Category Archives: Uncategorized

November is Gratitude Month

Gratitude is an Action.

Our groups, our areas, and A.A. as a whole will not function unless our services are sufficient and our bills are paid.
~ Bill W.   1957

Gratitude Month: How will your group celebrate this November?

Gratitude Month is a time set aside for us to express thanks to the fellowship. In the Bay Area, Gratitude Month is traditionally practiced by
passing the 7th Tradition basket a second time, with the entirety of the collection from the second basket being contributed to Central
Office. However, groups around the country and around the world each have their own customs for celebrating Gratitude Month, including
holding Tradition discussion meetings in place of the regular format, or by making “gratitude” the discussion topic during the month.

The History of Gratitude month dates back to the 1940s when the General Service Board hosted small “Gratitude Dinners.” By the 1960s they had become larger, more elaborate “Gratitude Luncheons.” The motivation behind these gatherings was to express personal gratitude for sobriety and appreciation to our professional friends for their articles, books, radio and T.V. interviews relating to A.A. over the past year.

There is no proscribed manner for celebrating Gratitude Month. Groups are encouraged to come up with their own imaginative ways to foster an attitude of gratitude among the fellowship. Box 459, the GSO’s newsletter, put it so well: “How about trying something new, something your group has never done before, which will make the members’ gratitude more tangible and real?” Here in the Bay Area we’ve always been good about finding new and inventive ways to do things, so let’s be creative!

 

IFAA Executive Director Position

August 5, 2021

We are actively seeking candidates for the IFAA Executive Director (ED) position .

The ED is responsible for overseeing all operational aspects of our organization and works closely with the Board of Directors and its Committees, manages the day-to-day operations of the Central Office, coordinates with and supports Intergroup Committees, hires and supervises other staff members, recruits and supervises volunteers, and provides overall leadership for sustaining the organization.

For more information and to see the full job announcement and description, CLICK HERE.

Attention A.A. Groups & Members – Seeking New Treasurer

The Intercounty Fellowship Board is seeking a Treasurer for a two-year term beginning July 1, 2021. We need help from you and other members of our Fellowship to reach potential candidates no later than May 1, 2021. Please see the Job Description below and make this announcement at all meetings you attend.

Job Description for Treasurer

The Intergroup Treasurer:

  • Oversees the application of generally accepted accounting principles for
    Intergroup / Central Office
  • Serves as Chair of the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors
  • Reviews and analyzes monthly financial statements
  • Advises the Executive Director on bookkeeping, payroll, tax filings and compliance issues
  • Approves bank reconciliations
  • Prepares the annual Intergroup budget with the input of the Executive Director and Board of Directors
  • Updates Statement of Functional Expenses for year-end tax returns
  • Assesses internal controls and initiates outside audits as appropriate
  • Reports to the Board of Directors on the 4th Monday of each month
  • Presents financial reports to Intergroup on the first Wednesday of each month
  • Calculates the annual prudent reserve
  • As a Board Officer, serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and oversees/evaluates the performance and compensation of the Executive Director

The Treasurer is an elected officer of the Board and serves as a member of the Board of Directors (and the Executive and Finance sub-committees). Knowledge of QuickBooks Online is beneficial.  Experience in financial accounting management of a small business (as an owner or bookkeeper) is recommended.  Experience in Non-Profit accounting is best.

The job requires a minimum of 10 hours a month. It is a volunteer position with a two-year term to begin July 1, 2021. 

It is not a requirement that the Treasurer be a member of the Fellowship, however, if the applicant is an A.A. member, we suggest that they have two or more years of continuous sobriety.  

Interested parties can email a resume and cover letter, by May 1, 2021, to board@aasfmarin.org.

A Visual History of Alcoholics Anonymous: An Archival Journey

Originally developed as the souvenir book for the 2020 International Convention, this highly illustrated tour through A.A.’s history is told in hundreds of iconic images never before published in one volume.

Illuminating descriptions walk us through powerful moments in A.A.’s history — from the people, places and things integral to A.A.’s early growth, and forward to today’s vibrant, international Fellowship.

Includes a special focus on Detroit in A.A.’s history and updated coverage of recent innovations in A.A. group life.

Take a peek …

4.75″ x 3.75″
416 pages

Board minutes

Teleservice and Banana Pancakes

by Luke H.

More often than not I don’t know a thing about what I’m doing when I first try something, and what I do know is usually wrong. Such has been my experience with Teleservice in San Francisco. I heard it was what other people in the Fellowship did for service. I heard that it was hurting, with volunteers dropping and leadership in general disarray. I didn’t pay much attention, though. I never felt compelled to help out even when I heard some passionate members push to breathe life back into the organization.

