From the Desk of the Chair

A message from the Chair…
(or that letter you get from your friends tucked into a Holiday card)
2020…WOW, a year in review!
Season’s Greetings everyone!  As 2020 draws to a close and we all reflect on what a crazy COVID 2020 meant to each of us, I wanted to take a few minutes and reflect on how your Intergroup reacted to this worldwide Pandemic.
As the world began to rapidly shut down in the middle of March, Alcoholics Anonymous and our Intergroup were faced with serious questions like “How would members stay sober without the meetings we have become so accustomed to?” and “How would Intergroup function and survive without the regular support of its member Groups?” and  “How would we provide the vital services to the AA member and wet drunk?”
These were very serious questions that we faced in early 2020.  The solutions to these very issues were found in the way AA had survived and flourished in the past – through World Wars, natural disasters and terrorist attacks.  Cape Atlantic Intergroup and its Home Groups collectively bound together in a common “COVID Solution.”  For Groups that could no longer meet in person, the Intergroup opened an account on the Zoom platform and made sub-accounts for any Group that wanted one for their meetings – at no cost to them.  Some raised an eyebrow and asked: “Is this self-supporting? Shouldn’t the Groups do it on their own?”  That gave us pause. We prayed and considered this.  The answer came quickly and clearly.  It is not Intergroup’s money in the bank, we are just the trustees of the money the Groups have donated to us! If there was ever a time for us to dip into our Prudent Reserve, this was it!  We continue to host 25 area Home Groups, as well as Groups from Seattle and London.  Was this successful? You bet your bottom dollar, ladies and gentlemen!  Since the start of our hosting virtual meetings – March 22, 2020 to be precise – as of December 16, 2020, 119,749 folks have been participants in our meetings! Can we get a round of applause on that number?!  Old-timers, middle-timers and newcomers alike have found the AA message of hope and recovery within the virtual walls of these Group meetings.
Come to think of it, we never had to dip into our Reserves, thanks to the generosity of individuals and Groups who were able contribute via a new link that our Website Chair Penni N. put on our website – we now accept “virtual” contributions.
Our H&I Chair, Nick B. (with the help of our Vice Chair, Damon B.) went into scramble mode and got rehabilitation facilities set up with Virtual meetings for the first 6 months of the Pandemic.  When things started to open back up, Nick got willing members to take the message inside, and then switched some facilities back to virtual meetings when the State tightened the reins again.  I’m not sure how his head is still attached to his body with all of the changes that have taken place, but he has done a wonderful job!
The Website…what can I say?  Normally it is one of the most chill positions at Intergroup, which may have been why Penni N. accepted the role.  But boy, did God have other plans.  Talk about a pinball job, phew!! To say Penni did a good job, would be akin to saying Mozart was “just” a musician.  It would not do justice to the job she has done!  Not only did she balance dozens and dozens of Groups going virtual almost instantly, but she kept us well informed on the State Guidelines, provided great information on how Groups could set up and keep their virtual rooms safe, and to top it off, she also did a complete facelift on the entire website.  I’m beaming with pride over her hard work and dedication and am honored to be called Penni’s husband.
One thing that Intergroup could not have weathered the COVID storm without was great financial guidance.  Between Tanner S. and PJ W. keeping our accounts in great order, Santa Chris, making his Audit list and checking it twice…no one was Naughty and everyone came through Nice!  Captain Ray B. made sure we stayed on Budget throughout the whole year😊.  We also went 21st Century, moving to online banking and bill-paying, while integrating a new accounting software!  Hats off to the financial team on a job well done.
Matt W. and Gabe M. had that Secretary “ish” on lockdown.  Everyone got plenty of timely Minutes and Thank-You cards for their generous contributions.  The Stoics, Doug and Bruce – Policy and Structure and Trusteeship – kept us all in line as Yours Truly fervently closed out old Committees that were no longer serving us and created new ones in the hopes of better reaching our fellowship.
We created a new Workshop Committee spearheaded by our ever-enthusiastic and trusted servant, Robbie W.  I gave him the goal of hosting 4 Workshops spread throughout our region and basically create a Cape Atlantic Intergroup Roadshow, in the hopes of reaching a couple hundred drunks.  When the Pandemic hit, we decided to press forward and have them virtually.  And boy did we strike gold!! Between the 4 International workshops, Robbie and his Committee were able to bring hope, joy, laughter and serenity to over 3,000 drunks in total.  You see, God can take anything, even a Pandemic, and craft something amazing out of it.
Dawn I. followed suit, and hosted our first ever Gratitude Breakfast, Pancakes and Pajamas, to a rousing success with a phenomenal speaker!  Let’s all make sure we support her and the Intergroup at the upcoming Step-tacular “Countdown to 2021!” with a fast-paced journey through the 12 Steps on New Year’s Eve!!
Brad started off the year completely revamping our Literature service, making it more modern and accessible to our members! He then handed the baton off to our Office Manager Kim H., who is jumping in with both feet, all the while keeping our office super-organized.  We took many loads of previously-hoarded paper to the recycle bin!!  (I promise I will get you some help soon Kim!)
Another one of the new Committees is Group Access, and it is a work in progress. This Committee is lead by one of our former Intergroup Chairs, Wendy M., whom we recruited all the way from Kentucky. Wendy has helped coordinate Groups getting set up with hybrid meetings and created a new chat feature in coordination with our Web Chair Penni!
And how about that Round Up??  Jim B. had the daunting task of taking an event that was in-person for 13 years, and mid-stream, turn it into a virtual event.  Under Jim’s capable leadership, he and his Committee changed on a dime, and pulled together an absolutely amazing event attended by hundreds of recovering alcoholics.  A great message was carried throughout the event!!
Eve C., our Archives Chair, did a stellar job throughout the year putting together information on the oldest Group in our area, Room 41. She attended many other Archive events, bringing back great information to help us maintain our history.
Lynn T., who chaired PICPC, did a wonderful job of carry the message throughout the year to the general public!! Donna, our Newsletter Chair, has put together some fantastic newsletters, all of which are available on our website so be sure to check them out!!
CAYPAA was able to hold its “Burn Your Resentments Bonfire,” and is planning a new event at the skating rink soon!
And last but certainly not least, our Phone Coordinators Joe P. and Jess G. have done an uber-amazing job taking over our hotline.  This vital service touches so many drunks in need, and we have not missed a beat.
All of this is to say as the first year of being Chair of Cape Atlantic Intergroup winds down that I am so very proud of you and grateful to have you as part of our Team. I am grateful that you continued to put in time and effort to serve those alcoholics who still suffer. You have helped the Intergroup remain a strong and vital organization that I can be proud to say I was a member of during the most trying time in recent memory.
So…have we done some work? HECK YEAH we have! But our work is not done! Please stay with us as we navigate the New Year in our now customary bold and unrelenting fashion. Are we looking forward to 2021?  YOU BETCHA!
Stay safe, stay well, and Happy Holidays!
Your Chair,
Ben N.
Past messages:
2020.6.11 – Considerations Before Opening Meetings
2020.4.26 – AA Comes of Age, Part II
2020.3.29 – Fraternal Greetings to all my Fellow Alcoholics!