Group Conscience

Group conscience meetings are held the last Saturday of each month and alternate between 7am and 1pm meeting times. Submit topics/suggestions to: suggestions@commonperil.com. Topics should be submitted no later than one week before the meeting. If you do not attend the meeting, your topic will not be considered.

Results of Group Conscience 9/25/21

Suggestion: I would like to reinsert in the 6:00AM script that people can only share one time. (Since all the meetings share the same script I guess this should be discussed at a Common Peril group conscience and not just a 6AM group conscience.)--Shabari

Discussion: This was part of the structure of the 7am in-person meetings at BPW; newcomers may not be aware of the guideline so it would be good to have it spelled out in the script. At the noon and 7pm meetings, where there may be only a few people attending, everyone is free to share more than once. Motion: Insert in the chair's script: "At the 6am meeting, we only share one time." Motion passes.

Results of Group Conscience 8/28/21

Suggestion/Topic: Can we discuss a couple of scenarios:

1. What do we want to do if there's a situation where a member invites a friend to drop into attend the zoom by video, in the midst of a meeting that's in progress, without any introduction of that person (not sure if they are a member of AA), nor any prior notice to chair or host? One time when this situation arose recently it was very distracting and also questionable re: anonymity and m the two individuals were visibly engaged in an ongoing conversation, and the unannounced guest was waving at the screen. At that meeting there were two newcomers attending the meeting. In the interest of anonymity and in keeping with the spirit of the protocol of closed meetings, that attendee was dropped from that meeting. But it would be helpful for chairs to have a group conscience consensus on this.

2. What do we want to do when someone comes onto the meeting without an identifiable name ( eg zoom tile says "iPhone " or its a call in from the meeting) and when invited to introduce themselves they do not? Are we wanting to drop them from the meet or do we want to allow them to remain in the meeting. --Ayesha

Result: Submitter not present; no action taken.

Results of 6AM Meeting Group Conscience 8/7/21

Suggestion: Convert one discussion meeting to meditation meeting. Exactly like present meeting but also reading from Big Book page 86 “On awakening” concluding with: “It works-it really does” page 88. Ring bell. Silence for 15 minutes. Ring bell. Discussion meeting. Have up banner that says “Silent Meditation In Progress-15 minutes”. So many members have a rich meditation practice we would all benefit. --Tom E. Discussion: We can learn to be comfortable with silence in the silences we already have. Love the idea and welcome innovation. Would newcomers be put off by long meditation? Don't like cutting into discussion time. Modifications to original suggestion: Start with a meditation period of 7 minutes. Try this out for two months. Instead of invoking "God" use "Higher Power." Chair can choose 11th Step readings. If a newcomer is attending the meeting and/or someone has an urge to drink, drop the meditation segment for that meeting. Vote/decision: Motion (with modifications) did not pass.

Results of Group Conscience 7/31/21

Topic: Common Peril becoming an independent group (Mike K.). He senses that the people attending only in-person meetings don't want Common Peril members to be involved. Right now may not be the time to break away, especially with COVID resurging, but he'd like us to be discussing it. Discussion: Calm people's fears about Common Peril going away: C.P. will continue to hold meetings for the foreseeable future. It meets a need for people whose health, work, or other personal circumstances prevent them from being able to attend in-person meetings. Common Peril and its members are part of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Group, not a rival faction. Many CP attendees still consider BPW "home" and are now attending some meetings there or hope to return someday. Others say their loyalty is to the people in the group, not the geographical entity. CP donations are currently keeping the building running. Overwhelming frustration with the animosity exhibited by some individuals attending at BPW; these few have created such a hostile atmosphere that steering committee members have given up attending committee meetings, group members avoid going to group consciences, and some members don't feel safe going to in-person meetings. Differing opinions on whether this rift can be healed or whether a split is inevitable. Agreement that we all support our primary purpose, to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. No action taken.

Results of Group Conscience 6/26/21

Suggestion/Topic: Status of Zoom meetings ongoingly, regardless of the status of in-person meetings at BPW (Mike Smith). Result: Submitter not present; no action taken. Informal discussion reiterated recent discussions that there are no plans at present to eliminate Zoom meetings at Common Peril. As long as demand continues, so will the meetings.

