1018 – Group Conscience Decisions Summary

October 2018 Group Conscience Decisions

During the October 2018 GROW Business meeting, the following Group Conscience decisions were approved:

  1. Delete item d. (Web Page Information) in the GROW FYI CONTENTS section of the FYI Letter sent out by the Secretary each month.
    For more information on this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal 2 from the October 2018 business meeting.
  2. Add a reminder to the Weekly Meeting Format Letter (between the Preamble and “How It Works”) to emphasize the principle of anonymity in our meetings: “Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here.”
    • Recommended Language: Insert the following sentences as a separate stand-alone paragraph between the Preamble and “How It Works” in the Weekly Meeting Format Letter.
      • “Who you see here, what you read here, when you leave here, let it stay here. (Anonymity refers to personal information and personal issues – not the message of recovery.)”

    For more information in this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal 3 from the October 2018 business meeting.

  3. Increase the monthly contribution to Dean Collins (oso-aa.org) to reimburse him for any time and effort to support GROW’s website, particularly the new website WordPress configuration. Double the current contribution from $12 per month ($72 for six months) to $24 ($144 for six months).
    • Recommended Language: Edit the sub-bullet in the Treasurer’s job description under the 11th bullet (“Pay all group expenses…”) to reflect the change in contributions to oso-aa.
      • $24.00 monthly to OSO-AA (PayPal: dean.collins@insightplanners.com) (6 months expenses)

    For more information about this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal 4 from the October 2018 business meeting

  4. 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.
    • Recommended Language: Add a new 10th bullet to the Temporary Mentor job description as follows.
      • Each month, the Temporary Mentor will send a short letter reminding GROW members of AA resources available to them.

    For more information in this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal ## from the October 2018 business meeting.

  5. Insert the following language as a new third paragraph in Temporary Mentor Letter #1 and as a monthly stand-alone message to GROW:
    • Just a reminder that you can learn more about AA by visiting one of these links:
    • The Alcoholics Anonymous general services office and information such as “The AA Big Book and 12 & 12, along with many pamphlets as well as links to local resources for AA.
    • AA’s Online Intergroup (OIAA) where you can find meeting lists as week as real-time phone and other Internet types of meetings.
    • AA’s Grapevine magazine with stories and audio stories and Grapevine subscription options.

    For more information in this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal ## from the October 2018 business meeting.

  6. Expand on the Temporary Mentor by establishing a Newcomer Committee, as the Sponsorship pamphlet suggests some groups do.
    • Recommended Language: Add as a new 11th bullet to the Temporary Mentor job description as follows.
      • Establish and lead a Newcomer Committee (that may include members who are new to recovery from alcoholism) who will assist in supporting newcomers to GROW and AA.

    For more information in this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal ## from the October 2018 business meeting.

  7. The General Services Representative (GSR) will post the GSO Calendar of Events each month to the GROW list. The Calendar is contained in the back pages of the current quarterly Box 4-5-9.
    • Recommended Language: “You can find the GSO Calendar of Events on pages 11-12 [depending on the month] of the 4-5-9 Newsletter [Note: link to the newsletter changes for each issue].”

    For more information in this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal ## from the October 2018 business meeting.

  8. The Grapevine Representative (GVR) will post a link to the calendar on the Grapevine website each month. This may be within her report or separate from it.
    • Recommended Language: Add a new 8th bullet to the Grapevine Representative’s job description as follows.
      • Either as part of the Grapevine Form Letter or in a separate message to GROW members, the GVR will share a link to the Grapevine Calendar of Events (at http://www.aagrapevine.org/calendar).

    For more information in this group conscience decision, please refer to Proposal ## from the October 2018 business meeting.

  9. The new GROW Website extension to the April 2019 meeting granted by default.

1018 – Proposal 1: GROW Website

Proposal 1: GROW Website

GROW will extend the Website Workgroup mandate to the April 2019 Business Meeting.

