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Minutes of January 15, 2004 SLAA Business Meeting
Members present are: Cathy, Chuck66=Chuck, Cudbme, Donatella=Toni, Marabel, Steve, TimF, VJ=Vicki, Alexpal=Alex, Jen, Jim, JWR=Jaime, JoelR, Jonathan39=Jonathan, Joy, Lynn, Larry, Richard, SteveS, Terri, Tombo, VanAllen, ‘Pug’=Andrew.
Vicki opens the meeting at 10:03 PM EST with the Serenity Prayer.
Vicki begins the meeting with approval of the previous month’s minutes.
“The business meeting minutes as I understand it from December are not quite all the way posted yet for approval?”
TimF nods. Vicki then continues, “ Ok then, we can put that off until next month’s meeting, agreed?”
Marabel interrupts, “VJ, I just sent them to Tim and Steve two hours ago…sorry. I dropped the ball.”
Vicki replies, “No problem. Ok then, let’s postpone that section of the meeting and move onto old business. Let’s try to get on the same page now with directing our focus for this meeting, http://slaaonline.org/meet.html if you would like to visit the site, we will be working from this agenda.”
Tim raises his hand for a point of order and clarification. VJ replies, “Ok, go for it, Tim.”
Tim says, “TimF admits to dropping the ball, too (Steve also nods)…so as members go to http://slaaonline.org/meet.html ,you will notice that this was LAST MONTH’S agenda. So item #2 was tabled last month to the Website Committee…so item #3 was tabled last month to a new ‘Bot Committee’ for review over six months…leaving item #4 as old business AFTER an item that was tabled from November until tonight, that of the ‘Daytime Meeting Committee’. So those are the two items of old business, along with any new business introduced tonight afterwards (none came in ahead of time).
Vicki responds, “Now I am confused Tim. What item number are we supposed to address as old business?”
Tim answers, “Two items (plus anything else new later).”
Vicki asks, “Item 4? That is my guess right now. Am I wrong?”
Tim continues, “1. The Daytime Meeting Committee that was formed 11/15 to report tonight about the endangered meetings, 2. And then item #4 from December’s agenda (The Daytime Meeting item is technically older business).
Vicki says, “I don’t see it on that agenda though. Item 6?”
“It was tabled from November to January – and so not on December’s agenda. Sorry if this is confusing,” Tim explains.
“It is to me, sorry,” Vicki replies. “Ok, how about this? The Daytime Committee.” Vicki asks.
Tim answers, “Oh yes! (smiles) There we go! That and item #7 were jointly combined into the Daytime Meeting Committee.”
Vicki shares, “This group has passed around questionnaires for a month or so. We sought to find more people willing to be trusted servants to save the day meetings, because even though these meetings are attended by sometimes 20+ people, the schedule needs to reflect that there are 2 trusted servants for each meeting or else it was said they would be cancelled. I sort of flipped out on that one, and I requested to come up with a committee which I headed up, and asked some people on the committee about their thoughts.
Most were pretty varied about how long someone needed to be in recovery vs. sobriety before becoming a TS and if that needed to be changed, to allow more people to become TS.
There was also discussion about formal vs. informal meetings and it was concluded that most didn’t like the term “informal” meeting.
There also was a question about having 2 trusted servants vs. one. We discussed 1 vs. 2 TS needing to run the meetings. Most people thought they could ‘wing’ the meeting with one TS, but would rather have 2.”
Richard interrupted with a question – “So are we trying to establish the guidelines?”
Vicki answered, “Please wait Richard,” and continued with,
“These and also the bot issue were brought up. So now I open the floor to discussion and questions.”
Tim reminds, “This issue was referred to committee in November (a good thing) for 2 months to resolve…”
Richard says, “Thanks and sorry for the interrupt.”
Tim continues, “…in November, quite a number of members seemed surprised at it being on the agenda. Surprising – since it had been on the agenda for the previous 3 or 4 months, but moving it to committee bought time.
