2018 Group Inventory Responses

2018 Group Inventory – Responses to Questions

  1. What is the basic purpose of the group?
  2. What more can the group do to carry the message?
  3. Do new members stick with us, or does the turnover seem excessive?
  4. Do we emphasize the importance of sponsorship? How effectively? How can we do better?
  5. Are we careful to preserve the anonymity of our group members and other A.A.’s outside the meeting rooms? Do we leave the confidences they share at meetings behind?
  6. What more can the group do to carry the message?
  7. Are all members given the opportunity to speak at meetings and to participate in other group activities?
  8. Are we 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?
  9. Does the group do its fair share toward participating in the purpose of A.A. – as it relates to our “Three Legacies” of Recovery, Unity and Service?
  10. As a group, do we remain informed about AA as a whole? Do we support, in every way we can AA as a whole or just the parts we understand and approve of?
  11. Are we considerate of all our members?
  12. As a group, have we done a thorough and fearless inventory, or have we missed an important element?

Question 1. What is the basic purpose of the group?

  • To carry the AA msg & support other women in recovery.
  • As we are an A.A. group I find our basic purpose to be to carry the message of AA.
  • To share our hope, strength and experience of the AA program, to show those still suffering that there is a way out.
  • The basic purpose of this group is to provide a safe place online for women who are alcoholics to find strength, support, and hope, and grow their program.
  • To spread the message to the still-suffering alcoholic.
  • To provide support to AA members, an alternative to face to face meetings that may be tough to get to for whatever reason/or in addition to f2f meetings, to share experience, strength and hope.
  • To carry the AA message and help women recover and live sober lives!
  • To stay sober and to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. To provide an alternative or supplement to attending f2f meetings.
  • to carry the message to other (women) alcoholics – new and old
  • To maintain our sobriety and to help others alcoholics achieve sobriety. To make this possible via the internet to reach out to recovering alcoholics and to newcomers. To make AA available to those who can attend f2f meetings, but also to those who are shut-ins for a variety of reasons.
  • To stay sober
  • To carry the message in the spirit of the traditions
  • Our basic purpose is to spread the message of AA to those who seek it. To provide support and daily interaction through our AA program/lifeline.
  • The purpose of the group for me is help each other achieve sobriety.
  • To help other alcoholics to get and to stay sober.
  • GROW provides an online ‘venue’ for an AA meeting and general support amongst AA members. I’ve observed this to be a home group for some or a supplementary group for others that already attend f2f meeting.
  • The basic purpose of GROW is to help women recover from alcoholism by carrying the message of hope in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • The purpose of the group is to carry the message of recovery in AA, using the 12 steps and adhering to the 12 traditions.
  • I believe the basic purpose is to help the new sober female in her sober journey. As well as support all members with varying degrees of sobriety.

Question 2. What more can the group do to carry the message?

