Why We Don’t Change the GreySheet

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First — What is the GreySheet?

The GreySheet is a low carbohydrate food plan, printed on plain grey cardstock paper, that was first published in the late 1960s by the original Twelve Step food fellowship. It was one of several food plans created to help compulsive eaters abstain from compulsive eating.

Next — What is the Cambridge GreySheet?

In the 1970s, a group of members who were committed to following the GreySheet food plan strictly under any and all circumstances and without exception began the first GreySheet group in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States. They adopted and used the GreySheet food plan exclusively. This founding group added explanations and clarifications to the GreySheet in the form of some amounts and additional instructions. However, these explanations and clarifications were never added to the printed version of the food plan, which continued to be printed on plain grey cardstock paper. They were only passed on in oral form from sponsor to sponsee, with each person physically writing them on his or her printed copy of the GreySheet.

The Cambridge GreySheet community uses what is essentially an oral tradition passed down from member to member along with the printed food plan. This is why we say, “The GreySheet comes with a sponsor.” Without a sponsor to explain the GreySheet, it is simply another diet. Each member of the Cambridge GreySheet tradition possesses their own individual copy of the original GreySheet food plan on which they have personally written the additional amounts and instructions in their own hand as it was dictated to them by a qualified GreySheet sponsor. Therefore, the GreySheet as it was originally printed in the 1960s is the basis and foundation for the Cambridge GreySheet movement. GSA World Services was founded as a Twelve Step fellowship in its own right in 1998 to support compulsive eaters who follow the original GreySheet in the Cambridge tradition.

Why We Don’t Change or Edit the GreySheet

Through the years, some newcomers have asked, “Since every member of the GSA must write in the same explanations and clarifications for themselves, why don’t we just change the original document to include those specifications?” More recently, some newcomers ask, “In light of developments in nutrition, why don’t we edit the GreySheet to reflect the new science?”

The answer is two-fold. First, we model ourselves after our parent Twelve Step fellowship, Alcoholics Anonymous. We consider the GreySheet to be as foundational to our program as the Big Book is to A.A. As such, the GreySheet is subject to the same tradition of maintaining and preserving the original content and form of the GreySheet just as A.A. maintains and preserves the original printing of the first 164 pages of the Big Book and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

The second reason the GreySheet cannot be changed or edited is that, legally speaking, the corporate entity called GSA World Services, Inc. owns the intellectual property that is the GreySheet, so only GSA World Services has the right to make changes to the document. But the founding documents for GSA World Services, Inc. (our bylaws) were written to specifically prohibit any changes to the GreySheet. This is because, in 1997, the New York Metro intergroup asked the worldwide community of GSers if we wanted to form our own Twelve Step Fellowship to carry the GreySheet message and support GSers everywhere. The GreySheet Community response was:

Yes, but this new world service organization can never change the GreySheet. The GreySheet must always remain unchanged. We all surrender to the original GreySheet as it was handed down to us through the Cambridge tradition. Our abstinence depends on each of us NOT making decisions about the GreySheet.

So, in 1998, GSA World Services was created with our founding document, our bylaws, stating that the Board of Trustee’s primary responsibility was to preserve the GreySheet and prevent any changes.

The GreySheet saves lives, and it is the conscience of the worldwide community of people whose lives are saved by surrendering to the original Cambridge GreySheet that GSA World Services must preserve the GreySheet unchanged so future lives may also be saved.

Approval Dates

Board of Trustees 3/17/2024

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