Category Archives: Uncategorized

Update #16: Town Hall Two Coming Up

The virtual Town Hall on June 18 was attended by almost 300 members. We gained valuable information from those who joined us and have received positive feedback that the information presented was useful and appreciated. Considerations for resuming face-to-face meetings were reviewed along with dialog about the concerns our groups are faced with today. All of the information from the meeting is posted here.

With the news of an increase in local COVID-19 cases, reopening will be delayed. The poll results from the Town Hall reflect that our community is also being patient. We have an opportunity to use this time to continue working together in planning for a safe and sustainable return to in-person meetings. 

It became clear that members want to explore possibilities for Hybrid Meetings and discuss liability issues/waivers. We are scheduling another Town Hall for July 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM to cover these topics and to continue our open dialog. Additional will be posted on aasfmarin.org and sent out in the next update, but please mark your calendars now.

The July Intergroup Meeting will be on July 1, therefore we are hosting our monthly orientation for new IGRs on June 30.

Other events and service committee meetings, including GGYPAAs 4th of July Marathon are posted on our events calendar.

Our Intergroup Archives Committee is still looking for you to support an effort to capture this unprecedented time in AA’s history where nearly all meetings in the Bay Area have become virtual. We want to ensure that these experiences are recorded so future generations of AAs can understand this time and draw on the resiliency and innovation demonstrated. 

Please fill in your responses here to ensure that your group history is represented in our Archive. Suggestions to help you get started are included and multiple entries for each meeting are encouraged!

Please share this information with your social media communities and encourage your A.A. fellows to subscribe to The Buzz. All of our prior updates can be found here.

All decisions will be re-evaluated as the situation changes; we are doing our best and appreciate your support and understanding.

Your AA Central Office

Update #15: Town Hall this Week (6/15/20)

Our first virtual Founders Day Extravaganza is behind us and we learned what worked – varied and diverse speakers –  and what didn’t – the recording! Sadly, due to a technical error, we were not able to retain the audio recording of the event. We do have results from some of the fun polls we took throughout and congratulations to offer Cathy P, in Novato, and Melanie L, in San Francisco, the winners of our door prizes.

As promised, we are happy to share the results of our Shelter-in-Place survey from last month! We took the information you offered and used it as we prepare for…

… what’s next in the land of IFAA Intergroup | Central Office? Our first ever virtual Town Hall, is this Thursday, June 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. We will discuss considerations for resuming face-to-face meetings and have an open dialog about working together as a community as we start planning to meet in person again. Details and registration information can be found here. We hope to see many of our SF and Marin members in attendance. 

During the Town Hall we will touch on the following: 

  • Suggested Topics for Discussion as You Plan for Reopening
  • What to Do if an AA Member Tests Positive for COVID-19 & Attended Your Meeting
  • Consider New or Revised Service Opportunities
  • Perspective on the above through the lens of our Traditions

Introductory information is posted here and we hope to see YOU there!

We also have the June Intergroup Meeting Summary posted. Included are the IFAA financial reports through April 2020. The June issue of The Point has also been posted and, once again, includes an audio recordingThe Point Committee is always looking for content; we’d love to read your stories of experience, strength and hope on how you have managed these last few months. More information can be found here.

If writing your own story is too much at the moment, allow us to remind you that our Intergroup Archives Committee is looking for you to support an effort to capture this unprecedented time in AA’s history where nearly all meetings in the Bay Area have become virtual. We want to ensure that these experiences are recorded so future generations of AAs can understand this time and draw on the resiliency and innovation demonstrated.  Please fill in your responses here to ensure that your group history is represented in our Archive. Suggestions to help you get started are included and multiple entries for each meeting are encouraged!

In addition to the Town Hall this week, several service committees will hold their monthly meetings in the second half of this month. Among them are the IFAA Archives, Marin Teleservice (Orientation and Business Meeting), CNCA and the new Intergroup Representative Orientation. And the July Intergroup is on the 1st, so go ahead and mark your calendar now! Additional information for each of these – and more – can be found on our Events Calendar.

