LET'S LEAVE OUTSIDE ISSUES OUT
Since receiving surveys from conference participants in December 2021, we've had much more offline discussion than usual about outside issues being shared in the BDA Solvency Immersion Conference workshops, After Party, and Fellowship Drop-In.
First, please keep in mind that none of these three interrelated events are meetings, none of them are formatted as open discussion, and none of them are opportunities for check-ins. All three of these events are described on the linked pages above.
Bottom line, the purpose of the BDA Conference itself — and of the registered BDA group that hosts it — is to provide everything any debtor needs to TAKE THE STEPS, with an emphasis on income and earning, work and business, within six months. We prioritize solvency first, Steps second, and everything else third or later. We pursue these priorities first for ourselves, then for the many compulsive debtors who need the recovery help we have to offer. We have provided the information, environment, and other resources needed to immerse ourselves, together, in DA and BDA for six months. This conference, in this format, has allowed us to experience the miracles that immersion in the process of surrendering our lives, financial and otherwise, to our Higher Powers through the DA and BDA recovery program make available to us.
The purpose of After Party is to ensure that no one leaves a Saturday workshop with unanswered questions, either about the workshop we've just completed or about DA and BDA experience, strength, and hope from our fellows. After Party is also an opportunity to expand beyond our scheduled workshop topics, although we still want to leave outside issues out, and to develop necessary BDA connections and relationships.
The purpose of Fellowship Drop-In is to provide a space for our conference participants to give support to our fellows, not to take support from each other. In our experience, once we began to maintain our solvency and to recover through conference participation, giving support — to newer conference participants and to newer DA and BDA members — paid a huge and immediate dividend. First in terms of our spiritual growth, then in terms of our personal and emotional growth, then in terms of our material and financial growth. Fellowship Drop-In is an opportunity to immediately begin practicing this new approach to interacting with other people, especially for us debtors, who have usually been living beyond our means, taking more than we've earned or deserved, for decades. Learning to give in a healthy and generous way is crucial to our DA and BDA recovery.
Second, we had been noticing an encroachment on our sharing space by outside issues, but we didn't want to tell people what to share. However, the recent surveys we've received and our follow-up conversations with previous conference participants have made it clear that we have an outside issue problem. Here are just a few examples of outside issues in DA and BDA:
DA's Tradition Ten specifically asks us not to share about politics, religion, or non-DA financial programs whenever we gather in DA's and / or BDA's name. Non-DA opinions about or solutions to the problems of compulsive debting, overspending, or underearning (defined by DA as not earning enough to pay our living expenses without incurring new unsecured debt) fall into this last category and are not welcome at BDA Conference events.
Discussions of trauma or other therapy-related topics and treatments are also outside issues. We do not have therapeutic education, knowledge, or experience to offer; and anyone who is offering therapy in place of recovery is cheating and likely harming the debtors they claim to be helping.
Neither is the BDA Conference a support group for anything other than solvency, taking the Steps in DA and BDA, or anything else directly related to our DA and BDA recovery, including practicing our shared spiritual principles at home, at work, and everywhere else. There are places to receive support for outside issues; the BDA Conference isn't one of them. The support we offer is related to immersion in the DA and BDA program.
There are many other examples of outside issues; when in doubt, please leave it out. Please do not put us in the position of policing or enforcing; this is a perfect opportunity to individually grow the personal assets of discipline and good boundaries.
Third, we have very clear and voluminous inside topics to choose from. To begin with "what it was like, what happened, and what it's like today," as those three interrelated topics relate to our personal and business debting and to our DA and BDA recovery, can easily be threaded throughout our sharing. At the same time, we "share in a general way," saving the more specific details about our darkest pasts, and presents, for the one-to-one conversations we have with our sponsor or the DA and / or BDA member who takes us through the Steps.
For each of 24 of the 26 conference workshops we host over six months, we have specific sharing topics which are listed in the workshop materials and on our calendar. We also ensure that everyone has access to free copies of the relevant conference-approved literature in either paper or digital formats, but not both, via https://www.helpfordebtors.org/free-da-and-bda-literature.
Those published topics each week are our sharing topics, in order, guided by our share shepherd, during the second hour of each workshop. More specifically, we share about our current application of the DA and BDA Steps and Traditions, both sets of tools, and promises in our lives today. One popular approach to sharing in the workshops is to pick one or two of the topic-specific questions from the workshop materials, share the answers we've written, then expand upon them.
Another approach some of us have tried is to read the workshop materials on Sunday, apply the information described during the following week, then share our on-topic experiences during the workshop on the following Saturday. We can also share about our on-topic progress mid-week at Fellowship Drop-In, especially at times when our positive progress would be helpful to someone else on the drop-in.
This is the structure, format, purpose, and foundation of the BDA Solvency Immersion Conference and of its related events. Please join us in what we are doing. If we set aside the distraction and disruption of outside issues — doing and sharing about our own relevant personal and business recovery from debting instead, and leaving outside issues out — we will all have a better experience of DA and BDA recovery together.
Please note that we are not trying to control anyone. We are simply doing our best to maintain as safe and respectful a sharing and recovery environment as possible. Maintaining a space supported and protected by the 24 principles supporting our recovery and unity is probably the highest priority of our host group, following our own solvency and recovery, of course.