Annual Report - 2013
Reporting on July 2013 - March 2014
Chair’s Report (Elissa P.)
The World Service Board generally meets one time per month, for two hours by telephone. Twice this year, we were able to also meet in person, once in June at the World Service Business Convention, and again for one weekend in October. General business at each meeting included the passing of minutes, the passing of each month’s financial report, and monthly check-ins from each board member regarding all WSI standing committees. Updates were also provided regarding each WSB Standing committee including the book, design, finance, inquiry response, and personnel committees (see individual reports below). The Board Motions Review Committee reviewed the 2 motions proposed and planned for the 2014 World Service Business Convention.
The in-person board meeting in October allowed the board to rethink many important projects and prioritize upcoming goals. The following is a snapshot of the discussions and decisions that have since transpired:
- The WSI PI committee chair will work with the personnel committee to contract a PI Project Manager (anticipated start date May 1, 2014).
- A decision to invest in the redesign of PI materials made it to the top of the list and is ongoing.
- While both roles are under assessment and will be reviewed again in Fall 2014, a decision was made to maintain both an Office Director and an Office Manager for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
- The WSB created a new checklist for determining if a project is best done as “service” or “for hire.” That checklist may be found in the WSB Manual.
- The WSB also discussed, at length, the meeting format and possible content for a newly revised “Living Abstinently” pamphlet. It was agreed that at this time, the WSB would not put forward any motions to change the tools in the Sample FA Meeting Format. Rather, the Writing/Editing Subcommittee would continue with its charge to use “Living Abstinently” as a vehicle for expanding upon our existing tools. In the future, should the body feel that there are inconsistencies between the pamphlet and the format, the WSB would consider a motion at that time if instructed to do so by the body.
- All aspects of the agenda for the 2014 WSBC were explored on an ongoing basis; the results can be experienced June 6-8, 2014
- To say the least, this has been another productive year! The remainder of this report gives a detailed overview of the incredible work that has gone on all year long. The combined efforts of each committee chair and his/her committee members clearly demonstrate the meaning of “gratitude in action.” All have served so graciously. As a fellowship, we are truly blessed. No doubt, we will continue to reach the still suffering food addicts.
- Serving as WSI chair for these last 4 years has been an absolute privilege! Seeing ideas emerge and then developed by individuals who are whole-heartedly invested in bettering FA as a whole, completely fills me up. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve. I can’t wait to see where G-d takes us next!
WSB Book Committee Report (Franny M.)
In 2013, the Book Committee recommended that the Conference wait one year before distributing the FA Book beyond our FA fellowship; that recommendation was followed faithfully. During this year, the book has been used in our personal recovery, in our meetings, and in many AWOLS.
Use of the FA Book
The use of the FA Book at meetings was the topic for a sharing meeting at EAI Chapter Day on November 2, 2013 at Dedham, MA. Sue G. from Tennessee facilitated the very productive discussion. Here are some of the important points from that session:
- Virtually all of the 220 people present had been at an FA meeting where the FA Book had been used, as in a literature meeting. Many meetings have decided to rotate between the Big Book, the connection, and the FA Book for meetings focused on our literature.
- Participants stated that the FA Book is a good trigger for meeting discussion because each story demonstrates great problems with the food, but that no matter the degree of difficulty, the stories show there is a solution. The book provides hope because the story always ends well. In addition, the book is particularly useful for outlying sponsees who do not have FA meetings available.
- The FA Book teaches fellows how to qualify, i.e., how to stay on the topic of recovery in our qualifications. If a sponsee is worried about how to qualify, the sponsor can just direct the sponsee to the stories to see it demonstrated. The stories center people, making them remember that we are all food addicts with a disease.
- The book promotes sharing, and the meetings with the book as a basis are powerful. Where the chosen format is to read and interrupt whenever anyone wants to share, folks find that hands spring up to share after reading one page. Everyone in the room, but particularly newcomers, can relate to the story.
- The book teaches the diversity of the disease; it’s not all about fat and obesity. Some meetings are in homogenous areas, and it exposes people to food problems of folks in vastly different circumstances.
In summary, there was a high level of enthusiasm for using the FA Book at FA meetings, and it appears that it is being used widely. It would be safe to suggest that meetings with low attendance might use the book at a literature-style format to center the speakers on the disease, and to set forth personal experiences that propel people to their feet to speak.
- By late June, 2013, FA had sold out our first printing of the book. Total books sold as of July 21 was 5457. At that point, we were selling between 50-55 books per day. Demand slowed slightly, but remained steady. We ordered a second printing of 5000 books.
- At the beginning of the year, we had sold 9000 copies of the FA book. Sales had slowed to the rate of an average 26 per day. A third printing of 5000 books was ordered. However, our first printer was no longer available. Under Jan B.’s leadership, we contracted with a new printer. That printer has since provided us with books of excellent quality and with a much improved binding.
- As of April 1, we have sold 10,228 books. This reflects that we have filled the initial demand. We will see a steady but slower average number of sales going forward; it is now at about ten books per day. Our inventory is strong, and sufficient for future demand.
- Our publishing consultant tells us that to have sold 10,000 books in the first year— without a word of advertising—is a significant number. We believe this speaks to the high quality of the book and that we can put it before the public without any reservation.
Since the conference, the Book Committee has been working on ways to bring the FA Book to the public, in a manner respectful of the tradition of attraction and not promotion. At the 2014 World Business Conference, the committee will make several proposals. Our objective will not be to promote the FA Book but to carry the FA message of recovery. We think we can best introduce the FA Book to the world by word of mouth.
- We propose that by suggesting the FA Book as a story topic to reporters who know us, we foster the opportunity for our friends to speak for us.
- We propose that the FA Book is useful to doctors who are already interested in the FA program and so it is best disseminated by patients who have found recovery in FA; otherwise, an abstract of the book may be best.
