12 Concepts Workshop

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Date: Saturday, October 5, 2019
Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Location: Center of Unity, 1650 Hughes Rd., Grapevine, TX 76051
Speaker: Tom M., NETA65 Past Delegate (Panel 65)
Comments: Lunch will be served / 7th Tradition / Bring your Service Manual

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“Social Media — the Colossus of 21st Century Communication”

General Service Board Meeting

The General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc. held its quarterly meeting at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Hotel, New York, NY on Monday, January 28, 2019. Leslie Backus, acting chair of the General Service Board, presided.

The topic of the First Quarterly General Sharing Session was “Social Media — the Colossus of 21st Century Communication.” Class A trustee Peter Luongo presented on the subtopic “Unity and Social Media” and G.S.O. staff member Sandra W. presented on the subtopic “Anonymity and Social Media.”

Trustee-at-large/U.S. Newton P. welcomed all, especially Conference committee delegate chairs. He read a portion of Bill W.’s Grapevine article from 1960 about “the vast communication net that now covers the earth…this colossus of communication.” Peter spoke about how Tradition One firmly and unequivocally states that A.A.’s unity is essential to the mission of carrying the message to the still-suffering alcoholic. He contrasted A.A. unity, which is straightforward and has stood the test of time, with social media, which “is neither straightforward, nor has it stood the test of time. It continues a rapid, unplanned and ungoverned proliferation toward an end that is equally unknown.”

Peter suggested that the answer is not to simply abandon social media, since it is often a helpful tool for those in recovery. Sandra, the second speaker, began jokingly by taking a selfie with the group “for my Instagram page.” Citing statistics about the billions of social network users worldwide and the frequency with which Americans use social media (often multiple times per day), she noted that for her the question is how we can maintain a presence on the social media landscape without compromising our Traditions.

Sandra referenced helpful resources such as the service piece “Anonymity Online” and the Conference-approved pamphlet “Understanding Anonymity.” She also referenced presentations from the recent 2018 Southeast Regional Forum, where a delegate presentation titled “A.A. and Social Media” discussed secret Facebook groups, acknowledging that “with advancements in technology, anonymity is a principle that will constantly need to be revisited.”

After the presentations, Newton invited sharing from the floor. A Grapevine director shared that she sees a great opportunity to reach millions of people with information about A.A. through social media, just as we reach people through our Public Service Announcements in order to help the still-suffering alcoholic.

A delegate chair suggested that our Class A trustees be the voice of A.A. on LinkedIn, in order to reach professionals. A delegate chair shared about her women’s group having a Facebook page. It began with simple posts about where everyone was going for dinner, which helped increase inclusiveness; eventually, however, there were posts that compromised anonymity.

A Grapevine director shared what he called the three absolutes when it comes to social media: this is the world we live in; these are the platforms that exist; and we have no control over what other human beings do. He feels that we need to vote, yes or no, on social media. If the vote is yes, then we need to develop an infrastructure within G.S.O. to engage with social media within our principles. A staff member observed that the question is not “should A.A. be on social media,” because A.A. is already on social media through individual members. But rather, should G.S.O. or AA Grapevine be on social media? In the past G.S.O. has been a communication portal, disseminating information, in a oneway fashion. Is there a need to change this? If so, how should this interaction happen?

An ACM shared that we need to be honest, open and willing to look at how we carry the A.A. message in the digital world. At his job, once he became open-minded about social media platforms, he found they were a great information resource. An A.A.W.S. director stressed that we focus on the accuracy of information about A.A. at the public level. She felt that our silence on certain platforms has opened the door for self-proclaimed spokespeople of A.A. who often misrepresent us with inaccurate information.

Newton ended the session by citing a statistic that the average millennial spends nine hours a day on social media. He feels that if we want to reach them we need to have a presence on social media.

If you would like to read the entire Quarterly Report from G.S.O. – click here

Step Speaker: Jimmy D.

If you are looking for a really great step speaker, head over to the Tuesday Night Speaker Meeting Group in Haltom City on Tuesday Nights at 7:00pm!

New Speakers Announced for GITC

The Get In The Car Group (#getinthecar) is excited to announce that we have booked Mo N. from the Fenton Big Book Group in St. Louis, MO to come share her experience strength and hope with our group on Friday, May 31, 2019.

Mo is a Past Delegate (Panel 63) to the General Service Conference of A.A. for the Northeast Texas Area 65 and is dedicated to serving the Fellowship in every way she can.  She brings an enormous passion and dedication to carrying our message of recovery to the still suffering alcoholic.  With a love for the Fellowship and a wickedly fun sense of humor, we are sure to be blessed by her message.

Please plan on joining us!

GITC Went Live Tonight!!!!

On a beautiful January evening (January 4, 2019) in Grapevine Texas, 45 drunks from all over the D/FW area came to support our little group for its very first meeting.

Upon arriving at the Center of Unity in Grapevine (our new home), folks were greeted at the front door by handshakes, hugs, warm smiles, and warm hearts. There was an energy in the room that was palpable. Alcoholics coming together for one reason and one reason only – to experience a deep and rich personal experience of our basic text.

Terry C., one of our three founders, chaired our first meeting and did a bang up job. Thanks Terry! The hard work we had done to prepare us for this first meeting all came to fruition tonight. But no one could have foreseen what was to unfold when the book study actually started. The original format was to be that we would read the book (just read) from 7:45pm-8:15, take a 15 minute fellowship break, then come back from 8:30pm-9:00pm for sharing on what was just read.

