1021 Business Meeting – October

1021 Business Meeting – October

(topics are listed below are in order of presentation)

Trusted Servants 10/2021

Trusted Servants – October 2021

(as of 12/14/21)

12 Step Volunteer Listkeeper (10/21 – 4/22): Nicole W
Birthday Listkeeper (10/21 – 4/22): Mary O
Sponsor Listkeeper (10/21 – 4/22): Lynn H

Trusted Servants who make up the Steering Committee:

Business Meeting Chair (10/20-10/22): Danna M
GSR (10/21-10/22): VACANT
GVR (10/21-10/22): Julie Kr
Greeter (4/21-4/22): Amy N
Greeter (10/21-10/22): Karrie C
Listkeeper (4/21-4/22): Karen H
Listkeeper Alternate (4/21- 4/22): Sophie R
OIAA Rep (4/21-4/22):  Rene G
Secretary (10/21-10/22): Michele R
Temporary Mentor (4/21-4/22): Becky L
Treasurer (10/21-10/22): Cheryl B
Website Administrator (10/21-10/22): Cheryl D
Webkeeper (10/21-10/22): VACANT
Webkeeper Backup (10/21-10/22): Pat S
Weekly Leader Listkeeper (4/21-4/22): Emily M

Immediate Past Business Meeting Chair: Joan B.
Immediate Past GSR: Nicole W
Immediate Past OIAA Rep: Lynn H & Kirsten V
Immediate Past Secretary: Nancy C

1021 – Summary of First 3-day Session

The October 2021 Business Meeting started on Monday, October 4th.
We received reports on their activities since the April meeting from our Treasurer, Secretary, Listkeepers, GSR, OIAA Representative, and mini Steering Committee. They are available on GROW’s website at g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/business-meetings/. You will need a password to enter the private area of our website: sobertodayhow2484.

Because we had a lot of vacancies, the Secretary’s Report (Trusted Servants) was not complete at the beginning of the meeting. But it has been posted now and will be on the website soon. Although there were no proposals at the beginning of the meeting and because there were so many
vacancies, our first three-day session was devoted to a discussion of how GROW could encourage members to volunteer for Trusted Servant positions.

Like in face-to-face meetings, your Trusted Servants make sure the meeting runs smoothly by performing tasks that range from providing temporary mentorship to new members to announcing birthdays to making sure weekly meeting topics get out on time to administrative duties like
managing our Treasury and our website.

Many GROW members who had never held a Trusted Servant position before volunteered this time, bringing new ideas and a fresh perspective to our team.

During the first three-day session, participants discussed ways to more effectively encourage GROW members to volunteer to make GROW a part of their service program. Many great ideas about presenting more useful information to our members about what your Trusted Servants
actually do were raised and will likely result in some major improvements.

Because the discussion has been so productive, we are extending the comment period through the second three-day session.

Respectfully submitted,
danna M
GROW Business Meeting Chair
danna.growmail@gmail.com

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
7/12/2021

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)

1021 – OIAA Representative Report

OIAA Representative Report

October 2021

Hello ladies of GROW,

The most significant event that happened was that OIAA had the privilege of hosting a workshop for NAATW (National AA Technology Workshop) on the weekend of 17-19 September 2021.

Some groups have moved to Hybrid meetings, for those unaware of what hybrid meeting is (combination of face to face and zoom). This was implemented over a year ago when Covid hit. At my face to face meeting, we have it.

For those who are interested I have saved some links to look at, obviously the specs are according to that zoom meeting (size etc), so each meeting will be different as to what all equipment needed. However for those interested it will be nice to know what needed as a start up.

Rene G
OIAA Rep

1021 – Mini Steering Committee Report

Activities of the Mini Steering Committee from May to September 2021

October 2021

No issues were brought to the Mini Steering Committee during this period, so there’s nothing to report.

The “mini” committee includes the Business Meeting Chair, Secretary, and Listkeepers. It was formed to resolve less complicated issues raised by GROW members without having to involve the full Steering Committee.

danna M
GROW Business Meeting Chair

1021 – Listkeeper’s Report

Listkeepers’ Report

October 2021

I’m Sophie, alcoholic and one of your two Listkeepers. Karen H is our other Listkeeper. Listkeepers work closely with the team of two Greeters, currently Amy N and Karrie C. As a team of four we manage requests from new ladies interested in joining GROW.

Listkeepers also help with email issues (such as when ladies accidentally include additional recipients when emailing the group to grow@oso-aa.org) and changes to email addresses. We also can unsubscribe members when asked. Our roles don’t take much time but do need us to check our GROW emails several times a day so that requests to join are responded to quickly. We work in pairs – one week on, one week off.

The GROW list is administered on a very simple to use and simple to learn website. I can do it all from my phone!

At our last Business Meeting in April, we had 275 members.
Today, we currently have 284 member’s emails listed.
In the past 6 months, we have welcomed on average around 8 new ladies per month and had on average 7 per month leave GROW.

Listkeepers also administer the Business List to ensure everyone who wants to be included is signed up. So far we have 29 ladies signed up to join the Business Meeting starting Monday October 4th.

In love and service
Sophie F
Co-Listkeeper

1021 – Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

October 2021

PayPal deposits (Apr – Sept 2021)

April……………………….. 0.10
May………………………. 55.04
June……………………… 50.01
July……………………… 141.83
August…………………… 15.01
September……………… 30.00

Total…………………………….. 292.00

 

Ally deposits (Apr – Sept 2021)

Prudent Reserve………. 122.00
Interest……………………….. 0.18
Check……………………….. 50.00

Total………………………………… 172.18

 

Balance

Paypal…………………….. 292.00
Ally………………………. 172.18

Total……………………… 464.18

 

Deductions

Dean Collins………….. 144.00
Prudent Reserve…….. 122.00

Balance…………………………. 198.18

 

Distributions

GSO (80%)…………….. 158.54
OIAA (20%)…………….. 39.64

This leaves us with the Prudent Reserve of $122.00

Respectfully submitted,
Cheryl Baughman

1021 – Business Meeting Welcome

Greetings, and welcome to the October 2021 Business Meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women (GROW).

I am danna, a recovering alcoholic, and your Business Chair for this meeting. Thank you for participating!

This is a closed meeting, open only to members of GROW, for the discussion of business as it relates to our group. Our business meetings run in three-day segments and last no more than 29 days, although we will not entertain new business after the 17th day of the meeting .

I will post each Agenda item, one by one, in separate emails and **ask that you respond to each accordingly.** This makes it easier to “tally” the responses and suggestions to each item. We will have a three (3) day period of open discussion on each Agenda item. This, hopefully, will allow all members regardless of work schedules, time zones, etc. to participate and comment.

Before we begin, let’s have a moment of silence to reflect on why we are here, followed by the Serenity Prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

In this Business Meeting, let us be guided by The Twelve Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  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.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
    Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  10. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  11. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Let us all keep in mind our Unity of Service statement from the Grapevine of September 1998:

“Unity seldom means that we all agree on everything. Nor is unity served by setting aside our concerns and conforming to the majority opinion (or the vocal minority) . . . Unity is best achieved by a full hearing of all points of view . . . time for all of those involved to step back from emotional responses . . . as well as careful consideration and prayer for that which will best serve the group or AA as a whole.”

Thank you for being here and for your dedication to GROW.

Respectfully submitted,
danna M.
GROW Business Chair

0421 Business Meeting – April

2021 Business Meeting – April

(topics are listed below are in order of presentation)

May 09: Sponsorship

Topic for the week:

Greetings Sober Ladies! Grateful for an opportunity to chair. In early sobriety, the old-timers would tell me to put recovery first by finding a sponsor to work the steps with & jumping headfirst into AA. Sponsorship is a vital tool from my sober toolbox. Grateful for the women who guided me through sponsoring women, step work, life on life’s terms, and building a relationship with a Higher Power. The ladies of GROW have a wealth of experience, strength and hope to share on a variety of topics. I do know we have women with a few days to several 24 hours in recovery & would love to read about your personal journey with sponsorship – as a sponsee &/or a sponsor.

Have a wonderful week, ladies!!! God is good, all the time. Thankful he placed some amazing women in my life who have demonstrated how to practice these spiritual principles throughout the years.

0421 – Final Summary of April 2020 Business Meeting

Twenty-four (24) GROW members attended the April 2021 business meeting. In three 3-day sessions, they submitted comments and voted five proposals that addressed Trusted Servant position descriptions, the distribution of funds beyond our Prudent Reserve, and information on our website. Participants supported all of the proposals that were considered and voted to approve them. No one voted “No” on any proposal. You can find Trusted Servant reports as well as summaries of discussions and voting results on proposals on GROW’s website at http://g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/business-meetings/#current-meeting.

Group Conscience Decisions – April 2021

GROW business meeting participants considered and approved five Group Conscience decisions during our April 2021 meeting. They are:

  • Delete “Mailman Letter – Business List” and “Mailman Letter – Regular List” from the Trusted Servants/Letter Templates webpage < http://g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/trusted-servants/letter-templates/>
    Delete the references to the above two letters in the Listkeeper Position Description <http://g-r-o-w.com/listkeeper-and-alternate-listkeeper-description/> and replace with a reference to the Listkeeper Message letter template < http://g-r-o-w.com/form-listkeeper-letter/>.
  • GROW will maintain a page on its website that lists Group Conscience decisions.
  • Add to some position descriptions a bullet requiring that Trusted Servants have been a member of GROW for at least one year. The positions that would be subject to this requirement are: Business Meeting Chair, Listkeeper, Secretary, and Weekly Leader Listkeeper.
  • Given the improvement in OIAA operations and management, GROW will resume contributions to that organization by allocating 20% of our surplus to OIAA, with the remaining 80% continuing to go to GSO.

Revised 12th bullet of Treasurer’s position description:

    • Pay all group expenses per the distribution below and maintain a prudent reserve of $122.00:
      • Make quarterly * bi-annual contributions, prior to each Business meeting, to GSO (The General Service Office, Grand Central Station, PO Box 459, New York, NY 10164-0423; Group Service # 633230). Allocate 80% of the total available contribution amount to GSO
      • Allocate 20% of GROW’s total available contribution amount to OIAA
      • $12.00 monthly to OSO-AA (PayPal: dean.collins@insightplanners.com) (6 months expenses)
      • $50.00 annual subscription to Grapevine magazine
  • Amend the Treasurer’s position description to change the requirement to make quarterly distributions to bi-annually, prior to each business meeting. (Refer to Proposal 4 for Recommended Language.)

 

With no further proposals to consider in this business meeting, the Chair adjourned the meeting on Wednesday, April 14.

May 02: Step 5

Step Five – “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” 

My name is Heidi and I’m an alcoholic. I just read step 5 again in the 12&12 and that really helped.  I am presently working on a big step 4 in another fellowship (around my past relationships) and finding it very overwhelming.  I have done a few fourth steps and fifth steps in my sobriety over the years.

I identified with this quote from step 5:

“Even A.A. oldtimers, sober for years, often pay dearly for skimping this Step. They will tell how they tried to carry the load alone; how much they suffered of irritability, anxiety, remorse, and depression; and how, unconsciously seeking relief, they would sometimes accuse even their best friends of the very character defects they themselves were trying to conceal.” 

I probably have paid for skimping in the past with irritability, remorse, depression, etc.  I am finding it painful today in writing this particular 4th step (and the fear of sharing another 5th step) but I know it’s necessary to be able to forgive others (past love relationships).  I want peace of mind. I want to be able to forgive myself for what I feel like were mistakes I made in my sober life.  I still find admitting my character defects or things I’ve done in my sobriety very difficult but I know from experience once I get these things off my chest to my sponsor or another sober member I have a chance to be free.

Apr 25: Taking Action Contrary to my Thoughts

Taking action contrary to my thoughts

About 2 weeks ago I threw out my hip and low back. I deplore being incapacitated….aka-still. I spent the first few days marinating in a whopper of a pity party but somehow justified being allowed to have it. My terminal uniqueness came upon me pretty quick even though I know better and can quickly point it out in others. I even somehow started to blame my sister in my alcoholic convoluted brain.

So after a couple of days of hell, (not the pain so much the torment of my brain) I got out of bed and started writing down names, principles and institutions, myself and God, and the causes as to why I was so pissed. You should see my handwriting when I wrote down the names and causes….It looked like demonic handwriting! I have one whole page per person/resentment so I have room to write (column inventory does not register in my brain)

Anyway, after I got that out and onto paper. I am going back each day to work on the remaining two “Columns” maybe on to two names per day as my body heals. I have already had a couple of major revelations based upon this fresh inventory.

I have been experimenting with the 10th Step in head inventory for a while now. I thought, “Well, you have 7 years, you know the deal and format, you don’t need to write so much anymore”. It also said, “You have earned to have a more fulfilling life, not to have to spend so much time working AA.” “You spent the last 6 years in this daily work…take a break…just make sure you do a nightly review in your head.”

So I listened to this cunning voice, justifying it as God telling me to let up on my spiritual program and rest on my laurels..LOL!

So God’s response to my newfound freedom is to knock me on my a** and get me still. No work, no cleaning, no gardening, no hiking, no distracting, no deflecting….write.

“Where am I at currently with you?”

“What resentments have you allowed to creep back in?”

“What outstanding amends do you still need to make?”

“Why are you thinking more about yourself then others?”

“Why are you the first thing you start thinking about upon awakening?”

“Have you become your own HP again?”

“Why do you think that you earned anything?”

“Why do you think you are owed anything?”

“Why do you think you have the right to blame anybody?”

“When and why did you allow such ego reconstruction?”

“Who do you think you are to think you don’t have to participate in all three sides of the program that I have given you?”

“What makes you so damn special?”

I think because I haven’t had too many upheavals or emotional drama that I “took a break” from certain areas of AA that weren’t “that important”. I think that probably when things settle down is when I need my entire program the most. No, I didn’t relapse, or really even emotionally relapse, but seeing ALL the anger in my writing and tension that manifested in my body is clear that God needed me to be still.

I need to write everyday, not just the first 6 years, but everyday until I’m done here. I need a structured daily program. I need to NOT forget where I come from. I need NOT put myself or anything else before my relationship with God. I must stay current with him and, if resentments and stuffed anger are blocking me from Him, then I need to take action at once, using the tools that have been laid at my feet. Time is my enemy. I can’t ever think that the spiritual life is linear. I don’t have the luxury to rest on my sober time.

Questions to group: What are some warning signs that you have experienced in your sobriety that you have been resting on your laurels? How are you currently taking action contrary to what your mind/dis-ease is trying to convince you is reality? How are you expanding on your spiritual life and staying current with your HP?

Apr 18: Carrying The Message

Thank you all for your anniversary well wishes…by God’s grace I’ve been sober for 11 years…one day at a time!

Looking back, I can remember in my first year of sobriety getting a coin each month I stayed sober. It was so exciting for me…my heart would start racing as the person at the meeting would call out months of sobriety and I would jump up eager to receive my coin. I still have most of my 1st year coins..I’ve passed some on to sponsees.

If no one opened the meeting the first time I stepped into Alcoholics Anonymous, if my sponsor did not agree to take me through the steps, if Bill Wilson decided not to get sober, if my Higher Power had a different plan for me…my story would be quite different to say the least. Currently, I open my home group, a women’s face to face on Sunday nights (we just reopened last week). I’ve been honored to serve as the corrections committee chair for our district as well as on a couple conference committees. With COVID it’s been challenging to carry the message. How do you carry the message to others and what changes have you made during the pandemic to ensure the message continues to be carried?

Thank you all for keeping me sober!

Love and gratitude,

Statia

Apr 11: Personality Changes in Sobriety

When I first came to the tables I was told that AA would not only help me to stop drinking but would improve my whole way of life. The only thing I was focused on and desperate to achieve was drinking control because it was ruining my life. I did not think these changes could be real. I had no other choice though, this was my last stop and I had to try AA or die. So I followed the winners and did what they did. I took it one day at a time, worked the steps, did service work, went to meetings, got a sponsor and stayed connected to AA every day. I white-knuckled it through my first year, keeping my head down and barely noticing anything other than my desperation to stay sober.

When using I was always trying to turn things to my advantage, playing the puppetmaster and manipulating others. I was so dishonest. I lied to my spouse and kids about my drinking, lied at work about why I was not feeling well (hungover), lied to cover up my mistakes and always blamed them on someone else, on and on. I felt victorious when I could sneak a drink and no one else knew (I thought). My life was run by fear of being found out, fired, divorced, broke, without my kids, without friends etc. I was a self centered, mean and argumentative mess. I was always constantly on high alert and anxious which was exhausting.

I am not sure when the changes within me started. I gave it some thought some time into working my program and I realized that I was slowly turning into another person entirely. I was amazed! Somehow working through the steps I learned honesty and being true to myself. When I could do something dishonest I did not because I would know what I did, others finding out was secondary. The program taught me humility for the gifts I received from it and my HP.  AA brought me to a place of second thoughts because wrong actions would have to be accounted for with amends if I were to stay sober. So much of my fear had left me and I was able to do things I had never had the courage to do before. I could go on for days about all the personality changes for the better this program and my HP have caused within me. I truly feel like a different person who shed the reactive, dishonest, arrogant bully I used to be.

This program is a blessing as I not only stopped drinking but changed from the inside out. I am proud of who I am today.

Lynn

0421 – Summary of 2nd 3-day Session

During our second 3-day session, we voted on three proposals and considered two new proposals.


Results of Voting – Three New Group Conscience decisions

During the second three-day session, we voted on Proposal 1 (Delete Mailman form letter). Thirteen (13) participants voted in favor of removing the Mailman form letters from the website and changing the last bullet in the Listkeeper position description to refer to the Listkeeper Message rather than the Mailman letter. No one voted against the proposal. Therefore, Proposal 1 is adopted as a Group Conscience Decision.

Group Conscience Decision:
Delete “Mailman Letter – Business List” and “Mailman Letter – Regular List” from the Trusted Servants/Letter Templates webpage < http://g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/trusted-servants/letter-templates/>

Delete the references to the above two letters in the Listkeeper Position Description <http://g-r-o-w.com/listkeeper-and-alternate-listkeeper-description/> and replace with a reference to the Listkeeper Message letter template < http://g-r-o-w.com/form-listkeeper-letter/>.

During the second three-day session, we voted on Proposal 2 (Group Conscience decisions). Thirteen (13) participants voted in favor of creating a webpage that lists all of GROW’s Group Conscience decisions. No one voted against the proposal. Therefore, Proposal 2 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.

Group Conscience Decision:
GROW will maintain a page on its website that lists Group Conscience decisions.

During the second three-day session, we voted on Proposal 3 (Group Conscience decisions). Twelve (12) participants voted in favor of creating a webpage that lists all of GROW’s Group Conscience decisions. No one voted against the proposal. Therefore, Proposal 3 now becomes a Group Conscience decision.

Group Conscience Decision:
Add to some position descriptions a bullet requiring that Trusted Servants have been a member of GROW for at least one year. The positions that would be subject to this requirement are: Business Meeting Chair, Listkeeper, Secretary, and Weekly Leader Listkeeper.


Discussion of Two New Proposals

During the second three-day session, two new and related proposals were presented and discussed:

Proposal 4: Given the improvement in OIAA operations and management, GROW will resume contributions to that organization by allocating 20% of our surplus to OIAA, with the remaining 80% continuing to go to GSO.

In October 2014, GROW decided to discontinue its contributions to OIAA due to its ineffective operations and management. The current OIAA Representative’s Report documents significant improvement in the organization’s operations and more effective support of alcoholics who visit their website. Attendance at OIAA meetings has significantly increased, positivity has increased (as opposed to prior arguments and conflict), and accountability is now an important value of the organization.

Eight participants commented on Proposal 4, all of them supporting the proposal. No one raised issues or questions. During the third 3-day session participants are voting on this proposal.

Proposal 5: Amend the Treasurer’s position description to change the requirement to make quarterly distributions to bi-annually, prior to each business meeting.

In reviewing the Treasurer’s position description (PD), the Chair found that the approved timing of contributions to GSO did not correctly describe the distribution schedule. While the PD directed her to make contributions quarterly, they have actually been made annually for some time. Therefore, at the recommendation of the Treasurer, the Chair proposed changing “quarterly” to “bi-annual,” timing to be consistent with the two business meetings in April and October of each year. The Chair combined the Recommended Language for this proposal with that of Proposal 4 since both proposals focused on the same area of the position description.

Because the proposal was presented in the middle of the 3-day session and because it is primarily a housekeeping chore, the Chair asked participants to comment in the day left in the session. During the third 3-day session, participants will vote on the proposal.

0421 – Proposal 5: Treasurer’s Description

Proposal 5: Amend the Treasurer’s position description

Amend the Treasurer’s position description to change the requirement to make quarterly distributions to bi-annually, prior to each business meeting.


Rationale: The current position description requires the Treasurer to make quarterly distributions to GSO. This has not been done for some time, as distributions have actually been made once a year. Our Treasurer recommends that the distributions be done every six months when the Treasurer’s report is prepared for the business meeting. It takes us back to Prudent Reserve every six months and makes the book keeping much simpler.


Recommended Language: Amend the sub-bullet under “Pay all group expenses per the distribution below and maintain a prudent reserve of $122.00:” as shown below. (Given the apparent approval of resuming OIAA contributions, I’m showing the two relevant sub-bullets for clarity.)

  • Pay all group expenses per the distribution below and maintain a prudent reserve of $122.00:
    • Make quarterly bi-annual contributions prior to GROW’s business meetings to GSO (The General Service Office, Grand Central Station, PO Box 459, New York, NY 10164-0) and OIAA.  Allocate 80% of the total available contribution amount to GSO.

Summary of Discussion on Proposal 5

The Chair called for discussion of this proposal during the second three-day session. We did not have three full days to discuss the proposal. The Chair reasoned that the proposed change would simply reflect the reality of current practices by removing the requirement for “quarterly” distributions. It would also implement the Treasurer’s recommendation for bi-annual distributions.

Four comments were made, all of them agreeing with the proposal. No one raised an issue or question.


Results of Voting on Proposal 5

During the third three-day session, we voted on Proposal 5 (make bi-annual distributions). Fourteen (14) participants voted in favor of resuming GROW’s contributions to OIAA. No one voted against the proposal, nor did anyone raise issues or questions. Therefore, Proposal 5 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

Amend the Treasurer’s position description to change the requirement to make quarterly distributions to bi-annually, prior to each business meeting.

Recommended Language: Please refer to the Recommended Language for Proposal 4 which combines changes for the Treasurer’s position description for both proposals.

0421 – Proposal 4: Resume OIAA Contributions

Proposal 4: Resume OIAA Contributions

Given the improvement in OIAA operations and management, GROW will resume contributions to that organization by allocating 20% of our surplus to OIAA, with the remaining 80% continuing to go to GSO.

Recommended Language: Revise the following bullet in the Treasurer’s position description to reflect GROW’s decision to reinstate contributions to OIAA.

  • Pay all group expenses per the distribution below and maintain a prudent reserve of $122.00:
    • Make quarterly * contributions to GSO (The General Service Office, Grand Central Station, PO Box 459, New York, NY 10164-0423; Group Service # 633230). Allocate 80% of the total available contribution amount to GSO
    • Allocate 20% of GROW’s total available contribution amount to OIAA
    • $12.00 monthly to OSO-AA (PayPal: dean.collins@insightplanners.com) (6 months expenses)
    • $50.00 annual subscription to Grapevine magazine

Rationale: In October 2014, GROW decided to discontinue its contributions to OIAA because our OIAA Representatives had consistently reported ineffective operations and management in the organization. (To read about the decision-making process at that time, visit http://www.g-r-o-w.com/members/groupc/gctopics/gc_oiaa.htm#contributions). Our current OIAA Representative’s Report for April 2021 reveals significant improvement in the organization’s operations and more effective support of alcoholics who visit their website. Attendance at OIAA meetings has significantly increased, positivity has increased (as opposed to prior arguments and conflict), and accountability is now an important value of the organization.

* In preparing the recommended language for this proposal, the Chair noted that the current Treasurer’s position description calls for quarterly contributions to GSO. This has not been done for some time, as Treasurer’s have opted to make the contribution once a year. Therefore, the recommended language deletes the reference to quarterly payments.


Summary of Discussion on Proposal 4

In the second three-day session, eight (8) participants commented on Proposal 4 (OIAA contribution). All participants agreed with the proposal. No one raised an issue or question.


