Orientation Guide for the new General Service Representative District 22

Orientation Guide

for the new

General Service Representative District 22

of Eastern Pennsylvania

Area 59

of Alcoholics Anonymous

Responsibility Statement

I am responsible….

When anyone, anywhere,

Reaches out for help, I want

the hand of AA always to be there.

And for that: I am responsible.

www.area59aa.org

www.district22.org

www.aa.org

TABLE of CONTENTS

Responsibility Statement, Internet sites for General Service Cover Table of Contents 2 Welcome to the New GSR 3 Where you fit in the General Service Structure

New GSR Checklist 4 Checklist for Getting Started

Definition of a Service Sponsor

Conference Structure – Upside Down Pyramid 5 The GSR Preamble

Tips for Your First District Meeting 6 Your Home Group 7 Reporting Back To Your Group

Things to Share; Things to Maybe Not Share 8 When To Share At Your Group

The General Service Conference Structure 9 More Tips on Communicating with the Group 10 Duties of the GSR

GS-related Events 11 Annual Calendar of General Service 12

Tools for the GSR 13 •Getting an Informed Group Conscience (Tradition Two, Warranty IV, •Group Conscience v. Taking a Vote, “A Loving God”)

  • Discussing the Agenda Topics w/ Your Group 13 •Taking a Personal Service Inventory 15 •Sponsorship in Service 18 •Rotation 19 •Available Not Available 20

Doing Business in District 22       21

Third Legacy Elections                  23

Our District Inventory                   24

Some Helpful Reading                  25

Area Map of US & Canada            26

Eastern Pennsylvania General Service Area 59 List of Districts in Area 59- Eastern Pennsylvania Glossary

About Area 59

28

27

29

30

12 Concepts 31 Page 2 of 31

“Final responsibility and the ultimate authority for AA world services  should always reside in the collective conscience

of our whole fellowship.” (Concept I)

WELCOME TO DISTRICT 22 EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA!

As a GSR, you are the conduit through which information from your group gets to  the District, to the Area and to the Conference in New York. This is an ongoing  process with an emphasis on bringing a group conscience to the Pre Conference  Assembly held annually in April.

You are also the conduit through which the information about AA as a whole gets  back to inform the group. Without you, your group will not have a voice and AA as  a whole will miss the guidance of your group which is necessary to conduct AA  business.

This organizational method; region, area, district and group may seem  complicated and overly structured at first but it is really in accord with our Tradition  of “least possible organization.” It has been tested over time as providing the most  balanced way to arrive at the only recognized authority in AA, which is expressed  as an Informed Group Conscience that must be communicated to others when it  deals with issues affecting AA as a whole. Perhaps this will be clearer if we start at  the top of the AA structure.

YOUR GROUP __________________________________________________ IS  IN DISTRICT _______________________________________________

YOUR DISTRICT COMMITTEE MEMBER (DCM) IS ______________________  PHONE___________________________________

EMAIL____________________________________

YOUR EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA AREA DELEGATE IS _______________

District 22 is inEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA GENERAL SERVICE Area 59 (includes 48 Districts one of which is the Linguistic District 68 and encompasses all of  Area 59 geographically)

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NEW GSR CHECKLIST

✔ Contact the District Registrar to sign up and start getting GS information  mailed to you.

✔ Make sure the Telephone Reminder has your contact info if you want a  monthly reminder call about the district meeting.

✔ Make sure the District Chairperson has your email address. S/he will send out  monthly announcements.

✔ Contact your DCM (district committee member of your subdistrict) and let  them know you’re here. (You could invite them to your group’s business  meeting as an introduction or ask him/her for help at any time)

✔ Get a Service Sponsor.1 There will be an opportunity at the district meeting to  see who’s available to be a service sponsor.

✔ Get a group folder or binder for announcements and fliers. You can pass this  around your group or leave on your group’s literature table, according to your  group’s conscience.

