Safety Card to be available

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A Safety Card containing the following
will soon be available from GSO

Suggested Statement on Safety*

“Our group endeavors to provide a safe meeting place for all attendees and encourages each person here to contribute to fostering a secure and welcoming environment in which our meetings can take place.

“As our Traditions remind us, the formation and operation of an AA group resides with the group conscience. Therefore, it is our individual and collective responsibility to maintain the welfare of the group, and we request that members and others refrain from any behavior which might compromise another person’s safety. Also, please take the precautions you feel are necessary to ensure your own personal safety, for example, walking to your car in a group after a meeting.

“If a situation should arise where someone feels their safety is in jeopardy, or the situation breaches the law, the individuals involved should take appropriate action. Calling the proper authorities does not go against any AA Traditions and is recommended when someone may have broken the law or endangered the safety of another person.

“The Tradition of Anonymity is not a shield to conceal wrongdoing and AA membership does not grant immunity from applicable laws.”

— Service Material from the General Service Office

*To be read at each meeting if so desired.

Note: Beyond the immediate plans for a Yellow Card, there could be poster and/or wall hanging sizes available.

Still P.O. Box 990274

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Due to a glitch, our Mail Box was not renewed in time, so some mail was returned. That has been rectified. Though late, we managed to retain the same box number. If returned, please try again.

Thanks for your patience.

 

Safety and A.A.: Our Common Welfare

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Safety and A.A.: Our Common Welfare

Safety is an important issue within A.A. — one that all groups and members can address to develop workable solutions and help keep our meetings safe based on the fundamental principles of the Fellowship.

Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes frst. But individual welfare follows close afterward.

Tradition One (Long Form)

A.A. groups are spiritual entities made up of alcoholics who gather for the sole purpose of staying sober and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. Yet, we are not immune to the difficulties that affect the rest of humanity.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a microcosm of the larger society within which we exist. Problems found in the outside world can also make their way into the rooms of A.A. As we strive to share in a spirit of trust, both at meetings and individually with sponsors and friends, it is reasonable for each member to expect a meaningful level of safety. Those attending A.A. meetings derive a beneft by providing a safe environment in which alcoholics can focus on gaining and maintaining sobriety. The group can then fulfll its primary purpose — to carry the A.A. message to the alcoholic who still suffers. For this reason, groups and members discuss the topic of safety.

Autonomy and Group Action

Because A.A., as such, ought never be organized, as indicated in Tradition Nine, it is individual members and groups who ensure that all members feel as safe as possible in A.A.

There is no government within A.A. and no central authority, legal or otherwise, to control or direct the behavior of A.A. members. As embodied in the Fourth Tradition, the formation and operation of an A.A. Group resides with the group conscience of its members. A.A. groups and service entities such as areas, districts, inter-group/central offices are autonomous.

Recognizing that safety is an issue of importance to its members, many groups have taken actions to keep distractions and disruptions to a minimum within the context of the group.

A.A. Membership

A.A. membership has never been contingent on any set of behavioral or moral standards — beyond those founded on common sense, courtesy, and the timeless values of kindness, tolerance and love.

A.A.’s Third Tradition states that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. This brings an openness that helps to defne our character as a diverse Fellowship; yet it also requires us to be mindful of our group and individual safety.

Some people, however, come into A.A. without an understanding of the type of behavior that is appropriate in meetings or in the company of other members. A person can be sober in A.A., yet still not understand what is acceptable.

Dealing with Disruptions

While most groups operate with a healthy balance of spontaneity and structure, there are a number of situations that can threaten group unity and challenge the safety of the group and its members. Often this can center on disruptive individuals, those who are confrontational, aggressive, or those who are simply unwilling to put the needs of the group frst. Such behavior can hijack the focus of a meeting and frighten members, new and old.

Some groups have developed plans for addressing disruptive behavior and have established procedures through their group conscience to ensure that the group’s welfare is protected. In many cases, disruptive behavior is pre-empted by having the chairperson state the expectations for behavior in the meeting.

Some groups include in their opening announcements that illegal and disruptive behavior is not tolerated. Still other groups have asked disruptive members to leave the meeting. Additionally, groups and members always have the option to call the appropriate authorities if disruptive behavior continues or anyone’s safety is at risk.

Group Safety and Unity

Situations that groups have addressed through their group conscience include, sexual harassment or stalking; threats of violence; bullying; financial coercion; racial or lifestyle intolerance; pressuring A.A. members into a particular point of view or belief relating to medical treatments and/or medications, politics, religion, or other outside issues. In addition, there may be other behaviors that go on outside of typical meeting times that may affect whether someone feels safe to return to the group.

Some groups have their own guidelines or procedures to help keep the meeting safe. A.A. members can speak to those who are acting inappropriately. Situations can be discussed at business meetings to come to a group conscience about how to handle a situation. As a last resort, the disruptive member may be asked to stop attending the meeting for a specifc period of time. Groups that take this drastic action do it in order to preserve the common welfare of the group and to maintain A.A. unity.

In any situation, if a person’s safety is in jeopardy, or the situation breaches the law, the individuals involved can take appropriate action to ensure their safety. Calling the proper authorities does not go against any A.A. Traditions. Anonymity is not a cloak protecting criminal or inappropriate behavior.

Inappropriate or predatory behavior, such as unwanted sexual attention or targeting vulnerable members can be especially troublesome. These behaviors may go on outside of typical meeting times. While A.A. members can be caring and supportive to those affected, we are not professionals trained to handle such situations. Law enforcement or other professional help may be necessary.

Victims of inappropriate behavior, harassment or predators can let the group know about such situations, often through a sponsor or trusted friend. This way the group is informed, and members can help address the situation and curtail further problems. Group discussion should be focused on creating an environment where all alcoholics can fnd and maintain sobriety.

A.A. and the Law

Common sense and experience suggest that A.A. membership does not grant immunity from local regulations and being at an A.A. meeting does not put anyone beyond the jurisdiction of law enforcement officers. As individuals, A.A. members are also “citizens of the world,” and as citizens we are not above the law.

Through the group conscience process, many groups have established guidelines regarding when it may be appropriate to call authorities and handle a given situation within the legal system. No A.A. group has to tolerate illegal behavior and any activity within an A.A. meeting is subject to the same laws that apply outside the meeting. The nature of illegal acts that groups have faced include violence, embezzlement, theft of property, drug sales at a meeting, and more.

Emergencies

Injuries, accidents, fres, etc., sometimes do occur during meetings. To accommodate these situations, groups can also develop plans and procedures, often in consultation with their landlord or local authorities. Addressing an emergency situation is more important than continuing the meeting, and members should not hesitate to call emergency personnel in critical situations.

Keeping the Focus on Our Primary Purpose

It is hoped that our common suffering as alcoholics and our common solution in A.A. would transcend most issues and curtail negative behaviors. As noted in the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, “Love and tolerance of others is our code.”

Safety, however, is important to the functioning of the group. By maintaining order and safety in meetings, the group as a whole will beneft and members will be able to focus on recovery from alcoholism and a life of sobriety.

Ultimately, the experience of how these situations are handled can be as varied as our Fellowship. Good judgment and common sense, informed by the Twelve Traditions, seem to provide the best guide.

What Can Groups and Members Do?

Groups and members can discuss the topic of safety, to raise awareness in the Fellowship and seek through sponsorship, workshops and meetings, to create as safe an environment as possible for the newcomer, and other members or potential members. This can be the subject of sharing among groups at the district or area level.

Here are some helpful suggestions and reminders:

  • Talk about issues of safety before they arise.
  • Safety is something each member attending an A.A. meeting can be mindful of.
  • Communicate clearly what A.A. is and what it is not.
  • Sponsorship plays an important role and sponsors can be helpful in pointing out warning signs or unhealthy situations to sponsees and newcomers.
  • A.A. members who are concerned about the words or actions of a sponsor or other member, may fnd it helpful to speak to someone they trust, their A.A. group, or a professional, as needed.
  • Include Safety and the A.A. Meeting Environment as topics for a group inventory.
  • Consider developing group guidelines and procedures on safety. Recommend that no one walk to a car alone but be accompanied by a trusted fellow or travel in a group.
  • In all discussions about safety, keep the focus on our primary purpose, our common welfare, and place principles before personalities.

Helpful Resources for A.A. Members and Groups

  • Box 459 October 2010 edition, articles on “Disruptive Members at A.A. Meetings” and “A.A. and the Law” (available on the newsletters page at www.aa.org).
  • A report from the 62nd General Service Conference Workshop: “Safety in A.A. Our Common Welfare.*
  • Final Report of the “Ad Hoc Committee on Group Safety of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, U.S. and Canada.*
  • A.A. pamphlet, “Questions & Answers on Sponsorship.
  • A.A. pamphlet, “The A.A. Group… Where it All Begins.
  • Contact your District Committee Member or Area Delegate for local shared experience.

*Available upon request by contacting G.S.O.

