2019 Agenda Items

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2019 General Service Conference Committees

Agenda Items

I. Agenda

A. Review suggestions for the theme of the 2020 General Service Conference.

B. Review presentation/discussion topic ideas for the 2020 General Service Conference.

C. Discuss workshop topic ideas for the 2020 General Service Conference.

D. Review the General Service Conference Evaluation Form, process and 2018 Evaluation Summary.

E. Discuss report on the Conference Agenda Process from the trustees’ Committee on the General Service Conference.

 

II. Cooperation with the Professional Community

A. Discuss progress on implementation of A.A.W.S. LinkedIn page.

B. Consider request to remove text “They may help arrange hospitalization” from the pamphlet “Alcoholics Anonymous in Your Community.”

C. Review contents of C.P.C. Kit and Workbook.

 

III. Corrections

A. Consider request for a review of all corrections related literature in order to make the language more modern and inclusive.

B. Consider request that the General Service Office establish and help maintain a database of Correctional Facilities in each service area in the U.S. and Canada and the status of meetings held therein.

C. Review contents of Corrections Kit and Workbook.

 

IV. Finance

A. Review suggested area contribution for delegate expense for the Conference.

B. Review the Conference-approved level of $5,000 for individual bequests to the General Service Board from A.A. members.

C. Review the Conference-approved maximum annual contribution of $5,000 to the General Service Board from an individual A.A. member.

D. Review Self-Support Packet.

 

V. Grapevine

A. Consider the list of suggested AA Grapevine book topics for 2020 and later.

B. Consider request to remove the “Alcoholism at Large” section from AA Grapevine.

C. Review progress report on AA Grapevine Workbook revisions.

D. Review AA Grapevine Fellowship Feedback Survey and summary.

 

VI. Literature

A. Review progress report on the development of the pamphlet for Spanish-speaking women in A.A.

B. Review progress report on the development of the pamphlet on A.A.’s Three Legacies.

C. Consider requests to develop a Fifth Edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous

D. Review progress report regarding updating the video “Your General Service Office, the Grapevine and the General Service Structure.”

E. Review progress report on the update regarding text on anonymity to the pamphlet “Questions and Answers on Sponsorship.”

F. Consider the development of a Literature Committee Workbook.

G. Review progress report on the update to the pamphlet “Too Young?”

H. Review progress report on the update to the pamphlet “Young People and A.A.”

I. Review proposed revision to A.A. World Services’ “Policy on Publication of Literature: Updating Pamphlets and Other A.A. Materials.”

J. Consider request to revise the pamphlet “The A.A. Group.”

K. Review progress report regarding the update to the pamphlet “The Twelve Traditions Illustrated.”

L. Review progress report regarding language on safety and A.A. for inclusion in Living Sober and “Questions and Answers on Sponsorship.”

M. Consider revising the Foreword to the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

N. Consider suggestion to add “Nonalcoholics may attend open meetings as observers” to the end of the open meeting side of the Primary Purpose (blue) card.

O. Consider request to update the pamphlet “The Twelve Steps Illustrated.”

P. Review matrix of A.A. recovery literature.

 

VII. Policy/Admissions

A. Review dates for the 2022 General Service Conference.

B. Review report from G.S.O.’s general manager on General Service Conference site selection.

C. Consider a process for how a Conference committee could review, discuss and act on proposed agenda items not forwarded to a Conference committee.

D. Discuss the process of approving qualified representatives from other A.A. service structures to observe the U.S. and Canada General Service Conference.

E. Discuss a request to “develop a procedure to deal with special requests/agenda items.”

F. Consider revising the “Process for Polling the General Service Conference Between Annual Meetings.”

G. Reconsider the 1986 Advisory Action regarding a simple majority vote by the full Conference.

 

VIII. Public Information

A. Review 2018 annual reports from the trustees’ Public Information Committee regarding aa.org and aagrapevine.org.

B. Review a report regarding the 2019 Public Information Comprehensive Media Plan.

C. Public Service Announcements (PSAs):

  1. Review the distribution and tracking information for the video PSA “Changes.”
  2. Review the 2018 Report on the Relevance and Usefulness of Video Public Service Announcements.
  3. Consider request that the video PSA “My World” be discontinued.
  4. Consider request to approve the development of a new PSA in video format that utilizes full-face actors (not members of A.A.).