Suggestion: Propose modifying the chairperson script to eliminate the following: "A reminder of online etiquette: Please respect this meeting as you would an in-person meeting, and avoid chatting to Everyone or holding side conversations. The facilitator may mute your sound or video during the meeting to avoid distractions. Feel free to unmute yourself to recite prayers, or to greet and thank participants." Just seems unnecessary after more than a year of Zoom meetings. (Peter J.). Discussion: We do occasionally have people attending for the first time who need to hear the guidelines. People hosting feel better supported if their permission to mute people is stated. Some confusion about what "sidebar conversations" are. Reading the sentences in question takes 19.5 seconds. Motion: Leave the language in the script for now. Motion passes.

Other items discussed (not official group conscience business):

  • Mark K. feels safe disabling the Zoom "waiting room" feature now that Zoom bombing has stopped. He'll do so, and asks that we email chairs and hosts to notify them. (Enabling that feature last year was a safety/technical decision, not a group conscience decision; therefore no group conscience is necessary to decide to stop using that feature.)

  • Reminder that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Group will hold a group conscience on July 25, 9:30am, to discuss the topic of hybrid meetings, as well as any other items submitted for consideration in advance of that meeting's deadline. A suggestion box will be put out at BPW, and suggestions may also be submitted to steering@bpwmeetings.com .

  • Carol Ann has a PDF file that combines How It Works, the Traditions, and the Promises into one file. Some hosts may find it easier to share one long file rather than three separate ones. She will send it to Penny to make available on the website.

  • June 27 is the last Zoom meeting of the Sunday women's group; they will return to an in-person-only format. Gratitude to Common Peril for supporting the group.

Results of Group Conscience 5/29/21

Suggestion: Make the 6am zoom meeting permanent in the post COVID environment (Peter J.) . Result: Submitter not present; topic not discussed.

Suggestion: With some online meetings returning to face to face and mask restrictions being reduced, how does Common Peril want to handle decisions about possibly reducing the number of meeting times? The question isn't with regard to one specific meeting or about reducing the meetings at this moment; the question is how this issue will be addressed if/when demand diminishes (Carol Ann L.). Discussion: Want to make sure there's a process in place to allow for informed decision-making about any potential changes to online meeting schedules. There is strong to support to continue online meetings, for a variety of reasons. A few individual days/times have very low attendance and may need to be dropped. We continue to have unmet needs for chairs and facilitators; sometimes no one is there to start the meeting, so the meeting doesn't take place. (Can we post a list of contacts and phone numbers for such cases?) With the splintering of meetings between in-person and online, we have lost a feeling of unity; can we find a way to foster our group unity?

  • Motion 1: If a particular meeting wants to reduce frequency, the decision should be made by a group conscience of that meeting. E.g., if the 7pm meeting wanted to drop Saturdays, the issue would be decided by a group conscience of the 7pm meeting, rather than Common Peril as a whole. Motion passes.

  • Motion 2: If a meeting plans to have a group conscience to discuss a potential schedule change, the topic and meeting time need to posted on the CP website, and announced at meetings, two weeks in advance. Motion passes.

Consensus that if a group makes changes to their meeting schedule, the meeting rep (or other person from the meeting) needs to make sure the schedule change gets posted on both the Common Peril and NC District 33 websites.

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There were no topics submitted for March, and the topic submitted for April was withdrawn.

Topic for 4/24/21 (withdrawn by submitter)

I'd like to suggest that we allow people to sign up for more than one meeting chair position for the common peril meetings. Maybe if all positions are not filled about 3 days before the month begins, we could open up the chair seat to those who have already signed up for one day. The sign ups aren't all filling up and I am worried about the possibility of canceling meetings rather than having one with a repeated chair person. --Danielle R.

Results of Group Conscience 2/27/21

  • Suggestion: Discuss parameters for managing video during meetings (people calling from bed, for example); is more guidance appropriate? Discussion: We have too long a script/too many rules already. Although people participating from bed and/or wearing pajamas is fine, there are differing opinions about whether they should show their video. Consensus: If participants are not fully clothed (e.g., shirtless), video should be turned off. No further language in script is needed. Facilitators should feel empowered to use their judgement about muting video; participants likewise should feel free to ask facilitator to do so. Result: No further action needed.

  • Suggestion: Should we discontinue monthly Zoom-help sessions? People aren't showing up. Consensus: Giving people an alternate way to help is fine. We offer an email address on the website for questions. We can replace the Zoom-help language in the script with something about checking the Common Peril home page for announcements.

  • Suggestion: Change script wording from "If you are willing to be a temporary sponsor AND share your number...." to "OR to share your number." Consensus: Agreed; script will be changed.

Group Conscience 12/26/20 and 1/30/21

No topics/suggestions were submitted for these months.

