In January, I and the rest of the incoming Delegates were invited to submit topics of discussion for the Conference, which are called Chosen Agenda Items (CAIs). 36 CAIs were submitted, and after combining like items, a condensed list of 16 CAIs was submitted to the Conference for voting. The top two CAIs were discussed in the General Session, and the next three CAIs were discussed in breakout sessions at the Conference.

Full Conference Discussion

Chosen Agenda Item #1

The topics discussed were:

  • How do we instill enthusiasm and positivity for leadership positions in our program?
  • What kind of new and ongoing training does your Area have for District Representatives? 
  • How are non-English-speaking members encouraged to be involved in District and Area Meetings? 
  • Service beyond the group level. 
  • What are the Links of Service, and are they working? 
  • Complacency and accountability above the group level. 
  • How are we addressing the issue of our membership aging and younger members not wanting to be in service? 

Chosen Agenda Item #3

The topics discussed were:

  • When does group autonomy end and an issue begin affecting another group, Al-Anon, or A.A. as a whole? 
  • Where does group autonomy end when an issue is affecting another group or Al-Anon or A.A. as a whole? 
  • Disruptive members/newcomers, mentally ill members who prey on newcomers as well. 
  • Welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.

Breakout Sessions

Chosen Agenda Item #2

The topics discussed were:

  • How can we increase our membership? To reach potential new members, we must raise public awareness.
  • Is it time to continue discussing the wording of Tradition Eleven, to be mindful of the ever-changing methods of public communication and social media/networking? 
  • Placing WSO Al-Anon public service announcements on national TV shows such as Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, etc. 
  • What process was used in deciding to use live actors in Public Outreach Media? Concern regarding anonymity preached, but not practiced at the public level.

Chosen Agenda Item #9

The topics discussed were:

  • How do the small groups/meetings in rural America fit into the Board’s Vision and Mission?
  • Finding ways to increase and support rural/small town participation in Al-Anon and all levels of Al-Anon service. 
  • Groups in small communities have challenges feeling connected to their District, consequently, they may be hesitant to take service positions in the District.

Chosen Agenda Item #11

The topics discussed were:

  • “Former” A.A. memberWe have many A.A. members joining Al-Anon, which is a good problem. However, some who “used to” participate in A.A., but no longer considers them self to be an alcoholic, want to stand for GR. What would be the protocol for handling this situation?
  • Revise the Service Manual to cover Al-Anon members who were A.A. members who aren’t currently attending A.A. and wish to hold Al-Anon service positions above the group level.

There was a lot of discussion on these items at the World Service Conference and we have already talked about and debated CAI #11 at the AWSC meeting in May. I plan to bring several more of these items to the AWSC meetings in order to continue the discussion at the Area level.

If you would like to read more about these CAIs, check out The 2018 World Service Conference Summary, pages 44-49.