Gratitude in Action (GIA), 1st Edition - 2020
What is GIA?
GIA is a quarterly email publication of the WSI 12th Step Committee. Its purpose is to inspire FA members to engage in service and to carry the message of FA recovery to those who still suffer from food addiction.
Personal Reflections... Why Do Service?
The Gift of Being in the Middle
At my Saturday morning meeting we have a position called Closer with suggested abstinence of 90 days and a three-month term. Responsible for making sure the meeting space is put back the way we found it, the Closer needs to stay until the end of the fellowship meal to be sure the chairs and tables are put away and the meeting and kitchen spaces are clean and tidy.
The Closer position became available at the first business meeting after I got my 90 days. My sponsor suggested I volunteer for the position. I pushed back. I agreed that someone needed to do it, but did it have to be me? What if I had other plans for lunch? What if I just wanted to go home after the meeting? Was I really expected to stay EVERY Saturday for lunch and to clean up after my fellows? That was too much of a commitment. I said all that, but the truth was I thought it was beneath me. My sponsor asked me to trust and give it a shot.
Many other service positions have followed in the 7 1/2 years since I grudgingly put my hand up for Closer, but none has had more impact. My ego kept telling me I was too important; my time was too valuable and there was nothing I could learn by being a Closer. I couldn't have been more incorrect. I learned I could make a commitment and follow through. I stayed most Saturdays and my fellows happily filled in on those Saturdays when I couldn't. I learned the value of fellowship. Sharing a meal with fellows gave me the opportunity to know them better and allow them to get to know me. I learned the value of doing something simply to be of service. The joy in doing for others without expecting something in return was new and refreshing.
I lived most of my life on the edge. I felt safer on the periphery because it was easier to bail when I was out there. Service helps keep me in the middle of FA. That's a much safer place for me. If I'm hanging out on the edge and start to fall back, there's no one there to catch me. By hanging out in the middle, there are many hands to right me if I start to wobble. I get all that, and much more, from doing service and it all started with being a Closer. What a gift!
Pam K., Ontario
Spotlight on Service: Meeting Secretary
For this service position, FA suggests one year of continuous abstinence. The secretary announces and leads the monthly business meeting, and announces all bold-faced items in the Sample Business Meeting Agenda/Minutes (this includes the Introduction, the individual reports, the Meeting Guidelines Reminders, and the AWOL Reminder). In addition, the secretary:
- Records business meeting minutes and stores them in an organized binder.
- Keeps track of service positions and ensures that they are rotated and filled using the Meeting Service Positions List.
- Instructs newly elected members to review the information about their positions in Document 7 on the FA Website or prints and distributes copies in order that they can learn about their new service positions.
- Files all correspondence sent to the contact people by WSI and the meeting’s intergroup or chapter.
- Acts as the meeting’s main point of contact with the landlord of the meeting facility.
- Arranges for an insurance certificate, provided by the meeting’s intergroup office, if requested by the landlord.
- Provides a “double check” for the monthly treasurer’s report.
Business meetings run smoothly when the secretary is aware of their role. Here are some suggestions:
- Politely help people understand that they should be recognized before they speak.
- If someone interrupts a person who is already speaking, politely ask the interrupter to wait to be called on.
- If someone is dominating the discussion, ask him or her to hold back and encourage others who have not spoken to express their thoughts.
- After an issue or motion is presented, call alternately on those who support it and those who are opposed. Do not rush the meeting to a vote. Thorough discussions often reveal a consensus or help move toward an effective decision by group conscience. Sometimes it is wise to postpone the vote until the next business meeting.
- By group conscience, set a time limit for business meetings.
- Request a copy of the treasurer’s report ahead of the business meeting (hard copy or by email) in order to review and verify that the numbers make sense. This practice will also avoid the need to write down the details during the business meeting, which can be time consuming.
- Use some simple principles of parliamentary procedure:
- Ask members to frame a proposal in the form of a motion. The motion must be seconded.
- A motion to “table a motion” is a request that an issue be set aside for discussion later. No debate is allowed on such motions. They require an immediate
Personal Reflections... Serving as Secretary
From Duties to Discoveries
It has been over six months since I took on the role of Secretary, which is a challenging and rewarding experience. It really helped me to read the Secretary job description at the beginning and visit it frequently to remember what my duties are. As Secretary, I need to facilitate discussions. I’ve found several things helpful, in particular:
- Keeping the Secretary records organized, stocking the Business meeting binder with blank meeting minutes sheets, and reviewing previous meeting minutes ahead of time to be prepared for the
- Having the group agree upon a length of time for the business meeting and then ensuring that the meeting starts and ends on time.
- Remembering that it’s not the job of the Secretary to govern or give orders to the other members, as it can be tempting to become the authority of the group. I was constantly reminded by my sponsor that I cannot make people do anything, or change them in any way. I can only change and manage myself. I can give reminders and make suggestions about what is considered “best practices,” but my job is best done by being humble and a servant to what the group decides.
As Secretary, I’ve learned so much about myself and about the different service roles in FA, while gaining valuable experience in letting go and practicing acceptance. I must pray, and make sure to be in fit spiritual condition before the business meeting. I need to talk about issues with my sponsor and with fellows on outreach calls, in order to get their experience and guidance. The Secretary position is a great role to learn about how to speak up, when to stay quiet, and when to help the group to either come to a decision, or table an issue for the next meeting.
Learning Through Service
At various times in my FA recovery, I have been the Secretary for my meeting group. Being secretary deepens my commitment to my local fellowship, and knits me into the FA community. I must show up because my fellows are relying on me.
There are many things I have learned from being the secretary. First, I write legibly so that the meeting has an accurate record of what transpired.
I have learned the necessity of having a binder to keep the business meeting format. Also, to remove outdated business documents after a period agreed upon in the meeting. It is important to append the treasurer’s report to the business meeting notes as a record of rent paid, prudent reserve, and contributions to EAI and WSI. Every 90 days I make sure the service positions are filled and are rotated.
I have learned how to move the meeting from topic to topic, and not let fellows hijack the meeting with a topic that does not help or serve the meeting. I have learned simple parliamentary procedure, so that everyone with ninety days of abstinence in FA has a voice and a vote. I have learned how to table heated discussions until the following month. For me, this service has been a great experience.
As secretary, I aim to be of service to my local fellowship, allow voices to be heard, and mostly, to end the meeting still friends with my FA fellows.
Reggie M., Florida
Trusting God and Trusting the Group
Prior to FA I had a definite idea of what was “right” and what was “wrong.” I used to get so worked up about things that didn’t go my way or that I thought were “wrong.” I’d stew about them for days.
After being in FA for a while, eventually I was asked to be the secretary of my business meeting. I thought that meant I was the leader and that I would be in control. After a few months in the position I came to see how wrong I was!
Tradition 2 reminds me that there are no leaders in FA, only a loving God expressed through group conscience. As I had to learn to trust God in my recovery, I’ve had to learn to trust group conscience in my meetings. Service has taught me the true meaning of “let go and let God.” God’s in charge, not me. I share my truth, my convictions based on my experiences and the wisdom of those who have gone before me. I do my 1 percent. I don’t have to be in control, don’t have to feel like I know everything. I just show up and let God worry about the results.
I’ve learned to relax. And when I relax, I find that the business meeting flows exactly as it should. And if it doesn’t, I know that God uses everything and it’s all going to work out fine.
Patty R., Maine
Local Service Group Spotlight
(A local service group consists of two or more FA members from more than one FA meeting group who combine resources to do service for FA.)
Are you aware that the creation of Local Service Groups (LSG’s) is on the rise, in order to support recovery from food addiction on a regional basis? There are now at least 16 LSG’s in the US, Canada and Australia, all engaging in a wide variety of activities.
A recent LSG endeavor in Massachusetts involved seven meetings working together to hold an Information Session. These efforts resulted in introducing FA to twelve newcomers. LSG members customized the standard FA Press Release with local fellows’ stories, making sure that the FA office phone number and FA website information were prominent. Members contacted the sales offices of local newspapers to place print ads and to suggest that the papers run a written
news article. These efforts resulted in an interview and a published story that ran on page one of a local newspaper. With seven FA groups collaborating as an LSG, there were plenty of FA volunteers. Greeters stood in the parking lot and near the building entrance before the Information Session, remaining there for 30 minutes after the start time in order to welcome newcomers--especially those hesitant to come in.
Participating in a Local Service Group creates opportunities for fellows to do service, feel great, and reinforce recovery from food addiction.
Look for the LSG Spotlight in future issues of “Gratitude in Action.” If you would like to share your LSG experience in an upcoming issue, please submit two or three paragraphs to SGSC@foodaddicts.org for consideration.
You can also access some related resources in several ways:
- Participate in the bimonthly Service Group Support Committee conference call.
- Access LSG Guidelines and Recommendations on the FA website.
- Request the Global LSG Contact List by emailing SGSC@foodaddicts.org.
Traditions Corner – Using the Traditions Review Committee (TRC) Index
If you or your FA group has ever wondered if something that a meeting wants to do is in line with the Twelve Traditions, there is a resource available that may help. The Traditions Review Committee (TRC) began responding to inquiries from the fellowship in 2002. A
collection of those issues and the TRC’s responses from 2002-2016 have been consolidated in a user-friendly searchable “index,” which serves two main purposes:
- To aid the TRC with ready access to frequently recurring inquiries and responses, so it can more quickly respond to the fellowship when a common question is received.
- To provide a “self-service” online resource for the fellowship, where individuals or groups can see if their inquiry has previously been considered.
The TRC Index is a searchable PDF document available only on the FA website. To access the Index, go to For Members>Bylaws and Traditions and click on “Access the TRC Index.”
Use the search functions (CTRL+F) to open a search box and then enter a search term such as “7th Tradition” or “Phone List”. A highlighted example for the submitted issues and TRC Response will appear. The TRC asks that any questions be directed to email@example.com. We hope you find the TRC Index useful.
Highlight: FA Podcasts
You can now listen to stories of recovery at no cost, straight off your smartphone, iPad, or computer! FA is now podcasting audio qualifications formerly available only by way of CDs and the FA website. Titles include “The 420-pound Man Who Needed Help,” “Food, Pills, Booze and Cigarettes,” and “Rather Dead than Fat.” New uploads, including recordings in languages other than English, will be added periodically. Find them by searching for “Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous” on your podcasting app.
Words to Live By
“Remember that the first quality of greatness is service... A life of service is the finest life we can live. We are here on Earth to serve others. That is the beginning and end of our real worth.”
24 Hours A Day, April 8.
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