Results of Group Conscience 11/28/20

  • Suggestion: Would Common Peril group like to join the Online intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous here: https://aa-intergroup.org/about-aa/oiaa-members/join-oiaa/ ? Result: Rick is going to get experiences of groups that have listed, to find out what the impact is. He'll also find out about security from Zoom bombing.

  • Suggestion: The idea of pre-screening "group conscience" discussion topics effectively voids the free exchange of information and ideas. It's a transparent control mechanism going against both the 12 traditions and the concepts for world service. Result: Topics are not pre-screened; every topic submitted to suggestions@commonperil.com gets posted to the topics list. At least three people have access to that email account to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

  • Suggestion: How can we ensure greater coordination between BPW and Common Peril, given that these two groups, while separate, have intertwined interests and structures? Result: Keep script as is.

Results of Group Conscience 10/31/20

  • Suggestion: Modify meeting script to invite visitors and newcomers to this meeting (not just new to AA) to introduce themselves. Result: Motion passed. Sarah H. drafted new language for the script.

  • Suggestion: Set a guideline that suggestions for Group Conscience meetings must be submitted and posted at least a week before the meeting to be considered. Result: Motion passed.

  • Question: What is the group's policy on discussing drugs and describing drug use in meetings? Discussion: Our script states that we ask people to limit their sharing to alcoholism. But cross-addiction is fairly common and we don't want to exclude people who need the hand of AA. Commonly if someone shares inappropriately at a meeting, someone will take them aside afterward and talk with them about it. The chairperson has the authority to interrupt someone, but it can be difficult to quickly recognize that something out-of-bounds is being discussed and then know what to say to the person. Reminder that in Zoom the chair can also choose to mute someone. Can we create guidelines for chairs, including suggested language for such situations? Consensus: Sarah H. will draft guidelines, working from the Chairperson Guidelines in the meeting binder at BPW and incorporating suggestions from members. The final document will be mailed to the Common Peril mailing lists for Chairs and Hosts, and put up on the website. Mark will update those mailing lists.


Group Conscience 9/26/20

No suggestions were submitted in September; therefore, that month's meeting was cancelled.

Results of Group Conscience 8/29/20

  • Suggestion: Consider reviving the custom of reading How It Works and the Traditions at the beginning of some or all meetings. In my experience, hearing those read at every meeting was an important part of my AA education. Asking for volunteers to read them gives people a chance to participate. Discussion: Some meetings are already doing this. Let’s compensate for added readings by trimming the meeting script. Options discussed: Doing the readings daily, weekly, or only when a newcomer is present; or reading HIW daily and just one Tradition of the month. Decision/Vote: Read How It Works and Traditions at every meeting. We have volunteers to edit the meeting script.

  • Suggestion: I suggest that once a month immediately following a meeting we have a designated time to: express our gratitude to the people who have kept the BPW meetings going so smoothly and consistently; to ask questions about Zoom and have these answered by the people who know about Zoom, such as Mark K., Carol Ann, Penny, Jon R.; and perhaps have a brief training piece about some aspect of Zoom. Consensus: All present support the idea of a monthly practice session. Schedule it for the second Saturday of the month, after the 6am meeting. Add an announcement about this to the script; ask Carol Ann to add it to the schedule sign-up so we can be sure to have a teacher there. Consider collecting tips/lessons from these sessions and post them on the CP website.

  • Suggestion: Polling, elections and accessibility are recognized ingredients of an actual group conscience. Result: Suggester not present; topic dropped. Mark K. notes that in response to this suggestion he implemented the Zoom polling option for tallying votes at this group conscience meeting.

  • Suggestion: Could we have a quick vote on whether folks want to continue to do Wednesday as a literature meeting like the one we have at BPW, in the rooms? Or go back to the regular meetings with chair's choice? Consensus: Continue the literature meeting.

  • Topic: What are our guidelines for Sobriety Celebration Saturday? Specifically, can a member tell their story during a month other than their anniversary month? E.g., member may have a schedule conflict, it's a particularly speaker-heavy month, or member doesn't want to speak before their actual anniversary date has occurred. Motion: General guideline is that you share during your anniversary month; the chair can grant exceptions in unusual cases for people who miss their month. Vote: Motion passes.

Results of Group Conscience 7/25/20

  • Suggestion: Consider having fewer speakers at sobriety celebration Saturdays, so that each speaker can share for longer. Result: Suggester not present at meeting; topic dropped.

  • Suggestion: Should we offer a beginners meeting? Result: Suggester not present at meeting; topic dropped.

