Third 3-Day Period
During the third 3-day session, we voted on three proposals, discussed three new proposals, and received a Minority Opinion that reopened discussion on Proposal 3 (“Let It Stay Here”).
We voted on three proposals:
- Proposal 5 – Creating a Newcomer Committee
- Proposal 6 – Temporary Mentor & AA Resources
- Proposal 7 – Abolish the OIAA Rep Trusted Servant Position
We discussed three new proposals:
- Proposal 8 – Group Inventory Follow-up (withdrawn)
- Proposal 9 – Step Meeting
- Proposal 10 – Sponsors & Beginners Meeting
We also received a Minority Opinion related to voting on Proposal 3 – “Let It Stay Here.” As a result of the Minority Opinion, four women decided to change their vote. Therefore, we will further discuss the proposal and minority opinion during the fourth 3-day period and have a revote during the 5th 3-day period.
During the fourth 3-day period of the October 2018 GROW Business Meeting, we will talk about the proposed new WordPress-based GROW website, vote on Proposals 9 and 10, discuss Proposals 11 and 12, and re-visit Proposal 3 on adding the “Let It Stay Here” anonymity statement in the Weekly Meeting Format Letter.
Proposal 5.3 – TM & Newcomer Committee
Sixteen (16) participants voted in favor (80%), and four (4) voted against Proposal 5.3. Therefore, the proposal meets our requirement for a 2/3 majority is adopted as a Group Conscience Decision.
Group Conscience Decision:
To expand on the Temporary Mentor by establishing a Newcomer Committee, as the Sponsorship pamphlet suggests some groups do. That committee could be rapid-response for new members much as the OIAA link for “Get Help Now” is. The only requirement could be much less sober time, giving our newer members an opportunity to share their experience, strength and hope.
Proposal 6.3 – TM & AA Resources
Nineteen (19) participants voted in favor, and no one voted against Proposal 6.3. Therefore, the proposal meets our requirement for a 2/3 majority is adopted as a Group Conscience Decision.
Group Conscience Decision: Each month, the Temporary Mentor will send a short letter reminding GROW members of AA resources available to them. She will also include the recommended language in Temporary Mentor Letter #1.
Proposal 7.3 Abolish OIAA Rep Position
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.
Proposal 8 – Group Inventory Follow-up – Withdrawn
During the 3-day period, it was revealed that there were already instructions within the Group Inventory guidelines for the business meeting to take appropriate actions to address any issue raised in Group Inventory responses. Therefore, the proposal was withdrawn. Many of the proposals on our agenda already address these issues, and the review of responses was completed within 24 hours.
Proposal 9 – Step Meeting as Topic 1st Week of Month
Thirteen (13) participants commented on Proposal 9.3, and there was general support for having a Step Meeting each month. Many felt that this proposal addresses an area of concern that came out in responses to the Group Inventory. Comments fell into three substantive areas: whether the Step Meeting should be the first meeting of each month, whether it should also include the Tradition of the month, and assignment of the Meeting leader.
Most of the comments expressed the feeling that few people share in response to the Step/Tradition message each month and that having a dedicated topic meeting would bring more attention to these basic parts of the AA program. It would also be more helpful to newcomers to highlight the steps and traditions in this way.
There was concern that sharing on the Traditions would be lost if they are not included in the Step meeting topic and many participants wanted to include the Tradition of the month in the Step meeting. Participants agreed that it would not be difficult to get volunteers to lead the Step (/Tradition) meeting as part of the current process, although a few were concerned about reducing the opportunity to lead on a topic of choice or dictating a topic to meeting leaders.
Based on the comments, the Chair created two versions of the proposal for voting, asking participants to vote on only one of them. Proposal 9.4a was for a Step [only] meeting, and Proposal 9.4b was for a Step/Tradition meeting. During the fourth 3-day session, we will vote on Proposal 9.
Proposal 10.3 – GROW Sponsors & Beginners’ Meeting
This proposal covered a lot of territory. Discussions on the two proposals related to the Temporary Mentor (both adopted as Group Conscience decisions) led to this proposal when concerns were raised about the support GROW offers newcomers. We took a new look at the way we manage information about available sponsors and whether we give newcomers enough opportunity to talk about common issues during early sobriety. Because the proposal contained different subtopics, the Chair split it into three subparts: discontinuing the “Available Online Sponsors” Webpage (10.4a), managing Information about Available Sponsors (10.4b), and Beginners Meeting (10.4c)
Fifteen (15) participants commented on discontinuing GROW’s “Available Online Sponsors” webpage, giving greater responsibility to the Temporary Mentor in managing information about potential sponsors, and establishing a Beginners’ Meeting to operate parallel with GROW’s main mailing list.