 

Download at District 11 Website or www.aa.org

 

Selected 2017 Agenda Items results…

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CONFERENCE ADVISORY ACTIONS
OF THE 67th GENERAL SERVICE CONFERENCE

NOTE: These are Selected 2017 Agenda Items that are most relevant to most Members.

 The following recommendations were approved by the 67th General Service Conference:

Floor Actions

It was recommended that:

  1. The pamphlet “Too Young?” be revised to reflect more current collective experiences of young alcoholics and their welcome to A.A.
  2. A.A. Grapevine create a Google for Nonprofits account, with use of the account limited to the YouTube Nonprofit Program and with a guarantee that comments not be shown on the A.A. Grapevine YouTube pages. The A.A. Grapevine Board will track its effectiveness through website metrics.

Archives

It was recommended that:

  1. A draft or a progress report of Unity in Action: Bill W.’s General Service Conference Talks, 1951 – 1970 (working title) be brought back to the 2018 Conference Committee on Archives for review.

 Cooperation with the Professional Community

It was recommended that:

  1. The pamphlet “Three Talks to Medical Societies by Bill W.” be retired.
  2. The title of the pamphlet “Is There an Alcoholic in the Workplace?” be changed to “Is There a Problem Drinker in the Workplace?”

Finance

It was recommended that:

  1. The following text be added to the pamphlet: “Self-Support: Where Money and Spirituality Mix”: “Question: Can an individual or group make a recurring online contribution? Answer: Yes, online at aa.org.”

Literature

It was recommended that:

  1. The following two bullet points in the section “What procedures can a group set up to sponsor new members?” in the pamphlet “Questions and Answers on Sponsorship” be removed:
  • A file of names, addresses, and phone numbers of newcomers (who wish to volunteer the information), with notations showing sponsor or sponsors for each one.
  • Review of newcomers list by steering committee (or Twelfth Step or sponsorship committee) – with follow-up activity where it seems needed.
  1. The following text about young people’s conferences be added to the pamphlet “Young People and A.A.” in the section “Where do I find A.A.?”: Young people’s conferences are held in the United States and Canada and around the world. For information, consult your local A.A. area, intergroup office, or search online for YPAA.
  1. Question 10 in the pamphlet “The A.A. Group” in the section “A.A. Group Inventory” that currently reads, “Are we doing all we can to provide an attractive and accessible meeting place?” be revised to read: Are we doing all we can to provide a safe, attractive and accessible meeting place?
  1. The pamphlet “The A.A. Group” be revised to add the following text from “Safety and A.A.: Our Common Welfare” to the section “Principles Before Personalities”:

Safety and A.A.: Suggestions to Consider

“Safety is an important issue within A.A. – one that all groups and members can address to develop workable solutions and help keep our meetings safe based on the fundamental principles of the Fellowship.

“’Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward. (Tradition One, Long Form)’

“A.A. groups are spiritual entities made up of alcoholics who gather for the sole purpose of staying sober and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. Yet, we are not immune to the difficulties that affect the rest of humanity.

“Alcoholics Anonymous is a microcosm of the larger society within which we exist. Problems found in the outside world can also make their way into the rooms of A.A. As we strive to share in a spirit of trust, both at meetings and individually with sponsors and friends, it is reasonable for each member to expect a meaningful level of safety. Those attending A.A. meetings derive a benefit by providing a safe environment in which alcoholics can focus on gaining and maintaining sobriety. The group can then fulfill its primary purpose – to carry the A.A. message to the alcoholic who still suffers. For this reason, groups and members discuss the topic of safety.”

For more information see “Safety and A.A.: Our Common Welfare” (SMF-209) www.aa.org.

  1. The trustees’ Literature Committee develop language regarding safety to be incorporated in current and new recovery literature, where appropriate, along with a plan for implementation. The committee requested that the draft language and proposed plan or progress report be brought back to the 2018 General Service Conference.

Public Information

It was recommended that:

  1. The pamphlet “Understanding Anonymity” be rewritten to include material from G.S.O. literature covering Tradition Eleven and to expand the discussion of humility in Tradition Twelve as it relates to anonymity and that a progress report or draft language be brought back to the 2018 Conference Committee on Public Information.
  2. A.A. World Services, Inc. create a Google for Nonprofits account, with use of the account limited to the YouTube Nonprofit Program and with a guarantee that comments not be shown on A.A.W.S. YouTube pages. The committee requested that a report including information from website analytics and the usefulness and effectiveness of the A.A.W.S. YouTube account be brought back to the 2018 Conference Committee on Public Information.

Treatment and Accessibilities

It was recommended that:

  1. The pamphlet “A.A. for the Alcoholic with Special Needs” be approved with suggested editorial changes and be re-titled “Accessibility for All Alcoholics.”