  • Suggestion: Make Wednesday 6am meeting a literature meeting. Other meetings free to decide whether that would be beneficial for them to do. In the in-person Wednesday meeting, The Big Book, the 12 and 12 and Living Sober were used and the chair read an entire chapter or a portion of whatever text was being used. With the current Zoom meeting format, the chair will read and those who want to help may raise their hand to volunteer. The chair may pause after each paragraph to allow shares during the reading as well. Discussion: No opposing views. Both the Big Book and the 12 and 12 are linked to the Common Peril webpage now. Living Sober is not and if that text is used, the chair will have to read from their own library. AA.org does not have a pdf link for that book and to avoid having to use a bootleg version we can always discuss buying a copy and linking it to the Host. Result: The 6am will try the literature format for a month and decide whether they want to continue after the trial period.

Results of Group Conscience 6/27/20

  • Suggestion: Change at least one of the Common Peril meetings to an open meeting. Discussion: Typically open meetings are ones to which family members/friends are invited or to which professionals come; for these people, the opportunity to attend a 6.00 a.m. meeting is probably of limited interest. The Noon or 7:00 p.m. Common Peril is probably a better candidate for this population; however, today’s group conscience is not empowered to make the decision on their behalf. Motion: Table the decision until the other two meetings (12:00 and 7:00) have had a chance to hold group conscience meetings, then vote at next month’s group conscience (assuming that by then the two meetings have had a chance to discuss). Motion passed. Action: Sarah will create an announcement and send to the chairs and hosts via the Commonperil email address.

  • Suggestion: Zoom is implementing new security requirements 7/19; it will require a passcode or a waiting room for all meetings. Discussion of how that will change our meetings and how to let people know. Discussion: If we didn't have a passcode and did nothing, Zoom would create a waiting room (which is what the District uses) and will require the host to pass people through. Mark clarified, however, that our meetings already have a passcode; it is embedded in the URL so people go directly into the meeting and don’t even realize it is needed. Therefore, we don't have to make any changes. Motion: do nothing. Motion passed. [Update 7/7: Zoom has postponed the security change to September.]

  • Suggestion: Can we solicit feedback on our first Saturday Sobriety Celebration? What worked and didn’t? Discussion: at the inaugural meeting on Saturday June 27, 10 people had submitted anniversary dates so time was allocated accordingly (5 minutes per person); but in fact only 3 of the anniversary people were present. This meant the anniversary speakers had finished sharing well before end of the meeting and the meeting was opened up to all to share. Some people would have preferred we had fewer speakers who could speak longer than 5 mins. It hadn't been clear whether the announcement soliciting anniversary dates was for an anniversary register or to actually speak at the meeting. Potential approaches going forward include: (a) four speaking slots, everyone speaks 10 minutes; draw names out of a hat if more than four people sign up. (b) Take number of people who show up and divide the meeting time by that number to allot time to speak. Rick will be chairing the anniversary meeting in July. Consensus is to give the meeting chair some flexibility with managing speakers. Chair will have access to a list of names of people with anniversaries who signed up; chair will check at the beginning of the meeting to see how many of those individuals are actually present; he will allocate time to speak accordingly. Consensus also to update and clarify the anniversary sign-up process. (1) Change meeting script to include announcement about anniversaries (Joanne, Penny). (2) Adapt website language around anniversaries to be clearer. (3) Change signup form to allow people to specify at which anniversary meeting (6am/noon/7pm) they wish to speak; request contact information; allow signups to be sorted by month. Joanne suggests these actions do not require a vote as this is more clarification & housekeeping – proposal accepted by attendees.

  • Suggestion: If we opt to continue the online meeting: How about we start an option of mailing medallions/coins to members who for whatever reason will not be picking one up at an in-person meeting? We can do that by adding to the sign up sheet on the celebration tab, and asking for a volunteer to manage it. Discussion: This wouldn’t be mandatory. Supply sources: Nearby clubs, Hazelden, BPW's supply; Tom suggested checking with the literature person who normally (pre-Covid) orders that. We would need volunteers to manage the requests for medallions, and to send them out. Mark offered to purchase/pick up the chips. Penny volunteered to send out chips to individuals. Motion: that we acquire chips and create a mailing list, and create an email alias where people can send request to get chip for anniversary of any timepoint (months/years). Motion passed. Meeting script will be modified to reflect this new process.