Rationale: While much work has been done and much accomplished, the website is not yet ready to go “live.” The Webkeeper and website workgroup will finalize the test site and prepare recommendations on how to manage the site in April 2019. They will also recommend new Trusted Servant positions and job descriptions to maintain the site in the future.


Summary of Comments on Proposal 1.5

Eight (8) participants commented on the test website. Those who commented were happy with the site, praising its improvement over the current static HTML website. One person submitted questions/comments for the workgroup to consider as it moves forward. Please refer to the section on the sixth 3-day period for next steps.


Results of Voting on Proposal 1.6

Although the Chair had announced that we would vote on Proposal 1 (to extend the Website Workgroup mandate to the April 2019 Business Meeting) during the sixth 3-day period. However, doing so would take us beyond the 17th day. Since the guidelines call for such proposals to be tabled until the next business meeting and the desired extension would end by the April 2019 meeting, a vote at this time of no practical value.

Therefore, no vote will be taken, and the website extension is granted by default.


Group Conscience Decision:

Website extension is granted by default.

1018 – Proposal 12: GVR / GV Calendar

Proposal 12: GVR and Grapevine Calendar

The Grapevine Rep (GVR) will post link to the calendar on the Grapevine website each month. This may be within her report or separate from it.

Rationale: Follow up to the Group Inventory of Fall 2018 and subsequent review in the business meeting, and in the spirit of connecting with AA as a whole: As far as being “informed about AA as a whole”, 5 out of 8 responses stated a need for more information… No one felt we weren’t supporting AA as a whole, just that we weren’t as informed as we could be.


Summary of Comments on Proposal 12.4

Three (3) participants commented on the proposal calling for the Grapevine Representative to send out a link to the Grapevine Calendar each month. All comments supported it because it improves members’ understanding of AA organizations and events, as was raised in responses to the Group Inventory questions. One participant raised offered “Recommended language” that would be added to the TS job description. Another answered that the TS should have the discretion to carry it out. We will vote on Proposal 12.5 during the fifth 3-day period of our meeting.


Results of Voting on Proposal 12.5

Voting: Seventeen (17) participants voted unanimously in favor of Proposal 11.5; therefore, the proposal is approved and adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

The Grapevine Rep will post link to the calendar on the Grapevine website each month. This may be within her report or separate from it.

1018 – Proposal 11: GSR / 4-5-9 Calendar

Proposal 11: GSR and 4-5-9 Calendar

The GSR will post the Calendar of Events each month to the GROW list. It is to be the link to the current quarterly Box 4-5-9, with the indication of the pages of the Calendar.

Rationale: Follow up to the Group Inventory of Fall 2018 and subsequent review in the business meeting: As far as being “informed about AA as a whole”, 5 out of 8 responses stated a need for more information. Several members expressed gratitude for the GSR report and the Box 459 newsletter. No one felt we weren’t supporting AA as a whole, just that we weren’t as informed as we could be.

Recommended Language: You can find the GSO Calendar of Events on pages 11-12 [depending on the month] of the 4-5-9 Newsletter [Note: link to the newsletter changes for each issue].”


Summary of Comments on Proposal 11.4

Four (4) participants commented on this proposal, all of them supporting it because it improves members’ understanding of AA organizations and events, as was raised in responses to the Group Inventory questions. We will vote on Proposal 11.5 during the fifth 3-day period of our meeting.


Results of Voting on Proposal 11.5

Voting: Seventeen (17) participants voted unanimously in favor of Proposal 11.5; therefore, the proposal is approved and adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

The GSR will post the Calendar of Events each month to the GROW list. It is to be the link to the current quarterly Box 4-5-9, with the indication of the pages of the Calendar.

1018 – Proposal 6: Temporary Mentor

Proposal 6: Temporary Mentor & AA Resources

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.

Rationale: Many of our members who have not been to f2f meetings and are new to our program are not aware of the many resources available to them (especially when people are not.) This is to inform / remind our members that there are real-time meetings, literature for downloading, and audio stories available at all times of the day and night.

