General Service Conference

The General Service Conference – Preserving the future of AA

So why do we need the Regions, Areas and Districts? The short answer is to ensure the future of AA.

Until 1950, Doctor Bob, Bill W and a few older sober members and non-alcoholic friends were the self-appointed trustees for Alcoholics Anonymous. When Dr Bob became gravely ill, Bill realized that these old timers couldn’t live on forever.

Bill could see that to preserve the AA way, future trustees needed a direct link to the AA groups. He determined that we had to form a conference representing our membership which could meet yearly with our Trustees and assume direct responsibility for the guardianship of A.A. Tradition and the direction of AA service.

In order for A.A. to run itself without bosses or rules, in accordance with our Twelve Traditions, each A.A. group needs to make its voice heard on overall A.A. policies.

This is the purpose of the AA General Service Conference, that is held once a year in November. The General Service Conference is different to the National Convention.

Dr. Bob and Bill W

Dr. Bob and Bill W

Why do we need a General Service Conference?

We may not need a General Service Conference to ensure our own recovery. We do need it to ensure the recovery of the alcoholic who still stumbles in the darkness one short block from this room. We need it to ensure the recovery of a child being born tonight, destined to alcoholism. We need it to provide, in keeping with our Twelfth Step, a permanent haven for all alcoholics who, in the ages ahead, can find that rebirth which brought us back to life.

We need it because we, more than others, are conscious of the devastating effect of the human urge for power and prestige which we must ensure can never invade AA. We need it to ensure AA against government, while insulating it against anarchy; we need it to protect AA against disintegration while preventing over integration. We need it so that Alcoholics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous alone, is the ultimate repository of its Twelve Steps, its Twelve Traditions, and all of its services.

We need it to ensure that changes within AA come only as a response to the needs and wants of AA, and not of any few. We need it to ensure that the doors of the halls of AA never have locks on them, so that all people for all time who have an alcoholic problem may enter these halls unmasked and feel welcome. We need it to ensure that Alcoholics Anonymous never asks of anyone what his or her race is, what his or her creed is, what his or her social position is.

(Bernard B Smith, 1954)

How it works

AA Conference
Topics for Conference

The AA Australia Conference Topic process can look daunting, but it’s actually pretty simple. If you’ve got 2 minutes, this video will run you through the basics!