Hello Area 05,
I’m writing today to let you know about my trip to Brooklyn as a Conference Committee Chair to the General Service Board Weekend. What a fantastic experience. I met all of the staff, trustees and the other delegate chairs. We were treated as “guests” which was lovely. It was very cold and we did receive some snow from the “Snow Bomb” that hit the East Coast but most of our time was spent inside. I was able to go to a very nice dinner with all of the other Delegate Chairs on Sunday evening and we got to know each other. I will tell you all…. work was done! The highlight of course for me was the Public Information Committee’s meeting where we worked on and decided which agenda items will appear on the agenda for the conference and there are quite a few. Our Trustee Beau B. And our Secretary Patrick C. We’re amazing along with our Appointed Committee Member Morgan P. who helps to keep us on the right track. My job was to keep the committee honest I was told.
I just want you to know that the dedication and hours spent by our class B Trustees who are AA Members, adds up to amazing things. The knowledge and insight they have is deep. The Class A Trustees – Non-AA Members bring a different perspective and a wealth of knowledge from all walks of life to the table. It is so amazing to behold.
I will be going through briefly, the committee work and meetings that occurred. I was able to also sit in on the Literature, Finance and Cooperation with the Professional Community meetings too as well as the Corporate Board meeting on Monday.
I will start with the Public Information Board Report
Comprehensive Media Plan (CMP): The committee acknowledged the collaborative efforts of the General Service Board and the General Service Office (GSO) and AA Grapevine (AAGV) staff to produce the 2022 CMP. The CMP is an inventory of ongoing work and plans, a guideline for the GSO and Grapevine offices in their work, budgeting processes, and HR planning.
Overall, this document can be considered a plan for supporting A.A. members in carrying the message to all who suffer from alcoholism. It is being presented to the Fellowship through the Conference process to better communicate all the ongoing work of the offices and to capture feedback from the Fellowship on these efforts. The committee recognized that the 2021 committee consideration “that the content of the CMP be expanded to include a deeper understanding of targeted audiences within A.A. relating to all genders and reaching potential members,” needs more development.
The committee noted that two recommendations, imbedded within the CMP regarding Google Ads and the AAWS YouTube channel, will be clearly presented in background forwarded to the Conference committee.
The committee agreed to forward the 2022 CMP, with suggested revisions, to the 2022 Conference Committee on Public Information.
Public Information media platforms: The committee accepted all Media Platform reports.
2022 Progress Report and GSO Podcast Plan: The committee discussed the 2022 progress report and GSO Podcast Plan, including the collaborative work that went into the production of a GSO podcast pilot episode. A working group, that included AA Grapevine staff, guided the creation of this episode. The corporate boards and office staff listened to the pilot and provided feedback via a podcast survey.
The committee asked the staff to produce another edit to the pilot episode, using the survey feedback, to include in the Conference background.
The committee also discussed three proposals in the GSO Podcast Plan of a path forward for the GSO Podcast.
The committee agreed to forward the following to the 2022 Conference Committee:
- The Progress Report and GSO Podcast Plan;
- The corporate boards and office staff feedback survey results;
- The new iteration of the pilot episode which incorporates specific committee suggestions.
AAWS YouTube Channel report: The committee agreed to forward to the 2022 Conference Committee a report, “YouTube Performance: October to December 2021.”
Google Ads report: The committee agreed to forward to the 2022 Conference Committee to a report, “Google Ads Performance: October to December 2021.”
The committee reviewed and approved a new Google Ads campaign developed with multiple ad sets for the professional community. Eight ads were created for the following professional categories: corrections, education, faith, HR, legal, medical, military and treatment.
A.A.W.S. Meeting Guide App report: The committee agreed to forward to the 2022 Conference Committee a report, “Meeting Guide Performance: October to December 2021.”
Quarterly report on Oversight of GSO’s A.A. Website: The committee agreed to forward to the Conference a report, the “2021 Fourth Quarter Report on A.A.W.S. Board Oversight of G.S.O.’s A.A. website.” This is a subject that we will need to discuss. Does every, single decision on upkeep of the website need to go through the conference?
AAGV/La Viña Website, Marketing and Podcast report : The committee agreed to forward to the Conference a report, the “AAGV/La Viña Website, Marketing and Podcast report.”
Public Service Announcements (PSAs):
Review progress report on two new TV PSAs: The committee reviewed current reports for “Sobriety in A.A.: My Drinking Built a Wall” and “Sobriety in A.A.: When Drinking is no longer a Party.” There have been approximately 8,000 English TV airings and 3,400 Spanish TV airings.