D. Review draft language addressing anonymity and safety proposed for the pamphlet “Understanding Anonymity.”

E. Consider request to update language in the flyer “A.A. at a Glance.”

F. Review the 2018 trustees’ Public Information Committee progress report on the usefulness and effectiveness of the A.A.W.S. YouTube account.

G. Review the 2018 trustees’ Public Information progress report on the use of Google AdWords and Google Grants to carry the A.A. message.

H. Review contents of P.I. Kit and Workbook.

 

IX. Report and Charter

A. Discuss General Service Conference Final Report.

B. The A.A. Service Manual, 2018 – 2020 • Review progress report from A.A.W.S. Publishing Department on the redesign of The A.A. Service Manual.

C. Discuss A.A. Directories (Canada, Eastern U.S., and Western U.S.)

 

X. Treatment and Accessibilities

A. Consider revising the pamphlet “Bridging the Gap” to include related corrections activities.

B. Consider adding a story from an A.A. member who is deaf to the pamphlet “Access to A.A.: Members Share on Overcoming Barriers.”

C. Consider updating the pamphlet “A.A. for the Older Alcoholic – Never too Late.”

D. Discuss the concept of posting anonymity-protected interviews on aa.org with military professionals about their experience with A.A.

E. Review draft of proposed Remote Communities Kit.

F. Review contents of Treatment Committee Kit and Workbook.

G. Review contents of Accessibilities Kit and Workbook.

 

XI. Trustees

A. Review resumes of candidates for:

  1. Northeast Regional Trustee
  2. Southwest Regional Trustee
  3. Trustee-at-Large/Canada

B. Review slates of trustees and officers of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc.

C. Review slate of directors of A.A. World Services, Inc.

D. Review slate of directors of AA Grapevine, Inc.

E. Review draft procedures for partial or complete reorganization of the General Service Board.

 

XII. Archives

A. Consider request to add the 1940s home movie of the co-founders and their wives to the video “Markings on the Journey.”

B. Review Archives Workbook.

 

XIII. International Conventions/Regional Forums

A. Discuss an anonymity-protected photograph of the flag ceremony to be taken at the 2020 International Convention.

B. Consider a broadcast of the 2020 International Convention Opening Flag Ceremony, similar to the anonymity-protected delayed Internet broadcast of the 2015 International Convention Opening Flag Ceremony.

C. Discuss ways to encourage interest in Regional Forums and attract first-time attendees.

 

Available in original format at https://wp.me/a3ta1W-lQ

 

Grapevine Annual Photo Contest

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Enter the Grapevine Annual Photo Contest

Each year, Grapevine holds a competition for photographers to be featured in our Wall Calendar. We’d love to see your most striking photographs that reflect the joy of living, serenity, and other sobriety themes. Contributors of selected photos will receive a complimentary copy of the new Wall Calendar in which their photo appears and a Grapevine Pocket Planner.

You may enter as many photos as you wish. Entries must be received by December 1.
Digital files must be high-resolution—300 dpi minimum. Submit digital images at www.aagrapevine.org/photocontest
Please include contact information. Photos may be considered for magazine illustrations.

68th Conference Report available…

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The Final Conference Report is available. The Print Version will be disseminated later on, but for those eager to explore more than what CNIA Delegate reported, the digital anonymity-protected version is available to download at the CNIA Website on the Delegate’s Page. Note that it is the first item on the page, titled: 68th GSC Final Rpoert

Also, while this is the “scrubbed” version, it still should be treated as “restricted access” for AA member’s eyes only.

It is also available here (on the District Website) under the 2018 Conference Results Menu. This is a Pass-word Protected Area. For those that don’t remember, or even have, the PW for 2018, please email cniadistrict11@gmail.com. For ease of use, it is recommended that members use the CNIA Website that is not PW Protected.