Results of Voting on Proposal 4

During the third three-day session, we voted on Proposal 4 (resume OIAA contributions). Fourteen (14) participants voted in favor of resuming GROW’s contributions to OIAA and allocating 20% of GROW’s avaiable distribution amount. No one voted against the proposal, nor did anyone raise issues or questions. Therefore, Proposal 4 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision

Given the improvement in OIAA operations and management, GROW will resume contributions to that organization by allocating 20% of our surplus to OIAA, with the remaining 80% continuing to go to GSO.

Recommended Language: Revise the following bullet in the Treasurer’s position description to reflect GROW’s decision to reinstate contributions to OIAA.

  • Pay all group expenses per the distribution below and maintain a prudent reserve of $122.00:
    • Make quarterly * bi-annual contributions, prior to each Business meeting, to GSO (The General Service Office, Grand Central Station, PO Box 459, New York, NY 10164-0423; Group Service # 633230). Allocate 80% of the total available contribution amount to GSO
    • Allocate 20% of GROW’s total available contribution amount to OIAA
    • $12.00 monthly to OSO-AA (PayPal: dean.collins@insightplanners.com) (6 months expenses)
    • $50.00 annual subscription to Grapevine magazine

The Chair is using one “Recommended Language” section for both Proposal 4 and Proposal 5 since they address the same area of the Treasurer’s position description.

0421 – Summary of First 3-day Session

Twenty-four (24) GROW members have signed up for the April 2021 business meeting. During the first 3-day session, we considered and commented on three proposals:

    • Proposal 1 called for deleting the Mailman form letter because it is no longer used.
    • Proposal 2 would create webpage listing all GROW Group Conscience decisions.
    • Proposal 3 adds a requirement for at least one year of GROW membership for these Trusted servant positions: Business Meeting Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Listkeepers, and Weekly Lead Listkeeper.

Seven members commented on Proposal 1, and six members commented on Proposals 2 and 3. All comments agreed with the proposals. No issues or questions were raised in any comment.

During the second 3-day session, participants will vote on these three proposals. The second 3-day session will also include discussion of a new Proposal 4 that would reinstate GROW’s contributions to the Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous (OIAA). GROW suspended our contributions in October 2014 because we felt the group was not adequately supporting AA’s primary mission.

0421 – Proposal 3: TS Requirement

Proposal 3: Trusted Servant Membership Requirement

Add to some position descriptions a bullet requiring that Trusted Servants have been a member of GROW for at least one year. The positions that would be subject to this requirement are: Business Meeting Chair, Listkeeper, Treasurer, Secretary, and Weekly Leader Listkeeper.


Rationale: Some Trusted Servant positions demand that the person holding the position has a working knowledge about how GROW works. Position descriptions already include membership requirements for the Website Administrator and the Webkeeper and Webkeeper Backup (four, two, and one years respectively).

In order to assure effective support for GROW’s continued successful operations, Trusted Servants in key positions should have been members of our group for least one year. The normal training by the outgoing Trusted Servant may not be adequate in situations where decisions and/or actions should reflect our historic approaches. Members who are new to GROW will not have the experience they would get from serving in other positions first and attending our business meetings.


Summary of Discussion on Proposal 3

Twenty-four (24) GROW members have signed up for the April 2021 business meeting. During the first 3-day session, we considered and commented Proposal 3, which adds a requirement for at least one year of GROW membership for these Trusted servant positions: Business Meeting Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Listkeepers, and Weekly Lead Listkeeper. Six members commented on Proposal 3. All comments agreed with the proposals. No issues or questions were raised in any comment. During the second 3-day session, participants will vote on these Proposal 3.


Results of Voting on Proposal 3

During the second three-day session, we voted on Proposal 3 (Group Conscience decisions). Twelve (12) participants voted in favor of creating a webpage that lists all of GROW’s Group Conscience decisions. No one voted against the proposal. Therefore, Proposal 3 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

Add to some position descriptions a bullet requiring that Trusted Servants have been a member of GROW for at least one year. The positions that would be subject to this requirement are: Business Meeting Chair, Listkeeper, Secretary, and Weekly Leader Listkeeper.

0421 – Proposal 2: List of Group Conscience Decisions

Proposal 2: List of Group Conscience Decisions
GROW will maintain a page on its website that lists Group Conscience decisions.

Rationale: GROW’s previous website contained a straightforward list of the specific language of Group Conscience decisions reached in our business meetings. On our new website, it is difficult to do research for proposals being developed and to support actions taken in response to queries or issues that come up in our e-mail meeting.

The website is our archive for GROW. It is the only place where past decisions are documented, and it should provide easy access to Group Conscience decisions.


Summary of Discussion on Proposal 2

Twenty-four (24) GROW members have signed up for the April 2021 business meeting. During the first 3-day session, we considered and commented Proposal 2, which would create a webpage listing all GROW Group Conscience decisions. Six participants commented on Proposal 2. All comments agreed with the proposal. No issues or questions were raised in any comment. During the second 3-day session, participants will vote on Proposal 2.


Results of Voting on Proposal 2

During the second three-day session, we voted on Proposal 2 (Group Conscience decisions). Thirteen (13) participants voted in favor of creating a webpage that lists all of GROW’s Group Conscience decisions. No one voted against the proposal. Therefore, Proposal 2 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

GROW will maintain a page on its website that lists Group Conscience decisions.

0421 – Proposal 1: Delete Mailman Letters

Proposal 1: Mailman Letters

Delete “Mailman Letter – Business List” and “Mailman Letter – Regular List” from the Trusted Servants/Letter Templates webpage < http://g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/trusted-servants/letter-templates/>

Delete the references to the above two letters in the Listkeeper Position Description <http://g-r-o-w.com/listkeeper-and-alternate-listkeeper-description/> and replace with a reference to the Listkeeper Message letter template < http://g-r-o-w.com/form-listkeeper-letter/>.


Rationale: The two Mailman Letters currently listed on our website are no longer used, and the links are broken.


Summary of Discussion on Proposal 1

Twenty-four (24) GROW members have signed up for the April 2021 business meeting. During the first 3-day session, we considered and commented Proposal 1 that called for deleting the Mailman form letter because it is no longer used. Seven participants commented on Proposal 1, all agreeing with the proposal. No issues or questions were raised in any comment. During the second 3-day session, participants will vote on Proposal 1.


Results of Voting on Proposal 1

During the second three-day session, we voted on Proposal 1 (Delete Mailman form letter). Thirteen (13) participants voted in favor of removing the Mailman form letters from the website and changing the last bullet in the Listkeeper position description to refer to the Listkeeper Message rather than the Mailman letter. No one voted against the proposal. Therefore, Proposal 1 is adopted as a Group Conscience Decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

Delete “Mailman Letter – Business List” and “Mailman Letter – Regular List” from the Trusted Servants/Letter Templates webpage < http://g-r-o-w.com/member-welcome/trusted-servants/letter-templates/>

Delete the references to the above two letters in the Listkeeper Position Description <http://g-r-o-w.com/listkeeper-and-alternate-listkeeper-description/> and replace with a reference to the Listkeeper Message letter template < http://g-r-o-w.com/form-listkeeper-letter/>.

0421 – Mini Steering Committee Report

Actions by Mini Steering Committee

through April 2021

The Mini Steering Committee is made up of the Business Meeting Chair, the Secretary, and the Listkeepers. When non-controversial issues arise, this group decides what actions are appropriate without having to raise it to the full Steering Committee.

In the period since our last Business Meeting in October, only one incident has happened. A member (Member 1) took exception when another member (Member 2) sent a ‘scolding’ note to the whole group about non-sobriety-related messages.

Member 1 asked the Steering Committee to intervene. In response, our Secretary sent the GROW Guidelines for E-mail Participation memo to the mailing list.

danna M
GROW Business Meeting Chair
dmcd.grow@gmail.com

0421 – GSR Report

GSR Report

April 2021

I currently serve as the General Service Representative (GSR) for this amazing group. GSRs are encouraged to attend Area Assemblies, their county general service meeting, their district meeting, and of course their home group’s business meeting. I reside in Northwest Indiana where we meet monthly for a district meeting (district 17) and attend Area 22 quarterly meetings (top half of Indiana). I thought about sharing a little on the service structure in the monthly reports. Please forgive the delay in sending these reports. Taking care of a sick husband for the past six months. I do not want to slack on my duties and will ensure the reports are sent timely.

What is a GSR? The General Service Representative (GSR) is perhaps the most important role in AA. It is through their GSR that each group has a voice and a vote in larger AA matters. This connection helps keep AA unified, both in a practical sense and spiritually. We wouldn’t last long as a fellowship if it weren’t for the service of GSRs such as yourself. Source:  www.aaseny.org/gsr

If you look at AA’s triangle, there are three words written on the sides: recovery (12 steps), service (12 concepts & unity (12 traditions). In our area, we often wear a pin that says “service is the secret”. Service has saved my life when the other two legacies were suffering.

Alcoholics Anonymous has dipped into their prudent reservice due to a drop in sales and group donations. One of the items we discussed was to challenge each group to support the New York location. I personally send $1 per each year sober for my anniversary & donations for online groups I’ve attended for zoom.

Link: Contribution AA.org

Another, to support the Grapevine Magazine by purchasing subscriptions (online or by mail) followed by making personal donations.

Grapevine Magazine Subscriptions • AA Grapevine Store • Magazines, Books & More

If you have any questions about participating in general service, feel free to send me an email at nicolewaltersparker@icloud.com.

In love and service,
Nicole Walters
GROW GSR

Apr 04: Step 4

Step 4: Made a searching & fearless moral inventory of ourselves. [BB 4th Edition, Ch. 5: How It Works, pg. 59]

I have two adult daughters, one in San Diego, another in Portland OR. The eldest, in OR, gave birth to her first child, a son named Andrew, last June. I made an opportunity to visit him that July by flying into San Diego, quarantining with my younger daughter there for two weeks, she & I both got tested & received negative results, thank God, & then drove up to Portland, bringing all our own sheets, towels & food, along with barrels of disinfectant, so that the one overnight in Sacramento was made with as minimal contact with other people or things as humanly possible. Our temperatures were taken the moment we walked in my daughter’s door, both of us normal, & as soon as we’d showered & changed clothes, loved on Andy & his parents with wild & joyous abandon. I have the privilege to visit again in a couple of weeks, a little less rigorous prospect now that all of us have been fully vaccinated. I’m quite deliriously happy about this but for one detail. The girls’ dad, my husband of 28 yrs. & now ex, also lives in the Portland area. And *dun dun duuun cue ominous music here* Portland has not been big enough for the two of us since our divorce more than ten years ago.

But I’m a recovering alcoholic now. I’ve been handed the keys to the sobriety kingdom by Bill W. & Dr. Bob. I’ve worked through all the steps once, the first three several times before they finally took. I included my ex-husband on my fourth step personal inventory, I saw then & continue to uncover what my faults contributed to the unrest in our marriage & ultimately our divorce. I know I need to make amends there, & because this one’s a big one, probably the biggest, I believe it needs to be done in person. Which means my potential opportunity to do so is a couple weeks away. But can I be honest with you? I really, really want to do this only once with him if at all possible, I want to get it right with as much honesty & humility as he deserves & as is fitting. And did I mention I only want to have to do it once?! So I ask you: What have you found to be the most effective questions to ask of yourself for making a painstakingly thorough Step 4?
Please feel free to share on this topic, or on any other that’s clamoring to be explored. Thanks in advance for sharing your experience, strength & hope. It’s a privilege to be in your company.
Gratefully,
Julie

Trusted Servants 04/2021

Trusted Servants – April 2021

12 Step Volunteer Listkeeper (04/21 – 10/21): Susan P. email
Birthday Listkeeper (04/21 – 10/21): Heidi email
Sponsor Listkeeper (04/21 – 10/21): Mary O. email

Trusted Servants who make up the Steering Committee:

Business Meeting Chair (10/20-10/22): Danna M. email
GSR (10/20-10/21): Nicole W. email
GVR (10/20-10/21): Barbara ‘Barb’ M. email
Greeter (4/21-4/22): Amy N. email
Greeter (10/20-10/21): Karrie C. email
Listkeeper (4/20-4/21): Sarah K. email
Listkeeper Alternate (4/21- 4/22): Sophie R. email
OIAA Rep (4/21-4/22):  Rene G email
Secretary (10/20-10/21): Nancy C. email
Temporary Mentor (4/21-4/22): Julie K. email
Treasurer (10/19-10/21): Cheryl B.  email
Website Administrator (10/20-10/21): Cheryl D. email
Webkeeper: <vacant>
Webkeeper Backup (10/20-10/21): Pat S. email
Weekly Leader Listkeeper (4/21-4/22): Emily M. email

Immediate Past Business Meeting Chair: Joan B. email
Immediate Past GSR: Kate M. email
Immediate Past OIAA: Lynn H.  email and Kirsten V. email
Immediate Past Secretary: Laurie C. email

Email the Steering Committee

0421 – OIAA Report

OIAA Representative’s Report

April 2021

From the March OIAA Secretary’s Report;

  1. OIAA voted to restate NJ (New Jersey) Certificate of Incorporation to include Non-Profit commitment and disposition of Assets to nonprofit entities – (this had lapsed and is important in the US to be registered in this way).
  2. OIAA approved the 2021 Budget a presented by Finance Committee.

An important note here:
Over 80% of the Voting Member Groups elected not to vote on the first motion regarding the Certificate of Incorporation for a Non Profit Member Entity. This is the lowest response to a vote in the year I’ve been OIAA Rep, I believe.

Integration of Online AA Groups into worldwide AA Service Structure

  • Pre-General Service Conference (GSC) meetings around the World;
  • Consideration of Online AA integration into the AA Service Structure is a topic where every Online AA member or Group is a stakeholder.
  • AA Service Structure meetings are going on now to inform your Area Delegate in advance of the General Service Conference in April.
  • OIAA Secretary requests that all OIAA members and Groups find ways to attend these virtual meetings and humbly ask for timely and serious consideration of integrating Online AA Groups into the AA Service Structure to ensure our Online AA Group voices will be heard at GSC as soon as possible.

From the OIAA Web Committee Report March 2021:

  • The work of the OIAA Web Committee continues to evolve and we appreciate the dedication of our trusted servant volunteers.
  • We continue to have new groups join our ranks.
  • Website re-design and upgrades are being tweaked to fit the needs of OIAA.
  • We are researching ‘if or how’ we may add an event/calendar feature to the website. We met today and had a successful discussion on these and other topics.

March OIAA Stepper’s Committee Report:

  • 768 “Steppers Requests” (vs 829 February) – daily high of 49 requests
  • 407 “Contact Us Requests” (vs 436 February)
  • Data shows majority of requests for contact and 12th stepping help come from US but also see requests many other countries too.

OIAA March Unity Committee Report:

  • The goal of the Unity Committee is to achieve greater unity and cooperation between O.I.A.A. and G.S.O.’s worldwide in order to fulfill our common purpose of carrying the AA message to the still suffering alcoholic.
  • Our regular meetings with GSO as the designated liaison for OIAA are producing many suggestions for OIAA, from those routed to other committees for consideration to discussions around what integrating online groups with no geographical affiliation might look like as GSO/AAWS integrates online groups into the General Service Structure.
  • Our committee plans to reach out to GSOs around the world, and eventually other intergroup offices operating online. and will need volunteers for this effort as well! One thing is for sure, we are getting active in the Unity Committee!

_______________________________

I hope this gives you a flavour of the great service work that is being done (and you are welcome to add to!) at our Intergroup OIAA.

Thank you for having me be of service.

Sophie
Outgoing OIAA Rep

0421 – Listkeeper’s Report

Listkeepers’ Report

April 2021

Our membership as of March 31, 2021 is 275. We have 251 regular list members and 24 Digest members (This number is always a little larger than our actual count because some members have two subscriptions).

At the start of our last business meeting, October 1, 2020; we had 241 members. This time last year we had 166 members. We are Growing!

A big thank you to our greeters Lisa M. and Karrie C. This coming service term Karrie C. will continue as a greeter and Karen H. as a listkeeper. We are still waiting for someone to volunteer to replace Lisa M. and Sarah K. Thank you so much for all of your service ladies!

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah K and Karen H
GROW Listkeepers

0421 – Treasurer’s Report

TREASURER’S REPORT

as of April 2, 2021

Paypal Deposits
October……………. 182.01
November………….. 55.00
December………….. 55.00
January……………… 50.00
February………….. 100.00
March……………… 205.56
Total…………………………… 647.57

Ally Deposits
Prudent Reserve.. 122.00
October……………….. 0.06
November……………. 0.07
December………….. 20.07
January……………. 105.08
February……………… 0.07
March……………….. 70.04
Total…………………………… 317.39

Paypal……………… 647.57
Ally………………….. 317.39
Total…………………………… 964.96

We are due to pay Dean Collins $72.00 for the first half of 2021. I will keep $122.00 for Prudent Reserve and the remaining balance of $770.96 will be donated to GSO.

Respectfully submitted,
Cheryl Baughman
Treasurer

0421 – Business Meeting Opening

Greetings GROW Members:

The April 2021 Business Meeting (GROW-BUS) is now open. If you wish to participate, please send an email to the following address requesting to join the Business List grow-owner@oso-aa.org – if you have not already done so.

At this time, we are considering three proposals:

  1. Proposal 1: Delete Mailman Form Letter
  2. Proposal 2: List Group Conscience Decisions on the website
  3. Proposal 3: Establish GROW membership requirement for some Trusted Servant positions

PLEASE:

  • Send all replies to grow-business@oso-aa.org
  • Do not hit reply to this email or your request will come to me instead of the Listkeepers
  • Do not send your request to the GROW meeting list, or your request may be overlooked
  • Remember that even if you were subscribed for a previous GROW Business Meeting, you must subscribe again, as all names are removed from the list at the end of each meeting
  • Trusted Servants (both Incoming and Outgoing) are automatically subscribed by our Listkeepers

I look forward to your participation at the meeting!

Regards,
danna M
GROW Business Chair
dmcd.grow@gmail.com

2020 Business Meeting – October

2020 Business Meeting – October

(topics are listed below are in order of presentation)

Mar 28: Clearing A Channel / Favorite Prayer

Greetings!  Pulled today’s topic from As Bill Sees It p.78: 

During the day, we can pause where situations must be met and decisions made, and renew the simple request “Thy will, not mine, be done.  If at these points our emotional disturbance happens to be great, we will more surely keep our balance provided we remember, and repeat to ourselves, a particular prayer or phrase that has appealed to us in our reading or meditation. Just saying it over and over will often enable us to clear a channel choked up with anger, fear, frustration, or misunderstanding, and permit us to return to the surest help of all—our search for God’s will, not our own, in the moment of stress.

Last month, I shared on a topic about COVID and our recovery.  I opened about the trials and tribulations of this past year.  I was in awe of everything I had to deal with once it was put on paper.  Sometimes, like the reading, my prayer is simple:  “help me”, “your will, not mine”, and serenity prayer as a mantra.  Life is still a little crazy as we transition back to in-person meetings.  Seeking His will and asking for help to navigate throughout the day is paramount.  As a newcomer, I heard a speaker share about a verse (and I paraphrase) “your name is carved into the palm of my hand and I will call you by your name”.  Picturing this huge hand with my name on the palm and finding comfort carried me throughout my first year.  Sometimes, it’s as simple as “help me”. 

What is your favorite prayer, a “go to” in seeking HP’s will for you?  Feel free to share.

Nicole

Mar 21: Seeking God’s Will

“To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek.” Pg 46 Big Book

 Thank you for the opportunity to be of service to the group this week.  My name is Alison B. and I am an alcoholic.  Welcome new members and congratulations to anyone celebrating this week.  Also thank you for all of the birthday emails too.  I first found the GROW meeting in 2012 when I was in China for a year with my husband for his employment.  It was a rough year as there was so much isolation.  What I did not know was just how well that prepared me for this past pandemic year.  Thank you all for being a part of my continued sobriety today.

I have been having this word pop up for me a lot lately.  Seek.

1.attempt to find (something).

“they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds”

2.attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something).

“the new regime sought his extradition”

3.ask for (something) from someone.

“she sought help from a higher power”

I heard someone share in a meeting many years ago that he had realized that his sobriety was all about the seeking of God’s will.  For me that translates to I must remain humble, and teachable.  It is difficult to teach something to a “know it all”.  So it is my job to get out of the way of my own self, lol.  This seeking stuff requires me to take some action.

(Sometimes for me a word is also defined by its opposite and in this case that looks like this:  seek. Antonyms: ignore, disregard, avoid, shun, elude, discard, abandon, relinquish, drop.)

To the newcomer, AA provides the fellowship that they seek and a safe harbor.  (You’re about to get a boat load of mariner analogies, lol) In seeking or looking for a solution to my inability to stop drinking I have found so much grace.  I did not need to understand exactly how this AA stuff worked; I just needed to listen to you gals to understand that it does indeed work wonders.  And then I needed to trust in the process.  It is up to me to be rigorously honest with myself and those around me.  I’ve been reading a little book recently called “A New Pair of Glasses” by Chuck C.  He shares about the “Golden Key” to this thing called life is rigorous self-honesty.  I was a sailor for many years; I lived aboard my sailboat in Mexico with my husband and my kids.  (That is where I sobered up)  In order for me to survive in that environment I had to pay attention to my surroundings at all times.  I developed an intuition for hazards.  Am I too close to shore?  Are those wave patterns a sign of submerged rocks?  Is the wind beginning to shift?  Do I need to adjust my sails?  Am I staying on course?  Am I holding on to something?

I find that the journey in AA is much like a journey at sea.  “Stay in the boat” you said.  “Avoid hazards and slippery places” you said.  Go into your own mind with a sponsor/guide, don’t spend too much time alone.  “Do the work”; you said.  Keep your sails in good order, keep your waterline clean.

So today I continue to seek the will of my Higher Power as I understand Him/Her.  For it is in the seeking that I find peace.  I get there by using my personal radar, lol.  I keep my Higher Power on the screen at all times.  And I let the God of my understanding plot my course and captain my ship.  It is the easier, softer way.  I pray today.  I have come to rely on my intuition once again.  I keep my side of the street clean and if I have made a mess I clean it up quickly.  My sobriety is a precious gift and I will not put it at risk.  My primary purpose is to stay sober and help other women achieve sobriety.

So, share a little about how you seek the will of your Higher Power today.  Or anything else that might have resonated for you.

Blessings,

Alison B.

Mar 14: A World of the Spirit

We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. — ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84

The word “entered” . . . and the phrase “entered into the world of the Spirit” are very significant. They imply action, a beginning, getting into, a prerequisite to maintaining my spiritual growth, the “Spirit” being the immaterial part of me. Barriers to my spiritual growth are self-centeredness and a materialistic focus on worldly things. Spirituality means devotion to spiritual instead of worldly things, it means obedience to God’s will for me. I understand spiritual things to be: unconditional love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control and humility. Any time I allow selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear to be a part of me, I block out spiritual things. As I maintain my sobriety, growing spiritually becomes a lifelong process. My goal is spiritual growth, accepting that I’ll never have spiritual perfection.  — DAILY REFLECTIONS; MARCH 13, p 81

My spiritual condition today is dependent on how I start my day. I suffer from a huge ego which can blind me with false pride. I’m prone to self pity and self obsession. But I forget that.

So as soon as I wake up I have to do something specific to help me remember. So I start my day with a  prayer.

The Seventh Step Prayer is as follows: “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.” –ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 76

I add:

I need help to stay out of my own way. Help remember to put other people first. Help me remember I’m not better or worse I’m just one of many. Help me remember that everything is not about me. Help me be kind, loving, forgiving, compassionate and gently with my thoughts, actions and words.

Just for today, help me to remember that my life is a gift,

that my health is a blessing, that this new day is filled with awesome potential, that I have the capacity to bring something wholly new and unique and good into this world.

Just for today, help me to remember that I am a kind, patient, tolerant, forgiving and loving woman and help me show those parts to the people who love me, and to those who work with me too.

Help me to remember to see all the beauty in myself and in others that I so often ignore, and to listen to the silent longing of my own soul.

Just for today, help me to remember You and that “Spiritual awakening … begins with knowledge and acceptance of the truth about myself”.

