Tradition Nine (Short): C.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
Tradition Nine (Long): Each A.A. group needs the least possible organization. Rotating leadership is the best. The small group may elect its secretary, the large group its rotating committee, and the groups of a large metropolitan area their central or intergroup committee, which often employs a full-time secretary. The trustees of the General Service Board are, in effect, our A.A. General Service Committee. They are the custodians of our A.A. Tradition and the receivers of voluntary A.A. contributions by which we maintain our A.A. General Service Office at New York. They are authorized by the groups to handle our over-all public relations and they guarantee the integrity of our principal newspaper, the A.A. Grapevine. All such representatives are to be guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders in A.A. are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole. They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.
C.A. World Service Manual 2020 Edition p. 11
Formal organization is kept to a minimum at the local Group level. The Group may have a limited number of “officers” whose responsibilities include, but are not limited to, arranging meetings, providing refreshments, handling the Group’s budget, and maintaining contact with the local service organization.
C.A. World Service Manual 2020 Edition p. 53
The World Services Board of Trustees (WSBT) has the broadest scope of any branch of our service structure. The responsibility of this Board is to help deal with anything that affects C.A. as a whole, either internally or externally. All things that may endanger the existence of our Fellowship or limit our growth are of concern to WSBT. The WSBT does NOT govern. Its nature is that of custodian only, providing guidance.
C.A. World Service Manual 2020 Edition p. 69
Conference Charter: 1) Purpose: The World Service Conference of Cocaine Anonymous is the guardian of the world services and of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Cocaine Anonymous. The Conference shall be a service body only, never a government for Cocaine Anonymous.
AA, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, P. 173
You might think A.A.’s headquarters in New York would be an exception. Surely, the people there would have to have some authority. But long ago, trustees and staff members alike found they could do no more than make suggestions, and very mild ones at that. They even had to coin a couple of sentences which still go into half the letters they write: “Of course, you are at perfect liberty to handle this matter any way you please.
AA, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, P. 174
It is clear now that we ought never to name boards to govern us, but it is equally clear that we shall always need to authorize workers to serve us. It is the difference between the spirit of vested authority and the spirit of service, two concepts which are sometimes poles apart. It is in the spirit of service that we elect the A.A. group’s informal rotating committee, the intergroup association for the area, and the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous for A.A. as a whole.
Clarifying Questions and Answers:
Q: What is it C.A. needs very little of? A: Least possible organization.
Q: What kind of leadership is best? A: Rotating leadership.
Q: A small group may elect a what? A: Secretary.
Q: A large group may need what? A: A rotating committee.
Q: Large cities may find it desirable to have what? A: A District or Area Service Committee.
Q: What would be required for the central committee? A: Sugguested 10 or more groups.
Q: The trustees of the C.A. are what? A: World Services Committee.
Q: Of what are they custodians? A: Our 12 Traditions.
Q: What do they receive? A: Voluntary contributions from Groups, Districts, and Areas.
Q: What do our contributions maintain? A: World Services Office in Los Angeles.
Q: What have the groups authorized them to do? A: Handle our over-all public relations.
Q: They guarantee the integrity of what? A: The integrity of our newsletter, the C.A. Newsgram.
Q: All representatives are to be guided by what? A: The spirit of service.
Q: Our true leaders are what? A: Trusted and experienced servants.
Q: They derive no what? A: Real authority.
Q: What do they not do? A: Govern.
Q: Universal respect is what? A: The key to their usefulness.
- Am I willing to give up control of my CA group and those around me?
- Do I exercise patience and humility when performing service work in CA?
- When performing service work, do I view the people I serve as individual members of CA?
- Am I aware of the importance of the spirit of rotation?
- Am I able to end my term of service and exit gracefully?