Glossary of General Service

Terms and common meeting terms

Reprinted from AA Service Manual pages S-19 and S-22, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc. And other sources

A.A.W.S. – Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., one of the two operating corporations of the General Service Board [GSB] oversees the operations of the General Service Office [GSO] and serves as the publishing company for Conference-approved and service literature. [The A.A. Grapevine, Inc. is the other operating corporation of the GSB and is responsible for Grapevine operations and finances].

Additional Committee Consideration – An item that was discussed by a Conference committee, but with no action taken or made to the Conference as a whole.

Ad-hoc Committee – a temporary sub-committee… created to study and report with respect to ‘this particular thing or issue’

Alcoholic = addicted to drinking beverages containing alcohol, Caused by Alcohol = caused by alcohol consumption, Alcohol Addict = somebody who is addicted to alcohol

Alcoholics Anonymous [A.A.] – Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

Alternate [Alt.] – A service worker who, at Group, District, or Area level, assists, supports, and participates in service responsibilities, and stands ready to step into the service position if the person occupying it is no longer able to serve.

Appointed Committee Member – An A.A. member who serves on a specific trustees’ committee (for example, Public Information or Correctional facilities) because of his or her knowledge and experience in the field.

Area – A geographical division within a state or province containing several Districts. A Conference Delegatecomes from [represents] an Area. Normally there is one Area to a state or province, except in heavily A. A.-populated places, where there may be two, three, or more Areas in a state or province. Some Areas include portions of more than one state or province. There are 93 Areas in U.S.A. and Canada in 2018… half are ‘Even’ year Areas [Area 86] and the other half are ‘odd’… so that there is always a good mix of experienced Delegates at the annual Conference to assist the ‘first-timers.

Area Assembly – A meeting of General Service Representatives [GSR] and District Committee Members [DCM] to discuss Area affairs and, every other year, to elect a Delegate, Area Committee Officers and Sub-Committee Chairs, each for a 2-year term; Area Assembly is the “Business Meeting” of the Area.

Area Committee – A committee made up of DCMs [District Committee Members] (elected by the G.S.R.s in each District) and Area Committee Officers. The Area Committee generally serves as a “steering committee” for the Area.

Area Committee Meetings [ACM] – The Area Committee is the Steering Committee for the Area Assembly and meets, on a Saturday, 3 times yearly in even and 4 times in odd (election) years. In Area 86 the location of the ACM is rotated among the 23 Districts.

Bleeding Deacons ~ “After a group election, The Bleeding Beacon is one who is surely convinced that the group cannot get along without him, who constantly connives for re-election to office, and who continues to be consumed with self-pity.” – Tradition 2 – page 135 of 12 & 12

C.E.R.A.A.S.A. [Canadian Eastern Regional A.A. Service Assembly] A semi-annual weekend conference, alternating with ODC meetings, discussing General Service Conference issues and concerns affecting A.A. Sponsored by the 10 Areas of the Eastern Canadian Region of AA USA/Canada.

Chairperson – the officer who presides [Be officially in charge = to be the chairperson or hold a similar position of authority at a formal gathering of people] over something such as a committee, board, meeting or Area.

Concepts – [a broad abstract idea… or a guiding general principle, e.g. one that determines how a person or culture behaves]; The 12 Concepts for AA World Service provide the framework within which AA as a world-wide organization functions. The General Service Board is guided by the spirit of the Twelve Concepts in their deliberations.

Conference – The General Service Conference [GSC]; this can mean either the structure involving committee members, G.S.R.s and Delegates in an Area… or the annual week-long meeting of Conference [Area] Delegates for Canada and USA… each April in New York city.

Conference-approved literature… including videos, and films – Pamphlets, books, videos, and films, produced under the auspices of various AA Conference and trustees’ committees, which the appropriate Conference committees have reviewed and recommended to the [General Service] Conference for its approval… and which have been approved by the Conference… for publication by General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Cooperation with the Elder Community C.E.C. committees

Cooperation with the Professional Community C.P.C. committees at the District, Area, trustee, and Conference level help carry the message to, ‘friends of AA’… the professionals who work with alcoholics.