The committee agreed to forward to the Conference the PSA tracking and distribution reports.
TV PSAs: The committee received an update from the staff secretary on 18 HD Broadcast-quality PSA download files, related to the following:
- “Sobriety in A.A.: Since getting sober, I have hope”;
- “La sobriedad en A.A.: Desde que logré mi sobriedad, tengo esperanza”; (“Sobriety in A.A.: Since I achieved my sobriety, I have hope”);
- “L’abstinence chez les AA : « Depuis que je ne bois plus, j’ai de l’espoir.(“Abstinence in A.A.: “Since I’ve quit drinking, I’ve had hope.)
The committee acknowledged that the PSA files require an edit to the contact A.A. tag line which currently state as follows: “look for us in the phone book or on the web at aa.org.” The Publishing department plans to complete the project by March 2022. With a progress report at the July 2022 meeting.
Feasibility study on paid placement of PSA videos on streaming platforms: The committee discussed the feasibility study.
The committee agreed to forward the research conducted by GSO regarding paid placement of PSA videos on streaming platforms, including added detail on the variety of streaming and video platforms that are available, to the 2022 Conference.
Discuss a Review Grid of Public Information pamphlets/materials:
“A Brief Guide to A.A.”: The committee discussed a staff suggestion to retire “A Brief Guide to A.A.” Additional information was requested regarding our current stock and pamphlets sales to allow for an informed committee analysis. The committee tabled discussion to retire “A Brief Guide to A.A.” to the July 2022 meeting.
“A.A. At a Glance”: The committee discussed and agreed to forward a suggestion to revise the Conference-approved flyer, “A.A. At a Glance.” The committee is asking the Conference Committee to consider if editorial updates and a more modern look would improve the ability to carry the message captured in the flyer.
Discuss a revision to “Message to Teenagers”: The committee discussed the 2021 advisory action, “That the trustees’ Committee revise the flyer ’A Message to Teenagers’ to better reflect carrying the A.A. message to young people.” The chair led a discussion to reach consensus from the trustees’ Committee on suggestions on how this flyer messaging can be more effectively delivered.
Also, revisions to language in the twelve questions and updated graphics, the committee agreed that a flyer format is outdated and discussed a variety of options as part of this item’s revision including: infographics, a visual representation of information using images and text to convey messages, creating Gifs or memes to cross-post messages on our different media channels. The committee looks forward to continued discussion at the July 2022 meeting.
Discuss a revision to “Speaking at Non-A.A. Meetings”: The committee discussed and agreed to forward substantial revisions to the pamphlet, “Speaking at Non-A.A. Meetings” to the Conference. It was suggested by the committee that the list of available publications in the pamphlet also be reviewed.
The staff secretary reported to the committee that a suggestion to update to a template PowerPoint presentation for the purpose of providing shared experience on “how to” present about A.A. at non-A.A. events will need to be considered after a decision is made on the revision to the pamphlet. The committee looks forward to a progress report on this effort at the July 2022 meeting.
Discuss revisions to “Understanding Anonymity”: The committee discussed and agreed to forwardsuggested revisions to the pamphlet “Understanding Anonymity” to the Conference. The staff secretary reminded the committee that GSO Publishing has received a memorandum detailing editorial updates to the pamphlet that reflect current technology terminologies and service resources to be included at its next printing.
Proposed agenda item “to create a new form of communication” to address anonymity on social media: The committee agreed to forward the request “to create a new form of communication to address anonymity on social media” and a draft survey developed to gather shared experience from the Fellowship to the Conference for consideration.
Discuss A.A. Membership Survey: The committee discussed the 2022 final report requested from a survey methodology consultant regarding an assessment of the questionnaire used for the triennial Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) Membership Survey and the approach the organization currently uses to report the results of that survey. The committee agreed to forward both the 2022 final report and the 2021 final report from the Survey Methodology working group on the Survey to the Conference for full consideration of next steps.
Review PI Press Media Kit: The committee agreed to forward the request to the 2022 Conference Committee on Public Information to retire “The A.A. Fact File” (M-24) and replace it with a service material version of a new digital PI Press Media Kit.
Review Young People’s Video Project communication (flyer): The committee reviewed and approved a new digital and print version of the Young People’s Video Project communication (flyer). The staff secretary will work with Publishing to create a plan that includes an annual timeline. o
Review Public Information Service Cards (formerly called “post” cards): The committee reviewed and discussed five Public Information Service Cards.
While the committee agreed with the suggested use of new service cards, in digital and print form, by local PI and CPC committees in their service work and as part of our National Exhibits materials, there were several edits requested.