1 A SERVICE SPONSOR is an alcoholic who has made some progress in  recovery and performance in service who shares this experience with  another alcoholic who may be just starting the journey, or possibly with  someone that has been around a while. A good overview on service  sponsorship may be found in the pamphlet, Questions and Answers on  Sponsorship (P-15), pages 25-27. There it is suggested that, “A service  sponsor is usually someone who is knowledgeable in AA history and has a  strong background in the service structure.” Individuals may feel that they  have more to ofer in one area of service than another. A service sponsor  presents the various aspects of service to the sponsee, and assists the  sponsee in making informed decision(s). Whatever level of service one  performs, all is toward the same end: sharing the overall responsibilities  of Alcoholics Anonymous.

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The GSR Preamble

We are the General Service

Representatives. We are the link

in the chain of communication for

our groups with the General Service

Conference and the world of AA

We realize the ultimate authority is a loving God as he may express  Himself in our Group Conscience. As trusted servants, our job is to bring  information to our groups in order that they can reach an informed group  conscience. In passing along this group conscience, we are helping to  maintain the unity and strength so vital to our fellowship.

Let us, therefore, have the patience and tolerance to listen while others  share, the courage to speak up when we have something to share, and  the wisdom to do what is right for our group and AA as a whole.

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TIPS FOR YOUR FIRST DISTRICT MEETING

⮚ Please Ask Questions! You may not know any of the people there, or fully  understand what is being discussed; possibly just as it was at your first AA  meeting. But similarly, everyone there was once also a newcomer and knows  what it feels like. Talk to people. Find out how to get additional information  about issues being discussed. You’ll find that people involved in service are a  friendly bunch and love to take time to share and explain this most valuable  part of recovery with new people,

⮚ Pick up the handouts usually on a table by the door. These include a meeting  agenda, last meeting’s minutes, the treasurer’s report, fliers, other items  about events or other AA groups. (Next meeting: remember to print out the  handouts to save $ and trees.)

⮚ Take notes. It will help you to remember what to bring back to your group.

⮚ 3 Things – Write down at least three things to bring back to your group. At the  end of the district meeting, people will suggest different things you can take  from the meeting for your group such as … announcements about upcoming  General Service events, issues to get group consciences on, service  opportunities, concerns the group should be aware of, things you’re just  excited about, interesting factoids about AA and what’s going on at a regional  or national level.

⮚ Easy Does It – Don’t try to figure it all out tonight. Give yourself about six  months to get a feel for the process, the structure, and all the confusing  acronyms. Remember to check in with another GSR and ask what he or she  is bringing back to the group.

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YOUR HOME GROUP

The relationship of the GSR’s with their group is probably the most important and,  hopefully, a most fluid and open one. The best way to become effective is to  attend the meetings of your Home Group on a regular basis. This gets you  acquainted with the members of the group and their ideas and also gives you  some credibility when you make suggestions and reports. Only by attending group  meetings regularly can we stay informed of our group’s affairs. People in General  Service – particularly the GSR’s – are generally known as the Guardians of our  Traditions. Remember that you’re not the Intergroup Rep. It’s best to let the  Intergroup Rep for your group handle the announcements from that Council  meeting.

If your group has a Steering Committee, the GSR should be an active part of it;  giving regular reports to their group on service activities and brief reports on  important issues discussed at the district and area meetings.

REPORTING BACK TO YOUR GROUP

Things you might report to your Group include:

  • Items that will be interesting to your group: exciting things, concerns, trends in  AA, personal stories about 12thstep work at the greater AA level.
  • News of any events or workshops you learned about at the district meeting.
  • Financial reports: Let them know how donations are going and what the  Group’s money is being spent at the District, by the Area or in NY.
  • Telling them when you will need the Group’s financial support to attend a  General Service function (ie: gas money). The group is responsible for their  GSR’s expenses. (If the district has a surplus, it may help defray costs for  GSRs but this is not always possible.)
  • Open service opportunities.
  • Issues that will require an informed group conscience. Try to explain it as  simply and fairly as possible, letting them know when and where a group  discussion and informed group conscience will happen.