During the last year, the FA Book has been available exclusively from the FA website. After much deliberation with the Board over the last year, the Book Committee will ask the Conference to keep book distribution limited to the FA website.
- The Book Committee, with the support of the Board and the Office, has undertaken research for an e-book that could be downloaded from the FA website.
- We have considered an audio book, but this is not imminently planned. We have not yet determined the demand nor the mechanics of distribution. That will be reconsidered in the next year.
- The Book Committee is considering issues of translation of the FA Book into languages other than English.
- The Book Committee has initiated a history and archiving project for the FA Book.
The Book Committee consists of Kesaya N., Anita F., Diana C., Georgia W., Mac M., Dave I. and is chaired by Franny M. During the past year, the Book Committee included Jan B and Susan L. who gave excellent service.
The Book Committee wishes to acknowledge the excellent support afforded to the distribution of the book by Jane M. and the Office Committee during the past year. Specifically, Office Director Adrienne has been extraordinarily capable at anticipating and managing the operational details which this enterprise has required; her business sense is superb. Joan M. has integrated the financial and technical aspects of book distribution and has been accounting for inventory and charting sales in a remarkable way. Our fellowship is blessed with their talent.
Submitted by the Book Committee, April 1, 2014
WSB Design Committee Report (Jan B.)
Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous book
- Worked on final design, and first and second printing of the book. Worked with Placemaking Group on how the book would appear, how it would be introduced and how it would be sold on the website. Wrote copy, worked through the design, copy and image placement, and callouts.
- Worked to find a new printer, when the first printer went out of business. Negotiated contract, oversaw production, coordination of proofing, and approval of invoice for third printing.
- Currently working with book and office committee to enhance the visibility of the book on the website.
- Currently working with Public Information Committee to produce new booth materials for health fairs, trade shows and information sessions. Wrote copy, found vendors, put together budget for design and production of materials.
- Currently working with Placemaking Group on design of materials. Selected vendor to produce prototypes of the materials. Working with WSI Office Director, Adrienne to structure fulfillment with vendor. Working with WIS Office Director, Adrienne and Placemaking Group to see how to make these materials available on the website, including copy and how it will look.
Working with Intergroups to update locally-modified trifolds.
Working on German pamphlets.
PI booklet (formerly called Waiting Room Booklet) No current update.
WSB Finance Committee Report (Bob M.)
The FA Finance Committee is charged with management of FA funds and monitoring FA expenses. In this past fiscal year, the committee met on a bi-monthly basis and examined the 7th Tradition Pamphlet to ensure that all text in the document is in accordance with FA guidelines pertaining to financial and treasury concerns. The committee has discussed spending authorization amounts granted to Executive Committee members. It has discussed the possibility of investment of FA funds to increase capitol.
The activities above contribute to the accomplishment of the FA Finance Committee in the
past fiscal year. As a result of careful and competent stewardship through reviewing the prudent reserve and reporting areas in FA expenses where income meets, falls short, or exceeds expectations, the committee has earned the trust of FA members and successfully managed FA financial concerns for another year.
WSB Inquiry Response Committee Report (Jamie M.)
The Inquiry Response Committee is responsible for handling inquiries made to the FA World Service Board or to the FA Office. Responses are made by telephone to inquiries received from both FA members and non-members. An IRC member attempts to reach the inquirer within two weeks of the initial contact. The IRC consists of three FA members with at least 7 years of abstinence and the WSB secretary who serves as an ex-officio member of the committee.
The committee often submits Traditions-related issues to the TRC for review and response. If necessary, the IRC may ask a member of the TRC to make the phone call to the inquirer.
Samples of recent inquiries and responses:
Inquiry: An FA member’s inquiry was referred to the IRC by the Bylaws Committee regarding an issue with her meeting’s monthly business meeting being canceled many times in a row, without a group conscience.
Response: We had a good conversation about the need to have a group conscience in this situation and the need for regularly occurring monthly business meetings. We gave her some reference points to use when she brings this up at the business meeting so that it is understood why it is important to have regular business meetings, not only so that Tradition 2 is honored, but also in order for the groups to have access to information coming from WSI and the group’s Intergroup. We also talked about the importance of providing service opportunities for those who are just coming into their 90 days of continuous abstinence.
Inquiry: The inquirer wanted to know if she could still be abstinent if she is Hypoglycemic and needs to have more than 3 meals a day.
Response: We explained that the definition of abstinence in our program does not state “3 meals a day” and that if a person needed to have more frequent weighed and measured meals for health reasons that it was fine. It turned out that she checked her glucose and that she was not actually Hypoglycemic. There was a further discussion regarding sponsorship and the fact that it is OK to ask questions. She was very appreciative of our time.
Inquiry: The TRC referred a member, who had a question about a sponsee being interviewed for an article about weight loss and fitness. The sponsor wanted to know the proper guidelines for maintaining anonymity, when a member is interviewed by the media. It was determined that the query had also come to the attention of the WSB PI Chair and that the sponsee in question had only a year of continuous abstinence.
Response: The WSB PI Chair relayed the requirement that there be two FA members in any interview with the media, each one with a minimum of two years of abstinence. The IRC followed up with a phone call, and engaged in a fruitful discussion regarding the need for sage experience in interview situations, as well as the various pitfalls inherent in representing FA in the press, especially for someone with less than the suggested two years abstinence. It was determined that it had become a moot point, as the inquirer’s sponsee had broken her abstinence.
Vice-Chair’s Report (David I.)
- I sat on the executive committee and provided ongoing input for executive decisions.
- I provided ongoing support to the office manager and the chair of the office committee in the running of the FA office.
- I supported WSB committee chairs in the performance management/annual reviews of paid employees.
- I provided support to the WSB chair in the ongoing WSB meetings and for board issues.
