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Monday, 2 March 2015

Regional Treasurers Meeting 2015

See report here 

Of particular interest:

It is unlikely that any primary purpose work will need to be cut back as a result of falling income since the vast majority of this is carried out by the groups. What might happen, however, is that GSO will be obliged to retrench by cutting back on excessive staff levels, wasteful expenditures and so on. Do we actually need three offices in York, London and Glasgow anymore? With call transfer technology is it really necessary to have people based in an office responding to enquiries? With a membership that is static (or according to our estimates falling) perhaps it's time for York to start applying some real economies rather than constantly holding out the begging bowl at every opportunity. Our primary purpose is best served by groups investing their time and money on ensuring that the meeting venues remain available and accessible rather than worrying about the latest grandiose scheme dreamed up by some desk jockey. Perhaps our focus should rather be on paying real market rents to our landlords (mostly churches) than continuing to rely on their generous subsidies (contrary to our traditions).

So maybe next time the intergroup/region/group treasurer starts singing that familiar old tune (we need more money!) accompanied by the usual manipulative devices (Any lengths? Gratitude? etc) perhaps some good questions to ask would be: What is it being spent on? What efforts have been made to reduce costs? Does our primary purpose consist in coughing up a few more quid only for it to disappear into the gaping maw of Region (a completely unnecessary vehicle) and GSO or taking a newcomer out for a coffee and making them feel welcome? A bit of a 'no-brainer' we think!


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Saturday, 28 February 2015

"The Fellowship has profiteered from the alcohol industry......"

See previous entries

According to GSO: 

The transfers did not happen in quite the way you suggest, Morgan Stanley decided to close its charity arm and sold it off to Credit Suisse, we were transferred in April 2014, some of the staff were transferred along with it and we had assumed that the existing investment policy would also be carried forward. At that time and until October 2014 that policy was that Investments should not include companies where alcohol is  the main commodity. 

We were very disappointed to discover that Investments had been made in Diageo plc and a meeting was held in December with a representative from Credit Suisse concerning our portfolio.

Since then the Executive met and has made a decision concerning our Investments which I am not able to divulge until it is taken to the GSB meeting at the end of this month. However I will let you know the outcome as soon as I can.”

A request for clarification of the above: 

So, just to be clear :

· In April 2014 Credit Suisse were appointed to replace Morgan Stanley as the Fellowship’s investment managers and were given a mandate that ‘No Investments are held / managed in Districts that fall under the “Tax Avoidance” or “Politically Unstable” umbrellas.’

· Despite the acknowledged importance of such matters in light of Tradition 10, the implementation of this mandate was not checked by us, them or anyone else before the balance sheet date of 30 September 2014.

· You advised me on 9 December that a statement will appear in the audited accounts regarding the new Managers’ investment mandate and, when asked for clarification, affirmed that none of the investments disclosed in the accounts for the year to 30 September 2014 will trace back to Luxembourg.

· On 11 December accounts are filed at Companies House detailing our holding of Luxembourg-domiciled funds and a publicly traceable indirect investment in the shares of Diageo plc, the world’s largest distiller of alcoholic spirits.

· We continue to hold these investments, and have no definite timescale as to when they will be sold.

Is that correct?”

And so on and so forth. We won't bore you with the rest. We think you get the general idea!!

Now with regard to the current position see here 

You will observe from this the name of the previous fund managers (so-called “Brand Y”) has been omitted for fear of litigation. We would have thought if there was any litigation to take place it should be us versus them (incidentally “Brand Y” is Morgan Stanley just in case you didn't remember). But, of course, we don't get involved in such mucky issues and consequently companies such as these (blood sucking, amoral parasites that they are) think they can walk all over us.

We'd be interested to hear what steps the GSB and GSO are going to take to ensure the reputation of the fellowship is not tarnished by the negligent behaviour (yes we did say “NEGLIGENT”) of such companies as these in the future


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous …... and NO friends of fat cat, tax avoiding spongers!) 

PS Again our thanks to that small group of AA members who took the time and energy to try and protect our name when apparently neither the General Service Board nor the General Service Office could be bothered!

Friday, 27 February 2015

Alcohol research – LawCare


Most professionals believe they should be able to handle their own problems, even when such problems are completely outside their professional training and experience. Lawyers, in particular, because they spend so much of their time sorting out other people's problems, find it difficult to acknowledge that they themselves sometimes need help. However, they usually find it easier to take this step with another lawyer and so our staff all have experience of life in practice as do most of our supporters.

Ignoring problems and hoping they will go away is no solution. The first step is to recognise the existence of the problem. The second step is to seek objective, expert support and advice in dealing with it.