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  • Report Backs – Let them know how you carried their group conscience at the district meeting or area assembly and how you shared their concerns and hopes about an issue.
  • Brief reminders about what General Service is and how AA is run by its groups. Their voice counts.
  • Issues that provoke discussion and greater participation.
  • The Grapevine magazine.
  • Your enthusiasm for service. Let them know you’re there to serve them. • Your gratitude.

Things you might not want to report to your group include:

  • Negative announcements
  • Confusing announcements
  • Really long announcements
  • Announcements on things that just aren’t that interesting
  • Your personal opinion on any issue. (GSRs vote at another group, not their own)
  • Fear. (HP’s got it handled.)

With a bit of practice, you can probably work in a piece of information that will  provoke a question and get the discussion started. You may not personally agree  with your groups’ conscience but if you have done your job correctly and  discussed it enough, you will have no problem in abiding by it; and can rightly feel  good about it, too.

When to Share GS Info:

This is really up to your group. Most groups ask their GSR to share BRIEFLY  during the announcement time of the meeting. This is not a time to share  extensively about General Service business, to bring up complex issues or get an  informed group conscience. That’s the kind of thing that will get a GSR message  shut down. Attend your group’s business meeting and give your fuller report there.  If there is an urgent or time sensitive matter, let the group secretary know before  the meeting and, if possible, work out whether you can announce a brief  discussion after the meeting. Some GSRs may bring everything straight to the  group – just be careful you don’t alienate folks by making announcements that  delay (too much) the normal meeting.

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MORE TIPS ON SHARING

Keep it short and simple. Don’t ask for informed group consciences at the group  level if you can do it at a business meeting. Remember, whenever you get a  group conscience, you want it to be an informed one. That takes a little time for  everyone to be heard. Feel out your meeting and get a sense of what they want.

Probably the most important thing that you can do as a GSR is to become an  informed one. This serves both us personally and AA as a whole. The more you  know, the more you can share from personal experience and the more credible  your voice will become.

Also important: Listen carefully to your group members.

DUTIES OF THE GSR

Now, let’s focus on the duties of a GSR in a bit more detail. The GSR has the job  of:

  • Linking a group with AA as a whole.
  • Representing the voice of his or her group’s conscience.
  • If you can’t be there to report on the conscience, ask your DCM. • Bringing the problems and remedies that affect AA unity, health and growth back to their group.

In this sense, the annual Conference of Delegates in NY can feel that it is acting  for AA as a whole only to the extent that the GSR keeps the group informed and  can gather and communicate the group’s conscience.

In general, there are three areas in which the GSR’s have their major  responsibilities, each of which involves a two way relationship with: • the group

  • the district
  • the general service area

Read The AA Service Manual, Chapter II, and the Pamphlet “GSR: Perhaps the  most important job in AA” for further information on your job and duties.

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MEETINGS – EVENTS – WORKSHOPS

You are asked to participate in:

  • Your group’s monthly Business Meeting
  • District 22 Meetings (2ndTuesday of the month @ 6:30 p.m.) • Eastern Pennsylvania General Service Assembly (Usually held in November) • District Workshops throughout the year
  • Agenda Topics Workshop (Usually in March)
  • Delegate’s Mini Report on the Conference (usually held in May and June) • SEPIA/EPGSA – Share A Day. Includes Intergroup and other local service folks. (held in February).

Other cool General Service gatherings you are invited to attend:

  • Area Quarterly Meetings in (Usually heldin December, March, June, September ). You are a nonvoting but important member at Area 59 quarterly business meetings.
  • The Northeast Regional Alcoholics Anonymous Service Assembly. (NERAASA). This isan inspiring weekend assembly of service people held the last weekend of February.) “The purpose of NERASAA is to develop greater unityamong the members, groups, and areas of the Nortgeast Region, toencourage the exchange of ideas and to provide an opportunity for members to discuss pertinent aspects of AA Recovery, Unity, and Service shouldalways be the primary purpose for each assembly. The thought of how wecan better serve Alcoholic Anonymous should never be compromised.”
  • Convencion Hispano de AA de Pennsylvania (Spanish Language conference usually held in May).
  • Pennsylvania State Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous  (PENNSCYPAA held annually).
  • Regional Forums are held somewhere in our region every two years in odd numbered years. These are weekend sharing sessions to improve communication among service and potential service people and representatives of the General Service Board, Staff, and Grapevine Staff.

