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World Service Business Convention Report - 2022


Table of Contents

Overview, WSB Chair
Our Primary Purpose
Opening Remarks, WSB Vice Chair
Treasurer’s Report
Bylaws Committee Report

Highlights from Chapters and Intergroups

Highlights from WSI Committees

Closing Remarks, WSB Chair

A LETTER FROM THE WSB CHAIR

The following report details the 21st Annual FA World Service Business Convention (WSBC), held virtually June 11-12, 2022. Whether you attended the Business Convention or not, all are encouraged to download and read the report in its entirety. Questions may be directed to fa@foodaddicts.org.

The Convention In Brief:

There were 644 registered attendees, including 257 voting members from Australia (East. West, and South), Eastern and Western Canada, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, and 40 of the 50 states

The virtual Business Convention included a general overview of FA’s history and structure, five motions, opening and closing remarks, our treasurer’s report, election of the 2022-2023 World Service Board, and acknowledgement of and appreciation for our outgoing board members. We also heard updates from all the WSI Committee chairs as well as the chairs from the Maine Chapter, the Western Area Intergroup, and the Eastern Area Intergroup.

On behalf of the World Service Board, I want to thank each and every fellow for all you do to keep FA strong and growing. It’s because of you – the Web and Directory Contact who takes calls from that newcomer, the Zoom hosts/co-hosts who are keeping out Zoom bombers, and that fellow who answers the phone when another is in need – that we are achieving our primary purpose of helping the still suffering food addict. It is acts of service big and small that are our foundation and the power of that service shined brightly at the World Service Business Convention. I am humbled and grateful to have completed my first year as Chair and I am humbled and grateful to serve for two more years. I look forward to working with the Board and each of you as we continue to navigate our new pandemic world.

Thank you so much for the support and service you have given the fellowship this year.

Yours in service,

Lisa S., WSB Chair 

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.

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. Their 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 12th Step. Forty subcommittees support these WSI standing committees.

Five additional committees–finance, personnel, design, inquiry response, board motions review–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, JEN N., VICE CHAIR

Good Morning, everyone. Welcome to the 2022 World Service Business Convention. My name is Jen, and I am a food addict from Acton, MA. I am grateful to be here with all of you today and across so many time zones! Oh, how we’ve grown!

It never ceases to amaze me the length that FA members go to do service for their recovery. Pre-pandemic, members traveled from all over the world to attend a three-day meeting in Danvers, MA. Although I traveled 45 miles and returned home at night if I chose, this was not the case for many members. Most had to budget accordingly to afford such a trip and leave their homes for extended days (sometimes weeks). Many members took joy in this experience, eager to spend time with their Fellows, participate in the business of FA and experience the growth promised in this Program. For some, like me, that joy was often overshadowed by the fear of being in a room with so many other people and contemplating the business ahead. It was easy to slip into self-centeredness and forget the power of prayer, gratitude, and our group conscience.  Yet by stretching outside our comfort zone to participate in these conventions, most of us have experienced immeasurable growth.

While most of us have not traveled great distances to be together today, many have made difficult decisions so they could participate in this convention. Some of us will be attending from the comfort of our homes; others have gathered in small numbers to be together; some will participate for a portion of the day, and others will not miss a minute. In whatever fashion you are here today, thank you. Thank you for your service and for caring about FA enough to spend two full days on Zoom, discussing motions and the direction of our program.

It is always a challenge to think through the hard questions, whether in-person or online. For example, what do I think about this motion? Does this concept support FA's principles? Could there be repercussions?

As voting members, we may be faced with indecision and have to ask for courage to vote our convictions. For instance, we may be in a room full of people who feel strongly one way and others another way. Or we may have challenging discourse with our Fellowes via text or through the pros and cons shared during the motions procedure. We may even vote differently than our sponsors! We will likely have either passionate emotions or ambivalence or something in between the two. Remember to ask your higher power for help and vote according to your conscience.

While participating today, I encourage you to remember why we are here. Lisa shared earlier that our primary purpose at the World Service Business Convention is to help keep FA strong and further our efforts to reach newcomers. Allow this motive to guide your prayer and your service today.

While reflecting on my remarks, I noticed that I used the word change repeatedly while thinking about FA, as I have known it for the past 26 years. In the early days of FA, there were so few of us - there was not a member whose name I did not recognize. I distinctly recall when there were no newcomers at our meetings. Many of us were worried because we knew we could not stay abstinent if we did not give this thing away. Would FA survive? But we continued to show up, and eventually, so did the newcomers. And now, there are over 5000 registered FA members and approximately 200 new members joining every month! When I read the list of registrants, I recognized some of your names, but I have yet to meet so many of you. 

During these last 24 years, we have listened, learned, and evolved as an organization. Is there any other way? Change is hard, but it is necessary. Without being open to change, we are in danger of becoming stagnant, unable to grow, sliding backwards: the very antithesis of what this Program asks us to do!   Aren’t the Twelve Steps all about the process of change? The Serenity Prayer reminds us that change takes courage. I haven’t always agreed with every change these 24 years, but I’ve always trusted the group conscience.  When I reflect on the past, I remember that change came from group conscience - it’s through group conscience that we can follow God’s will.  And as those changes have become the norm, I can see how they have helped us grow stronger and more inclusive.

The pandemic has provided me with an opportunity to reimagine the possibilities of how FA can reach the still-suffering food addict. ‘I’ve learned that video conferencing and telephone meetings are necessary not only because we could not safely meet in person but because they allowed for accessibility. I learned that as an organization, we were using old language that disenfranchised and hurt some people and that I, too, used this language. I realized that I could talk about things like using psychotropic medication and explore my fears and thoughts with others while keeping an open mind. I learned that special composition meetings have a place in FA. I’ve learned that we can have different commitments in our AWOLs and different ways of studying the Twelve Steps. I realize that I can ask questions, explore long-held beliefs and hold different opinions than others but still respect and admire their recovery. I’ve also learned that I miss in-person meetings and that standing in front of a room and seeing people in 3D is a very different experience. Not better, just different.   In addition, I’ve observed the evolution of our two Intergroups as they passed a motion to allow all of their affiliated members around the world to have a voice and a vote. I watched our WSI Board contend with big questions and thoughtfully consider motions to remove contradictions to create clarity that will allow us to mature as an organization. 

And yet, with all of these changes, our core remains the same. In FA, we remain unified in our definition of abstinence. We maintain the time-tested disciplines that allow our members to find recovery from food addiction and sustain it for a lifetime.

As we continue to welcome newcomers, we will need to revisit and share why we have some of the requirements we do. Some of our practices can sound harsh without explaining, but there is a reason behind our disciplines and language. For instance, our 90-day speaking requirement allows new or struggling members an opportunity to listen and learn about recovery before sharing. This discipline simultaneously supports the newcomer and the overall health of a meeting. We use language like insanity, mental illness, and self-centeredness. These are not meant to be shaming but speaking the truth about traits that often accompany a food addict. Insanity can be defined as negative thinking or doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results.   Addiction is a physical, mental, and spiritual sickness. Mental illness describes one facet of the disease of addiction. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines addiction as chronic, with repeated exposure leading to brain changes. Self-centeredness is a personality trait. One could argue that all human beings are self-centered. In recovery, we aim to replace self-centeredness with a God-centeredness.I am so grateful to my fellows who resist trying to make me feel better or give me advice when I call them but instead give me the medicine I need by using the language of this program. Even though I want to be loved and cared for, I know that I need to be told when I had taken a bite of self-centeredness, self-pity, criticism, anger, jealousy, etc. I need you, and I permit you, to be honest with me and direct me back to the solution that FA has to offer. I want to continue to smash my self-centeredness and grow spiritually. Because as the Twelve Steps direct us, we need a spiritual solution to our addiction. It is the only way to find recovery, and FA is founded on that principle.

In preparing for this talk, I also reflected on how FA has positively impacted my life. The list is long. After years of struggling with binge eating, bulimia, and dieting, I found a fellowship of people who understood me. Their own experiences led me to understand addiction and the spiritual solution offered to me in FA. I was in my twenties when I decided to live this way of life. I was quiet, scared, and the sentences I spoke ended with a question mark. One of my good friends once told me that even my answering machine message was in the form of a question. At meetings, people in the first row would ask me to either speak up or slow down. I jumbled my words and often felt like the wires in my brain did not connect. I was insecure, filled with self-doubt, and owned by fear. Yet I was told I did not have to live that way anymore, and if I stayed abstinent, I would change. And with God's help, I did. The very fact that I am standing here before you is a testament to the power of this FA recovery. 

During this convention, we must care for ourselves. So remember to step away when you need to, chat with others, take quiet time, and most importantly, don't eat no matter what, no matter what, don’t eat!!

