Document Sample
                        MEETING GUIDELINES


Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA) is a Twelve-Step fellowship for men and
women suffering from the illness of food addiction. We are united by our common
experience of addiction and our embrace of FA as our common solution. All of our
disciplines – or tools, as we often call them – are based on our understanding that
addiction is incurable, that recovery is possible only one-day-at-a-time, and that we must
make our recovery our top priority. Going to meetings and participating fully in them are
ways that we carry the message of hope to newcomers and that we protect and strengthen
our own abstinence.

We hope that the suggestions below will be helpful if you are starting a new meeting or
if, as an established meeting, you want to step back and think about your meeting as a
whole. The practices we describe reflect the practical experience of early members who
discovered what worked best for them. These practices have stood the test of time. They
have helped many a newcomer into recovery and have supported the ongoing abstinence
of hundreds of FA members.

As we make choices regarding our meetings, we remember that we need to support our
own recovery by recalling who we are as food addicts, talking about the FA solution, and
thinking at all times of the needs of newcomers. Our disease reactivates before we ever
pick up food and break our abstinence. Strong meetings are our medicine, and they are
one of the primary ways we carry the message to those who are still suffering.


      Setting Up: When we began organizing FA meetings we found it most effective
       to set up the chairs in straight rows. We’ve continued to use auditorium style
       seating. If the meeting is a large one, it is helpful to leave a row open in the
       middle so that people can easily move to the front to share. Auditorium style
       seating encourages us to place our attention where it should be: not on ourselves
       or the group (as would be the case with a circle) but rather on the speaker.

      Sharing: We stand in front of the room to read, share, or qualify, even if our
       meetings are small. Standing helps us overcome our tendency to isolate. When we
       stand, we let ourselves be seen and known, and we begin to own our identity as
       people with food addiction and a one-day-at-a-time recovery. It also helps to
       emphasize the seriousness of the purpose for which we are gathered.

     Focusing on Addiction: The Fifth Tradition emphasizes that the purpose of every
      FA meeting is for us to share the message of recovery with newcomers. Thus,
      when we speak at meetings, we focus on food addiction. We share as the AA Big
      Book guides us to, telling about where we’ve been and what food and food
      addiction did to us. We also describe what happened when we joined FA and
      what we are like now. This kind of sharing is vital for newcomers, who need to
      know that they are not alone. They find comfort and understanding when hearing
      our perspective on the disease of food addiction. But we also need this kind of
      sharing for our own recovery. As food addicts, we need constant reminders of
      who we are. Our disease of denial and complacency is reactivated before we ever
      take a bite, and strong sharing at meetings – whether we are speaking or listening
      – offers preventative medicine.
              We developed the formats of our meetings with the needs of newcomers in
      mind. Many meetings find it helpful to schedule a ten minute break right after the
      speaker qualifies or midway through the sharing, so that meeting members can
      have a chance to greet newcomers. It is helpful to have the sponsor announcement
      right before the break. We encourage all meeting members – not just the official
      greeters – to approach newcomers or people who are sitting alone, during the
      meeting’s break, and also before and after the meeting. This is a good time for us
      to offer our phone numbers and to ask for the phone numbers of others.

    Scheduling:
   Length of Time. World Service recommends that meetings last ninety minutes. This
   allows ample time for a qualification (live or recorded), and/or for open sharing from
   a range of members, as well as for a break during which greeters, sponsors, and other
   meeting members can reach out to newcomers.

   Time of Day. We schedule meetings at times that support recovery. Thus we avoid
   scheduling meetings at times that conflict with meals, sponsee calls, or sleep (i.e.,
   early morning, noon, and late at night). Meetings held at these times make us less
   available to newcomers, as we are likely to need to hurry off to work or to bed. Early
   morning meetings tend to interfere with calls between sponsees and sponsors.


The Fourth Tradition states that every FA meeting is autonomous, except regarding
matters that affect FA as a whole. Each meeting is therefore free to choose its own
format, so long as the FA meeting meets the requirements for registration (found on the
FA Registration/Change form at and at The Fifth
Tradition reminds us that the purpose of every FA meeting is to carry the message of
recovery from food addiction to the still suffering food addict. Thus, in choosing a format
for our FA meetings, we think first and foremost of the newcomer. The formats described
below are currently used by many FA meetings, which have found them to be effective in
carrying the message of recovery to food addicts and in supporting individual recovery.