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OUR ANNUAL CALENDAR OF GENERAL SERVICE EVENTS Much of what we do is aimed at helping the GSR understand the issues of the  day. Agenda Topics2 are discussed at the General Service Conference of  Delegates each spring and we try to help GSRs get that group conscience to the  delegate in time for the annual conference. New GSRs come on board throughout  the year and step into the cycle as best as they can. The second year of a term is  always more familiar for everyone. Here’s what a year usually looks like:

JANUARY – The Districts receive list of preliminary Agenda Items Mid-January is the deadline for submitting Agenda Items for the conference.

FEBRUARY – Conference Committee Background materials are available to  committee members in mid-February.

MARCH – Districts get final draft of agenda topics. Prepare for  pre-conference assembly. Usually the district hosts an informative  workshop on the topics and supports GSRs in educating their groups and  getting informed group consciences.

APRIL/May – General Service Conference of Delegates is held in New York; Post Conference Mini Assemblies are held in Area 59 in May and June.

JUNE – Often we invite the Delegate to share his/her report of the conference at  our district meeting and invite everyone in the fellowship to join us.

JULY – AUGUST – PA State Convention

OCTOBER and/or NOVEMBER -EPGSA Assembly ( nonvoting )/ Convention (an  election for new area officers). – Area Inventory also takes place every other year.

DECEMBER – Gearing up for Next Year

Delegates receive the Preliminary list of Agenda Items for next year.

All events, except for the Conference of Delegates in New York, are open to all  members so bring your sponsees, sponsors and friends.

2 Agenda Topics are a list of issues generated by groups throughout the US and  Canada that are discussed throughout AA and often voted on by our delegates.

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The Second Tradition:

For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority…

A loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.  Our leaders are but trusted servants …

they do not govern.

TOOLS FOR THE GSR

  • Getting an Informed Group Conscience
  • Taking a Personal Service Inventory
  • Asking for Help
  • Having a Service Sponsor

Getting an Informed Group Conscience

Concept XII, Warranty Four: “That all important decisions should be reached by  discussion, vote, and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity.”

“Here on the one hand we erect a safeguard against any hasty or overbearing  authority of a simple majority; and, on the other hand, it takes notice of the rights  and the frequent wisdom of minorities, however small. This principle further  guarantees that all matters of importance, time permitting, will be extensively  debated, and that such debates will continue until a really heavy majority can  support every critical decision…”

How does an informed group conscience differ from a group opinion or a majority  vote?

The group conscience strives for unanimity through enlightenment, spirituality and  the practice of our principles in all our affairs. To be fully informed requires a  willingness to listen to minority opinions through full discussion on sensitive  issues, the group works slowly, discouraging formal motions until the group has a  clear sense of its views. Placing principles before personalities, the group is wary  of dominating opinions. The group conscience is the aggregate of experience a  group develops after applying the Traditions and Concepts to a question. The  difference between a group conscience and a majority vote or group opinion is  that one or more of the elements described above are missing.

How does “A Loving God” express Himself through the group conscience? Page 13 of 31

Groups find their way past ignorance, prejudice and self-will on an individual basis  by practicing the Twelve Steps which enable us to practice humility, patience,  tolerance, kindness and love — emphasizing principles before personalities.  Through the Steps, we learn to overcome self-will and open the way to a group  conscience. When tempers flare, an informed chairperson postpones discussion  until those tempers cool, allowing time for prayer and meditation.

Knowledge of AA history and willingness to listen to experience were also cited as  important factors. We can listen for a quiet minority voice which may be the true  expression of a loving God by allowing time for all to share and, especially, the  minority to be heard. The importance of the minority view was stressed in most  workshop sessions.

