Service Matters • May 2020
Welcome to the May Issue of SERVICE MATTERS!
Welcome, GreySheet brothers and sisters! We dedicate the May issue of Service Matters to the theme of Awakenings/New Growth. We fellows of GreySheeters Anonymous know what it's like to endure seemingly fallow times, only to be joyfully surprised by clear signs of growth. We are well-acquainted with the process of growing roots first, before the lovely blossoms peak through the earth. In these days of the COVID-19 pandemic, rooted in the radical self-care of GreySheet abstinence, we can get to the other side of whatever comes along! Simply to attain and maintain GreySheet abstinence, we have learned to ask for help and extend it, and to approach our challenges not with an attitude of "if", but, rather, "how"; we will overcome them!
As we witness ourselves and each other blossoming in GreySheet recovery, we are also reminded that we GreySheeters, when joined together, form a bouquet whose scent is sweeter and stronger than that of any single stem. May we all continue to bloom and grow, with the help of our GreySheet toolbox, the Sunlight of the Spirit and each other. Together, we can!
GSRs, Please Read at Your Business Meeting:
GSR’s Please read at your business meeting:
Seventh Tradition: As spring flowers awaken and grow through sunlight, water and essential nutrients, so GreySheeters Anonymous grows through the active participation of our fellowship (Concept 4), and Tradition 7 contributions. When we donate what we are able, our GSA member contributions nurture our meetings, website, literature, communication with both our members and professional communities, and those still suffering. We understand this is a challenging time, so ‘Giving Back’ can mean contributing through service as well. Service matters...and so do you!
Website Contacts Lists Have Doubled!! Thanks to your generous response to phone calls from our committee members, the greysheet.org website now has 70 contacts in 24 states and 12 countries. Thank you to those who volunteered to respond to the still-suffering compulsive eaters who reach out!! If you have one year of back-to-back abstinence, can respond to emails within 48 hours, and wish to add your names to the list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q&A - What are Some Gifts from This Coronavirus Situation?
Spring awakens our thoughts and feelings with the joy of accomplishment and self-awareness as we celebrate our abstinence each day. The influence of Covid19 has opened up new pathways of challenges we each overcome with our sponsors, fellow GreySheeters and loved ones. We look at the silver lining lessons from this period of time: FaceTime, Zoom, WhatsApp and new connections in the program with new ways to have outreach. Let’s hear it for technology supporting our abstinence.
Here are a few heartfelt shares of joy, reflection, love and habits from members of the Communications Committee and to quote one of our members: Fewer cars, less traffic and more Zoom!
- I have gained a renewed appreciation for people I have often taken for granted: the grocery store clerks, stockers, and cart managers who make sure I get my abstinent food when I need it and are exposed to all of our germs and ill humor and neglect most of the time.
- I have gained an appreciation for all the ways being an abstinent GSer in an outpost has acquainted me with ways to connect via social media, especially Zoom before the pandemic ever happened, placing me in a position to help other meetings get on line, both in GSA and Al-Anon and AA in my home town.
- I know how to live a day at a time, have been practicing for decades. What a gift in hard times!!
- The introvert in me is delighted! I have gained a stretch of time without needing to decline invitations or feel guilty about saying no!
- I value more than ever the precious gift of life and time. We never know when this will end, both the pandemic and the life we live.
- I am meditating more, with a group of people so I am accountable!
- Get to spend lots of time with my family. Togetherness!
- Self-house cleaning is mandatory! What pleasure to see the kids work at home….
- More GSA meetings! As we all became “outposts” I am now more used to meeting via Zoom, and finding it almost as efficient as a “regular” meeting in the rooms.
- Getting to meet and see faces of more GSRs on Zoom meetings! We are in lock-down but GSA
- world is bigger and more open than ever!
- Less traffic - less car accidents.
- Cleaner air...
What comes to me are two things (of many) that I have learned being on the GreySheet:
- I only have to take one day at a time (sometimes one minute at a time). For example, I don´t know if I am going to be able to go to work tomorrow. But I am preparing as if I would go to work tomorrow. And if it so happens that I can´t, then I will just have to accept that tomorrow. I can´t do anything about it today.
- Serenity: This has helped in ‘taking on’ the days as they come. The only thing I can do is Plan, Prepare and Protect and then let go of everything else. This virus is far beyond my control.
- At home, in the quiet, sometimes it easier to hear the voices that are no longer true -- the ones who are so afraid of any error, who learned that error loses you love. I’m getting a sense that only a loving, accepting relationship with myself will allow me to develop my abilities and relationships “out there”.