The committee agreed that the service card for young people needs revisions to the graphics. The card that is directed at professionals which includes emphasizing text “We Get It” needs revisions so wording related to A.A. is similar to the other cards, such as, “Can’t stop drinking.”
Also, adherence to accessibility standards regarding font colors used is needed. Finally, the Meeting Guide App card needs updated images related to professionals and improved messaging on what the app can do.
The committee requested that the staff secretary work on revisions with a progress report at the July 2022 meeting.
They have resumed work on the Military audio interview project. Two retired military consultants were selected from Canada and the U.S. They will work with the TCPC/TA Subcommittee on Armed Forces audio Interviews gathering more interviews of A.A. members in active military duty, assisting with the development of a questionnaire for military interviews that includes topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), injuries, and barriers that sober alcoholics on active military duty face in getting sober.
The coordinator shared the newly completed New Group Form. New features include the option to list a meeting as in-person or virtual per the advisory action, “The U.S./Canada General Service Structure recognize online groups and encourage their participation, listing those groups who ask to be listed within the group’s preferred district and area, with the default option being the location of the group’s primary contact.” Other additions include hyperlinks: a free subscription to Box 4-5-9, a digital group handbook, lists of area registrars, and area websites. Also updated is the Change of Information Form, now titled “G.S.O. Group Information Change Form.” The D.C.M./D.C.M.C. form update will soon be complete.
The Regional Forums assignment is coordinating plans for four in-person 2022 Regional Forums:
- May 13-15 … Eastern Canada … Charlottetown, P.E.I.
- June 3-5 … Western Canada … Winnipeg, MB
- Sept 16-18 … Pacific … Salt Lake City, UT
- Dec. 2-4 … Southeast … New Orleans, LA
The Technology Services team played a significant role in the successful aa.org launch on December 20, 2021.
The App team launched the fourth major application upgrade. The App team has received positive feedback regarding this latest release, which included features requested by our users and entities. The number of connected entities continues to increase. Version upgrade, App v.3.9.0, includes:
- The attend option allows users to display only in-person or online meetings. Hybrid meetings will show up under both attend options.
- The ability to change the distance radius of the location search.
- The inclusion of online notes on Meeting Details provides a specific area to display such information as online platform meeting IDs and passwords.
Update on supply chain disruptions and backorders: The worldwide paper, printing, manufacturing, trucking and other delivery disruptions continue to interrupt the supply chain – and cause backorders of books and other items throughout the publishing industry. The demand for the Big Book during the fourth quarter of 2021 was better than expected. Unfortunately, however, B-1 is currently out of stock. In addition, the department is unable to reprint expeditiously due to a serious supply-chain matter regarding disruption in the necessary paper delivery especially during the holidays. In the short-term, a solution is to schedule small printings.
Our Big Book, is available in 73 languages, with 28 languages pending and 20 new translations in progress. Our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions book is available in 51 languages, with 3 translations pending.
As of December 31, 2021, items of A.A. literature are available in 111 languages, including Haitian Creole.
SMF-209 Safety Material Update
A working group was formed at G.S.O. to review and revise SMF-209 after the December board meeting. That revision was received by the board chair and general manager in the first week of January and immediately sent to legal counsel for review. Legal revision was received last week. A special meeting of A.A.W.S. will be called in February to discuss the revision.
Due to an apparent lack of clarity in Service Material, the chair named a Service Material Subcommittee charged with the following tasks:
- Review history of Service Material and how that has informed current processes.
- Identify how the collective experience of A.A. is gathered in order to warrant production of service material and suggest possible improvements to that process.
- Determine what defines Service Material and what determines whether a broader conscience is sought prior to publication.
AA Grapevine Upcoming Magazine Topics through 2022:
- February: Getting Through Tough Times,
- March: Emotional Sobriety,
- April: What’s on Your Mind?
- May: 60th Anniversary of Our Twelve Concepts
Upcoming Grapevine Books, Planned for 2022:
- Fun in Sobriety (due our April 23, 2002).
Top Three Selling Grapevine Books:
- Emotional Sobriety,
- The Language of the Heart, and
- Prayer and Meditation.
- Honorable mention: Free on the Inside.
AA La Viña Upcoming Magazine Topics (2021 – 2022):
- – Apr.: Newcomers,
- May – June: The Three Legacies
- July – Aug.: Prison Issue.
Upcoming La Viña Books, Planned for 2022:
- Production has begun on Emotional Sobriety in time for a Fall release.
Following the 71st General Service Conference, AA Grapevine has developed a pilot podcast program. With a new episode each Monday, Don and Sam (our current hosts) will interview a different member about their experience, strength and hope, in a casual “meeting after the meeting” manner.