Treasurer’s Report, (Mac M.)

As we talk about FA’s finances, it’s important to remember that we all approach financial management through the lens of our own experience: the financial positions of ourselves and our families, how we handled (or didn’t handle) our money as active addicts, and how we approach our finances in recovery. In FA, we approach our finances with these spiritual principles:

  • Our primary purpose is to help the still suffering food addict, and we use our finances to do that;
  • Concept Twelve tells us that we should have sufficient operating funds plus an ample prudent reserve;
  • Tradition Seven tells us that we should be self-supporting, not soliciting or accepting outside donations;
  • When there are funds beyond the prudent reserve at the various levels of FA, they get used to help the still suffering food addict: at the meeting level, at the local service group, Chapter, or Intergroup level, and at the World Service level.

Summary for the year July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022 (June estimated)

Beginning balance

325,500

 

 

Income

Expenses

Donations & Interest

246,000

 

Operating Expenses

 

191,100

Literature

49,300

39,300

Business Convention

57,700

30,100

Projects

 

30,700

Total

353,000

321,100

Net Income

31,900

 

 

Projected Budget for the year July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023

Beginning balance

357,400

 

 

Income

Expenses

Donations & Interest

246,000

 

Operating Expenses

 

224,100

Literature

52,500

41,000

Conventions

60,000

60,000

Projects

 

21,500

Total

358,500

344,600

Net Income

13,900

 

If you have questions about anything related to FA’s finances, join Mac M. for a Treasurer eForum “Ask Me Anything” session on July 30, 2022 at 8:00 PM ET or on Sunday July 31, 2022 at 1:00 PM ET. Submit your questions in advance to treasurer@foodaddicts.org - you will be able to ask questions in real time, but you will get better answers if I have time to look things up before the session. Even if you can’t attend, anyone can request a financial report at any time by emailing treasurer@foodaddicts.org. I am happy to send email and snail-mail copies!

As we move forward in the new year, please keep these suggestions in mind:

  • Donate what you can when you can. When we all give what we honestly can, none of us has to stretch too much.
    • If you’re a meeting treasurer, don’t forget to pass along excess funds to your local service group, Chapter, Intergroup, and to World Service.
  • Subscribe to connection. It makes a great gift! I always renew my subscription in June, because I get reminded to do so at the Business Convention. I get the physical copies, and when I am done with each issue I put it in a little library in my neighborhood.
  • If you want to make a personal donation to WSI, keep in mind these donation limits:
    • Any FA member can donate up to $3,000 per year directly to WSI. This does not include amounts donated to the Seventh Tradition collection at FA meetings.
      • You can make a one-time donation or set up a convenient monthly recurring donation to WSI or your Intergroup or Chapter at http://www.foodaddicts.org/donate-now.
    • Any FA member can make a one-time bequest of up to $5,000 for FA in their will.

Thank you for all you do to support our fellowship. Whether you’re donating your money or your time, you are making it possible for us to help the still-suffering food addict.

Bylaws Committee (Norma Jean P., Chair)

Description of Committee

The Bylaws Committee meets regularly to review the bylaws, governing documents, procedural documents such as the WSC member manual, and address related issues.  If amendments to the bylaws are required or recommended, the bylaws committee prepares and presents the motions at the WSBC.

Chair Report

This year, the WSB Manual was completely revised. The new version should be available on the website by August 1, 2022. In addition, in the past we had one WSI Standing Committee Manual that contained policies and procedures for all 9 WSI Standing Committees. This year we broke it down into individual committee manuals plus a policies and procedures manual for the executive committee. These individual manuals will also be available on the website by August 1, 2022.

The 2022 FA World Service Business Convention (WSBC) was again held virtually because of the continued widespread impact of COVID.

There were five motions presented to the FA World Service Conference (the voting members of FA). All motions were adopted by at least 2/3rds affirmation of the WSC members. The updated FA-WSI Bylaws and FA-WSI CEM documents will be available on the website by August 1, 2022.  A summary of each motion can be found below.

In addition, elections were held and all new board members ran unopposed. The board was elected by acclamation. There are two new board members. In addition, Pam K. moved from the chair of the Service Group Support Committee to Vice Chair of WSI. Refer to the chart below.

2022-2023 FA World Service Board 

Please note that last year some terms were only for 1 year because of COVID carry-over of positions. This year, all terms are for 2 years so we are back in sync with rotation of service positions.

POSITION

BOARD MEMBER

Chair

Lisa S., MD

Vice Chair

Pam K., BC Canada

Secretary

Abigail H., PA

Treasurer

Mac M., VA

Bylaws

Andrea G., CA

connection

Joanna A., MD

Convention Planning

Cayce K., NC

Literature

Karen LB., MA

Office

Stacy T., CA

Public Information

Lisa B., CA

Service Group Support

Shirley H., ME (the replacement for this vacancy was appointed by the WSB at the close of the convention per our bylaws Article V section 6(d)).

Traditions

Cheryl W., MI

12th Step

Regina M., MA

MOTIONS 

The WSB moved that the Conference adopt changes to the pamphlet, Living Abstinently. The changes to the Living Abstinently pamphlet passed with 98% of the vote and were adopted. Living Abstinently contains our ten tools of recovery. The pamphlet now reflects the change to meetings that occurred last year (the tool of meetings now includes both teleconference and telephone conference meetings). Please refer to the pamphlet area of the FA website for the updated version. This update will be on the website by August 1st.

The WSB moved that the Conference correct Article XIII regarding changes to the Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts by changing “meetings” to “WSC members” in order to be in sync with our bylaws that state the WSC is the voting body of FA. In addition, the article was enhanced by adding that written permission must be received from Alcoholics Anonymous prior to making changes since they own the copyright.

This change to the bylaws passed with 99% of the vote and was adopted. The Bylaws have been changed as follows:

The Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts of FA may only be amended with the written consent of Alcoholics Anonymous. The change must also be accepted by seventy-five percent of WSC members present at the WSBC and casting a vote.

The WSB moved that the conference adopt the change to the in-person meeting format and also adopt the new meeting formats for teleconference and telephone conference meetings. 

The motion passed with 94% of the vote and was adopted. Please refer to the website for all current meeting formats. These will be on the website by August 1st.

The WSB moved that the conference remove the term AWOL from the Bylaws.

This change to the Bylaws passed with 81% of the vote and was adopted. The Bylaws have been changed as follows:

Article II section 3(c), the definition of AWOL, was removed.

In the following sections, when delineating service qualifications, AWOL was replaced with “in-depth study of the Twelve Steps in sequence using a method focused on food addiction and requiring abstinence throughout each step.”

  • Article III section 2(b) regarding service qualifications for a WSC member
  • Article IV section 2(c)(i) regarding service qualifications for the intergroup board
  • Article V section 3(b) regarding service qualifications for WSB
  • Article IX section 8(a) regarding service qualifications for a member of the Traditions Review Committee

The WAI moved that the Conference remove the phrase “maintain credible body size” from the requirements for service as a WSB member.

This change to the Bylaws passed with 73% of the vote and was adopted. The Bylaws have been changed as follows:

Officers and trustees must be members of the fellowship with at least seven years of continuous abstinence in FA, as defined in Article II section 3 of these bylaws, and must demonstrate recovery. 

Any questions regarding Bylaws may be emailed to bylaws@foodaddicts.org. 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM CHAPTERS & INTERGROUPS

Eastern Area Intergroup Chair (Jennifer H.) 

Overview of EAI affairs:

  • The Maine Chapter has been affiliated with the Eastern Area Intergroup since the beginning of 2002 and continues to support meetings and reach other food addicts in their region.
  • Jennifer H. made a transition in January from Vice Chair to Chair position in mid-January, and Katie W. took the role of Vice Chair.
  • No motions were brought to World Service.
  • EAI has committed to remaining a virtual platform in order to accommodate the hundreds of members who cannot travel to EAI in person. Committee members from around the world meet to do service supporting our incredible recovery.
  • Five new committee chairs, three veteran chairs and our executive board met for our first in person retreat since Covid, in Massachusetts. Over 50% traveled from out of state. 