We only recently changed the requirement from having three trusted servants to having two. I believe that is MINIMAL…one to lead and one to greet. Also, because a scheduling conflict can always occur last minute, leaving only one of the two trusted servants to have to pull double-duty at a specific meeting, and I think having these trusted servants is very important to reflect a semblance of formality and organization, especially for any newcomer.
As to a ‘bot’ – even if we go that route – it will take months to work out. So I feel that staying with TWO trusted servants is simply necessary (and requires no change – as that is how group conscience has it dictated already).
As to length of time to become a trusted servant, that has changed over time from 90 days to 30 days, sometimes with or without a requirement of time specifically in our group to understand the nuances between meeting online vs. f2f, and I don’t have a vested interest if group conscience wants to change this. We could word it as “suggested requirement” of 30 days sobriety, or “suggested requirement” of 60 days recovery (not sobriety), or all kinds of other things that would allow more members to volunteer.
Another important (likely the MOST important) point growing out of the committee, was HOW to find the ops for these meetings. For instance, I tend to be at the 10 PM meetings, but the five that have a problem are TWO of our seven Noon meetings and THREE of our 4:30 PM meetings. So it was driven home that those trusted servants that attend THOSE meetings needed to be vigilant about making this announcement over the past two months. Volunteers are asked to email email@example.com. We’ve gotten one new op recently (still pending) – Jane. firstname.lastname@example.org has not received any mail about ops volunteering for these five specific meetings that I know about, but perhaps you have tracked this privately – hopefully so. As otherwise, I have to conclude that no change has occurred in the status of these five meetings.”
Steve takes the floor. “Feeling a bit anxious, a recent personal crisis, please bear with me, but I feel a strong need to share on this issue. First, my personal experience…when I started coming around #SLAA, about a year and a half ago, I found a bit of sobriety, but not very much, until I heartily admitted and accepted that I was a sex addict and made the decision to make recovery first, to immerse myself in recovery.
So, last January, I attended over 100 meetings in 30 days and found a start to real recovery from sex addiction. Had the noon and 4:30 meetings not been available to me, I truly doubt I’d be here today.
I personally believe that the daytime meetings are critical to many of our members, many of whom attend only daytime meetings (and thus don’t have a voice at these evening business meetings). I’ve been to many noon and 4:30 meetings, many times as the only op…and even when I arrive late, there’s usually a meeting.
I think HP puts it on someone’s heart to lead, and there’s always, somehow, a meeting. I think canceling any of these daytime meetings would be harmful to the recovery of our members, and recovery must be our primary concern.”
Tim takes the floor to share. “Frankly, I’m so tired about hearing how important these meetings are, yet ops are NOT volunteering to be there! Perhaps important to the MEMBERS, but our room is considered a 24/7/365 meeting in progress. Whenever two or more are here a meeting can happen – no ‘official’ leader or greeter needed! But to list them with SLAA-FWS and on our website means that newcomers may arrive, and if trusted servants are NOT here to properly handle a meeting and greet appropriately, then this is a problem that may make the newcomer feel that they are NOT in a healthy place and they might not return.”
Tim then asks Steve in an aside, “Which of those five meetings Steve would (you) like to commit to? I’ll pencil it in right now!”
Cudbme, Toni and Jen all raise their hands for the floor.
Cudbme says, “I would just like to introduce Jonathan who has over 70 days in recovery…and would like to volunteer as an Op. Please welcome him.”
Jonathan asks, “Do I have the floor?”
Cudbme answers, “Sure, you have my floor.”
Chuck jokes, “I’ve got FIVE floors Jon!” Vicki smiles.
Jonathan takes the floor.“Thank you Cud and Hi, all. I have NO idea what I’m in for! I’m sorta tech savvy for a average Joe user…only been chatting online for 40 days. But I’ve learned, ‘ACTION to make letter pink’! I’m sure someone can point me in the right direction to learn what is involved on a tech basis and what the commitment is.”
Cudbme comments, “Position comes with support,” and grins.
Jonathan continues, “So I’m here to say I’m interested in learning about volunteering as an OP. Probably at the worst time in my life to add something to my plate. But I told myself recently, the excuses not to do something MIGHT BE the BEST reason to do it! Thanks.”
Toni says, “Awesome, Jonathan, thanks (grins).”