 

For ALL 2017 GSC (password protected) results, click here.

For password info, contact District 11 (at cniadistrict11@gmail[dot]com) or Webmaster (at cniadistrict11webmaster@gmail[dot]com).

 

New doc from Intergroup…

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This should be posted to the Northern California Intergroup site, but they do have delays; posting an advance copy.

Many of you have asked, “What is Intergroup?”

The “A.A. Guidelines for Central or Intergroup Offices” states that “A central office (or Intergroup) is an A.A. service office that involves partnerships among groups in a community—just as A.A groups themselves are partnerships of individuals.”

Our Intergroup Office was established to carry out certain functions common to all the groups—functions which are best handled by a centralized office—and is usually maintained, supervised, and supported by these groups in their general interest. It exists to aid the groups in their common purpose of carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

A.A.’ s Tradition Five states: “Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” Many groups do not have the resources to reach the alcoholic who still suffers that an Intergroup office does—with the support of groups. In order to accomplish this, Intergroup has a 24-hour hotline that handles calls 7 days per week and 365 days each year.

Our IG office handles approximately 15 twelve step calls, 60 calls for meeting information and 75 individuals visit the office for information, support, and A.A. literature (each month).

 

 

2016 District Inventory Questions

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2016 District Inventory Questions

  1. What is the purpose of the district meeting?
  2. Are we reaching enough people in our district and what can we do to better serve the groups?
  3. Are we being fiscally responsible and good custodians of the monies entrusted to us? How do we inform groups about the financial obligations of our district in order for them to help support the District, Area and the General Service Office as a whole?
  4. How can we engage new GSR’s, help support the district and our DCM, by making our district meetings informative and enthusiastic?
  5. Do new GSR’s stick with General Service, or does the turnover seem to be excessive? What can the District do to help retain trusted servants and what effort needs to be made to explain to all groups the value and the purpose of a GSR?
  6. Do we emphasize the value of service sponsorship effectively? How can we do it better?

These will be discussed at the Expanded District Meeting on January 8 in Room 12 of the Methodist Church at South & East from 2 pm until 5 pm to allow ample time for opinions to be heard.

We want to hear from all GSRs, and interested past Officers, past GSRs, disgruntled peeps. Please attend and be part of District 11’s growth. The Inventory is long overdue.

CNIA conducts biannual Inventory

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At the 2016 CNIA Fall Assembly, Area 07 will be conducting their every other year inventory.

California Northern Interior Area 07
Inventory Questions

  • Is Area 07 being fiscally responsible and a good custodian of the 7th Tradition monies entrusted to us? How are the groups informed about the financial obligations of CNIA?
  • What is the role of CNIA? Are all members given the opportunity to speak at assemblies and to participate in Area activities?
  • Mindful that holding office is a great responsibility, not to be viewed as the outcome of a popularity contest, are we choosing our officers with care? Do we practice principles before personalities throughout our election and appoint-ing processes?
  • Do new GSRs stick with General Service, or does the turnover seem excessive? If so, why? What can the Area do to help retain trusted servants?
  • What can the Area do to better serve the Districts? How can we engage new GSRs and help support DCMs?
  • Do we emphasize the importance of service sponsorship? How effectively? How can we do it better?

Call for Submissions…

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In response to the 2016 General Service Conference recommendation that the pamphlet “Young People and A.A.” be revised to “better reflect the experiences of young people in A.A. today,” the trustees’ literature committee is seeking current sharing from young people in A.A.

Please encourage young members in your area to write their personal stories for possible inclusion in the revised pamphlet “Young People and A.A.” Stories should reflect “In a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now.”

Manuscripts should be 500-800 words, double spaced, in 12-point typeface. The words “Young People and A.A.” should appear on the top of the first page of the manuscript. The author’s complete name, address and email/telephone information should be included with the submission.

Submissions can be emailed to: Literature@aa.org with “Young People and A.A.” inserted in the subject line of the message. Alternatively, submissions can be mailed to: Literature Coordinator, General Service Office, Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163. The deadline for all submissions is December 30, 2016.

The anonymity of all authors will be observed, whether or not his or her story is selected for publication.

Thank you for your participation in this process.

How We Do Business…

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This was a review of policies by the Alternate Chair at recent ACM.
Spawned by recent activities at the Area level,
the presentation was a good reminder for all levels of service,
beginning with the Groups; Don’t Be “Motion” Happy!!!