Recommended Language:

Add a bullet to the Temporary Mentor job description as follows:

  • Each month, the Temporary Mentor will send a short letter reminding GROW members of AA resources available to them.

Insert the following as a new third paragraph in Temporary Mentor Letter #1:

Just a reminder that you can learn more about AA by visiting one of these links:

  • the Alcoholics Anonymous general services office and information such as “The AA Big Book and 12 & 12, along with many pamphlets as well as links to local resources for AA.
  • AA’s Online Intergroup (OIAA) where you can find meeting lists as wekk as real-time phone and other Internet types of meetings.
  • AA’s Grapevine magazine with stories and audio stories and Grapevine subscription options.
  • Each month, include the same language in an open message to the GROW mailing list.

Summary of Comments on Proposal 6.3

Six (6) participants commented on the proposal for the Temporary Mentor to send links to AA resources (AA, OIAA, Grapevine) to newcomers and to send these links to the larger GROW group each month as a reminder. Comments were generally positive, although some offered additional resources (like AA’s GSO and AA-approved literature like the Big Book, 12×12, and Living Sober). As with Proposal 5.2, a couple of participants cautioned against overwhelming people with too much information at one time, suggesting more packets of information would be more effective.

During the third 3-day session, we will vote on the proposal as presented.


Results of Voting on Proposal 6.3

Voting: 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.

1018 – Proposal 5: Newcomer Committee

Proposal 5: Newcomer Committee

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.

This committee could have a list of online resources including the AA website, the Grapevine website, the OIAA web site with its links to online meetings including realtime, perhaps even speaker links such as Joe & Charlie on YouTube and other immediate resources for a suffering newcomer. It could be a group of volunteers who are able to respond within hours, as the listkeepers do. My thought is that the Temporary Mentor could lead 2-3 other women who would not hold Trusted Servant positions, like the 12th Step Volunteers.

I suggest that anyone volunteering for this list could be given the list of resources we suggest and become familiar with them before agreeing to take this on. Cruise through the AA, OIAA and Grapevine websites, use them themselves a bit. They do not need to be willing to sponsor.

Rationale: My concern is that all the support that we more-experienced online AAs know about is not known to a newcomer. Yes, a Facebook group could have addressed this, but our anonymity was so much more easily at risk. We can do this “in house” with a small group. This differs from the 12th Steppers in that many of these new members do not get as far as writing to the main list. They are sharing with the Temporary Mentor. Some have had no luck with responses to emails sent to potential sponsors. Others have been challenged to find a resource to help them locally.


Summary of Comments on Proposal 5.2

Eight (8) participants commented on Proposal 5.2 creating a Newcomer Committee to support the Temporary Mentor.

The Trusted Servants who jointly proposed the creation of a Newcomer Committee explained their reasoning as to why it was important and how the committee would operate. Our current Temporary Mentor shared her experience with a portion of newcomers who have tried without success to get a sponsor based on our “Available Online Sponsor” webpage, reporting their queries were not answered timely or at all. Given that some newcomers need a lot of guidance and support, the Temporary Mentor sometimes finds the position overwhelming and could use the support of women who themselves are new to AA’s program in answering questions and supporting women brand new to sobriety.

The committee would be informal, something like the 12th Step List, with members who volunteer and are not Trusted Servants. This gives women with less sober time the opportunity to be of service while also building a strong foundation for their own recovery. The Temporary Mentor would lead the group.

Most of the women who commented on this proposal supported the idea and appreciated the explanations given by the current and immediate past Temporary Mentor. One member suggested that there should be a requirement for a minimum of three months to be on the committee. Others cautioned against overwhelming our new members with too much information too soon.

In the third 3-day session, we will vote on Proposal 5.3 as presented.


Results of Voting on Proposal 5.3

Voting: 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.

1018 – Proposal 4: Contribution to oso-aa.org

Proposal 4: Contribution to oso-aa.org

Increase the monthly contribution to Dean Collins (oso-aa.org) to reimburse him for any time and effort to support GROW’s website, particularly the new website WordPress configuration. Double the current contribution from $12 per month ($72 for six months) to $24 ($144 for six months).