Please share on how you “enter the world of the spirit” or maintain your spiritual condition or anything else that has to do with your sobriety.

And then thanks to the gift of zoom I almost always get to a morning meeting.

Hugs

Banal

Mar 07: Step 3

The topic for the week is about Step Three “Made a decision to turn our will and life over to the care of God as we understood him”.

 First, I wold like to say thank you for having me lead this meeting for this week. When I knew the topic would be the third step, I did some reading from the 12 by 12, looked online and read a pamphlet from Hazelden about step three.

After I read this step, I was reminded step three is broken down into three parts.

1)      Our decision

2)      Turning our will and lives over

3)      God as we understand him

When I look at our decision, I am often remembered of the story of the three frogs sitting on a rock and one of the frogs made the decision to jump to the Lilly pad, how many frogs are left. When I first heard this story, I immediately said two and was told no there are three because the one frog just made the decision, he has not acted on his decision.

When I read the words turning our will over, I am reminded that we, I am turning over my will or you can say that I am getting out of my own way which I often do, but I am getting better I am realizing when I am getting in my own way, and that my mind and soul is being restored to a balance and peace is entering my life in many ways.  In short, I realize and keep needing to be reminded  that I am not in control that my HP is in control and I need to stay in the wheelbarrow and let my HP guide me, not me tell my HP to let me drive the wheelbarrow which I have tried to do and still try and life gets every chaotic but with time in recovery and the healing of my past trauma I am more quick to see when I am trying to , crawl out of or standing up in  the wheelbarrow and I have tools to be reminded where my place is and who is really in control.

God as we, I understand him, I did not have to struggle with the concept of God. I was raised Catholic and I did not question his exitance however what I had to work through was my feeling and views that he hated me and had it out for me. I want have conversations with my HP and make deals that went something like God if you do this or allows this to happen then I will do —_. Or I would turn my back on God because of the pain and hurt that I went through and thought why talk to him he created this mess and wants me to suffer.  As time passed my relationship with my HP changed and today the conversations are much different. I am often reminded of the third step prayer.

The Third Step Prayer from page 63 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

(From the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous)

“God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!”

LET IT GO!

For me when I made and keep making the decision to turn my will and life over to the care of God as we, I, understand my life becomes more settled or more balance and my wheelbarrow stays on the path that my HP has created for me even during the turbulent times which happens in life. I understand today that life is not living on the extremes it is living in the gray area, my HP is in control and has a path for me to live which includes all of you ladies who have graced me with your shares. Thank you.

Thank you and with this I look forward to everyone shares on the third step.

I wish you ladies another 24 hours of sobriety.

Mary O

Wisconsin

 

Feb 28: Service as a Tool for Growth

When I first came into AA my focus was solely on staying sober and trying to stay that way.  All I really knew was to go to as many meetings as possible, read my Big Book, pray, get a sponsor, and work the steps.

That was good.  I started to grow, I listened at meetings, shared when it was my turn, and started learning about the steps and traditions.

I was encouraged to participate, and to share in service with smaller tasks:  setting up the room, chairs, tables, books, snacks, coffee, and clearing/cleaning after the meeting.  During those times, I sometimes had someone to share the duty and talk to.

I was encouraged to greet people as they came into the room.  “Hi!  I’m Pat!  It’s good to see you!”  With a smile and an out-stretched hand.

After a few months I was encouraged to chair meetings, and participate in business meetings.

Once I had the required length of sobriety, I was encouraged to accept a service position.

Each of these steps have taught me to look outside myself, to think of others, and how to work the principles of the program.

I know there are more ways of doing service.  I have grown as I have participated, and want to continue to learn more.

How have you learned and grown through service?

Feb 21: AA during Covid-19

Good Afternoon all dear GROW members, my name is Nancy C & I am an alcoholic. We are currently in the midst of a snow storm so I’m sending this early in case my power goes off!!

 The past year has been unlike any we have ever experienced before. AA Meetings postponed when we needed them the most. Many losing jobs & homes and having friends & family sick and dying has been such a terrible experience.

 I got sober 24 years ago on another AA Women’s email group & wow, I’m so glad that I have always had online AA , especially now! I have attended some AA Zoom Meetings and connect with my AA friends by phone, text, email & zoom. We are fortunate to have these connections.

 I live alone and have turned into pretty much a hermit, but….a safe hermit, who uses the connections I have to keep in touch & check on others safely.

 I would like to hear how you have made out this year, do you use zoom, do you use online email groups more, do you miss hugs (I sure do!!) It should be interesting to see how we are all coping with COVID-19

 Or share on what may be bothering you at this time.

 Thank you for letting me Chair this week,

Tight AA Hugs

Nancy C

Feb 14: Saying Goodbye

I’m writing tonight on my second sobriety birthday, on the eve of a big move to make the United States my home for the first time in 5 years. This is the first time I’m saying goodbyes, fully feeling the grief and hope that come with them.

I’m making this move because I realized this past year that I need to start standing on my own two feet. For the first time though, I’m not just doing a cut and run, hiding from people and consequences. I slowly considered possibilities and outcomes. I moved towards what felt honest and right, decisions that felt like they flowed instead of fought my life river.

Then it took a lot of conversations with my sponsor, chats with other sober women/close friends/family members, prayer and meditation to finally make the decisions to end my relationship of 6 years, leave a career and lifestyle I’ve been pursuing and move home to get grounded. With this move I’m also having to say goodbye to my beloved dogs.

The grief is real. Closing the door on all of this is heartbreaking. However, the hope I feel for a stable and safe life is substantial. I can feel that I’m making the right decisions even through this pain. I can only describe this feeling as a warm confidence which grows with the fact that things are falling into place as I lean into the move. It feels like I’m finally cleaning up chaotic, drunk Sarah’s life and am learning to be an adult. A lot of painful goodbyes as I step into stability.

I’m doing my best to be present with people as I say these goodbyes. To laugh and play and enjoy the time we have left. To allow myself to share the pain I feel and cry when I need it. To really listen to the feelings of others. To be sincere in saying I love you or I’ll miss you.

It’s hard and different for this selfish alcoholic, but good and necessary.

So with that, I would love to hear from you all with much more experience than I on how you have moved gracefully through your own goodbyes.

Thank you for letting me share and the meeting is now open!

Big hugs,

Sarah M

Feb 07: Step 2

“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. ” (Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 87)

This paragraph in our Big Book goes on to say that if we do this we are in less danger of becoming fearful, angry, worried or making foolish decisions. We won’t burn up energy needlessly.

There are times in my life when making decisions, big or small, is a hard thing to do.  Right now, it’s whether to respond to my older son about something that’s happening (he’s an active alcoholic) or just leave it alone. This time seems different– like it does require a response, when usually I do nothing and leave it in God’s hands. BUT– I’m not sure I trust my own head with what seems right just now! So I am doing nothing for this one day.

I’m finding the third lockdown here in the UK hard going. I live alone. For almost a year it’s been isolation, and not doing normal things like swimming, meeting a friend for coffee or lunch in town or visiting someone. I’m tired emotionally right now. I’ve just had a tooth extracted and so had spent a week in pain, which wears you down. I recently began to use a cpap mask at nights and although it’s bringing great results it’s left my sinuses blocked and lips chapped and sore. I’m in a bit of a sorry state physically right now. Emotionally, I know I’m fine, that fundamentally all is well.  Feelings are not facts. Often when I’m growing the most I’m feeling like s***!!

You know, as I sit here writing this, I feel peace in my heart. I’m not blocked with resentment or self pity. I attend some great Zoom meetings. Fear, yes, can come in, insecurity about the future. I have to bring it back right to the here and now. And to realise  my powerlessness over people, places and things. I either give all to God or I give nothing. There are no half measures.

I invite you to share on this topic of powerlessness in your lives, ladies.

Love

Louise

Jan 31: Praying and Listening for God’s Will

Our Higher Power gives us the beacon light of abstinence, and with it He gives guidance out of our perplexities. Patiently waiting until we clearly see His will keeps us from getting lost in the darkness of self-will.”  Quoted from the Hazelden app “Food for Thought”

Being raised in an agnostic environment, daily conversations with God (let alone trusting a Higher Power to help me manage my life) was a foreign concept.  As an adult, I relied solely on willpower (i.e., self-will) to navigate every challenge I faced.  While I appeared successful from the outside looking in, I always ended up in the same place internally, repeating the self-destructive patterns of behavior.  I looked for solace, security, love and comfort in all the wrong places – an abundance of drugs, booze, sex, food… you get the idea. 

Not anymore… I’m grateful to say that for the past 6 years up until today, this program has me on a different journey.  After 64 years on earth I am capable of significant change, who would have guessed?  Today, I rely on God for abstinence of several ‘addictions’ – to help me not pick up that drink, not shove that gigantic piece of cake down the pie hole, not behave like the emotional mess I used to be.  Yet the notion of surrendering these desires to Him instead of relying on self-will is still an uncomfortable reach at times.  Lately I find myself asking, am I praying right?  Am I truly open and listening for His will?  Will I recognize His ‘signal’ when it’s staring me in the face, or be selfishly oblivious to it all, preoccupied and distracted with the minutia of life? 

I recognize that these are personal questions that only I can answer for myself.  Yet I wanted to present this topic to all of you famously articulate sisters for any insights you might like to share about this aspect of your journeys.  I am so grateful to have the 12 steps and all of you in my life!

Please feel free to share about this topic or any other that is on your mind.

Susan P.

Jan 24: The Problem With Self

Recently I have been finding myself quite irritable, restless and discontent about my romantic relationship, life situation and day to day life. I feel like I work a pretty good program so even though this kept being the case, I was basically lying to myself saying I was ok and that other people around me just had issues. After all, I write a gratitude list everyday, I participate in meetings, I sponsor others, I have a sponsor, I go on Zoom, I listen to speaker meetings and step workshops, I pray, I meditate, I mean I am good right?

But that inner me was still all huffy and puffy… and at home the outer me’s body language was standoffish and attitudinal, my tone of voice had become sarcastic and apathetic…literally any time I “had to be” around other humans I would find myself acting like this. I even got in a few fights with my boyfriend where I really did not act recovered whatsoever. I cried like a baby, I stomped my feet like a toddler having a tantrum, I was accusatory and rude and took another persons inventory…more than once. The queen and the baby of my ego were in full effect in my romantic relationship.

But, I told myself, it’s just with him. Everyone else in my life I get along with great, everyone else in my life I’m loving, tolerant and kind to. So obviously I tell myself he’s the problem and I’m just gonna go along my merry way.

And for a while I’d been sweeping it under the rug with the exterior world of sponsor, friends, program fellows…just pretending life was a-ok, but behind the scenes really not being a very fun person to actually live around for my boyfriend, stepson, pets, or myself.

So one day, I decided to tell the truth about this newfound bitchiness of mine to my sponsor and some program friends. I received much experience, strength and hope and also um, my program friends helped set me straight. This in turn got me doing a lot of self examination and also re-reading the Twelve and Twelve and the first 164 pages of my Big Book. It’s astounding how much I forget even though I’ve read both these volumes so many times there are sections I have truly memorized.

As always, the readings are hitting home and certain passages have been turning points in thinking of myself less, and thinking of others more. Of admitting I am really just so powerless without Gods help, and that life sure does get unmanageable when I once again try to control the show. It constantly blows my mind how sneaky this disease is, how my ego or self-seeking behaviors can subtly get to work again. I swear there are moments in sobriety where I’m just as clueless as to this disease working inside me as when I was drinking. It’s like the Twelve and Twelve says in Step Two:

Few indeed are the practicing alcoholics who have any idea how irrational they are, or seeing their irrationality, can bear to face it. Some will be willing to term themselves “problem drinkers,” but cannot endure the suggestion that they are in fact mentally ill. They are abetted in this blindness by a world which does not understand the difference between sane drinking and alcoholism. “Sanity” is defined as “soundness of mind.” Yet no alcoholic, soberly analyzing his destructive behavior, whether the destruction fell on the dining-room furniture or his own moral fiber, can claim “soundness of mind” for himself. From Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions “Step Two” page 31-32

It has been a long time since I have had a drink or even romanced the thought of one. Over ten years I have in this journey of sobriety. But this disease of alcoholism still gets me, it still will make it very difficult to bear facing my irrationality.
My ego loves to try and convince me that I’m perfectly ok without Gods help. That if I just listen to my “self” and try and “run the show” based on “self propulsion” things will actually be just fine, thank you very much. Like if I’m irritated by my boyfriend that’s just my business, that’s nothing I have to concern God about, plus wouldn’t God of course just agree with me that he’s being an ass and tell him to stop?! Because wouldn’t God see what this man is doing to poor little me?

So following that line of distorted thinking…of course I have the right to roll my eyes, give short responses, stomp around the house, make rude comments, act passive aggressive, that’s all just fine for me to do because he deserves it, because poor me, this would really be how it would go in my head and I would really accept this as sane thinking and acting. Because if he would just act right, I wouldn’t even do any of this type of behavior, it’s his fault, he’s making me act this way.

Yikes!

See, the thing is, as an alcoholic, this almost always turns out badly. Like in my home, all my discontent with how things are and how we function, it was a big game of trying to control a person other than myself so that basically I could ignore myself and my problems, thus allowing my ego to reconstruct, distorted thinking to take hold, character defects to ooze out my pores. And that really is a huge problem because if left untreated….these unchecked distorted thinking patterns quickly turn to distorted drinking (and for me drugging and other self-sabotaging) patterns. So I really can’t live this way! My ego would always rather have drama and division than sanity and serenity and will somehow convince me that being a control freak and lashing out on others is actually helpful and kind. The Big Book gives my favorite example ever of this dilemma in “How it Works”:

…any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good. Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.

What usually happens? The show doesn’t come off very well. He begins to think life doesn’t treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic ¬trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?

Over and over and over again these passages from the 12 and 12 and the Big Book produce humility and honesty from me after those episodes of life on life’s terms that get my ego roaring all over again. Indeed, I am irrational. Indeed, I am selfish and self centered. Indeed, this disease of alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful.

But each and every time I find myself in a conundrum, in some sort of situation I really messed all up…The hand of AA is waiting for me, my sponsor will guide me, the fellowship will love me, the steps will save me from myself and the traditions will save us from each other. And for that, holy cow, am I grateful beyond words to take inventory, share it with my sponsor, recognize character defects, be willing and ask to have them removed and make amends to those I’ve harmed. Because it saves my life and keeps me from having to die an alcoholic death.

Thank you so much for allowing me to keep coming back, to keep growing, to keep learning with you one day at a time.

Please share on anything this sharing and these two passages from the Twelve and Twelve and Big Book bring up for you in your journey of recovery. For me, they have been two of the most powerful pieces of literature I have experienced. They lead me back to the solution, remind me that yes, it actually is ME that’s the problem or at least the thing I can work on for today.

Thank you for the honor of chairing this meeting.

Jan 17: Moment of Clarity

Carolyn, Alcoholic and grateful to be here today – grateful to be anywhere.

Thinking about a topic for today I started to think about the day – today is my son’s 26th birthday. He came into this world while I was still out there. I didn’t drink much while pregnant with him and I tried not to smoke… today I think about that and cringe at the selfishness. With my second child, the same. I chose not to nurse so that I could get back to my drinking and drugs. I was so excited and proud that my daughter chose to nurse her daughter.

I got to my first meeting when they were 7 and 8 years old – of course I would have liked to have gotten here a bit sooner but I know now that I wasn’t ready.

The topic for today could be knowing, and believing that we are ready to end that way of life. There were so many times when I knew how I was living was not good for my family but I couldn’t stop – I prayed for the willingness to want to stop – for THEM. I felt so selfish but just couldn’t wait to get messed up and forget who I was and what I was and who I had become. The exact moment that I knew it was enough is when I found a strength I had no idea I had. I put the drink down – I put the drug down and I started the process. Started making the phone calls that changed my life.

I look back on that night then the next morning and it was as if I was being led and all the pieces came together ‘magically’. There was nothing else different about that night. It was like every night for the past 20 years…

I get to this program, get a sponsor and work the steps. I was willing to go to any length to get what I saw you all had. God – it was not easy but it was worth it. I look back and think about it all. Seems like yesterday but then seems like a lifetime – it was both actually. I need to keep that feeling of knowing I was given a true Moment of Clarity on the night of April 30th, 2004 and began my sober journey the next day.

Today I am a different person but the same… I am REAL and have PURPOSE. I am not lost 🙂

Please share on what you may get from this share – or on anything you may need to

Thank you so much for the opportunity to chair this meeting.

Jan 10: Complacency v Willingness

Not every year sober is note-worthy, but this past one certainly has been. Yesterday I celebrated 33 years in recovery. Since I was an every-day drinker, I think of it as being sober 12,053 contiguous days. I could not not-drink under my own power and will. It wasn’t until I finally surrendered, went to treatment and joined Alcoholics Anonymous that I could get through a whole day without drinking. It still awes me that this program works, and works so well.

In early sobriety I had the gift of desperation to open my ears and shut my mouth to learn how to do this. It was from people in the room sharing their experience-in-the-raw that taught me how to tackle anything without having to drink. No Matter What.

I didn’t have a Higher Power in those early days but knew I was not staying sober on my own so each morning I would ask TWIMC (To Whom It May Concern) for help to stay sober this day, and every night I would thank It for another day sober.

Once I had a few years in the program I feared picking up a drink less, and learned to fear complacency more. I’ve known people relapse who die before they make it back in. I know people who decided AA was not their chosen path and dropped the program. One of whom had 30 years. All of whom stopped attending meetings long before they relapsed. And then COVID-19 hit and all the meeting places closed.

I believe “meeting makers make it” so what happens when we can’t meet? On-line AA has been part of my recovery since 1997. Through it my program was enriched by all the women who share their experience-in-the-raw in emails to the group who show me how we do this thing one day at a time. I’ve been blessed by being able to meet some of you in person; become friends with some of you through the 20+ years since. I often hope that women who are just discovering our group manage to develop long-lasting friendships with other women in the group like we early-timers did.

But what about local newcomers who are given that gift of desperation in a pandemic? Where do they go to find a welcoming group in an AA meeting room? At a time when it would have been so easy to feel complacent about staying sober after all this time, COVID-19 sparked a resurgence of 12 step work instead. Within 2 days, people had set up zoom equivalents of many of our local face-to-face meetings. The state AA website was updated with zoom credentials as fast as meetings were set up. Those of us who had lots of email addresses sent out notices of zoom meetings to everyone we could, and asked others to pass them along to their contacts.

As a result, we have some newbies who have never been to a face-to-face meeting but are staying sober and learning how to work a program of recovery via virtual meetings. In my local meetings we have three women, one had 8 months, one who had 10 months and another who celebrated a year sober all in December. Bearing witness to their willingness to do what it takes to learn how to live a sober, joyful life is a privilege. It knocks complacency out of my attitude like brushing snow off my shoulders.

I think complacency and willingness-to-learn are flip sides of the coin of sobriety. These youngsters struggling to understand our program, the steps, daring to pick up the phone and establish connections with others, and not drinking for one more day really are the most important people in the room. They keep it Kelly green for me and remind me that I don’t ever want to have to repeat one moment of early sobriety ever again. And to do that, all I need to do is pay attention and be willing to learn from others.

As always, feel free to share on topic or whatever is impacting your sobriety right now. This is your meeting.

Thank you for letting me chair the meeting this week. Thank you for helping keep me safe and sober. Thanks to all our Trusted Servants who make this meeting possible.

Mari Ann

Jan 03: Step 1

I was in total denial of my alcoholism for most of my drinking. There was a lot of evidence confirming how unmanageable my life was due to alcohol, but I would not – could not – accept that I was an alcoholic. I felt justified in the amount of alcohol I consumed because if you’d been through what I’d experienced while growing up you’d also drink the way I drank! And of course, hanging out with people who also drank alcoholically allowed me to pretend I drank normally, even though the non-alcoholics in my life knew otherwise and occasionally tried to tell me. The fact that I was never an everyday drinker, I’d never lost a job due to alcohol, and I never drank in the morning fuelled my denial, helping me to refuse to believe I was an alcoholic.

However, after drinking alcoholically for about ten years I started blacking out almost every time I drank. I also got behind the wheel of a car more frequently when drunk. But even the horrors I went through after coming to from a blackout, e.g., not knowing how I ended up wherever I was, not knowing what I’d done with the person sleeping next to me, being so physically ill that I couldn’t even keep down water (I believe I came close to poisoning myself one time with the amount of alcohol I’d drunk), couldn’t penetrate my denial. I wasn’t an alcoholic, and there was no way I was going to give up a substance that allowed me to be “the real me” – hah!

 And then I came to one morning in mid-August 1989 in an apartment in South Philadelphia; I had no idea how I’d got there. As I was stumbling around trying to get dressed I heard a voice in my head which said in a measured tone, “That’s it.”, and I thought, “What does that mean??” Once more the voice said, “That’s it”, and instantaneously I knew I was an alcoholic and that if I continued drinking I’d end up in jail (I’d already been in jail briefly in CA), an asylum, or a morgue. I left that apartment and called George, a guy I believe my HP had put in my life in order to help me but in the guise of being my mother’s boyfriend (he’d been sober six years when she started dating him). And while I’ve never had a drink since that day, I continued taking mind and mood-altering substances until April 1991 so I changed my sobriety date to the first day I was alcohol and drug-free, which is April 8, 1991.

 I feel fortunate that I’ve never wanted to do more “research” regarding my inability to control my drinking. The veil of denial was lifted completely that day in August 1989, for which I’m extremely grateful. And even though the thought of taking a drink (or two, or three…) has entered my mind a few times over the years, I’ve been able to think it through and see that the problem, person, etc. that’s making me want to escape into alcoholic oblivion is not going to disappear after I take a drink, and the situation will surely only get worse. Do I want that? NO! That’s the difference between now and when I was in denial; I never thought it through, never questioned what the end result would be once I started drinking. Thank God the result is very clear to me these days, due in part to memories of the excruciatingly embarrassing, physically dangerous, and at times criminal acts I committed while drinking. The person who did those things is not the person I want to be, and the only way I can continue to move toward the person I want to be is by continuing to go to meetings, practicing the steps/principles in all my affairs, doing service, and following my conscience, which is something I rarely did before getting sober.

 I’ve heard many stories of how people came to accept Step 1, each one different from the other. But no matter how we come to embrace it (and perhaps have to go back to it), I know from my experience that I had to fully accept my powerlessness over alcohol before I could continue with the other Steps and gain an understanding of all that AA offers.

 Thanks for letting me be of service. The meeting is now open to those who would like to share on the topic of Step 1. 

Dec 27: Seeming Failure and Success

Topic for the week from Daily Reflections December 26.

Furthermore, how shall we come to terms with seeming failure or success? Can we now accept and adjust to either without despair or pride? Can we accept poverty, sickness, loneliness, and bereavement with courage and serenity? Can we steadfastly content ourselves with the humbler, yet sometimes more durable, satisfactions when the brighter, more glittering achievements are denied us?

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 112

 

I have been reading the Daily Reflections more and more over the past nine months. I have really come to enjoy the reminder that it is my choice to accept life exactly as it is unfolding. I can see life as it ebbs and flows and I am reminded again and again that it is my choice to go with it or stomp my feet and throw a little fit.

The program has taught me how to be right sized. I also have learned that I don’t have to like anything in order to accept it. But accept it I MUST!

I have been humbled again and again and I am so grateful for the willingness to continue on this path. There is no success or failure. I can accept and move on. I can take blows to my ego and learn from life as it challenges me. I am content more often than not and I know that everything is exactly as it should be. One day at a time!

Please feel free to share on this topic or anything that might be on your mind.

Thank you for letting me be of service.

Julie K

Dec 13: Bill W’s Christmas Message 1944

This is a Christmas message sent out by Bill in 1944:

To all AA members

Greetings on our 10th Christmas, 1944. Yes, it’s in the air! The spirit of Christmas once more warms this poor distraught world. Over the whole globe millions are looking forward to that one day when strife can be forgotten, when it will be remembered that all human beings, even the least, are loved by God, when men will hope for the coming of the Prince of Peace as they never hoped before. But there is another world which is not poor. Neither is it distraught. It is the world of Alcoholics Anonymous, where thousands dwell happily and secure. Secure because each of us, in his own way, knows a greater power who is love, who is just, and who can be trusted. Nor can men and women of AA ever forget that only through suffering did they find enough humility to enter the portals of that New World. How privileged we are to understand so well the divine paradox that strength rises from weakness, that humiliation goes before resurrection; that pain is not only the price but the very touchstone of spiritual rebirth. Knowing its full worth and purpose, we can no longer fear adversity, we have found prosperity where there was poverty; peace and joy have sprung out of the very midst of chaos. Great indeed our blessings! And so Merry Christmas to you all – from the Trustees, from Bobbie and from Lois and me.