EAI Committee Reports

12th Step Committee

  • Hosted monthly Informal Twelfth Step Gatherings on these topics:
    • 12th Step Calls
    • Crosstalk
    • Acceptance
    • Meetings (how we carry the message through the tool of meetings)
    • And to Practice these Principles in All Our Affairs
    • Spiritual Awakening
    • Carrying the Message with Local Service Groups (collaboration with the EAI SGSC)
    • Before You Take That Bite
    • Service is Fun!
    • The Joy of Living
  • Developed a video resource to help members and meetings discuss the topic of Crosstalk
  • Worked with the EAI Office and Public Information Committees to upgrade the EAI Welcome Letter
  • Updated the EAI Orientation Video and Orientation Guide
  • Assisted the WSI 12th Step Committee to communicate the incorporation of Thank-a-Thons into the FA Event calendar; stopped the old process of having a separate communication on the FA website

Office Committee

  • Database Coordinators worked with the FA Office to learn new FA website processes to update EAI meetings, and add or close meetings on the FA website.
  • New EAI videoconference and telephone meetings were processed and posted on the FA website along with in-person meetings that were reregistering.
  • In-person EAI meeting directories also called trifolds were updated and posted on the EAI meeting directory webpage
  • Office Committee volunteers assisted the FA Office in contacting EAI fellows who had not re-registered on the new website.
  • The Welcome letter to newly formed FA-EAI meetings was updated to include information from the Public Information Committee and the 12th Step Committee.
  • All inquiries to the EAI Office Committee via phone or email were followed-up on providing the information requested.

Financial Aid and Resources Committee

  • The Committee received a total of 10 financial aid requests for the upcoming Business Convention. All applicants received aid.

Service Support Weekend Planning Committee

  • Our fellowship overwhelmingly voted to hold this year’s FA EAI Service Support Weekend virtually.
  • FA EAI Service Support Weekend will be held virtually on November 12-13, 2022.
  • We are starting to plan and are in need of subcommittee chairs for IT and Entertainment.
  • Registration will open in late summer, be on the lookout and all are welcome!

Public Information Committee

Continues to strive to inform the public about the fact of FA existence, to provide information and resources to PI Reps and Meetings and to get the message of FA recovery to the still suffering food addict. provided the following to help meetings convey information about the FA Program to the general public and to professionals:

    • Provides tablecloths, banners & signs to use at health fairs, Information Sessions etc.
    • Clear Lucite Trifold racks at no charge for placing FA Trifold Racks in the community
    • Financial Assistance for outreach effort and to print your area trifold
    • PI Sub Group provided the Service Group Support Committee access to the Google Doc Spreadsheet listing Health Fairs and Information Sessions located in EAI territory in the United States for the Local Service Groups to follow up on
    • Provided instructions at monthly meetings for PI Reps to become familiar to access PI Resources on the FA Website. For examples: accessing half page flyer and trifold, find newspaper wording to post meeting info in local newspapers, ordering pamphlets
    • Continuation of open discussion on how to carry the message as we continue with limited live meetings and limited opportunities to do public outreach in-person.

Local Service Group Support Committee

  • Updated the EAI LSG list on the EAI SGSC webpage.
  • Published link on the EAI SGSC webpage for LSGs to upload materials to share with LSGs and Chapters.
  • Partnered with EAI 12 Step Committee for a gathering on LSGs.
  • Begun creation of Bulletin Board tool for each LSG to maintain their information and communicate with their area fellowship.
  • Held session where LSGs provided concerns or challenges to EAI SGSC.

Bylaws Committee

  • Per CEM conducted an annual review of the EAI Main Motion Process
  • Subcommittee reviewing main motion process suggested changes the process that will be submitted to EAI fellowship in the fall
  • Comprehensive review of the EAI bylaws and recommendations for changes that will be submitted to EAI fellowship in the fall
  • Deep dive into the bylaws committee that explained purpose of bylaws and function of committee

Teens and Twenties Committee

  • Coordinated and conducted 3 Information Sessions.
  • Compiled a list of schools that we have had relationships with to send out invitation to reestablish relationships.
  • Updated virtual outreach best practices.
  • Updated virtual outreach format.
  • Coordinated and facilitated virtual outreaches at 3 colleges.
  • Began developing a slide show to help train volunteers on how to coordinate and conduct outreaches.
  • Began implementing the health care slide show into virtual outreaches.

Information Technology Committee

Over the past 24 months, EAI IT has been conducting training sessions to facilitate a broader knowledge base relative to Gmail, the Google Suite of products (Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Sheets, & Google Slides) and enhance knowledge of the Zoom platform and security.

  • Maintenance of a consistent record of inventory of assets, invocation of update licensing; standardization of a platform for laptop devices
  • The IT team is maintaining an up-to-date inventory of assets including laptops, projectors, iPads, and accessories.
  • In Spring of 2022, all licensing was updated and consolidated such that bundled licenses have replaced more expensive individual licenses.
  • The IT platform has been standardized to ensure consistent delivery to EAI Board members in possession of a laptop owned by EAI IT Committee.
  • Leadership of the IT function of Service Support Weekend involved recruiting, scheduling, and training over 60 volunteers to staff hundreds of time slots for the event.
  • Pulling together IT Teams to facilitate e-Forum sessions. Typically involving a host, 2 co-hosts, and a timekeeper for each session.

Western Area Intergroup (Jamie M., Chair)

Overview

  • Convened a new Interim Board and Appointed Committee Chairs for our first Virtual WAI meeting on October 17,2021
  • Formed three new committees: Bylaws, Technology and Service Group Support Committee
  • Amended our Bylaws and Continuing Effects Motions to enable us to meet, vote and conduct WAI business virtually.
  • Voted in an Executive Board
  • Collaborated with EAI to support each other in our efforts to reach our fellowship
  • Created a Bylaws Committee as, previously, there was no such committee in WAI.

 Treasurer’s Report

  • WAI is financially stable.
  • WAI has an adequate prudent reserve.
  • Many of our annual expenses are paid through December 2022

Bylaws Committee

  • The WAI fellowship passed two amendments to its bylaws.
    • The first amendment was to allow for virtual voting.
    • The second allows WAI to elect its officers by electronic voting instead of requiring a paper ballot.
  • WAI also passed two new continuing effects motions.
    • One CEM revised the schedule for nominations and elections of officers.
    • The second CEM created a process for submitting and voting on proposed main motions.
  • The Bylaws Committee is undertaking a wholescale review of the WAI bylaws and continuing effect motions to consider amendments. 

Office Committee

  • Processed registration and re-registration of meetings on the new FA website.
  • Assisted FA Office with follow-up of fellows who had not updated their profile
  • Developed a Newcomer Orientation subcommittee to guide newcomers at Intergroup, which will be debuting at the July meeting.
  • Currently updating meeting trifolds, including adding a QR code and new fonts.

Twelfth Step Committee

  • Formed Three committees
    • Thank-a-thon/ Topics Committee
    • connection Magazine
    • World Languages Committee
  • Sponsored and organized the first FA Virtual Thank-a-thons in Mexico (bi-lingual), Canada/Australia and California. Several hundred members were able to attend to hear speakers from each area.
  • In May, held first WAI sponsored a writing workshop, So You Want to be a Writer? Fifty people attended and three articles were submitted to the connection Magazine.
  • Future Projects:
    • Outreach/Liaison Committee: Possible committee designed to reach out to every meeting in the WAI with the purpose of welcoming everyone to attend, run for office, participate in volunteer activities, and utilize the support of WAI services.
    • First 12th Step Topic panel discussion in Spanish.
    • Planning a virtual panel to discuss crosstalk scheduled for the weekend of July 30th/31st.
    • World Language Committee and Thank-at-thon/Topic Committee will be collaborating to assist with translations of the Crosstalk presentation. 

Service Group Support Committee

  • SGSC (including WAI, EAI and WSI) are working to redefine what a Local Service Group means and how it can function in the new world of videoconferencing, where FA has become less "local”
  • SGSC for WAI is collaborating with EAI to determine if there is a way to kick-start service opportunities at the local level, even before the definition of LSG is fully determined 

WAI Public Information Committee

  • Public Information Committee members are looking for possible places/venues to host PI events, such as health-fairs, college campuses, etc. Volunteers will coordinate events in local communities.
  • The email to our healthcare professionals was edited to better fit into the email formats of many healthcare providers. The email has been sent to the WSB Tradition’s Committee for approval and suggestions. 

WAI Convention Resource Committee

The committee provided partial financial assistance to six of our members, including a member from New Zealand, enabling them to attend the 2022 World Service Convention. 

WAI Technology Committee

  • The Technology Committee was created to allow us to facilitate a video conference intergroup meeting.
  • The committee ensures that the Intergroup meeting runs smoothly and helps to monitor committee meeting’s breakout rooms.
  • Technological assistance is offered to those unfamiliar with the virtual platform.
  • The committee created a series of information sessions and continues to provide resources to help our fellowship safely guard each meeting’s security during the recent zoom bombings.

Maine Chapter (Reina D., Chair)

Summary

The FA-EAI Maine Chapter was established in 2002. The Chapter met monthly via video conferencing/phone which support the recovery of current FA members to ensure information about the FA program remains accessible to anyone seeking recovery from the obsession and compulsion of food addiction in our region. The Chapter serves meetings throughout Maine and border communities in Southern New Hampshire.

