"Board Approved?" RR Board Has No Authority to Approve Policy/Literature Without Fellowship Consent...

“Conference approved literature” is the phrase seen on every piece of A.A. literature and N.A. Literature read at every meeting of these two successful worldwide recovery fellowships. “Conference”, in AA/NA means the assembly of elected representatives of the greater AA/NA fellowship, as voted by the members, and the World Service Board. In this scenario, the legitimately elected fellowship reps approve literature recommended by the World Service Board.

In the Refuge Recovery Boards release yesterday of the following: ADOPTION OF POLICY, POSITION, COMMITTEE, OR ACTION ADOPTED BY THE REFUGE RECOVERY BOARD OF DIRECTORS: APRIL 6, 2019, this successful formula of the democratic election of fellowship representatives who approve Board recommendations is turned on its head. In the current Refuge Recovery Boards version of RR, the Board simultaneously dictates policy, approved literature and puts the Board in place as the final arbiter of policy, …“Policies and actions will be adopted only to the extent the Board determines they will positively affect Refuge Recovery as a world-wide recovery community”.

While any Service Board created for Refuge Recovery is responsible for informing the fellowship what the legal and financial parameters are regarding trademark issues, ownership and legal duties surrounding the adoption and or production of RR Literature. It should not be the Boards final decision on what literature is appropriate. In order to ensure full fellowship consensus, any legitimate literature approval process must include approval by representatives elected from meeting, state, and regional level elections . This process ensures the credibility of the reps to the members, while slowing the process. Giving everyone involved time to deliberate on the necessity of new literature.

The same principles described for the successful adoption of RR literature should extend to policy of all types. Legitimately vetted and elected reps who work with the local fellowship they represent determine Refuge Recovery consensus. The Refuge Recovery Guiding Principles call for “Democratic decision making processes”, lets not forget to include the fellowship in that process.