Rationale: Dean provides servers to AA groups without charging anything, and he provides technical support. Many groups make donations to help defray costs, including labor. An increase will help Dean with expenses and show our gratitude for his support over the years.

Recommended language: Change the sub-bullet in the Treasurer’s job description to reflect the increase:

$12.00 $24.00 monthly to OSO-AA (PayPal: dean.collins@insightplanners.com) (6 months expenses)


Summary of Comments on Proposal 4.1

Eight (8) participants commented on the proposal. While there were some questions, in the end there was consensus supporting the proposal. In the next 3-day period, we will vote on the proposal as presented.


Results of Voting on Proposal 4.1

Eighteen (18) participants in favor, and no one voted against Proposal 4.1. Therefore, it is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

Increase the monthly contribution to Dean Collins (oso-aa.org) to reimburse him for any time and effort to support GROW’s website, particularly the new website WordPress configuration. Double the current contribution from $12 per month ($72 for six months) to $24 ($144 for six months).

1018 – Proposal 3: “Let it Stay Here”

Proposal 3

Add the reminder to the Weekly Meeting Format Letter (between the Preamble and “How It Works”) to emphasize the principle of anonymity in our meetings: “Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here.”

Rationale: In f2f meetings, we respect the principle of anonymity and giving people the space to share without fear. Although it will never be perfect the familiar AA saying helps remind us of the spirit of honoring a share without repeating it. In the Group Inventory, it was noted that a person had mentioned taking pieces from shares and repeating them at other meetings. Whilst they said they omitted the name, it is still a form of repeating another person’s share elsewhere.

Recommended Language: Insert the following sentence as a separate stand-alone paragraph between the Preamble and “How It Works” in the Weekly Meeting Format Letter:

“Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here.”


Summary of Comments on Proposal 3.1

Twelve participants generated 17 comments, most of them supporting the proposal. A couple of participants felt the new language was not necessary.  One person raised the question of whether we should enforce this principle if a member violated it. No one responded to this query.

Two participants suggested changes to the wording of the insert, and those who commented expressed approval of the changes. The first was to change “what you hear here” to “what you read here” since this is an online format. The Chair has revised the proposal to reflect this change.  A second change would insert clarification of what “anonymity” means (“Anonymity refers to personal information and personal issues – not the message of recovery.”). The Chair has added this sentence to the recommended language in the revised proposal. Proposal 3.2a will include only these changes.

When it was revealed that The Weekly Meeting Format Letter already contains a similar sentence (penultimate paragraph of the format), several people felt the sentence shouldn’t appear twice. The Chair has therefore added as part of the Group Conscience decision deleting the existing penultimate paragraph (“Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.” Proposal 3.2b will also include this change.

We will vote on two versions of Proposal 3 in the next three days. Proposal 3.2a incorporates the two suggested editing changes. Proposal 3.2b adds deleting the existing “Let It Stay Here” message from the end of the current Meeting Leader Format Letter.


Results of Voting on Proposal 3.2a

In response to comments, the Chair presented two versions of the proposal. The first version (3.2a) reflected suggested edits to the recommended language that met with general approval. The second version (3.2b) contained the suggested edits as well as the deletion of a similar line (the penultimate paragraph) of the current Weekly Meeting Format Letter. Please see the full text of version 3.2a at the end of this message.

Participants were asked to vote on one of the two versions (indicating an automatic “I disagree” vote for the other version).

Four (4) participants voted in favor (25%), and 12 voted against Proposal 3.2a. Therefore, the proposal did not meet the requirement for a 2/3 majority vote in favor of the proposal.

Please see the results of voting on version 3.2b for next steps (Minority Opinion).

Full Text of Proposal 3.2a
Proposal 3.2a: Add the reminder to the Weekly Meeting Format Letter (between the Preamble and “How It Works”) to emphasize the principle of anonymity in our meetings: “Who you see here, what you read here, when you leave here, let it stay here.”