Bill Wilson

Bill was writing of course towards the end of a world war. Hard times indeed. Bill calling the world “poor and distraught” couldn’t be more fitting for right now, with a global pandemic on the loose. We’re all feeling the effects of this awful pandemic, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically– to one degree or another. I’ve found the last ten months or so tough, not seeing family, being in my own home for most of the time, my stream of income badly hit. I can struggle with anxiety over loved ones, loneliness, and over my own health and future. I worry about getting older, being alone, broke ad infinitum… you get the picture! But I use my AA tools on a daily basis to change how I see and feel.

Bill points out that we AAs live in a world which is not poor. The world of Alcoholics Anonymous. Where each of us has security in knowing we are looked after by “a greater power who is love”. Where each of us learns that suffering brings humility, that strength comes out of weakness and that pain is “the very touchstone of spiritual rebirth”.

This is true for me. I know today that pain and suffering aren’t futile. but lead me somewhere great. Inside of myself. I grow and become stronger and more at peace in the discovery of deeper wells of strength within me. Today, I can turn how I see things around. Today, it is in my control, through my Power working within, to ensure each day is a happy, joyous and free day.

I can hand those worries about loved ones over first thing.

I was told early in sobriety that I might not be able to stop the first negative thought about something but I have control over the second thought! I can refuse to let it in.

I can keep my head where my hands are.

I can do the next right thing.

I can connect in prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact. This suspends me thinking about myself and hey ho I often don’t see my problem in the same way afterwards.

I can reach out to someone else and ask how they are. This suspends me thinking about myself and hey ho I often don’t see my problem in the same way afterwards, even though I didn’t even mention it! The miracle of giving of oneself..

I can get involved in many kinds of service, in AA and in my church or community using Zoom. This fills me up with peace. Problems recede. I see it all within a new and glowing light, within me.

I can “add to” not “take from”.

Most of all I have faith that a Higher Power provides for me this day. And I have HOPE! I have to have hope. I don’t mean expectations for certain things but great hope that my God provides exactly what I need.

I’ve discovered a wonderful Zoom group around which I structure my week. This has been a blessing that came out of the tragedy of the pandemic. I’ve made connections I otherwise wouldn’t have made. A bunch of like-minded souls that I love.This gives me peace and joy– it’s wonderful. I do “dwell happily and secure” when I do these things. When I live in the solution and not the problem (can be so tempting, this last one!)

I put in extra prayer time this week about work, and asking for guidance– I’ve had repeated rejections for online work because the market is packed full right now, and they’re paying buttons.

Today I’ve taken on work that will lift my income a substantial bit, teaching from home. I have another concern re my loved one that I’m finding hard not to worry about which is why I need extra prayer time set aside. When I hand it ALL over to the God of my understanding, and not hold on to the coattails, I swear I am overcome by how much my God loves me.

Prosperity, peace, joy, blessings– Bill uses these words above to a wartorn world in 1944. I’m so glad to read this today, as it confirms for me that all my happiness depends on my inner world, not what is happening out there. I don’t have to let what’s happening around me control me. Today I am free to change my world from the inside out.

I have a lot of uncertainty with what’ll happen around Christmas. But I’m keeping my head where my hands are– right in the here and now, one day at a time. I need to experience serenity on a daily basis and I can’t do that when I leap into the future– even the near future.

How do you turn around your thinking when life feels tough to handle? How do you bring serenity back centre stage? Share about Christmas or, if you don’t do that, then the holiday period. Or whatever you feel moved to share about.

The floor is yours, ladies.

Love,

Louise

Dec 06: Step 12

Here we are in the 12th month, to start the 12th step. Not long ago, I would not have been confident to chair this topic, but after the last few months of changes, I’m ready!

I’ve worked long & had to get back to my HP, after firing it and AA all together over a decade ago. Now, once again, I’ve had a spiritual experience & am comfortable with prayer. Sometimes I can just talk & get out whatever it is that needs saying. But it’s been a slow process, and I’d say ‘Don’t rush it’ if you’re not there yet. I believe that a genuine depth is worth the wait. In between, however, I used the forces of Nature and the rules of science to keep me from going nuts. Please share a little about your process of finding a HP you can live with, especially if you chose a non-traditional path for it to feel right.

As far as carrying the message to others, this is where I do it. Living in a Costa Rican small town, there aren’t many F2F options. Instead, I participate actively in 3 email women’s groups, sharing my ESH, sometimes having private conversations, reaching out to those who struggle, and sponsoring when asked. I’d love to hear what other women are doing in this ‘time of Covid’ to help those who may want what we have.

Lastly, the really hard part – practicing these principles in all our affairs. Oh dear…

It’s easy for me to be kind to strangers & practice empathy. I do my best to be polite & considerate of the general public. As many are out of work, I also go out of my way to employ the hordes of casual laborers, even feeding families for months. I can pat myself on the back for these things.

BUT!!!

 In the home is where I really struggle.  I get snappy with my partner pretty easily after 9 months of restricted movement. I’m moody – but then, I’ve often been moody. Not much progress there. Self-pity sometimes comes up, but I can use gratitude. I can also look at all those around me with serious problems of health or getting food on the table or not being evicted.

I still pray for my character defects to be removed DAILY, but at the same time I make more effort to catch myself when I’m being an ass. It gets very humbling when I see the same behavior over & over.

I’m SO grateful that AA teaches us it’s progress, not perfection, and that none of us will ever be perfect! When I remember this, I’m less likely to beat myself uup for so long over some human failing.

Please share on any of this that you relate to! Thanks for letting me serve by sharing my ESH.

Deb

Nov 29: Fear

Fear as a stepping stone (As Bill sees it, page 22)

“The chief activator of our defects has been self centered fear – primarily fear that we lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded. Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration, Therefore no peace was to be had unless we could find a means of reducing these demands.

For all its usual destructiveness, we found that fear can be a starting point for better things. Fear can be a stepping stone to prudence and to a decent respect for others. It can the path to justice, as well as to hate. And the more we have of respect and justice, the more we shall begin to find love which can suffer much, and yet be freely given”.

When I went into myself imposed withdrawal recently, fear was my biggest problem, I had resigned and the other 2 work projects did not work out, so fear of no income, how was I still going to stay in my flat, all that and few other problems had me only focused on myself, my mind was in turmoil, my praying was haphazard, if only then I could of thought of that off switch.

November 19 Daily reflections with the heading ( I was slipping fast), that was me and the realisation of how far I had slipped.

I went back to prayer in earnestness and continual reading of AA material, and also tech host for another skype meeting.

I know with continual work on myself and praying my thoughts are not consumed with myself.

With the help of God it all one day at a time.

The floor is now open.

Thanks for letting me share.

Rene G

Nov 22: Trust

The lessons of trust and acceptance have been front and centre in my mind this year. Losing trust where it was once present brings up many negative feelings in addition to a loss of hope. I find myself questioning the integrity and motivations of people and institutions as never before, a frame of mind that leads me down a self-destructive path. I’ve realized that acknowledging this danger in my mind is not a remedy, nor does it bring even a smidgeon of serenity. In fact, the more I dwell on losing trust, the worse I feel.

I’ve been reminded ad nauseum this year, my character is most tested when life is difficult. These are the times that it *seems* a glass of wine (or a drug or a giant piece of cake) would serve as a magic wand to make all of my pesky problems disappear. But now I know too much, I’ve finally learned that is not the case. So today, I lean in more heavily than ever on God and step 3 to right my thinking, praying frequently to accept the plethora of situations and outcomes that I cannot control. I pray for trust in Him and His will, regardless of the outcome. I pray to trust and accept that my deepest fears and insecurities will come and go, and that is all part of life. Then I count my blessings as there is so much to be grateful for.

Two quotes from recent Hazelden readings that have helped me trust:

“Trusting our Higher Power today ensures that we will trust Him tomorrow also. We do not know what the future holds for us, but we are assured of God’s continuing care and support.”

“We learn to trust by giving over our dilemmas to God for solutions. With patience, we will see the right outcomes, and we will more easily turn to God the next time.”

So many lessons reveal themselves as I work the steps and tools of this program. Ultimately, my days are so much better when I put in the time and effort.

Please share any thoughts on how you approach a lack or loss of trust, or anything else you need to express. Thank you all for allowing me to lead this week.

Susan P.

Nov 15: Using the Tools of the Program

Topic for the week:  Using the Tools of the program. (And other tools to enhance our sobriety.)

I chose this topic because many of us are finding it challenging during this time of social isolation caused by the pandemic.

I, for one, am missing going to the usual meetings, and giving and receiving hugs. Sometimes I meet someone I know from the rooms while shopping, at the bank, driving, even donating blood.  But we have been unable to do more than just speak to each other, and depending on the location, little can be said.

I know that I could, and probably should, do more to work on my program, or get more discipline in doing a daily 10th Step. . . . but my efforts are sadly lacking.  The things I have been able to do are:  read my GROW messages, read my daily reader(s), pray (when I think about it), listen to speaker recordings, attend zoom meetings and either participate or just listen, attend my home group whenever possible (outdoor, social distancing, now too cold, looking for a different indoor space), using slogans, journalling, and more I can’t remember at the moment.  I don’t do everything every day, but I do try to keep involved in my program.

When my efforts are lagging, it doesn’t take long to become apparent. . . . I get into argument with my hubby, I snap at people, I over-react to things.  Fortunately, my hubby loves me anyways, and knows that we both just need some space until I cool down.  In that space, I try to do something that will re-ground me and help me to regain the serenity I had been lacking.

What tools of the program do you use?  What are some that you reach for when you find you’re having a rough day?

I look forward to reading your shares.

In service,  Pat

Nov 08: Knowing Yourself

“To know yourself is not done just by reviewing your ‘misdeeds’; they are not you … Your doubts, fears, and apprehensions, your immature cravings, your self-indulgence … they are all committed by your physical body, guided by false instincts and imagination, instead of by your real self, which is the soul – the spirit within. That is where your conscience is, and your wisdom and your strength – which no one can hurt but you.”

New York, N.Y., November 1946, “Sobriety for Ourselves”, Thank You for Sharing: Sixty Years of Letters to the Grapevine

This Grapevine quote was in my inbox from another meeting I am part of and it really just blew me away when I read it, a real aha moment.

This is the point of inventory, both fourth step inventory and daily tenth step inventory. It isn’t to condemn ourselves for all the wrong we’ve ever done, but to really get down to causes and conditions and find our real self.

From there we are able to see how our choices were based on instinct, but like everything else it was overboard and distorted. When we get away from our false ego self and into our real spiritual self, we are able to more correctly align with our human instincts and grow along spiritual lines.

Thank you for the honor of chairing this meeting. I invite you to share on anything the above quote brings to the surface for you, or anything you need to share about, feel free, this is your meeting.

1020 – Summary of the last 3-day session

Results of Voting on Proposal 6 (change “URLs” to “links”)
Ten people voted on Proposal 6.5, all of them supporting the proposal. The vote was unanimous.
Therefore, Proposal 6 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.

Group Conscience decision:
Change the reference to “URLs” in the Weekly Lead Format letter and the GROW Mail List Guidelines to “links.”

Results of Voting on Proposal 7 (Webkeeper Exemption)
Twelve people voted on Proposal 7, all of them supporting the proposal. The vote was unanimous.
Therefore, Proposal 7 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision.

Group Conscience decision: For the Webkeeper position, approve in advance a one-time exemption from the requirement for having served a full term as Webkeeper Backup when a volunteer meets all other requirements for the position.

Summary of Discussions on Proposal 5 (links to AA meetings on Zoom)

In addition to comments made during the third 3-day session, seven (7) participants commented during our second three days on Proposal 5 that would allow links to AA meetings on Zoom. One member suggested forming an Ad Hoc group that might post Off Topic messages about Zoom meetings to get a sense of how members would respond or to act as an example to members of how to do it. A few members supported this suggestion; however, no proposal was offered to establish such a group. Certainly, participants in this business meeting are encouraged to share Zoom meetings (meeting name, ID, password) as off topic messages at any time.

One participant asked if GROW members have asked for this information and observed it was more likely that GROW members want to share the information on groups they like – recommend them to GROW members. She pointed out that OIAA has a huge directory of online meetings and that OIAA invests a huge effort in keeping that listing updated. She suggested that there may not be a need for GROW to duplicate the information available elsewhere but that we might refer members to the OIAA listing or other sources. She did not think a new webpage was needed since there are already pages that offer information and “who to contact” help in both the members’ section and the About AA page in the public area. She also suggested that our 12th Step Volunteers might be a valuable resource of this information for those who share about wanting info on Zoom AA meetings.

Another participant suggested that a short and simple monthly reminder might been good to remind our members that they can share information about AA meetings on Zoom and what form that information should take.

There seemed to be general agreement that we should postpone posting the information on the website at this time. Several felt that we may know more in April 2021 about our members’ needs and whether to post this information on our website.

There was not a general consensus about whether the FYI Letter is a proper vehicle for letting members know they can post Off Topic messages referring AA meetings on Zoom by presenting the group name and the Zoom ID and password. Several members felt the FYI Letter was not the appropriate place. However, there did seem to be a consensus that Off Topic posts about AA meetings on Zoom are acceptable.

In order to bring this proposal to a vote, it should be revised to reflect all comments. Our Business Meeting Guidelines state that “If any item on the agenda has not reached a 2/3 majority vote by the 17th day of the business meeting, the item is tabled and held over to the next scheduled business meeting.” There is not enough time left in this meeting to complete the process (of discussing a revised proposal, voting on it, entertaining a Minority Opinion, holding a re-vote, and finalizing the Group Conscience) before or on the 17th day of our meeting.

Therefore, the Chair will table this proposal and hold it for consideration in the April 2021 business meeting.

In the meeting summary that goes to the GROW mail list and in a separate message, the Chair will highlight our consensus that members should be able to post their recommendations for AA meetings on Zoom, emphasizing that links are prohibited but that posting the name of the meeting and the ID and password are acceptable.

This was the fifth and last 3-day session of our business meeting. Thank you all for participating in our October 2020 business meeting. YOU have made it a productive smooth-running meeting! Your comments were insightful and very helpful for our decision-making.

1020 – Minutes of fourth 3-day session

Results of Voting for Proposal 3 (Tradition Meeting)

Fifteen (15) participants voted on Proposal 3.3 which calls for the Weekly Leader Listkeeper to post the corresponding Tradition for the month at the beginning and in the middle of each month, inviting members to share on the Tradition anytime during the month.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the change. Therefore, the proposal is approved and adopted as a Group Conscience decision.

Group Conscience decision:
In the Weekly Leader Listkeeper’s job description, revise the existing bullet that mentions the monthly Tradition posting to make it clear that the tradition corresponding to the month will be posted twice each month, and the WLL will invite members to share on that Tradition.

Results of Voting on Proposal 4 (Trusted Servant Common Duties)

Fourteen (14) participants voted on Proposal 4.3 which would add the Trusted Servant Common Duties to the end of the existing “New Trusted Servant Letter.”

The vote was unanimous in support of the proposal. Therefore, it is approved and adopted as a Group Conscience decision.

Group Conscience:

Add the Common Duties of Trusted Servants to the bottom of the “New Trusted Servant Letter.”

Summary of Discussions on Proposal 5 (links to AA meetings on Zoom)

There were many comments on this proposal covering a wide range of related topics. There were a few areas where participants agreed. There were also areas where comments may have been similar, but they did not represent general agreement. Rather, they suggested things where further discussion is needed.

Areas of agreement:

Zoom meetings are an important part of sobriety, especially during the pandemic. Participants were unanimous that AA meetings on Zoom are a valuable tool for sobriety and that referrals to specific AA meetings on Zoom are appropriate information to include in GROW messages.

Links should not be included in GROW messages. After a member’s report of being hacked on two occasions when non-approved links were contained in a message to GROW and a former Listkeeper’s report of the additional workload she had when several members e-mail accounts were hacked, participants agreed that we should not allow links to AA meetings on Zoom.

It was also pointed out that the existing language used in the Weekly Lead Format and the GROW Mail List Guidelines incorrectly refers to URLs, while it is really the links that create the security problem. Therefore, the Chair will submit a new proposal to amend existing language in the Weekly Lead Format and GROW Mail List Guidelines to replace “œURL” with “œlink”.

Referrals to Zoom meetings should not contain links but should instead refer to the Zoom meeting name, ID, and PasswordGROW members can find specific AA Zoom meeting with this information, and a link to the specific meeting is not necessary. They can find further information on AA meetings on Zoom through a web search or through the OIAA website.

Areas where more discussion is needed:

  • Should GROW supply information on AA meetings on Zoom or leave it to individual members to give their recommendations?
  • What information does GROW want to distribute to its members?
    If GROW lists AA meetings on Zoom as a service to our members, is it endorsing one meeting above another?
  • How would GROW inform its members of information about AA meetings on Zoom?
  • If it is posted on our website or sent out in a monthly message to GROW, who would be responsible for maintaining accurate and timely  information?
  • Is the FYI letter the appropriate way to get this information to GROW members?
  • Is the GROW website the appropriate place to make the information available?

Because more discussion is needed before we can vote on this proposal, the Chair extended discussion through the fourth 3-day session.

Call for discussion of Job Descriptions for Trusted Servant supporting the GROW website
At the beginning of this 3-day session, the Chair called for a discussion about the job descriptions of the Trusted Servants supporting GROW’s website. Because the Webkeeper Backup position has been vacant since the new website was launched and because the Webkeeper position has a requirement for one full term as Webkeeper Backup, it became apparent that no one could qualify for that important position until October 2021. The Chair asked participants to comment on how to handle that issue or any other issues with the three job descriptions that might need to be changed.

Only one participant commented on the issues related to the Trusted Servant positions. The comment addressed the Webkeeper position and the requirement for one year’s experience as Webkeeper Backup and suggested that an exemption from this requirement could be granted if and when a volunteer steps forward. In the fifth 3-day session, the Chair will present a proposal to grant such an exemption if and when a voluteer steps forward if the Secretary determines that she meets all other requirements in the job description.

We will delay further discussions about the TS job descriptions until the April 2021 business meeting.

Call for Discussion of New Proposals
The Chair presented two new proposals for discussion in this 3-day session. Both proposals result from our discussions of whether to allow links to AA meetings on Zoom and how to resolve a requirement for the Webkeeper position.

Proposal 6: Change the references to €œURLs€ in the Weekly Lead Format letter and the GROW Mail List Guidelines to €œlinks,” adding an explanation for members that may not understand the difference. 

Recommended Language:
In the Topic section of the Weekly Lead Format letter, change €œURLs€ to €œlinks€ and include examples to help weekly leaders understand the difference.

[ Introduce the Topic of the Week €“ Remember that we do not include URLs links to sites outside GROW except links to the AA, Grapevine, and GROW websites. ]

You may include URLs (e.g., http://www.g-r-o-w.com – no link – or http://www.aa.org/ – linked), but do not create the link that would automatically take the reader to that URL address. Some programs automatically create links when a URL is entered, so you will need to remove the link. If you need help with this, please contact a GROW Trusted Servant.

In the fifth bullet of the GROW Mail List Guidelines, change €œURLs€ to €œlinks€ and add a brief message about how to get help if you do not know how to prevent automatic links.

  • We do not send attachments, chain letters, solicitations, virus alerts or announcements of non A.A. functions. We do not include URLs links to sites outside GROW except links to the AA, Grapevine, and GROW websites. You can use URLs (e.g., http://www.aa.org/), but do not create a link that would automatically take the reader to that URL address. Some programs create links automatically, so if you need help with this, please contact a GROW Trusted Servant.

Rationale: In discussing whether to allow links to AA meetings on Zoom, participants talked about the security issues that GROW members have experienced in the past when messages contained links to websites outside GROW or AA. To address that, in April 2019, the business meeting approved a Group Conscience decision to add a statement about not using URLs in the Topic section of the Weekly Lead Format letter and in the GROW Mail List Guidelines. The prohibition on URLs did not include the GROW website or AA websites.

Our current discussion highlighted the point that the risk to GROW members does not result from the use of URLs in messages but from links based on those URLs. A member can type in a URL without linking to the questionable source. Then members can simply copy and paste the URL into their web browser without exposing the mailing list to viruses or malware. This proposal also highlights the difference between using URLs alone and creating links from those URLs to an outside source for GROW members that may not understand the technical aspects.

Proposal 7: For the Webkeeper position, approve in advance a one-time exemption from the requirement for having served a full term as Webkeeper Backup when a volunteer meets all other requirements for the position.

Rationale: At this time, the Webkeeper position is vacant. To fill the position, a volunteer is required to have two years of sobriety, two years as a member of GROW, and to have served a full term as Webkeeper Backup. From the time the new website was launched until October 1, 2020, the position of Webkeeper Backup was vacant. Therefore, no one could qualify for the Webkeeper position.

This proposal allows the Secretary to apply an exemption, without having to seek approval from the Steering Committee, from the requirement for having served as Webkeeper Backup for the volunteer who steps forward to take the Webkeeper position and who meets all other requirements of the position.

1020 – Proposal 7: Webkeeper Exemption

Proposal 7: For the Webkeeper position, approve in advance a one-time exemption from the requirement for having served a full term as Webkeeper Backup when a volunteer meets all other requirements for the position.


Rationale:

At this time, the Webkeeper position is vacant. To fill the position, a volunteer is required to have two years of sobriety, two years as a member of GROW, and to have served a full term as Webkeeper Backup. From the time the new website was launched until October 1, 2020, the position of Webkeeper Backup was vacant. Therefore, no one could qualify for the Webkeeper position.

This proposal allows the Secretary to apply an exemption, without having to seek approval from the Steering Committee, from the requirement for having served as Webkeeper Backup for the volunteer who steps forward to take the Webkeeper position and who meets all other requirements of the position.


Summary of Discussion

Six (6) participants commented on the proposal, generally supporting the proposal. One participant would extend the exemption to all GROW service positions, stating that the Secretary should have discretion when volunteers do not meet all requirements for a position. Another participant asked about the Steering Committee’s involvement in granting an exemption. The Chair pointed out that since this one-time-only exemption was being considered during a business meeting, our Steering Committee is involved in the decision-making.


Voting Results

Twelve people voted, all of them supporting the proposal. The vote was unanimous.

Therefore, Proposal 7 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision


Group Conscience decision

For the Webkeeper position, approve in advance a one-time exemption from the requirement for having served a full term as Webkeeper Backup when a volunteer meets all other requirements for the position.

1020 – Proposal 6: Change URLs to Links

Proposal 6: Change the reference to “URLs” in the Weekly Lead Format letter and the GROW Mail List Guidelines to “links.”

Recommended Language:
In the Topic section of the Weekly Lead Format letter, change “URLs” to “links” and include examples to help weekly leaders understand the difference.

[Introduce the Topic of the Week – Remember that we do not include URLs links to sites outside GROW except links to the AA, Grapevine, and GROW websites.]

You may include URLs (e.g., http://www.g-r-o-w.com – no link – or http://www.aa.org/ – linked), but do not create the link that would automatically take the reader to that URL address. Some programs automatically create links when a URL is entered, so you will need to remove the link. If you need help with this, please contact a GROW Trusted Servant.

In the fifth bullet of the GROW Mail List Guidelines, change “URLs” to “links” and add a brief
message about how to get help if you do not know how to prevent automatic links.

We do not send attachments, chain letters, solicitations, virus alerts or announcements of non A.A. functions. We do not include URLs links to sites outside GROW except links to the AA, Grapevine, and GROW websites. You can use URLs (e.g., http://www.aa.org/), but do not create a link that would automatically take the reader to that URL address. Some programs create links automatically, so if you need help with this, please contact a GROW Trusted Servant.