Passionate members pushed to breathe life back into it

My experience getting involved with Teleservice reminds me of a phenomenon I experienced some years ago growing up in Orange County. Have you ever had a favorite radio station that keeps playing a really awful song that you totally hate? When I was younger, I listened to KROQ 106.7 all the time. My clock radio woke me up by playing KROQ. Almost without fail, Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes” would be playing first thing in the morning. Every. Single. Morning.

I swore that the DJs were doing this to ruin my morning. I already had to be in class by 7:20 so this was just adding insult to injury for me. Weeks passed. Months flew by. Gradually I found myself singing along to “Banana Pancakes” as I awoke to it. I even bought Jack Johnson’s entire discography on CD (I still stand by this decision – he rules).

share laughs over chilled Minute Maid orange juice at some church remodeled in the late ’70s

Bringing it back to Teleservice now: I heard Lara A. announce at what seemed like every meeting that Teleservice wasn’t doing too well. Every week, she made the same announcement. Eventually, she approached me and asked if I was interested in helping out. I found myself saying “yes” and promising that I would be at a Gratitude Center ad hoc orientation on Saturday. I had heard Teleservice talked about enough that I realized I had but one choice: help out to ensure the future of this great part of the service work, made possible by Intergroup.

I was sure I was going to tank

I attended and said I would take a regular shift. Should there be an opening, I didn’t mind being a Daily Coordinator (keeping scheduled volunteers apprised of shifts and helping volunteers get coverage if needed). Lara got back to me within a day or so and said I had a shift. I was now a Daily Coordinator for Wednesday. Wait, what? I hadn’t even done my first shift and I needed to help out a crew of seasoned volunteers every week. I was sure I was going to tank.

Almost three years have passed since then. I appreciate and love Teleservice more than ever before. We have great Daily Coordinators and even better volunteers. Were it not for COVID-19, we would have had our annual volunteer appreciation brunch, at some church last remodeled in the late 1970s, I’m sure. The last one in 2019 was pretty great – so many people I had emailed, talked to on the phone yet had never met in person! We actually got to meet each other and share some laughs over chilled Minute Maid orange juice.

I encourage you to come and join us on the third Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m. for orientation. We have a lot of fun helping out still-suffering alcoholics. Until then, I’ll keep announcing the same entreaty each week at the meetings I attend for others to join me for fun with Teleservice. It grows on you like banana pancakes.

Front Line Volunteers Report Upswing in Court-Ordered Newcomers

Our volunteers in Teleservice, HelpChat, and our email help responders, as well as trusted servants for some groups, say that there appear to be more and more folks being ordered by the court system (judges, probation officers, lawyers, etc.) to attend A.A. meetings. How should your group respond? This is a matter for a group conscience, and once a decision is made about handling these new folks, how do we let them know that they can or can’t get attendance verified? And how do we do it in a pandemic where most meetings are still held online?

The Fourth Tradition states that each group is autonomous, and thus can decide whether or not to cooperate and sign “court cards” or provide some other attendance verification. This was true prior to the pandemic; some groups used to state “no court cards” on the schedule, when almost all meetings were in person. The presumption often was that unless the group so stated, that court cards would otherwise be signed.

Some court-connected entities have told their clients that screen shots of zoom meeting photo grids, where the court-ordered newcomer’s picture appears, would provide the necessary verification. This clearly violates A.A.’s anonymity strictures, and so we are hoping to avoid this practice by implementing something mutually agreeable. But the groups need to act.

Especially if you are a group’s trusted servant (secretary, treasurer, IGR, or GSR) please raise this issue and help your group make a decision (via a business meeting, just like any other matter of group conscience) about whether to provide attendance verification, and how to then implement that decision.

Implementation could be as simple as designating a “court card signers” who is willing to communicate with newcomers via chat during the meeting and subsequent emails to verify attendance. (If you’d like, you can set up a group email account to be used for many purposes, including this one.) One important function is for this service position to tell the newcomer that it is outside A.A.’s purview to determine what is or is not acceptable verification. It’s also important to be clear with newcomers that A.A. is not affiliated in any way with any outside enterprise: this includes any part of the legal system. Attendance verification, if provided, is simply for the newcomer’s convenience and at their request.

Make announcements in the meeting about attendance verification and how to achieve it. But screen shots of meeting photo grids are not allowed, in order to protect all members’ anonymity.

In the meantime, our San Francisco Public Relations Committee and Marin PI/CPC are trying to inform various elements of the court system about what A.A. does and does not do. This is an ongoing effort, to emphasize our singleness of purpose (helping the alcoholic who still suffers).

For more reading on this matter, please refer to these materials:

https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/alcoholics-anonymous-as-a-resource-for-drug-and-alcohol-court-professionals

https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/f-2_InfoonAA.pdf

https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/p-29_howAAmemCoopProf.pdf

Marin Outdoor Meetings Town Hall Q&A – 10/27/20

Q: Will government officials be checking up on the meetings and what repercussions?
A: Local government officials may be made aware of these meetings but not specifically going to be checking up on them. Meetings that are not following the guidelines of the county have the potential to be cited.