Registered Meetings in the Maine Chapter:

  • Number of individual, registered meetings/gatherings at beginning of fiscal year June 1, 2021: 22
  • Number of individual, registered meetings at end of fiscal year May 31, 2022: 11

Changes due to Covid and restructuring of meetings with new FA meeting guidelines.

The Office Committee (MEOffice@foodaddicts.org)

  • This past year the Office Committee maintained communication between meetings by emailing monthly Highlights to meeting contacts and affiliated members. The Highlights provide information about resources available to meetings, upcoming events and service opportunities for FA members.
  • Updated the meeting directory monthly, maintained the Maine pages on the FA website and continue to offer support and training, for the Chapter Board to use the Google Drives and Archives system.
  • Produced and/or distributed the monthly Maine Chapter Meeting Directory, FA Maine Chapter Highlights & and the 12th Step Outreach/Service List to Chapter Contacts and other interested persons/organizations
  • Maintained Chapter Post Office Box in Augusta

The 12th Step Committee

  • The 12th Step Committee organized two eSessions: The Fall event was on “CrossTalk” and the Winter was on “How our virtual meetings are Helping the Suffering Food Addict.” The IT Chair offered skill and expertise in hosting these virtual events, supporting committee work and assisting FA members challenged by our new virtual world.

The PI Committee (MEPI@foodaddicts.org)

  • The PI Committee registered and helped coordinate FA Booths at 6 events which included: An In-person Physician Assistant event; the Assoc. Physician Asst Conf at Sebasco Harbor Resort; ME Nurse Practitioner Assoc Annual meeting; 14th Annual Healthy Aging Health Fair;  ME Osteopathic Conference Health Fair, and the Mt. Desert Isle Adult Ed requested a PI Session.  Because of these outreach efforts we've had multiple opportunities to present the FA Video and provide PI materials so they can raise awareness about FA in their communities.
  • In addition to virtual events the committee with the help of affiliated meetings, also helped coordinate two Ad buys, which include, an Ad of the FA article “‘Are You Having Trouble Controlling the Way You Eat’. The Turner Ad buy, mailed free to 134,000 homes in Central Maine and the Forecaster Ad buy, a free publication available at retail outlets in Midcoast, Southern and Westerns Maine.
  • Managed and Coordinated the FA Maine Chapter Phone Information Line
  • 12th Step Committee: (ME12thstep@foodaddicts.org)
  • Organized and provided a monthly orientation for FA Members attending the Chapter Meeting for the first time
  • Updated the Chapter’s 12th Step Outreach/Service List monthly

Vice Chair Report (MEViceChair@foodaddicts.org)

  • Drafted the FA Maine Chapter Highlights, a monthly email about resources, activities and service opportunities available throughout the Chapter. This included maintaining a regularly updated list with contact information for the Informal Gatherings
  • Served as the Liaison Coordinator, which promotes communication and unity between the FA Maine Chapter and Meetings affiliated with the FA Maine Chapter

Bylaws Committee (MEBylaws@foodaddicts.org)

  • The Bylaws Chair focused on increasing knowledge regarding governing documents, EAI Bylaws and the 12 Traditions
  • The Bylaws committee circulated a schedule and instructions for submitting motions for the 2022 FA World Business Convention.

Intergroup Liaison (MEIGliaison@foodaddicts.org)

  • Informed the Chapter regarding EAI resources, current issues, activities and events

Information Technology Committee (MEITCoordinator@foodaddicts.org)

  • Explored Zoom capacity for various Chapter functions
  • Provided consultation, review, training and support of technical capacities as requested by Maine Chapter Board Members, Maine Chapter committees and individuals

Treasurer (METreasurer@foodaddicts.org)

  • FA EAI Maine Chapter Annual Report of Transactions from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS FROM WSI COMMITTEES

connection Committee (Joanna A., Chair)

Description of Committee

connection is a monthly magazine written by members of FA for members of FA.  We publish ten issues per year, both in print and digitally.  The connection Committee is responsible for collecting and editing content, including articles and art, and creating and producing each issue.

Chair Report

This year the connection committee was primarily engaged in establishing and updating policies and procedures to manage our committee and production process. This included reorganizing the committee into four subcommittees in order to streamline procedures for content and explore new ideas to update the magazine to make it more useful and enjoyable for members of FA to read. The newly created subcommittees are: 

Articles Subcommittee (Karen W., subcommittee chair)

Art Subcommitee (Sharon C., subcommittee chair)

Innovations Subcommitee (Chi Chi E., subcommittee chair)

Administration Subcommittee (Dierdre H., subcommittee chair)

To this end, please watch for a survey to help us understand what changes you’d be interested in seeing. 

Our committee also updated our committee manual to document our processes and procedures in order to ease the transition from one chair to another and for clarity when service positions change hands.

The committee is actively looking for a connection Representative Coordinator (subcommittee chair) and editors. Please contact connection@foodaddicts.org if you are interested or have any questions.

Convention Planning Committee (Gabe E., Chair)

Description of Committee

The Convention planning committee helps plan the Business and Fellowship Conventions.

Chair Report

The Business Convention was held virtually on June 11th and 12th, 2022, with over 600 members attending. The next Business Convention will be June 3rd and June 4th, 2023. It is yet to be determined if that will be held virtually or in person. The Fellowship Convention will be held in person in Phoenix in October, 2023 (the exact date is yet to be determined).

Literature Committee (Karen L.B., Chair)

Description of Committee

The Literature Committee writes, records, and translates literature for the FA fellowship along with recording podcasts for placement on podcast platforms.

Writing and Editing Subcommittee

  • Submitted motion for approval on behalf of the WSB to revise “Living Abstinently” to reflect the meeting platforms of telephone, in person, and video conference which was passed by the Convention.
  • Continuing work on revising “Bulimic? Undereating? Underweight?” and “Food Addiction: Stories of Teens and Twenties in Recovery.”

Operations Subcommittee

  • The “Overweight? Obese? Overeating? There is a Solution” and the revised “Just for Today” card were made ready for publishing and should be on the FA website in June 2022.
  • Public libraries can now purchase the FA book, through at least 50 distributors e.g., Overdrive, Barnes and Noble, AppleBooks
  • Assisted Chair with budget
  • Assisted with proper policy and procedures in revising and dating pamphlets

Audio Subcommittee

  • Monthly qualification recordings the 3rd Saturday of every month that are open to the fellowship
  • Recorded 14 new qualifications
  • Developed speaking guideline materials for recorded qualifications
  • Began process of transferring mp3s to podcasts
  • Added new team members for a total of 6 sub committees and 10 steps to produce a single podcast
  • Busy planning summer launch of brand new podcasts
    • Planning on recording non-English languages in podcasts

Translation Subcommittee

  • In the process of finishing translating, designing and printing German and Spanish pamphlets “Food Addiction and the FA Solution,” “FA and the Healthcare Professional,” “Before You Take the Bite.” Also, two Booklets, “Living Abstinently,” and “The First Two Chapters.”
  • Other non-English speaking languages are in various phases of translating FA literature
  • Developed FA logos for Spanish, German, French and Greek, and Russian for use on literature and websites.
  • Provided an email address for each non-English language community
  • Added Greek and Russian languages on the website

Office Committee (Stacy T., Chair)

Description of Committee

The Office Committee (or OC) serves as a resource to the fellowship, the World Service Board (WSB) and World Service committees, Intergroups, and Chapters. It facilitates communication between the WSB and the fellowship and its meetings, and maintains the website. The FA website houses all meeting information, informative materials for the general public, as well as materials related to each service body of FA.

The OC also runs the World Service Office (or WSO) which employs administrative staff and keeps records of all financial transactions, as well as some of the archives of the organization. The WSO also serves as the main point of contact regarding inquiries from the general public and is the central hub of communication with the fellowship, the media, health professionals, and newcomers to FA.

Chair’s Report

What didn’t we do last year?!