  • Since we are a program of attraction rather than promotion, I don’t see what more we can do except be listed as an online AA group.
  • I think inquires are answered promptly and new members are welcomed.
  • Follow up with newcomers, if they aren’t sharing with the group or disappear for a period of time.
  • I like the 12th step list that we have, and the welcome for new members.
  • These are good beginnings in providing a foundation to carry the message.
  • When I was new to AA and attended my first few f2f meetings I was approached by women after the meeting and we exchanged telephone numbers. One of those women rang me every few days to see how I was, to find out how I was getting on with the meetings I’d been getting to. She suggested other meetings to try and generally helped me through those early weeks, introducing me to other women or giving me the name of someone at a meeting to look out for.
  • When I meet a new woman in a f2f meeting this is what I do, or try to do. If they’re new to the meeting or new to AA or new to the area I still do this. If I’d been left to find my own way I’m not sure I would have made it.
  • I wonder if there’s something in this that could be translated into our online meeting environment? As a way to help carry the message?
  • The other idea I have relates to us as a group emailing some of our sharing to Grapevine. They are keen to hear about any aspect of recovery and sobriety and I’ve often thought that as we are perhaps more used to sharing in writing we would be in a positive position to carry the AA message through Grapevine. It would be up to individual group members but perhaps the GVR could highlight specific topics that Grapevine are looking for contributions on, or reminders that shares on Steps or Traditions or birthday shares are always useful and welcome. It’s not just about getting them published in the printed magazine, there’s a lot of articles that are just published on the GV website.
  • Members could carry the message more by sharing it with their physicians, therapists, and in their face to face meetings.However, I would fear that if the group became too large we would have an issue.
  • Encourage more members to participate in share in our topics and volunteering.
  • Possibly send out a big book excerpt mid week to the group – maybe one that matches the topic of the week – so everyone could read it quick on an email. If things get sent to me instead of me taking it upon myself to find it, I am more apt to read it :)-I think we do a great job here at Grow. There are many members who share their ESH and believe the regular meeting, monthly step and tradition as well as Grapevine meeting, I think we are all carrying the message.
  • I think we are doing a good job. We are easy enough to find on aa-intergroup.org, and it sounds like we get some friends-of-friends referrals.  We remain rooted in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of AA, which keeps us on the right path.
  • word of mouth – if I meet a woman in a meeting who doesn’t have access to f2f meetings or who might go travelling I usually share with her about grow
  • I can’t think of anything. Changes have been made in the past to enchance GROW (i.e, adding the Grapevine topic) and some are in the works (updating the GROW site to a new software).
  • To carry the 12 step message
  • I love talking about the traditions and am wondering if there is a way to invite people to share on them in a different way. We don’t have a lot of women posting on the tradition/step of the month. Could they be sent out separately with a piece of text from the 12×12 to get people started?
  • I believe we are doing all we can according to the Big Book. We are here for those who seek sobriety.
  • I like the Sunday meeting. Perhaps suggestions on the literature related to the topic.
  • GROW is doing many things right by me. What more can it do? No suggestions.
  • I don’t have suggestions as I feel GROW does a wonderful job now.
  • We can make sure that we stay visible, especially in the online world of AA. We can also spread the word individually in our f2f groups by sharing about it in groups as a whole and with individuals who might find benefit from our group.
  • Be a giving example to people we meet in the community.
  • Pray for those in the rooms and out of the rooms.

Question 3. Do new members stick with us, or does the turnover seem excessive?