Town Hall Introduction

The Intercounty Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (IFAA), our Intergroup | Central Office has been dedicated to providing updated and accurate meeting information and best practices as a result of the move from in person to remote meetings due to the Shelter-in-Place Orders issued in San Francisco and Marin. We are fortunate that so many members stepped up to help and allowed us to be 100% operational since day one of the Stay Home Order. We will continue to support our local members and the groups in San Francisco and Marin to the best of our ability. Along those lines, we are now looking ahead at the Social Distancing requirements of our local authorities and how they will impact our fellowship and its ability to meet in person. As we’ve seen, our members have been able to pivot once during this global pandemic and we hope to be able to do so again, with as much grace as we can muster and in support of our common welfare.

As many of you know, the service structure in Alcoholics Anonymous places the individual groups at the highest level of service, and as such, our Ninth Tradition Service Committees, including IFAA, do not direct what each autonomous group can or cannot do. Our role is to provide the community with services that the individual groups cannot readily provide for themselves, giving space to the groups to focus on their primary purpose of carrying the message to the still suffering alcoholic. 

Therefore, it is important to understand that the information presented is not a directive, but rather a tool for groups to use in protecting the health and safety of everyone. As members of Alcoholics Anonymous we have a vested interest in securing the fellowship from the possibilities of litigation or public controversy. Though our personal positions regarding the guidelines may differ, it is our hope that we work collectively in putting our common welfare first.

Please note that the IFAA service area includes both San Francisco and Marin and that local guidelines and protocols vary by county. Additionally, there are State guidelines, which by some measures appear to be less restrictive than those of our two counties, and quite likely individual host facility guidelines, which may be more restrictive. As more information becomes available, we will do our best to share additional documentation with you.

It is our understanding that Public Health Officers in counties that observe the SIP order will have the right to request, observe, and where violations occur, cite our meetings, or the facility they are held in, ultimately leading to the possibility of fines. If a meeting is not in compliance with the mandated Social Distancing Protocol and issued a citation or fine, the Intercounty Fellowship of AA will not be financially responsible nor be held liable for any and all fines as a result of a group’s non- compliance of the Public Health Order and Social Distancing Protocol. Financial responsibility and liability will fall to the individual group as well as the facility or meeting location. 

Further, please be aware that our host facilities may require meetings to sign a liability waiver stating the facility will not be held liable for any COVID-19 related illness. Further, some host facilities may not be ready to welcome groups back in or may do so at their own discretion. It is imperative to begin a dialog with your meeting facility as soon as you begin to consider meeting again as that will assist you with an informed group conscience.

We also want to remind the groups who have liability insurance certificates through IFAA that the policy covers only the meeting space listed on our schedules and DOES NOT cover Coronavirus. Groups must be prepared to handle liability for any claims that arise as a result of the Coronavirus or lack of compliance with standing public health guidelines.

IFAA is dedicated to assisting the groups in San Francisco and Marin safely return to meeting while limiting the risk of public health, controversy, liability, and the protection of our members and fellowship as a whole. We will continue to monitor the progression and re-opening of our two counties and changes to Public Health Orders. As new information is released we will update the groups and make amendments to our recommendations as needed. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through these unprecedented times.

Shelter-in-Place Survey Results

On May 1, 2020 we shared the following message in the update that was sent out to our subscribers to The Buzz, our electronic newsletter:

We are looking ahead and hope to make the transition back to physical meeting rooms as smooth as possible. Along those lines, we are hoping to get a strong response to our Shelter-in-Place survey which will support that effort. In it, we seek to find out about meeting disruptions, self-support and what things might look like ahead.

We hoped that the questions would be thought-provoking and stir members toward conversation about what would come next. We were optimistic that the results would yield experience, strength and hope that we could pass on to make a smooth transition back to our physical meeting rooms. 