- Friends far and wide are checking in just to see that I’m OK (I live alone). I am touched by their efforts. They are teaching me to exert my own energy to let more people know that I care and appreciate them!
- As we witness the seasons change and the re-awakening to spring time (in the Northern Hemisphere) there is a promise of better days ahead. One day at a time, I too, am awake, ask God for help, and do my best to go about my day with a perspective of love, generosity and acceptance.
- My digital scale and my cups are my trusted friends. They don’t lie, they keep me ‘right sized’ and balanced 3x a day.
- The new rituals surrounding going to the store, getting food, bringing it home, cleaning food and packaging before it comes into the house have ‘upped my game’ in the way I relate to food, before it even enters the front door and makes its way to my scale.
May 2020 - Monthly Board of Trustees Column
Joyce S., Treasurer
At the end of last year, GreySheeters Anonymous World Services, Inc. (GSAWS) had a review of our financial statements by an independent certified public accountant. We received the results of her financial review in early January. I’m writing to provide the fellowship with a summary of her findings.
You may wonder why we had a review of our financial records by an independent CPA. After all, this is a costly endeavor for a relatively small organization like ours; in fact, GSAWS paid $2500 for a review of fiscal years 2016-2019. If you break this down by year, it cost us approximately $800/year for an outside review.
A financial review:
- Shows that GSAWS is dedicated to financial transparency.
- Provides reassurance that our financial statements are reliable.
- Helps GSAWS evaluate internal control systems.
- Fulfills the requirement set forth in GSAWS by-laws to “present at the annual meeting of the Board a financial report, certified by an independent public accountant or certified public accountant or a firm of such accountants selected by the Board.”
Although it is good policy to have a review or audit by an independent accountant every year, it is not feasible for our fellowship due to the cost. In the years when we do not have a conference and/or we are not transitioning to a new Board, a review will be performed by members of our fellowship.
After conducting her financial review, the accountant concluded that “based on my review, with the exception of the matters described in the following section, I am not aware of any material modifications that should be made to the general ledgers and accompanying financial statements in order for them to be in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.” Here is a summary of the accountant’s recommendations:
- The Company (GSAWS) should formulate in a written document accounting policies and procedures. A well-designed and properly maintained system of documenting accounting policies and procedures will clarify roles, responsibilities, access and authorizations as well as timetables in order to improve the quality, consistency and efficiency of the Company’s internal control system and overall financial reporting function. As a best practice written accounting policies and procedures should be evaluated annually and updated for any changes in policies and procedures that occur between evaluations.
- Overall, there should be more consistent policies and practices in place with respect to the accounting of accruals, prepaid expenses and in-kind donations.
- A timetable should be established to outline key dates for the closing of month-ends, inclusive of the timely submission of supporting evidence to account for transactions relevant to each month-end and transfers between PayPal and operating accounts of the Company.
- Physical or electronic bank statements, inclusive of check images, and other forms of supporting evidence should be adequately archived and transitioned amongst Treasurers of the Company.
- Increase technical knowledge of QuickBooks’ functionalities surrounding the booking of entries from statement feeds as well as the closing process.
- Formal written agreements or contracts should be created and maintained between the Company and fellowship members performing services in exchange for monetary compensation on behalf of the Company.
- For better transparency, the coding of general ledger expense accounts should represent the underlying nature of expenses incurred – e.g. monthly administration fee of GSA literature should be bifurcated from GSA literature expense.
- Schedule the pickup and the deposit of checks in month-end close timeline to better account for donations in the months received in the P. O. Box.
- Clearer direction or awareness of members of which PayPal account to send payments to based on the underlying nature of the submission.
Let me assure you, that as treasurer, I am doing my best to comply with all the recommendations. A draft has been written for GSAWS accounting policies and procedures and for GSAWS internal control procedures. I’ve spent a good amount of time becoming familiar with QuickBooks functionalities. Formal written agreements are in process between GSAWS and fellowship members performing services for GSAWS. We changed the date of pickup and deposit of checks from our P. O. Box. We have changed some of the coding for certain general ledger expense accounts to better represent the underlying nature of the expense.
If you would like additional information or a copy of her results, please contact me at treasurer@GreySheet.org.
Help Wanted!! Service Opportunities!
Committees Connecting meeting for anyone interested in world service committee work – next meeting is Sunday, May 10, at 12:00 noon ET. The Communications Committee is presenting.
