Just Keep Coming! If the business end is too much for you, go take a nap. Do what you have to do. I’ve come to every single convention there was, and I can remember the first couple thinking to myself, “What on earth are they talking about”? I didn’t have a clue.
So, when I hear people say that the board is not transparent enough, or open and inviting, I wonder what they are really thinking because I find the Board very open. We try to be revealing and forthright. There’s nothing in between the lines. There’s nothing we’re trying to get over on anybody. We’re trying to not eat a day at a time and keep this program strong.
I just believe, for me, I have to keep things simple. I have to honor the people that have gone before me and the way this program was given to us. I try to stick to that. I try to keep on doing the program the way I did it when I first came in. It seems to work. It seems to work for a lot of people. I think about those 35 people. And I think that there were only 100 meetings then, compared to the 600 meetings we have now. It’s just astounding! We are doing it! We are helping the sick and suffering food addicts around the world.
But first, I had to save my own life. I had to take care of me. I had to do the tools and disciplines. I had to work this program the way it was prescribed, rather than the way I wanted to do it. I thought we should change this or change that, and I am very glad that nobody listened to me. I was one of those naysayers. I was kicked out of one of those first AWOLs, because I had a little crumb of a sugar product. I remember going immediately to another meeting and griping to all of the people, saying “Can you imagine?! We are the ones that really need the help. We’re the ones eating. We need to be in the AWOL.” I was one of those grumblers. So, I'm grateful today. I just try to keep the cotton in my mouth, out of my ears, and listen to those people that have gone before me.
I love in the Little Red Book, it talks a lot about listening to the Elders, going to the people who have gone before us. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can just keep growing. That’s what these business conventions do for us. They help us to grow. They help us exchange different ideas. I just love the dynamics of a convention. It used to really scare me at first, because it’s very over stimulating. But from that stimulation we can go home and utilize that excitement. For me it was important to talk about the different situations that may have caused my being uncomfortable, to communicate any resentments or situations that brought up my lack of self-esteem. I just had to get it up and out. I couldn’t keep it inside and eventually eat over it. Because that’s how I lived my whole life prior to this recovery program.
I don't have any pearls of wisdom. All I have is who I am. We have to say to ourselves, “For one more day, I’m not going to eat. For one more day my life is going to be ok. For one more day I don’t have to deal with life’s problems…. because God’s going to take care of them if I weigh and measure my food and work my program”.
I am so grateful for each and every one of you! Thank you all for making the effort to attend this Business Convention and thank you for your patience with me chairing this convention for the very first time. You’ve been wonderful. Please travel home safely!