Area 47 Treatment Committee Chair Reports

2015 NYS Informational Workshop Treatment Report (.pdf)

On August 14-15th, 2015 I represented Area 47 in my capacity as Treatment Chair at The New York State Informational Workshop, hosted by Area 49 (SENY) at The Storm King School in Cornwall-On-Hudson, NY. In attendance were approximately 100 trusted servants from the 4 Areas of New York State.

Friday evening’s schedule consisted of a speaker meeting and AA trivia. At the speaker meeting, Laura C., from Area 49 shared her experience, strength, hope, and opinion. I found it refreshing that at the beginning of her story she was very upfront that she would be sharing her opinion, and that we should not confuse it with the message of AA. Her story contained a message that it is possible to get sober at a young age in spite of growing up in a horrendously violent household, and to maintain sobriety through service, working the steps, and carrying the message.

Saturday schedule consisted of 8 workshops and an evening meeting. The workshops were, CPC, PI, Corrections/Treatment, Accessibility/Special Needs, Grapevine, Achieves, Website, and Underrepresented Populations.

Some of the important points made during the CPC panel were that CPC is about outreach to the professional and while it often overlaps with PI work, PI work is mainly concerned with outreach to the alcoholic. Important points that were made were when doing CPC work to act and dress professionally, and to use both the resources provided by GSO, and the experience members that have previously held CPC service positions.

The PI Panel expressed that the GSO desk was one of the best resources for tips and information, that everyone can be a PI person, and that it is often best when getting started in committee work to pick small projects and to work at them “a step at a time”.

I was not originally asked to speak on the Treatment/ Corrections panel. I was approached at the last moment to speak which I agreed to do, but just prior to joining the panel I was told that I would not be needed. The panel presentations were all focused on corrections work, with none of the panelists speaking on the topic of treatment. It would be an understatement to say that I was a little disappointed.

The Accessibility panelists were all informative and thought provoking. I was presented with a challenge to think in broader terms to what it means for a meeting to be accessible, and what some of the challenges may be face by members trying to attend meetings.

The Grapevine panelists shared suggestions on how to be an affective Grapevine representative, while the Archives panelists spoke of our need to preserve our past for the future good of AA.

I found that the Website panel one of the most informative. The steps that are being taken by current website committees to use technologies to create sites that can be managed by the average AA member was welcome news. I have long felt that one of the greatest problems with website management is the ability for the duties of the current webmaster and committee to be handed off to the future webmasters and committees.

The Underrepresented Populations panelists were from the spanish community, LGBTQ community, and young persons community. Each of the panelists shared their experience with feeling like an outsider at meetings, and what we can do as a fellowship to be more inclusive.

As a whole, I did not feel that this year’s NYS Informational Workshop was as successful as in years past. I thought that the venue was not accessible to members who were handicapped or mobility impaired, and that they should have had panels on Friday evening.

Pete B., Treatment Chair

Click to download a .pdf of this report.


2015 Northeast Regional Forum, Treatment Chair Report

On May 29-31, 2015 I represented Area 47 in my capacity as Treatment Chairperson at the Northeast Regional Forum held in Albany, New York. In attendance were over 400 representatives from The General Service Office, Board of Directors, current delegates, past delegates, and many others individuals involved in various service positions. The forum was chaired by Richard P., who is the newly elected Northeast Regional Trustee. Richard P. replaces, the much loved, J. Gary L., who has admirably served the Northeast region for the past 4 years.

The overriding theme of the Forum was how can we, as trusted servants, best fulfill our primary purpose of carrying the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to the alcoholic who still suffers. It was expressed throughout the weekend a concern by various presenters that membership in Alcoholics Anonymous has stagnated over the last decade, and that we are no longer doing an adequate job of reaching the still suffering alcoholic.

Friday evening was divided into orientation for first time attendees (this included me), opening remarks from Richard P., a brief video, and a general sharing session. Saturday’s daytime schedule consisted of presentations from the Grapevine office, a delegates panel, a general sharing session, two general presentations, and two ask-it-baskets session. Saturday’s evening was devoted to two separate workshop sessions. Sunday’s schedule was devoted to general sharing and past trustee remarks.   

The Forum was probably the best opportunity I have had in general service to meet and get to know the leaders of our organization. Throughout the weekend all of the past and present trustees that were in attendance, along with GSO staff that were there, made themselves available for questions, comment, and/or just general conversation. I found all approachable, very knowledgeable and truly passionate about AA.  Other attendees provided for me a wealth of information and experience in General Service.

All of the delegates who presented at the delegates panel were interesting, and their specific topics were all very well researched. We heard Craig W. from Area 11 (Connecticut) speak on anonymity the necessity for humility, compassion, and cooperation in carrying the message. He remarked that too often we allow our ego, rigidity, and need for self-aggrandizement to stand in the way of reaching the suffering alcoholic. We heard Jim W. from Area 49 (SENY) speak on our common welfare (who is responsible). George K Area 60 (Western Pennsylvania) spoke on his experience in service. Mary Lou Q. Area 28 (Maine) spoke on getting others involved. Amy C. Area 13 (Washington D.C.) spoke on the Warranties. And, our very own Vicky S. gave an outstanding presentation on our primary purpose, and the necessity of service in order to insure our own sobriety.

On Saturday evening I attended the singleness of purpose roundtable, and the anonymity and social media roundtable. Much of the discussion of the singleness of purpose roundtable centered on how we carry the AA message in our groups, and how we avoid addressing topics outside the scope of alcoholism. Opinions at this workshop ranged from members with a very orthodox view of what the AA message is, to those that take a more liberal view in their approach to carrying “the message”. I found the discussion enlightening and at times troubling. Most in attendance were supportive and understanding of the many concerns and solutions expressed by individuals and their homegroups, though there were some in attendance that were ridged and authoritarian in their approach and felt a need for AA groups to return the “my way or the highway” days (whatever that means).

The anonymity workshop was primarily concerned with what to do with members breaking their anonymity on social media sites, and whether or not AA should have a presence on social media.

On Sunday morning we had a chance to hear from past trustees. This for me was the highlight of the Forum. All of the past trustees were excellent speakers, and had a wealth of knowledge and experience with general service. They all conveyed a deep gratitude for the AA program, and a strong belief that service had been an essential part of their continued sobriety. They also expressed a concern that AA was not doing enough to attract new members, and that we as the fellowship must do more to reach out to include all who suffer from alcoholism.

I would encourage all members of Area 47 to attend the Northeast Regional Forum in 2017. It is a rare opportunity to meet many of the people that serve as Trustees and work in the General Service Office, or are involved in service in our neighboring Areas. I found that by attending much of the mystery for me is removed regarding who serves and of how our organization operates. I have also learned that the people that are working at GSO or serving as trustees are very approachable and not any different than me.  By removing the mystery I have  attending I have a greater understanding of General Service and a better ability to serve Area 47.

Pete B., Treatment Chair

Click to download a .pdf of this report.