The AA Group
The group conscience is the will of the group. The guiding principles for the group conscience are always the Twelve Traditions and the Twelve Concepts of Service. It may be helpful for the group to review these principles prior to any group discussions. Some simple group decisions may be decided quickly; however, others may take time. It is by taking the time necessary to hear from all members who want to participate that a group conscience evolves. In order to make an informed group conscience decision, members need access to all the information about the issue they are being asked to discuss, they need clarity on what their discussions hope to accomplish and they are asked to trust each other’s motives and capabilities. By sharing information as equals, taking time for discussion, and maintaining principles above personalities during the discussions, groups are often able to reach unanimity in their decisions. If unanimity is not reached in the allotted timeframe of the meeting, discussions may continue at another time. Once a group conscience decision is made, the entire group supports the decision. Pamphlet P-16 available here
Guidelines for Taking a Group Conscience
• Issue brought to group
• Discussion/information gathered for 3 consecutive meetings
• Member makes a motion
• If the motion receives a Second, the group will take a vote
• Vote–Show of hands (or closed ballot) IN FAVOR, OPPOSED, ABSTAIN
• If majority are in favour, motion is carried
• Once a group conscience decision is made, the entire group agrees to support the decision.
Many groups request that only members who regularly attend meetings vote at the group business meeting. Members who regularly attend more than one meeting may want to consider at which meeting to vote on district or Area matters, keeping in mind that our principles are spiritual, and voting on an issue more than on ce could be viewed as trying to control or influence the outcome.
AA Pamphlet P-16 ‘The A.A. Group’ … where it all begins focuses on available here
• Principles Before Personalities.
• The principle of rotation.
• What is an informed A.A. group conscience?
• A.A. group inventory.
• A.A. business meetings.
AA’s single purpose
• Tradition 5: “Each group has but one primary purpose: to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” … We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.
The importance of anonymity
• Tradition 12, “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.” … Anonymity is maintained not so much for the protection of the individual as for the protection of the program.
The AA’s group relations with Others in the community
• Tradition 11, Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
Principles before personalities
• 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.
How the AA Group relates to AA as a whole
• Tradition 1, Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
Contributions and Self-support
• Tradition 7, “Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” While contributions cover each group’s rent and other expenses, the Seventh Tradition is essential at every level of A.A. service. It is both a privilege and a responsibility for groups and members to ensure that not only their group, but also their intergroup/central office, local services, district, area, and the General Service Office remain self-supporting. This keeps A.A. free of outside influences that might divert us from our primary purpose — to help the alcoholic who still suffers. The amount of our contribution is secondary to the spiritual connection that unites all groups around the world.
Spirituality and Money DO Mix / Step-Tradition Parallel
The seventh tradition is linked to the sixth tradition just as the seventh step is the natural outcome of working the sixth step. What do I do when I become entirely ready to give up my defects of character? I humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings. What do I do when I become entirely ready to give up pursuing outside contributions to my spirituality by not lending my name to related approaches or outside relationships? I avoid the problems of money, property, and prestige – carrying a message that will be believed because it is carried with a spirit of poverty and not greed.
I seek to be financially self—supporting, not wealthy. The seventh tradition, completed the seventh step this way: Father I humbly ask you to remove my major shortcoming, not placing you first life but placing false Gods first, including money. Please teach me to be self-supporting in my relationship with you! “Fear” automatically results when I think I should handle any situation in life by myself. As soon as I place God first in my thinking and try to hear his voice through prayer and meditation, “fear” is removed.
Traditions checklist from the AA Grapevine
These questions were originally published in the AA Grapevine in conjunction with a series on the Twelve Traditions that began in November 1969 and ran through September 1971. While they were originally intended primarily for individual use, many AA groups have since used them as a basis for wider discussion.
Tradition 7, Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
(AA Tradition 7 / AA Guidelines)
1. Honestly now, do I do all I can to help AA (my group, my central office, my GSO) remain self-supporting? Could I put a little more into the basket on behalf of the new guy who can’t afford it yet? How generous was I when tanked in a barroom?
2. Should the Grapevine sell advertising space to book publishers and drug companies, so it could make a big profit and become a bigger magazine, in full color, at a cheaper price per copy
3. If GSO runs short of funds some year, wouldn’t it be okay to let the government subsidize AA groups in hospitals and prisons?
4. Is it more important to get a big AA collection from a few people, or a smaller collection in which more members participate?
5. Is a group treasurer’s report unimportant AA business? How does the treasurer feel about it?
6. How important in my recovery is the feeling of self-respect, rather than the feeling of being always under obligation for charity received?
By being self-supporting and declining outside contributions, groups protect the fellowship structure and basic spiritual foundations. Tradition 7 of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) says, “Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.”