Rationale:

In discussing whether to allow links to AA meetings on Zoom, participants talked about the security issues that GROW members have experienced in the past when messages contained links to websites outside GROW or AA. To address that, in April 2019, the business meeting approved a Group Conscience decision to add a statement about not using URLs in the Topic section of the Weekly Lead Format letter and in the GROW Mail List Guidelines. The prohibition on URLs did not include the GROW website or AA websites.

Our current discussion highlighted the point that the risk to GROW members does not result from the use of URLs in messages but from links based on those URLs. A member can type in a URL without linking to the questionable source. Then members can simply copy and paste the URL into their web browser without exposing the mailing list to viruses or malware.

This proposal addresses the distinction between using URLs alone and creating links from those URLs to an outside source.


Summary of Discussion

There were no substantive comments on this proposal, although several participants voiced their support for it.


Voting Results

Ten people voted on Proposal 6.5, all of them supporting the proposal. The vote was unanimous.

Therefore, Proposal 6.5 is adopted as a Group Conscience decision


Group Conscience Decision

Change the reference to “URLs” in the Weekly Lead Format letter and the GROW Mail List Guidelines to “links.”

Recommended Language:

In the Topic section of the Weekly Lead Format letter, change “URLs” to “links” and include examples to help weekly leaders understand the difference.

  • [Introduce the Topic of the Week – Remember that we do not include URLs links to sites outside GROW except links to the AA, Grapevine, and GROW websites.]
    You may include URLs (e.g., http://www.g-r-o-w.com – no link – or http://www.aa.org/ – linked), but do not create the link that would automatically take the reader to that URL address. Some programs automatically create links when a URL is entered, so you will need to remove the link. If you need help with this, please contact a GROW Trusted Servant.
  • In the fifth bullet of the GROW Mail List Guidelines, change “URLs” to “links” and add a brief message about how to get help if you do not know how to prevent automatic links.
    We do not send attachments, chain letters, solicitations, virus alerts or announcements of non A.A. functions. We do not include URLs links to sites outside GROW except links to the AA, Grapevine, and GROW websites. You can use URLs (e.g., http://www.aa.org/), but do not create a link that would automatically take the reader to that URL address. Some programs create links automatically, so if you need help with this, please contact a GROW Trusted Servant.

1020 – Minutes of the third 3-day Session

Minutes for Third 3-day Session

During the third 3-day session, the Chair presented the results of voting on two proposals and summarized discussions and called for votes on two proposals, and presented a new proposal for discussion.

RESULTS OF VOTING

Proposal 1: Reduce the membership requirement for Webkeeper Back-up from 1 year to 6 months.

Nineteen (19) participants voted on Proposal 1.2, which would change the membership requirement for the Webkeeper Backup from one year to six months. Twelve (12) participants voted “I disagree” (63%) on the proposal, and seven (7) voted “I agree. (37%) ” Therefore, Proposal 1 did not meet the requirement for a 2/3 majority. In the absence of a 2/3 majority, this proposal will be set aside and cannot be raised again for a year.

Proposal 2: Modify the job descriptions for the Greeter and Listkeeper trusted servant positions to stress the importance of timely processing of requests for membership in GROW.

This Proposal was tabled in our April 2020 meeting because the process could not be finished before the business meeting closed. The April proposal was amended to address Listkeeper as well as the Greeter position.

Eighteen (18) participants voted on Proposal 2. Sixteen (16) participants voted “I agree” on the proposal, and two (2) voted “I disagree,” meeting the requirement for a 2/3 majority. Those who voted “I disagree” have been invited to submit a Minority Opinion. If anyone changes their vote from “I agree” to “I disagree,” the Chair will call for a re-vote on the proposal. If there is no Minority Opinion or no one changes their vote as a result, the Proposal will be accepted as a Group Conscience decision.

Summary of Discussions in the third 3-day Session

Proposal 3: In the Weekly Leader Listkeeper’s job description, revise the existing bullet that mentions the monthly Tradition posting to make it clear that the tradition corresponding to the month will be posted twice each month, and the WLL will invite members to share on that Tradition. Five participants made substantive comments on the proposal, all of them supporting the changes to change Weekly Leader Listkeeper’s job description. During the third 3-day session, we will vote on this proposal.

Proposal 4: Add the Common Duties of Trusted Servants to the bottom of the “New Trusted Servant Letter.” Six (6) participants made substantive comments, all of them supporting the including the text of “Trusted Servant Common Duties” in the New Trusted Servant Letter without modification. We will vote on the proposal during the fourth 3-day session.

New Proposal to be Discussed in the fourth 3-day Session

Proposal 5: Change language about not using URLs in messages to allow links/ID’s to AA Zoom meetings.

Recommended language:

In Weekly Format Letter, “Topic for the week:” section:

[ Introduce the Topic of the Week – Remember that we do not include URLs to sites outside GROW except links to the AA, Grapevine, and GROW websites, and AA meetings on Zoom. ]

In GROW Mail List Guidelines (5th bullet):

We do not send attachments, chain letters, solicitations, virus alerts or announcements of non A.A. functions. We do not include URLs to sites outside GROW except links to the AA, Grapevine, and GROW websites, and AA meetings on Zoom.

Rationale: With the pandemic, AA zoom meetings are taking place all over the world. They have quickly become an essential tool for many in recovery. Because our ESH is vital to AA meetings and our sobriety, sharing the Zoom ID and password (or the URL link) would be appropriate in these uncertain times.

Nov 01: The Eleventh Step

Step 11

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

Hello GROW! Welcome newcomers and congratulations to those celebrating milestones.

Step 11 is one that I practiced from the moment I found my sponsor. She emailed me a list of prayers and suggested I recite them every day. Eventually the list became a memorized mantra. In early days, reciting the prayers gave me the courage to leave my apartment and stand tall in social situations that terrified me.

Although I had no real experience with prayer, I prayed. There was no resistance on my part. I was desperate—I had no idea how to make my life “work.”

What I’ve learned through ongoing practice of Step 11 is that I don’t make my life work. My higher power does! When something disturbs me, I do what I can and let go of the rest, trusting that the outcome will, ultimately, be the best for all concerned.

The suggestion expressed in Step 11, that I work on connecting daily with a power beyond my understanding, has brought a measure of peace and faith to my life that I never expected.

Today I know that when I’m scared I’m not alone. My higher power is with me.

This program teaches me that I’m here to be of service to others, not build monuments to my ego. Practicing Step 11 has given me the confidence to know that I am enough and what I do is enough. And everything is going to work out. Although I couldn’t describe my HP to you, I’m grateful to have one. This, as it says in our literature, is a faith that works.

Please feel free to share on your experience of Step 11 or whatever else is going on in your Program this week.

Thanks for being on this journey with me.

Oct 25: God Will Not Desert Us

“Word comes to me that you are making a magnificent stand in adversity—this adversity being the state of your health. It gives me a chance to express my gratitude for your recovery in A.A. and especially for the demonstration of its principles you are now so inspiringly giving to us all.

“You will be glad to know that A.A.’s have an almost unfailing record in this respect. This, I think, is because we are so aware that God will not desert us when the chips are down; indeed, He did not when we were drinking. And so it should be with the remainder of life.

“Certainly, He does not plan to save us from all troubles and adversity. Nor, in the end, does He save us from so-called death—since this is but an opening of a door into a new life, where we shall dwell among His many mansions. Touching these things I know you have a most confident faith.”

AA World Services Inc. As Bill Sees It [221]. A.A. World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Hi, Grow Ladies, Heidi Alcoholic here. Thanks for letting me be of service. I am sober today and I grateful I don’t have a desire to drink today. I’m still here showing up, going to meetings and being of service and grateful that I am. Life can be rocky and tough at times – that is life. I look back and think how or why did I stay sober during some of my most difficult times early on in my life? It was people in the fellowship who kept telling me just don’t drink no matter what – even if your ass falls off – pick it up put it in a paper bag and take it with you to a meeting and of course they showed and told me they loved me and cared for me. They told me to pray, be of service and just stay close to the rooms. Well today I can’t do that (go to a meeting in person that is) but I have zoom meetings and online meetings like Grow. I have probably been to more meetings this year than in recent years because of Zoom. I have experienced a lot of loss the last year and now seems to be a current stream for me. Honestly, I am so sick and tired of experiencing loss right now in my life. However, I know from my experience in sobriety that one day this will pass and change is always constant. I have faith in God (my HP) and know he is working on finding the best home for me and my dog and that I won’t always be homeless. I feel really lost at times not having a home of my own at the moment compounded with being so far away from my friends and family during this pandemic but I have so much to be grateful for – a friend who has shown great generosity by letting me stay in her home in Bristol (food and shelter for today), my dog and meetings on zoom. I know from experience God will not desert me. Thanks for letting me share.

Oct 18: God Shots

Good Morning !

These past couple weeks have been challenging for me, I have had some big lessons in unmanageability at home and have found the adage about the home being the hardest place to practice these principals to be VERY true.  HOWEVER, this surrender for me has been a deep one and when I truly sought god and help everything was laid out for me in ways I cannot explain.  

When I was first sober my sponsor told me about “god shots” – little synchronicities that happen in our lives that cannot be explained. Such as certain people, situations etc being placed in our lives in the exact right time we need.  Such as people from my past returning out of the blue (one from England) for me to make amends. Or sponsors showing up for us when we were ready or situations working out that we could not have possibly done on our own power. She explained that this was God for her. 

I have had many inexplicable miraculous things happen for me in sobriety and I am so grateful for our program and sister program as well so that I don’t have to live in disease any more.  I would love to hear about all of your little “god shots”! 

Thank you for my sobriety! 

Oct 11: Experience, Strength and Hope

Hearing another alcoholics ESH has helped me so much to get out of myself, not feel alone and stay sober for another day. I was thinking about my experiences in AA or some people call them ‘God things’ others ‘magic in AA’ ( you can call it whatever you like) that helped me not drink at a moment. Little experiences or things that have opened my eyes.

Just recently I went a little insane again and thought I might want to try control drinking. The moment the thought entered my mind I accidentally hit my last wine glass in my house off the counter. My middle name may be Grace but there’s nothing graceful about me. I’m a total clutz. But it woke me up. That shattered wine glass felt like a sign. It. Woke. Me. Up! Drinking is not an option.

Another time when I first got sober I was concerned about going to dinner with my family at our favorite restaurant because I always drank there. I knew it was a trigger for me. I was very new and couldn’t bring myself to say to my family ‘can we go somewhere else because I’m afraid I’m going to drink?’ Turns out I didn’t have to because as I was driving home to pick them up , my whole wheel fell off my car. Not a flat tire but my whole wheel flew off my car. Thankfully no one was hurt and I didn’t have to go out to dinner that night because our one car was not drivable.

Finally, just this past week I’ve been struggling with a lot of pain around my daughter and letting go of things I can’t control. I had entered a zoom mtg and just texted my sponsor that I can’t stop crying and right after I said that the chairperson leads with the topic of crying and letting go.

I’ve heard others share these different but same experiences and I love them. They give me goose bumps. Crazy and out of the ordinary things. These experiences keeps my disease real to me and help me see I’m where I need to be. I’d love to hear your experiences or whatever else you would like to share this week.

This is your meeting and the floor is open to share.

Trusted Servants 10/2020

Trusted Servants:

12 Step Volunteer Listkeeper (10/20-04/21): Claire H. email
Birthday Listkeeper (10/20-04/21): Julie K. email
Sponsor Listkeeper (10/20-04/21): Lynn. email

Trusted Servants who make up the Steering Committee:

Business Meeting Chair (10/20-10/22): Danna M. email
GSR (10/20-10/21): Nicole W. email
GVR (10/20-10/21): Barbara ‘Barb’ M. email
Greeter (4/20-4/21): Lisa M. email
Greeter (10/20-10/21): Karrie C. email
Listkeeper (4/20-4/21): Sarah K. email
Listkeeper Alternate (10/20-10/21): Karen H. email
OIAA Rep (10/20-4/21):  Sophie R. email
Secretary (10/20-10/21): Nancy C. email
Temporary Mentor (4/20-4/21): Sarah M. email
Treasurer (10/19-10/21): Cheryl B.  email
Website Administrator (10/20-10/21): Cheryl D. email
Webkeeper: <vacant>
Webkeeper Backup (10/20-10/21): Louise H. email
Weekly Leader Listkeeper (4/20-4/21): Rene G email

Immediate Past Business Meeting Chair: Joan B. email
Immediate Past GSR: Kate M. email
Immediate Past OIAA: Lynn H.  email and Kirsten V. email
Immediate Past Secretary: Laurie C. email

Email the Steering Committee

1020 – Minutes for 1st & 2nd 3-day sessions

Minutes for 1st and 2nd 3-day Sessions

Introductory business meeting materials were presented. These included reports from our Secretary, Treasurer, Listkeepers, outgoing Business Meeting Chair, and OIAA Representative. Reports from the GSR and Grapevine Rep have not been submitted at this time. Two proposals were presented for discussion in the first 3-day session, and two additional proposals were presented for discussion in the second 3-day session.

Proposal 1: Reduce the membership requirement for Webkeeper Backup from 1 year to 6 months.

Recruitment for Trusted Servants was conducted through the month of September. Since the position was established in April 2019 when the new GROW website became active, no volunteers had surfaced for the Webkeeper Backup position, and it has remained vacant.

One volunteer offered to take the Webkeeper Backup position for the term from October 2020 to October 2021. While the volunteer more than met the requirement for one year of sobriety, she did not meet the requirement for one year of membership in GROW. This proposal would allow her to serve as Webkeeper Backup by changing the membership requirement from one year to six months.

Fourteen participants made substantive comments on the proposal. Most, but not all, of the comments indicated a preference to leave the requirement as is at one year. The Website Administrator suggested that, while the current requirement should not be changed, it might be possible to make an exception given the volunteer’s length of sobriety and willingness to serve. Several participants agreed with this suggestion. We postponed further discussion of this issue.

The Secretary learned shortly before our business meeting that another GROW member had expressed interest in the Webkeeper Backup position. She is a long-standing member of GROW and meets both the membership and sobriety requirements. While she had initially agreed to take the Webkeeper position, she was not confident that she had the skill level necessary for our Webkeeper. She has since agreed to take the Webkeeper Backup position, leaving the Webkeeper position vacant at this time.

Nineteen (19) participants voted on Proposal 1.2. Twelve (12) participants voted “I disagree” (63%) on the proposal, and seven (7) voted “I agree. (37%) ” Therefore, Proposal 1 did not meet the requirement for a 2/3 majority.

In the absence of a 2/3 majority, this proposal will be set aside and cannot be raised again for a year. The Chair will, however, open a discussion of the website-related job descriptions.

Proposal 2: Modify the job descriptions for the Greeter and Listkeeper trusted servant positions to stress the importance of timely processing of requests for membership in GROW.

Our group receives many inquiries and requests for membership from women who are struggling and want help to stop drinking or stay stopped. Our Listkeepers and Greeters are the first point of contact for these potential new members. If approved, this proposal would

change “daily” to “several times a day” and assure more timely processing of requests from new members.

Eight participants made substantive comments on the proposal, all of them supporting changes to the Greeter and Listkeeper job descriptions to make clear GROW’s expectation that these Trusted Servants will check their e-mails several times a day (rather than daily).

Participants voted on this proposal during the second 3-day session. Eighteen (18) participants voted on the proposal. Sixteen (16) participants voted “I agree” on the proposal, and two (2) voted “I disagree.” Therefore, Proposal 2.2 met the requirement for a 2/3 majority vote approving the proposal.

Before it can be accepted as a Group Conscience decision, participants who voted “I disagree” will have the opportunity to present a Minority Opinion. If anyone changes their vote as a result, the Chair will call for a re-vote. If no minority opinion is submitted and no one changes their vote, the proposal will be accepted as a Group Conscience decision.

Proposal 3: In the Weekly Leader Listkeeper’s job description, revise the existing bullet that mentions the monthly Tradition posting to make it clear that the tradition corresponding to the month will be posted twice each month, and the WLL will invite members to share on that Tradition.

Since we decided to devote the first meeting each month to the appropriate Step in April 2019, posting and discussion of the Tradition has been lost. When we discussed creating a Step meeting, there was a lot of discussion about whether it should be just the Step or the Step and Tradition. It was never the intent of the participants in the business meeting to drop the Traditions from our meetings.

When the monthly Step was approved, a bullet was added to the job description. The existing bullet, however, was never changed to address the Tradition meeting separately. This proposal will correct that oversight and make clear GROW’s commitment to AA’s Traditions.

Five participants made substantive comments on the proposal, all of them supporting changes to change Weekly Leader Listkeeper’s job description to send out a “Tradition meeting” message twice a month that invites members to share on the appropriate AA Tradition throughout the month.

Participants will vote on this proposal during the third 3-day session.

Proposal 4: Add the Common Duties of Trusted Servants to the bottom of the “New Trusted Servant Letter.”

When GROW established the first Trusted Servant positions, we developed a set of “Common Duties” that would apply to all positions. However, today, not all job descriptions contain a reference or link to the Common Duties. While the introduction letter for new Trusted Servants contains a link to the Common Duties, they can easily be overlooked. Adding the text of the Trusted Servant Common Duties to the introduction letter that every Trusted Servant already receives when they move into a position will highlight those functions to which GROW expects all Trusted Servants to adhere.

Six (6) participants made substantive comments on the proposal to include the text of “Trusted Servant Common Duties” in the New Trusted Servant Letter. All of the comments supported the proposal without modification or edits.

Participants will vote on this proposal during the third 3-day session.

1020 – Proposal 5: Links to Zoom

Proposal 5: Change language about not using URLs in messages to allow links/ID’s to AA Zoom meetings.

Recommended language:

In Weekly Format Letter, “Topic for the week” section:
[ Introduce the Topic of the Week – Remember that we do not include URLs to sites outside GROW except links to the AA, Grapevine, and GROW websites, and AA meetings on Zoom. ]

In GROW Mail List Guidelines (5th bullet):
We do not send attachments, chain letters, solicitations, virus alerts or announcements of non A.A. functions. We do not include URLs to sites outside GROW except links to the AA, Grapevine, and GROW websites, and AA meetings on Zoom.


Rationale

With the pandemic, AA zoom meetings are taking place all over the world. They have quickly become an essential tool for many in recovery. Because our ESH is vital to AA meetings and our sobriety, sharing the Zoom ID and password (or the URL link) would be appropriate in these uncertain times.


Summary of Discussions

There were many comments on this proposal covering a wide range of related topics. There were a few areas where participants agreed. There were also areas where comments may have been similar, but they did not represent general agreement. Rather, they suggested things where further discussion is needed.

Areas of agreement:
Zoom meetings are an important part of sobriety, especially during the pandemic. Participants were unanimous that AA meetings on Zoom are a valuable tool for sobriety and that referrals to specific AA meetings on Zoom are appropriate information to include in GROW messages.

Links should not be included in GROW messages. One member reported experiences with her e-mail being hacked and created serious problems. One of our listkeepers also shared her experience in helping members whose e-mails were hacked and the additional workload the hacks created for her. It was also pointed out that the language used in the Weekly Lead Format and the GROW Mail List Guidelines refers to URLs, which are not the security problem. The problem is links that may import viruses or malware into our personal e-mail programs. Therefore, the chair proposes to revise Proposal 3.4 to address “links” rather than “URLs” and will submit a new proposal to amend existing language in the Weekly Lead Format and GROW Mail List Guidelines to replace “URL” with “link.”

Referrals to Zoom meetings should not contain links but should instead refer to the Zoom meeting name, ID, and Password. GROW members can find specific AA Zoom meeting with this information, and a link to the specific meeting is not necessary. They can find further information on AA meetings on Zoom through a web search or through the OIAA website.

Areas where more discussion is needed:

Should GROW supply information on AA meetings on Zoom or leave it to individual members to give their recommendations? One member pointed out that only one Zoom meeting had been presented to GROW in a member’s message. Other members seemed to suggest that GROW should provide a central information point for this information. One member suggested that GROW create a webpage with information on AA meetings on Zoom.

What information does GROW want to distribute to its members? GROW could send different kinds of information for AA meetings on Zoom: referrals to specific meetings, the OIAA webpage with a partial listing, or searches on Zoom (I tried this with no success). Some participants have pointed out that it is easy to find this information through web searches or OIAA, arguing that there is no need for GROW to take this on.

Another thing to consider: If GROW lists AA meetings on Zoom as a service to our members, is it endorsing one meeting above another? Would we be communicating an implicit preference as a group (as opposed to a personal referral by a GROW member)? One participant mentioned that she feared that GROW providing the information could become almost an infomercial. This is something we should consider.

How would GROW inform its members of information about AA meetings on Zoom? The mechanisms that participants discussed included individual GROW members’ messages, the FYI letter, and a possible webpage. If we rely on GROW members’ referrals, the larger group would not be responsible for the accuracy or timeliness of the information. If we were to insert the information in the FYI letter or create a webpage, several issues should be decided:

Who would be responsible for the information? We know that at least one AA meeting on Zoom will continue beyond the pandemic. But if other meetings are discontinued or their schedules change, who in GROW would be responsible for making sure they are removed or updated? How can we assure that the information is kept up-to-date?

Is the FYI letter the appropriate way to get this information to GROW members? This is personal opinion: We already include a lot of information in the FYI Letter that goes out at the beginning of the month. Based on my own behavior, I don’t think members who’ve been with GROW over a few months will read the whole letter, if any of it. Members like me would never see it. Personally, I think it is better to send the info out separately in a short message that members will pay attention to. The question becomes the source of the information. What meetings will be included? Who is responsible for identifying appropriate meetings?

Is the GROW website the appropriate place to make the information available? The website seems to be a natural place to house the information on AA meetings on Zoom. Several questions follow. Would this be in the private members area or on the public side of the website? Who is responsible for identifying the AA meetings we want to list? What would be the process for listing specific meetings? Should there be a Trusted Servant responsible for assuring the accuracy and timeliness of the information?

The Chair recommends that we revise Proposal 5.4 after we have resolved issues on which comments did not reveal a consensus. The Chair will present a new proposal to one area where there was clear consensus: changing references to “URLs” to “links” in the Weekly Lead Format and the GROW Mail List Guidelines. (Summary of Discussions follows these talking points.)

We will have another three days to discuss these points:

  1. Should GROW supply information on AA meetings on Zoom or leave it to individual members to give their recommendations?
  2. What information does GROW want to distribute to its members?
  3. How would GROW inform its members of information about AA meetings on Zoom?
  4. Who would be responsible for the information?
  5. Is the FYI letter the appropriate way to get this information to GROW members?
  6. Is the GROW website the appropriate place to make the information available?

1020 – Proposal 4: TS Common Duties

Proposal 4: Common Duties of Trusted Servants

Add text of common duties as (shown at the end of this proposal) to the “New Trusted Servant Letter.”


Rationale

There is no mention anywhere of the common duties that have developed from time and issues arising. Further, not all job descriptions contain a reference or link to the Common Duties. The welcome letter informs the new TS where they can find the job description, but unless they are curious and investigate the site, the common duties can be overlooked. I for one have found answers to many questions and a tried and true guideline in that piece of literature and would like to see it brought up to the awareness of the incoming Trusted Servant. It is as simple as adding it to the bottom of the letter already being sent out to new trusted servants.

New Trusted Servant Letter as amended (see bottom for new language shown in red):

Dear [ Name of New Trusted Servant ],

Thank you for volunteering for the position of [ Trusted Servant Position ].

You are replacing [name of past trusted servant] in this position. She will send you any up-to-date lists and/or letter templates you will need to fulfill your duties. She will also mentor you as you transition into your new job. Her email address is [email address of past trusted servant]. If you have not heard from her, we encourage you to contact her now.

Please review your job description immediately. Each job description has been established by group conscience. If your job requires making periodic announcements to the group, please do so as outlined in your job description. Letters/announcements are also a matter of group conscience, developed to ensure a consistent message to all GROW members. Other than including your own name and contact information where appropriate, please do not change the text of the message.

If you have not yet received information from the outgoing [ Trusted Servant Position ], you can access your job description and any letter templates needed for your job on the GROW website.

Trusted Servant job descriptions are described here.

List of Trusted Servant letter templates are here.

Sometimes a job can feel a little scary. If you have *any* questions, please ask. Along with your mentor, the Steering Committee is here to answer questions and support you in your service to GROW. As GROW Secretary, I am the primary contact for trusted servants. You are also welcome to email any one of the Steering Committee members listed at the end of this email.