Committee Accomplishment Highlights

  • Designed and launched the updated FA website
  • Registered and re-registered all FA meetings
  • Facilitated profile updates for all FA members
  • Supported adoption of Google Work Space for the WSB, Intergroups and Maine Chapter
  • Established a World Service Tech Subcommittee
  • Helped our online meetings combat Zoom bombers
  • Supported and managed SEO to improve visibility of the FA website

Subcommittee Reports

Ad-Hoc Re-Registration Meeting & Members Subcommittee (Janae M. Chair)

Typically, this subcommittee is active every three years to facilitate the WSB requirement of re-registering each FA member for the purposes of maintaining an accurate database. However, due to the pandemic, this subcommittee was engaged to accomplish the following:

  • Completed the required meeting registration/re-registration — no small feat given how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our fellowship as a whole.
  • Carol C., a long-time FA fellow who was brought on as paid part-time staff to assist the office and its Director, personally called all meetings that failed to register before the 12/31/21 deadline to assist them in registering, if need be.
  • The Office Committee also completed the required meeting member/profile verification processes
  • A group of volunteers also attempted to reach all members that failed to register before the 12/31/21 deadline in case they needed help with the process

Logistical Support Subcommittee (Kim H., Chair)

  • Supported the adoption of Google Work Space for the WSB, IG’s and Maine Chapter
  • Supported re-registration and member verification subcommittee with technical support

SEO Subcommittee (Margaret L., Chair)

  • Supported and managed SEO to improve visibility of the FA website

Tech Subcommittee (Mish R., Chair)

Founded in 2022 to address the evolving needs of the fellowship and our organization as a whole, the Technology Subcommittee (TS) is composed of tech-savvy members of FA and is responsible for supporting the fellowship and the World Service Board (WSB) around technology-related issues and solutions. The TS is supervised by and reports to the Office Committee Chair and includes one Subcommittee Chair and has created the following teams:

  • Fellowship Tech Support
    • Maintains a contact list of skilled individuals throughout the fellowship who are willing to provide support to people and meetings struggling with technology and remove obstacles for members trying to access recovery in FA online and on the phone
  • WSB Tech Support
    • Provides relevant support, guidance, and suggestions to the WSB and its individual members
  • Technology Education
    • Creates trainings and materials (including videos) to support the fellowship in using technology to access recovery and support the still suffering food addict. This support may come in the form of:
      • FAQ lists
      • Training guides
      • Workshops
    • In an attempt to combat Zoom bombers, this team:
      • Crafted a comprehensive email, which was sent to the fellowship twice, detailing ways in which meetings can protect themselves and their members from Zoom bombers in the moment and in the future
    • Created Zoom bombing prevention sessions open to the fellowship so that meeting leaders and individuals could learn easy actions to take to thwart Zoom bombing efforts, ask questions, and get specific assistance. 

Website Projects Subcommittee (Leah H., Chair)

Well beyond a new look meant to align with our established brand and printed materials, thanks to our tireless Office Director and Web team, our revamped website has updated features and functionality including:

  • A newcomer-friendly homepage
  • Easier navigation experience through drop-down menu
  • Advanced search capabilities
  • Event calendar
  • Improved search engine optimization (SEO)
  • An updated, more robust profile page that gives each member the ability to:
  • Easily manage meetings and subscriptions
  • Address service position needs
  • Listen to all MP3s qualifications free 

Public Information Committee (Lisa B., chair)

Description of the Committee

The PI Committee serves as a resource to the fellowship for carrying the message of FA recovery to those who still suffer, by providing support and materials to local FA Intergroups, chapters, meetings, and individuals in their PI outreach work. This includes assistance and guidance with the most effective and appropriate means of communication to use for the public and professional community through various media, abiding by the Twelve Traditions.

Chair’s Report

At this time, as we are just settling back into meetings, we encourage members to tend to their recovery and to the health of their meetings, and to use sensitivity and discernment in reaching out. A good place to start for all interested in PI work is to review the Introduction to PI Work and Help for PI Representatives on the FA website, and contact pi@foodaddicts.org.

Subcommittee Reports

Digital Outreach (Margaret L.)

Makes information about FA available to suffering food addicts looking online for a solution.

  • Google Ads (paid search) Clicks up 10% since last 6 months, and users up 21%, and users are spending more time on the site.
  • Total website traffic up 28% over the previous 6-month period. User interaction on website is higher.
  • 179 articles referred to Mediawatch and Blogwatch.
  • People referred from other websites up 22%, and we have had a sharp rise in referrals from college websites (possibly as people have returned to school in person)
  • 21 new weblinks, 2 of which were posted at colleges
  • Over 2300 people came to the FA website through Facebook (slightly down)
  • 4 FA responses appear on Blogwatch, with 4 pending.

FA Facebook Page (Erica R.)

Presents consistency and clarity in official FA Facebook page. Its purpose is to reach suffering food addicts and NOT to provide a platform for internal communication.

  • Continued to post two times a week
  • Continuing to work on developing the structure, strategy, and analytical reporting for the project

Professional Outreach (Fredrika N.)

Healing professionals have been swamped and stressed with trying to keep ahead of the pandemic, so we show respect for their time and priorities. We recommend working within existing relationships, rather than sending form emails or mass mailings.

  • Completed a 20-minute Health Care Media Presentation, which combines video footage and informational slides for use at future Health Care Information meetings. Presenters are oriented by the committee to offer context and personalize the material with their own recovery stories.
  • Piloting Health Care Professional information sessions and class presentations virtually as well as in person. For virtual sessions, we must ensure that they are not recorded.
  • For information on participating in pilot showings to groups or to individual health care providers, contact famedia@foodaddicts.org.

Media Outreach (Mindy C.)

Coordinates efforts to increase awareness of FA recovery via print, radio, television, and evolving media. Members are encouraged to send relevant articles to mediawatch@foodaddicts.org, or join the Mediawatch response team at the same email.

  • Four FA members were featured on the 3CR Radio Show in the past 6 months. The podcast links can be found here.
  • Updating Media Outreach landing page and television and radio archives posted on FA website.
  • Mediawatch sent out 102 responses to relevant articles and interviews, introducing journalists to FA.

PI Tools/Operations (Jim D.)

Supports the PI chair and other subcommittees with updated resources and help with project management.

  • Proofreads and updates all PI webpages beginning with the one for the Healthcare professional
  • Submitted a formal request to Facebook for having the FA Facebook page be named the "Verified" Food Addicts in Recovery Facebook page (blue check)
  • Facilitates Social Media working group in researching additional social media platforms for possible FA PI purposes.

Community Accountability (Elaine L.)

Explores ways we might be contributing to health inequities in our outreach efforts, asking:

  • Who is not at the table and why?
  • Where are the gaps in our relationships and outreach efforts with various communities?
  • What work do we need to do on ourselves to form real, culturally responsive relationships across race, class, and power?

Maine Chapter PI Committee (Diane F.)

  • Initiated direct mailing: Turner Ad buy paid with Chapter funds “Are You Having Trouble Controlling the Way You Eat?” ad and an FA article published, mailed free to 134,000 homes in Central Maine.
  • Using Chapter and meeting funds, bought Forecaster “Are You Having Trouble Controlling the Way You Eat?” in six regional, free publication available at retail outlets
  • Participated in14th Annual Healthy Aging Health Fair booth, outdoor event in Hallowell ME 58 people stopped by booth- Connection Magazine and other literature handed out
  • Participated in June ME Osteopathic Conference Health Fair in-person booth Samoset Resort.

EAI PI Committee (Kathryn W.)

  • Four members of the EAI PI Committee search the internet for Healthcare and Information Session opportunities in the area served by EAI. This information is put on a Google Doc Spread Sheet and shared with Service Support Committee.
  • At monthly EAI PI meeting, review sections of the FA website that pertains to Public Information, providing support to PI representatives.

EAI Teens and Twenties (Merissa E.)

  • Provided Virtual Outreach to colleges.
  • Updated the format and best practices for virtual outreaches
  • Decided to hold T & T information sessions 2x a year now that a young people’s meeting has started. The next Teens & Twenties information session will be on Sunday, October 23rd.

WAI PI Committee (Thelma W.)

  • Members are seeking opportunities for public information events such as health fairs, college presentations, etc.
  • At July 10 meeting, will designate local area coordinators.
  • A member will be working with former PI chairs to locate PI materials (banners, tablecloths, etc.) used by WAI
  • Piloting email to health care professional, with consultation from the Traditions Review Committee.

Service Group Support Committee (SGSC), (Pam K., Chair)

Description of Committee

The SGSC supports the maintenance and development of Local Service Groups (LSGs), Chapters and Intergroups. It also facilitates global communication among all the service groups and the WSI board. All efforts support the overarching principle of supporting FA recovery practices, strengthening existing recovery and helping others learn that recovery from food addiction exists.

Chair Report

  • The core committee meets bimonthly to discuss best practices to keep the channels of communication open between world service, the Intergroups and Chapters and to assist Local Service Groups in reaching the still suffering food addict.
  • Continuing to create a space for collaboration between the WSB and intergroups, the SGSC chair, Eastern Area Intergroup (EAI) chair and Western Area Intergroup (WAI) chair meet monthly. In addition, the SGSC chair meets monthly with the EAI SGSC chair and the WAI SGSC chair specifically to discuss ways to encourage fellows coming together to do service.
  • The SGSC holds bi-monthly global calls for all who are interested in getting the FA message out through the efforts of LSGs. Open to the worldwide fellowship, LSGs have an opportunity to share their initiatives encouraging others to work together in service. SGSC chairs of EAI and WAI along with the Maine Chapter chair share highlights of the work their Intergroup and Chapter is doing.
  • We continue to capture pertinent information pertaining to active LSGs in addition to handling requests from fellowships about ways to start an LSG in their area.
  • A complete review of the SGSC Manual was undertaken. The review was completed and the manual is now updated. A position description along with procedures has been created for the secretary position.