A.A. and the Service Member

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Alcoholics Anonymous has had a close relationship with the armed services almost since the Fellowship’s inception in 1935. A.A. co-founder Bill W. was a second lieutenant in the field artillery during World War I (where he developed a love of French wine while serving overseas). When World War II broke out, A.A. requested and was granted extra gasoline rations in order to continue with the important work of carrying the A.A. message to alcoholics across the U.S. and Canada, known in A.A. vernacular as “Twelfth Step work.” The Grapevine, A.A.’s monthly magazine — often referred to as “A.A.’s meeting in print” — was first published in June 1944, in part to help connect alcoholics on the world’s far-flung battlefields; and post-war, A.A. groups sprang up on military bases and in surrounding towns from Okinawa to Munich, growth that has continued ever since.

For more on this topic, see or download About A.A. … A Newsletter for Professionals (Fall of 2017)

The Future is “All Year Long”

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Below is the last paragraph of an article in the Summer Edition of BOX 459, the Quarterly News Bulletin of A.A.’s General Service Office recapping the 2018 68th Conference. One can download directly this with other articles from AA.org.

While the efforts of the General Service Conference are felt year-round, the annual meeting held each spring is the culmination of a year’s worth of activity, a time when the collective conscience of A.A. in the U.S./Canada emerges to highlight a pathway forward that will help groups and members carry the A.A. message today and in the years to come. In this way, the Conference is a window to the future of the Fellowship, and as the 68th Conference receded, Conference members began to turn their attention toward the ongoing impact of our A.A. literature and the 2019 Conference with its theme: “Our Big Book — 80 Years, 71 Languages.”

Other articles of interest include a history of getting the Big Book to the verbal-only Navajo Nation, Myths and Misconceptions around the relationship of AA and the professional community, the A.A. practice of Fiscal PrudenceA.A.W.S./G.S.O. launching an YouTube Channel, and this one, the results of the recent conference.

68th General Service Conference Preliminary Agenda Items

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68th General Service Conference Committees

Preliminary Agenda Items

Below are the preliminary agenda items for the 68th General Service Conference committees as of November 7, 2017. During the January 2018 meetings of the trustees’ committees, additional items received by the December 15th deadline may be assigned to appropriate Conference committees. Please keep in mind that this is a preliminary list and agenda items may be added or subject to change by the trustees’ committees at the January board weekend.

I.   Agenda

  • Review suggestions for the theme of the 2019 General Service Conference.
  • Review presentation/discussion topic ideas for the 2019 General Service Conference
  • Review workshop topic ideas for the 2019 General Service Conference.
  • Review the General Service Conference Evaluation Form and 2017 Evaluation Summary.

II. Archives

  • Review Archives Workbook.

III.    Cooperation with the Professional Community

  • Review contents of C.P.C. Kit and Workbook.

IV. Corrections

  • Consider development of a new pamphlet focused on long-term incarcerated alcoholics soon to be released.
  • Review contents of Corrections Kit and Workbook.

V. Finance

  • Review Self-Support Packet.

VI Grapevine

  • Review Audio Strategy status update.
  • Consider list of suggested Grapevine book topics for 2019 or later.
  • Review Grapevine Workbook.

VII.   International Conventions/Regional Forums

  • Discuss ways to encourage interest in Regional Forums and attract first-time attendees.

VIII.    Literature

  • Consider request to add an appendix to Alcoholics Anonymous reflecting “recognition received from the Library of Congress.”
  • Consider request to add the A.A. Preamble and Responsibility Statement to Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Review annual matrix of recovery literature.
  • Consider request that A.A. World Services, Inc. publish “The God Word” (a pamphlet currently published by The General Service Board Great Britain).
  • Consider request for the development of a pamphlet for atheist/agnostic members.
  • Consider request for the development of a pamphlet based upon A.A.’s Three Legacies.
  • Review report and suggestions on the inclusion of language regarding safety in recovery literature.