If you find yourself unable to fulfill your obligations, temporarily or otherwise, please let me or another Steering Committee member know immediately. We will ensure that your tasks are carried out in your absence.

Again, thank you for your service to GROW. Service work is important to individual recovery, and it is essential to the well-being of our group. We hope you find serving GROW to be a rewarding experience.

Trusted Servant Common Duties

The following describes duties that are common expectations for all Trusted Servants.

  • Must be a member of Business List
  • Smooth and uninterrupted volunteer service to GROW depends upon your ability to carry out your commitments. If a Trusted Servant finds that she cannot meet all the duties listed in her Job Description, she will inform the Secretary and/or Business Meeting Chair that she is unable to fulfill her responsibilities. Working with the Trusted Servant and the Steering Committee, the Secretary and/or Business Chair will then seek alternatives for assuring all duties are covered (including securing a temporary back-up or advertising the position on the main list). If a member of the Steering Committee is concerned that not all items in a job description are being met, she may bring her concern to Secretary and/or Business Meeting Chair, who will work with the Trusted Servant to assure their duties are covered.
  • Must be able to reply to business and steering committee email within 48 hours. If unable to do so, should inform the steering committee in advance, or in the case of a computer related problem, make every effort to telephone another group member who can let the Steering Committee know.
  • Lack of response to business, steering committee, or direct personal email by another trusted servant for a period of seven consecutive days will be reason for a temporary replacement chosen by the steering committee.
  • Lack of response to business, steering committee, or direct personal email by another trusted servant for a period of fourteen consecutive days will be reason for temporary replacement by steering committee until a permanent replacement can be chosen by the next business meeting.
  • Provide successor with all necessary information, including job guidelines and letter templates, and serve as a mentor for a period of time to ensure continuity of service.
  • Be able to cut, copy, paste, and save to a folder.

Summary of Discussions (Trusted Servant Common Duties)

Six (6) participants made substantive comments on the proposal to include the text of “Trusted Servant Common Duties” in the New Trusted Servant Letter. All of the comments supported the proposal without modification or edits.


Voting Results

Fourteen (14) participants voted on Proposal 4.3 which would add the Trusted Servant Common Duties to the end of the existing “New Trusted Servant Letter.”

The vote was unanimous in support of the proposal. Therefore, it is approved and adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience Decision:

Add the Common Duties of Trusted Servants to the bottom of the “New Trusted Servant Letter.”

New Trusted Servant Letter as amended:

Dear [ Name of New Trusted Servant ],

Thank you for volunteering for the position of [ Trusted Servant Position ].

You are replacing [name of past trusted servant] in this position. She will send you any up-to-date lists and/or letter templates you will need to fulfill your duties. She will also mentor you as you transition into your new job. Her email address is [email address of past trusted servant]. If you have not heard from her, we encourage you to contact her now.

Please review your job description immediately. Each job description has been established by group conscience. If your job requires making periodic announcements to the group, please do so as outlined in your job description. Letters/announcements are also a matter of group conscience, developed to ensure a consistent message to all GROW members. Other than including your own name and contact information where appropriate, please do not change the text of the message.

If you have not yet received information from the outgoing [ Trusted Servant Position ], you can access your job description and any letter templates needed for your job on the GROW website.

Trusted Servant job descriptions are described here. (Link to relevant job description)

List of Trusted Servant letter templates are here. (Link to relevant job description)

Sometimes a job can feel a little scary. If you have *any* questions, please ask. Along with your mentor, the Steering Committee is here to answer questions and support you in your service to GROW. As GROW Secretary, I am the primary contact for trusted servants. You are also welcome to email any one of the Steering Committee members listed at the end of this email.

If you find yourself unable to fulfill your obligations, temporarily or otherwise, please let me or another Steering Committee member know immediately. We will ensure that your tasks are carried out in your absence.

Again, thank you for your service to GROW. Service work is important to individual recovery, and it is essential to the well-being of our group. We hope you find serving GROW to be a rewarding experience.

Trusted Servant Common Duties
The following describes duties that are common expectations for all Trusted Servants:

  • Must be a member of Business List
  • Smooth and uninterrupted volunteer service to GROW depends upon your ability to carry out your commitments. If a Trusted Servant finds that she cannot meet all the duties listed in her Job Description, she will inform the Secretary and/or Business Meeting Chair that she is unable to fulfill her responsibilities. Working with the Trusted Servant and the Steering Committee, the Secretary and/or Business Chair will then seek alternatives for assuring all duties are covered (including securing a temporary back-up or advertising the position on the main list). If a member of the Steering Committee is concerned that not all items in a job description are being met, she may bring her concern to Secretary and/or Business Meeting Chair, who will work with the Trusted Servant to assure their duties are covered.
  • Must be able to reply to business and steering committee email within 48 hours. If unable to do so, should inform the steering committee in advance, or in the case of a computer related problem, make every effort to telephone another group member who can let the Steering Committee know.
  • Lack of response to business, steering committee, or direct personal email by another trusted servant for a period of seven consecutive days will be reason for a temporary replacement chosen by the steering committee.
  • Lack of response to business, steering committee, or direct personal email by another trusted servant for a period of fourteen consecutive days will be reason for temporary replacement by steering committee until a permanent replacement can be chosen by the next business meeting.
  • Provide successor with all necessary information, including job guidelines and letter templates, and serve as a mentor for a period of time to ensure continuity of service.
  • Be able to cut, copy, paste, and save to a folder.

1020 – Proposal 3: Tradition Meeting

Proposal 3: Tradition Meeting

In the Weekly Leader Listkeeper’s job description, revise the existing bullet that mentions the monthly Tradition posting to make it clear that the tradition corresponding to the month will be posted twice each month, and the WLL will invite members to share on that Tradition.

Recommended Language: Replace the existing bullet (“Post monthly Step and Tradition discussion topics to correspond with the month.”) with the following: “At the beginning and middle of each month, post the corresponding Tradition and invite members to share on that topic anytime during the month.”


Rationale

Since we decided to devote the first meeting each month to the appropriate Step, posting and discussion of the Tradition has not happened. The tradition meeting has not been posted in over 6 months. It has been lost. When we discussed creating a Step meeting, there was a lot of discussion about whether it should be just the Step or the Step and Tradition. It was never the intent of the participants in the business meeting to drop the Traditions from our meetings.

Currently, these are the relevant bullets in the WLL job description:

  • Allocate the first meeting of each month to the corresponding Step by identifying the Step as the topic next to the date on the volunteer lead request message.
  • Post monthly Step and Tradition discussion topics to correspond with the month.

The existing bullet in the Weekly Leader Listkeeper’s job description is not clear and confuses the Step Meeting with the way it was done before that meeting was created. The recommended change clarifies GROW’s expectations for assuring the Tradition is highlighted each month.


Summary of Discussions on Proposal 3 (Tradition meeting)

Five participants made substantive comments on the proposal, all of them supporting changes to change Weekly Leader Listkeeper’s job description to send out a “Tradition meeting” message twice a month that invites members to share on the appropriate AA Tradition throughout the month.


Voting Results

Fifteen (15) participants voted on Proposal 3.3 which calls for the Weekly Leader Listkeeper to post the corresponding Tradition for the month at the beginning and in the middle of each month, inviting members to share on the Tradition anytime during the month.

The vote was unanimous in favor of the change. Therefore, the proposal is approved and adopted as a Group Conscience decision.


Group Conscience decision:

In the Weekly Leader Listkeeper’s job description, revise the existing bullet that mentions the monthly Tradition posting to make it clear that the tradition corresponding to the month will be posted twice each month (beginning and middle of month), and the WLL will invite members to share on that Tradition.

Recommended Language:

Replace the existing bullet (“Post monthly Step and Tradition discussion topics to correspond with the month.”) with the following:

At the beginning and middle of each month, post the corresponding Tradition and invite members to share on that topic anytime during the month.


 

1020 – Proposal 2: Greeter/Listkeeper

Proposal 2: Greeter/Listkeeper Job Description

This Proposal was tabled in our April 2020 meeting because the process could not be finished before the business meeting closed. The April proposal has been amended to address the Listkeeper as well as the Greeter position. Please submit your comments before midnight (your time) Sunday, October 4.

Modify the job descriptions for the Greeter and Listkeeper Trusted Servant positions to stress the importance of timely processing of requests for membership in GROW.

Recommended Language:

  • Replace the third bullet in the Greeter job description with: “Checks e-mail several times a day for Listkeepers’ notice about inquiries from potential members.”
  • Replace the tenth bullet on the Listkeeper job description with: “Receive and forward to greeters all requests for new membership, checking grow-owner@oso-aa.org several times a day to assure prompt processing of inquiries.”

Rationale

GROW’s primary mission is to carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous. Our group receives many inquiries and requests for membership from women who are struggling and want help to stop drinking or stay stopped. Our Listkeepers and Greeters are the first point of contact for these potential new members.

The third bullet of the current job description for the Greeters currently says “Reads GROW mail daily.” This statement is incorrect, in that checking GROW e-mail has nothing to do with notices from the Listkeepers. Listkeepers send the notices to the individual Greeter’s e-mail address. The statement suggests Greeters should only check for such notices once a day, which may increase the time between a potential member’s inquiry and GROW’s response beyond what we want to assure “the hand of AA” is always there.

The tenth bullet of the Listkeeper job description says “Receive and forward to greeters all requests for new membership” but does not establish a timeframe for processing the inquiries. Adding a statement that Listkeepers should check for inquiries from potential new members several times a day further assures that “the hand of AA” is always there.


Summary of Comments on Proposal 2

Eight participants made substantive comments on the proposal, all of them supporting changes to the Greeter and Listkeeper job descriptions to make clear GROW’s expectation that these Trusted Servants will check their e-mails several times a day (rather than daily).


Results of Voting on Proposal 2

Eighteen (18) participants voted on Proposal 2.2, which would modify the Greeter and Listkeeper job descriptions so that they would be required to check e-mail several times a day (rather than the current “daily”) to assure prompt processing of requests for membership in GROW.

Sixteen (16) participants voted “I agree” on the proposal, and two (2) voted “I disagree.” Therefore, Proposal 2.2 met the requirement for a 2/3 majority vote approving the proposal.

Before this proposal can be adopted as a Group Conscience decision, we will hear the views of participants who voted “I disagree.” If anyone changes their vote as a result, we will call for a re-vote.


Minority Opinion

“I voted in disagreement because the language of check mail “several” times a day could possibly limit the volunteers who could otherwise take on this responsibility if they now they can check mail at least once daily. Checking mail daily does not seem to be an overwhelming responsibility.

“It would be beneficial to remember this is an online group. If someone is in crisis, and our listkeepers know this, I would hope they would refer the person on to AA locally wherever they are. Person-to-person contact is much more beneficial for crisis situations. Online is for support, in my humble opinion, it is not where “crucial” contact is.

“Remember rule 62; Let’s not take ourselves so seriously.”


Final Results of Voting

A Minority Opinion was published on October 9. No one has changed their vote as a result.

Therefore, Proposal 2.2 is approved and adopted as a Group Conscience Decision.


GROUP CONSCIENCE Decision:

Modify the job descriptions for the Greeter and Listkeeper trusted servant positions to stress the importance of timely processing of requests for membership in GROW.


Recommended Language:

  • Replace the third bullet in the Greeter job description with: “Checks e-mail several times a day for Listkeepers’ notice about inquiries from potential members.”
  • Replace the tenth bullet on the Listkeeper job description with: “Receive and forward to greeters all requests for new membership, checking grow-owner@oso-aa.org several times a day to assure prompt processing of inquiries.”

 

1020 – Proposal 1: Webkeeper Back-up

Proposal 1: Webkeeper Backup

Reduce the membership requirement for Webkeeper Back-up from 1 year to 6 months.

Recommended Language: Change the third bullet in the Webkeeper Backup job description as follows:

  • 1 year 6 months in GROW membership

Rationale

This job has been vacant for more than 6 months. A newer member to GROW volunteered for this position but cannot serve because she hasn’t been a member of GROW for a year.


Summary of Discussion on Proposal 1

Fourteen participants made substantive comments on the proposal to change the membership requirement for the Webkeeper Backup from one year to six months. Most, but not all, of the comments indicated a preference to leave the requirement as is at one year. It was pointed out that the position has remained vacant since the new website became active and that the single volunteer, who has 16 years sober, has been a member of GROW for only six months.

The Website Administrator suggested that, while the current requirement should not be changed, it might be possible to make an exception given the volunteer’s length of sobriety and willingness to serve. Several participants agreed with this suggestion. We will postpone further discussion of this issue for now and possibly revisit an ‘exception’ proposal later in this meeting.


Results of Voting on Proposal 1

Nineteen (19) participants voted on Proposal 1.2, which would change the membership requirement for the Webkeeper Backup from one year to six months.

Twelve (12) participants voted “I disagree” (63%) on the proposal, and seven (7) voted “I agree. (37%) ” Therefore, Proposal 1 did not meet the requirement for a 2/3 majority.

In the absence of a 2/3 majority, this proposal will be set aside and cannot be raised again for a year.

Oct 04: Step 10

Step 10: “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

This step is discussed in the Big Book on pages 84-85, and at more length in the 12×12 starting on p. 88. This step involves – for me – a process of continuing to “look at our [my] assets and liabilities…” with “a real desire to learn and grow by this means” (12/12, p. 88)

What a challenge! To keep looking at both my strengths and what I think are my weaknesses and maintain a willingness to keep growing! Sometimes that growth process involves a lot of emotional focus that is not comfortable for me (maybe always?) And as I think about it today, it can be as uncomfortable to look at my assets with the same focus as my weaknesses. It strikes me just now that part of the reason to admit my assets is to keep in mind what I might be called to do, or add, or offer in a situation – to keep an open mind and heart to how I might be being called to contribute.

This step calls me to try and be aware of what I am doing right now and how that might affect others right now. I want to be alert to the symptoms of emotional imbalance and how I react to situations where I am emotionally disturbed right now, in this moment, so I have a chance to apologize and make the situation as right as I can… The step also recommends that I do a daily taking of an inventory to see how my day went – where was I helpful (what worked) and where did my defects pop up like weeds in my garden?

I am more adept at the “spot-check inventory,” the recognizing of where I am a mess right now – than I am at doing the day-end inventory. After talking with my sponsor about this, we have added to my daily short list of gratitudes a reflection of my day as it played out using Step 10 as a lens. I write this in my journal – I keep it to one page – and photograph it and text it to her. I find this sharing helps so much as it is one of the things I can do to make the program of AA come really alive.

One of the promises in this step is that this will help me stay emotionally sober – a state I’m coming to prize highly. It also makes an amazing claim that I have found does, indeed, come true (another promise) in the Big Book on p. 84, “And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned.” What an amazing promise – that I, Laura, can be in a place where I don’t fight anyone or anything.

I am looking forward to hearing how you use Step 10 and / or how you might find Step 10 a challenge.

Thank you for letting me chair this meeting and letting my share – my name is Laura B. and I am an alcoholic.

1020 – OIAA Report

Oct 2020 OIAA Report

I’m Sophie, serving as our Online Intergroup of AA Rep.

What is OIAA?  The Online Intergroup of AA

The Intergroup exists to aid the groups in their common purpose of carrying the AA message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Each and every online AA group can have one voting representative (currently that’s me for GROW). But any AA member is welcome to join, listen/read discussions, and on any Wednesday (known in OIAA AA Wacky Wednesday) can ask any off topic discussion question relating to online AA.

OIAA currently provides information to AA or to newcomers in several ways….

* World Wide Web Meeting Directories listing online AA groups – every format of online group can be found listed here: https://aa-intergroup.org/oiaa/meetings/

* The OIAA Unity Committee – communicates with other A.A. service bodies, such as local districts, intergroups, areas, regions, AAWS, GSO-NY, and GSO-UK. Currently the Unity Committee is working at building links with all GSO’s (General Service Offices) worldwide.

* The OIAA Public Information Committee – responds to needs at the public level and facilitates public awareness and understanding of Alcoholics Anonymous by means of the Internet, news media, personal contact, or non-AA public functions through conference approved literature, speakers, or correspondence.

The principal responsibilities of the Online Intergroup of AA are:

    • to promote the unity of online AA groups in accordance First Tradition One
    • to use the internet to carry the message of AA in accordance with Tradition Five
    • to respond to the needs of the online AA groups in accordance with Tradition Nine
    • to provide a central source of information about online AA through a website, directory, and the activities of its members, in accordance with Tradition Eleven

If you’ve been a member of a f2f AA group, you’ll probably know that your GSR (Group Service Representative) attends a local f2f Intergroup or Area Assembly, and that they carry your group’s voice – they discuss and vote on wider AA issues that support AA’s Primary Purpose. These forums such as Intergroups and Assemblies help groups work together to achieve more than just an individual group could do alone. In these times, this has never been truer in the online world of AA.

So, just like your f2f Intergroup or Assembly, the OIAA has Committees to organise the 12th Step Work and the support it offers online AA. Anyone is welcome to serve on these Committees, it’s not just down to group reps to carry out all the service needed.

This link takes you to a list of the OIAA Committees and what they do: https://aa-intergroup.org/about-aa/oiaa-members/

If communicating with newcomers is the service you’re looking for, you could join the 12th Step Committee. If you want to be involved in carrying the message to professionals (eg. medics, prison, judiciary), CPC (Cooperating With The Professional Community) could be for you. You can offer time in carrying the message to the public by working with The Public Information Committee.

I have always been encouraged to serve AA beyond my home group. The global world of AA and our service structure fascinates me and has given me many opportunities to give back. Committees can be challenging (opportunities for GROW-ing), but I’ve found them also to be inspiring too.

OIAA is constantly in assembly, which I found a very different and strange format to understand in the beginning. There are many threads of discussion to follow and lots of comments to read, but I’m learning ways to follow these and be ready to make an informed vote on behalf of GROW when needed.

For me, getting an understanding of the wider AA world online has been an added dimension to my sobriety. I’ve found a bunch of service friends amongst the Unity Committee in OIAA, and I know other committees are focused units ploughing forwards to better serve the online AA groups.

You might see little off-topic announcements from me as your OIAA Rep when I hear something in OIAA that I think may be of use to some of you.

In love and service,
Sophie
OIAA Rep for GROW

1020 – Listkeeper’s Report

Oct 2020 Listkeeper’s Report

Our membership as of September 30, 2020 is 241. Regular list members 241 and 23 Digest members (this number is always a little larger than our actual count because some members have two subscriptions – one for regular posts and one for digests and some members have two regular list addresses.)

At the conclusion of our last business meeting, April 1, 2020; we had 166 members. This time last year we had 374 members. We conducted the Roll Call earlier this year and unsubbed many who did not reply as well as resubbed many members.

Big giant thanks to our greeters Lisa M. and Louise H. as well as Nancy C for keeping up with the large volume of requests while we were all quarantined due to COVID-19! This coming service term will include myself and Karen H as Listkeepers, while Karrie C and Lisa will continue as greeters. Thank you so much for all of your service ladies!

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah K and Nancy C
GROW Listkeepers

1020 – Business Chair Report

Oct 2020 Business Chair Report

There was one topic discussed after the April 2020 business meeting. A couple of members posted links and/or information about other meeting available on Zoom or another online platform.

The small steering committee discussed this, and the secretary asked the women who posted not to publish links but to inform members that there are other resources they use and ask anyone interested to contact them privately for specific information.

The discussion about changing the membership requirement for a trusted servant position will be discussed as a proposal in the October meeting.

Joan Bancroft
Outgoing Business Chair

1020 – Treasurer’s Report

Oct 2020 – Treasurer’s Report

Paypal Deposits
Deposit                     Balance
Apr……………………….. 125.89……………… 125.89
May………………………… 60.00……………… 185.89
June………………………… 10.00……………… 195.89
July…………………………. 64.26……………… 260.15
August…………………….. 54.12……………… 314.27
September………………. 66.12……………… 380.39

Ally Deposits
Deposit               Balance
Prudent Reserve……………………………….. 122.03
Apr- ……………………… 175.03……………… 297.06
May………………………….. 0.03……………… 297.09
June………………………… 50.03……………… 347.12
July…………………………… 0.03……………… 347.15
August…………………….. 35.03……………… 382.18
September………………. 50.00……………… 432.18

Total
$ 380.39        Paypal
$ 432.18        Ally
$ 814.57        Total

We have no bills due, and there have been no other expenses during the period from April 1, 2020 to date.

I will keep $122.00 for prudent reserve and will send the remaining $692.57 as our donation to GSO.

Respectfully submitted,
Cheryl Baughman
GROW Treasurer

1020 – Secretary’s Report

Oct 2020 Secretary’s Report

Outgoing Trusted Servants:
(Terms ending October 1, 2020)

    • 12 Step Volunteer Listkeeper (04/20-10/20): Danna M. email
    • Birthday Listkeeper (04/20-10/20): Susan J. email
    • Sponsor Listkeeper (04/20-10/20): Alison B. email
    • Business Meeting Chair (10/18-10/20): Joan B. email
    • GSR (10/18-10/20): Kate M. email
    • GVR (10/19-10/20): Bobby T. email
    • Greeter (4/20-10/20): Louise H. email
    • Listkeeper (4/20-10/20): Nancy C. email
    • Secretary (10/19-10/20): Laurie C. email
    • Website Administrator (4/20-10/20): Tanya C. email

Current Trusted Servants
(as of October 2020)

  • 12 Step Volunteer Listkeeper: Claire H <harrisonclaire33@gmail.com>
  • Birthday Listkeeper: Julie K <julie.kapala2013@gmail.com>
  • Sponsor Listkeeper : Lynn <lilitaliangal@gmail.com>

Trusted Servants who make up the Steering Committee:

  • Business Meeting Chair (10/20 to 10/22) Danna M <danna.growmail@gmail.com>
  • GSR (10/20-10/21): Nicole W <nicolewaltersparker@icloud.com>
  • GVR (10/20-10/21): Barbara ‘Barb’ M <barbaramanolache@gmail.com>
  • Greeter (4/20-4/21): Lisa M <lmmgrow@gmail.com>
  • Greeter (10-20 -10-21): Karrie C <kchaneycoo@gmail.com>
  • Listkeeper (4/20-4/21): Sarah K <smkeester@gmail.com>
  • Listkeeper Alternate (10/20-10/21): Karen H <fromie10@gmail.com>
  • OIAA Rep (10/20-4/21): Sophie R <sophieflookgrowbusiness@gmail.com>
  • Secretary (10/20-10/21): Nancy C <cybergram@eastlink.ca>
  • Temporary Mentor (4/20- 4/21): Sarah M <the.bhakti.yogini@gmail.com>
  • Treasurer (10/19-10/21): Cheryl B <cab7thtradition@gmail.com>
  • Website Administrator (10/20-10/21): Cheryl D <cdematt@gmail.com>
  • Webkeeper <vacant>
  • Webkeeper Backup <vacant>
  • Weekly Leader Listkeeper (4-20 to 4/21): Rene Goldsworthy <renegoldsworthy517@gmail.com>
  • Immediate Past Business Meeting Chair: Joan B
  • Immediate Past GSR: Kate M
  • Immediate Past OIAA: Lynn H and Kirsten V.
  • Immediate Past Secretary: Laurie C

1020 – Business Meeting Welcome

Oct 2020 – Business Meeting Welcome

Greetings, and welcome to the October 2020 Business Meeting of Grateful Recovering Online Women (GROW).

I am danna, a recovering alcoholic, and your Business Chair for this meeting. Thank you for participating!

This is a closed meeting, open only to members of GROW, for the discussion of business as it relates to our group. Our business meetings run in four-day segments and last no more than 29 days.

I will post each Agenda item, one by one, in separate emails and **ask that you respond to each accordingly.** This makes it easier to “tally” the responses and suggestions to each item. We will have a three-day period of open discussion on each Agenda item. This, hopefully, will allow all members regardless of work schedules, time zones, etc. to participate and comment. At the beginning of the 4th day, I will post summarize our discussions and offer recommendations on any changes suggested by the discussions.

