MBAIAA Newsletter – September 2020

Published on September 20, 2020

Step 9 – “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

“Above all, we should try to be absolutely sure that we are not delaying because we are afraid. For the readiness to take the full consequence of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine.”

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions – Page 87

What’s Happening Locally

September Birthday Meeting

I have happy news!  The Intergroup has taken responsibility for the Birthday Meeting once again!  This month, The Mighty Muffins are Hosting the monthly birthday meeting.  While this meeting is traditionally held at Monterey High School, this month we will be meeting on ZOOM.   The ID number and password are listed below.  There will also be a direct link on our website.

  • Zoom Meeting ID:  652 224 0517
  • Password:  Sobriety

The meeting begins at 7:00 PM on Saturday September 26th.  Come a little early, stay a little late…  It will be wonderful to see all of your faces!  During this time of ‘Shelter in Place’, we cannot gather together in celebration as we usually do, so this will be the next best thing.

Monterey Bay Area Roundup 2021 – Planning Stages

Monterey Bay Area Roundup planning meetings are held the second Saturday of the month at 11:00 AM.  Upcoming meetings will be held via ZOOM.  Dates and other details are listed below.

  • Saturday, October 10, 2020
  • Saturday, November 14, 2020
  • Saturday, December 12, 2020
  • Zoom Meeting ID: 973 2426 8424
  • Password: MBAR2021

Remote Meetings

We now have a temporary page on the website listing all of our remote meetings.  The Remote Meetings page also lists information on protecting our anonymity at virtual meetings.  Read it carefully and join us online. We need each other to continue our sobriety.

There are physical meetings happening as well – you can check the website for those too.  All meetings are following safe practices.

Digital Contributions At Online Meetings 1

Online meeting spaces make it difficult to “pass the basket.” Some groups have set up digital contribution accounts with services like Venmo, PayPal, Google Pay, etc. to deal with this problem. Now might be a good time to review an essential piece of AA literature, “Self-Support: Where Money and Spirituality Mix.”

Each group is autonomous and might consider taking a group conscience on whether digital contributions are an option, and which platform (or mix of platforms) best suits their groups’ needs.

Why collect 7th Tradition for an online meeting?

Our regular meeting locations still have operating expenses

  • Our meetings facilities may rely on contributions to pay their rent and utilities
  • Meeting supplies will still be needed when our meetings reopen – coffee, paper products, literature, refreshments. And after an extended closure, we may experience a large influx of people who are motivated to re-join the fellowship in person.

Central Office and the General Service Office still have operating expenses

  • Websites – which we may now  rely on more than ever!
  • Phone lines, rent and insurance on office space
  • Utility and other ongoing expenses
  • Paid Special Workers who deserve our continued support. Their compensation is crucial to their ability to serve us.

Our Districts and Areas and H&I still have expenses

  • Regular expenses to support the work of committees and events that will take place when the crisis has passed are still there.
  • Web services support for groups
  • Expenses for venues for events that have been cancelled may still need to be met, since any income from the event won’t be there to support the pre-payment of reservations, cancellation fees, etc. The expense of re-arranging for venues to reschedule events is very real.

News From General Service

A letter from GSO…

Just coming off the General Service Board Weekend, where we reported on current services, contributions, publishing activities and literature sales, I am pleased to communicate with you today.  Staff, committee and financial reports will be shared very shortly to keep you as up to date as possible.  There is much good to report, highlighting results of the efforts of your General Service Office to sustain services and business operations through the first half of 2020 — the unanticipated period of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The main theme of this letter is gratitude: The A.A. groups of the United States and Canada have stepped up and sent a strong message to the Board and office, understanding their role as the “bosses” of our Fellowship and giving the trustees and office workers unambiguous direction to keep up our efforts in support of your Twelfth Step work.  We are grateful for the clarity of the message and the increased level of Seventh Tradition contributions that will allow us to continue to work for you without interruption.  Please click here to watch our Love and Service Video.