IX.  Policy/Admissions

  • Review draft process of polling the General Service Conference between annual Conference meetings.
  • Review dates for the 2021 General Service Conference.

X. Public Information

  • Review 2017 annual report from the trustees’ Public Information Committee regarding aa.org and aagrapevine.org.
  • Review Young People’s Video submission.
  • Review 2018 Public Information Comprehensive Media Plan.
  • Review contents of P.I. Kit and Workbook.

XI.  Report and Charter

  • The A.A. Service Manual.. 2018-2020 Edition:
  1. Review list of editorial updates.
  2. Consider request for changes to chapters 2, 3, and 5 in The A.A. Service Manual.
  • Consider developing a plan with a revised editorial review proccsc for The A.A. Service Manual.
  • Discuss A.A. Directories.
  • Discuss General Service Conference Final Report.

XII.  Treatment and Accessibilities

  • Review contents of Treatment Committee Kit and Workbook.
  • Review contents of Accessibilities Kit and Workbook.

XIII. Trustees

  • Review resumes of candidates for:
  1. Eastern Canada Regional Trustee
  2. Pacific Regional Trustee
  • Review slates of trustees and officers of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc.
  • Review slate of directors of A.A. World Services, Inc.
  • Review slate of directors of A.A. Grapevine, Inc.
  • Review proposal to censure the General Service Board.
  • Review proposal to reorganize the A.A. World Services and General Service Boards.

 

Click here to download

New Service Material explained…

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From Box 459 for Fall of 2017

New Service Material Available

“The General Service Office has developed a new service piece that is now available to the
Fellowship upon request.

“Service material differs from Conference approved literature in that it has not come about through C o n f e r e n c e Advisory Action.

“Service material reflects A.A. group experience as well as specific and timely information that is subject to change.

“The new item (F-211) is titled Safety Card for A.A. Groups and offers statements that can be used at the group level regarding the safety of the group and its members. As noted on the card, ‘Alcoholics Anonymous is a microcosm of the larger society we exist in. As such, problems found in the outside world can also make their way into the rooms. For this reason, groups and members discuss the topic of safety — to raise awareness in the
Fellowship and to seek through sponsorship, workshops and meetings, to create as safe an environment as possible to carry A.A.’s message of hope and recovery to the still-suffering alcoholic.’
“Printed on yellow paper, the six-by-four-inch card has been made available as an optional service piece for those groups who wish to use it, and is available in English, French and Spanish. To obtain service material, including this item, please contact the General Service Office.”

 

Or contact District 11 or Intergroup for Northern California for your copy.

 

Click here for your current issue of Box 459.

Delegate’s talk at Conference…

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The following is another presentation of the 67th General Service Conference. This one, in its entirety, was by our Delegate, Vikki R.

Safety — An Important Consideration

My name is Vikki, and I am an alcoholic. I currently have the honor to serve as delegate of the California Northern Interior Area, Panel 66. I would like to thank Mary Clare and Rick for the loving invitation to speak today.

I thought it was interesting at the General Service Conference last year that the original presentation topic was   “Safety in A.A. — Our Responsibility.” Then, one of my favorite Class A trustees, Judge Ivan Lemelle, came to the mike and expressed concern about the public’s perception of what “our responsibility” really means and that perhaps it could be a liability issue. The Conference presentation idea was changed to its current form.

That got me thinking. What is the public’s and professional communities’ perception of Alcoholics Anonymous? Specifically, do they think Alcoholics Anonymous is a safe place to be, and, if not, how did they arrive at that perception?

We all know there are many ways A.A. meetings can be unsafe. There are physical dangers that include, but are not limited to, misinformation about medications and treatment programs, bullying, sexual harassment and inappropriate touching. There are liability dangers and the potential for vandalism of one’s property. There may be financial predators lurking in the rooms looking for victims, and, of course, there are members with behavioral health problems.