Delegate – The man or woman elected [delegated] every other year, by the GSRs, to represent the Area at the annual General Service Conference [GSC] meeting in New York and to bring back to their Area Committee the results of that meeting.

Director (non trustee) – An A.A. member who serves on the corporate board of either A.A.W.S. or the Grapevine; Directors are selected for business or professional experience that relates to the activities of the corporation. (The directorate of both corporate boards also includes trustees and A.A. staff.)

District – A geographic division within an Area, represented by Committee Member(s) comprising ‘the right number’ of Groups.

D.C.M. – District Committee Member ~ An experienced G.S.R. elected by other G.S.R.s to represent the Groups of their District in Area Committee Meetings and Assemblies and to coordinate service activities in the District.

District Committee Meetings – Meetings, generally monthly, of the G.S.R.s of Groups in a District.

Elder Statesmen “After a group election… the Elder Statesman is the one who sees the wisdom of the group’s decisions… who holds no resentment over his reduced status… whose judgement… fortified by considerable experience… is sound… who is willing to sit quietly on the sidelines… patiently awaiting developments.” – Tradition 2 – page 134 of 12 & 12

General Services – Movement-wide services, performed by anyone in the general service structure (G.S.R., D.C.M., Delegate, etc.).

G.S.B. – General Service Board – Oversees the operations of A.A.W.S. and A.A. Grapevine Inc., managed by Trustees.

G.S.O. – The General Service Office, which provides services to Groups in the U.S.A. and Canada [over 66,860 in 2018] and publishes A.A. literature. Located in New York city. There are GSOs in most major countries to service local AA Needs. There are over 52,000 Groups… outside USA and Canada in 2018.

G.S.R. – General Service Representative. The Group contact with the General Service Office; voting member of the Area Assembly. Member of a Group, elected for a 2-year term, to represent the Group at the District and Area level.

Grapevine (G.V.) – The A.A. Grapevine, the international monthly journal of Alcoholics Anonymous. The A.A. Grapevine, Inc. is one of the two operating corporations of the General Service Board and is responsible for Grapevine operations and finances.

Group – a number of people or things considered together or regarded as belonging together – AA Group, “Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety can call themselves an AA Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation” [P-16 ‘The AA Group’]. AA Groups are registered with GSO, have ID [Group Service] number, hold regular meetings and are represented by a GSR [General Service Representative] at District [Committee] GSR meetings and Area assemblies.

GvR – Grapevine Representative: at the Group or District level. Serves as a link between Group GVRs and the District and Area Grapevine structure.

HIPAA – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was enacted by the United States Congress in 1996. It was created primarily to modernize the flow of healthcare information, stipulate how Personally Identifiable Information maintained by the healthcare and healthcare insurance industries should be protected, from fraud and theft, and address limitations on healthcare insurance coverage.

La Vina – Bi-monthly Spanish-language magazine published by the A.A. Grapevine.

Legacies Recovery… Unity… Service – these are the Three Legacies given to the whole membership of A.A. by its founders and their fellow old-timers. ~ AA’s heritage announced at the St. Louis Convention in 1955 celebrating A.A.’s 20th birthday by Bill W.

Local Committee Member [LCM] – A large District could divide itself into smaller Districts [often called sub-districts or local districts], each electing a Local Committee Member to represent them at District Committee Meetings and Area Committee Meetings.

Notice of Motion [NoM] – A formal, written, procedure for a Group, through its GSR, to recommend and request changes in District or Area procedures.

Online Intergroup of Alcoholic Anonymous – OIAA – in 2018 have more than 100 groups listed, in many different languages. The OIAA has a Twelfth Step Help Committee… the Steppers’ who respond to emails.