Subcommittee Reports

Education and Information Subcommittee, Linda C., Chair

  • In conjunction with other World Service committees, Intergroups, Chapters and Local Service Groups, the following topics were covered on the bimonthly global calls:
    • A Lot Has Changed! Where Do We Start? Let's Start with Literature
    • 12th Step - Service with a Smile
    • Traditions Review Committee - The TRX: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?

Guidelines Subcommittee, Shirley H., Chair

  • The committee wrote Intergroup Guidelines. They are posted on the FA website on the SGSC page. The guidelines outline best practices for areas thinking about starting an intergroup and lay out questions for existing intergroups to check effectiveness.
  • Draft Chapter Guidelines have been written. Like the Intergroup Guidelines, the Chapter Guidelines outline best practices for areas thinking about starting a chapter and lay out questions for existing chapters to check effectiveness. After further review by the SGSC core committee a final document will be posted on the SGSC page of the FA website.
  • A review of the Local Service Group (LSG) Guidelines has commenced. The current LSG Guidelines are posted on the FA website on the SGSC page.

The Forum Planning Subcommittee

  • Tasked with planning programming for the Forum at in-person conventions, the Forum Planning Subcommittee work is currently on hold. A committee chair will be appointed when we return to in-person conventions.

Traditions Review Committee (Cheryl W., Chair)

Description of Committee

The Tradition Review Committee’s mandate is to consider how the Twelve Traditions guide FA on various issues raised by FA members or groups. Inquiries are submitted to traditions@foodaddicts.org. The committee meets to discuss these issues every other month, then shares their thoughts with the inquirer and with the fellowship (when appropriate) through various WSI reports and the TRC Index. 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.

Chair’s Report

From July, 2021-June, 2022, the TRC received 32 inquiries at traditions@foodaddicts.org. Of those, 18 inquiries were responded to by the Chair, 5 were referred to another FA committee and 9 were discussed and responded to by the full TRC. In addition, the TRC reviewed the Health Care Professional video and advised the WSB regarding inclusion and diversity training as a response to feelings of marginalization by fellows.

Questions about any of these may be directed to traditions@foodaddicts.org.

Responded to by Chair:

  1. Treasury funds from meeting leaving FA
  2. Zoom meeting costs/donation of meeting costs
  3. Concerns on contents of LSG newsletter
  4. Unity building exercises
  5. Changing meeting time for Intergroup meeting
  6. Security sign in at meetings
  7. Registration of special composition meetings
  8. Zoom subscription and AWOL/AWOL donations to WSI
  9. Christian Radio providing free time slot
  10.  Suggestions for Traditions eForums
  11.  Review email for mailing to Health Care Professionals
  12.  Meet-up groups
  13.  Using personal Zoom accounts for FA virtual meetings
  14.  Supporting fellows who struggle to maintain abstinence
  15.  Why FA meetings use the same format
  16.  Speaker promotion
  17.  Sponsor’s protection of sponsee’s anonymity
  18.  Email promotion of virtual meeting to boost attendance

Referred to another FA Committee:

  1. Donations from Amazon Smile
  2. Backgrounds at virtual meetings
  3. Fellow soliciting meeting information by chat during meeting
  4. Russian Speaking meeting conflicts
  5. Special composition meeting question

Discussed and responded to by the TRC (detailed inquiries & responses below):

  1. Listing FA service work as credit on professional website
  2. Promotion of speaker
  3. Sending FA news releases to personal contacts
  4. Requirement of treasurer at virtual meetings
  5. Use of pronouns and promotion of political agendas on virtual meetings
  6. Meeting earmarking funds for special project
  7. Personal information distributed on phone list
  8. Special composition meetings
  9. Promotion and content of Compassionate Food Addicts in Recovery website

Inquiries and Responses

  1. Listing FA service work as credit on professional website

A member on the committee which produced a video for health care professionals on behalf of the FA Public Information Committee asked the Traditions two questions:

    1. An FA member who was on the video production committee, asked if it would be appropriate to list the video produced for FA as a credit on their professional website
    2. A non-FA member, who directed the video, also asked if it would be appropriate to list the video produced for FA as a credit on their professional website

TRC Response

The TRC reviewed these inquiries and did not believe there to be a conflict with FA Tradition for the non-member (director) to list the FA video as a credit on their professional website, as this person was paid for work as a contractor and not as an FA member. As such, they would be free to use the video to market their business and would not be risking breaking their "anonymity" since they are not a member of FA. Conversely, the FA member listing the FA video on their professional website would be linking their FA service work with their name so personal anonymity would be a concern. Tradition 11 guides us to avoid linking a member’s name to the media available at the public level. Tradition 12 guides us to practice a genuine humility and advises that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance. The TRC believes that it is not aligned with FA Tradition to receive external credit or marketing benefit for service work done in one’s capacity as an FA member. Therefore the TRC guides the FA member to avoid listing the FA video as a credit on their professional website.

  1. Promotion of Speaker

Is the sending of texts and emails inviting fellows to a qualification and announcing the name of the qualifier a break of Traditions?

TRC Response:

The TRC reviewed and discussed the issue and determined that there are concerns of potential conflicts with Traditions 2 and 12.

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 collective opinion of the TRC that the FA member who promotes or is promoted could be mistakenly viewed as an authority figure or positioned as an authority figure.

Tradition 12 states, “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” In placing principles before personalities, we’re practicing genuine humility and putting aside any aspiration for personal distinction.  The TRC considers promoting members/speakers at gatherings or meetings a clear disregard for the tradition.

  1. Sending FA news releases to personal contacts

Fellow supplies contacts with FA “news releases” signing his company name.

TRC Response

There are multiple Tradition concerns associated with this inquiry even though there were missing facts.  Because the content of the news releases was unclear, the TRC was unable to address potential concerns such as anonymity.  However, there were 7th Tradition concerns because management software is being used for public information. Meetings are self-supporting and, therefore, services or supplies provided by outside sources should not be used.  In addition, signing the company name to FA information is in conflict with Tradition 6, which states that we should never affiliate with a company, actual or implied.

The Public Information Committee offers support for a wide variety of service opportunities for individuals and groups.  It is recommended that fellows refer to the PI kit or their intergroup, local service group or meeting for directions when performing PI service. 

  1. Requirement of Treasurer at virtual meetings

Are meetings required to have a Treasurer if it has no expenses?

TRC Response

The Traditions Committee has been asked why a meeting needs to have a treasurer if there are no expenses, especially in regard to online meetings. Perhaps the first question should be “what types of expenses do donations cover?”

The Seventh Tradition states that every FA group is fully self-supporting. The implication is that every FA group accepts donations only from its membership. When a meeting group decides upon a venue, whether it is physical or virtual, the meeting is responsible for offering a donation to the organizers or owners of the venue. We pay our own way. We do not accept free space. There are several no-cost online venues, however they accept donations. Some send out notes every few months reminding users that donations are welcome.

In addition to contributing to the venue, meeting groups can also send money to World Service, Intergroups, and Chapters. Meeting donations are an important source of revenue for our fellowship. What is this money used for? The WSI treasurer for FA has offered this partial list:

    • Office rent, telephone, and internet costs
    • Staff salaries
    • Translation services for FA literature
    • Design, printing, and distribution costs for connectionmagazine
    • Literature printing, storage, and shipping costs 
    • Convention hosting costs (less when held virtually)
    • Audio recording costs
    • Website hosting fees and design
    • Credit card processing fees
    • Insurance fees 

In sum, we have the costs one would expect to find in any small business.

Simply put, every FA meeting group should have a treasurer so venues can be paid and our World Service, Intergroup, and Chapter offices can continue to provide and maintain the level of service offered to the fellowship and to newcomers.

  1. Use of pronouns and promotion of political agendas on virtual meetings

In virtual meetings, are there any Traditions concerns regarding participants naming themselves on the screen with accompanying pronouns? Hash-tags, T shirts, hats, etc. promoting political, religious or social issues have also been seen at virtual meetings. Is this in conflict with the spirit of the Twelve Traditions? How can this be addressed?

