The Conference shall observe the spirit of AA 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 , by substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of government, and that, like the society it serves, it will always remain democratic in thought and action.
General Warranties of the Conference: in all its proceedings, the General Service Conference shall observe the spirit of AA Tradition, taking great care that the conference never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle; that none of the Conference Members shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any others; that all important decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and, whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy; that, though the Conference may act for the service of Alcoholics Anonymous, it shall never perform any acts of government; and that, like the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous which it serves, the Conference itself will always remain democratic in thought and action.
'in all its proceedings, the General Service Conference shall observe the spirit of AA Tradition, taking great care that the conference never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power'
· Do I pursue service to God and others as my primary goal?
· If that is not my primary goal, what is?
· Do I pursue wealth or power?
· Do I pursue these to restore wounded self-esteem?
· If so, what past, unresolved attack on my self-esteem have I not seen through and thus forgiven?
· Do I recognise that wealth and power, in as far as they come to me, remains God's, on whose behalf they are to be used?
· Can I instead manifest my self-esteem through service to God and others?
'that sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle'
· Do I work to ensure I have enough funds to live?
· Do I set aside sufficient funds for savings, a pension, etc.?
· Do I have one year's operating expenses as a reserve, with two-thirds available 'without loss, thereby enabling us to meet hard times or even a calamity'?
· Do I live sufficiently within my means to build up and maintain this reserve?
· Do I have a budget?
· Do I monitor adherence to this budget?
· Do I work more/spend less when I discover I am over-spending?
· Am I reckless?
· Am I miserly?
· Am I personally attached to my money (clue: do I feel fearful or personally threatened when something threatens my money, finances, or assets)?
'that none of the Conference Members shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any others'
· Do I place myself in a position of unqualified authority over any others?
· Do I place others in such a position over me?
· Do I dictate to others in general?
· Do I let others dictate to me?
· Where God or the world does give me authority, do I behave like a dictator, or a coach who is leading by example?
'that all important decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and, whenever possible, by substantial unanimity'
· Do I seek discussion and consensus with friends, with family, in the workplace, or in other settings?
· When I hold a minority view, can I nonetheless bow to the majority?
· Or do I block the majority view?
'that no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy'
· Do I have punitive (punishing) feelings towards anyone?
· How do those feelings manifest?
· Do I exhibit anger, or punitive or aggressive intent?
· If I want to punish, it means I feel attacked. Do I promptly work Steps Four–Nine to remove the sense of attack?
· Do I forgive? Without exception? Straight away?
· Do I cause or court public controversy to no good purpose?
· Do I gossip or bitch? If so, why am I doing this?
· Am I a creator of confusion or harmony?
· When I am attacked, do I maintain a non-aggressive, pacific attitude—or am I prone to anger, hostility, rebellion, and aggression?
· Do I realise that my best defence is usually no defence at all, namely complete silence at the public level?
· Do I restrict myself, where the critic is misinformed, to communicating in a 'temperate and informative way', and privately?
· When criticism is indeed justified, do I acknowledge this to the individual who has criticised me?
· When the Traditions are being violated, do I inform the violator privately?
· When one or more people want to break away or withdraw (from my home group, from my friendship circle, from my sponsorship of them, or from a closer relationship), do I respond with non-resistance and completely avoid anger and attack?
'that, though the Conference may act for the service of Alcoholics Anonymous, it shall never perform any acts of government and that, like the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous which it serves, the Conference itself will always remain democratic in thought and action.'
· Do I feel threatened by people who disagree with me?
· Do I respect the views of those who disagree with me, or do I attempt to override, punish, shame, demonise, or ostracise them?
· Do I act in anger, haste, or recklessness, or instead do I make decisions thoughtfully and after due consideration?
· Do I force the programme on anyone, in any way?
· Do I restrict myself to offering my experience, for fun and for free, wanting nothing in return?
'Taken as a whole, our Conference Charter is the substance of an informal agreement which was made between the AA groups and their Trustees in 1955. It is the agreed basis upon which the General Service Conference operates. In part, the Charter is an elastic document; its first eleven Articles can be readily amended by the Conference itself at any time.
But Article 12 of the Charter stands in a class by itself. An amendment or a cancellation of any of its vital Warranties would require the written consent of three-quarters of all the directory-listed AA groups who would actually vote on any such proposals, and the considerable time of six months is allowed for careful deliberation.'
'We are guaranteed the freedom of selfless service by observing the six warranties.'
'For us, prudence is a workable middle ground, a channel of clear sailing between the obstacles of fear on the one side and of recklessness on the other.'
'Above all, we devote ourselves to the newcomer, and this is our principal Twelfth Step work. In this activity we often take large amounts of time from business hours. Considered in terms of money, these collective sacrifices add up to a huge sum. But we do not think that this is anything unusual. We remember that people once gave their time to us as we struggled for sobriety.'
'Therefore it is evident that the harmony, security, and future effectiveness of AA will depend largely upon our maintenance of a thoroughly non-aggressive and pacific attitude in all our public relations.'
'Almost without exception it can be confidently estimated that our best defence in these situations would be no defence whatever—namely, complete silence at the public level.'
'Unreasonable people are stimulated all the more by opposition. If in good humour we leave them strictly alone, they are apt to subside the more quickly. If their attacks persist and it is plain that they are misinformed, it may be wise to communicate with them in a temperate and informative way; also in such a manner that they cannot use our communication as a springboard for fresh assault.'
'There is, too, a grave problem that we have never yet had to face. This would be in the nature of a deep rift running clear across AA—a cleavage of opinion so serious that it might involve a withdrawal of some of our membership into a new society of their own, or in their making an alliance with an outside agency in contravention of the AA Tradition … Our considered opinion is this: that the best possible Conference attitude in such a circumstance would be that of almost complete non-resistance—certainly no anger and certainly no attack.'
'Indeed we have always practiced this principle on a lesser scale. When a drunk shows up among us and says that he doesn't like the AA principles, people, or service management; when he declares that he can do better elsewhere—we are not worried. We simply say, "Maybe your case is different. Why don't you try something else?" '
'In the light of all this experience, it becomes evident that in the event of a really extensive split we would not have to waste time persuading the dissenters to stay with us. In good confidence and cheer, we could actually invite them to secede and we would wish them well if they did so. Should they do better under their new auspices and changed conditions, we would ask ourselves if we could not learn from their fresh experience.'
'Freedom under God to grow in His likeness and image will ever be the quest of the Alcoholics Anonymous.'