Cudbme replies, “Thanks for taking the step forward, we could use the help. Could you possibly consider a daytime position?”
Jonathan answers, “Yes. Self employed. Chat me later.”
Cudbme responds with, “GREAT!”
“Noon’s great for me…sorry, I’m shussshing now,” says Jonathan.
SteveS wonders aloud, “Which noon meetings are a problem?”
Tim offers the url of http://slaaonline.org/ts.htmlas the webpage of the situation for all meetings.
Toni takes the floor. “In an effort to make the daytime meetings more available, I am willing to volunteer to try to make it to every 4:30 meeting, and I hope that helps, that is the best time for me.
I originally volunteered for Friday only, since I was not aware of this situation and thought that the requirement for ops was one meeting commitment only, and wanted to start slow or whatever. Anyway, I even changed my time to meet with my sponsor so I could do it, so I wanted to officially volunteer to be there for the 4:30 meetings, whether to lead or greet or whatever is needed.”
Jen shares, “It seems like every time I come to a business meeting, this is the issue that is being discussed, and it doesn’t seem we budge too much.
Frankly, every time I have been here for the 4:30 meetings in the afternoon, people are always here and someone is always covering the meeting and it seems to be running quite smoothly. If the issue is just that people are unable to pencil their names in and make a commitment to being here every week, perhaps you could just list (tentatively) next to the listing of the meeting.
I do think it would be a shame to take it off the listing because so many people do pop into that meeting and it does always manage to take off. At least then, the room would feel free to run the scripts and not interfere with open chat. To me, going around in circles over this just seems like a waste of time when I am sure there are many other issues we could be discussing.”
Tim again takes the floor. “Before this business meeting started, someone said they were considering starting a new meeting, and I explained that all that was needed was two trusted servants (ops) to commit to be here at that specific time, replace themselves if they have a conflict, (and) permanently replace themselves if they were no longer going to keep the responsibility.
This online group started 8 years ago with ONE EVENING MEETING! Now we have 22! But over time, trusted servants stopped coming to their meeting without replacing themselves.
Twice in the last two years, I’ve tried making a schedule (two summers ago and last summer), and last summer, it proved very difficult. Having grown to 82 ops, so very few are willing to commit to a specific time, but (it) seems we have made a small amount of headway tonight.
I agree that this keeps coming up at business meetings that could handle OTHER important business, and hoped the committee would make progress (rather than spending yet another hour here again).
I also tried both summers to NOT have any one op take on more than TWO meetings, so Toni volunteering for all 4:30 PM meetings seems unfair. Three of them (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) need help. I didn’t have a note that she volunteered for Friday, but that Friday 4:30PM meeting happens to be the ONLY meeting that has NO trusted servant. So we are closer, and with Jonathan volunteering…”
Cudbme listens. Jonathan’s knees knock.
Tim continues, “…perhaps he can help at Saturday Noon and/or Sunday Noon and/or the other Monday/Wednesday/Friday 4:30 PM. As to listing ‘tentative’, a few others suggested ‘unofficial’. Same concept. I don’t have a problem with that. I just feel that they should NOT be considered “OFFICIAL” if we don’t have two trusted servants.”
Cudbme pats Jonathan on the back.
Vicki shares, “I guess you know that I am an advocate for the daytime meetings, because well, those are the ones that I attend. As far as this being ‘wasted’ time to discuss at yet ‘another’ business meeting…let’s put the principals first. I’m upset, because I was told that we should have made decisions better. This isn’t right. We did the best we could bringing this to this meeting to tell people that we need people to step forward and volunteer for service during the day when they are working and aren’t really sure if they can always be here - isn’t quite the same as when they have gotten off of work and are at home.
Also, I have never been quite sure of our methods of training OP’s. There have been many times when I have come to a 10 PM meeting, and there wasn’t a chair or TS. I pitched in. That is what a person does in recovery. That is what I figure happens at any 12 step meeting. I am responsible and sometimes I don’t show up myself sometimes. I have both of the Monday meetings, 12 and 4:30, so no one needs to find a spot for the one. Is there any more discussion on this issue?”