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A PERSONAL SERVICE INVENTORY

Just as most members take a personal fourth step inventory, a lot of us find that it  can be useful to take periodic “spot-check” personal service inventories. Below is  a list of sample questions that you might use for such an inventory.

  1. Am I doing MY job?
  2. Do I make weekly announcements to my group?
  3. Do I keep the announcements as short and simple as possible? 4. Do I show enthusiasm for service work (attraction!) when making  announcements?

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  1. Do I make announcements at meetings where no GSR is present if  something is happening in General Service?
  2. Do I keep trying to get an alternate GSR (or DCM) then bring that person  to district and/or area meetings and pass on to them what I have learned? 7. Do I occasionally suggest one of the Traditions as a topic at a recovery  meeting?
  3. Do I suggest, in a kind and loving way, that we may need to have a group  conscience (discussion of all sides and sometimes a vote) when I feel the  Traditions are not being followed or when someone in the group brings up  an issue?
  4. Do I feel uncomfortable making these announcements or asking for group  discussions? Do I remember that the group asked me to do this? 10. Do I let God, as reflected in the group conscience, select who gets  involved in service, or do I sometimes know better?
  5. Do I read the AA service Manual and do my job as outlined Am I  committed?
  6. As a GSR, DCM, DCMC, or district officer, am I responsible for having the  best possible informed group or district, telling them what is happening in  AA as a whole, at the area and in the district (keeping in mind that what  they decide to do is no my responsibility l my job is to see that they are  able to make informed decisions)?
  7. Do I encourage sponsees to get involved in general Service? Page 17 of 31

SPONSORSHIP IN SERVICE

Sponsorship in AA is basically the same as helping another individual’s recovery  or in service to a group. It can be one alcoholic who has made some progress in  recovery and/or performance or service, sharing this experience with another  alcoholic who is just starting the journey. Both types of service spring from the  spiritual aspects of the program. Individuals may feel that they have more to offer  in one area than in another. It is the service sponsor’s responsibility to present the  various aspects of service: setting up a meeting, working on committees;  participating in conferences, etc. In this matter, it is important for the service  sponsor to help individuals understand the distinction between serving the needs  of the Fellowship and meeting the personal needs of another group member. The  service sponsor begins by encouraging the member to become active in their  home group — coffee, literature, cleanup, attending business meetings or  intergroup meetings, etc. The service sponsor should keep in mind that all  members will not have the desire or qualifications to move beyond certain levels  and, thus, the service sponsor might help find tasks appropriate to individuals’  skills and interests. Whatever level of service one performs, all are toward the  same end — sharing the overall responsibilities of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Eventually, the service sponsor encourages the individual member interested in  this form of service to attend district meetings and to read about the history and  structure of Alcoholics Anonymous. At this point, the individual beginning this  work should begin to understand the responsibilities of service work, as well as  feel the satisfaction of yet another form of 12th step work. Such individuals should  be encouraged to take an active part in district activities and consider being  elected to alternate positions in the district to learn about the responsibilities of  various jobs in the service structure. It is important for the individual to continue to  learn about the three Legacies— Unity, Recovery and Service, and to understand  that the principle of rotation not only allows them to move on in service, but also  gives newer members the privilege of serving. Rotation also allows them to  understand that no one should hold on to a position of trust long enough to feel a  proprietary interest and thereby discourage newcomers from service. Now,  through knowledge and experience, the newer member is aware that service is  our most important product after sobriety. With this knowledge, the individual is  able to share their vision with others and ensure the future of Alcoholics  Anonymous. The above section on service sponsorship has been quoted directly  from the AA pamphlet Questions and answers on Sponsorship.

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ROTATION

In most groups, the GSR is elected to a two year term. DCM’s and area officers  likewise serve two years. Since rotation is an essential part of service, it is  important to have an Alternate GSR to learn something about the job before they  assume the responsibility that goes with it. Having someone in the wings who is  prepared will give you the freedom to go into and experience other levels of  service without feeling that your job is unfinished because there is no one to take  your place.

