Friday, 1 February 2013


Short form:

The Conference recognizes that the chief initiative and active responsibility in most world matters should be exercised by the trustee members of the Conference acting as the General Service Board.

Long form:

On behalf of AA as a whole, our General Service Conference has the principal responsibility for the maintenance of our world services, and it traditionally has the final decision respecting large matters of general policy and finance. But the Conference also recognizes that the chief initiative and the active responsibility in most of these matters should be exercised primarily by the Trustee members of the Conference when they act among themselves as the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Questions in service and in life

·         When delegating chief initiative and active responsibility, do I trust and let go of the results, until it is my time to assess them formally?
·         When receiving delegation, do I take the chief initiative and active responsibility for such matters?
·         When receiving delegation, do I recognise that the final decision concerning general policy (and finance) lies with the ultimate authority?

Questions in life

·         When I am asked for help, do I seek guidance from God on how to respond?
·         When I identify an opportunity for service, do I take up that opportunity or do I leave it to others?
·         Can I delegate where necessary, or do I exhaust myself by doing everything myself?
·         Do I feel guilty for things beyond my active responsibility?
·         Do I worry?
·         Do I make an effort to discharge all my duties, or do I let my duties build up?


'Just as the AA groups find themselves unable to act decisively respecting world service affairs unless they delegate a great amount of active authority and responsibility to their Conference, so must the Conference in turn delegate a liberal administrative authority to the General Service Board, in order that its Trustees may act freely and effectively in the absence of the Conference itself.' (Introduction to Twelve Concepts for World Service by Bill W.)

'While the Trustees must always operate under the close observation, guidance and sometimes the direction of the Conference, it is nevertheless true that nobody but the Trustees and their wholly-owned service corporations could possibly pass judgment upon and handle the very large number of transactions now involved in our total world service operation. In view of this very large responsibility, they must therefore be given a correspondingly large grant of authority and leadership with which to discharge it. We should quite understand, too, that the conduct of our world services is primarily a matter of policy and business. Of course our objective is always a spiritual one, but this service aim can only be achieved by means of an effective business operation. Our Trustees must function almost exactly like the directors of any large business corporation. They must have ample authority to really manage and conduct AA's business.' (Introduction to Twelve Concepts for World Service by Bill W.)

'God has the ultimate responsibility for our service while we have the active responsibility for carrying the message.' (Dennis F.)

'This is one of my favourite concepts of service, because it relieves me of the need to worry. The sixth concept of service clearly delineates the lines of responsibility between my Maker and me. I have the responsibility to carry the message, and God has the ultimate responsibility for my service. God gets people sober; I don't.' (Dennis F.)

It is the same principle in my home and work life. As long as I make the efforts to do what God places in front of me to do, I am fulfilling my relationship with God by taking active responsibility for my life a day at a time. I then release the results of these actions to God, who has ultimate responsibility for all the assignments He gives me. I no longer need to worry about money or any concern as long as I give service in my job.' (Dennis F.)

'When God gives me responsibility, he also gives me the authority or ability to carry out that responsibility. Just as I am not tempted beyond my prayer power, so I am not given burdens without the God-given resources to accomplish them. Bill now describes how the corporate structure of AA is built on the same principle: authority must have equal responsibility. I need to follow this principle in my service relationships with others: I need to give authority to those I give assignments to accomplish if I am to permit them to be of service.' (Dennis F.)

'Either God has the ultimate responsibility for me, or he doesn't. If he doesn't, then I do. And if I have the ultimate responsibility for myself, I can tell you right now that I'm not going to make it. That is why I find this concept of service so reassuring.' (Dennis F.)

'The implications of letting go of the ultimate responsibility for what goes on, extends to other people. If I don't have to hang on to every detail myself, I don't have to hang on to every detail for you either. I can extend to you the same freedom that God gives to me. You have the same right to be happy that I do. You have your own Higher Power, and He has the ultimate responsibility for your life.' (Dennis F.)

'The great obsession of this abnormal drinker in living is to try to control life so I can enjoy it. While I am enjoying life, I am not controlling it. This paradox not only applies to alcohol. It applies to living.' (Dennis F.)

'This is the source of my self worth, which I can state in three words when I'm down on myself: God needs me.' (Dennis F.)

'When I carry the message, I am his mouth, his legs, his arms and his hands. If he wanted to send a message of sobriety another way, he would have sent somebody else. But God needs me so he sends me. He sends each one of us because each one of us has a unique message to give that no one else can.' (Dennis F.)

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