As much as possible, Intergroup hopes to facilitate a transition that supports the fellowship in being stewards of AA for the future. What will the transition look like? What will meetings look like? Will groups return to their old spaces as if nothing happened? Will groups continue to meet online, or perhaps as a hybrid of both online and in a physical space?

We assumed there would be local and state requirements, as well as those of individual meeting facilities that we will need to incorporate and abide by. Per our fourth Tradition, each group will continue to be autonomous, within the structure of the wider communities in which we exist. 

With information from the survey and from conversation with other areas and service entities, we wanted to provide our members with tools to create best practices for the new normal. As always, they will be offered as suggestions and in support of AA as a whole.

On May 22, with 289 members responding, we closed the survey.  We shared the results at our June Intergroup meeting and are posting them here for you, too:

Shelter-in-Place Survey Results

Our next steps were to take this information, along with the information we’ve seen from State and Local officials regarding the next phase of reopening, and put together considerations for resuming  physical meetings.

We will present this resource at our first ever virtual Town Hall, on Thursday, June 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM and hope you will join us. We will also have time for an open dialog about working together as a community.  Details and registration information can be found here.

Update #14: Are We There Yet?

Keep Your Zoom App Updated

We have gotten some reports that members are having trouble accessing meetings on Zoom. If this happens to you, one reason could be that your application is not current.  

Zoom has once again made changes to meeting defaults and ALL USERS WILL NEED TO UPDATE THEIR VERSIONS to continue to use Zoom. The update allows participants to click to open links in the chat and meeting hosts to report disruptive meeting attendees. Click here for more information.

June Intergroup Meeting, Wednesday, June 3 at 7PM

Our June Intergroup Meeting is this week. We will hold elections for incoming Board Members and review the final results of the Shelter-in-Place Survey. Further, we are planning a Town Hall to discuss considerations for groups in re-opening. 

A link for the Intergroup meeting on Wed will be sent directly to all Integroup Reps, Alternates, Integroup Committee Chairs, Liaisons and Board Members. Anyone else interested in joining us can email development@aasfmarin.org to request the link.

Orientation will be held tomorrow, Tuesday June 2 at 6:30PM. While the Shelter-in-Place order is in effect, orientation is online and advance registration is required. Please contact chair@aasfmarin.org if you are planning on attending the orientation and we will send you a “New IGR” packet of info. and meeting access information.

SIP Survey Results | Town Hall Meeting

We received 289 submissions to the Shelter-in-Place survey posted last month. The results indicate that many groups have yet to discuss leaving the virtual realm to return to in person meetings. We want to provide you with as many resources as we can as you begin to have that conversation. 

Join us for a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, June 18 at 6:30PM.  We will present an FAQ for groups to use as considerations are made for meeting face-to-face again. The information has been gathered from members in San Francisco and Marin in cooperation with the other local service entities, as well as from other Intergroups around the country. Please mark your calendar and register to receive a link to access the meeting.

As most of you know we moved into Phase 2 of the State of California’s Resilience Roadmap. Last week, the Mayor of SF released this information. Please note the following excerpt:

“San Francisco’s current Stay Home Health Order does not have an expiration date and will be amended over the coming weeks and months to allow for a gradual and safer reopening. Today’s plan details the next phases, and provides dates that the City anticipates additional businesses and activities can resume with modifications. The dates in the plan will be finalized through amendments to the Health Order or directives, and will be guided by health indicators. If the City makes progress faster than expected, then the timeline outlined below may shift to allow some reopening to occur earlier. For each phase, guidance will be issued to provide businesses and operators with adequate time for planning and compliance with health and safety requirements.”

The bottom line is that we are still in a holding pattern. We hope you will meet us online on the 18th in an effort to come together as a community and work towards moving forward safely and with Our Common Welfare at the forefront of the eventual shift.