1. Speaker/Discussion Meeting. This is one of the most common formats for FA
meetings. After the readings, the leader of the meeting tells his or her story (“qualifies”),
describing what s/he was like, what happened, and what s/he is like now. (An FA CD, or
a story from theconnection or AA Big Book may also be used in lieu of a face-to–face
speaker.) After the qualification, we usually have a 5-10 minute break so that greeters
may welcome newcomers to the program and help them find sponsors if they wish.
Following the break, the leader of the meeting invites sharing of experience, strength and
hope from all members who have ninety days of continuous abstinence in FA and who
are working with an FA sponsor.

2. Discussion Meeting. At discussion meetings, all members of FA who have ninety days
of continuous abstinence in FA have an opportunity to share experience, strength, and

3. Big Book Meeting. At Big Book meetings, Big Books are distributed prior to the
meeting. Members read a chapter from the front of the book or a story from the back.
Everyone is invited to read or to pass if they wish not to read. Since some members may
be uncomfortable reading, it is important for them to know that they are welcome to say
“Pass.” After the reading of a section or story – or periodically throughout the reading –
members with ninety days of continuous abstinence in FA are invited to share on the
reading. We have found it best to avoid using any of the passages on Steps Four through
Twelve, since these may intimidate, overwhelm, or confuse newcomers.

4. Rotating Meetings. Some FA meetings rotate among several different formats. An
example of a rotating format, with sample wording, follows.

     First Meeting of the Month = Discussion Meeting:
     “The meeting is now open for sharing from all those who have 90 days or more of
     continuous abstinence who are currently working with an FA sponsor.”

     Second Meeting of the Month = Qualification:
     “Leader qualifies, sharing experience, strength, and hope regarding recovery in

     Third Meeting of the Month = Big Book Meeting:
     “During this meeting we will read from the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous. We
     will take turns reading. Those who do not wish to read, please say „Pass.‟ Any
     member with ninety days or more of continuous abstinence, currently working with
     an FA sponsor, may raise his or her hand to share during any part of the reading.”

     Fourth Meeting of the Month = Qualification:
     “Leader qualifies, sharing experience, strength, and hope regarding recovery in FA.”


The most important and commonly used disciplines are included in the sample FA
meeting format. By group conscience, meetings may tailor or add to the disciplines.
Examples of such additions are:

      Meetings held in a city, where members may be traveling by public transportation
       sometimes include a brief announcement after the Serenity Prayer: “Are there any
       requests from members needing rides?”
      Some meetings include a reminder to arrive early to help set up the room and/or
       greet newcomers.
      Larger meetings have sometimes requested in the format that people not clap after
       each speaker shares. If there tend to be many newcomers unfamiliar with FA
       practices, they may add a reminder that questions and comments are best posed –
       and will be answered – during the break.


FA meetings use FA Conference-approved literature, which includes printed FA
pamphlets, qualification CDs, theconnection (our FA magazine), Alcoholics Anonymous,
Twenty-Four Hours a Day, The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics
Anonymous, and The Little Red Book. Other resources available to meetings are a press-
release kit, the Public Information Kit, an FA meeting format, and the meeting-related
guidelines you are now reading. All are available in hard copy, on disc, and on the web at Please see the FA literature order form (on the web at for a more complete and current list of available World Service
Conference-approved FA literature. You can probably order the Big Book and the Twelve
and Twelve most inexpensively through the AA Intergroup nearest you (check the
telephone book) or through the AA General Service Office (see the web). World Service
provides each new meeting with a starter packet of FA pamphlets and copies of both
Alcoholics Anonymous and Twenty-Four Hours A Day.


Many meetings create a phone list to make it easier for members to connect with each
other. We circulate a clipboard with paper and pen and ask those who regularly attend the
meeting to write down their first names, the towns in which they live, their phone
number, and, if desired, their email address. After the sheet has been circulated at a few
meetings, we type up the names in alphabetical order. It is important to keep the
telephone list up to date. Copies of the telephone list can be made available on the
literature table. We find it helpful to remember that email is a useful tool but that it does
not replace telephone calls.


FA meetings can remain strong because FA members offer their services to the meeting
as a whole. The number of service positions varies widely according to the size of the
meeting. Some positions are required of each meeting in order to ensure connection and
communication between the meeting, World Service, and the meeting’s Intergroup or
Chapter. To support the strength of the meeting and support each individual’s recovery,
we rotate leadership regularly.

The earliest FA meetings, and FA meetings today, set abstinence requirements for those
wishing to take on service positions for two reasons. First, we want to protect and support
the newcomer, whose first need is to focus on his or her own recovery. Second, for the
sake of the meeting as a whole, we need to ensure the stability, continuity, and quality of
service. Smaller meetings will not have need for all the service positions below, but we
list them in case they might later be helpful. Newer meetings may not have members with
long-term abstinence, but we have mentioned commonly used abstinence requirements
for possible later use. “Abstinence,” as used below refers to continuous abstinence while
the member is working with an FA sponsor.