Zoom meeting ID: 663 470 166
Reflections Zoom Writing Workshop: Next meeting is May 30 at 11:00 AM ET
Zoom meeting ID: 203 332 604
Only 90 days of B2B GS abstinence is required and the willingness to share your experience, strength and hope!
Finance Committee is looking for members willing to conduct a review of our financial records in the months preceding the next World Service Conference in 2021, probably in May or June. Please consider providing this important service for our fellowship. You do not need to have an accounting background, just a willingness to look at a few bank reports, trace transactions through to our financial statements, become familiar with our written accounting policy timetables and see if tasks were performed in a timely manner. An audit plan will be provided for you to follow. The good thing about this service is that it is a short commitment, but the impact is great in reassuring the fellowship that our records are accurate and reliable and that we are practicing good internal controls. Contact email@example.com if interested.
Board of Trustees Town Hall April 26, 2020
The Board of Trustees held the second quarterly Town Hall of 2020 on 4/26/20.
65 Total Attendees from: CTIG, EIG, ICEIG, MWIG, NEIG Area, NYMIG, PBIG, SEIG Area, SWIG, WSIG; including:
- 7/8 Board of Trustees;
- 6/9 ISRs from EIG, ICEIG, MWIG, NYMIG, SWIG, WSIG;
- 31/40 Committee Members (All Committees were represented);
- 21/193 GSRs.
The meeting was full of important and interesting updates on what work is being done at the World Services level. An update on the how GSA is responding to COVID-19, including a presentation on the Board of Trustees COVID-19 letter and the movement of Face to Face meetings to Zoom. Additional presentations were given on GSA’s Four Core Functions: GreySheet abstinence, greysheet.org, Literature, and Public Information.
For more in depth information on the GSAWS Vision and Four Core Functions, click here: https://bit.ly/2YoeKhT
To see a copy of the Board of Trustees COVID-19 letter to the fellowship, click here: https://bit.ly/2SpImrC
There were also presentations from representatives from the Midwest Intergroup and the New York Metro Intergroup and from four of the Committees. All presenters put out a call for members to get involved in service at the Intergroup and/or Committee level.
Q&A from attendees:
Q: Interested in the process of defining the GreySheet and would love to know how it parallels process of AA. Changing the Steps or Traditions, i.e., their foundational documents.
A: At this point, there are no plans to change the GreySheet as it stands as a document. Committee is working on clarifications, which is a separate report. The GreySheet as it stands as a document will not be changed.
Q: Will GreySheet be changed to reflect current practice?
A: No, the GreySheet pamphlet will not be edited. I think your question is part of the oral tradition that is passed down from sponsor to sponsee.
Q: $13,500 seems very low for a Conference. What does the $13,500 provide?
A: The $13,500 does not cover all the expenses of the World Conference. It pays for what the Board responsible for in terms of the Conference, i.e., funding the Board of Trustees participation in the Conference and paying the Parliamentarian’s fees and expenses. All other costs of the conference such as the retreat center, transcriptionist, etc. are covered by the registration fees of delegates representing groups or Intergroups.
Q: Why can’t we have some ideas of what GreySheet committee is working on or answer questions prior to the document coming out?
A: The reason the Committee is not releasing information in incremental steps is that we believe it needs to be approved in full in all of its context. We want to look at everything we do at the end of our work and ask, “Have we been consistent throughout and does it make a sense as a whole,” rather than releasing it in increments over an 18 month period.
Q: What did we call the Responsibility Statement before. I’d love to bring it to the Phone Bridge. The Phone Bridge Intergroup is currently using a modified version of the A.A. Responsibility Statement.
A: We do not have permission from AA to adopt and adapt their Responsibility Statement. Literature Committee was inspired by Board’s Vision for World Service. We took what they wrote, expanded on it, and came up with something to serve as our Responsibility Statement that the Literature Committee approved and sent on to the BOT for approval. It will go to ISRs and Chairs for discussion after Board approval.
Q: Does our literature include that we are not physicians or experts?
A: Pamphlet, If You Are a Healthcare Professional is on the website for you to review.
To listen to the recording of the Town Hall meeting, click here: https://bit.ly/3faaecZ
April Service Matters audio version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYg0TrdOwKs
Concept 6 Meeting: April 19 2020 https://bit.ly/2KpXmBo
Tradition 6 meeting: April 26, 2020 https://bit.ly/3bWvl0m
BOT Town Hall meeting; April 26, 2020 https://bit.ly/3faaecZ
Committees Connecting Meeting April 5, 2020: https://bit.ly/2VkrPGb