Ontario Delegates Committee meeting The ODC was started in 1991 with the first one held in Hamilton. It’s a meeting designed to get the current 4 Ontario Area Delegates and their Alternates up to speed on the General Service Conference Process. Presentations are done on themes; overviews of Delegates Committees are given as well as a presentation on the agenda for the week. The ODC meeting occurs every other year, alternating with CERAASA, and rotates between the 4 Ontario Areas.

Panel – a term used to identify the year that an Area Delegate sits on the (General Service) ‘Conference Panel’. The number is in reference to the original Conference held in 1951. Eg. ‘Panel 68’, refers to those serving in the 2018 / 2019 term of service (i.e. 2019 minus 1951 = 68; or the 68th year since the original conference).

P.I. – Public Information and P.I. committees… at the District, Area, trustee, and Conference level help carry the message… by working with the media.

Preamble – a section at the beginning of a speech… report… or formal document that introduces what follows; something that precedes… introduces… or leads up to something else

Quorum – The purpose of the quorum at an AA meeting is to prevent the disunity caused by Group Conscience decisions that are made by too few committee members. A minimum of 40% of elected representatives present is suggested by some to constitute an effective representation.

Region – A geographic grouping of several Areas from which a Regional Trustee comes to the board of trustees at GSO. There are six regions in the U.S., two in Canada.

RLV – La Vina representative; the Group or District contact with the Grapevine office.

Robert’s Rules of Order is a guide for conducting meetings. The book, written by Brig. Gen. Henry Martyn Robert, containing rules of order intended to be adopted as a parliamentary authority for use by a deliberative assembly. Originally published in 1876, it has been revised regularly through the years based on feedback from users.

Service – work done by somebody… for somebody else… as a job, duty, punishment, or favour

Sharing Session – A Group, District, Area, or Conference meeting in which everyone is invited to contribute ideas… and comments on A.A. matters… and during which no actions are taken.

Slogan – a short distinctive phrase – used to identify a company or organization or its goals; Memorable motto – or phrase used as a repetitive expression of an idea or purpose; a battle or rallying cry, originally of the Highland clans of Scotland

Sponsor – somebody who becomes responsible for somebody else, especially during education, apprenticeship, service, or probation. A caring listener.

Steps – the Twelve Steps constitute the personal recovery program upon which the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous is founded.

Third Legacy – A.A.’s Third Legacy is Service, the sum total of all A.A. services, from a Twelfth Step call to coast-to-coast and worldwide service activities. The first two Legacies are Recovery and Unity. [Inscribed on AA Chips]

Traditions – a Custom or belief – a long-established action or pattern of behaviour in a community or group of people, often one that has been handed down from generation to generation; Body of customs – a body of long-established customs and beliefs viewed as a set of precedents; Handing down of customs – the handing down of patterns of behaviour, practices, and beliefs that are valued by a culture; the General Service Board… and AA Groups… are guided in their deliberations by the 12 Traditions.

Trusted Servants – Tradition 2; 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.” They are servants. Theirs is the sometimes thankless privilege of doing the group’s chores.”  Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 134 ~ Daily Reflections “Service + Rotation – Trusted Servants”, March 29; “I am responsible… as a trusted servant… to be informed — my group expects and deserves that. That responsibility requires me to take action, to do some reading, and to find out what the principles say — not what I think … The beautiful thing about AA is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We have directions and guidelines that we can follow; they were hammered out on the anvil of experience by those who have gone before us.” “The Anvil of Experience,” San Carlos, Calif., October 1994, AA Grapevine

Trustee – A member of A.A.’s General Service Board. Fourteen trustees are A.A. members (Class B); seven are non-alcoholic (Class A).

Unity combination into one – the combining or joining of separate things or entities to form one; something whole – something whole or complete, formed by combining or joining separate things or entities; singleness among individuals – singleness or constancy among individuals or groups

Warranties – General Warranties of the Conference: in all its proceedings, the General Service Conference shall observe the spirit of the A.A. Tradition, taking great care that…

Warranty One: “The Conference shall never become the seat of perilous wealth or power.”

Warranty Two: “Sufficient operating funds, plus an ample Reserve, should be its prudent financial principle