Welcome to General Service!
You are the voice of your group’s conscience and their link to A.A. as a whole and General Service. You will represent and vote on behalf of your group at your District and Area 27 functions. You will also be the connection between your group and the General Service Office in New York.
“The strength of our whole A.A. service structure starts with the group and with the General Service Representative (GSR) the group elects. I cannot emphasize too strongly the GSR’s importance.” Bill W.
General Service Representative Duties
- Attend District Meetings and Area Assemblies.
- Make regular reports to your group that inform them of what is happening in A.A. General Service.
- Bring Information about events, workshops, conferences, and District and Area activities to your group and invite them to participate.
- Serve as email and mail contact with your District Committee Member (DCM) and the General Service Office.
- Provide up-to-date group information through the area registrar or the General Service Office directly.
- Study and learn about the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts and become familiar with the General Service Manual.
See the A.A. Service Manual or the G.S.R. General Service Representative pamphlet for more information.
How to Register as a New GSR
Download and fill out the Group Information Change Form. Your area is Area 27, and you can find your district on our districts page. Email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and your DCM or Central Office if possible.
It is highly recommended that each GSR find a “Service Sponsor” to help with additional questions and problem-solving. Ask an experienced member of Area 27 to be your Service Sponsor or for their suggestions on who might be a good Service Sponsor for you. More information on Service Sponsorship can be found in A.A.’s Questions & Answers on Sponsorship pamphlet P-15.
It’s important to get your group used to hearing GSR reports. We suggest your report be weekly and brief. Many GSRs give their report during the meeting when the chair asks if there are any AA-related announcements. Break down the information you get from your monthly District meeting and quarterly Area Assemblies into short bullet points. Think about your group and what might interest them and report those items to them.
If there are items that require an informed group conscience, it’s suggested that you hold a separate business meeting to discuss them and vote. It is best to plan for and announce this business meeting, as well as the topics to be discussed, at least 2-3 weeks ahead of time so members can think about them and plan to attend. This also applies to your conference agenda item presentations. A business meeting may be the perfect place to talk about those items.
You may also be asked to deliver a GSR report at your district meeting on the status of your group. You can include any information you feel is relevant, including attendance numbers, upcoming events, issues the group is facing, changes to meeting time/place/format, anniversaries, etc.
These are suggestions offered to help you be a successful GSR but always use the approach that suits your group’s needs best.
General Service Glossary
- GSR – General Service Representative – An individual elected by an A.A. group to represent that group in A.A. General Service.
- GSO – General Service Office – Our A.A. Headquarters in New York City.
- GSC – General Service Conference – An annual meeting of 93 Delegates from Areas in the United States and Canada, Trustees, and GSO Representatives to discuss and vote on approved agenda items affecting AA as a whole.
- GSB – General Service Board – A group of 21 Trustees who oversee the two nonprofit corporations. A.A. World Services, Inc. and A.A. Grapevine, Inc.
- Trustees – The GSB board is comprised of 21 trustees, seven of whom are Class A (nonalcoholic) trustees who are selected principally for their business or professional backgrounds. The other 14 Class B (alcoholic) trustees are a mix of regional, general service, and at-large trustees who bring varying talents and backgrounds to their service responsibilities.
- Third Legacy Procedure – The election voting process. See page S21 in the A.A. Service Manual for more details.
- Twelve Concepts of World Service – An interpretation of A.A.’s world service structure.
Taking an Informed Group Conscience
As GSR, you’ll be voting on behalf of your group at district meetings and area assemblies. Whenever possible, it is suggested that you bring agenda items to your group and get their consensus in an informed group conscience before voting.
If your group has a regular business meeting, bring up any upcoming agenda items during new business. You may present them as formal motions and have the group take a formal vote or as informal discussion items based on the preferences of your group. If time does not allow for full discussion and voting, you can announce that the issue will be voted on at the next meeting, and you may consider bringing someone with more information on the issue to speak beforehand.
If your group doesn’t have regular business meetings, ask if they will allow you to discuss the items with them before or after the meeting. You may also want to mention the items in your GSR report a few at a time and ask for people to talk to you about them after the meeting.
Sometimes, obtaining the informed group conscience of your group before voting will not be possible. In those instances, as an elected trusted servant, you are empowered to vote as you believe your group would have you vote.