If you’ve been elected a GSR without any training, don’t despair. Ask the former  GSR, or your DCM, for copies of past district meeting and area assembly minutes,  read the previous reports, if any, from your group to the district, and learn what is  being discussed at the Area level. It is an adage in AA that by the time you have  fully learned how to do your current job – it is time to rotate out of it. Remember,  we strive for progress, not perfection.

And, if we hold any job beyond its’ usual term, we are denying someone else the  opportunity to learn and grow as we have. It will seem frustrating at times because  you may think that nobody in the group is listening or cares about what you have  to say. Then, sometime you will find yourself amazed by being asked a question  relating to something you thought was dead and buried months ago. Or your  group asks you to deal with a question in terms of how it relates to the AA  Traditions. Those times are part of what makes it all rewarding in the end. So  keep coming back and ask questions until you feel you have, or know how to get,  an answer.

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DOING BUSINESS IN GENERAL SERVICE DISTRICT 22 – AREA 59  Who Votes? – GSRs, Officers and DCMs can vote at district meetings and  assemblies (except the alternate DCM only votes if the DCM isn’t present.  DCMs (or alternate DCMs) can vote at quarterly Area Meetings.

Third Legacy Elections – See next page & your Service Manual

What’s On Your Mind? – This is a time to share what’s going on in your meeting  and seek support or suggestions from other GSRs at the district meeting.

Housekeeping Motions usually, but not always, arise from a routine report offered  by an officer or committee. These are Simple3in nature, handle minor objectives  with little controversy, expense or impact. They are usually about procedure and  routine matters. As such, other than questions for clarification, there is little  discussion and no debate. If there is no objection, the issue passes. If there is an  objection, the matter becomes New Business on the agenda. If there is an  urgency, the chairperson can handle it that night as Old Business.

New Business: On the agenda, this is usually a presentation only early in the  agenda with time for some questions but no vote until the matter is discussed.  Typically no action is taken until it becomes Old Business at a subsequent  meeting. The item may be expedited if urgent. As New Business, GSRs are asked  to gather group consciences, share their group experiences, carry back what  they’ve heard in discussion to their group, gather more group consciences if  necessary.

Old Business: Old Business is an issue that has been presented and discussed  and carried (usually) from a previous meeting. If the chair determines the district  is ready for a vote, it will be called. The Chair will ask for a sense of the room. Are  folks ready to vote? Has the discussion wound down? The chair may decide to  continue the discussion as Old Business to give people more time to inform  themselves and their groups and come to a substantial unanimity4if possible.

3 Simple – a simple majority, over 50% (v. 2/3 majority). A simple majority is  usually called for in votes that involve procedure, little controversy, little money,  little impact.

4 Substantial Unanimity – is 2/3ds of eligible votes on an issue. We try to reach  substantial unanimity whenever possible in AA. Especially if an issue is deemed  controversial, involving AA as a whole, significant funding or sets a precedent or  new policy. The hope is that more agreement will avoid railroading, politicking or  the tyranny of the bare majority.

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2/3ds vs 50%: A motion may be decided by simple majority or 2/3ds majority. A  vote may be taken to determine if the motion requires a 2/3ds majority, Such a  vote can only be decided by a simple majority.

Note About Minority Opinion: It’s best to bring forth Minority Opinion early in the  discussion rather than wait until a vote so there is full discussion. Saving a  minority opinion until after a vote, when there is no rebuttal, can be a time-water.  Also a considerable amount of abstentions indicates that we voted too early. But  what is considerable? A chair guards against the tyranny of the majority but how  this is done is usually learned from experience.

Vote To Reconsider

After a vote, the chair will ask if there is a minority opinion. At this time, anyone  who voted in the losing group can speak up and explain why he or she did so. The  chair will then ask if there is a Motion To Reconsider and anyone who voted in the  winning majority who would like to change his or her vote can ask for a re-vote. If  there is a second, There will be a simple majority vote to reconsider and reopen  discussion — usually at the next gathering.