- I sat on the finance committee, in which capacity, I served as the representative to the WSB on finance issues.
- I chaired the Personnel Committee, which helps ensure that employees and independent contractors for the organization are being managed appropriately and constructively. The committee gave the PI Chair direction and support for the hiring of a contractor to assist with PI work.
- I provided ongoing support to WSB committee chairs, as concerns and issues arose from the fellowship and from within the board.
- I chaired the “Meeting Guidelines Subcommittee.” During the past three months, this committee has worked to revise the FA meeting guidelines. These guidelines are a resource for meetings committed to complying with health and best practices.
- I was the liaison between the FA book publishing and distribution committee, and the board. We completed the publishing of the FA book and began, this past year, to develop a marketing strategy for the book that is in line with our Traditions.
Treasurer’s Report (Holli N.)
The FA organization is financially sound. We maintain a prudent reserve, consisting of one year‘s operating and magazine expenses. Through the Treasurer and Finance Committee, we provide financial reports and analysis to the WSI Board. In addition, we create and approve a budget each year, incorporating project requests from the WSI committee chairs and other ad hoc committees. We monitor our budget performance using monthly budget variance reports. We also review and approve tax returns each year prior to submission to the IRS.
To date in fiscal year 2014, 7th Tradition donations are up about 2% over 2013. During this fiscal year, the 7th Tradition donations made possible the addition of a new Public Information Resource person, participation in national health fair events, updates to our website, exploration of a digital version of our FA Book, and assistance to newcomers and FA members through our staff at the FA office.
WSI Committee Reports
Bylaws Committee (Sue H., Chair)
It has been a relatively quiet year for the Bylaws Committee. We have worked on 2 motions for the 2014 Business Convention, and have continued to update the WSB Manual.
Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee (Norma Jean P.)
- A change in direction: As FA has continued to grow and develop, several chapters have closed. In their place we are finding smaller, more loosely-organized groups cropping up. These service groups are comprised of members from several local FA meetings. Committees meet on a regular basis, with a focus on serving the newcomer and getting the word out about FA to their local communities. Many members of these local service groups have started attending the bi-monthly CISC support call, in order to share ideas and receive support. Because of this change in direction, the CISC will present a motion at the upcoming FA Business Convention, to change its name to the “Service Group Support Committee” (SGSC). The committee will support any FA service committee, regardless of size or location.
- Bi-Monthly Meetings: All are invited to attend these conference calls. They take place on the third Sunday of every other month, from 3:30pm – 5:00pm EST. Some of the topics covered this past year included: a presentation and discussion about weblinks; a presentation and Q&A session about using the new website, including how to update or add meeting information; and discussions about meeting best practices. Groups also reported on their activities – what has worked and what has not worked so well. Group members received feedback from others around the world, facing similar challenges and experiencing similar successes.
- A committee has been developed to create a Q&A document related to local service committees. We look forward to posting this document on the FA website before the end of the
- A committee was developed to track the questions that seem to emerge most often in our bi-monthly phone meetings. We are in process of determining whether a document addressing these issues would benefit the FA
connection Committee (Anna B.)
- connection Representative call: The next connection Rep Network Conference call is Sunday May 18th, 8 pm ET, 5 pm PT. Please email email@example.com for further details. If you are a connection Rep and you are not receiving email updates, please check with your meeting's Intergroup or Web and Directory contact to make sure that you are listed as the Rep on the FA website.
- Writing Team Leaders: connection has been relying on Writing Team Leaders assigned to particular geographic areas to collect stories from the FA members who live in their assigned area. Typically, however, due to the geographic diversity of our fellowship, those leaders were often not in direct contact with the members in their assigned area. In an effort to increase the number of stories we collect, we are piloting a new system in which the connection representatives will step into the role of the Writing Team Leaders. The representatives are already connected at the meeting level, there are more of them, and they come into direct contact with potential writers from their area. We hope this will maximize our resources in encouraging members to write and send in theirstories. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Finances: Based on our financials over the last eight months, connection is projected to break even, or better, for the second year in a row! If you find connection useful to your recovery, please continue to subscribe, as individual and meeting subscriptions are our sole source of income.
- Digital Survey: An online survey is being planned to measure the demand for an online version of the magazine in addition to the print version.
- Writing Kit: A revised writer's guidelines document was developed, that fleshed out a way for writers new to the writing experience to develop some basic storytelling skills. Two versions, a longer and an abridged, will be available for potential writers in 2014. The longer version is intended mainly to be used at connection writing sessions; the abridged version for individuals to use on their own. Two or three writing sessions have already been held, using the new connection Writer's Kit, and the response has been greatly enthusiastic.
- EAI Writing Sessions: connection writing sessions were held on Sunday, January 12, 2014 at the VA in Roxbury, MA, and on Sunday, March 16, 2014,after the Maine Chapter Meeting. The committee is working with the following areas to set up additional writing sessions later in the year: Albany, Toronto, Chicago, Rochester, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Naples. Any members interested in hosting a writing session in their area can contact email@example.com
- The EAI connection Committee has continued to hold its monthly meetings via conference call, to allow members from other areas to participate in the committee. The committee is working with the WSI connection committee to develop a survey exploring the need/desire for a digital version of connection. The committee is also working with the WSI connection committee to fine tune the writer’s kit, which will aid members in crafting their stories for connection.
- The WAI connection Committee has hosted several writing sessions at Intergroup meetings, since the 2013 business convention. Attendance has ranged from 20-35 people, and a number of articles have been submitted as a result. Some sessions have used the new connection writer’s kit as a basis, to wild acclaim. Overall, fellows have been upbeat about the opportunity to contribute in a hands-on manner to the magazine’s efforts to help other food addicts. If anyone is interested in hosting a writing session in their area, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Author Contact List: To enable readers to contact authors when an article is particularly meaningful to them, the connection Committee has begun an Author Contact List. This will come into full effect once the database of authors’ contact info has been built up.