  • Hard to tell, as a newcomer myself!
  • I often wonder what happens to all the new women that we welcome! Only a very small number seem to share in the weekly topic meetings.
  • I remember when I joined I had a lot of correspondence with a Greeter. She answered all my questions and was encouraging and welcoming. I kept in touch with her quite frequently in my first few weeks as a member here, but I wasn’t new to AA so I had experience of how groups and meetings work, of what the program is and isn’t.
  • I guess at the moment it’s up to us as individuals to reach out to members we might not have heard share for a while or to newcomers we’ve greeted /welcomed or exchanged messages with but how do we know if this is happening?
  • The 12th step list is a way of carrying the message to those sharing but what about those who don’t share? In a f2f meeting we’d see the ones who come late, sit at the back, leave early etc.
  • Is there a way of having some kind of temporary sponsor or buddy available?
  • Interested to see what others share on this question.
  • I think the turnover seems normal. We see the same in face to face groups, as well as other online groups. Social media is one of those things where people pop in and out of; we’re such a transient society as it is, sadly.
  • turnover does not seem excessive
  • I am a newcomer and from what I have seen it does not seem excessive. I am not sure how many members we have but I don’t see a lot of people asking to be taken off the mailing list… not sure that I would see them all anyway
  • I think we have had a good run lately of people sticking! I hope that continues! 🙂
  • I doubt we have more turnover than most f2f groups. Some newcomers may think that they will stay sober by reading emails and will learn that it doesn’t work any better than just showing up to a meeting and not accepting the help that is offered to them there.   I think we do a good job of welcoming our new members in and inviting them to participate.
  • I wouldn’t know about numbers for turn over – I only see emails that are sent to the entire group which request to remove from the list – not sure if people stick or not
  • I don’t always share but I read the emails so maybe that’s the case with a lot of people.
  • In my opinion, the turnover has gotten less over the past couple of years.
  • I don’t know about turn over and not sure it matters because from what I have read some members live in isolated places or travel and this meeting forum is the only way to keep sober.
  • There are a lot of people unsubscribing by posting to the group. It makes it seem like a lot of women are leaving. And it seems to be people who haven’t posted very much.
  • I think the number of those who go back out is the same as face-to-face meetings, maybe slightly more because of the ease of internet contact. Maybe we could ‘assign’ someone to maintain contact with newcomers?
  • I can’t answer since I have no idea about the statistics.
  • I cannot accurately comment on how many join and then leave GROW. Still, I have some thoughts to share:
  • My visual memory is much stronger than any other form, so I refer to what I see in my f2f group. The vast majority of AA visitors come and go within a few months. The majority of members leave within a couple of years. Some stick for five or more years. I only regularly go to one meeting nearly every week, my home group, so I don’t know how many move on to other groups. I’d say no more than 5% have continuous sobriety in AA for more than a couple of years.
  • My intuition is that society needs more treatment methods for alcoholism. AA is not the best treatment for everybody. Fortunately, it is not the only treatment. We need to better understand why humans use and abuse alcohol. We need to understand the mind through neuroscience.
  • Not being a list keeper, I don’t know what the turnover rate is.
  • We have no way of knowing. The listkeepers publish numbers every business meeting but that does not tell us if newcomers are staying.  Also we cannot know if new members are leaving GROW to go to f2f meetings, having been supported to do so by finding GROW online first.  Every once in a while someone will share that, which is lovely!
  • We do have turnover, but I compare it to f2f groups and I don’t think it’s excessive.
  • It would appear that way. So not sure of reasons. Maybe found a f2f meeting, too time consuming, not disciplined to read shares every day. Hate to think it, go back out and just not sharing enough but reading the shares. The latter is me!

Question 4. Do we emphasize the importance of sponsorship? How effectively? How can we do better?

  • Some new GROW members are on their first day of sobriety and some just joining us have decades in AA, so women at different points in their program want different things. The monthly sponsor list (hopefully) lets newer ladies know that sponsors are available here.  I have never approached any GROW member asking clarification or more information and not gotten the help I sought.
  • I think we do what we can to suggest sponsorship to the new people that come in. Sending out the sponsorship list reminds those that we have many women available and willing to sponsor.
  • All we can do is continue to make the suggestion of sponsorship. I think we are effective in doing that.
  • “Do I have a Sponsor?” – that was one of the first questions I was asked by several members when they welcomed me to GROW. That was 7 years ago so don’t know if newcomers are being asked that now. I think the importance of sponsorship is emphasized almost every week.At times the meeting topic is Sponsorship. The weekly shares often mention members talking to their sponsors- or by being of service by being a sponsor. And the Sponsor List is sent out monthly.
  • We have the monthly sponsorship reminder that goes out as a reminder about sponsorship. It’s hard to know whether newcomers are approached because it happens privately. I feel that this meeting is so clear in its emphasis on steps and traditions that the importance of sponsorship comes through in shares.
  • I think we do a pretty good job of focusing on sponsorship. Of course, most of this comes when people share. We also have a Temporary Mentor to help people new to the group and a list of women who are available to sponsor on our website. I don’t know what more we could do.
  • I think we do a good job. One suggestion would be to send the list of sponsors to each new person to our group when they join. I am not sure how many women are now in the group, but our list of sponsors is rather short.
  • A list of available sponsors is sent out monthly to all members, along with an invitation to join our list of sponsors.We also have a Temporary Mentor position. Perhaps she could remind the members from time to time that she is available, temporarily, to assist until they find a Sponsor?
  • I think we share the importance of sponsorship in shares. In addition a list of online sponsors is published monthly.

Question 5. Are we careful to preserve the anonymity of our group members and other A.A.’s outside the meeting rooms? Do we leave the confidences they share at meetings behind?