How do we handle potential danger or safety issues? Fortunately for us, the Traditions have already been put in place to guide us. Tradition One tells us we have an obligation to our common welfare. Tradition Three states, in part, we have only one requirement in Alcoholics Anonymous. Tradition Five reminds us about our primary purpose. Tradition Ten states we should not be drawn into public controversy. Tradition Eleven reminds us that our public relations policy is based on attraction, not promotion, and Tradition Twelve tells us to place principles before personalities.

Besides the Traditions, there are many ways to increase safety in meetings. Good sponsorship is another tool we can use to increase safety. We can start by talking about potential dangers and potentially dangerous people. It doesn’t have to be a secret. If there is an individual who is known to the group as a predator, let the new person be aware. Predators are like cockroaches: the only way to get rid of them is to shine the light on them.

Also, it is important to select good leadership in our groups, districts and areas. Good leaders should know the proper procedures in case of an emergency situation and know how to stay calm but firm when potential dangers arise. A good leader should make awareness of the safety issues a priority by organizing presentations and workshops.

There are no “A.A. police.” The General Service Office has no authority, legal or otherwise, to control or direct the behavior of A.A. members and groups. So, who has the responsibility? We all do! Collectively and individually, it is up to us.

Develop a plan or course of action in your home group’s business or group conscience meeting. Decide what to do if a situation requires police involvement and who should call the police. Just because A.A. is considered a safe haven from drinking doesn’t mean it is a safe haven from violence. If your group conscience dictates, don’t be afraid to ask disruptive members to leave the meeting. Remember, our common welfare comes first. If one person is preventing other members from hearing the message of Alcoholics Anonymous, it is okay if one or two members take that individual outside to talk. If the disruptive behavior continues, a member can be invited not to attend that group for a while. We do not kick people out of A.A., but if behavior warrants, we can ask them to attend a different meeting.

It is important to our future to make sure our Fellowship is attractive to the alcoholics still out there suffering. Nobody wants to attend a meeting they hear is unsafe. Does our Fellowship seem attractive? In order to answer that question, we can review the current Feasibility Study. This study clearly states our membership numbers continue to remain flat. Why is that? I believe part of the answer is our lack of Public Information/Cooperation with the Professional Community (P.I./C.P.C.) efforts.

Did you know there are members of Alcoholics Anonymous across the United States and Canada who aren’t even aware we have P.I./C.P.C. committees? Back when Bill W. was around, we had the support of many doctors, lawyers, clergymen, etc. Newspapers were flooded with wonderful stories about our Fellowship and our members. Today, most of the A.A. coverage in public media that I see is negative in nature. As a Fellowship, we cannot stand idly by and let others define us. It is time for us to have a more visible presence on the Internet so that misinformation does not go unchallenged. We cannot give one message about A.A. to the public and ignore educating our own members about how our behavior affects A.A. as a whole.

In the March 1958 Grapevine, Bill W. wrote, “Millions are still sick and other millions soon will be.… Why haven’t these millions come to us?” Responding to his own question with a solution, he wrote, “The answer seems to be in education — education in schoolrooms, in medical colleges, among clergy and employers, in families, and in the public at large.… Sound education on alcoholism, and far more of it at all levels, will clearly pay off.”

Remember that we have found a way out from a terrible illness. Our own survival lies in our ability to carry this message of hope to fellow sufferers. Let us not squander this responsibility.

Vikki R., California Northern Interior

 

Excerpt from 67th GSC Final Report

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The following excerpt is from the Presentations section of the 67th General Service Conference Final Report. The sub-title Communication — Today and Tomorrow is under the Growth heading.

With the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web, A.A. has adapted by adding the use of the Internet to its own methods of communication and by developing guidelines to mark our presence on the web and to define ways in which our members can make use of social media. Yes, the times have changed, and, yes, our movement has kept on top of these changes and has adapted to them with caution. Social media in particular has opened new frontiers to explore and utilize to efficiently extend the hand of A.A. to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Bill and the pioneers of A.A. would probably be shocked by Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and Skype, and without a doubt by the phenomenon of the universality of the smartphone. At the same time, they would have surely seen the huge potential of assuring, and possibly increasing, the importance and recognition of our association. And so, based on our past experience, they would have been the first to encourage a thoughtful approach.

