SA Twin Cities: Reflections on 2021, 2022 Vision

Reflections on 2021

2021 started with a hope of "returning to normal" after a year of pandemic lockdowns and upheavals in most of organized society. It turned out to be a continuation of 2020 through the year. Irrespective, the need for "the hand of SA always to be there" remained. (SA Responsibility Statement) Despite what happens in the external world, we crave sobriety every moment, as a balance to our cravings for the jolt of pleasure from the chaos of addiction. Our mission in SA Twin Cities Intergroup is to ensure the "hand of SA" is available to all those in our region who find themselves at the ropes end and are reaching for help.

In 2020 we acted as an Intergroup to further this mission and increase visibility of our services to those who still suffer. Some accomplishments of note:

  • Kept the lights on during year 2 of pandemic response
    -- We figured out how to normalize meeting services during ongoing pandemic measures. Many groups established permanent hybrid setups, connecting people in person and remotely. New dial in only meetings were established. We adapted and adjusted, even when it was frustrating and challenging with building access limited and remote tools subpar.
  • Virtual SA Twin Cities SA Marathon
    -- We held our 9th Annual SA Marathon, 2nd annual Virtual format. We had 2 speakers share their stories and instruct us on topics of Sponsorship and long term sobriety. Though limited in attendance, it was a powerful testimony of SA in action.
  • Increase in new comers
    -- We've seen attendance in meetings return to pre-pandemic levels in most groups and even exceed in many. We've adjusted to the pandemic response formats and are hosting people in person and accommodated remote access needs. It's not perfect, but newcomers are coming and finding help.
  • Relaunch of
    -- We formed a "website redesign" committee and gave a long overdue remodel. The new website has a simple clean aesthetic, boasts a functional meeting finder with dynamic mapping, and is based on Wordpress allowing robust customization capability and simpler administration. We thank an anonymous SA for his service in design, engineering and hosting of our new site.
    -- The new website also allows for inbound requests to come in through the site rather than only depending on phone call inquiries. As a result we've seen 220% increase of inquiries since launching the new site in Oct 2021. And fully 2/3 of new inquiries are coming through the website contact form and email vs phone messages. Strong indicators we're capturing more of those who may not have reached out before.
  • Respond to inbound requests within 24 hours
    -- We set a standard to respond to every inquiry within 24 hours regardless of how they reach out. Almost without exception we've achieve this goal. The process we launched in 2020 to "push notifications" to the New Member committee is working better than our previous "pull" method (members dialing into a voicemail box and retrieving messages). Now we get notified via email, the first available member responds and follows up with the group with the outcome. We are responding closer to the time of need, directing the person asking for help faster and more accurately, and better understanding what happened and how we can improve. We share resources such as this handy Newcomer Packet and the updated meeting finder.

Looking ahead to 2022

We will continue forward this year, one day at a time. We will hold Intergroup elections on Feb 5 2022 to establish new Intergroup officers. As my term as chair expires, I'll step down and make room for the next person to serve. I expect this new leadership will bring fresh perspectives, increased compassion and attentive service to the needs of those in the Twin Cities seeking for help and to serve. I will continue in SA service personally, in my home group, as a sponsor and a continued service member in whatever capacity makes sense in the newly formed Intergroup.

We can build on the momentum of 2021. We established a consistent operating model for Intergroup to rapidly & reliability respond to inquires, provide self service options to learn about SA and find meetings for support. We should endeavor to continue the upward trend of newcomers reaching out to us through more "attractive" means (Tradition 11), and responding quickly to their needs.

We strive for even better representation from our home groups in Intergroup, seeking a consistent GSR for each group represented at Intergroup in order to better fulfill our purposes of doing for the groups what they can’t do for themselves.

We can improve our ability to get the word out when needed. A push notification to our community through an opt-in email list or similar means would help us amplify the word when we have announcements important to our community.

We will host another SA Marathon in April 2022. We will leverage our learnings of hosting meetings while considering the state of pandemic response. We hope to be in person again, and will likely incorporate remote options to expand the reach of this valuable time. Reaching more people and spreading sobriety is the goal.

On a personal note, I wish to express gratitude for the time I've been able to serve in the capacity of Intergroup chair and am optimistic for our community moving into 2022. Indeed service is the backbone of recovery, and Intergroup is 100% powered by volunteer services of recovering addicts. The wisdom of Step 12 creates a perpetual motion of recovery energy > I recover, I serve, through service I stay sober, through service another recovers, and the process repeats for the next person in need. I'm amazed at how this model powers forward and maintains itself so well. I'm also grateful for the anonymous nature of the program. To serve in anonymity reduces the danger of ego building from public recognition of service. It allows me be a vessel of service, focusing less on my "personality" and more on the "principles." I'm not as big of a deal as my ego likes to think I am, and that realization makes all the difference.

Happy New Year! May it be a year of progress for each of us and our collective efforts, taking it easy, one day at a time.

Chair SA Twin Cities Intergroup
Jan 8, 2022