Marabel shares. “Thank you, VJ…Ok…I’ve been hearing both sides of this…and can understand to a degree both sides. Have had tons of feedback in my email box from the Daytime Committee, which was very enlightening. I also understand as a TS and an officer the need for some sense of order and accountability, especially to the main office in letting them know just what meetings are active and which are not…and which have leadership that are accountable.
I happen to be in a kind of weird space with this. I am also facing this issue next door (SCA) as an ISO rep for the online group there. I have to report to the main business meeting there in February in New York, and one of the things I have to tell them is, how the meetings are doing, how many there are…and I have to tell you, it is frustrating as hell to nail down exactly what meetings are active, and which are not, as there are some meetings that, like the daytime meetings here, have floating leadership in their timeslots.
What I would suggest is to either have one person to sort of supervise the daytime meetings as a whole, and take care of assigning ops and stuff, and kind of serve as a rep…or to give the Daytime Meeting Committee a permanent place in taking care of Daytime Meeting matters.
I go to the evening meetings mainly…will drop in on an afternoon meeting on rare occasion, and have dropped in on a daytime meeting maybe once or twice in my two years in these rooms.
I think the daytime meetings should stand as they are listed with FWS, because of the attendance factor, but I also think that as far as ops are concerned, let the Daytime Committee take care of scheduling and assigning ops scripts and stuff…and from time to time, report on progress of meetings, and how many ops you have, etc, to this meeting. That’s my thoughts, take what works.”
Vicki asks Marabel, “Do I understand there would be a split, Mara by the last things you said? Let the Daytime Committee take care of scheduling and assigning ops scripts and stuff?”
Marabel answers, “Not a split…and from time to time, report on progress of meetings, and how many ops you have, etc. to this meeting. No, not a split…Daytime and evenings are all the same family, it’s just that the daytime meetings seem to be a different animal as far as who’s leading, who’s greeting. I notice that the evening meetings (from what I’ve observed) seem to have more op presence, and more or less “regular” people who fill the slots (correct me if I’m wrong on this). Just a matter of being able to keep track is all.
Oh, one more thing, not quite done yet. To have one person, namely Tim, who is not at all the meetings, to keep track of all of them when he’s at part of them, is difficult. It would be a way of evenly distributing the load.”
Tim puts up his hand to share, and Vicki says, “I would like to address Mara’s questions first if I may Tim, it won’t take long. Do you mind?”
Tim says “Sure.”
Vicki responds, “1. There are regular people who come to the daytime meetings. As far as keeping track of who comes, do you mean, every member, or just TS?
2. As far as Tim being very busy, I agree he has put his heart into this site, worked his hiney off, and I think he may need help at times, but I have no idea how to help him with his tasks.”
Tim takes the floor to announce, “To let the members here know (some are newer), business meetings run 90 minutes – with no new business being introduced after 75 minutes. Sometimes (we) run 5 or 10 minutes over, but we should be ending soon (grins).
A couple points – A bit back, Vicki mentioned even arriving at a 10 pm meeting on occasion with no TS here and (she) just pitched in. I agree that is true for ANY meeting.
I’ve run the Aussie meeting on occasion (that no longer exists). I think that underscores thereason that when we changed from three to two TS’s, that we SHOULD NOT change it down to just ONE! Because these things do happen. So having two builds in a safety margin.
As to Marabel’s suggestion, I really like this; hadn’t considered it; and will explain our service structure to all. We currently have 22 meetings: 7 evening, 7 Noon, 5 afternoon, 2 Women’s, and 1 Anorexia. In the eyes of SLAA Fellowship Wide Services, we are ONE group, registered group #10525021 called “#SLAA Online Group”, and we are also considered ONE intergroup in their eyes, which is of no real concern, but that entitles us to one free subscription to the bi-monthly newsletter of SLAA-FWS politics. I received that for about two years until we voted Cathy as being our Liaison Officer. Now she gets it (and I pay for my own subscription to that). She will handle making meeting changes to SLAA-FWS.