Meetings generally make a minimum of a one-year abstinence requirement for those
serving as contacts because the contacts provide a critically important link between the
meeting and World Service Inc. (WSI), and between the meeting and its Intergroup or
Chapter. Contacts ensure continuity of communication and accuracy of information.

WSI Contact (if possible, two years continuous abstinence and completion of one
AWOL strongly suggested)
   Registers name and email address with World Service through use of the meeting
     change form.
   Receives, via email, all correspondence sent by WSI.
   Shares the information at the business meeting, makes copies available to
     members as needed or requested, and keeps one copy permanently on hand in a
     meeting’s folder or notebook. The meeting can reimburse the contact for any
     expenses incurred through its Seventh Tradition.
   Announces the date for and deadlines related to the World Service business

Intergroup or Chapter Contact (if possible, two years of continuous abstinence and
one completed AWOL strongly suggested)
    Registers name with Intergroup or Chapter.
    Receives all correspondence and materials sent by the local Intergroup or Chapter.
    Reads the Intergroup or Chapter’s report at the meeting’s monthly business
       meeting and shares other information in a timely manner, as needed. Keeps copies
       of all materials permanently on hand and shares other copies as needed. The
       meeting can reimburse the contact for any expenses incurred through its Seventh
    Announces the date of the next Intergroup or Chapter Meeting.

      Takes responsibility for ensuring the accuracy of the meeting’s listing and the
       meeting’s contact information by sending the FA Registration/Change Form to
       the Intergroup or Chapter. (Intergroups and Chapters input changes into the WSI
       database, and the change is immediately reflected on the World Service FA web
       listing of FA meetings.)


Speaker Seeker (two year of continuous abstinence suggested, 90 days abstinence as an
absolute minimum)
    This is a very important responsibility. Leadership of the meeting must be rotated
       and strong speakers should be chosen.
    In larger meetings, those who serve in this position carefully book the meeting’s
       leaders one full month ahead of time. They call leaders prior to the meeting to
       remind them of their commitment to lead and give directions to any who need

Secretary (one year of continuous abstinence suggested)
    Announces the business meeting on the day it is held and encourages all with 90
       days of abstinence to attend.
    Leads the business meeting.
    Records business meeting minutes and keeps them permanently on hand.
    Keeps track of service positions and ensures that they are rotated and filled.

Treasurer (two years of continuous abstinence strongly suggested)
    Collects the Seventh Tradition donations and keeps record of all income and
    Pays rent, literature, and any other expenses.
    Gives a report regarding the meeting’s finances at each business meeting.
    Keeps on hand a prudent reserve sufficient to cover one or two months of meeting
      expenses and sends the remainder of the money to the Chapter or Intergroup, and
      World Service.

Literature Person (six months of continuous abstinence suggested)
     Keeps track of the meeting’s supply of literature.
     Orders literature and writes prices in books and pamphlets.
     Sets up the literature table before every meeting, laying out pamphlets, books,
       newcomer packets (if the meeting uses them), theconnection, and the phone list.
     Announces the availability of literature (and newcomer packets if available)
       during the announcement time.
     Stands at the literature table during the break to answer any questions.

Greeter (six months of continuous abstinence suggested)
    Stands during the greeter announcement in the meeting.
    Greets newcomers before and after the meeting and during the break, offering a
       warm welcome, and newcomer packets or literature. Greeters introduce
       newcomers to sponsors if they wish for one, and give newcomers their number in
       case they wish to call with questions later.

theconnection Representative (90 days of abstinence minimum suggested, one year if
     Receives all correspondence to the FA fellowship from theconnection.
     Makes sure subscription forms are available on the literature table.
     During announcements, briefly describes the magazine (written by and for FA’s
       worldwide fellowship) and reminds that subscription forms are available at the
       meeting or on the FA WSI website..
     Sends in the meeting’s subscription form.
     Encourages members to write for theconnection.

Public Information Representative (one year of abstinence suggested)
    Ensures that the meeting is listed in local publications.
    Downloads and reads the FA Public Information Manuel, now available on
    Helps the meeting plan and host FA information sessions.
    Informs the meeting of the possibility of sponsoring a rack of literature (with the
       assistance of the Intergroup or World Service) and helps the meeting do so if
    Provides the meeting with the latest versions of “Letter to the Healthcare
       Professional” and “Letter to Clergy” and encourages use of them.
    Receives and helps the meeting use public information updates from World
       Service, the Intergroup, or the Chapter.