Q: Will meetings that are, and have been, meeting without registering be subject to repercussions?
A: Groups have the possibility of being cited by government officials if the guidelines are not followed. With our fourth tradition in mind, each group can decide how they would like to run their meeting but citings due to not following the guidelines can affect other groups or A.A. as a whole.

Q: What part of AA is handling this interface with the county?
A: Marin PI/CPC as representatives for A.A. worked with the county to provide experience in the development of these guidelines. Individual groups will be in charge of contacting parks to determine meeting availability and additional protocols on top of the guidelines.

Q: How to best disseminate this information so that groups get the message?
A: The guidelines and Q&A will be on the aasfmarin.org website and aamarin.org website. Please direct people to these sources, and inform them that the county has produced guidelines for all outdoor recovery meetings.

Q: Will there be contact with meetings that are listed as in-person so they know about these guidelines?
A: Our hope in putting on this Town Hall was to get this information out to the fellowship, and members from the groups we know are already meeting in person were contacted. Please direct people to the guidelines on the aasfmarin.org and aamarin.org websites.

Q: Will in-person meetings be listed?
A: Each group will decide if they would like to register with Intergroup and have their meeting listed on the aasfmarin.org website.

Q: What parks are available for our use?
A: As of this moment, Marin County Parks and Rec is taking applications for recurring use permits in all Marin County Regional Parks. Other types of parks, such as City Parks and Marin County Open Spaces, will need to be contacted directly for availability.

Q: How do the guidelines affect the meetings that have been meeting before there were guidelines?
A: These guidelines are in effect for all outdoor recovery meetings currently meeting in person or planned. Violations of these guidelines could result in citings which could affect other groups or A.A. as a whole.

Q: Anonymity! How long for groups to keep a contact tracing list?
A: Each group will have to determine how best to facilitate this list; recommend keeping the list for each meeting for three weeks.

Q: Please clarify suggestion for 7th tradition donations.
A: The guidelines note not to pass a basket around the group, if groups would like to donate physical currency, they recommend having a basket at the entrance or exit for members to deposit money into. Electronic contributions are recommended to avoid contact. Please note
that in some parks, if physical money is collected, there will be an additional fee for this. Coordinate with the Parks and Rec Department for the park you are meeting in.

Q: Will groups be responsible for providing insurance?
A: This is dependent on the park location of the meeting, insurance is available through Intercounty Fellowship of A.A. for a one-time fee of $50. Visit aasfmarin.org for more information.

Q: Will we need more work regarding insurance responsibility?
A: Each group will be responsible for providing necessary documentation for the park that they are meeting in.

Q: Are the guidelines contingent on the state and/or county status? Might they change?
A: We adhere to the strictest guidelines, and the county can not overrule the state requirements. The parks may have different requirements as time goes on and we begin to open back up.

Q: How does “first come, first served” affect group use and “between group” coordination?
A: Certain parks, such as Corte Madera Town Park, are on a first come, first served basis, but the Corte Madera Parks and Recreation Department is asking that groups call first to let them know they are coming so as to not overwhelm the park with multiple groups at the same time.

Q: What are the various costs for use of parks and permitting? Is the cost per use or a day permit?
A: For Marin County Regional Parks, there is a non-refundable one-time fee of $34 to file an application for a recurring use permit. This permit covers recurring meetings for the extent of time approved by Marin County.

Q: Should we contact other parks directly to find out about use?
A: Yes, similar to how we used to rent a meeting space and coordinated with the facility in charge, groups should contact the Parks and Rec Department of the park they are interested in and work with those in charge of managing that park to determine availability and protocols
required in addition to the guidelines.

Q: Is the application fee a one-time fee?
A: For Marin County Parks and Rec applications, yes. The application fee is only charged to apply for the recurring use permit, not per use or for individual days.

Q: Is the application fee site specific and will groups need to submit applications for each location that they want to use?
A: For Marin County Parks and Rec, the application fee is for each permit application submitted. The location and sites requested by the recurring use permits are up to Marin County to be approved or denied.

Q: Are there recommendations regarding temperature checking devices? How should groups manage temp checks for outdoor meetings?
A: We recommend each group hold a group conscience to determine how they would like to screen members for COVID-19 symptoms.

Q: How to manage group size limits? Newcomer priority consideration for meetings?
A: We recommend each group hold a group conscience to determine how they will handle additional members arriving above the meeting limit attendance.

Q: How should groups handle contact lists?
A: Each group can identify someone to keep a contact list. Please note that if someone develops symptoms of COVID-19, we do not need to break a person’s anonymity to let the nurse know who they have been in contact with; we don’t need to mention that it was an A.A. meeting. Also, if the infected member was not within six feet for more than 15 minutes with another person, contact tracing doesn’t apply.

Q: What information is required for a contact list?
A: First and last names and phone numbers.