- Artwork Submissions: connection is always looking for artists, illustrators and photographers. There are artist’s guidelines at www.foodaddicts.org (under Magazine/ Get Involved).
- Article Submissions: Do you have any light-hearted FA anecdotes? We need more “Lighten Up” articles! Please send to email@example.com.
Convention Planning Committee (Adrienne P., Chair)
- On October 24th-26th, 2014, recovering food addicts from all over the world will attend the 4th FA Fellowship Convention. This year’s location is the Santa Clara Marriot in Santa Clara, California.
- The convention will open on Friday, with registration from 1:00PM 5:00 PM. An Orientation meeting will be held at 3:30 for all who are interested. Dinner will begin at 5PM, followed by a Welcome and Sharing meeting, and Karaoke afterwards for those who would like to participate. Registration will be open again on Saturday morning from 7:00- 8:45AM for those who arrive later.
- Programming for the rest of the weekend will include:
- Another orientation, (for those who would like to attend).
- A large sharing meeting Saturday morning, where we will hear from people with 15 years or more of abstinence.
- A panel/discussion meeting on FA Frontier
- Three meeting blocks throughout Saturday afternoon, featuring three different meeting formats, (topic discussion, FA Book Study and CD qualification).
- Writing and art workshops for connection
- Saturday night dinner, dancing and
- Sunday morning closing meeting, during which members will share on the topic of “Sane and Happy Usefulness”.
- The Western Area Intergroup (WAI) has a cadre of dedicated subcommittee chairs and members who are helping with all aspects of organization and planning, including: material production, publicity, and hospitality. All FA members are welcome to do service. Those interested in getting involved are encouraged to contact Fellowship Convention Subcommittee Chair Ebony F. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Feedback from convention attendees at our past fellowship conventions has been extraordinarily positive. WAI has been enthusiastically gearing up and making plans for the upcoming event and hopes to spread the word and excitement to the fellowship worldwide. We look forward to sharing a wonderful time together and can’t wait to see the hundreds of food addicts who will be there. Please continue to check our website at http://www.foodaddicts.org/members/fellowship-convention for upcoming information and details.
- Planning for the 2014 World Service Business Convention, taking place from June 6th- 8th at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Danvers, Massachusetts, has been underway for the past several months. In order to better plan for the event, the decision was made to close online registration, including meal plan purchase, on May 16th. No meal plans will be available for purchase onsite, but onsite registration will be open (this will include a late fee).
- Two motions will be discussed during the business sessions, along with the turning over of several Board positions, (all of which are uncontested) and other reports on FA committee activities throughout the year. There will also be meetings for all WSI standing committees on Saturday and Sunday.
- Saturday afternoon will feature a PI Q&A, and a Sharing Session on the topic of “Reaching the Newcomer and Sponsoring Effectively”. On Saturday evening, we will hold our 2nd annual Mocktail Party, complete with entertainment, dancing and a photo booth. Sunday morning we will have a Sharing Meeting, at which we will hear from people with 20 years or more of abstinence (of course, all are welcome to attend). If you have any questions prior to the convention, please contact the WSB at email@example.com.
- Further information regarding the tentative convention schedule, a sample food plan, and transportation and lodging information is currently posted on our website at http://www.foodaddicts.org/members/members-business-convention and will be emailed to all convention registrants.
- Next year’s Business Convention dates have yet to be determined, but will most likely be held at the same location in Danvers, MA.
Literature Committee (Jennifer N.)
The Literature Committee is currently composed of four subcommittees: the CD committee, the Writing and Editing Subcommittee (WES), the Translation subcommittee, and the Publications subcommittee. While the first three subcommittees have been active, the Literature Committee is in the process of deciding whether the Publications subcommittee is still necessary. Literature committee procedures were updated to streamline any necessary changes to FA CD speaker information (including CDs that have been withdrawn). Leadership of the Literature Committee changed, as of February 2014.
Following are the annual reports for the three active sub-committees:
Writing and Editing Subcommittee
- Men In Recovery Pamphlet
- WES composed a draft to replace the current pamphlet for Men in Recovery. Feedback from WSI board members indicated that they would like to see some experience shared in the pamphlet. It does not have to be entire or even partial stories. WES can use excerpts from our new book, stories from the previous pamphlet, or ask men to write a paragraph or two. WES looks forward to revisiting this
- Informational Booklet: Current points of consideration are as follows:
- The current FAIB is really a larger version of “Food Addiction: There is a Solution.” Yet, they ostensibly have two different purposes:
- The purpose of the FAIB is to introduce FA to a broad audience (potential newcomers, families, doctors/professionals).
- “Food Addiction: There is a Solution” speaks directly to the newcomer.
- Some WES members felt the pamphlet was enough for waiting rooms and could be placed in racks and managed, while copies of the FAIB disappear and are hard to keep track of. Others felt that the larger booklet has a gravitas that the pamphlet lacks. In either case, it is not the purview of the WES to make that decision.
- Idea that WES would focus on reworking the text of the pamphlet. Assuming the Board agrees that the same information also belongs in the FAIB, the Design committee could then use this content and redesign the FAIB
- Potentially, the FAIB would also include information from the forthcoming medical pamphlet and/or a different introduction.
- But this leads to another question: "What, exactly, is the most effective content to introduce FA?"
- personal stories? If so, the ones from the pamphlets? From the connection? From the Gray Book?
- Introductory material and the Doctor’s Opinion?
- Our idea is to create mock-ups of three different approaches. Twenty FA members could find 5 non-FA members (and hopefully some medical professionals) each, and give them the mock-ups, each with a questionnaire. Some initial ideas:
- Mock-up #1: The FAIB as it stands, with the stories from the pamphlets.
- Mock-up #2: A booklet without personal stories, but with the doctor's opinion from the book, and other introductory material.
