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Grapevine : September 2011
aagrapevine.org 33 guided by our primary purpose? Happily, the answer was yes. AA has no permanent leadership class. Everyone rotates out, from the group cof- feemaker to the 21 trust- ees who make up the General Service Board (the exceptions being the paid sta of the General Service O ce). A member of my general service area once summed up the Ninth Tradition by saying, "AA groups can be as dysfunc- tional as they need to be, but that can never be the case at the level of the Conference, the General Service Board, and the General Service O ce." At the group level treasur- er's reports may be more casual than good book- keeping standards call for and minutes of business meetings fairly sketchy or even nonexistent. When I came to the rooms of AA many years ago, no one handed me an application form or subjected me to an interview or assigned me a seat to sit in. Such organization as there was---meetings start- ing and ending on time, group members listening respectfully and without interruption when others shared and making volun- tary contributions to meet the group's expenses---did not derive from enforce- able rules but from the keen understanding that "obedience to spiri- tual principles," as Bill W. phrased it, was necessary for each of us to avoid a return to the ravages of active alcoholism. At my home group I sometimes help with the setup by hanging the AA sign outside the parish house where we meet, putting out the AA literature, and hang- ing our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions shades. e sign lets people know that we are an anonymous but not a secret society; the literature o ers invalu- able information about AA for the alcoholic and the nonalcoholic alike; the two shades are a comforting reminder to the group that the Twelve Steps o er an answer for alcoholism and that our Twelve Traditions exist so that we may continue to stay together in unity. ese three staples of most AA meetings obvi- ously require a sizable budget and careful plan- ning, including inventory control and shipping, beyond the ability of any one AA group to perform. I, for one, am grateful that we have a Gen- eral Service Board and a Conference, with all their various committees, as well as a General Service O ce, to see to these and the many other needs of the Fellowship, today and tomorrow. David S. New York, N.Y. A title in AA can summon pride and a sense of "prestige" along with a more selfless motive for service. It did in me. Now that title would soon be gone .... Could I accept being "a small part of the great whole?"