- To nominate someone as a guest: firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Come check us out, Mondays, at: https://www.aagrapevine.org/podcast
La Viña Strategic Planning Meeting
La Viña Strategic Planning Meeting
The full board met in person along with the Associate La Viña editor on December 4, 2021. The Board confirmed that the mission for La Viña is the same as the Grapevine mission. It was further determined that the Spanish speaking community may require tools developed specifically for the Spanish-speaking community. One of the primary commitments of the AAGVB was to engage the Spanish-speaking community in decisions impacting products and services made by the Board through a variety of avenues. This concern is the baseline of each of the strategic goals developed for La Viña.
Health Care Media distribution process report:
The committee discussed a demonstration video on how to distribute PSAs on digital TV screens in offices, pharmacies, and community-based organizations with relevant messaging to viewers. The committee requested that the staff secretary continue efforts to develop a draft plan on PSA utilization in cooperation with the Public Information desk.
The subcommittee on the pamphlet “A.A. for the Older Alcoholic — Never Too Late” performed its first-round review of 84 stories and selected 23 stories to be part of a second-round review, to be followed by the top 12 stories. The committee agreed to forward them to the 2022 Conference Committee on Treatment and Accessibilities
The Publishing director reported to the committee that several contracts have been signed with five different vendors allowing distribution – via tablets – of A.A. literature to correctional facilities. A report was distributed reflecting that in one day over 500 items were made available to those behind the walls. It is anticipated that future reports will provide information broken down by area/province and literature item. The Grapevine publisher reported to the committee that Grapevine is also successfully working with several vendors to get Grapevine material into correctional facilities; and that through the Carry the Message project, started distributing free Grapevine subscriptions to insiders. The Grapevine publisher asked the committee to think about how to better engage local corrections committees in carrying the message to those behind the walls.
Consider suggestions for retitling the pamphlet “Memo to an Inmate Who May Be an Alcoholic”: The committee discussed and agreed to “Behind the Walls: A Message of Hope” as a retitle for the pamphlet “Memo to an Inmate Who May Be an Alcoholic”
Keep your eyes and ears open for a call for stories for the following items. Formal announcements will be made through Box 459, Meeting Guide App, etc.
Black and African American Pamphlet
Native American Pamphlet
5th Edition BB
4th Edition Spanish BB
The committee will work with AAGV on different ways to collect stories that they have been able to utilize.
There are several progress reports moving forward to the Conference Literature Committee.
Update on plain and simple language translation
This has been a well thought out process.
Looked at 18 qualified professional candidates and reviewed their past work examples and resumes. Looked for candidates whom could meet our fellowships requirements such as – maintaining our content, 5th grade reading level translations. From the 18 they came down to 6 writers and asked each candidate to translate Chapter 5 as a sample of their work. Each sample was reviewed by the committee to have an informed discussion and rank the candidates. From that met with the top 3 and have now selected a unanimous decision for the final candidate.
Due to the impact on our fellowship of this translation there has been a significant amount of effort / work / and attention. The next step is to pin down fees, scope of work, and time line.
GSC Next step – Conference will see the literature samples. Voted Unanimously
There was a town hall format meeting and invited trustees, directors, appointed committee members, Class A candidates, G.S.O. employees, and especially our delegate chairs to share whatever was on their mind and any elephants in the room.
A regional trustee talked about rotation. “We are not in a marathon; we are in a relay race.” She is comfortable passing the baton because that is the way A.A. works. We can trust even though we disagree and rely on a better future in A.A. when we work through things together and use the warranties of the General Service Conference.
A Class A trustee shared his philosophy on the Reserve Fund. “It is a contract between the present and the future, affording us the chance to look at the needs of today and the opportunities of tomorrow.”
Another delegate chair shared she was expecting an “us vs them” situation between trustees and delegates, but after seeing the preparation trustees put in and getting to spend time with them, she now feels it is a “we” situation.
A nontrustee director described how he gave a scathing report about A.A. being behind the times and directly after was approached by his regional trustee inviting him to apply to become a nontrustee director.
Another general service trustee shared that we don’t always get to see progress but that many of the things we’re doing today he wouldn’t have dreamed of a few years ago. While this is a time full of friction, we can still have uncomfortable conversations in a loving and healthy way. “We need to assume good intention in all things.”
All in all, the weekend was kind, engaged and always thinking about the traditions. The sharing in the committee meetings was concise and business like but the intent was to only serve A.A. in the best way possible.
See you at PRAASA!