Call The Question! – No, there is no calling the question in General Service. Unlike  in meetings conducted according to Roberts Rules of Order, AA seeks to reach  “substantial unanimity” on issues. This means that the chairperson decides  whether issues have been discussed enough to proceed with a vote or whether  they should be held over for more discussion. If there is discord in a discussion,  we seek to talk it out. (Some say we talk it to death and then talk a little more.)  Patience is more than a virtue in General Service, it’s a survival skill and a  reminder that Love & Tolerance is our code.

A Spiritual Process: The watchword is … pause. Time allows us to quell our  passions, become better informed and listen for the minority opinion and the shy  voice. Remember, this is a spiritual process. Ultimately we have the right of  decision. The group conscious evolves. We are informed, not instructed. Trust the  spirit of the moment. There is no one method on how to allow for this evolution.  Recall that our principles are just that: spiritual principles; not rules.

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OUR DISTRICT INVENTORY

Just as the Area takes an area inventory in odd-numbered years, we in District 22,  Area 59, usually decide to take an inventory every two years to evaluate how well  we’re fulfilling the district purpose. As a GSR, you’ll be expected to participate in  the inventory process, regardless of how long you’ve served at the district.  Newcomer input is equally as important as input from seasoned General Service  folks. More about group inventories may be found in the pamphlet, The AA Group  and in the AA Service Manual. We often tailor our inventory questions for the  district, but here’s a commonly used question list as adapted from The AA Group:

  1. What is the basic purpose of the District Committee?
  2. What additional activities can we engage in to carry the message? 3. Considering the number of alcoholics in our district, are we reaching enough people?
  3. What has the District done lately to bring the AA message to the attention of professionals who can be helpful in reaching those who are in need of AA?
  4. Do we try to illustrate a good cross-section of AA in our message? 6. Do new GSRs stick with us, or does the turnover and missed meetings seem excessive?
  5. How effective are we in communicating with all our groups? 8. Do all AAs know about district meetings and have the opportunity to attend?
  6. Has enough effort been made to explain, to all groups, the value and purpose of a GSR?
  7. Do all GSRs have adequate opportunity to serve on committees? 11. Are District officers picked with care and consideration?
  8. Do our groups carry their fair share of supporting the area and General Service Office?
  9. How well are our groups informed about what is happening in AA worldwide?
  10. Are our district meetings informative and enthusiastic?

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SOME HELPFUL READING

Some of the reading material may seem tough at first, but you’ll see how it relates  to other parts of the program. If you do this, it will surprise you someday when it  comes alive and becomes a part of you and your message.

The GSR May Be The Most Important Job In AA, [pamphlet]

AA Service Manual with the Twelve Concepts for World Service (in back of book) The Twelve Concepts For World Service Illustrated, [pamphlet] AA Comes of Age [Book]

AA and the Good Oldtimers [Book]

The 12 Traditions [pamphlet]

AA Tradition – How it Developed, [pamphlet]

3 legacies [pamphlet]

The AA Group [pamphlet]

Box 459 [General Service Office bimonthly newsletter]

Supporting The AA Support System, [pamphlet]

Circles of love and Service, [pamphlet]

Inside AA, [pamphlet]

The “White Sheet,” What AA Does and Does Not Do, [One page flyer] AA Literature Catalog.

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. [Book]

Our local General Service website

“WE…” E.P.G.S.A. Quarterly News letter (area59aa.org)

Box 4-5-9. You should begin receiving it shortly after signing up with the District  Registrar. You can find more info at www.area59aa.org.

Final Conference Report [A detailed report from the General Service Conference  held in New York City in April of each year]

AA Steps, Traditions, Concepts and other AA produced literature contained in this  District Orientation Guide is reprinted with AAWS permission.