- Mock-up #3: TBD. Maybe stories from connection? Maybe from the book?
- Medical Professional Pamphlet
- WES does not have any information on the status of this pamphlet, but has been informed about possible collaboration with the PI
- Living Abstinently (Tools pamphlet): This has been the main focus of WES. We have a strong draft and are editing it. Two new tools to be added. We may also revise some of the tools so that they better reflect current FA practices.
- We hope to have a draft ready by the summer. It will be open for feedback from the fellowship—including those without 90 days. We will have the final version ready for a vote for the 2015
- As trusted servants of the fellowship, WES is eager to take feedback. If the changes are not well-received, they will not be implemented in the final
- Consideration of re-writing the Meeting Tool
- WES drafted a revised tool for “meetings” to better reflect how we use this tool in FA, for example we go to committed meetings and face to face
- WSB does not want to move forward on the motion in 2014. However, if the new tool is in the “Living Abstinently” pamphlet, we might consider a motion via Intergroup for 2015.
- FA Meeting Format: WES proposed some grammatical changes to the current meeting format, most of which the WSB approved.
- CD Subcommittee - Leadership and membership of the CD subcommittee has been in transition between November 2013 and March 2014.
- The committee worked on the following projects in 2014:
- Titled and subtitled the 4 recordings from the 2013 business convention.
- Chose speakers for 2014 business convention.
- Thoughtfully considered and discussed whether we needed to revise our criteria for choosing speakers, in order to reduce the likelihood of having the speakers we choose having a break. We determined that our criteria are sound, in general, but that service is something we should look at closely. The disease is cunning, baffling, and powerful, and we are all one bite away, so there is no way to predict or avoid the fact that some folks recording may go back to day 1.
- Thoughtfully considered and discussed the idea of producing recordings of members sharing about FA history in conjunction with the Archive subcommittee, perhaps to be recorded at the 2014 fellowship convention. After much discussion and vetting among various people and subcommittees, it was determined we could not think of a way to do it that would protect anonymity etc. We decided it was not quite the right forum for preserving FA history, but may consider again in the future if the right idea materializes.
- Worked with Office Committee on creating a catalogue of recordings for the FA website, which list the title, subtitle and other information about each recording. The catalogue can be printed out and used at meetings to assist members in choosing recordings.
- Currently working with Office Committee on getting audio downloads (MP3s) on the FA website. We are in the first stages of reviewing the new pages on the website and beta testing the download process. MP3s may be available on the website by the time of the 2014 business convention, or soon afterwards.
- Currently working within our subcommittee on choosing speakers for the 2014 fellowship convention.
- We have an ongoing project of identifying qualified speakers for our pool of speakers to be recorded in the future.
- Translation Subcommittee: No active projects worked on or completed
- Publications Subcommittee: No active projects worked on or completed
- WES drafted a revised tool for “meetings” to better reflect how we use this tool in FA, for example we go to committed meetings and face to face
- The current FAIB is really a larger version of “Food Addiction: There is a Solution.” Yet, they ostensibly have two different purposes:
Office Committee (Jane M.)
The office committee was restructured this past year and has been spending the year organizing and carrying out its new responsibilities. The main function of the office committee is to support the work of the World Service Office. To that end, here are some accomplishments to date:
- Made it easier for members to find the instructions to request editable versions of PDF documents in order to perform service work
- Developed archive material with the “time lines” for FA in the UK, the Fellowship Conventions and the first two years of FA. Time lines provide a year by year summary of activities, and will serve as a framework for the addition of information as it is acquired.
- Checked incoming email inquiries daily. Directly responded to questions when possible, or forwarded inquiries to appropriate service bodies in a position to respond accurately.
- Supported the Chapter Day events with added features.
- Enhanced the Business and Fellowship Convention functions to add the ‘Ride and Lodging’ tool.
- Completed the website content management function, which means that the Office can turn on and off specific website functions, for example, the conventions, chapter day events, and other functions. FA no longer needs programmer support to control these functions.
- Work with Intergroups and Chapters to review the FA website user database to assure that there are no duplicate users and that meeting and service position information is correct.
- Encourage development of time lines for the Maine and South Florida chapters and former Michigan chapter to support the archive project with this history of chapters.
- Gather physical items (artifacts) such as original pamphlets, early editions of the connection, and even earlier newsletters.
- Formulate digital storage to allow every committee to archive its work; this is the most important function of the archive committee (the Book Committee is doing its own archiving; but plan is to eventually merge with the work of this committee).
- Develop a repository of responses to information requests from FA members and non-FA members, who email the FA Office. Intent is to provide organized material for handling future inquiries that are sent to the Office by email.
- Enhance ‘Find A Meeting’ function on the FA website, to allow searches by state, or by province (for non U.S. countries with FA meetings).
- Support the Intergroups, Chapters and FA Office by:
- Enhancing the FA website Login feature
- Creating a Frequently Asked Questions section for members
- Updating the office admin functions on the FA website
- Improving the mailing options for online orders
- Creating a website workspace for IG/chapter/WSI
Public Information Committee (Kris M., Chair)
The PI Committee continues to ask the FA fellowship to focus on reaching out to doctors, physicians and health care professionals.
- Generic article For those who may have been approached by journalists who are seeking an article they can easily plug in to their publication, a generic article is now available by requesting a copy from: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Posters, Tablecloths, signs, etc. Since the last quarterly report, the PI committee worked with the Design committee to develop a proposal and prototypes for new tablecloths, signs, etc. Please continue to hold off on making any new materials in your area. We are hoping the new materials will be available to order on our website by the World Service Convention in June. If you urgently need a sign or tablecloth, etc., please email: email@example.com
- Paid Advertising Guidelines are available on the FA website. No new report.