Phone List Person (one year of abstinence suggested)
    Maintains the phone list of members who regularly attend the meeting.
    Provides current copies of the phone list and ensures that they remain available on
      the literature table.
    Announces the phone list during the meeting announcements (if the literature
      person has not already done so).

Set-up People (six months of abstinence suggested if a key is needed or 90 days if no
key is needed)
     Arrive early to open the room and set up the chairs for the meeting. Enlist others
        to help in setting up chairs.
     Put up signs if needed. (We suggest that signs read “FA,” not “Food Addicts in
        Recovery Anonymous” to protect anonymity).

Closer (six months of abstinence suggested if a key is needed or 90 days if no key is
    Ensures that the room is clean and returned to its original order.
    Checks that lights are off and room is locked.

Sponsor-a-Rack Person (one year of abstinence to communicate with a facility, six
months to refill a rack).
    This is an optional service position. Please see Public Information Kit for a
      description of the job.


For the Public Information Person
Public information activity is vital to the growth and maintenance of our FA meetings.
This is how we reach newcomers who have never heard of FA. If our meetings are large
enough, we often choose a public information representative who takes primary
responsibility for coordinating activities. Even if our meetings are small, or perhaps
especially if our meetings are small, we need to reach out to newcomers. Every meeting,
whether new or ongoing, should be sure to download and print the Public Information Kit
that is available on the web at It is full of helpful information. Consider
also participating in quarterly phone calls for PI Reps held by the WSI (or by some

For the Secretary
Most meetings benefit from holding monthly business meetings, even if there are only a
few people attending or there is no apparent pressing new business. The secretary can
encourage all meeting members to attend. Business meetings provide us an opportunity to
consider broader issues and concerns and to discuss how effectively the meeting is
reaching newcomers. The requirement for speaking and voting at a business meeting is a
minimum of ninety days of continuous abstinence in FA, though everyone is welcome
and encouraged to attend. See a sample agenda for business meetings below.

Sample Agenda Form for the Secretary
If helpful, the following sheet can serve as an agenda and form for keeping a record of
each business meeting. As secretary, you should keep these minutes – or whatever
minutes you take – in a folder or notebook and bring them to each meeting in case
anyone has questions. Many have found the agenda below helpful. It is also useful to
keep in the same notebook a list of all those in service positions and when they began
their service. You can help the meeting keep track of when those serving should rotate off
to allow others to serve.

For the WSI and Intergroup or Chapter Contact People
The Registration/Meeting Change form, is available on, and under the
“For Members” section of the FA home page ( Please use this
form whenever:

   •   You are registering a new meeting
      Any meeting information has changed (date, time, location, contact person)

The Intergroup Offices and the Chapters are responsible for inputting any changes
into the FA database. Once entered, the changes will appear immediately on the FA
website meeting directory. This is a critically important process if we are to ensure
that local directories, the worldwide directory, and the FA website are kept up to

                       BUSINESS MEETING MINUTES
                        Date: ______________________

TREASURER’S REPORT (see worksheet on next page to compute totals and then
transfer to line items below)

      Total income

      Total expenses

      Seventh Tradition donations to Chapter, Intergroup, WSI

      Current Balance (excluding money collected on this day)

      Upcoming expenses


      Literature needed?

      Updates regarding literature?







For the Treasurer
We hope that the sample report below might be helpful to you.

                                TREASURER’S REPORT
                                 Date: _______________

   A. Income

       1. 7th Tradition Donations                                        $___________

       2. Literature Income (if known)                                    $___________

       3. Other income and/or previous balance                           $___________

       4. Total income received this month:                              $___________

   B. Expenses

       5. Rent                                                           $__________

       6. Literature needed this month:                                  $__________

       7. Public Information and/or other expenses                       $__________

       8. Total expenses:                                                $__________

       9.Remaining balance (income minus expenses)                       $___________

   C. Prudent Reserve                                                    $___________
      (typically one to three months expenses)

   D. Suggested distribution of remaining balance
      (Decisions regarding this distribution are made by group
      conscience, so percentages may vary.)

       10. Money to send to local Chapter or Intergroup this month:

                 a) 0.25 x line 9 above (or other percentage)            $___________

       11. Money to send to FA WSI this month:

                 b) 0.75 x line 9 above (or other percentage)            $___________

                                                       (Last revised May 21, 2008)

Lingjuan Ma Lingjuan Ma MS
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