March 6th, 2020
Dear Concerned Members of the Recovery Community:
Gay & Sober's mission is simple ...to provide a safe, fun, and enriching experience to the sober LGBTQ community. Our primary purpose is to encourage unity and enhance one’s sobriety. Our vision emphasizes a spirit of unity that makes GSM very special to anyone that has experienced it personally. Every summer, we come together to support and love one another and to show others, especially beginners, that it is indeed possible to be happy, joyous, & free in sobriety.
In recent months, we have strayed from that mission and our vision. We sincerely regret letting that happen. We apologize for letting a private dispute over power and prestige distract us from what we are supposed to be doing.
Over the last few months, our organization has faced difficult and painful challenges as a result of a conflict that developed among a group of addicts and alcoholics being addicts and alcoholics. During a stressful time, our executive board made some hard decisions in a concerted effort to address these challenges. While we did have “Right of Decision,” what we overlooked was a key point that the 12th Concept makes...that “actions never be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy.” Unfortunately, the actions we have taken did not resolve the situation as we hoped, and it has escalated into a substantial lawsuit against a former board member. Though the circumstances that led to the lawsuit were legitimate, we think it best to pursue a solution to this dilemma without the courts.
On March 2nd, 2020, our entire conference committee met to learn of what got us to this point and where they thought we should go from here. Our devoted team of officers, committee chairs, and volunteers came together in the spirit of love and service so we could participate in a collective group conscience. Immediately after the call, our leadership team continued to discuss the feedback provided by the service team. After considering their input, along with the mission of Gay & Sober and that we are guided by the concepts of world service, we have made the decision to drop the lawsuit immediately. Instead, we have decided to pursue a solution using the tools of recovery that we hold dear: inventory, amends, and group conscience.
Those of us that are lucky enough to go to 12-step meetings often hear about the short, yet powerful reminder simply referred to as “our part.” When it comes to amends, the 12-step literature says that “under no condition do we criticize such a person or argue. Simply we tell him that we will never get over drinking until we have done our utmost to straighten out the past. We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worthwhile can be accomplished until we do so, never trying to tell him what he should do. His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own. If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified with the result.” That excerpt fits perfectly with where we stand today and where we hope to be tomorrow.
We have decided to drop the lawsuit in an effort to maintain unity within the community. As we attempt to clean up our side of the street, we want to apologize to the community for our part in what has contributed to this situation. This situation was needlessly ignited on social media. It caused a negative ripple effect on current and former participants, our sober brothers. We know that GSM has been so important to many of you, including those who have made the difficult decision not to attend this year as a result of this situation. We are sorry for our part in that. We hope that we will be able to earn your trust back as we move forward and work hard to put on the best conference yet, and to keep the flame alive in the coming years for all of our community.
At GSM 2020 Varsity, one of our keynote presenters will share his powerful story of violence and reconciliation that reminds us that, with the principles of recovery, miraculous healing and forgiveness are possible. We are inspired by this story. In the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson writes about many painful conflicts during the growth of the fellowship. Time and again, the members worked through conflict, and the organization emerged stronger as a result. Our hope is that all members of our Gay & Sober community will someday come together again in love, light, and fellowship.
Regardless of what the future holds, we love you and hold you close in our hearts.
The Leadership Team of Gay & Sober Inc.
FOR FULL TRANSPARENCY, YOU MAY GOOGLE GAY & SOBER VS JOHNSTON,
OR TO VIEW THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTATION AND SUMMONS, CLICK HERE.