That is where LawCare comes in. LawCare is here to help you to cope with the increasing number of problems facing the legal professions today, any of which could adversely affect your professional performance and family life”

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Alcohol research – The European FASD Alliance


The European FASD Alliance was founded in February 2011 to meet the growing need for European professionals and NGOs concerned with FASD to share ideas and work together. The European FASD Alliance is a nonprofit international organization registered in Sweden.

To support the member associations in their efforts
• To improve the quality of life for all people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and their families
• To increase awareness of the risks of drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.

The EUROPEAN FASD ALLIANCE will also act as a liaison centre
• To collate and disseminate information to its members
• To stimulate international collaboration on research projects on the origins management and prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
• To encourage national associations to exchange and share their projects and experiences
• To foster the foundation and development of new national FASD Associations”

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Thursday, 26 February 2015

'Mickey Mouse' recovery versus the real thing!

Well we're quite used to being told in mainstream AA (ie. the REAL thing) how deficient our own recovery is eg. AA 'lite', 'cafeteria' style recovery, “Beano readers” blah di blah di blah. But now we've come up with our very own designation for the quick fix, instant gratification, do it by the numbers brigade: 'Mickey Mouse' recovery. After all we can play this game as well!

Question: So how can you recognise Mickey Mouse recovery (Mickey Mouse - a slang expression meaning small-time, amateurish or trivial. In the UK and Ireland, it also means poor quality or counterfeit)? (interestingly - or not depending on your point of view - Mickey Mouse's (the cartoon character) body was originally designed out of circles in order to make the character simple to animate. There's got to be a message for the cult here somewhere!)

Answer: Mickey Mouse (or MM) recovery is usually nearly instantaneous! This miracle of transformation is achieved simply by: ringing up your sponsor every day, and doing EXACTLY what he or she says (of course); reading a passage from the Big Book (but only according to the aforementioned guru's current interpretation); ringing two newcomers (whether they want to be contacted or not) whose phone numbers you've contrived to extract, all the while mindlessly chanting the cult mantra – happy, joyous and free – as well as maintaining the fiction (as loudly as possible, and at every opportunity) of never having a bad day together with variations on this theme …. This type of recovery doesn't require any kind of belief in a Higher Power other than your sponsor nor is more than a superficial grasp of the Steps indicated. In line with the cult injunction viz. your best thinking got you drunk, reflection or insight are relegated to mere self-indulgence and the aforementioned mindlessness (open-mindedness is not quite the same thing) of the cult approach is very much de rigeur.

So imagine if you will a newcomer but recently arrived in the fellowship having just escaped from their personal alcoholic hell. This individual (whose concept of deferred gratification will necessarily be pretty weak especially when it comes to alcohol) has spent a large part of their life mostly sedated whilst seeking some kind of 'easy access' nirvana. On encountering the cult he or she will be “guaranteed” (yes folks – a cast iron guarantee!) a “life beyond their wildest dreams”, that they will almost inevitably be “rocketed into a fourth dimension” of bliss, and that never again will they EVER EVER have a bad day etc etc, and all this merely by following (mechanically) a few simple SUGGESTIONS (cult speak for orders!). Some of these suggestions might bear a passing resemblance to the recovery programme but hardly any will be in accordance with the principles of either the programme or the fellowship (Steps, Traditions, Concepts). The cult version is mostly counterfeit. Having been fast-forwarded to yet another set of 12 (remember the magical number!) 'Promises' via the largely 'assembly line' style of sponsorship so favoured by the cult they will then be mystically translated into this new reality. Let's face it! Any alcoholic (or addict for that matter) when confronted with this scenario is hardly likely to turn down the possibility. On the other hand if they're actually told the truth, that there are no guarantees of anything other than the fact that if you don't pick up the first drink you can't get drunk, that the steps are the work of a life time and require something more than superficial observance, that it is extremely unlikely you'll be entering any dimensions other than the rather humdrum one we currently occupy, and that bad and good days are the normal lot of humanity, well that's entirely another matter isn't it? So the cult starts and ends with a lie. There's really no other way of putting it! Mickey Mouse recovery needless to say rarely yields any lasting satisfaction - frothy emotional appeal rarely does! And for those of us who have been through the process, and then discovered the lie? Either abandon the cult (and AA) and look for other alternatives (an increasing number are available), begin attending REAL AA meetings where members share their experience of life in all its awful (and glorious) majesty, or stay with the cult and yell their ersatz message louder and louder in the forlorn hope that this will serve to drown out those oh so nagging doubts. Life's full of tough choices. But then it's that way for everyone. So take heart! Strive on – mindfully!


The Fellas (
Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous ….. and THE REAL THING!)