Letter from the Chair

Dear Fellows,

The topic that comes to my mind as we move swiftly towards the end of one further blessed year of sobriety is `Attraction rather than promotion. ́

Since our last assembly in September many steps, large and small, have been taken in carrying the message to those who still suffer from our common, terminal disease. The fact that the members of the steering committee could be in one place (Berlin) and attend the on-line quarterly assembly together was, in my opinion, a real boon. I want to thank the assembly for facilitating this.

In mid-September, I attended the European Conference on Mental Health in Split, Croatia as one of a four-person delegation along with Sunna (Norway), Lana (Vienna) and Peter(Split). We were warmly welcomed and could feel the eagerness among some of the community of professionals to make contact with the recovering alcoholic. At the same time, the stigma surrounding alcoholism and addiction in general was very palpable. The local AA meetings were thrilled to have us as visitors at their regular meetings. I have accepted an invitation to speak at the Annual Croatian Convention in June 2019. This I will do as Patrick L, a recovering alcoholic – not as the Chair of CER.

We have held three steering committee meetings since September. Our new secretary and vice-chair are getting to know the ropes with the friendly assistance of their teammates and predecessors. Our new trustee is also very engaged and, it appears, on a steep learning curve with his fellow trustees in (Old) York. We are making good progress. Every change in personnel brings new gifts to the team. These meeting are now often attended by up to ten people. This is new territory for us.

Bratislava is also new territory. I believe this is the first time we have decided to hold our assembly in this lovely city. Like Bill & Bob and the first generation, we seek to reach areas which have both the desire and need of encouragement which results from sharing the spirit of the fellowship.

Also, the invitation to our friends in ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) is a premiere. We are happy to get to know our cousins and are cognizant of the fact that a high percentage of alcoholics come from families where one or both parents were alcoholics and that ACA is often the footbridge over which fellows find their way into our rooms.

Many of our `Attraction rather than promotion ́ activities require little or no financial resources. After-meetings, sponsorship, Skype Business meetings, etc., are all very effective means. Some, such as this gathering, participation in public information and health liaison events, RECLO infrastructure, compliance services (tax, data protection, etc.) do cost money. We strive to handle the 7th tradition in a highly-responsible manner. To this end, a spending plan will be presented at this meeting for the financial year just begun (Dec. 2018 – Nov. 2019) for discussion, adjustment (if necessary) and approval. I am confident that the plan we approve will be robust. Many thanks to our treasurer and officers for the substantial work done in advance in preparing the professional proposal now on the table.

We are about to elect new officers this weekend. Approximately ten years ago CER, as the first region in AA GB, established the role of Young Peoples’ Liaison Officer. As you may know, the remaining regions have, in the meantime, followed suit, leading to the establishment of a dedicated trustee for young peoples’ issues. Only last weekend, speaking at a Flemish-speaking convention in Belgium (with translation!), when I related that I regularly have the pleasure of being in meetings with over 100 participants in places like Stockholm and Berlin where the average age is below 30, people couldn’t believe their ears. This is their idea of fellowship paradise! If it can be achieved in those cities, we can achieve it, in a scaled manner, anywhere. This is the optimism that fuelled to the first great wave of growth in our fellowship. Young people are the future of this fellowship. We stand at the beginning of the next great wave, if we work for it.

Health liaison is a vital aspect of our work. With encounters such as those in Split we are only scratching the surface. The goal should be to participate in panel discussions and give keynote talks at such events.

Our delegates’ team needs new blood. The current team and its immediate predecessor set a new standard in connecting the dots throughout our fellowship across the region, a standard which is rapidly being adopted by our neighbouring regions. Conference is the sum of all group consciences in a given geography, without which we would have no compass, no ultimate authority. From personal experience, I can encourage you to stand for this service position. It will change your life!

Attraction rather than promotion; `Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. ́ This is the real attraction. By carrying out our business in the spirit of the twelve traditions, we will surely attract new trusted servants into partaking of this great work. In this spirit, I wish us a good weekend here in Bratislava.


During our December Assembly in Bratislava we have filled the following service positions with 4 talented and dedicated trusted servants:

• Delegate to Conference, Dan G.
• HLO Health Liaison Officer, Bruce B.
• YPLO Young People's Liaison Officer, Irma P.
• RASLO Armed Services Liaison Officer, Merrick M.