- Survey: The PI committee determined that we will be conducting another survey, rather than a census. Please contact PI if you are available to help or have any experience with SurveyMonkey.
- PI Program Manager Position: We are about to extend a contract to a freelance/part- time PI Program Manager. This will be a paid position. We have three finalists.
Media Watch Sub-Committee:
There continues to be increased volume of activity and positive responses related to our Media Watch efforts. Some of this increased media coverage resulted from the American Medical Association (AMA) declaring obesity a disease, as well as a well-publicized
Canadian research study demonstrating that one in twenty Canadians is a food addict. Also, the newly published FA book has been sent to selected professionals seeking more information about FA. This outreach has generated positive responses from many researchers, institutions and publications around the world. For example, reporters from CNN and the New York Times have attended FA meetings in Atlanta and New York respectively. A reporter from National Public Radio (NPR) has also expressed interest in attending a meeting. The Chief Medical Officer at Hazelden was appreciative to know that FA exists and let us know that he will refer patients to us as appropriate. As a result of Media Watch efforts in Australia, an interview with an FA member was published in the Daily Telegraph and will be posted on our FA website.
- This year Media Watch generated 1151 contacts vs. 265 in the prior year. Media Watch sent 1016 emails and 135 letters vs. last year 230 emails and 35 letters. These communications were sent to media authors, healthcare professionals, and other relevant contacts regarding information about FA.
- This year’s outreach generated 39 personal responses. We don’t have the number of responses for the prior year.
- During the first quarter 2014, Media Watch generated 330 contacts including sending 303 emails and 27 letters vs. 325 contacts comprised of 251 emails and 74 letters in the prior quarter. (4Q2013). In both of these quarters, we received 11 responses. So the current quarter’s volume is similar to prior quarter.
- Overall, Media Watch volume continues to be high averaging 115 contacts per month. Prior to the increased volume experienced in 3Q 2013, we were averaging about 23 contacts per month.
- Sent the FA Book to the following professionals who expressed interest in FA after receiving our Media Watch letter/email:
- Nicole Avena, PhD (Assistant Professor University of Florida Department of Psychiatry and the College of Medicine; Princeton University Department of Psychology). She was the keynote speaker at the Obesity Action Coalition 2013 conference in Phoenix. She is very interested in helping FA.
- Guang Sun, M.D. Researcher from Memorial University who did the study suggesting that 5% of Canadians are food addicts.
- Joanne Eglash, journalist with M.S. in nutrition. She is the national diets columnist for the Examiner. We also sent her FA pamphlets.
- Dr. Tracy Burrows , B HSc (N&D), GTTT, AdvAPD Senior Lecturer, Nutrition and Dietetics School of Health Sciences, HA12, Hunter Building University of Newcastle Callaghan 2308.
- Jacque Wilson, a producer and writer for CNN’s health section has asked about attending an FA meeting in Atlanta. She then attended a local FA meeting.
- Sent FA pamphlets to David Ludwig, M.D. (Harvard, Boston Children’s Hospital), drawing his attention especially to the “Teens and Twenties” as well as “To Our Families and Friends” who has contacted again.
- Anahad O’Connor, writer for the New York Times emailed Regina in New York and actually did attend a Thursday night FA meeting.
- South African Professor Tim Noakes at the University of Capetown: “Thank you so much for your letter of 28 September…I am really glad to be informed about Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous and hope that I will be able to mention it in my future work. Thank you for taking the time to write to me. It is much appreciated.
HealthcareWatch (January-March 2014)
- We had a booth at the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Expo on February 22, 2014, in Denver, CO. Our participation was worth the investment – the event was very successful and helped unify the local fellowship. Approximately 187 tri-fold brochures were
- We also had a booth at the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Expo on March 15, 2014, in New York. The event went well. Approximately 276 tri-fold brochures were distributed, including bunches to healthcare professionals to give to their
- We manned tables at the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Awareness Walks on March 1st in Columbia, SC, and on March 8th in Los Angeles, CA.
Weblinks - Summary: 4 Quarters 2013/2014
- New Colleges with FA Link: 13
- New Organizations with an FA Link: 202
- TOTAL WebLinks 2013/14: 225
- Trifolds sent out to Colleges - Details for each quarter are below:
- 2nd Quarter 2013 Weblinks Report (April - June) May: 1 college & 1 organization linked
- 36 colleges & organizations contacted
- 53 States AMA websites sourced June: 3 organizations linked
- 3rd Quarter 2013 WebLinks Report (July, August, September):
- 67 Companies contacted
- 3 Colleges linked
- 36 Organizations linked
- 4th Quarter 2013 Weblinks Report (October - December) 149 sites contacted
- 64 organizations linked (5 in Canada, 4 in Australia, & 55 USA or other)
- 4 colleges linked (USA)
Traditions Review Committee (Dan B.)
- Individuals, meetings, chapters, intergroups, or the World Service Board may submit Traditions related inquiries by email to the Traditions Review Committee (TRC) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The TRC reviewed eight new issues, referred one issue to another board committee and held two conference calls (January and March) since the last quarterly report was published.