Being self-supporting / AA Guidelines
One of the principals of the 12-step support groups is that each member is responsible for his or her own recovery. The first part of Tradition 7 makes it clear that responsibility extends to the members of each local group as it passes the basket for contributions to pay the rent and maintain its literature library.
If the group collects more than is necessary to meet its expenses, the group can contribute to its World Service Office, which also follows this tradition by accepting no outside contributions. Although such contributions have fallen off in recent years, they are important in helping to carry the message worldwide.
The dignity of the member is also built by allowing him to take care of the group’s needs. AA member Tigger notes, “For a long time some of us were ‘that pitiful drunk.’ Some people felt we were only looking for a handout in life. Maybe some of us were, but no more. Now with our pennies, we help maintain our own sobriety. We need to only rely on ourselves and each other for the most precious gifts: dignity and sobriety.”
AA member Chuck notes, “We didn’t and don’t take money from outsiders, no matter how kind or well-intentioned. W.H.O. stands for We Help Ourselves.”
7th Tradition – contribute online / AA Guidelines
The secure PayPal facility allows AA members to practice AA’s 7th tradition online. You can pay using your personal PayPal account. You can also opt to pay by credit card. Transactions are fully encrypted and protected by PayPal’s secure online payment system. Be sure to specify the AA Group you are contributing to.
If you are unable to specify the Group during your Paypal transaction, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org specifying the date, time and amount of your contribution and specifying the Group you are contributing to.
During the ‘lock-down/confinement decreed by the French government to curb the Covid-19 epidemic, all physical meetings have been cancelled.
Biarritz English-speaking AA Group are holding meetings online, which has allowed the Group to continue their work of carrying the AA message of recovery.
To allow the 7th Tradition be observed in the absence of physical meetings, Biarritz English-speaking AA Group has voted to set up a secure PayPal payment system to process contributions online.
Terms and Conditions
• Contributions can be accepted only from members of Alcoholics Anonymous
• By making this contribution you certify that you are a member of AA. According to AA’s third tradition, the only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
• There are no dues or fees for AA membership, we are self-supporting through our
• You also acknowledge that the annual donation limit from individuals to AA is $5000.
• Terms and conditions of the PayPal platform apply. Details are available on the payment page or at https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/ua/useragreement-full
• For more details, see the section below: “How will this online payment facility be managed?”
Practicing AA’s 7th Tradition for online meetings
Observing AA’s 7th Tradition is a spiritual gesture that remains meaningful in an online setting. To honor AA’s tradition of being self-supporting, AA Groups and AA as a whole depend solely on members’ contributions to fulfill their primary purpose of carrying the AA message to the alcoholic who still suffers. This is especially crucial during the Covid-19 crisis when the need for connection and for AA’s message of recovery is great.
Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group depends on contributions
• To cover the expenses for refreshments, literature and other supplies that will arise as soon as physical meetings resume.
• To pay rent or other expenses for some or all of the period of the confinement, as may be called for according to each Group’s situation, and as may be decided by group conscience.
• To contribute to AA Intergroup.
Biarritz BAB AA Group depends on contributions:
• To pay for the Zoom accounts that allow meetings and conventions to be held online.
• To pay for our websites – more important than ever to carry the AA message.
• To pay for the telephone helpline providing information for newcomers.
• To contribute to our AA Regions.
• Our AA Regions and AA World Services depend on contributions:
To continue to carry the AA message in France, Europe and worldwide.
• How will this online payment facility be managed?
• Only contributions from AA members will be accepted. Any outside contributions will be declined.
• Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group will be responsible for the online contribution system, on behalf of the AA Group it serves.
• A trusted servant will be designated with the specific responsibility of managing the online payment system on behalf of Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group it serves.
• A second trusted servant will be designated to oversee this management.
• Both servants will be accountable to Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group on behalf of the AA Groups it serves.
• All contributions will be treated anonymously by the facility’s managers, in keeping with AA’s 12th Tradition: “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions”. – – Any names, addresses, email addresses or other data forwarded by the PayPal payment system will be handled in the strictest anonymity.
• No personal information will be shared with any third parties.
• For information on how PayPal manages personal data, please see https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/ua/privacy-full#dataCollect
• Contributions earmarked in the “Notes” field for Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group will be collected and forwarded to the treasurer of this Group, to be used by each Group according to the group conscience.
• Unless a specific Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group is designated in the “Notes” field, contributions will be collected and forwarded to the treasurer of Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group.
• These contributions will be used to fund Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group’s activities on behalf of the Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group, as decided by the Group, and in accordance with the 12 Traditions of AA and AA’s 12 Concepts for World Service.
• Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group decides whether the Group wishes to participate in this online contribution system. If the Group so decides, it can participate by giving out the details for the online payment system during its online meetings, to allow members to make 7th-tradition contributions online.
• The system has been set up for the period of the Covid-19 confinement in France. At the end of this period, Biarritz BAB English-speaking AA Group will re-evaluate their needs going forward.
For more details please email email@example.com
A.A. Funding Facts
• A.A. groups only accept money from participants, and those contributions are capped at $5,000 a year.
• Bequests in wills are accepted only from A.A. members, only on a one-time basis, with a limit of $5,000.
• There is no limitation on contributions realized from conventions, conferences, dinners, area get-togethers, etc.
• Not all the money goes into one pot—each A.A. entity (group, district, area, central office and G.S.O.) is separate and autonomous.
The twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
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.
3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose
7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
A.A’s Twelve Concepts For World Service
The Twelve Concepts for World Service were written by A.A.’s co-founder Bill W., and were adopted by the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1962. The Concepts are an interpretation of A.A.’s world service structure as it emerged through A.A.’s early history and experience. The short form of the Concepts reads:
1. Final responsibility and ultimate authority for A.A. world services should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship
2. The General Service Conference of A.A. has become, for nearly every practical purpose, the active voice and the effective conscience of our whole society in its world affairs.
3.To insure effective leadership, we should endow each element of A.A.—the Conference, the General Service Board and its service corporations, staffs, committees, and executives—with a traditional “Right of Decision.”
4. At all responsible levels, we ought to maintain a traditional “Right of Participation,” allowing a voting representation in reasonable proportion to the responsibility that each must discharge.
5, Throughout our structure, a traditional “Right of Appeal” ought to prevail, so that minority opinion will be heard and personal grievances receive careful consideration.
6. The Conference recognizes that the chief initiative and active responsibility in most world service matters should be exercised by the trustee members of the Conference acting as the General Service Board.
7. The Charter and Bylaws of the General Service Board are legal instruments, empowering the trustees to manage and conduct world service affairs. The Conference Charter is not a legal document; it relies upon tradition and the A.A. purse for final effectiveness.
8. The trustees are the principal planners and administrators of over-all policy and finance. They have custodial oversight of the separately incorporated and constantly active services, exercising this through their ability to elect all the directors of these entities.
9. Good service leadership at all levels is indispensable for our future functioning and safety. Primary world service leadership, once exercised by the founders, must necessarily be assumed by the trustees
10. Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority, with the scope of such authority well defined.
11. The trustees should always have the best possible committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs, and consultants. Composition, qualifications, induction procedures, and rights and duties will always be matters of serious concern.
12. The Conference shall observe the spirit of A.A. tradition, taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that it place none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over others; that it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of government; that, like the Society it serves, it will always remain democratic in thought and action.
An advocate is a person who supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. Advocacy is support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. Advocacy means giving a person or group support to have their voice heard. It is a service aimed at helping people understand their rights and express their views.
Advocacy seeks to ensure that all people in the group are able to:-
• Have their voice heard on issues that are important to them
• Protect and promote their rights
• Have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives
Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to:-
• Express their views, thoughts and concerns
• Access information, advice and guidance
• Explore choices and options for services and care
What is Self-Supporting
Self-support begins with me, because I am part of us – the group. The organizers, BAB Anglophone AA Group pay rent, utility bills, buy coffee, snacks, and A.A. Literature, support their Intergroup office, their area committee, and their General Service Office. If it were not for those entities, many would never discover the miracles of A.A. advocacy seeks to ensure that all people in the Group are able to:-
• Have their voice heard on issues that are important to them
• Protect and promote their rights
• Have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives
Are AA donations tax deductible?
Alcoholics Anonymous Cleveland District Office is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization with the IRS, and your donation is fully tax-deductible within the guidelines of the U.S. law. Similar arrangements to the best of our knowledge have not yet been made for Europe | More info
Do AA groups have to file taxes?
Each A.A. group must get its own individual number; there is no one number that applies to Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole. Depending on how much your group will keep on deposit at a bank and what its fees are, you may want to file for tax-exempt status. | More info
Do you have to pay for AA?
There are no dues or fees for AA membership. An AA group will usually have a collection during the meeting to cover expenses, such as rent, coffee etc, Members are free to contribute as much or as little as they wish. | More info
How does AA define an alcoholic?
While there is no formal “A.A. definition” of alcoholism, most of us agree that, for us, it could be described as a physical compulsion, coupled with a mental obsession. We mean that we had a distinct physical desire to consume alcohol beyond our capacity to control it, and in defiance of all rules of common sense. | More info