How We Conduct Business*

The Panel 64 officers would like to reiterate some guidelines for conducting area business that we think will best serve us now and in the coming years. These ideas have been discussed at length by your trusted servants, and lean heavily on our area’s past experience as well as that of the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The first is that we need to feel free to discuss anything, and to become comfortable in sharing openly with one another. If any member of the Area wishes to have a topic discussed bring it up during one our Assemblies or ACMs., or contact an Area Officer. If time allows we will begin discussion immediately, or it will be on the Agenda as New Business at our next gathering. Discussion should follow the general format suggested in our Service Manual for Sharing Sessions (pg. S40 of the 2014-15 edition). Once it’s discussed it now becomes Old Business. When discussion is completed, further action may be taken.

The second is that we all support the idea that most of our business does not require a motion. If a motion is required, it can only be brought up during “New Business”, and it must be submitted in writing: two copies, one to the Chair and one to the Recording Secretary.

General Rules of Debate:

  • People who wish to speak line up at the microphones and are called on in order.
  • Each person may speak for two (2) minutes.
  • No one may speak for a second time on a topic until all who wish to have spoken for the first time.
  • Voting is by show of hands.

Substantial Unanimity: All matters of policy require substantial unanimity, that is, a two-thirds majority.

Because the number of members present during our meetings varies from time to time, the phrase “two-thirds vote” is taken to mean two-thirds vote of those who are present, eligible, and have either voted for or against a motion.

Reconsideration: After voting on a motion, the losing side will always be give an opportunity to speak their position. A motion to Reconsider a vote must be made by a member who voted with the prevailing side. If the motion receives a majority vote, but fails to pass for lack of a two-thirds vote, the majority may speak to their position, and the motion to Reconsider must be made by someone who voted on the prevailing side. Only a simple majority is required for the motion to be reconsidered. No motion may be reconsidered twice. If the majority votes to reconsider, full debate, pro and con, resumes. Members are urged to limit discussion to new considerations of the motion under debate.

Tips, Hints, and Words of Caution: Full discussion of a motion should take place Before the vote. Premature actions (such as amending motions early in the discussion or hastily calling the question) can divert attention from the subject at hand, thus confusing and/or delaying Area business.

Everyone is entitled to, and should, express his or her opinion. However, if your perspective has already been stated by someone else, it is not necessary to go to the microphone and say it again.

Remember, too, that saving “minority opinions” for after the vote, when there is no rebuttal, is another time-waster, for it can force the Area to reconsider a motion that might well have been decided the first time around if it had been thoroughly examined from all sides. An informed group conscience is the result of discussion covering ALL points of view.

Friendly Amendments: It is possible that someone may wish to propose an amendment to the motion. This requires a second, and must be accepted by the member who originally made the motion. If accepted debate resumes on the amended motion.

Calling the Question: Calling the question brings debate to a halt while members decide whether to proceed directly to a vote (on the motion) or go on with the debate. A motion to call the question must be made in order at the microphone without comment, requires a second, is not debatable, and requires a two-thirds vote.

Tabling a Motion: Tabling a motion (postponing discussion to a future ACM or Assembly) requires a motion and a second, is not debatable, and needs only a simple majority to pass.

*From the CNIA Service Material Handbook. Note: This and other informative material are available as PDFs to download, including the GSR Handbook.

How Do You Do Service?

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From latest Grapevine

“Most AA members are well aware of Twelfth Step calls, chairing meetings, sponsorship and coffee crews. But many may not know about all the service opportunities beyond the home group. In 1951, our cofounder Bill W. wrote that these services “enable us to function as a whole,” they are “the most vital, yet least understood group of services that AA has.” This month, our special section features inspiring stories by members involved in the wonderful world of general service.

“In the story “Why We Do It,” a member sits grumbling in a Concepts workshop, yet soon hears the very words that will change his tune. Fun and service is the motto for a group of women near Kansas City as they hit the road to help out at workshops, assemblies and forums in “What Happens in the Van … .” Ever try to read The A.A. Service Manual all by yourself? One group has a great idea in “It Takes a Village.” And the writer of “The Perfect Scheme” thought that becoming a GSR was a great way to meet a man. She found love alright—for the Fellowship.

“In 2016, Grapevine invites you and your group, group of groups, district and/or area to join in the new Grow Your Grapevine effort throughout the year. For details, see page 7. Get involved! And while you’re at it, please send us your stories of experience, strength and hope at aagrapevine.org/share. We’re especially looking for you or your group’s experience with a particular Tradition. And don’t forget to send us your jokes and cartoons. Have a wonderful, sober May!

“In fellowship,
The Editor” (of the Grapevine)

 

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