If we wanted to, we could make the 7 Noon meetings one intergroup, the 5 afternoon meetings could be a separate intergroup (or part of the Noon one), and the others yet a different one. We could also make the Noon meetings the “#SLAA Online Group Noon Meeting Group” (members would never know – this is just paper-politics), and also have a “#SLAA Online Group Afternoon Meeting Group”, “#SLAA Women’s Meeting Group”, etc., and these business meetings would be the global INTERGROUP meeting for them all.
Keeping track of 82 ops is difficult, so it would be great to move communications upward and downward through three or four intermediary ‘officers’ responsible for specific groups of meetings.”
Cudbme says, “Thanks Tim…that sounds like progress to me.”
Tim continues, “In the interest of time, how do the members here feel about returning all of this to the “Daytime Meeting Committee for another TWO MONTHS of ongoing review, polling the committee members and allowing new committee members to join? If no objections, I so move.”
Vicki asks, “What would you expect from the Daytime Committee?”
Tim answers, “To summarize the past communications, make announcements, allowing new members to join, and continue polling for brainstorming solutions to this problem for a report back on 3/15 (toward the resolution of filling all positions and not jeopardizing any existing meetings).”
Cudbme responds to Tim’s input, “After listening to all the varying points of interest of the parties with vested interests, I feel Tim’s idea is a good move in the right direction considering the differences and the size of OP’s necessary to keep operations from getting bottlenecked and not addressed. As such, I move that we vote on this.”
Steve responds to Tim’s share, “I agree with Tim, on almost all points, and very nearly seconded his motion, except (for) one – ‘toward the resolution of filling all positions and not jeopardizing any existing meetings’. I believe the resolution should be of covering the meetings adequately, rather than ‘filling all positions’, and the committee should be charged with finding a solution which will be approved by the majority of our members.”
“Allows that friendly amendment and so move,” responds Tim.
Steve seconds the motion.
Vicki states, “There is a motion and second on the floor. Would one of you please restate this motion for a vote?”
Tim moves, “To return all of this to the ‘Daytime Meeting Committee’ for another TWO MONTHS of ongoing review, polling the committee members and allowing new committee members to join – with goal being charged with finding a solution which will be approved by the majority of our members.”
Cudbme takes the floor. “I just wanted to make a quick note, that the words of ‘approved by the majority of our members’, when they don’t represent themselves in these business meetings, kinda got my nerve…but to be approved by those in attendance representing the majority seems fair.”
Vicki asks, “Would Steve or TimF be in objection to this change in the motion?”
Steve responds, “No objection from me.” TimF also has no objection.
Tim restates the motion and moves, “To return all of this to the ‘Daytime Meeting Committee’ for another TWO MONTHS of ongoing review, polling the committee members and allowing new committee members to join – with goal being charged with finding a solution which will be approved by those in attendance representing the majority of our members.”
Cudbme seconds the motion.
Vicki states, “This motion has been seconded. Further discussion?”
Chuck asks, “Is anybody hungry?” Toni groans. Vicki says, “I am. I’m tired too.”
Terri laughs, and Steve sends up the T! (for “triggering!”) and smiles.
Tombo says, “I’ll have a low carb burger.” Vicki laughs.
Vicki continues, “But does anyone have any further suggestions?” Toni replies with “Nooooooooooooooooooooo!”
Tim says, “Let’s vote on this. All are encouraged to vote. Please type + for yes; - for no; x for abstain.”
Vicki quips, “I had a veggie burger.”
Twelve vote yes, and there are two abstentions. (The remaining nine members have either left or timed out).
Tim notes, “This will free up February’s business meeting for the other item and anything else new until then.”
“I guess we are ready to close?” Vicki asks.
Toni says, “Yes.”
VJ asks if someone would lead in prayer.
Tim notes, “ http://slaaonline.org/ts.htmllists the five meetings (which Donatella and Jonathan will help with 3 – maybe 4- of).”
Chuck gives a very short prayer to a very long meeting: “God, please make this meeting end.” And there were many who laughed as they said, “AMEN!”
Meeting ended at 11:53 PM EST with the best prayer ever.
Minutes respectfully submitted by Marabel, Secretary of #SLAA Online Group