Recommended Language:
“Who you see here, what you read here, when you leave here, let it stay here.” (Anonymity refers to personal information and personal issues – not the message of recovery.)


Results of Voting on Proposal 3.2b

In response to comments, the Chair presented two versions of the proposal. The first version (3.2a) reflected suggested edits to the recommended language that met with general approval. The second version (3.2b) contained the suggested edits as well as the deletion of a similar line (the penultimate paragraph) of the current Weekly Meeting Format Letter. Participants were asked to vote on one of the two versions (indicating an automatic “I disagree” vote for the other version). See the full text of Proposal 3.2b at the end of this message.

Twelve (12) participants voted in favor (75%), and four (4) voted against Proposal 3.2b. Therefore, Proposal 3.2b met the requirement for a 2/3 majority vote in favor of the proposal.

Our Business Meeting Guidelines allow three days for the minority opinion to be presented and discussed. If, after hearing the minority opinion, any participant wants to change their vote from “I disagree” to “I agree” on Proposal 3.2b, we will conduct a second vote.

At this time, I request each of those who voted “I agree” on Proposal 3.2a to send me a private note letting me know if they plan to post a minority opinion.

After considering the Minority Opinion, if any participant wants to change their vote from “I disagree” to “I agree” on Proposal 3.2b, we will conduct a second vote. If the minority does not want to express their opinion, we will close this discussion, and the vote will stand.

Full Text of Proposal 3.2b:
Proposal 3.2b: Add the reminder to the Weekly Meeting Format Letter (between the Preamble and “How It Works”) to emphasize the principle of anonymity in our meetings: “Who you see here, what you read here, when you leave here, let it stay here.”

Recommended Language:

  1. Insert the following sentences as a separate stand-alone paragraph between the Preamble and “How It Works” in the Weekly Meeting Format Letter:
    “Who you see here, what you read here, when you leave here, let it stay here.” (Anonymity refers to personal information and personal issues – not the message of recovery.)
  2. Delete the penultimate paragraph of the existing Weekly Meeting Format Letter which currently reads: “Anonymity Statement: Please remember that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” What you hear here and who you “see” here, let it stay here.”

Discussion following Minority Opinion

Participants voted to approve Proposal 3.2b (adding the following between the Preamble and “How it Works” of the Weekly Meeting Format Letter). The proposal as approved also deleted the Anonymity Statement from the bottom of the Weekly Meeting Format Letter. The Minority Opinion argued that the Anonymity Statement should not be deleted, and several women changed their vote as a result. It was pointed out that the Anonymity Statement duplicates Tradition 12 (which is above the topic section). So, deleting only part of the Anonymity Statement is inconsistent. We will take a re-vote, addressing only the deletion of the Anonymity Statement, on Proposal 3.5 during the fifth 3-day period of our meeting.


Results of Re-vote on Proposal 3.5

Two (2) participants voted in favor, and 13 voted against (87%) Proposal 3.5 (which was limited to deleting the Anonymity Statement from the bottom of the Weekly Meeting Format Letter). The vote exceeds the requirement for a 2/3 majority, so this part of Proposal 3 fails.

Therefore, the existing Anonymity Statement in the Weekly Meeting Format Letter will not be deleted.


Group Conscience Decision:

The existing Anonymity Statement in the Weekly Meeting Format Letter will not be deleted.

1018 – Proposal 2: Change FYI Letter

Proposal 2: Change FYI Letter

Delete item d. (Web Page Information) in the GROW FYI CONTENTS section of the FYI Letter sent out by the Secretary each month.

Rationale: Currently, the bullet is in the contents, but no such information is provided in the body of the text.


Summary of Comments on Proposal 2.1

Five people commented on the proposal, all agreeing with it. We will vote on Proposal 2.1 in the next 3-day period.


Results of Voting on Proposal 2.1

Voting: Fifteen (15) participants in favor, and no one voted against Proposal 2.1. Therefore, Proposal 2 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

Delete item d. (Web Page Information) in the GROW FYI CONTENTS section of the FYI Letter sent out by the Secretary each month.