- In addition, the TRC subcommittees continued their work on the following projects:
- Historical Index Subcommittee - mandate to improve maintenance of historical TRC information and
- Communications Subcommittee – mandate to implement new methods to communicate resolutions to Traditions-related inquiries to the FA
The following are selected examples of Traditions issues resolved during this quarter:
- Issue: As reported last quarter, the TRC has been asked by the intergroups and a meeting to review voting practices at the intergroup level. Particularly, there are two questions under consideration:
- Should members from areas outside a reasonable driving distance for monthly attendance (i.e. greater than 100 miles) from intergroup meetings have the right to have a voice or a vote at intergroup when they make the effort to attend;
- Should members from areas within a reasonable driving distance for monthly attendance (i.e. less than 100 miles) from intergroup meetings have the right to have a voice or a vote at intergroup if they choose not to attend on a regular basis yet do show up for elections and other important
- Response: The TRC intends to publish the committee’s opinion as part of Document 8 of the FA Meeting Guidelines, which will be available at www.foodaddicts.org in the near future. In summary, members who live within 100 miles of Intergroup and who choose to attend only to vote at a certain meeting are, from a traditions perspective, going against the spirit of Tradition 2. Based on geographical distance, these members can participate regularly in the life of the group, but choose not to. To come out just to vote, and not be an active participant at Intergroup, results in an artificial vote, swollen for a political purpose. The TRC believes that this practice would, therefore, not result in an authentic and legitimate group conscience. An exception to the above applies to members of the body who live beyond 100 miles from Intergroup and are not expected to be regular participants. In particular, if a member has made the effort, once in a while, to attend Intergroup, his or her vote is especially welcome and spiritually appropriate.
- Issue: An FA member submitted an inquiry to the TRC which stated that they were concerned that the FA Meeting Requirements and Standards are too controlling and not in accordance with Tradition 3 (membership requires only desire to stop eating addictively), Tradition 4 (group autonomy) and Tradition 9 (FA ought not be organized with exceptions). They said their concern was genuine and asked the TRC for their understanding of why such measures have been taken to ensure that FA meetings are consistent “down to the arrangement of the chairs.”
- Response: To address the inquiry, the TRC referred back to the discussions and rationale that led the FA Conference (voting body) at the 2011 World Service Business Convention to pass, with substantial unanimity, the two motions that together established the FA Meeting Standards and Requirements. One of the motion rationales cites: We are guided by Tradition Four, which states: “With respect to its own affairs, each AA group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when its plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect AA as a whole without conferring with the Trustees of the General Service Board. On such issues our common welfare is paramount. ” The FA World Service group conscience found that the common welfare of FA as a whole will be affected positively by having a common worldwide format, and meeting practices that are consistent throughout our fellowship, and in line with FA recovery. This decision drew from FA’s Concept Eleven, which states: “Among Twelve Step programs, FA is unique in that food addicts must work with their drug, food, each day in order to survive. Therefore our program must differ from other Twelve Step programs with respect to structure and disciplines.” Finally, we were reminded that the reason for the uniformity provided by the Requirements and Standards is to provide all FA members (in particular newcomers) a chance to see, hear and experience the effective structure and successful best practices at every FA meeting they attend. Members of the TRC continue to feel as they did in 2011, when first consulted on this issue: on balance, the application and interpretation of the Traditions in the decisions of the FA Conference were appropriate.
- Issue: A member inquired about the possible Traditions issues regarding having a table set up at a shopping center to distribute and communicate information about FA to the shoppers.
- Response: The TRC discussed the issue at two of our meetings and at the second meeting came to the unanimous conclusion that it would not be in keeping with our FA Traditions. We felt that because it was not a part of a community health facility or a health fair and particularly given the venue, it could be perceived as promotional.
- Issue: A member asked the TRC whether it is ok for a meeting to accept various donations from a company at which a meeting member works (i.e., shrink wrap for FA books and envelopes and labor to stuff envelopes).
- Response: The TRC reviewed the issue in light of the 7th Tradition and agreed that taking anything for nothing could be considered accepting outside donations, regardless of whether or not the donor of the services asks to be reimbursed. The TRC recommends the meeting make an appropriate donation to offset costs, perhaps equal to a certain percentage of the market rate, according to group conscience. This principle has been suggested before when meeting spaces have offered their rooms to FA meetings at no cost. The TRC always has recommended that the meeting make a donation to the landlord of the meeting space.
- Issue: The FA Book Committee approached the TRC to review their proposed approach to exposing the FA book to the world outside of the FA fellowship, in light of the Traditions.
- Response: The TRC reviewed the approach, conducted some research regarding the history of the AA Big Book distribution process and reported back to the Book Committee that they saw no issues with the proposed approach.
Twelfth Step Committee (Linda N.)
The 12th Step Committee is composed of three main subcommittees, Communications, Frontier, and MESA (Meeting Effectiveness, Safety & Accessibility). In addition, the three 12th Step Committee Chairs who serve at Eastern Area Intergroup (EAI), Western Area Intergroup , and Maine Chapter are members of the WSI 12th Step Committee.
Over the past year, several changes have taken place on the 12th Step Committee.
- The Frontier and MESA Subcommittees now have direct email addresses, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquiries or concerns by members can be made directly by email to those subcommittees. The Communications subcommittee continues to have a direct email, email@example.com.
- The focus of the 12th Step Committee has shifted somewhat to narrow its realm of responsibility. It continues to serve as support to meetings and individual members, with an ongoing effort toward support of frontier members. In the past, Intergroups and chapters were included in the WSI 12th Step Committee’s realm of responsibility, however the CISC Committee now covers that, primarily.
Following are the annual reports of the three subcommittees:
The subcommittee produces and distributes the Gratitude in Action (GIA) newsletter, which focuses on service in recovery. In addition, it maintains and distributes the Universal Language List, which is a list of members who are conversational in a language other than English, and who have requested to be on the list. It provides contact information and is distributed through WSI Contacts and made available on all meeting literature tables.
Over the past year, one edition of GIA has been published and distributed. It focused on a “year at a glance” to give the fellowship an inside view of what is happening within FA, worldwide.
The focus of GIA is always on reaching those members living on the frontier or in outlying areas, who are working to stay connected to the fellowship.
There is an upcoming edition of GIA scheduled for mid-April distribution. It will focus specifically on service opportunities that the fellowship may not be aware of. This is a great way for individuals to get involved and more connected - and most importantly, to stay abstinent. Highlighted will be the fact that many already do a great deal of service. No matter how small or big, all service is critical to the success of our fellowship. For those members already committed to service positions, the Communications Subcommittee asks that they take a look at the quality of their service - to remind them that it all matters and it does not go unnoticed.