Over the years, different aspects of our movement have faced turning points in regard to all of these new channels of communication and the behaviors they have generated.

The ways in which people get informed and communicate have changed. The number of options — instant messaging, texting and email, constant searching online — has made us talk less and less in person and amongst ourselves. We “like” and we “poke” and we text from one room to another, or from one end of the world to the other. Amongst us, within our own structure, we are seeing symptoms of communication that leave much to be desired. There is a large gap between the General Service Conference and the individual members of A.A. Is there a breakdown in communication between groups, G.S.R.s, D.C.M.s and the area steering committees?

How do we remedy this? And what can we say about the distance between the Conference and the alcoholic still suffering on the street corner?

We can surely say that the 21st century is well underway, and that we must jump into all of the modern and current modes of communication at our disposal to carry the message and make people aware of A.A. But, most importantly, our thoughts and this jump into modern times should be done through the structure that has served us so well until now: the inverted triangle.

—end of excerpt—

Thomas G., Southwest Québec

 

For continuation of this, and other complete presentations, see your GSR. Every Group should have a single Hard Copy of the Final Report. They should be available for pick-up at the October District 11 meeting.
Online Continuations are planned to become available as they are uploaded. Note that the Online Versions are ‘Anonymity Protected’ and are permissible for Online use.

A.A.’s & G.S.O.’s take on Prayers at Meetings

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A recent query to the Literature Desk of G.S.O. about approved prayers in A.A. meetings had this response:

Warm greetings from the General Service Office in New York.  Your email was forwarded to my attention because I currently have the privilege of coordinating the Literature assignment at G.S.O.  It’s good to have this opportunity to be in touch.  By way of introduction, my name is Sandra and I am an alcoholic who found sobriety in A.A.

Thank you for taking the time to write us.  As you may know neither A.A. literature nor G.S.O. gives suggestions about which prayer to use while closing a meeting.  A.A. as an organization neither endorses nor opposes use of the Lord’s Prayer, or any other prayer.  Page 15 of the pamphlet “The A.A. Group” states that ‘many meetings close with members joining in a moment of silence followed by a prayer, or perhaps by reciting the Responsibility Declaration or other A.A. text.  This sharing reflects the experience of many groups in the U.S. and Canada, but is not instructive or directive in nature.   This is purely a matter for the informed group conscience to decide, as stated in Tradition Four.

It is mentioned in Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers that the Lord’s Prayer was used from the very beginning in the Fellowship (see pages 141, 148, 183, and 261), at least as early as 1938 and 1939. In those days there was no A.A. literature, so the early groups relied heavily on the Bible and Oxford Group literature for inspiration and guidance.

Bill W. also commented several times in his correspondence about the early use of the Lord’s Prayer. He wrote a letter to a member in 1959 in which he stated:

“This practice probably came from the Oxford Groups who were influential in the early days of A.A.  You have probably noted in A.A. Comes of Age what the connection of these people with A.A. really was.  I think saying the Lord’s Prayer was a custom of theirs following the close of each meeting.  Therefore it quite easily got shifted into a general custom among us.”

Bill also wrote, in 1955:

“Of course there are always those who seem to be offended by the introduction of any prayer whatever into an ordinary A.A. gathering. Also it is sometimes complained that the Lord’s Prayer is a Christian document. Nevertheless, this Prayer is of such widespread use and recognition that the argument of its Christian origin seems to be a little far-fetched. It is also true that most AA’s believe in some kind of god and that communication and strength is obtainable through his grace. Since this is the general consensus, it seems only right that at least the Serenity Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer be used in connection with our meetings. It does not seem necessary to defer to the feelings of our agnostic and atheist newcomers to the extent of completely hiding ‘our light under a bushel.’

However, around here, the leader of the meeting usually asks those to join him in the Lord’s Prayer who feel that they would care to do so. The worst that happens to the objectors is that they have to listen to it. This is doubtless a salutary exercise in tolerance at their stage of progress.”

 

In fellowship,

Sandra

Sandra Wilson

General Service Office Staff