Before we begin, let’s have a moment of silence to reflect on why we are here, followed by the Serenity Prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Amen

In this Business Meeting, let us be guided by The Twelve Traditions:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  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.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Let us all keep in mind our Unity of Service statement from the Grapevine of September 1998:

“Unity seldom means that we all agree on everything. Nor is unity served by setting aside our concerns and conforming to the majority opinion (or the vocal minority) . . . Unity is best achieved by a full hearing of all points of view . . . time for all of those involved to step back from emotional responses . . . as well as careful consideration and prayer for that which will best serve the group or AA as a whole.”

Thank you for being here and for your dedication to GROW.

Respectfully submitted,
danna M.
GROW Business Chair

2020 Business Meeting – April

2020 Business Meeting – April

(topics are listed below are in order of presentation)

Sep 27: Today’s To Dos For Sobriety & Recovery

Thank you to all outgoing and incoming servicers of this meeting, we appreciate all the work you do.

Thank you for allowing me to lead, sharing my experience, strength and hope. It is both an honor and a privilege.

As I begin this writing, it is about 40 minutes until I get the gift of celebrating 16 years of continuous sobriety. 🥳

I start with this declaration not because I’m all that and chips ~ but because I am in awe of how it works, and that with lots of help, I, too, have found the solution to staying sober. My hope is that others can see it is possible for them, too.
Saying that I am grateful does not seem to do it justice, but to describe all I am because of the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous is virtually impossible.
Getting and staying sober have truly given me life.

Consistently, September has been a wonderfully, sometimes difficult~ly introspective month. I know many others experience this “time of reflection mode” before their sobriety anniversary/birthday, as well. Over the years, it’s no longer all about my head “hey, look at me!”, but instead having to do with my heart, “am I doing the next right thing?”, a testimony to a Higher Power and the Program and fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a time of looking at the progress and changes made since last year, as well as some “blast from the past” memories that reeeeeally show me progress. Golly, some of the crazy crap we do while we are out there rocking and reeling. So grateful I don’t have to live like that anymore.

In the beginning of my sobriety, the reflection was really ego deflating, because their wasn’t much progress that I could see, which led to the ego smashing required for me to see the Action that I needed to do to produce my continuing evolution ~ so that I could create and then see, the progress I desired. My “Today’s To Do’s” are in the next few paragraphs, all the things I do to stay in sobriety/recovery.

Through great sponsorship, daily conscious contact (prayer/meditation), daily readings, journaling, gazillions of gratitude lists and uncountable numbers of meetings, I have become the human, woman person I’ve always wanted to be ~ the one that used to be hidden amongst all the rubble that was my tornado 🌪 type self-created life.
September has had some great meetings so far this month, with topics that have included Step 9, the Promises, honesty, service, gratitude and it’s Recovery Month!, just to name a few.

All of these have become a part of my life and made my life better:

  • Step 9: I finally admitted I was wrong, and showed up to make it right.
  • The Promises: Every single one has come true in my life already and continue to do so.
  • Honesty: I learned to become honest with myself about myself and became able to be totally honest with others. Without being brutal.
  • Service: Whether walking another woman through the Steps, or helping a stranger with their groceries, today I love to be there for and be of service to others.
  • Gratitude: Focusing on all I do have. How truly fortunate I am.
  • Always remaining teachable.

I believe that my true purpose in life is to be of maximum service to my God, my Goddess and my fellows.  Recovery Month is such an awesome time. All of us miracles celebrating our lives, clean and sober together. Awesome stuff!!

Although I have managed to string many “one day at a time’s” together, the most important and meaningful day is the one I am in. Being present is an awesomely wonderful gift. If I stay present and do well in today’s 24, tomorrow’s 24 is likely to roll along just fine.  Couple of nuggets before I go:

  • Just for today, I will not worry.
  • Just for today, I will not be angry.
  • Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
  • Just for today, I will show love and respect for every living thing.
  • Just for today, I will live an attitude of gratitude.

I want to have a good attitude because that’s what will glorify my God. It is promised that if we will do three simple things—continue to pray, to love Him, and to want His will—that all things will work together for our good (see Romans 8:28). That’s a 100 percent, ironclad guarantee that no matter how messy life gets, God will make good out of it. If you want victory in your life, all you have to do is adopt a lifestyle of thanksgiving.

Thanks again for letting me share and for being an integral part of my sobriety.Topic for the week: What are your Today’s To-Do’s for maintaining your sobriety/recovery?

Sep 20: Gratitude is a Gift Too

September has a special meaning for me. It is the month of both my birthday and my AA anniversary. Today my gift is gratitude itself. It is inside me, and I want to keep feeling it. I never used to know gratitude. It is a gift that shouldn’t get dusty on a shelf. It needs to be integrated right into my attitude where it belongs. It seems to take a weight off my shoulders.

Gratitude can seem elusive, but the serenity I feel is gratitude in my life. It is one of those gifts that I might overlook. So I chart it daily.

Early in AA I felt grateful for an odd gift: the gift of desperation. Without it I would not have come to AA. My Higher Power is the best gift-giver ever! As a newcomer, I didn’t always feel good and sometimes wondered why I made the decision to get sober. I wasn’t so sure I was grateful–until I paused, or was told by my sponsor, to reflect on it. Sure enough-there it was.

The Promises are my cheat sheet in starting my gratitude list. But they are very limited. My gratitude is vast. It covers the sun, the moon, the stars, a wonderful breeze, a fragrant flower, loved ones, pets. Sobriety. You. Serenity. A higher power I call God. Just some of my favorite things. Drinking and stumbling through my life I barely noticed those things. The list grows in sobriety.

I never dreamed I would find a support system. I never dreamed I could be worthy of love and kindness. Calm was not within my reach. There are in fact other emotions on the chart besides anger! Laughter came into my life. My prayers turned to requests for blessings to others. I say prayers of thanks. I ask for direction and the will of my Higher Power. Not until I set aside my own apparent control was I open to a Higher Power. It seemed prayers were answered when I didn’t even pray! I am so grateful.

Each of us experiences gratitude in her own personal way. As unique as we are, that is how unique our gratitude list is. But when we shout out in unison at the end of a meeting, Keep coming back, it works when you work it! we express a joy and gratitude we share alike.

My gratitude in recovery seems to burst out of nowhere and float all over me like fairy dust. Sometimes I giggle at what I’m grateful for. I love the sneaky little surprises from my Higher Power too, although sometimes I don’t see them right away. My gratitude is as precious as the gifts themselves. The world looks so much better with Gratitude in My Attitude. I invite you to continue to join me in celebrating gratitude. I am able to invite each of you because, of course, your name is on my Gratitude List! hgz, b. dos 9/21/83; dob 9/01/43

Please feel free to share on this topic or any other of your choice.

Sep 13: Honesty

Before coming into the rooms of AA I was very dishonest. I lied to my boss, blaming other people for any mistakes I made like a toddler “I didn’t do it”. I lied to coworkers, once hiding important keys left on my desk because they belonged to a woman I disliked and knew she would get into trouble. I lied constantly to my spouse about my drinking and lied to my children that my drinking was normal. I lied to friends that my life was great, lied to family about my drinking, lied to get ahead, lied to get my way, lied to win …… I could take another hour and write about so many more instances that I was dishonest during my drinking career. Dishonesty was so much a part of me it became automatic. I could come up with a lie so fast while looking you in the eye it was scary.

When I finally dragged myself to the rooms of AA I was at a very low bottom. I learned very slowly because I thought it was all about drinking and how to stop. But as I was told at the tables I slowly started to change, inside and out. It was not easy and my HP was doing all the heavy lifting but I started to see a different person. Someone with a sense of honesty, both with myself and others. When I finally realized that even though no one else would see me sneak a drink (or six) I myself would know and I would care. This honesty with myself was a pivotal moment where the conscious change started and the changes stayed. I know it only happened because “I couldn’t, He could so I let Him”.

Today honesty is very important to me. I still find myself slipping sometimes but I try to use my tools and repair, start back on my program. How has dishonesty/honesty changed during your AA journey?

Sep 06: Step 9

We are all invited to share on Step 9. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.

*** Step 9 ***
“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s much more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting in the middle of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***

You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org

My experience with Step nine is a variety, I make living amends, to myself, and others. I ALWAYS talk to my sponsor or trusted AA friends before I make any amends. I have to be keenly aware of my motives. Amends based on reestablishing a relationship, or getting you to forgive or like me again, aren’t amends. Amends are for me, first and foremost, They give me humility and pride in my self. They actually are part of the process in giving myself, back to myself. My drinking career revolved around people pleasing and trying to fit my square peg into the round hole. I just don’t fit. But the process of amends, understanding what I did that hurt your feelings, and what you require to “fix it” is humbling and really asks me to “listen” not defend. When I am that vulnerable, and that open and the other person can receive me on that playing field magic happens. Magic didn’t happen in all my amends. Some have been flatly refused and this people refuse to have conversations with me. That hurts, and today I can let myself actually feel that hurt. It’s a whole lot better than trying to stuff it or drink at it.

This is one of the parts of growing up I missed as a kid, and thank god there’s a program out here to teach me how to do it.

The meetings yours, please share on Step 9

Aug 30: Changes in Perspective

Last week I was listening to a podcast and I heard the statement. When shame grows up into Guilt then you are able to take responsibility for your actions. WOW big AHA moment….. when shame grows up into guilt. According to me, shame and guilt were both negative destructive emotions. I came into AA with boatloads of shame and guilt. However, all I could do was feel them. I had no outlet, I had no tools, I had just a pit of self despair. AA gave me tools to use to transform shame into guilt, and then the tools to use guilt to take responsibility for my actions.

These are new words for me. I have not seen the process from this perspective. Steps 4 thru 9 took care of the majority of my past issues, Steps 10 to 12 take care of my daily maintenance.

Guilt has now moved from being a negative emotion to a trusted friend who guides me on the path.
The meeting is now open. Please share on what strikes you, or what you need to share about.
Laurie
2-99

Aug 23: Bringing the Message Home

I chose this topic from the Daily Reflections forAugust 23.

Can we bring the same spirit of love and tolerance into our sometimes deranged family lives that we bring to our A.A. group?
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pp. 111-12

My family members suffer from the effects of my disease. Loving and accepting them as they are- just as I love and accept A.A. members– fosters a return of love, tolerance and harmony to my life. Using common courtesy and respecting others’ personal boundaries are necessary practices for all areas of my life.

Throughout my drinking career I thought everything was about me, me, me, me. If it wasn’t about me then I did not really care. I had to be in control of every situation and if I wasn’t then I was done with you. I would sabotage relationships that I was in if things did not go my way. Sometimes this would lead to abuse, but at the time I did not care because it would give me an excuse to drink and I would easily forgive myself. I sabotaged my relationship with family and friends. I liked things done my way regardless if I was wrong or right.

When I first started to get sober I went the complete opposite direction and I let people walk all over me. I didn’t know how to say no or to set boundaries. My first sponsor was very thorough with me and helped and guided me in my self will. She helped me to learn how to set boundaries without compromising myself. I learned how to tell people no so I would not feel guilty about it. I did not like to tell people no, but I felt if I said no then people would not like me. I now know that I am not always right that there are other ways of doing things. I am more tolerant of people, family and most importantly myself. Self love has played a big role in my sobriety.

Aug 16: The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety

“If we examine every disturbance we have, great or small, we will find at the root of it some unhealthy dependency and its consequent unhealthy demand. Let us, with God’s help, continually surrender these hobbling demands. Then we can be set free to live and love; we may then be able to Twelfth Step ourselves and others into emotional sobriety.” The Next Frontier: Emotional Sobriety by Bill Wilson, Copyright © AA Grapevine, Inc, January 1958

Thank you all again for my celebration last week. I picked this topic because just when I had thought I had got it all ‘figured out’ I got a lovely reminder in humility 😊.. My nephew on the same day as my anniversary got accepted into a prestigious university. He’s never seen his aunt drunk, out of control or fighting. I was delighted and of course, I made it clear I would be ready to help him at any point… and then something started bugging me. A sadness… ‘but, but, I am 12 years sober, where’s my big prize… a coin, lot of well wishes… But I want fireworks! I want more!’

2 hours later and I’m thinking ‘why am I envious?’ There it was: ‘I demand more than what I have already received. I went to a prestigious university too, but congratulate me again… I am smart, I am I am I am…’ […sigh]. You can see where this is headed… underneath it was just attention-seeking behaviour. A bit of king-baby syndrome.

Thank you, AA and all those 12 steps that help me, look within, find that self-centred fear and turn it over to my Higher Power. Bill W’s essay on Emotional Sobriety is still one of the best pieces of AA literature that right-sizes me. Within minutes I felt that freedom. I felt that the sunlight of the spirit. And I was back to enjoying those 24 hours.

Aug 09: Leaving Space for Your Higher Power

Hello Dear Women of GROW,

I am celebrating 7 years on the 9th and I am still here, working my program, daily. But lately my meditation practice has been spotty, and I’ve felt too distracted to pray.

I actually wondered if the program had stopped working. The program is still working.

What’s changed is the context I’m practicing in. There is a lot of space in my days. And what rushes into that space are uncomfortable feelings–and the scary stories I attach to them.

I’m an alcoholic. When discomfort hits I want to get busy and distract myself with whatever I can find–-because I’m triggered.

Today someone told me that space is where you meet God.

So I’m committing to making space available. I’ll start by acknowledging my feelings. When I do, they ease (my 4th and 5th steps taught me that). Then the space returns.

I can say a prayer or meditate into that space. I can express gratitude. All of this makes me feel a lot better than looking for shoes to buy online.

Where do you meet your Higher Power? How do you make space for this relationship? What gets in the way?

Thank you for being here.
x

Kirsten

Aug 02: Step 8

Topic for the week: Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all

I am and will always be so grateful for sponsorship and having women to help me with step work. I wanted to breeze through step 8 and find out how I was supposed to make amends, a step I had dreaded from the beginning.

But my sponsor explained that I could make a list using my inventory. Everyone in the first column of the inventory should be on my 8th step list and she and I would talk about each one and what amends were owed.

Step 8 really slowed me down. I was told to pray and thoughtfully consider the harm done to each person on the inventory. Then, I was to make 3 lists. The 1st was the amends that would be easy, I understood my harm and was willing to approach these people. The 2nd was a list of people I felt I owed an amends to, but I had reservations about making them. The 3rd list I either didn’t see the harm or was terrified of ever making a direct amend.

We started with the 1st list and she had me pray, then write a SHORT amend stating the harm I thought I caused. I started each one with the fact that I was alcoholic and trying to set right wrongs I had done. Then the facts, i.e. I was unkind, I lied, I was afraid, whatever had shown up on the inventory. Leaving out lengthy details and explanations, just the actions I took that were harmful. I had a lot of amends to make for gossiping and some of those were tricky. Do I make amends to the person I gossiped about or just to the person I gossiped to/with? We looked at each one, trying not to cause more harm.

It was such a helpful process to get prepared for each amend I owed with facts and what I was going to say. It took away some of the fear about direct aments. To this day, I run amends by someone first, often I’m wrong about the harm caused or what I am willing to change. It is so helpful to talk it out first and feel really prepared before I approach the person I resented.

As I worked through the first list, I experienced some of the freedom that comes and eventually I was willing to look at lists 2 and 3 and finish the whole process.

I’m looking forward to hearing your experiences with this step.

Jul 26: The 1-2-3 Waltz

When I was new to sobriety, everything was overwhelming. I looked at the Steps on the wall, and it seemed impossible to me. Not so much Step 1. I knew I was an alcoholic, and my life had definitely become unmanageable. It was the next two steps that threw me. Step 2 told me that I would come to believe that a Power greater than me could restore me to sanity. I didn’t believe it. First, I didn’t think I was insane. Second, the God of my understanding at the time did not get involved in individual lives. He’d created us with Free Will and depended on us to solve our own problems. Step 3 said I would give my life and my Will over to this Higher Power. The more I listened to what people said about it, the more skeptical I became. They kept talking about surrender! That was not my style.

But I was in trouble. I needed help. I couldn’t get or stay sober on my own. I’d tried AA before and failed at it. This time, I was truly desperate to quit, and I was finally willing to do what was suggested. So, I swallowed my pride and tried to do those first three steps with my sponsor. It was a long battle. The same thing played out at least once a month – over and over again.

Something would happen that upset me. I’d stew about it and try to figure out how to “fix” it. I’d try this and then that. Nothing solved the problem. I stayed upset. Talking to my sponsor about it every day, she’d finally ask what I was getting out of being upset. She was speaking Greek. She suggested I try the steps. How would that fix anything? So, on my own, I’d keep fighting for my way. I’d be angry at everyone. No one understood me or how unique I was. They couldn’t understand how complex my problem was. I knew I could figure it out.

I didn’t figure it out. I just kept being upset. I starting thinking maybe I was insane after all. The people at AA weren’t upset all the time. They had a way to solve their problems. They let go of them. They gave them to their Higher Power and went about their business. They didn’t stay upset. They were content and happy.

So, after about two weeks of trying to swim upstream, I’d finally get on my knees and give the problem to a God I didn’t really trust. I’d try hard to stop thinking about it. I tried to go about my business. At first, giving my problem to God would last a few minutes at best. In no time, I was obsessing about it again and getting upset. But I’d gotten some relief, so I got down on my knees and let go of it again. Maybe a few more minutes of relief. Every time I gave my Higher Power my problem, the relief lasted longer. I could focus on being sober rather than being upset.

It took months for me to begin to trust that letting go of my problem would solve it. For all those months, I was doing the 1-2-3 Waltz. I was going through the first three steps over and over again. (I can’t. He can. I’ll let Him.) Over time, it got easier. Over an even longer time, it started getting automatic. I’d learned that letting go of my problem, giving it to God, actually worked. Over time, I went from suffering for a couple of weeks before I’d let go to suffering for minutes and letting go.

I’d finally learned that my way isn’t the best way. It’s certainly not the easiest. What is easy is trusting my Higher Power to lead me where I need to be. When I surrender, things turn out so much better than they ever have. I can stop worrying and obsessing. I can just live my life, knowing that there is a better way – knowing that if I just trust and go on with my day, the problem will cease to be a problem. I don’t have to fix anything. I don’t have to have my way. In fact, getting my way is usually the worst thing for me in the long run.

So, this week, I’d like to hear your experience with the first three steps. Did you or do you do the 1-2-3 Waltz like I did? What did you or are you learning about living sober? Of course, please share on anything you need to this week.

Jul 19: The two faces of alcoholism/coin

“When I try to reconstruct what my life was like “before”, I see a coin with two faces.

One, the side I turned to myself and the world, was respectable – even, in some ways, distinguished. I was father, husband, tax payer, home owner. I was club-man, athlete, artist, musician, author, editor, aircraft pilot, and world traveller. I was listed in Who’s Who in America as an American who, by distinguished achievement has arrived.

The other side of the coin was sinister, baffling. I was inwardly unhappy most of the time. There would be times when the life of respectability and achievement seemed insufferably dull – I had to break out. This I would do by going completely “bohemian” for a night, getting drunk, and rolling home with the dawn. Next day, remorse would be on me like a tiger.

I’d claw my way back to respectability and stay there – untill the inevitable next time”.

Extract from BB page 382

When I started drinking it was all low key and modest, I was in control. Then I found I loved the taste of alcohol, it made me into friendly bubbly person who could converse with anyone, compared to the shy awkward introvert I am, I was always “in the background”.

My love of alcohol was almost like a love affair, I did not need anyone or anything, as long as I went to work every day and proved what an exceptional (in my mind) worker I was, then how could I be an alcoholic?

Many times in my drinking career when at a pub and obviously had to much to drink, and not steady on my feet would knock a glass over or some inappropriate comment made, I always joked ” I would pick up my name later”‘, that never happened, and thinking on it today I would be permanently on my knees “picking up my name”.

In the beginning it was easy to have a ready made excuse, especially as did not always go with same friends out, at work I was hard working and went the extra mile (even today I go the extra mile- just not with drinking anymore), then come knock off time I would plan most nights to party.

Eventually I was drinking more and became a solitary drinker, it was easier than having to make excuses to anyone, and my love affair with the bottle “got intense”‘.

It would be nice to hear “your two sides of the coin”

Rene

Jul 12: Keys to the Kingdom: Relationships in AA

“I have a wealth of friends and, with my A.A. friends, an unusual quality of fellowship. For, to these people, I am truly related. First, through mutual pain and despair, and later through mutual objectives and newfound faith and hope. And, as the years go by, working together, sharing our experiences with one another, and also sharing a mutual trust, understanding, and love—without strings, without obligation—we acquire relationships that are unique and priceless.”

There is no more aloneness, with that awful ache, so deep in the heart of every alcoholic that nothing, before, could ever reach it. That ache is gone and never need return again.

Now there is a sense of belonging, of being wanted and needed and loved. In return for a bottle and a hangover, we have been given the Keys of the Kingdom.” From “Keys to the Kingdom” page 276 of the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous 4th Edition

I’ve recently been reflecting on my time in and out of AA. I’ve shared before that I was off booze for eight years give or take before making it to AA. Once I was here I was desperate and also really firmly believed you had the solution to actually living without drinking. Prior to AA I wasn’t drinking, but what I was doing wasn’t exactly living either, more of an isolated survival.

Since joining the AA Fellowship and slowly but surely growing my network of sober sisters, I do feel as if I’ve been granted the Keys of the Kingdom. I’ve found a place where I actually feel as if I belong. I have found a tribe of women that I can really be honest with, really grow alongside, and a spiritual way of life and community unlike anywhere on Earth.

Please share on anything this passage brings to mind for you or anything else you need to share on! Thank you for the honor of chairing this meeting and for being here with me living in the solution.

Love,
Emily M.
9/1/2010

Jul 05: Step 7

Good morning Ladies of Grow, thank you for allowing me to lead this weeks meeting and be of service. Today’s share is on step 7.

“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”

At the beginning of my recovery I didn’t understand step 7 at all. Being humble wasnt something that came naturally to me at all. I was an ego driven maniac for most of my life, so when this step spoke of being humble it was a strange concept to me.

I had never heard of the word humility which is what this step is all about. The great fact is that unless I was able to gain some sense of humility I wouldn’t stay sober. Humility for me is knowing my place and staying in. It means I have to remain humble enough to know who is in charge, and that is God.

“My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which is standing in the way of my usefulness to you and to my fellows. Grant me strength as I go out from here to do your bidding. Amen”

I am in the world to fulfil a roll that God assigned to me. I have to keep my channel clear to enable God to work through me. At first ai struggled with giving the good away, I only wanted to be free of the bad. I didn’t realize and understand that God needs all of me, so he can honor his end of the deal that was made in Step 3. God knows me better than i know myself. In giving him all of me, good and bad, he has been able to work his magic into my life and change it beyond my wildest dreams.

Through the step 7 prayer I have been able to make Love, tolerance and honesty a daily part of my life. I have been able to be rid of gut wrenching fear that stops me being able to do anything. I have been able to be patient in very testing times. I have been given qualities I never knew I had. I have found that I am not just a walking defect, I posses many good qualities. I am able to live in this world that used to be such an alien place for me. I am given strength and courage on a daily basis to tackle things head on.

Asking for God to remove my shortcomings is a very humbling process indeed.

Thank you for letting me chair and share today.

Claire H

Jun 28: Maladjustment’s Management

Hi everyone. I am an incredibly grateful alcoholic, and my name is Taylor D.
The first thing I’d like to do is thank the group for allowing me the opportunity to serve as this week’s chair, and i thank you once again for the opportunity to be of service, by allowing me to offer my willingness to sponsor the in need members here. It is both a blessing and an honor to get to work with others as they (we) go through the Steps.

Service is also a huge part of my recovery: helping to keep me sober and involved, as well as giving back ~ making payments on a debt I’ll never be able to fully repay. I am so blessed and grateful to this Program.

For the newcomers and the come-backers: I hope you hear something that makes you want to stay, and if not, I hope you’ll keep coming back until you do.

The topic I have chosen for sharing my experience, strength and hope for this week is what I like to call my Maladjustment’s Management.

In both the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and in the 12×12, these maladjustment’s are mentioned. Bill W. sometimes called them character defects, sometimes he referred to them as shortcomings, and several times he pointed them out as chronic maladjustments.

I prefer this terminology better most of the time, I suppose because it was something I glommed right onto in the beginning ~ it made it all make a little more sense to my very askew brain.