TRC Response

The Traditions Response Committee (”TRC”) had a detailed and interesting conversation about these topics. Regarding the pronouns accompanying a person’s name in a meeting on a virtual platform, the TRC did not see that there was any conflict with the Traditions. As it relates to sharing from the front of the room, the TRC agrees with the statement that, “Anytime we speak outside of “I” or “me” we are engaging in crosstalk.” Currently, there have been opportunities presented within our fellowship to help members understand crosstalk and work to decrease its occurrences at meetings. The TRC agrees with these best practices. At the same time, when engaging with one another in a breakout room, or before or after the meeting, it is possible that one might need to refer to someone by their pronoun. Thus, it is important to respect one’s personal choice to include their pronouns.

However, regarding the use of hash-tags accompanying a person’s name in a meeting on a virtual platform, the TRC agreed that this practice raises some Traditions related concerns. If the hash-tag is making a political, religious, or social statement, the principles outlined in Tradition 10 (Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues, hence the FA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.) are not being respected. The long form of Tradition 10 explains this well: “No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues-particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters, they can express no views whatever.”

This, in turn, also influences Tradition 5 (Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the food addict who still suffers.) Newcomers to the rooms may see these hash-tags and feel that they must believe in the same political stance, follow a specific religious order, or believe in the same social issues to feel welcome or fell like they belong in the fellowship of FA.

This also ties into Tradition 3 (The only requirement for FA membership is a desire to stop eating addictively.) FA members mentioning political, religious or social issues in their hash-tag most likely do not have negative intentions but the interpretation for a newcomer could be confusing/distracting, pulling their attention away from the fact that they only need to have a desire to stop eating addictively.

Wearing t-shirts and hats that have any political, religious or social issue statements on them fall into the same category and conflict with the principles of the same Traditions. The TRC maintains its opinion about this issue, as it has been brought up in the past when we were attending in person meetings.

The TRC agrees that the best way to confront these issues with the Traditions is through education. This information will be forwarded to the committee that is creating the new meeting format and meeting guidelines that will be voted on at the 2022 Business Convention, for them to consider adding to those guidelines. It will also be forwarded to the MESA committee to add to their best practices document. The Traditions eForum committee will also use this information at the appropriate eForum Session in the future.

Along with the information will be the recommendation that the meeting format use wording such as this for renaming participants: “For simplicity please rename yourself using your first name and last initial, country and/or state, and phone number.”

  1. Meeting earmarking funds for translation project

A German fellowship collected money for translation of the FA book. Is this in conflict with the 7th Tradition?

TRC Response

The WSB Literature Committee asked the TRC to consider if the proposal/process of collecting funds from the German fellowship for the translation of the FA Book conflicts in any way with Tradition 7. While certainly done with good intent, the actions taken so far by the German Fellowship do not align with Tradition 7, as noted in the Long Form:

The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise.

Returning to the notion of good intent, the TRC offers three thoughts: 

1. Reiterate to the German Fellowship the procedure for developing Literature, as detailed in the Continuing Effects Motions Manual.

Specifically it is noted that in 2009,

      • It was adopted that Conference-approved FA literature consists of works intended for the entire FA fellowship and made available to the public at large. Such literature shall be written or revised by or under the direct supervision of the Literature Committee.” And regarding requests for literature:
      • Meetings, chapters, and intergroups (or their boards) may submit to the Literature Committee chair a written request for the writing or revision of a piece of literature. If approved by the Literature Committee, the request shall be taken to the World Service Board.

2. In conjunction with the above process, the TRC asks that the Literature Committee add the request for a version of the book in German to their queue of needed literature.

3. The TRC asks that the WSB ensure the $5900 raised by the German fellowship is added to the special projects section of the WSI budget. Also, when responding to the German Fellowship, it may be important to further ensure that those who gave, are ok turning their donations over to WSI. Is it possible that some folks prefer that money stay with the German Fellowship since they may have donated expecting that it would go to translating the book?

  1. Personal information included on phone list

A phone list being circulated that lists other 12-step programs that members are a part of without their permission. The phone list also states that FA members without a sponsor must leave FA, per FA bylaws.

TRC Response

The TRC shared the inquirer’s concerns regarding a break of anonymity (Tradition 12) by disclosing fellows membership in other 12 step programs.  There were also concerns about the phone list only listing fellows with a sponsor. Such a practice is in conflict with Tradition 3, which states the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating addictively. 

According to Document 6, the purpose of the phone list is so “newcomers can connect with FA members committed to the meeting and to their recovery”.  It is suggested that the phone list simply list the fellows first name, phone number and perhaps an email address.  Information about languages can be included in the Universal Language List, which is compiled by the 12th Step Committee.

  1. TRC response regarding special composition meetings

The World Service Board asked the TRC to reconsider whether registering Special Composition Meetings was in conflict with the 12 Traditions.

TRC Response

In the summer of 2021, the World Service Board asked the TRC to reconsider whether registering Special Composition Meetings was in conflict with the 12 Traditions. It came to the attention of the WSB that some groups of people in the fellowship (such as people of color and fellows committed to plant-based diets) felt marginalized at some FA meetings.  With the development of technology, virtual meetings were acknowledged as FA meetings at the 2021 World Service Business Convention. This brought the ability for these groups to meet in a safe place, free of judgment and criticism.

In our current global environment, the TRC sees the positive value of special composition meetings.  The TRC suggested that special composition meetings could register but all meetings needed to continue to allow any fellow to attend and that no one should ever be asked to leave.  As a resource, TRC would develop a list of suggestions and questions to help meetings understand the impact of the Traditions on meetings.

The TRC would like to note that a similar question was posed in 2013 regarding Men’s only meetings. In 2013, FA was a smaller fellowship and all meetings were in person.  At that time, the TRC responded that it was not in the best interest of FA as a whole to register special composition meetings since the presence of these meetings would split local fellowships and be detrimental to existing local meetings. The effect would cause division in the local FA community rather than add to the unity in the fellowship; a conflict with Tradition One.

Because of the universality of virtual meetings, the impact of special composition meetings on unity (Tradition 1) is no longer an issue.  The TRC continues to stress the importance of welcoming all who show up at any meeting—never asking someone to leave simply because they do not appear to “fit” the specific characteristics of the group.

  1. Promotion and content of Compassionate Food Addicts in Recovery website

The WSB asked the TRC if any Traditions conflict with the website of Compassionate Food Addicts in Recovery.

TRC Response

A WSB member was informed by a fellow of a website titled Compassionate Food Addicts in Recovery. The Board member asked the TRC if any Traditions conflict with this website.  Also, an FA member contacted the TRC with concerns about promotion of this website at FA meetings.

The TRC reviewed the Compassionate Food Addicts in Recovery website (CFA) and found registration links to an AWOL, the FA long distance sponsor list dated 12/15/21, the FA website, an email for a list of selected FA meetings called Lucinda’s Calendar, and an email for a WhatsApp chat group.

Before an FA eForum, a CFA member was sharing information about the group. She was asked not to promote an outside group during an FA event. She responded that all members of CFA are members of FA implying that CFA is a division of FA.

The TRC felt that posting the long distance sponsor list was a break of anonymity (Tradition 11: always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films) since it posts names, city, state and phone numbers of FA members without their permission. Fellows who offer their service as a long distance sponsor expect that information will be emailed or distributed to FA members.

The “about us” section of the website links CFA with FA. It states, “This website is open to anyone wishing to start or join a Compassionate AWOL, FA gathering or find fellow compassionate members in FA recovery”. This affiliation is potentially confusing to newcomers (Tradition 5: Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the food addict who still suffers). Singling themselves out as the compassionate ones of FA could be a source of discord (Tradition 1: Our common welfare should come first: personal recovery depends on FA unity).

The TRC does not see the link to the FA website as a conflict with any Tradition. There are several websites that contain a link to FA as part of the PI effort.

Aside from the above Tradition conflicts, the website of Compassionate Food Addicts in Recovery appears to be a legal issue of copyright infringement. The TRC suggests that the WSB request the CFA remove any mention of FA and links to meeting and sponsor lists. In addition, the TRC recommends that the website is not promoted or mentioned while FA members are gathered for a meeting.

Subcommittee Report

Traditions Review Committee eForum Subcommittee (Joan J., Chair)

  • The TRC eForums subcommittee started meeting in January 2021 with the intent to help FA members gain a better understanding of the 12 Traditions and their application to “real life” recovery. The members of the committee are Rachel W. (Michigan), Rachel W. (Israel), Mac M. (Australia), Jim M. (Michigan), Joan J. (Alberta, Can.). The Tradition 1 eForum was held on August 14 (8pm ET) and 15 (1pm ET), 2021. It appeared to be very successful and after some discussion about what could be better, the committee began to prepare for the Tradition 2 eForum which was held on October 23 and 24/21. Attendance was not as big for this one, but since number of attendees is not the only measurement of success, it was still considered successful by those in attendance. That weekend ended up having other FA events that may have contributed to lesser numbers. With the new FA Calendar we are hopeful that there might be less overlap of FA events on the same weekend for future eForums.
  • On February 26 and 27, 2022 we hosted two eForums on Tradition Three. Tradition Four is planned for June 25 and 26, 2022. It has been more difficult to find FA members with the time and interest in participating so we have considered maybe only having one eForum in the future on each Tradition. This will be discussed further by the subcommittee.
  • Mac, from Australia, decided to leave our committee and Rachel from Michigan will be leaving the committee after our next eForum. This leaves Jim from Michigan, Rachel from Israel and Joan from Alberta. We have approached two or three people about joining the subcommittee but have still not found any new members. 

