Service is a component of supporting your program and remaining abstinent. In addition, service allows you to contribute to the many ways FAA develops as an organization. If you are new to FAA, or have been in FAA awhile and desire to do service at the World Service Level, service on an FAA Committee is the best way to begin. The FAA committees submit their recommendations to the FAA Board.(See below) Most of these committees do much of their work via e-mail. In addition, some hold phone meetings. There is no abstinence requirement to be on the committees. However, we ask that you come with a willingness to serve and an open mind to listen to each other’s input. All committees are run with a group conscience. No one person, including the Chairperson has more votes than any other. Our committees can use more support:
LITERATURE COMMITTEE: Elena F. at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our literature committee has a very big job in FAA. This is the committee that reviews new publications and updates current FAA publications.The Board in Sept. 2008 approved the start of a Green Book revision, but we do not have the manpower to put this into action. This is a long term project that will go through many stages of approval. But it first begins with input from the literature committee. Please consider joining this committee. In addition, the board also approved a revision of the FAA Cookbook. Again, we need people to work on this.
CONVENTION COMMITTEE: Kelley Teresa B. at: email@example.com. The responsibility of this committee is to assist the FAA Board with the planning, coordination and implementation of the World Service Convention. The Convention is our largest fundraiser for the organization. Although this committee has been working hard this year, we can always use more help.
BYLAWS COMMITTEE: Ashley B. at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This committee is responsible for proposing necessary changes as needed to keep the ByLaws current. They are also responsible for updating the Bylaws to include new changes voted on by the FAA Board of Trustees.
OFFICE COMMITTEE: Phyllis E. at: email@example.com. The Office Committee is responsible for overseeing the World Service Office and Staff. In addition, they assist in creating and publishing the Abstinent Times.
PUBLIC INFORMATION COMMITTEE: Dorene L. at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This committee develops new ideas for informing the public about FAA.
FAA BOARD OF TRUSTEES: FAA is run by a Board of Trustees. The FAA Board of Trustees are the members that manage the business and affairs of FAA. A member has to have two years of continuous abstinence in order to serve on the Board of Trustees. We currently have vacancies on the board and would welcome anyone who is willing to serve. If you call the World Service Office, they can send you an application. Board members generally serve as officers, or assume the responsibility and chairmanship of one of our committees. Often they have been involved at the World Service Level in one or more of the various committees.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVING ON THE FAA BOARD
When you serve on the FAA Board, you will realize that we do not all think alike, do not all feel alike, do not all eat alike, and will not all vote alike. How then do we serve the membership and stay unified?
It is important first to realize that unity does not mean unity of ideas or agreement on issues. It does not mean avoiding dealing with difficult issues in order to avoid upsets amongst ourselves. Unity means unity of purpose-“To help other food addicts become abstinent and maintain their abstinence.” There will be some times when change needs to happen in order to serve our membership and promote this primary purpose. There will be those opposed to it. This is normal. In order to follow the direction of “unity” in our program we offer the following guidelines:
1. Serve with an open heart and respect for each other’s hearts.
In the middle of heated discussions, keep in mind that others feel strongly because they care about the program as passionately as you do. Respect their opinions and assume their opinions come from a commitment to the program, not out of their own ego.
Respect for one another means that someone with two years of abstinence should receive as much respect as someone with twenty years of abstinence. Our votes are the same. Our Higher Power works through all of us.
2. Serve with an open mind and respect for each other’s mind.
Many of us feel that the strength of FAA over other anonymous food addiction programs is that we allow for diversity of ideas.
For example, unlike other programs, our food plan is only a suggestion and we yield to the medical professional. It is extremely important that while serving on the FAA Board, that we do not judge each other’s food program or abstinence. We have members with long-term abstinence who follow the “Green and White” nearly perfectly and have done so for years. We have other members with successful long-term abstinence who do not weigh and measure their food. We are all struggling with some aspect of our programs and ourselves. It is important that we work on our own programs and avoid taking each other’s inventories. What unites us in our programs is a commitment that we do not eat sugar, flour and wheat.