  • I have mentioned at f2f meetings that I am a member of an online group; if someone asks me for more details I let them know how to go through the process of joining but don’t volunteer to forward emails. At times, I have copied/pasted shares on a specific topic for someone in a local group but I have never shared email information or identifiers other than first names as included in the shares.  I would hope that other GROW members do this or stuff like it.
  • I don’t know that there is any way to confirm or deny that we are doing a good job of this. I believe that the women that are here are trying to practice the principles in all their affairs, to the best of their ability and that includes preserving anonymity. We highlight the traditions in our weekly meeting and the step and tradition meeting, each month.
  • I can’t speak of others but I know I do. And we are reminded each week in GROW and at all the F2F meetings I attend by the reading of the Anonymity Statement.
  • I’m careful! there have been a changes made in the scripts re: not forwarding things no urls and the recent discussion of anonymity and Facebook for GROW and that has all contributed to this awareness of privacy and confidentiality .
  • GROW is very good about protecting people’s anonymity outside the meeting, but that is fairly easy with an online meeting. There is some personal information on our website for women who have volunteered to be Trusted Servants, but the website is password protected. I’m not personally aware of any issues with anonymity coming up in the past. Occasionally, I share at my f2f meetings about something a Grow member has shared, but the focus is on the message, not the particulars.
  • I think we do a good job. One example is voting down a facebook page because of the risk of member exposure.
  • I respect the spirit of anonymity. I will protect a member’s name but may share a part of her story with another alcoholic if I think it will help her.
  • I have not heard complaints about this, so I assume anonymity is respected.

Question 6. Do we take the time to explain to all members the value to the group of following our guidelines of e-mail etiquette? As a member, am I familiar with and do I follow these guidelines?

  • I think we do a good job of making the information available to all of our members. What they do with it is up to them, though.  Our guidelines are clear and succinct.
  • I believe that by sending out the monthly etiquette guide we are doing what we can to remind those of the guidelines. They are similar to that of f2f meetings so I am familiar and continue to practice them. There are many trusted servants here that I’m sure go out of their way to help those that don’t understand or follow the guidelines. I appreciate the desire of the women here to follow them. Doesn’t seem to me that we have many disruptions.
  • I believe so. The Guidelines are sent out regularly and if someone slips up, the members are reminded again of the Guidelines.
  • I’m familiar with the guidelines and follow them. And I do worry about newcomers who are very sensitive. It’s important to enforce the guidelines but with compassion!
  • I don’t know if we actually explain to everyone why our guidelines are important, but I know that people are great about adhering to them. There are few distractions in our meetings from our focus on recovery from alcoholism, and conflicts are not visible in the online meeting. When issues come up, they are addressed privately with the members involved. As a long-time member, yes, I am familiar with the guidelines and try hard to adhere to them.
  • I want to say that I am familiar but at the same time it wouldnt hurt me to go over the guidelines. Pretty sure that the only thing I may violate is character length.
  • Our Secretary sends us a list of Group Guidelines each month. I understand and follow the Guidelines to the best of my ability
  • I think we explain this when someone does not follow the guidelines. New members receive them and they are published monthly, but I think it’s in private that they are enforced.

Question 7. Are all members given the opportunity to speak at meetings and to participate in other group activities?

  • Members are given a week to respond to the weekly topic. Options for participating in service work, Grapevine posts, topic leaders and 12th step work opportunities are posted. I believe we do a very good job with this.
  • I think Grow encourages people to share in meetings on topic and to participate in our business meetings. Unfortunately, sometimes it feels like few people hear those messages. We have over 200 members, yet often it is the same people sharing each week on topic. The list of people participating in business meetings doesn’t seem to change much from year to year. It’s hard to know how to encourage more participation in an online group.
  • I think all members are given the opportunity to speak in meetings. The meeting is open to all who wish to share. And members can also share Off Topic.
  • I’m not clear about what the other group activities are.
  • Are all members given the opportunity to speak at meetings and to participate in other group activities? Yes. Everyone is encouraged to share on the topic, step and tradition, grapevine and the business meeting.
  • Yes, I feel sharing by any group member is welcomed and encouraged in Grow, quite often the weekly lead will say something along these lines.
  • The wording for participation in this inventory is a good example of how we do this too.
  • Perhaps there’s room for improvement in encouraging more members to participate in the business meetings?
  • Yes, indeed, every member has the opportunity to share in this group.
  • This is an easy one for a group that uses email, everyone can participate at any time.
  • I have never seen anything to indicate that members are denied an opportunity to speak, on topic or not, and to be included in group activities.