God doing for us… in the moment, the format took a drastic change and open sharing began. Questions were asked… definitions we read from the dictionary, and a discussion that nobody saw coming was born. It was incredibly beautiful to sit back and watch it unfold – just the way God wanted it to be (regardless of what WE had wanted it to be). Terry would call on someone to read, they would share on what they had just read, and then anyone in the room who wanted to provide their experience on that passage, or ask a question about it jumped in and the discussion continued to unfold.

By the time the fellowship break came – the founders all just sort of looked at each other in amazement and realized in that moment that the format was taking on a life of its own. It’s not what we had planned, but it certainly was what was supposed to be. When we came back from break – we continued reading, the discussion continued and you could almost see the amazement in the room at what was taking place.

When the meeting was over, one of the women (not a member of the group) who was there came up to one Rick W. (one of the three founders) and said, “This is THE coolest A.A. meeting I have ever been to.” Stuart R. who was visiting from the Simply AA Group in Irving said after the meeting that he loved what the format morphed into and would definitely be back next week. It was our goal from the very beginning that members and visitors alike who came to tonight’s GITC meeting left with a little bit more information about our book than when they walked in. Time and time again we heard that we accomplished that goal.

Another very special experience for the members in attendance was the presence of the group of guys that “got in the car” and drove all the way from the Altered Boys Group in Oklahoma City for our first meeting. GITC owes a debt of gratitude to that amazing group in OKC because what we experienced tonight was due in large part to the incredible message of recovery and unity that group embodies. We cannot thank them enough for “getting in the car” and driving down to support us tonight. Thank you guys. We love you!

Finally, a massive thanks goes out to each member of GITC who showed up tonight to help setup and tear down. Our Hospitality committee did an amazing job of keeping the coffee flowing and the goodies at the ready. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful miracle people who have taken on trusted servant roles to ensure that GITC continues to stay focused on carrying a clear and adequate presentation of the program of A.A. We could not have done it without you. Thank you!

Now that the first meeting is over, we can begin to settle into a routine, make the minor adjustments we need to make and diligently work at our group’s primary purpose – to carry the message to the still suffering alcoholic.


Anonymity: Our Spiritual Foundation

Presentation given by Erica C., Delegate Panel 67, Area 10 Colorado at the 2017 Southwest Regional Forum, San Antonio, TX

The first time I met with my first sponsor to begin Step work, I arrived fifteen minutes early at the restaurant where we had agreed to meet. I showed up with my brand-new, hot-off-the-press fourth edition Big Book complete with blue and yellow dust jacket. After I ordered my coffee, I placed the book on the edge of the table so that the waitstaff and other customers might see what a sorry state I was in. Poor little Erica, condemned to a life in Alcoholics Anonymous!

When my sponsor arrived, she took a look at the book, looked at me, and told me I needed to put a new cover on it—one that would conceal its title when I was out in public. Conveniently, the dust jacket is sheer white on the inside—I turned it inside out and wrapped my book in it while my new sponsor explained how anonymity was the spiritual foundation of all of our principles in A.A. She said I had no right to break my anonymity as an A.A. member before I had had any experience in recovery to demonstrate A.A. principles to others. Moreover, I never had the right to break another member’s anonymity, including hers, which I had broken by implication when I showed off my Big Book to all of the patrons in the restaurant. Then she asked me to read the essays on Traditions Eleven and Twelve with a laser focus on the principle of humility and self-sacrifice.

As clueless as I had been that morning, I read those two essays in the evening and felt deeply that humility and self-sacrifice—the abandonment of personal distinction inside or outside of the Fellowship as a function of my experience as an alcoholic—were practices that I sorely lacked. I was keenly aware of my desperate need for a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism. And through the guidance of this sponsor and our literature, I learned that one way to assure that I am practicing a genuine humility is to maintain my personal anonymity as an A.A. member at the public level, to be rigorous about practicing the principle of anonymity within the Fellowship, and to continually avoid personal distinction within A.A.

It is easy to think of anonymity simply as a matter of confidentiality. Our anonymity promise assures newcomers they can join the Fellowship without exposure to public ridicule or the stigma associated with alcoholism. There is, however, another dimension of anonymity—the spirit of the principle itself. The spirit of anonymity focuses less on confidentiality and more on humility and self-sacrifice. This can be much trickier because of its subtlety and its demand that we each, as A.A. members, constantly examine our motives in the way that we relate to one another.

As our Big Book says, one way that we help each other is by disclosing our shortcomings, so that others might identify with us and therefore reflect on their own practices. So in the interest of disclosure, I will share a few ways that I have acted outside of the spirit of anonymity as an A.A. member.

First… I once shared a sobriety anniversary with my friends on Facebook. Because my post was private, this act did not break the letter of anonymity. However, because my motive in posting the anniversary was a desire for praise and accolades for this milestone, I did break the spirit of anonymity.

Second… I have put A.A. members on a pedestal and sought prestige by associating with people whom I deemed important in the Fellowship. Again, this has nothing to do with confidentiality, but it reflects a lack of humility on my part as I seek to place others above myself or myself above others.

Third… I have told someone that I was in A.A. to elicit interest, intrigue, or sympathy. Because this was a personal disclosure, I did not break anonymity at the public level. However, my motives were not selfless, as I was seeking personal distinction as a function of my membership in A.A.

Fourth… I have discussed my work and professional life with A.A. members to seem special. Again, this was a subtle attempt to set myself apart from my fellow A.A. members—to obtain special distinction within A.A. One of the advisory actions from the 67th General Service Conference is to add more discussion about the spirit of anonymity, humility, and self-sacrifice to the pamphlet “Understanding Anonymity.” Although the letter of anonymity is simple—we do not disclose our membership in A.A. at the public level—the humility and self-sacrifice involved in the spirit of anonymity provide potential for a lifetime of continuous spiritual growth, both for our individual members and for the Fellowship as a whole.