As I’m sure you are wondering by now, ” what the hockey sticks is she talking about!?!”
When I speak of the managment of my maladjustment’s, I am speaking of how I am dealing with my current character defects. As you all are aware, some of our character defects don’t go away ~ so (my) our responsibility becomes dutiful management of them so they don’t go to extremes again, and so we don’t hurt ourselves or others with them.

Every year, right prior to my AA birthday, (usually 2-3 months) I hit a reflection period. I find that old memories come up, mostly good: childhood memories, relationships of all different types, a lot of good times and of course those good ole growth opportunities! Because of working this Program to the best of my ability, what began as morbid reflection the first year I did the reflection/review, is now an opportunity to measure my progress; from last year, as well as the progress I’ve made since the beginnng of my sobriety, which was September 28, 2004.

And therefore the questions: have i learned from them? have i changed my behaviors for the better? have i become kinder? am i closer to being the woman I’ve always wanted to be?

What I am seeing this year is pretty good in my maladjustment’s management, I’m not finding any that make me say gees louise, not that again!! (like the whack-a-mole it used to be). My intolerance of others is almost not existent, because of God and the Program, today I am truly able to accept others just exactly where they are! Yay!! I see in reviewing my interactions with others that my compassiion and empathy have grown by leaps and bounds. I also see that my impatience and judgmentalism have improved, though there is definitely a lot of room for improvement on those fronts! These 5 items are my list of maladjustments that i deal with in my life right now and continue to strive daily to make them better. I do this by doing Step 6 and 7 over and over again, studying the books, by working with my sponsor, meetings, sponsorship, service and of course a very strong faith in God; but the thing I find that helps the most is the willingness to acknowledge, admit, remain teachable and change.

And please: don’t take this as me inferring that I’m just so wonderful and such a spiritual guru, as I surely am not. I act like an ass and make mistakes now and again, just like every other human being.

How I’d like you to take it is with your eyes on the awesome power of the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous. As it has taken a hopeless, helpless, terrified and desperate drunk like me and with a lot of work and willingness for patient progress, has turned me into a hopeful, positive, grateful, helpful and considerate adult, who’s almost completely free of fear and the bondage of self: a woman truly full of happiness and joy.

Thanks again for letting me share.
Faith n Hope
Taylor

Jun 21: Out of the dark

Topic for the week: Out of the dark

As Bill sees it (page 10)

Self searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. With it comes the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible for us to receive God’s help.

Yes it is only a step we will want to go further

We will want the good that is in us all, even in the worst of us, to flower and to grow. But first of all we shall want sunlight, nothing much can grow in the dark. Meditation is our step into the sun.

It has been said that each person has the capacity “to be evil”, not many act upon that impulse.

As an alcoholic I could say I did “evil things”, the lives of friends and family destroyed through my drinking, as nothing was more important than the next drink. As I did not do well in relationships, I avoided been with anyone and could be selfish and only think of myself. Yet also the yearning to be accepted was what I wanted and I thought alcohol would do that.

I would look in the mirror after a “heavy night” out and hate myself, I would vow to stop but after work would again go to nearest bottle store.

Alcohol produces “the evil”, and as humans we want to also do good, be “normal”.

As “Bill said”, nothing can grow in the dark.
Think of flowers when they grow, they grow in sunlight “and turn towards the sun”.
Are we reaching towards the sun?

Would love to hear what everyone thinks of the dark and the light.

Rene

Jun 14: Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it

“Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.”
from the long version of the serenity prayer

“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the [people and] things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
Amen”

When I first came into the rooms of AA I learned the long version of the serenity prayer. I clung to it every day as I focused on not taking a drink. This one prayer got me through the roughest moments of the first year, and 5+ years down the road of recovery it still helps to soothe my weary soul far beyond any temptation to drink alcohol.

I have been extremely challenged this year to stay positive in spite of all the negative people and events that I cannot control. If I fail to remain positive most of the time, I suffer the consequences physically, emotionally and spiritually. This bleeds outward and can easily damage the relationships with those that I love. A couple of months ago I was reciting my morning prayers, struggling to make sense of events in our country. I noticed and digested this one line of the prayer that I had barely noticed previously: “Taking, as he did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it”. It’s funny how you can see the same words every day for literally years but not spend any time pondering what it means to you. Well, on that day and every day since I focus on it, as it truly helps me understand that a portion of what I must accept just might be what I inherently deem completely, utterly unacceptable. The ‘learning opportunities’ just keep on coming…

With all of the times I have wrestled with acceptance, these past few months have me stretching farther than ever to do just that. This one sentence gives me the strength and courage I need. I am able to react differently to that which bothers me as I literally speak it out loud (fortunately my husband humors me as I do!). I feel the stress caged up in my body relax as I take this pause to ‘check in’ with God. It breaks the tension, I find something to laugh about and move on.

Maybe I haven’t been here long enough, but I’ve not heard others talk about this specific part of the serenity prayer. I am curious to know if or how this sentence has meaning for you. Please feel free to share on this or any other topic.

Grateful to be of service this week,
Susan P.

Jun 07: Step 6

Hello all ladies of GROW.

My name Rene and am an alcoholic.

Step 6 (Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character).

Step 6 is necessary for spiritual growth. The beginning of a lifetime job. Being ready is all important and delay is dangerous. The point at which we abandon limited objectives and move towards God’s will for us (paraphrased from 12×12 pages 65-67).

I still have many character defects, impatience a big one for me, and I find sitting at home (due to the pandemic) that my mind wanders a lot more to things that have happened in the past and I build up a resentment again (note that all in my mind-how fickle I am)’

Guilt is another character defect, I remember when doing step 4 the all consuming guilt I felt “like I was something unpleasant stuck under a shoe, I felt like I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me. That been said having a measure of guilt is good to remind me of what I was to help me develop into a better person.

I was a happy drunk most of the time, would go with anyone to the next watering hole.

Fear another character defect (fear of what I done and what will happen to me, fear can be replaced with courage, the courage to change within myself (still at times fight against it), not an overnight process and takes time. That why I like what been said many times, this is not a programme we graduate from, I am still a work in progress.

Once when I was in my early 30’s I went club hopping with a friend (that time friends were a dime a dozen), we ended up at a club early hours in the morning and I went to get us drinks, I even accused the owner of not giving me the correct change, whereby she told us that the last drink (much grumbling from me)’

When we left the owner came around the corner with bouncers to question me about the change, luckily it only ended up in a shouting match and the cops were called and we were hauled off to jail for disturbing the peace, to me then it was like a badge of honour, now sober am still horrified at what I did, and the irrational fear of going to jail again still creeps up, even though I have done nothing wrong.

At the moment time is all I got, it just a matter of how well I use it. My job is to practice the principles to the best of my ability, in my case it slow plodding along.

To me step 6&3 are similar (my distorted thinking), step 3 we made the decision to turn our lives and will over to the care of God (as we understood him), with continuous effort on our parts to progress to step 6 asking for the defects of character to be removed.

I like the June 6 daily reflections (can he now take them a-every one?

(Paraphrasing – All that step six asks of me is to become willing to name my defects, claim them as my own, and be willing to discard the ones I can, just for today.

Thank you for letting me share.
Rene

May 31: Powerlessness/Unmanageability

When I volunteered to chair a May meeting, I was looking forward to celebrating my 20-year AA birthday. However, around the first week in May, I abruptly stopped going to my home group’s Zoom meetings. Since then I’ve been struggling with finding a topic that sounds like “good AA,” one that won’t sound like I have a problem with AA at 20 years of sobriety. I don’t want to scare any newcomers, for one thing. But then it occurred to me that I wouldn’t be honest if I don’t tell you, my trusted friends, what is going on with me.

What has been bothering me most is that all I’ve been able to hear in meetings and see in the literature is negativity. I see only the should’s and ought-to’s and commands, as if the literature itself is yelling at me. My old “pal” shame has come back, telling me as it always does that I’m not a real alcoholic, my drinking didn’t take me to places it would have if I were a real alcoholic like you, my story isn’t bad enough for you to relate to. I feel like I’m rebelling against what has been the single most positive thing in my life. What is that about??

Perhaps this is alcoholism — my dis-ease poisoning my thought process, pushing me towards differences and negativity and isolation…and, probably at some point, a drink. Pair that with my other dis-ease, codependence, and you have a recipe for self-destruction that for me is just as cunning, baffling and powerful.

I suspect my mother’s death and the year I spent caring for her have something to do with this. I’m just beginning to recognize how I turned myself inside out trying to please her and keep her happy and how impossible that was (powerlessness and unmanageability, anyone?). Years ago when my dad died, I realized that his voice had become my own voice of negativity; I now see that it also has come from my mom, whose criticism was much more subtle. Both of those voices are gone, and what is left? The voice, my voice, in my head that has always told me I’m not enough, I don’t do enough — the voice I tried to silence with alcohol (and that came roaring back at me when I stopped drinking but had not yet found AA). But it’s not my parents or the literature or the program that’s yelling at me, it’s my own inner voice. It’s the one that always resurfaces when I want to escape the truth: I spent over a year trying to fix, manage and control my mom (thinking I was doing the “right thing”) and when I couldn’t, I turned on myself. Apparently, when I forget that I’m powerless, my life becomes unmanageable — imagine that! I suspect, too, that my complete exhaustion after my experience with my mom contributed to my inability to remember the basic principles of the program.

I want you all to know that, in spite of my distaste for AA Zoom meetings, at no time have I lost my connection with my higher power. I just kind of forgot to turn everything over. I have not lost the knowledge that I am an alcoholic, and I have not lost all the gratitude I hold for how much AA and everyone I’ve met along the way have done to change my life for better and better. Best of all, I have not stopped coming to GROW every day, and I think you all are what has kept me from going off the deep end.

I’m coming to see that this is another opportunity to love and be gentle with myself as never before. I don’t need to punish myself with AA. It’s time for me to let go of that negative, imaginary voice and be open to hearing only the loving voices of my higher power and my fellow AAs. Though it has taken 20 years for me to arrive at this point, that 20 years could only have started because of putting down the drink and coming to AA.

Thank you for letting me chair, and share (at length!).

May 24: Hi, my name is….

Hi GROW!
I’m Sophie, alcoholic.

“Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to take certain steps.”
BB Chapter 5 How It Works

I love hearing examples of how the program, the tools, the literature, Higher Power/God work for others.
I also love getting to know other alcoholics, hearing their stories – what it was like and what it’s like now. That’s why I pulled out those few sentences from Chapter 5.

We’ve had so many women join us recently, we always have a steady flow of joiners usually but there’s lots more since we’re in the current global pandemic situation. I’m glad our newest members have found us.

I wondered this week if our topic could be an opportunity to get to know each other a little more, using the frame of “what it was like, and what it’s like now….”
I had a favourite game show growing up and the contestants had to answer “what’s your name and where do you come from?”
So it’s a bit like that.
A chance for some fellowship and maybe to share some hope at the changes that are possible with AA….

So here’s mine;

Hi, my name is Sophie.
I’m an alcoholic.
GROW is my AA home group, and has been for over 3 years. I have my AA sponsor online and I do most of my AA service online.
I just celebrated my sober-verserary.
A day at a time I’m celebrating my Twenty Years.
I live in the U.K. I lived overseas in New Zealand for a few years but I’m back home now.
I got sober going to AA meetings in London.

My life had totally fallen apart, then miraculously had been repaired on the outside.
But I was left still broken and shattered on the inside, not knowing what my problem was or what to do about it.

I was 23. Life was over. I had lost the power to choose when and if or how much I drank. I was 6 months out of University.
In those 6 months I’d lived at 5 different addresses, was on my 3rd job and was a victim of every life event. Everything I turned into a dramatic event, a story to be told for sympathy or for entertainment.

Then came AA. May 24th 2000. A moment of clarity. A window of opportunity that I fell through. A friend introduced me. I could hear her saying, if you’ve got a problem stopping AA can help.

I came (to meetings), I came to (woke up from my alcohol induced stumbling) and came to believe that if AA could work for all these guys and girls of all ages, all backgrounds, all nationalities, then it could work for me too.
I learned through listening and identifying with others that my drinking was alcoholic, that I was powerless over alcohol. Once I took that first drink the off switch was gone. What a relief to know what I was and that in AA I could begin doing something about it.

And that’s what I’ve been doing for the past twenty years. Finding my way through my past and learning to live well and sober today using the steps, the meetings, amazing sponsors, and beautiful sober friends and acquaintances.

Sometimes, oftentimes, it’s been one step forwards and a few back. Sometimes I’ve howled in emotional pain. But more often I’ve learned I have what it takes to cope, to survive, to thrive, and to be of use to others.

I have a god in my life today, a god I work at having a relationship with, a god who’s there for better and worse times.
And I’ve learned to laugh and enjoy life. Even in these strange and uncertain times I look for joy and laughter. I still have so much to be grateful for. And I have the program of AA as a guide each day.

Today I’m a Mum, I became a parent in sobriety. I’m with my long term partner, we live and parent together. I met him at 10 years sober after I had finally surrendered to the suggestion to be friends with someone first, get to know them. He is in every way my equal, I don’t fear him or want to change him. I’m learning healthier ways of communicating my needs and applying the program. And I try to take my own inventory and not his.

I look forward to getting to know more about more of you as I open the meeting for shares on this week’s topic “Hi, my name is…”.
As always, anyone needing to is welcome to share “off topic” too.

I always welcome one to one correspondence, and I know many others here do too. I’ve made lovely friends & recovery acquaintances here in GROW by doing that. I’m never alone – and as I shared recently “if in doubt, reach out”.

Thank you for having me be of service. The meeting is open.

Sophie

May 17: Spirituality, Love and Tolerance

Topic for the week: Spirituality, love and tolerance from pg. 83-84 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the big book and these two sentences jumped out at me for a topic this week.

“The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.”

“Love and tolerance of others is our code.”

The pandemic has brought with it a lot of ups and downs. Some of you may be looking at your community starting to open up. That may be accompanied with positive or negative emotions. Here in Indonesia, we just found out that it seems we will be closed for a lot longer. As an owner of two brand new small businesses, I’m experiencing a lot of fear and intolerance.

So, my questions are:
How do you live your spirituality and how has it changed during the pandemic? What do you do to build tolerance so that you can move towards serenity in the midst of difficult situations?

  • For me, I am doing my best with my spiritual practice. It’s not pretty sometimes. I’m conversing with my higher power. Sometimes I talk, sometimes I listen, sometimes I write, sometimes I cry, sometimes I yell. One of my character defects is to turn my back and ignore my higher power (take control) so I’m paying attention to that.
  • I’ve been loving AA zoom meetings and the amazing amount of free meditations and podcasts that are out right now
  • I remind myself that I’m not the only small business owner who is suffering.
  • I remind myself that feeling grief right now is natural and just because others around me are not showing grief, I’m not alone
  • I am studying the Indonesian language even as I grapple with not wanting to live here
  • I am being of service to other alcoholics in and out of the rooms

I look forward to hearing your experience, strength and hope.

May 10: 11th Step Prayer – Prayer and Meditation

‘Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of belonging that comes to us. We no longer live in a completely hostile world. We are no longer lost and frightened and purposeless. The moment we catch even a glimpse of God’s will, the moment we begin to see truth, justice, and love as the real and eternal things in life, we are no longer deeply disturbed by all the seeming evidence to the contrary that surrounds us in purely human affairs. We know that God lovingly watches over us. We know that when we turn to Him, all will be well with us, here and hereafter.’ From AA World Services Inc. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (p. 105)

Hi, Grow Ladies, Heidi Alcoholic here. Thanks for letting me be of service and lead this week’s meeting. I had re-read Step 11 in the 12&12 this week and this step really resonated with me. I am powerless over people, places, and things and I’m also powerless of this current pandemic. I have no clue in life what is going to happen next week, next month or next year. What has been helping me this week is prayer and meditation. I will admit that I’m not perfect at doing prayer and meditation every single day however this week I have been making an effort to do more and it has helped. Mostly I talk to my HP (God) when I’m out in nature while walking my dog. I find when I’m in nature I feel closest to God and I’m reminded of the good things that I have at this very moment – like my dog, beautiful place to walk (I’ve been staying in Bristol since early March at my friend’s house), my health and a warm home that I’m welcome in and where I feel safe. Reading this step reminded me that when I do a bit more prayer and meditation, I do get an extra sense of belonging to AA, this fellowship, and people around me. The 11th step prayer (prayer of St Francis) is one of my favourite prayers as I have always loved the story of St Francis – his humility, willingness, and especially his love of animals and nature.

“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace—that where there is hatred, I may bring love—that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness—that where there is discord, I may bring harmony—that where there is error, I may bring truth—that where there is doubt, I may bring faith—that where there is despair, I may bring hope—that where there are shadows, I may bring light—that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted—to understand, than to be understood—to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.” From AA World Services Inc. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (p. 99)

I would like to hear about your experience with step 11 or just what you consider as your prayer and/or meditation that helps you today.

May 03: Step 5

Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

For more on Step Five, see: The AA Big Book, beginning with Chapter 6, Into Action (p. 72); The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (pp. 55-62).

“This feeling of being at one with God and man, this emerging from isolation through the open and honest sharing of our terrible burden of guilt, brings us to a resting place where we may prepare ourselves for the following Steps towards a full and meaningful Sobriety.” 12 and 12, p. 62

Hello GROW, welcome newcomers, and congratulations to all celebrating a sobriety milestone!

When I first came to AA I had the gift of desperation. I was done. And so, for the first time in my life, I followed directions. I worked the Steps in order of appearance, as my sponsor suggested, and I have no memory of ever looking ahead to Step 5.

And when I got to Step Five, I was ready to share all the secrets and shame that I hid and drank over.

Each time I complete a Step 5, I gain more compassion for myself, and other people. This Step, shared with a safe person, reminds me I’m no better and no worse than anyone else.

“Even AA oldtimers, sober for years, often pay dearly for skimping this Step. They will tell how they tried to carry the load alone; how much they suffered of irritability, anxiety, remorse and depression; and how, unconsciously seeking relief, they would sometimes accuse even their best friends of the very character defects they were trying to conceal.” 12 and 12, p. 56

The shame that had me pointing my finger at other people is being lifted. I no longer have to make someone worse than me in order to feel good about myself. Step Five is where I began to trade the shame I felt about who I am, for humility.

The Twelve and Twelve defines humility as “… a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.” p. 58

I really love that. I have assets and liabilities, and I can work towards filling in any gaps with these in mind–instead of dusting off the fantasy that I will one day be elected princess of the universe!

I’m looking forward to reading your shares on Step Five or whatever is current in your program this week.

Thank you for being here!
X
Kirsten

Apr 26: Coping with Change

I’m Louise and I’m an alcoholic and very, very grateful to be sober and to have a spiritual toolkit to apply in my living each day.

Change is something I don’t particularly like! If things are ticking along nicely, well, I’d rather they stayed like that.

But change has come, hasn’t it, big time, on a global scale, one that affects all of us, no matter what part of the globe we’re in.

It’s a bit like the disease of alcoholism, and a bit like recovery from the disease. We have meetings all over the world too. But only those of us who have suffered from alcoholism know what it is like. Like having been shipwrecked together and now so joyous to be free from the grip of alcoholism and to have discovered a new way of living that allows us to be happy, joyous and free.

Today, all the world is suffering, and, if we’re fortunate enough to have escaped so far, or survived, the clutches of this particular disease, we’re all beginning the slow recovery from it.

I was reading today from a writer on 20th century disasters. I’m including some of her insights. Saying that we have reached a crossroads, she says that our main task now is to understand this moment and what it might require of us:

“A disaster changes the world and our view of it. Our focus shifts, and what matters shifts. What is weak breaks under new pressure, what is strong holds, and what was hidden emerges. Change is not only possible, we are swept away by it. We ourselves change as our priorities shift, as intensified awareness of mortality makes us wake up to our own lives and the preciousness of life. Even our definition of “we” might change as we are separated from schoolmates or co-workers, sharing this new reality with strangers. Our sense of self generally comes from the world around us, and right now, we are finding another version of who we are”.

Right now we are finding another version of who we are. I’d love for you to share your experiences on any of the words above. I know I’m changing when I wake up one day feeling nervous, anxious and panicky, and another waking with a depth of peace. I’m feeling a little fragmented at times. Now, I know from past experience that that is a good sign for it means I haven’t got the answers, that I’m teachable. And I need to always remain teachable.

I start each day with my 3rd Step Prayer, followed by the 7th Step one. I ask what I can do for others. I ask my Higher Power to shape me into what He would have me be. I ask for freedom from fear when I’m scared and I at once commence to outgrow fear, as our book tells me.

I’m not sure yet about another version of who I am …Perhaps for me that simply means deepening what I have already found within myself, working this program. I do think we in this Fellowship have a head start on others as we/I have been forced to look at myself through the Steps! For that I am grateful.

I’ve discovered that I’m more of an organizer than I gave myself credit for. I’d bought masks in January when it became clear that what was happening in China was going to travel outside China! I began then to sort out freezer supplies etc. I began to think ahead and try to envisage what obstacles might come up for me in my daily routine, and plan as best I could for it. (I live alone so had to do this.)

I’ve concerns for my family, particularly a son who has been locked down on an island off Venezuela (he’d gone on what should have been a short business strip). There are now food shortages where he is, no veg or fruit, bread, meat, and power is likely to go off. I ask God as I understand him to take my powerlessness to do anything here and translate it away from catastrophising (what I very easily do) and into faith, hope and love.

What I find difficult too is that I can’t be out there helping more. I’d like to think that if I was younger and healthier that I would be but, even then, I might have been too scared. I don’t really know.

My sense of self is a little shaky at times. And I have a strong sense of self, one that’s developed over years of living sober, of being on this journey, of being a work in progress. But the ground has shifted under my feet. It’s more important than ever that I maintain contact with other alcoholics. I was at a Big Book Study meeting this morning on Zoom, and thank heavens for these meetings. A newer more enlarged self will emerge, if past sober experience is anything to go by, but the process can be scary.

Being grounded for me amounts to having faith that I am being looked after, and trusting in that. All is well when I get there.

I’m home alone, older, a bit more vulnerable healthwise today. Some of you might be out there on the front line– what’s it like for you? A nurse, doctor, cleaner, care assistant, paramedic, shop worker… how are you coping with change these days?

Welcome to all our newcomers of late! We’d love to hear you share, whatever it is on 🙂

Hugs and love
Louise

Apr 19: The Big Book

Topic for the week: THE “BIG BOOK” OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

The Big Book is my personal book of instructions on how to live the spiritual life and how to take life as it is presented to me on a daily basis, without stress!  This Book and all its’ wisdom has saved my life!

I particularly enjoy the part which says:  “We cast off the burdens of the past and the anxieties of the future, as we begin to live in the present, one day at a time.”

Even though I know how precious is the present, I sometimes weave the threads of unhealthy thinking into my life by the insistent habit of spending more time living in the past and future than in the present.

I know the futility of anxiety about the future or regret for the unchanging past – – – -and when I work this Program, with vigilance, as suggested, I am more and more able to stay right where I am!!!  Right here! Right now!  Unfortunately I must make plans, but I must remember not to plan the outcome!  Just do my very best – – – -and only I know when I am doing my best!  I  MUST be honest with myself!

I used to whine a lot about the “wants” that no one was providing me!  In this program I have learned that simplicity leads me to serenity —and thereby eliminating most of these unnecessary, temporary wants.  I have everything I need and want today —-and that is sometimes too much!!!

Enjoy this day, today . . .and tomorrow, tomorrow.
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Another favorite of mine in the Big Book is on page 58, first sentence, where it states:  Rarely have we seen a person fail who has THOROUGHLY followed our path…”  (capitalization mine for emphasis)!   It took me a few years to get this, because I was just great at those “half measures” (which, incidentally, didn’t work)!   That is why today, I often am heard saying:  IT WORKS WHEN I WORK IT, and it doesn’t when I don’t!!!  Today my life is SENSATIONAL (irregardless of what is going on around me in this new weird world of ours) —-and it’s all due to this way  of living that I have learned in our program with the suggestions (instructions) in the Big Book!

Annnnnnnnnd,  a *very special* paragraph for me, is on page 164, and basically sums up the entire program for me:

“Abandon yourself to God as you understand God.  Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past.  Give freely of what you find and join us.  We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.  May God bless you and keep you – –until then.”
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I invite you to share your favorite parts in the Big Book that have helped you in your lives.
Thank you for living this day with me!!!

Susanne L.
Murphys, CA
8.17.91