“Good service leaders, together with sound and appropriate methods of choosing them, are at all levels indispensable for our future functioning and safety. The primary world service leadership once exercised by the founders of A.A. must necessarily be assumed by the Trustees of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous.”
Concept Nine is about the leadership of A.A. Some members of A.A. may think that since A.A. has a very different structure than other organizations there are no “leaders” in A.A. Nothing could be further from the truth! Leaders in A.A. are those who, through their actions and their example, inspire us to follow them. It is true that no one can lead if there is no one who will follow them.
In A.A. the service structure rests on the dedication and ability of the General Service Representatives – those people we choose to represent our groups as G.S.R.’s – then on the committee members and Delegates. These are the link between the group conscience and our world services.
At the General Service Conference the Delegates, acting as the effective voice of the group conscience, choose the General Service Trustees who form the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous. This Board is entrusted with operational leadership and oversight of A.A. World Services and the Grapevine.
Where do these Trustees come from? The Areas choose the candidates for Regional Trustee and Trustee at Large and submit the names through their Delegates. Sometimes these nominees are chosen based on personal and professional accomplishments, but most often they are chosen based on their record of service within their groups, districts and areas. As GSR’s and Area Committee Members when we choose a nominee for Trustee we are participating directly in choosing the leadership of Alcoholics Anonymous!
What about those “Class A” trustees? These are non-alcoholics who volunteer to serve A.A. on our General Service Board. They, too, are nominated from within the fellowship. These nominations most frequently come from Area Delegates who have learned of their unique qualifications and willingness to serve. These are most often members of professions with whom A.A. cooperates (medical, legal, financial, or religious leaders) who have demonstrated their willingness to lend their time and talents to A.A.
Trustees serve for a limited term, as do all the trusted servants of Alcoholics Anonymous. Therefore, there is always a need for continuous action in providing our fellowship with good and effective leadership. Our future effectiveness depends upon developing ever-new generations of leadership. This spirit of rotation ensures that A.A. leadership will not become stagnant and will continue to reflect the true group conscience.
This is the bottom line – our leaders carry the effective conscience of the A.A. groups! It is our responsibility to provide them with the information and support that will enable the group conscience to be expressed throughout Alcoholics Anonymous.
Yours in service,
Past Delegate, Panel 49, Utah Area 69