1021 – GSR Report

GSR Report

October 2021

Greetings! I served as the Group Service Representative for the past six months. Thank you for allowing me to be of service to the group. Click on the link to learn more about the service position, as it is amazing!! https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-19_gsr.pdf

New updates:

  1. Updated service manual available in November 2021
  2. International Convention scheduled in Vancouver �
  3. November 19, 20, 21st East Central Regional Forum (virtual) – Learn more about it here Alcoholics Anonymous : Regional and Local Forums (aa.org)
  4. Review the following word document written by a member of AA about upcoming changes in the AA Preamble at the 71st General Service Conference that was passed to members in Area 22.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service!

Your friendly outgoing GSR,
Nicole W

Kent County Apponaug Group

The Principles Problem

Do our A.A. Principles and Traditions Really Matter? A vote was taken at the 71st General Service Conference to remove and replace the pronouns “men and women” with “people” in our beloved Preamble. We believe this change is in direct conflict with our Principles, Concepts and the Preamble itself. We also believe this action was emotionally driven and is not in A.A.’s best interest. The problem is much bigger than the changing of these 2 words. This change and other’s that will follow** represent both symbolic and direct support for the gender neutrality cause, an outside cause that A.A. should have no opinion*

Paul L GSR Kent County Apponaug

The Kent County Apponaug Group is preparing to submit a request for change to the next General Service Conference. The request is to reverse the recent revision to the Preamble and replace the new word “people” with the original words “men and women” as it always has been. We would like to gain the support of other groups, service representatives, past service representatives or individuals that would like to sign on to this change request. Our Conference submittal deadline is 9/15/2021.

The following is a detailed description of the conflicts this change to the Preamble has caused as well as providing awareness to additional changes to A.A. that are ongoing**. We sincerely hope that each of you, as service representatives will take this concern back to your individual areas/groups for discussion and support this request for change.

A.A. Principles speak for themselves
“Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women”. For those concerned with gender neutrality; isn’t ALCOHOLISM the only true identification we should be concerned about? If I can identify as an alcoholic I can survive and prosper here. Our differences combined with a primary purpose are the glue that binds us.

Tradition 1: “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on A.A. unity.”

Unity, our very survival depends on it. With regard to the recent change to the Preamble, we are hearing emotional pleas such as; “If it will save just one alcoholic”, but these are long-used political ploys that appeal to emotions, not facts. This emotional plea is a direct contradiction to Tradition 1 in that it places personal recovery ahead of our common welfare. We cannot disregard 60 years of Tradition to “save one alcoholic”. The attempt to satisfy all variations of human identity in is an unrealistic and unattainable goal that distracts from our Primary Purpose. Our common welfare MUST come first.

Tradition 2: 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.

By changing “men and women” in the Preamble, etc., A.A. has put itself in a position to decide which gender pronouns are appropriate and which are not for A.A., which is an Act of Governance. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern?

“That they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism” doesn’t read; “solve all things for all people” does it? To quote an old timer from years ago; “If you want to win friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie is right down the street… but if you’re looking for an answer for alcoholism we have the answer.” ~ Dottie G.

Tradition 4: Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.

It is apparent that some groups supporting and/or have requested the pronoun change are attempting to impose “their” group conscience on other groups and A.A. as a whole which is a direct contradiction of Tradition 4. Many of these groups had already made these changes through their individual group conscience and that’s fine, but where they step over the line is the attempt force their will on others.

Tradition 5: Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Today’s gender debates are ongoing with strong opinions being expressed both pro and con. There is certainly no consensus here in this great divide. For A.A. to take sides in this debate waters down our Primary Purpose and can threaten our unity.

The words, “AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes…” speak volumes. A very powerful statement, yet we find ourselves in the middle of controversy, allied with outside organizations** and endorsing outside causes and movements**. We have become so concerned with the endless variations of humanity that we have lost sight of our primary purpose. Where does it end?

*Tradition 10: Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

Can there be any doubt that A.A. has expressed an opinion and is supporting a well-organized, well-funded, worldwide movement with many political ties?* The change to our Preamble, and other degenderizing efforts currently in progress**, show both symbolic and direct support for an outside issue and should be reversed.

**The following excerpts from the background email titled “Degenderizing language”, dated 9/3/20 by Ames, Executive Editor, GSO should have us all concerned:

“Thanks for reaching out regarding our AAWS process related to the degenderizing of A.A. materials. It’s a process that is ongoing and ever-evolving with the times and current societal and Fellowship norms…”

“…We will be looking to “keep it simple” and focus initially on fixes such as changing “men and women” to “people” and reformulating constructs that are specifically gender-based, such as “he” or “she” to “that/this individual/person”.

“…On a broader scale, we have been reaching out to industry resources and organizations/entities that are engaged in this process of degenderizing to see what information they might be able to provide. Additionally, in all our print materials we try to utilize the style standards established by preeminent news organizations such as the New York Times…”

The “Aims” email above seems to contradict the very essence of our beloved Principles in that;

1. We have “ongoing and ever evolving” processes to “Degenderize A.A. materials.

2. In an act of governance we have become the arbiter of speech for this movement.

3. We have allied with outside organizations.

Concept 12 also speaks for itself in the statement; “No Conference action should be …an incitement to public controversy”

Heated debate with regard to gender related issues is in politics, schools, sports, language, etc. and is in our faces almost daily. Even the entertainment industry is having a field day with gender identity issues. Late night TV, sports, even the comics are on board with the debate (Ref: “Dilbert, 6/1/2021”).

This is a world-wide debate with great divide and our country is split over these very issues. AA has no business taking sides in this debate, or any other, no matter how worthy the cause may or may not be. The Washingtonians went down this path and that didn’t end well…

Paul L. GSR, Kent County Apponaug (Area 61)