CER Chair’s Report June 2019

 


June 2019 Varna Assembly

Dear Fellows & Trusted Servants of the Continental European Region of Alcoholics Anonymous,

I am happy to welcome you here to our Regional Assembly in Varna, Bulgaria. In meeting here, we are, yet again, breaking new ground in carrying the message of AA. To my knowledge, we have never held an Assembly so far to the east, and this is the first Assembly to be held in Bulgaria. We hope our time here furnishes us the opportunity to get to know the emerging fellowship in the country and that our presence here this weekend provides imputes and encouragement to the local groups in their growth and development.

As always, doing new things or even old things in new ways tends to be the subject of controversy within our ranks. There are concerns about the amount of money we spend and the complicated logistics of holding an Assembly at such a venue. Düsseldorf or Frankfurt would certainly be more manageable and probably cheaper. Yet the founders of our fellowship took it upon themselves to drive from Akron to Cleveland each week in order to reach out as far as humanly possible. It would have been cheaper and easier to stay put in Akron.

The point to which I would like to draw attention is this:  How we conduct such debates is the key. As long as this is done in mutual respect, drawing upon the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts as our guiding light, we will continue to mature and recover as a collective. We will have an opportunity to evaluate how we are doing in the course of this weekend when we do our Group Inventory. Here we will not only evaluate whether we are doing the right things but also if we are doing thing right. I invite your fearless and thorough participation in this process.

Our main business will be to facilitate an update from the Intergroups on the progress of affairs since our last Assembly in March. We have allotted more time than before for this session. We are a work in progress and are willing to learn as we proceed on the basis of input from the (Inter)Groups we serve. We will also hear progress reports from the Region Officers and, of course, hear back from our Delegates who carried our Group Conscience to the General Services Conference in York in April. I am looking forward to hearing about what transpired at Conference this year.

There has been a ‘changing of the guards’ among the Delegates in the recent past in line with our tradition of rotation. This process continues this weekend with the election of two further new Delegates.

The regular monthly Steering Committee meetings are invaluable in ensuring we keep the ball rolling between Assemblies. I would like to thank all those who have been generous with both their time and participation in these meetings.

I thank our local hosts for planning and organising this event, each of you for the effort you have undertaken to get here and welcome our Fellows who are utilising the opportunity of on-line participation in this Assembly.

In service & gratitude,
Patrick

 

Annex 1 Concept 12 Questionnaire (Taken from http://first164.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/concept-xii.html)

CONCEPT XII

Short form:

The Conference shall observe the spirit of AA tradition, taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that it place none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over others; that it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote, and, whenever possible , by substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of government, and that, like the society it serves, it will always remain democratic in thought and action.

Long form:

General Warranties of the Conference: in all its proceedings, the General Service Conference shall observe the spirit of AA Tradition, taking great care that the conference never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle; that none of the Conference Members shall ever be placed in  a position of unqualified authority over any others; that all important decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and, whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy; that, though the Conference may act for the service of Alcoholics Anonymous, it shall never perform any acts of government; and that, like the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous which it serves, the Conference itself will always remain democratic in thought and action.

‘that none of the Conference Members shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any others’

  • Do I place myself in a position of unqualified authority over any others?
  • Do I place others in such a position over me?
  • Do I dictate to others in general?
  • Do I let others dictate to me?
  • Where God or the world does give me authority, do I behave like a dictator, or a coach who is leading by example?

‘that all important decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and, whenever possible, by substantial unanimity’

  • Do I seek discussion and consensus with friends, with family, in the workplace, or in other settings?
  • When I hold a minority view, can I nonetheless bow to the majority?
  • Or do I block the majority view?

 ‘that no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy’

  • Do I have punitive (punishing) feelings towards anyone?
  • How do those feelings manifest?
  • Do I exhibit anger, or punitive or aggressive intent?
  • If I want to punish, it means I feel attacked. Do I promptly work Steps Four–Nine to remove the sense of attack?
  • Do I forgive? Without exception? Straight away?
  • Do I cause or court public controversy to no good purpose?
  • Do I gossip or bitch? If so, why am I doing this?
  • Am I a creator of confusion or harmony?
  • When I am attacked, do I maintain a non-aggressive, pacific attitude—or am I prone to anger, hostility, rebellion, and aggression?
  • Do I realise that my best defence is usually no defence at all, namely complete silence at the public level?
  • Do I restrict myself, where the critic is misinformed, to communicating in a ‘temperate and informative way’, and privately?
  • When criticism is indeed justified, do I acknowledge this to the individual who has criticised me?
  • When the Traditions are being violated, do I inform the violator privately?
  • When one or more people want to break away or withdraw (from my home group, from my friendship circle, from my sponsorship of them, or from a closer relationship), do I respond with non-resistance and completely avoid anger and attack? 

‘that, though the Conference may act for the service of Alcoholics Anonymous, it shall never perform any acts of government and that, like the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous which it serves, the Conference itself will always remain democratic in thought and action.’

  • Do I feel threatened by people who disagree with me?
  • Do I respect the views of those who disagree with me, or do I attempt to override, punish, shame, demonise, or ostracise them?
  • Do I act in anger, haste, or recklessness, or instead do I make decisions thoughtfully and after due consideration?
  • Do I force the programme on anyone, in any way?
  • Do I restrict myself to offering my experience, for fun and for free, wanting nothing in return?