Question 8. Are we 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?

  • In Grow, we are grateful when people step up to take a service position. Every cycle, it is like pulling teeth to get people other than the ‘regulars’ to take a service position. It is NOT a popularity contest, as we seldom have to worry about two people volunteering for the same job (so there is no vote).
  • We publish the positions that are open and refer to service work being important to our sobriety. I don’t believe since I’ve been a member of this group that we ever had to choose between two people so I don’t believe it’s a choice of any sort. If I’m correct it seems like it’s first to volunteer first to serve.
  • I believe the majority of the members are aware that holding office is a responsibility. The job description of each office position makes it clear what the responsibilities are and the qualities one needs to fill the position to the fullest. If someone has questions, they are free to ask. I know there are some positions I can’t fill due to my skill set. Having the best qualified members who desire to fill a posiwetion enhances GROW.
  • I believe that anyone who wants to be of service and serve a role of a trusted servant to this group is welcome to do so. I haven’t seen it as a popularity contest.
  • I think the advantage of us being online is that there’s less room for making things into a popularity contest and our guidelines around email etiquette seem to work well in helping us as a group avoid conflict in our meetings.
  • The job descriptions are helpful but also highlight the responsibilities involved.
  • As for Trusted Servants, we try to be careful that each one will be able to perform the tasks of the position. It is more a matter of who is willing and able than a popularity contest in this group. I am certainly glad for this.
  • Yes
  • Frankly it never occurred to me that it could be a popularity contest–it is my feeling that holding an office in such an esteemed organization like this is a very serious responsibility that requires commitment and time.

Question 9. Does the group do its fair share toward participating in the purpose of A.A. – as it relates to our “Three Legacies” of Recovery, Unity and Service?

  • Seeing the short list perhaps more members of GROW could volunteer for sponsorship opportunities.
  • At face-to-face meetings we always call 1st step when we have someone new to AA. Perhaps we could share privately with that person our first step stories.
  • I think Grow does as much as it can to participate in AA overall. We have representatives on OIAA and GSO. We are good about supporting and promotion the Three Legacies.
  • GROW members participate in the 3 Legacies of Recovery, Unity and Service by addressing the physical, mental and spiritual parts of our disease through their shares – although it may said be indirectly.
  • I believe we do. We are a group of women that truly focus on recovery and the solution. We do a good job of reminding each other it is a we program and that is being of service.
  • In my experience we seem to do best at Recovery & Service.
  • Regarding Unity, I’ve found warm, supportive, loving, generous fellowship amongst the women in the group but I know I’m quite good at reaching out. I wonder if members who don’t reach out themselves get reached out to? Like if someone goes quiet and doesn’t share for a while do members reach out to check in with that person?
  • Also, how unified are we with AA as a whole? I’m not feeling like there’s dis-Unity, just maybe that it’s the nature of us being online that means it may be harder to feel the unity with the wider AA fellowship online or offline.
  • The legacy of Recovery we do very well imho.
  • The legacy of Unity we typically do about as well as most groups I’ve participated in. We are open to all opinions in our business meetings, and when we do not have a consensus, we work towards that with care.
  • The legacy of Service at levels above the group are not as open to us as an online group. It has not always been easy to convince our members of the need to stay connected to OIAA but I personally believe this is very important. As an international group we have not formally associated with a particular Service office. We are registered as an online group with GSO in New York. Most of us are in the US and tend to think of that as the group to affiliate with. But we have or have had members in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, and have not heard much about their Service offices. These are the facts as I know them today.
  • Yes, the group welcomes new members, everyone is invited to share and to serve as trusted servants. The business meeting is open to all and everyone has a voice in making decisions.
  • The joy of this group is its dedicated focus on the principles of AA and all sharings these legacies.