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GLOSSARY

THE CONFERENCE AND THE DELEGATE: At the annual Conference meeting,  matters of importance to the Fellowship as a whole are first considered and  discussed by one of the standing Conference committees, then brought to the full  Conference in the form of committee recommendations. All Conference members  then have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the recommendations  before they are voted on. Committee recommendations that are approved  become Conference Advisory Actions .After the Conference, the delegate reports  back to the area, working through DCMs and group GSRs. Conference Advisory  Actions that were referred to the trustees are sent to either the appropriate  trustees’ committee, GSO, or the AA Grapevine for implementation. Membership  in the Conference consists of area delegates, trustees, directors of AA World  Services and the Grapevine, and AA staff members of the General Service Office  and the Grapevine.

THE DISTRICT: Groups are organized into districts, collections of groups located  near one another. The GSRs of these groups select district committee members  (DCMs), who become part of the area committee

DISTRICT COMMITTEE MEMBER (DCM) – An essential link between the group  GSR and the area delegate to the General Service Conference. Serves as leader  of the district committee and his or her subdistrict and is exposed to the group  conscience of that district. As a member of the area committee, he or she is able  to pass on the district’s thinking to the delegate and the committee.

THE DISTRICT: Groups are organized into districts, collections of groups located  near one another. The GSRs of these groups select district committee members  (DCMs), who become part of the area committee

THE GROUP – Communication starts with the group, which lets its group  conscience — for or against change, approval or disapproval of a proposed action  — be known to its elected GSR. The GSR makes sure the group’s wishes are  heard and fully considered at the district and area levels, and that they are part of  the delegate’s thinking at the Conference. After each annual Conference, the  G.S.R. is responsible for making sure that group members are informed about  what went on at the Conference and made aware of the full range of Advisory  Actions (see Chapter Seven).

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THE TRUSTEES: The General Service Board is made up of 21 trustees who  meet quarterly. Actions are reported to the Fellowship through quarterly reports  and also in the Final Conference Report. The board’s two operating corporations,  AA World Services, Inc. and The AA Grapevine Inc., report in the same way (see  Chapter Ten). AAW.S. is the corporation that employs GSO personnel, directs  GSO services, and is responsible for book and pamphlet publishing. The  Grapevine corporate board employs the magazine’s editorial and business staffs  and publishes AA’s monthly magazine and related materials.

ABOUT EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA GENERAL SERVICE AREA 59: Area 59 (www.area59aa.org) is a link in the chain of communication between the groups  it serves and the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous. Area 59 encompasses around 22,000 square miles.

Area 59 serves more than 32,000 AA members in 1675 groups in 48 Districts.

In addition to the monthly district meetings, communication throughout the area is  enhanced viaArea events and assemblies throughout the year, quarterly area  committee meetings, area officer visits to district meetings and “WE…” our quartearly E.P.G.S.A newsletter.

Area Subcommittees include Archives,Corrections, Finance, Public Information,  Cooperation with the Professional Community, Grapevine, Structure and  Treatment & Accessibilities committees. Through the assemblies, committees and  district visits, Area 59 participates in the process of carrying the group voice to our  Delegate and the General Service Conference.

General Service Reps are invited to attend almost all Area meetings and  committee gatherings. Contact the district chairperson for more information.

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12 Concepts of Alcoholics Anonymous

  1. Final responsibility and ultimate authority for AA world services should always reside in the  collective conscience of our fellowship.
  2. The General Service Conference of AA has become, for nearly every practical purpose, the  active voice and the effective conscience of our whole Society in world affairs.
  3. To insure effective leadership, we should endow each element of AA – the Conference, the  General Service Board and its service corporations, staffs, committees, and executives –  with a traditional “Right of Decision”.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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 AA purse for final effectiveness.
  8. The trustees are the principal planners and administrators of overall 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.
  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.
  10. Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority, with the scope  of such authority well defined.
  11. The trustees should always have the best possible committees, corporate service directors,  executives, staffs, and consultants. Composition, qualification, induction procedures, and  rights and duties will always be matters of serious concern.
  12. The Conference shall observe the spirit of AA 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, by  substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to  public controversy; that it never perform acts of government, and that, like the Society it  serves, it will always remain democratic in thought and action.

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