We have put forward a new budget reforecast for the balance of 2020 that reflects a new reality and includes substantial cuts in numerous expense categories, including contracted services, professional fees and printing/cost of goods.  The aim is to continue providing maximum services, with the expense reductions touching operations rather than services.  What services are we talking about?  Some examples:

  • GSO staff assignments who are in constant communication with the Fellowship and supporting committee work in all areas, including Corrections (big time), CPC, PI (super busy during this time), International outreach, Group Services, General Service Conference, Regional Forums (face-to-face events canceled but virtual gatherings planned), Treatment and Accessibilities, among others.  The entire staff team is working at full capacity, and beyond, to maintain these services.
  • Publishing reports a huge increase in international licensing and translations, including 26 new Big Book translations in process. Currently a special discount offer is available for purchases of the Big Book in all formats.
  • AA Grapevine and La Viña carry the message of recovery through books and subscriptions with amazing results.  Free GV digital access was available after the General Service Conference, and “Carry the Message” subscriptions purchased by members help bring a monthly Twelfth Step call to those who may not have access to meetings.
  • “Back room” technology and communications developments have been phenomenal: Bringing the ERP system online throughout the organization.  New modules that will be implemented shortly, including contributions and the AAWS webstore.  A super-high priority is bringing My Portal, the Fellowship database, into reality, and we are working with the user community and doing a heavy lift on data and internal processes.  The Meeting Guide app is functioning, including online meeting listings (The website redesign is partially “on hold” for the rest of the year to save costs).
  • Please note one cost-saving measure:  Till the end of the year, the newsletters regularly published by GSO, such as Box 4-5-9, About A.A., the GSB Quarterly Report, the LIM bulletin and Sharing From Behind the Walls will be available only on or will have limited print runs, saving on production and mailing costs.

We’re trying. You are supporting us.  It is working.   Please continue to be very direct and vocal in expressing your direction to the office and the Board. Please let me know what else you’d like to hear directly from the office. (Many have done so after my previous Seventh Tradition updates.)

Some further context — when literature sales and contributions had dipped dramatically, GSO drew down $3 million from the Reserve Fund to cover cash flow for May-July.  This supported sending out International Convention refunds, as well as ensuring payroll funds for our workers.  Now we are in a different place. And it says so much about our Fellowship in this extraordinary time: In May, contributions were $800,000 and in June $900,000. July has just closed, with total contributions exceeding $1.1 million dollars! Also, we are working to recover lost costs related to the International Convention through our insurance claim.

On behalf of the General Service Office, I am moved to express our love and gratitude to you – for your trust in us and your continued guidance and support.  Ours is an amazing spiritual enterprise that has carried us all to this very place on an 85-year journey.  May we continue to trudge the road of happy destiny together, for so long as we are needed.

Sincerely yours, in service to A.A.,

Greg T.
General Manager

Current IGR Minutes and Financial Reports

A Note From Jana

Hello Fellow Alcoholics,

The Steering Committee and the IGRs voted, at our last meeting, to transfer $2000 from our Prudent Reserve to the Operating Expense account.  There are budgeted expenses that need to be met. This reflects only 10% of the Prudent Reserve, and it is the first time this year that it has been necessary to use any of these funds.

Any personal contributions are welcome.  Please remember to support your individual groups.  All of the entities of AA need your support.  Our webpage indicates the various ways to support AA – for convenience, we’ve added a Paypal button to the website.  You can always go old school and mail a check to MBAIAA 1015 Cass St #4 Monterey CA 93940. Or,  you can go really old school and drop a cash contribution in the mailslot at the office.  I go to the office to check the mail frequently and I also am happy to meet you there if you need literature too.  Feel free to contact me here.

A reminder that this is YOUR office.   This office only exists to facilitate the groups.  Please send a representative from your group to the monthly IGR meeting so that we may continue to communicate.  Every group has a seat at the table if they send a representative.  If you would like to attend the meeting, contact me here and I will send you the pertinent information and a reminder that the meeting takes place on the second Tuesday of each month via Zoom.

If you are hungry for fellowship, please join us at the birthday meeting on September 26th at 7:00 pm on Zoom.

  • Zoom Meeting ID:  652 224 0517
  • Password:  Sobriety

“Nothing is so bad that a drink won’t make it worse.”
The Best of the Grapevine volume 3

1 This information is from the AA Intergroup of SF & Marin Online Contributions page.