2020 Intergroup Founders Day Event

Our Intergroup Fellowship and Archives Committees are planning a virtual Founders Day extravaganza for Saturday, June 13 from 1 – 5 PM. We are extremely fortunate to have such dedicated members coming up with an amazing program which includes ASL and Spanish Interpretation. While we will miss gathering together in person, we can’t wait to share on: The Birth of AA, Service Makes A.A. Tick, Anyone Anywhere: a Remote Communities Panel and more! All of the details can be found here.

We’re making History! Right! Now!

Our Intergroup Archives Committee is looking for you to support an effort to capture this unprecedented time in AA’s history where nearly all meetings in the Bay Area have become virtual. We want to ensure that these experiences are recorded so future generations of AAs can understand this time and draw on the resiliency and innovation demonstrated. 

Please fill in your responses here to ensure that your group history is represented in our Archive. Suggestions to help you get started are included and multiple entries for each meeting are encouraged!

From General Service

District 10 Concepts Study  The monthly offering will be held Tuesday, June 2 from 7 – 9PM. More information and access details can be found here.

Post-Conference Assembly  On Saturday, June 6, 2020, Area 06, California Northern Coastal (CNCA), will gather online to hear our Area Delegate report on the 70th annual, but first ever VIRTUAL General Service Conference at the Post Conference Assembly. Additional details, including how to join, are posted here. Join from the comfort of your own home to hear what happened with your group conscience.

Other Service Committee orientations and business meetings including SF Public Relations Committee (formerly SF PI/CPC), Marin H&I, SF General Service, Marin Bridging the Gap, The Point, GGYPAA and SF Teleservice can be found on aasfmarin.org on our Events Calendar.

Please, for the love of take-out and well made masks, share this information with your social media communities and encourage your A.A. fellows to subscribe to The Buzz. All of our prior updates can be found here.

All decisions will be re-evaluated as the situation changes; we are doing our best and appreciate your support and understanding.

Your AA Central Office

We’re making History! Right! Now!

Overview: SF/Marin Intergroup Archives would like to capture this unprecedented time in AA’s history where nearly all meetings in the Bay Area have become virtual. We want to ensure that these experiences are captured so future generations of AAs can understand this time and draw on the resiliency and innovation demonstrated. 

If you or another group representative are able, please fill in your responses here to ensure your group history is represented in our Archive!

Suggestions:
 
  • Please complete the following survey for your home group or AA meeting you attend. We welcome stories about the transition process to virtual meetings, the virtual meetings themselves, as well as challenges during the time of COVID and how they were overcome. We also welcome your personal stories during the time of COVID. 
  • Please do include your own personal experiences or stories but be mindful of the anonymity of others and focus on your own experiences. 
  • If you have other digital files/information you would like preserved in our Archive including screenshots please send them to archives@aasfmarin.org with the name of your meeting in the subject line. However, as always, respect anonymity and do not include pictures/screenshots of other members.
  • Please do announce this process and invite members of your group to share personal stories about this time with the Archive, in the last column of the table below. 
Multiple entries for each meeting are encouraged!

Keep Your Zoom App Updated

We have gotten some reports that members are having trouble accessing meetings on Zoom. If this happens to you, one reason could be that your application is not current.  

Zoom has once again made changes to meeting defaults and ALL USERS WILL NEED TO UPDATE THEIR VERSIONS BY 5/31/2020 to use Zoom. The update allows Participants to click to open links in the chat and meeting Hosts to report disruptive meeting attendees.

To install the Zoom release:

On a desktop computer, open Zoom and check for updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a mobile device or tablet, update the app as you would with any other (App Store for iOs or Google Play for Android).

Our friends at the New York Intergroup have made updates to their Protection Guide with more information! Thanks for sharing, NYIG!

