The 12 Concepts for World Service

he 12 Concepts For World Service

We, who are the older members of AA, bequeath to you who are younger, these three Legacies — the Twelve Steps of recovery, the Twelve Traditions, and now the general services of Alcoholics Anonymous. Two of these Legacies have long been in your keeping. By the Twelve Steps we have recovered from alcoholism; by the Twelve Traditions we are achieving a fine unity.

Being somewhat perishable, Dr. Bob and I now wish to deliver to the members of AA their Third Legacy. Since 1938 we and our friends have been holding it in trust. This legacy is the general Headquarters services of Alcoholics Anonymous — the Alcoholic Foundation, the AA Book, the AA Grapevine, and the AA General Office. These are the principal services which have enabled our Society to function and to grow.

Acting on behalf of all, Dr. Bob and I ask that you — the members of AA — now assume guidance of these services and guard them well. The future growth, indeed the very survival, of Alcoholics Anonymous may one day depend on how prudently these arms of service are administered in years to come.

Bill W. – A.A. Grapevine, December 1950, The Language of the Heart – Bill W.’s Grapevine Writings, p.126

1. Final responsibility and ultimate authority for A.A. world services should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship.
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.
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 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 carefull 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 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.
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, qualifications, induction procedures, and rights and duties will always be matters of serious concern.
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 operationg 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.