Twelfth Step Committee (Regina M., Chair)

Description of Committee

During this last year, the Twelfth Step Committee carried out its mission: to help members of the fellowship grow in recovery through service at meetings, intergroups, chapters and World Service; to develop resources for members and offer support to those members isolated due to distance, language barriers and physical limitations.

Chair Report

  • Developed ongoing resource calls for Meeting Effectiveness Reps.
  • Made the TOR a committee under the 12th Step Committee and this past May facilitated two eForums in which the topic was The Courage to Change.
  • Developed the Newcomer Support and Assistance (NSA) Committee.
  • Developed the Service Opportunities Project and Committee.

Subcommittee Reports

Meeting Effectiveness Support and Assistance (MESA) (Franny M., Subcommittee Chair)

  • MESA representative became a registered service position for all meetings.
  • MESA developed Resource calls for MESA representatives that occur monthly, with topics of discussion as the 7th tradition for virtual meetings, Crosstalk, and Security at Virtual meetings. There are currently 221 MESA representatives out of 375 registered meetings.
  • MESA meeting effectiveness questions (MEQ’s) have been edited and categorized for in person, virtual and telephone conference meetings. The MEQ’s are subject to approval by the WSB and ready for use at all meetings.

The Only Requirement Committee (TOR) (Yolanda P., Subcommittee Chair)   

  • TOR committee met monthly and collaborated to develop two eForums on the topic of The Courage to Change. The TOR eForums were an opportunity for all FA members who have felt unwelcome in the fellowship to share their painful experiences, their strength, and the hope of recovery that sustained them. There were 338 attendees combined at both eForums, and they were well received by the fellowship.
  • TOR committee will continue to meet and have other fellowship activities in the future.

Newcomer Support and Assistance (NSA) (Louis C., Subcommittee Chair)

  • NSA committee was formed to welcome newcomers defined as members new to the fellowship, undecided members and returnees who may feel hopeless. The NSA will develop resources to help members get connected with the fellowship, and enjoy the gifts of recovery.

Service Opportunities Project Committee (SOP) (Brande G., Subcommittee Chair)

  • FA Office and the 12th Step Committee have designed a portal that allows committee chairs of EAI, WAI, Maine Chapter and World Service to list service positions on the FA website. A second portal will be created for members to apply for the positions. This will offer all our FA members opportunities to be of service and more fully represent the talent and diversity of the fellowship.

Closing Remarks, WSB Chair Lisa S.

It’s customary for the Chair to give closing remarks but before I start those remarks, I realize that many of you do not know me, or my story of recovery. I wanted to share a bit of my story.

I've been in the program since September of 1996. I was 30 years old and weighed 207 pounds. I’d struggled with food and weight since I was a little kid – there had been diets and promises made, promises broken. I believed I was broken, that I lacked willpower, that there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t stop eating, even when I wanted to do so. When I found that first meeting, I was miserable, in massive debt mostly from buying food. I had no self-esteem and was the ultimate people pleaser, putting others’ needs before my own because I didn’t believe I was worthy. My last binge scared me; I had eaten so much that I passed out on the floor of my apartment. I said to myself that night, you are going to kill yourself this way. I was hopeless. When a friend told me she was going to Twelve Step meetings, I said I wanted to go. I had no experience with Twelve Step programs but I was desperate and scared. I was blessed to be at the first meeting of 90-day OA, the program FA evolved from, in the DC area and I have never turned back.

All the years of shame and self-loathing started melting away when I heard that I had an addiction, that I was powerless over food. I wrote in my journal the night after that first meeting “this is the first day of the rest of your life,” and that is exactly what it's been. Beginning a study of the Twelve Steps really sealed the deal. I was blessed with the relief I’d so desperately sought for what felt like a lifetime. I’m 55, maintaining a 60 pound weight loss and have been abstinent for 25 years, and am firmly rooted in my recovery, which is a miracle and the biggest blessing of my life.

Thanks to FA, there have been many miracles over the years, and the fact that I’m standing here as Chair is a testament to the power of recovery, of living the Twelve Steps and having faith in a Higher Power. I can tell you that Lisa before FA would never have considered running. My fear, doubt, and insecurity would have stopped me in my tracks. Today, I have a self-confidence and self-esteem that only comes from living in recovery, one day at a time.

Asking for Help

I relied on two things before the program: the food and my own self will. I never asked anyone for help. I helped others but I could handle things and didn’t need help. I told you I was just fine with a smile, even when it was a lie. 

The line in How It Works, that “without help it’s too much for us,” is a very powerful statement.  That was the truth for me; it was too much for me alone, every vow to not eat was broken, until I finally asked for help. The most important ask then and now is asking my Higher Power for help.

There’s another kind of help that I needed to learn and it started with asking other people for help. I asked that friend what she was doing, and she told me. I asked someone to sponsor me and I’ve been blessed with wonderful sponsors.

I didn’t know how to do simple things:  how to cook food, how to not spend all my time chopping and shopping, how to say “no” to people, how to take care of myself. I asked for help and people shared their experience with me.

For someone who believed that I wasn’t worthy of help, I met my match in our fellowship’s commitment to service. It is being of service to others that ensures me that I’m not alone, that I’m not ever alone in my recovery. It is my Higher Power that helps me, that gives me strength to handle life on life’s terms, but it is the help of fellows who showed me the path, who gave me hope that I could do this, too. They broke my belief that I didn’t need other people – I am a better person from receiving help.

As a Pittsburgh native, I was blessed to have worked around Mr. Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Mr. Rogers had a saying that says in times of trouble, find the helpers. I think that is sage advice for us – to find recovery, to find community, we need to find the helpers – aren’t we blessed to be surrounded by helpers in each other?

Helping that still suffering food addict, that returning member or that fellow who’s having a hard time is the foundation of FA. 

The Power of We

That helping spirit is connected to the power of WE. I am always struck by the fact that Twelve Steps don’t start with “I” statements, they start out with “We.”  We realized we were powerless. This is a “We” program.

In 1998, we started out with 100 members and look where WE are today with thousands of people living this life. We have been through a lot over the years, especially the past two years. We have seen a pandemic change every aspect of our lives completely.

We are still learning how to live our daily lives in this new post pandemic era and our lives in FA are profoundly different. We have new ways of being together – in person, via phone and via Zoom, as we are today.  We are now more connected than ever but I know for some the technology is not easy… we all must find the ways that work for each of us.

We have been challenged, we have grown and we have learned. As a board, we have wrestled with new questions, new issues that this new world of technology has brought. We have seen the blessings of having our frontier fellows no longer apart from us but with us, we’ve seen newcomers find us and find recovery without ever being at a live meeting and we have seen the challenges with it – like the horrible Zoom bombings.

We have begun to have some hard but healing discussions, about the harms some fellows have endured that has made them feel unwelcome and unsafe here in FA. Life here together hasn’t always been easy or comfortable yet WE are still here and still abstinent.

We’ve spent two days together – yes it would have been wonderful to have been in person, but even over Zoom – WE came together to do the important work of FA.

We’ve had tough discussions and perhaps the votes didn’t go the way you wanted, but WE came to a decision. We listened to each other with respect and we voted where we were led by our Higher Power.

We must never forget that we are not in this alone, WE are in this together. I am grateful and humbled to be Chair at this moment of great transition for us all. I know we will face other tough issues and we will not always agree. You may not always like what we do as a Board. In those moments, we will lean into the Twelve Steps and Traditions for guidance. I have faith that we can and we will thrive. Why I do I feel that? Because I believe in us, I’ve seen what WE can do in the 25 years that I’ve been here. I know that as long as WE remember that we are the Helpers and that some newcomer or a returning member is waiting for us to reach out our hand. In that helping, WE can live lives that are happy, joyous and free, as long as we never forget that we are WE.

I thank you all for making time over your weekend to be here.  I hope you can get some good time away from your screens and you can get some fresh air. This was a lot of Zoom time, a lot of conversations, some of them were hard, but We are strong. We are together.  

Take gentle care and with that this Business Convention has concluded.