Update #13: Phase Two

Our last update included this survey with questions about group practices and experience during the shelter-in-place. In addition to gathering the particulars of individual meetings, it is our hope that the questions are thought-provoking and will stir you toward conversation with your meeting regulars about what will come next. The shelter-in-place order took us by surprise and created a fair amount of chaos — not unlike alcoholism, perhaps. Going forward, and taking an approach based on recovery, we hope to provide a smooth transition as we move toward Phase 2 of the reopening of California. Changes are coming in both San Francisco and Marin.

Intergroup would like to facilitate a transition that supports the fellowship in being stewards of AA for the future. To do so, we need your participation. What will the transition look like? What will meetings look like? Will groups return to their old spaces as if nothing happened? Will groups continue to meet online, or perhaps as a hybrid of both online and in a physical space?

Further, there will very likely be local and state requirements, as well as requirements of individual meeting facilities to incorporate and abide by. Per our fourth Tradition, each group will continue to be autonomous, within the structure of the wider communities in which we exist. 

With information from the survey and from conversation with other areas and service entities, we hope to provide our members with tools to create best practices for the new normal. As always, we will offer them as suggestions and in support of AA as a whole.

The survey will be open for one more week, through May 22. To our local members: if you have not already, please fill it out now. All are welcome; trusted servants are particularly encouraged. Results will be published after our June Intergroup meeting.

In other news, our Fellowship and Archives Committees are actively planning an engaging virtual Founders Day event for the afternoon of Saturday, June 13. Details will be forthcoming, but confirmed speakers include our Area Delegate, Teddy B-W, who will have just come from the 70th annual, but first ever VIRTUAL General Service Conference and William S, from Fairfield, CT, an AA member and published historian who will be doing a visual history presentation. 

In honor of the history that is being created right now we are putting together a time capsule and are looking for “Signs of COVID-19.” If your meeting posted a closure notice when the SIP Order was announced and you can safely get there to see if it is still up, please snap a photo and email it to archives@aasfmarin.org before the end of May. We will share more from the time capsule during our event.

Meanwhile, our local service committees continue to meet virtually. Information, if available, for upcoming orientations and business meetings (SF H&I, Archives, SF Teleservice, Marin General Service, CNCA and Marin Teleservice) can be found here.

In closing, we want to share what one local member wrote earlier this week about her experience over the last two months: 

What has really struck me about this time is how determinedly AA got its act together and got online. Intergroup was absolutely stellar, and there were a lot of regular old AAs, too, who just said “ok, we gotta get this meeting online” and they rolled up their sleeves and figured it out. And then people started showing up from around the country and even the world at our meetings, and suddenly we could make it to a meeting across town that was inconvenient before, and out of this horrible health crisis, AA flowered, again, in a whole new way. It feels like a freakin’ miracle, to me. We didn’t just survive, we grew!

Another member shared this* (non-AA) article which clearly demonstrates the resilience of the recovery community. Your Intergroup Representatives, Service Committees and Board of Directors are working together and with other local service entities in considering creative and engaging ways to harness the growth and surge of energy we have recently experienced. This may take the form of a series of town hall meetings, new online resources, updates for best practices or shared experience, including a checklist of considerations for moving forward. Until next time — Stay tuned. Stay safe. Stay.

And please, for the love of what is yet to come, complete our surveyshare this information with your social media communities, send us pictures for the time capsule and encourage your A.A. fellows to subscribe to The Buzz. All of our prior updates can be found here.

All decisions will be re-evaluated as the situation changes; we are doing our best and appreciate your support and understanding.

Your AA Central Office

Update #12: Unity, Togetherness, Rebirth

May Day is a public holiday celebrated on May 1 in many different cultures around the world. For some of them, it is a day of unity, togetherness, and rebirth. In the rooms of A.A., we come together over and over for that purpose and more. In the last six weeks, we have had to dramatically alter the way in which we do so and it has been a remarkable transition, one absolutely marked by unity, togetherness who who knows? Maybe even rebirth!

