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What is General Service?

The following is an excerpt taken from the A.A. pamphlet, "Circles of Love & Service."

"All parts of our Fellowship – group meetings, committees, offices, Conferences, and group jobs – share one common purpose: to help the alcoholic who still suffers. A.A. is made up of interconnected circles of people within the Fellowship, who work together to carry A.A.’s message of hope. But in order for A.A. to run itself without bosses or rules, in accordance with our Twelve Traditions, we need a system of communication for finding out how A.A. as a whole feels about its world affairs, and how it wants to operate. For A.A. to run its own affairs, each A.A. group needs to make its voice heard on overall A.A. policies.

This starts with a group’s general service representative (G.S.R.), who represents the voice of the group conscience and has the job of linking his or her group with A.A. as a whole. G.S.R.s make sure their groups receive services from the U.S. and Canada General Service Office (G.S.O) and help groups stay informed about worldwide A.A. For every district of about ten groups or so, the G.S.R.s elect a district committee member, or D.C.M., to communicate the districts’ conscience to the area assembly, which elects an area delegate to attend the annual A.A. General Service Conference for the U.S. and Canada (other countries have their own separate structure)."

IN ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, WE ALL WORK TOGETHER “To those now in its fold, Alcoholics Anonymous has made the difference between misery and sobriety, and often the difference between life and death. A.A. can, of course, mean just as much to uncounted alcoholics not yet reached. “Therefore, no society of men and women ever had a more urgent need for continuous effectiveness and permanent unity. We alcoholics see that we must work together and hang together, else most of us will finally die alone.”

—Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 561

What is General Service?: What We Do
What is General Service?: Image

How does it work?

"Every group in an area is encouraged to send its G.S.R. to its area assembly. The D.C.M.s help to make up the area committee – a sort of steering committee for the assembly. Each group sends its own ideas or problems to the assembly, where other groups can share their experience and provide help and support. From the assembly, each G.S.R. can take back to his or her group the shared experience of the rest of the assembly. Every area elects a delegate to the General Service Conference, held each spring in New York. Delegates serve a two-year term only and, like G.S.R.s, D.C.M.s, and trustees, Conference delegates are never paid for A.A. service. The General Service Conference serves as the group conscience for A.A. in the U.S. and Canada.

The Conference meets for six days a year, yet the 135 or so Conference members are active in Conference affairs throughout the year. Every A.A. group shares its experience with other groups through its area delegate to the Conference. DELEGATE: The 93 elected area delegates make up over two-thirds of the Conference, but there are others at the annual Conference session. GENERAL SERVICE BOARD: The 21 trustees of A.A.’s General Service Board (U.S. and Canada) are part of the Conference. Fourteen trustees are alcoholics (Class Bs); seven are nonalcoholics (Class As). A.A. WORLD SERVICES: The directors of A.A. World Services, Inc. (the legal entity responsible for the business of the General Service Office), and the A.A. staff members at G.S.O. are Conference members. A.A. GRAPEVINE: Directors of The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., and its A.A. staff, are members of the annual Conference."

How Decisions Affecting A.A. Are Made

The following is an excerpt from "The A.A. Group" pamphlet.

"Annually, groups from the U.S. and Canada elect delegates (serving two-year terms) from their areas to the yearly meeting of the Conference in New York -- to hear the reports of the board's committees, G.S.O. and Grapevine staffs, and to recommend future directions, mainly in the form of Advisory Actions." 

Prior to the annual General Service Conference a list of important issues to be discussed during the Conference is published and made available to each and every Group in the U.S. and Canada. Because these issues make up a part of the entire General Service Conference Agenda, they are referred to as Agenda Topics. Every Group in the U.S. and Canada has the opportunity to review, discuss, and develop an informed Group Conscience on these Agenda Topics. The Group's GSR then carries the Group's Conscience on Conference Agenda Topics to the Area's Delegate, usually at an Area Assembly prior to the General Service Conference. The Area Delegate then represents the collective conscience of the Groups in the Area at the General Service Conference on these matters vital to A.A. as a whole.

We welcome you to The Combined Hollywood Districts and hope that you will join us on this journey - we truly believe that there is something for everyone in General Service work. If you are a new General Service Representative (GSR), we're eager to learn about your group! FOR MORE INFORMATION, or to get involved, come to our next monthly meeting (usually held the third Saturday of the month - see our calendar for dates and times), or contact us. See you soon!

What is General Service?: Programs
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