The following two editions to be published will be reflections of the upcoming 2014 conventions (the June business convention and the October fellowship convention). Both issues will be full of reminders that commitment to service keeps us abstinent!
The subcommittee’s focus is to provide support to those members who live “on the frontier,” which is defined as those members living at least 100 miles / 161 km from the nearest FA meeting. The committee’s service takes three forms: management of the Frontier Phone List, the Frontier Sponsor List, and the monthly Frontier-E-Communication.
- The Frontier Phone List was updated and distributed monthly, and it was reformatted to facilitate ease in reading contact information. The list was emailed monthly to WSI Contacts, who were asked to maintain current copies on meeting literature tables.
- The Frontier Sponsor List contains names & contact information of members who are willing to help members who are on the frontier, or in small fellowships with no available face-to-face sponsors, locate and connect with a sponsor. It was updated and distributed quarterly via email to all FA WSI Contacts for placement on meeting literature tables. It was also sent to all frontier members requesting to receive it. Sign-ups for this list were encouraged via intergroup and chapter meetings.
- Frontier E-Communication: The monthly email to frontier members was accompanied by a specially written E-Communication that was both supportive and encouraging, sharing experience, strength and hope with those who do not have FA meetings in their geographical areas. These E-communication “shares” included the following stories:
- August 2013 - a short story about attending the WSI Business Conference
- 2013 - introduction of Frontier Committee members
- 2013 - a story by a member on the Frontier in the early days of the new fellowship
- 2013 - a member who started in San Francisco and then moved to the Frontier shared about overcoming her challenges while working her program
- 2013 - a story by a member who also started in San Francisco, then moved several times and how she stayed abstinent
- 2014 - how a teenager started working the FA program
- 2014 - finding the gift of desperation and losing 117 lbs.
- March 2014 - finding the gift of service
- The Frontier Subcommittee continued to meet quarterly.
MESA Subcommittee (Meeting Effectiveness, Safety & Accessibility)
The MESA Subcommittee responds to members’ inquiries regarding meeting effectiveness, safety and accessibility. The following are examples of inquiries received over the past year.
- Inquiry: Several blind members asked if there were any plans to print FA literature in Braille. This was taken to the Literature Committee, which responded that there were no plans to do so as this time. However, a member of the Literature Committee located the following on the FA website when she did some research on the topic:
- Meeting Practices - Sight: When needed, an FA meeting format may be printed in large font (no less than 14 point), making it accessible to those with impaired vision. If a Braille version is required, the member needing Braille is asked how to have the meeting format
- Inquiry: There was an inquiry about altering the meeting format in the newcomer welcome to say something like "all who are able, please stand..." It was determined by the MESA Subcommittee that it did not conflict with the guidelines on format alteration.
- Inquiry: Mesa has received 2 inquiries from hearing-impaired/deaf members, or those inquiring on their behalf, wondering about resources for these members. These inquiries are still in process.
- Inquiry: A member was trying to find child-friendly meetings. As a single mother of an infant, and living on a limited income, she was hoping to find meetings at which her baby would be welcome. The subcommittee has yet to connect with the member.
- Inquiry: MESA responded to an inquiry about AWOL and phone-meeting announcement at FA meetings. The inquiring members wanted to add to the format a statement that phone meetings are not registered FA meetings. To the committee, it seemed rather like policing, and we recommended they not include the announcement. The member understood MESA’s reasoning, and decided to take the recommendation.
- Inquiry: There was one other inquiry about adding something to a meeting format. MESA studied the bylaws carefully and found that the meeting's desired additions were clearly against the bylaws.
Eastern Area Intergroup (George M.)
Message from EAI Chair
The reach and impact of our committees and Executive Board continue to delight and amaze me. I am inspired by new FA members stepping so ably into the shoes of earlier leaders, and trust that we as an organization are being given the strength we need to continue our work. It has been a joy chairing this Intergroup for the past four years, and I am grateful for the chance to have served with such a dedicated fellowship in this capacity.
Respectfully submitted, George M. Chair
EAI’s Mission is “To strengthen our fellows and meetings through improved communications using phone, internet, email and face-to-face events, so that we can better support each other as we strive to reach the suffering food addict.”
The Purpose of EAI remains:
- To further the FA program in accordance with the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of FA;.
- To maintain a communication center for all FA Meeting Groups, Local Service Committees and Chapters affiliated with FA-EAI..
- To provide unity for all FA Meeting Groups, Local Service Committees, and Chapters affiliated with FA-EAI.
- To educate the public about the FA program.
EAI has continued to expand and deepen its outreach through individual committee activities, and all-Intergroup gatherings.
We established the EAI Contact call, the New Meeting Orientation Conference call, and purchased the wireless technology necessary to conduct conference calls throughout the area for four of our committees (Chapter and Region Support, PI, Teens and Twenties, and connection) every Sunday morning of Intergroup.
- We expanded insurance for our meetings.
- The Financial Aid and Resource committee granted funding for members in need to attend the Convention, the Chapter Region and Meeting Support Weekend, as well as some PI Events.
- The Financial Aid committee also assisted the World Service Business Convention.
- We voted in new EAI Procedures for submitting Main Motions, based on group conscience.
- We continued to provide “Information Booklets” and Acrylic Brochure Racks to meetings everywhere.
- We facilitated Writing Sessions, and support FA members eager to contribute stories and art work for our magazine.
- We have made EAI Local Meeting Directories available on the EAI page of the FA website.
- We created a webspace server so that we can store and make available our Microsoft Word Documents for our membership.
- We provided continuing office support to our meetings.
- We supported 10 Thank-a-thons throughout the Eastern Area.
- Members of the Teens and Twenties Committee visited high school and college classrooms, and health fairs