With incredible support and participation from local members we have been able to update our website, populating it with the 400+ remote meetings you all organized. Additionally, we curated and shared best practices for online meetings, hosted a webinar on A.A. in War & Crisis that maxed out the 500 participant limit! The event drew attendees from all over the world, including Japan and Columbia and the speaker recordings are available here . Further, we oriented a dozen new HelpChat volunteers in our first remote orientation, hosted a workshop for more than 50 other offices on this service, filled every single Teleservice shift, answered hundreds of emails and had a highly attended monthly Intergroup meeting (summary here). We have also received a record number of individual contributions and more group contribution support than we imagined. 

That being said, we encourage meetings to continue to collect a 7th Tradition. Even if you don’t have meeting expenses now, you will have them when you return to your meeting space. If your meeting is not yet set up to receive digital contributions from its members, check out our article Best Practices for a Digital 7th Tradition. When the shelter in place is lifted, we hope all meetings will have the resources needed to gather and carry A.A.’s message to the still suffering alcoholic. If you are an individual member with more to give, please consider becoming a Faithful Fiver!   

We are looking ahead and hope to make the transition back to physical meeting rooms as smooth as possible. Along those lines, we are hoping to get a strong response to our Shelter-in-Place survey which will support that effort. In it, we seek to find out about meeting disruptions, self-support and what things might look like ahead.

Our next monthly Intergroup meeting is on Wednesday, May 6, so pleasePleasePLEASE take the time to fill out the survey over the weekend so that the results can be shared there. 

There are a few annual events coming up, as well as some of the usual suspects. Now is as good a time as any to check out a Ninth Tradition service committee you’ve been curious about in support of it and your own Twelfth Step!

The CNCA Pre-Conference Assembly starts tomorrow! This is where your GSR takes your groups conscience to our Area Delegate who, in turn, brings it to the annual General Service Conference. This is all happening online this year, from the comfort of your own home! If that is not your idea of fun – or for a fun break in between this two day event – join our friends at Western Roundup Living Sober for their annual Spring Fling!

Three of our Intergroup Committees are hosting their regular monthly meetings in the next two weeks: Technology Committee Meeting on Monday, May 4, The Point on Saturday, May 9 and our former Public Information/ Cooperation with the Professional Community (PI/CPC) Committee, which is transitioning to a new name – Public Relations Committee, on Monday, May 11. It not already posted, meeting details for each will be added to the Events page as they are available.

Further, our two local General Service Districts, District 10, Marin General Service, and District 06, San Francisco General Service, also have their regular events coming up in the next couple of weeks: Marin will host a Twelve Concepts Study and San Francisco will have it’s regular monthly meeting preceded by orientation.

Stay tuned and please, for the love of well informed decisions, PLEASE complete our survey and share this information with your social media communities and encourage your A.A. fellows to subscribe to The Buzz. All of our prior updates can be found here.

All decisions will be re-evaluated as the situation changes; we are doing our best and appreciate your support and understanding.

Your AA Central Office

 

AA in War & Crisis: A Historical Perspective

Maintaining – or getting – sober during a global pandemic is not something any of us have experience with. This time has been referred to by many as akin to wartime. Right now, we are making history in how we are navigating our sobriety and the challenges associated with the shelter-in-place order, including feelings of isolation and powerlessness. But this is not the first crisis AA’s have been through. 

On Saturday, April 11 from 2 – 4PM, our Intergroup Archives Committee, in collaboration with Jackie B., presented A.A. in War & Crisis: A Historical Perspective with special guests Roger W. and Greg M. We are posting the audio recordings of the talks  below.

In them, they share their experience with AA and sobriety during WWII, 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. AA made it through then and we can do so now.

Members from all over the United States and as far as Colombia and Japan joined us and we maxed out our room capacity at 500. It was a tremendous experience and we are encouraged to do more like it. If you have ideas for presentations, contact us aa@aasfmarin.org.

Roger W.

Greg M.

A late addition, Irving D.