Question 10: As a group, do we remain informed about AA as a whole? Do we support, in every way we can AA as a whole or just the parts we understand and approve of?

  • I’m pretty sure we do what we can to support AA in the way I learned AA works… Service, unity and recovery. Sharing the message. One alcoholic talking to another, or the grateful recovering women in the group. 🙂
  • As a group we are informed about AA as a whole through our GSR and our OIAA Rep. How much any individual chooses to avail themselves of this information, there is no way to know.  I am grateful when our GSR sends the Box 4-5-9 link to the group.  I also appreciate when our OIAA Rep sends us a report of what is going on in our Intergroup.
  • I would say this is an area we could improve on.
  • We have Box 459 newsletter sent out which is really useful and informative but we have no other communication either from our inter group or announcements about aa news or business or events that might be relevant.
  • I feel it is a bit like we operate as a group in a bit of a bubble apart from aa as a whole.
  • We support the Traditions of AA, as well as our own GROW Guidelines. To keep us informed about AA as a whole, we could have more input from the GSR and OIAA Meetings.
  • Not really aware of our following developments about AA as a whole but I dont in our f2f meetings either. On the other hand, I see no difference between GROW and the AA we find outside.
  • We have reps for Grapevine, OIAA & GSO who report/present to the group. Not sure what else we could do to participate with AA as a whole.

Question 11: Are we considerate of all our members?

  • I believe we are. In any AA group there are men and women at different stages of their recovery. Some may approach recovery differently. But I believe we are all here because we don’t want to be out there… And that we are considerate to each other.
  • I believe that we are very considerate of all our members. I myself have tried to help and been seen as interfering; that was not my intention but without personal connection that can be hard to portray.  The last thing I want to do is to upset a Trusted Servant who is just trying to do her job.  We now have the small steering committee to handle any disruptions, as well as our trusted Secretary.
  • There are lots of examples where we are very considerate – prayer requests when members are ill or struggling. This is wonderful and feels warm and loving and supportive.
  • Our email etiquette means we don’t get exposed to some of the problems some online meetings experience, like flaming.
  • Is there more we could do to consider the needs of new or returning women? Assigning a buddy, perhaps? Someone to keep in touch as the woman finds her feet?
  • I believe that we are considerate of all our members by welcoming them to the group, and by sending personal messages of sobriety celebrations. Also, by following our Group Guidelines and Email Etiquette, members are considerate of each other.
  • The only area I could suggest being more considerate, “softer”, is when someone breaks the etiquette rules. Sometimes they are newcomers who are just finding their way and feel chastised/criticized and leave the group. Perhaps we could send a softer message to the offending member.

Question 12: As a group, have we done a thorough and fearless inventory, or have we missed an important element?

  • I think GROW does a GREAT job to see where they can grow (sorry no pun intended) and change. By holding our group to the standards of any AA group, I believe we have done a great job practicing these principles in all our affairs. (I’ve been a part of three women’s groups and this one is my favorite. By far!)
  • It seems that there are elements that could be missing from our inventory questions, which were written for f2f groups.I believe that this group possibly draws in part from women who are not sure that they are alcoholics and want to find out what AA is like without going to f2f meetings.  The experience of being a part of a group of alcoholics who are smiling, laughing, hugging and otherwise relating in a healthy manner is not to be missed.  We encourage new members to find this for themselves when they can.  That is all we can do!
  • I think the questions have been really useful.
  • It’s great to have a chance to read the thoughts of others who’ve participated.
  • The inventory may be thorough but the important element to me is what actions could be taken next, or at least discussed.
  • Without the next part of the process does the thoroughness become somewhat irrelevant?
  • There is no area in which I find GROW lacking.The format protects the process, ruling out crosstalk, etc.  There are established protocols for most any circumstance that comes to my mind.