Results of Group Conscience 5/30/2020


  • Time preceding the meeting: This is the time for people to say who they are and also to claim their seat (I’m an alcoholic). It can be impossible to do this when people are carrying on a conversation with one another - and the conversation itself can be off putting. People don’t carry on loud long distance chats when we’re in the BPW building. Results: General support for the idea of "making space" for people to introduce themselves. Chair or host is encouraged to stop chatter 1-2 minutes before the meeting and ask people to introduce themselves if they haven't yet had a chance to do so.

  • For scheduling -- Time- & Energy- Saving. Perhaps let's K.I.S. by eliminating the proverbial middle-man: if someone is willing to be a back-up/substitute, that person could give their contact info to those persons holding the position/s. Results: Discussed and dropped.

  • Quite low-priority. Is it possible for the webmaster to select "no-one can change their backdrop or rotate their onscreen snapshot DURING a meeting? Results: Discussed and dropped.

  • RE. Chair's Script -- Experiential "About Chat": it might be (or might have been) better to reverse the order of the "HOW TO RAISE YOUR HAND" suggestions. I find the only time I can use the raise hand feature BY USING THE ELLIPSES/ 3 DOTS on my onscreen snapshot is as host or co-host. Results: Discussed and dropped.

  • Might there be some interest in designating one meeting per month at the end of the month as an anniversary meeting? People would sign up for it in advance and it’s basically a speaker meeting, with the time divided between all the celebrants with an anniversary that month, talking about how they did it. Perhaps it’s even an open meeting, so their family/friends can attend and share their success. I suggest it because I think during these days, staying sober is more difficult for some people and celebrating sobriety more important. Plus, we all need more good news and uplifting experiences. I know I do. We might try it on a pilot basis, say three months, and if people don’t like it, we nix it. But hopefully, …what’s not to like? Results: Discussion was to clarify that the monthly celebration would not replace the daily recognition at meetings and that other meetings have a similar meeting. A vote was taken and approved with on one dissent. In the short term, tracking would be accomplished manually, to kick it off.

  • Also, in the interest of history, let’s record our first meeting date as an official anniversary date for the meeting, and a paragraph on how this meeting got started, so that we can read it at the first anniversary party! Hopefully not an online party, which we should start planning soon – just kidding, but only about starting the party planning so soon. Results: Approved. Carol Ann and Mark agreed to record the official anniversary date and write the group’s history.

Results of Group Conscience 4/25/2020

  • I believe at the last group conscience we decided that during the actual mtg there would be no group chats. Perhaps this could be clarified, better defined during the chairperson’s opening remarks. Proposal: Chats to Everyone during discussion should only be used by the host. Result: Agreed.

  • Who is responsible for calming down someone disorderly during a meeting? Proposal: Chair is in charge and the host can enforce the decision of the chair. Result: Agreed.

  • Do we still need a facilitator and a chair? might make scheduling easier to just have a chair for some meetings. Should we consider just having a chair for meetings where the chair person feels comfortable fulfilling both roles? Proposal: Option on signup sheet will be does the chair need a facilitator. Facilitation will be optional. Result: Agreed.

  • Format, how are we doing with that? Should we make changes? Proposal: Keep current format. Result: Agreed.

  • Should we list other meetings on the site? or links to the other large aggregations of meetings? Proposal: Create email alias for submission of links and publish links on our site. Result: Agreed.

  • I'm frequently turned off by the behavior of some, especially at the noon meeting. Would it be possible to address the problem of crosstalk in the opening statements? Something like - despite the format this is an AA meeting and the usual rules discouraging crosstalk apply. Proposal: Table discussion of this item since submitter was not present to clarify.

  • Can we turn off the entering/leaving meeting sounds? "Ding-dongs" are distracting. Proposal: Remove the ding-dong . Result: Agreed.

  • Question: Are we confident that 7am is an okay time for group conscience? Concern we might be leaving out people who come to the 12 and 3pm meetings for whom 7am is just too early. Proposal: Alternating meeting between 7am and 1pm each month. Result: Agreed.

  • Should we consider moving the 3pm meeting to 7pm? or adding a 7pm meeting. Proposal: Move the 3pm to 7pm starting May 1st. Result: Agreed.

  • Scheduling team: Need more people to help, especially when last-minute substitutes need to be found to chair or host a meeting. Volunteers: Casey, Joanne, Yolan, Carol Ann .

  • Steering Committee: Need volunteers to form an ad hoc steering committee for Common Peril and to interact with Chapel Hill-Carrboro Group's regular steering committee. Volunteers: Carol Ann, Mark, Tom H., Barbara, Joanne, Mike Sm., and Leah. Committee will meet after the 6am meeting on Sunday, 4/26



Results of Group Conscience Held 3/28/2020