Proposal 7: Abolish OIAA Representative Position
Abolish the Trusted Servant position of OIAA Representative and discontinue GROW’s participation in that group.
Rationale: The October 2018 OIAA Report reveals that OIAA continues to struggle with funds and internal conflict. Several of our past OIAA Reps have described meetings dominated by conflict, and GROW has long debated whether to continue participating.
In 2003, we considered leaving OIAA. In 2004, we decreased the amount of our contributions to OIAA. In 2008, we discussed withdrawing our Rep from OIAA and eliminating the position. In 2009, the OIAA Rep recommended continuing to contribute to OIAA but withdrawing our Rep from OIAA meetings. As a group, we decided against this. In 2009, after OIAA failed to cash two contribution checks, we decided to stop our contributions completely. In 2016, we again debated whether we should send a Rep to the meetings and whether we should eliminate the TS position. In 2017, we considered a formal proposal to discontinue our participation and eliminate the position; however, we decided to give it one more year before taking this action.
Our OIAA Rep’s Report confirms that OIAA is still plagued by the problems we’ve talked about since 2003. This time, their Treasurer absconded with OIAA’s funds. Meetings are still concerned more with personalities than with AA’s principles. Given this history, it doesn’t seem likely to improve.
Summary of Comments on Proposal 7.3
Thirteen (13) women commented on the proposal to abolish the Trusted Servant position of OIAA Representative. Comments both supported and opposed the proposal, and many participants asked questions about the impacts of withdrawing our representative from OIAA.
Supporting the proposal, several women who had held the OIAA Rep position confirmed that their experience had been one of frustration with OIAA’s lack of organization and contentious meetings. OIAA Rep resigned her position and welcomed any replacement who could overlook the chaos and confusion in OIAA that we have experienced for 15 years.
Many participants agreed with withdrawing from OIAA with a few caveats:
- that GROW would continue to be listed on the OIAA website. (Note: groups do not have to participate in OIAA to be listed on their website.)
- that GROW would explain why it is leaving OIAA to the entire membership of our meeting.
- that individual GROW members would continue to have access to the OIAA website.
Several women felt that GROW’s participation in OIAA is important for a variety of reasons that include:
- The importance of OIAA to AA as a whole, especially because there GSO does not recognize OIAA/online groups at General Service Conferences – when OIAA is finally recognized by GSO, GROW might be able to send a delegate to such conferences.
- OIAA’s apparent success as the first point of contact for people new to recovery and to online AA. (One member pointed out that she found GROW on OIAA’s website.)
- The importance of the principle of discussion and debate in reaching decisions affecting AA as a whole and online AA in this specific case.
- Not basing our participation in OIAA on how our OIAA Rep chooses to do her job – some of GROW’s OIAA Reps have liked their interaction with OIAA and have gone on to do service with them. GROW members have enjoyed GROW’s hosting the OIAA Suite during International AA Conferences.
- OIAA’s relative improvement over time related to the frequency and volume of “flaming” emails.
A couple of participants asked about the OIAA Rep position in relation to GROW’s GSR who also serves as a contact with the larger AA organization. (The Chair points out that all references to OIAA were removed from the GSR job description in an April 2018 Group Conscience decision. Unfortunately, the changes to job titles and descriptions have not yet been made on GROW’s website.)
Results of Voting on Proposal 7.3
Voting: Ten (10) participants voted in favor (56%), and eight (8) voted against Proposal 7.3. We did not meet the requirement for a 2/3 majority vote in favor of the proposal. Given that this proposal has been discussed before recently with the same outcome, the Chair will not ask for the Minority Opinion.
Proposal 7.3 is therefore set aside and cannot be revisited for one year.
Group Conscience Decision: