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Update on COVID-19

Messages from FA's World Service Board and WSB Chair regarding the Pandemic

COVID-19 Email #7 - A Message from the World Service Board Chair

October 26, 2020

Customarily the World Service Chair writes a letter to the fellowship each fall. This is what is in my heart. 

Dear Fellows,

What I have learned over these past six or seven months is how little I know.

In learning more about my own unconscious participation in racism, I realized a lot about myself, and also about this fellowship. A quote I recently heard and really loved was that we had to shut off a piece of our humanity in order to be racists. I not only did that with racism issues but with people having different beliefs than mine in this program. In addition to racism, there are other long-standing and painful divisions amongst us that are having harmful effects on our members and I would like to address these in this letter.

What we really all need is a change in attitude. We need to be more kind, more loving, more accepting of each and every one of us in FA. Call on everyone, welcome everyone, be respectful to everyone. I personally want to be a part of the solution today, to change the atmosphere of this fellowship to one of tolerance of each other as fellow human beings. I hope you will all join me in holding ourselves accountable and graciously calling out any unacceptable behaviors.

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous is a microcosm of this big world we live in and we as recovering food addicts have a special gift that God has given us. We can remember what it was like to be a newcomer walking into these doors, we can relate and we can help them with our experience, strength and hope.

We need to stop squabbling over who is right and practice patience for each one of us regardless of what food plan they follow, what meetings they go to or what AWOL they attend. Let’s just live and let live and change our world around us from within, not let people places and things affect the changes that God wants to make within us.

We get to not eat one day at a time and be better people for it! Let’s rise to that occasion and have that paradigm shift in our thinking that is so necessary right now.

We have all been through a lot these past six months. Let’s be the glue that keeps us together rather than warring factions focusing on the differences.

We have talked about unity for many years. Let’s just make a decision to really practice love and tolerance now — for good! It makes our FA fellowship stronger. We need each other!

Thanks for listening. I hope you all have wonderful and safe holidays!


Bonnie H

COVID-19 Email #6 - A Message from the World Service Board

October 3, 2020

This message has been sent to all FA members who have set up a profile on the FA website.

Dear FA members, 

We hope that you remain abstinent and healthy in this time of pandemic and, for many of us, serious self-reflection. 

The World Service Board (WSB) received numerous letters from members about experiences of racism and marginalization which left them feeling unwelcome in the fellowship. Some described hearing insensitive and intolerant sentiments expressed between fellows and from sponsor to sponsee. Others wrote about feeling judged based on their gender identity, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. Many expressed concerns about their medical and mental health treatments.

The members of the WSB understand that we are part of a diverse fellowship and are committed to examining our own individual biases. We also recognize that the organization has work to do. We are committed to bringing to life the Third Tradition which states, “The only requirement for FA membership is a desire to stop eating addictively.” We must remove all barriers to recovery. 

The WSB is in the process of forming Advisory Committees both at the Board level and through the Meeting Effectiveness Support and Assistance (MESA) Committee which will be made up of WSB committee chairs and members of the broader fellowship who, because of their experiences with marginalization, will offer help and guidance. Our goal is to create a culture within FA where everyone is welcome and free to fully participate in the FA program of recovery. We will study what barriers and practices are injurious. With a better understanding of our shortfalls, we will be able to develop more effective plans to bring about the necessary culture change. We must be tireless in these endeavors, so that no one ever feels unwelcome in FA.

Any concerns, questions, or suggestions may be sent to chair@foodaddicts.org

In service,

The World Service Board, Eastern Area Intergroup, and Western Area Intergroup

The World Service Board is made up of a group of thirteen food addicts (including four officers and nine committee chairs) who serve the FA fellowship as guided by the World Service Conference. The Conference represents the collective conscience of FA and comprises representatives elected by individual meetings. The WSB abides by the will of the Conference, implementing decisions made at the annual World Service Business Convention.

COVID-19 Email #5 - A Message from the World Service Board

June 1, 2020

This message has been sent to all FA members who have set up a profile on the FA website.

As we navigate the difficult waters of life under stay-at-home orders, the World Service Board (WSB) has been gratified to learn of the many creative ways that our fellowship has supported each other and stayed true to the guiding principles of our Twelve Step program. The structure of the FA program has helped our membership remain connected to each other. With the new technologies available, our world-wide reach has never been stronger. Many newcomers are finding their way to virtual gatherings on a variety of platforms and staying afterwards to have personal connections with long-term members in a safe environment. It is great to see our heritage of "one-addict-to-another" working so well even in these challenging times. A digital newcomer packet can be found here.

At the World Service level, the MESA (Meeting Effectiveness, Support, and Assistance) Committee continues to provide helpful guidance to our members. We have been able to offer virtual support through special editions of connection magazine and the Gratitude in Action newsletter. Our tireless workers in the FA office respond to inquiries as quickly as possible, and we offer our sincerest thanks to Norma and Adrienne for keeping the office humming and our website current.

As different countries and localities begin to ease restrictions, many in our fellowship have looked to the WSB, intergroups, and chapter for specific directives about when and how to open up. We understand that there are many difficult decisions to make, and this can be confusing and stressful. We remind the fellowship that there are no authorities in FA; the WSB takes its direction from the World Service Conference, which is the collective conscience of our fellowship. Most decisions at the meeting level are made by group conscience with the guidance of our Higher Powers. While the WSB has neither the ability nor the authority to make across-the-board rules for meetings, we can offer these observations and suggestions:
  • Things are slowly opening up in some countries and regions; a few locations have already shifted to in-person meetings; some meetings are in places that are still under shelter-in-place regulations and have not even begun to think about going back.
  • Groups should follow the rules and regulations of their local public health authorities. With that in mind, meeting groups will arrive at decisions through discussions with one another and group conscience. 
  • It may be many months before most of our meetings even consider returning to in-person status. However, when meetings do open up, we recommend that meeting groups think carefully about ways to keep face-to-face interactions as safe as possible, including recommendations for physical distancing and meeting space hygiene.
  • Individuals should consult with their health professionals and use their own discretion and common sense about participating in a group meeting. As with all important decisions, taking some moments of quiet time with our Higher Powers and talking with our sponsors can provide clarity. No one should feel any pressure to go to a face-to-face meeting if they do not feel it is safe for them to do so.
We deeply appreciate the generosity of so many of you who have made your 7th tradition contributions to the fellowship through the FA website. What a tremendous showing of support! Again, we remind you that disposition of 7th tradition funds is up to individual members and meetings. The "donate" button on the upper right corner of FA's home page provides detailed directions on how to contribute to WSI (World Service, Inc.), Eastern Area Intergroup, Western Area Intergroup and the Maine Chapter.

We wish you continued good health, peace of mind, and the joys of recovery, even in a world turned upside down. We always welcome your suggestions about ways to help each other and to reach the still-suffering food addict. Do let us continue to hear from you. The best way to contact us is by sending an email to fa@foodaddicts.org.

Thank you again for everything you do to ensure the strength and vitality of our life-affirming program of recovery.

In humble service,

The World Service Board
The World Service Board is made up of a group of thirteen food addicts (including four officers and nine committee chairs) who serve the FA fellowship as guided by the World Service Conference. The Conference represents the collective conscience of FA and comprises representatives elected by individual meetings. The WSB abides by the will of the Conference, implementing decisions made at the annual World Service Business Convention.

COVID-19 Email #4 - Changes to the FA Website

April 21, 2020

This message has been sent to all FA members who have set up a profile on the FA website.

New Donation Button on FA Home Page
This month has continued to present challenges to all of us as the impact of the coronavirus, COVID-19, is felt around the world.The World Service Board has received inquiries as to how FA members can donate to FA-WSI, intergroups, and the Maine chapter.

The FA office has addressed this issue by making it easier to donate if you are able to support the fellowship in this way. We have placed a DONATE button on the upper right-hand side of the FA website that will give FA members easy access to online giving. Instructions for mail-in donations are provided as well.

Change in Job Title: Web and Directory Contact is Now the Meeting Contact
During this time of crisis, the FA website has taken on increased importance, especially as newcomers look for solutions to food addiction. "Meeting Contact" is a title with a clear meaning, especially for first-time users. The job description will remain the same. It will take some time to implement this change across the website, but we will be using Meeting Contact in future communications.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate these unusual circumstances. We continue to be inspired by the resilience of our amazing fellowship. It is especially heartening to be able to attract and welcome newcomers to the program while we are homebound, and we hope these simple changes will help with those efforts.

In gratitude and service,

The World Service Board

COVID-19 Email #3: Information for Your Gatherings

March 29, 2020

Dear FA Members,

We hope this finds you and your families well and safe. Since our last communication, members of the World Service Board have heard positive reports about what many of you are doing in your phone and online gatherings. We have also received multiple requests for more guidance and structure. 

In this difficult environment, the board is continuing to discuss ways to maintain the unity of our local fellowships, stay connected to other food addicts, hold strongly to the tools of the program, and ultimately stay abstinent with the guidance of our sponsors and our Higher Powers. The issues are difficult and complex, and of course we have not always agreed with one another. We have all been humbled in various ways through this process. 

We have now agreed on the agenda as a possible option for your gatherings. We hope you find this useful.

Let’s continue to ask our Higher Power to help us remain hopeful and stay abstinent. This too shall (eventually) pass and we are all in this together.

In gratitude and service,

The World Service Board

Be calm, be true, be quiet...Feel a deep, inner security in the goodness and purpose in the universe.

Twenty-Four Hours a Day, March 30 

Email #2: Update from the World Service Board about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

March 16, 2020

Dear FA Members,

The last week has continued to present challenges to all of us as the impact of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is felt around the world. Many meetings have closed, and the World Service Board has received questions about appropriate alternatives when meeting places are no longer available or members choose not to meet. 

FA meetings are by definition, “in-person,” as approved by the FA World Service Conference and stipulated in our by-laws. Phone or online gatherings are not FA meetings. Thankfully, FA has developed a robust suite of tools to assist us in our recovery as outlined in the Living Abstinently pamphlet. Meetings are just one of those ten tools.

With that in mind, there are many ways to safeguard our recovery when we are unable to attend in-person meetings. Given our natural tendency to isolate, we suggest the following as ways to stay connected without in-person meetings:

  • Listen to podcasts
  • Call a fellow and read a connection article or a piece of Conference-approved literature
  • Set up an informal group support audio or video conference call, and without using the FA meeting format, read from a piece of Conference-approved literature and take turns sharing
  • Write an article for connection magazine or host a virtual writing session (for information click here)
  • Make extra phone calls and expand your reach to fellows you don’t know yet
  • Set aside your committed meeting times to engage in any of these suggestions

Please consider this a special opportunity to appreciate the experience of our fellows on the frontier who do not have regular face-to-face contact with other FA members. Use the frontier phone list to reach out to fellows around the world.

The absence of in-person meetings will affect newcomers as well as current FA members. The FA website will direct anyone searching for a meeting to call the web and directory contact for up-to-date information. It will be helpful if the web and directory contact has a list of available sponsors ready.
As always, we encourage our members to keep their recovery front and center. Don’t eat no matter what, no matter what, don't eat! With the Twelve Steps as our guide, we are fortunate to have principles that reinforce our need to support each other in challenging times. Let us lean on each other (spiritually!) as much as we can during the weeks ahead with faith, not fear.

Please know that the board is meeting regularly to monitor the situation and will provide on-going updates.

Thanks to everyone for reaching out with your questions and concerns.

In service,

The World Service Board

Email #1: A message from the World Service Board about COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

March 10, 2020

Dear FA Member,

The spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the Coronavirus, is of great concern to all of us. With the welfare of our members and the health of our fellowship in mind, the World Service Board (WSB) would like to offer some suggestions concerning FA meetings and gatherings.

Since each FA group is autonomous, decisions about holding meetings will be made by its members. We encourage groups to hold emergency business meetings in order to decide the circumstances under which a meeting will no longer meet; for example, some may choose to cancel if the local school districts close. It's a good idea to establish a way to communicate with other members and the local fellowship. Of course, it makes good sense to keep up with the recommendations of local health departments and to follow suggestions about social distancing. For example, members should refrain from hugging (elbow or toe bumps are good alternatives) and may choose to sit apart from others if they are concerned.

If your meeting chooses to stay open, use common sense regarding your own participation. As always, talk to your sponsor about your attendance. If you are high risk, consult with your doctor as well. We all must continue to be extra diligent in our hygiene habits and considerate of high-risk fellows. Health officials have advised that we are facing a particularly bad flu season, and that preventive measures for the flu and COVID-19 are very similar. If you are sick or have traveled to a high-risk area, it is better to remain at home to avoid infecting others.

At present, plans for the FA Business Convention have not changed. However, the WSB is monitoring the situation closely and is reviewing all options. Our current policy states that full refunds for convention registration and food plans are available until April 11, as long as the request is communicated to the FA office via email (fa@foodaddicts.org). We will keep you updated with any changes.

Most important, as recovering food addicts, personal recovery remains our highest priority. If meeting attendance is not possible, we will need to rely heavily on the other tools. To avoid isolation, the use of the telephone is critical. Those unable to attend their regular meetings are encouraged to read the meeting format and listen to an FA qualification; there are hundreds of MP3s available to download on FoodAddicts.org or to stream as podcasts (search for Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous). Reading FA literature is always helpful.

Again, we are aware this is a rapidly changing situation, and we will provide updates as needed. In the meantime, please do call on your fellows for support.

In service,

World Service Board

"We are aware this is a rapidly changing situation."

"As recovering food addicts, personal recovery remains our highest priority."

"We get to not eat one day at a time and be better people for it! Let’s rise to that occasion."