Service Material from the General Service Office
The Twelve Concepts for World Service were written by A.A.’s co-founder Bill
W., and were adopted by the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous
in 1962. The Concepts are an interpretation of A.A.’s world service structure as
it emerged through A.A.’s early history and experience. The short form of the
Concept 1. Final responsibility and ultimate authority for A.A. world
services should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole
Concept 2. The General Service Conference of A.A. has become, for
nearly every practical purpose, the active voice and the effective conscience of
our whole society in its world affairs.
Concept 3. To insure effective leadership, we should endow each
element of A.A.—the Conference, the General Service Board and its service
corporations, staffs, committees, and executives—with a traditional “Right of
Concept 4. At all responsible levels, we ought to maintain a
traditional “Right of Participation,” allowing a voting representation in
reasonable proportion to the responsibility that each must discharge.
Concept 5. Throughout our structure, a traditional “Right of Appeal”
ought to prevail, so that minority opinion will be heard and personal grievances
receive careful consideration.
Concept 6. The Conference recognizes that the chief initiative and
active responsibility in most world service matters should be exercised by the
trustee members of the Conference acting as the General Service Board.
Concept 7. The Charter and Bylaws of the General Service Board are
legal instruments, empowering the trustees to manage and conduct world service
affairs. The Conference Charter is not a legal document; it relies upon
tradition and the A.A. purse for final effectiveness.
Concept 8. The trustees are the principal planners and administrators
of over-all policy and finance. They have custodial oversight of the separately
incorporated and constantly active services, exercising this through their
ability to elect all the directors of these entities.
Concept 9. Good service leadership at all levels is indispensable for
our future functioning and safety. Primary world service leadership, once
exercised by the founders, must necessarily be assumed by the trustees.
Concept 10. Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal
service authority, with the scope of such authority well defined.
Concept 11. The trustees should always have the best possible
committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs, and consultants.
Composition, qualifications, induction procedures, and rights and duties will
always be matters of serious concern.
Concept 12. The Conference shall observe the spirit of A.A. tradition,
taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that
sufficient operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that
it place none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over others;
that it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote, and whenever
possible, substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive
nor an incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of
government; that, like the Society it serves, it will always remain democratic
in thought and action.
Copyright © A.A. World Services, Inc. Reprinted by Permission
The text of the complete Concepts is printed in The A.A. Service Manual/Twelve
Concepts for World Service (BM-31). This publication is available from the
General Service Office, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 459, New York, NY 10163.
Also available from your
The Twelve Concepts for World Service - Illustrated
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