An open mind means realizing that we do not always agree on the interpretation of the FAA Traditions or the FAA Steps. For instance, there is a wide range of interpretation to what constitutes anonymity. For some, every conversation with a member falls under “anonymity.” For others, it is just applies to comments in a meeting. As a board member serving the FAA membership, we all have to be accountable to the membership. That means members need to know where we personally stand on issues. In addition, many times on our committees it is helpful we will need to know people’s names and what they do, so that we may consult them when appropriate.
Respect also means that you respect each other’s level of service. There will be people on the board who are retired and have a lot of time to serve. There are those who are extremely busy and have a limited time to serve. Appreciate what time they give.
Respect also means treating our Executive Assistant (EA) with respect. He/she is responsible for a great many jobs and is responsible to many people. The job at our World Service Office is by its nature inconsistent in its demands and its specific amount of time required in any given week. The Office Committee Chairperson, although accountable to the membership and the FAA Board, is the supervisor of the EA. However, respect means that you trust our EA to prioritize his/her time to meet the needs of the organization and to follow our primary purpose. Micromanaging a job that we have never done will not be effective.
Respect for one another means that under no circumstances in FAA service should anyone’s personal program be attacked. Arguments need to occur in the context of the issues involved, not veer into personal attacks. We are not politicians, who seem to develop a tolerance for this. We are sensitive food addicts, whose serenity is easily disrupted.
3. Respect the previous FAA Board’s decisions and group conscience process as having come from a Higher Power, no matter what you personally feel.
You will come to this board with actions that have been approved by previous FAA Boards. It is your job to implement these actions, even if you don’t personally agree. Respect the fact that these have gone through careful consideration and that the Higher Power has worked in these actions.
In the past few years, due to technology, it is now possible to have greater input from our members. Serve the FAA Board with a commitment to the process, not the outcome. You may feel really strongly that something is simply wrong. But if it has passed through the membership’s input, several committees and the FAA Board, there has been a lot of group conscience involved in the process. Serving on the board gives you an opportunity to re-examine your own beliefs.
If you come to the FAA Board with a desire to simply stop something from happening, rather than pray for guidance from your Higher Power, you may be very disappointed and frustrated in your service. Does this mean nothing will ever get re-evaluated and overturned? No. What we are suggesting is to come to serve the board with a passion to serve the membership with guidance from your Higher Power, rather than to specifically overturn a previous decision or stop something from happening. This is also a good idea to tell those who serve on your committees.
In your committees, we encourage you to solicit members who have differing opinions, rather than deliberately having members who agree with you. In this way, you will better represent the membership. We will also have effective representation if the FAA Board comes from a variety of sponsors. If one sponsor sponsors a great number of board members, one point of view will dominate, creating an imbalance of thought and action. We ask you pray for guidance from your Higher Power if you find yourself in this position.
4. Let go of your fear and desire to control, and be open to change.
As addicts we often have two responses to change-fear or wanting to control and micromanage it. Serving on the FAA Board means carrying the message to other food addicts by serving at the non-profit organizational level. That means our goal is always to expand. (The 12th Step) Expansion will always involve changing things that are inhibiting our growth.
We have found that our committees that have been the most successful have often done their work without the FAA Board micromanaging their efforts. Such is the case every year with the Convention Committee, who basically just gets approval for the place of the convention. The Meditation Book Committee worked independently until it submitted a complete draft of the book to the board. The Literature Committee worked independently until it submitted the draft of “Understanding Food Addiction and Why Abstinence is Necessary.” The FAA Board has the ultimate power to make final decisions. But allow and encourage your committees to do their work. It has been our experience that members want to serve the membership when things are getting done. When ideas are held up due to technicalities, people lose patience and drop off committees.
5. Use the fruit of the spirit in communicating with one another on the FAA Board and on your committees-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
This often is a thankless job, as often the FAA Board only hears from members when they are upset and angry. But know that your service is appreciated, especially by those who have come before you. Thank you for considering serving the FAA Board.