Available Online Sponsors Webpage (10.4a)
The Temporary Mentor reported that some newcomers had contacted women on the webpage list but did not received responses timely or at all. Others questioned whether the list of sponsors was updated frequently enough to assure that the women listed were still interested in being sponsors. In addition, many of the people on the list do not share regularly; therefore, women seeking sponsors can’t get a sense of potential sponsors’ program. Finally, the list of “Available Online Sponsors” on our website may create the erroneous impression that these are the only women who can or will be sponsors. Participants felt that we should discontinue the current “Available Sponsors Webpage” and rely on the Sponsor Listkeeper’s monthly email.
Managing Information about Sponsors (10.4b)
Earlier in this business meeting, the group recognized an overlap between the Temporary Mentor (TM) in helping newcomers find sponsors and Sponsor Listkeeper. The proposal called for the women currently on the available sponsors webpage to work with the TM to find temporary sponsors for newcomers. It was pointed out that both the volunteers on the 12th Step list and the Available Sponsors might support the TM. When asked what a “Temporary” Sponsor is several participants shared their personal experience. Others talked about the awkward for newcomers before they understand the sponsor relationship and when they are still perhaps hesitant to make the commitment as an important reason for Temporary Mentors. We were reminded of the “Questions & Answers about Sponsorship” pamphlet.
The current list of available sponsors does not distinguish between those who are willing to sponsor newcomers and those who are not. It is also important to assure women who are listed as available sponsors understand their responsibility to be respond timely when contacted. It was suggested that we send out a monthly announcement that anyone who does not have a sponsor but wants one can contact [Trusted Servant(s)] for help. Another participant suggested that we rotate people on list of available sponsors, but others felt rotation would not be helpful.
One participant compared GROW to f2f meetings in the degree to which they get involved in sponsorship issues. She felt GROW sometimes became too involved in what is normally treated as a personal process – that people looking for a sponsor are responsible for finding one – and f2f meetings don’t usually go beyond advising people to “get a sponsor.”
We also discussed the overlap between the Sponsor Listkeeper and Temporary Mentor in this area was also discussed. In the past, GROW has not differentiated between those interested in being temporary sponsors or who want to work with newcomers, but this information is helpful to the Temporary Mentor. The Sponsor Listkeeper, however, maintains information for all GROW members, not just newcomers.
Proposal 10.4b adds a bullet to the Sponsor Listkeeper and Temporary Mentor job descriptions that calls for them to cooperate in potential temporary sponsors as well providing monthly lists of available sponsors to the GROW mailing list.
Beginners Meeting (10.4c)
There was a lot of discussion of the proposal to start a separate mailing list for a Beginners Meeting that would be configured like the business meeting mailing list as a subset of GROW members. The proposal called for a moderator and assumed that members of this list would volunteer to present topics similar to the way it is done in GROW.
Many participants supported the idea as a way to improve GROW’s service to newcomers, an issue raised in response to the Group Inventory. Others argued that GROW already focuses on newcomers through its Greeters, Temporary Mentor, and 12th Step Volunteer list and that a new dedicated Step/Tradition meeting will be valuable support for people new to the AA program. Several Beginners meetings are already listed on AA’s website, and it is not necessary for GROW to duplicate them. Finally, members were concerned about spliting our GROW’s focus.
The additional workload involved in running a separate meeting might be very difficult for the Trusted Servants who would to support the meeting. Assuring GROW’s guidelines are applied to the separate meeting is also problematic. It is to fill all TS positions now (we still have a vacant position), and the Secretary expressed concern about adding new positions.
It is also important for new members be responsible for finding what they need to have a healthy sobriety. While the women who commented were very receptive to and supported the idea of a Beginners Meeting, they also had many concerns about how such a meeting would be managed. We are voting yes/no in each subpart of Proposal 10 during the fourth 3-day session.
Two new proposals were presented for discussion during the third 3-day session. The both grow from the Group Inventory responses and concerns that we don’t provide enough information about the larger AA organization. They are:
- Proposal 11.4 – GSR & 4-5-9 Calendar
- Proposal 12.4 – Grapevine Rep & Grapevine Calendar
Respectfully, danna M GROW Business Chair