Concept Six: On behalf of C.A. as a whole, our World Service Conference has the principal responsibility for the maintenance of our world services, and it traditionally has the final decision respecting large matters of general policy and finance. But the Conference also recognizes that the chief initiative and the active responsibility in most of these matters should be exercised primarily by the Trustee members of the Conference when they act among themselves as the World Service Board of Cocaine Anonymous.
CA NewsGram, Third Quarter 2000, Vol. 14 No. 3 “Concept VI”
I would venture to say that most CA members are not familiar with our Twelve Concepts for World Service. Cocaine Anonymous is one of the few Twelve Step organizations which have sought (and received) permission from Alcoholics Anonymous to adapt the Twelve Concepts for their own use. The Concepts were set down by Bill Wilson, but they actually evolved over time as the AA Fellowship grew. “These Concepts therefore aim to record the ‘why’ of our service structure in such a fashion that the highly valuable experience of the past, and the lessons we have drawn from that experience, can never be forgotten or lost.” (AA Service Manual, p.3)
The Concepts, then, should provide a road map of where our Fellowship has been (building on the experience of AA), and where it is going – we hope. They also serve as a point of reference, should we stray too far from our primary purpose, thus making our journey back that much more direct. Some of the Concepts are primarily spiritual in nature, while others are more concerned with how our various service entities work in relation to one another.
In the Sixth Concept, we are reminded of the structure of our decision making process. Many of you may be aware of the “inverted pyramid” of our service structure, as outlined in the Cocaine Anonymous World Service Manual. This means that the group conscience of each CA group should be expressed to its District, Districts through Areas, which in turn elect Delegates to the World Service Conference. The World Service Conference, then, is the ultimate voice of the group conscience of our entire Fellowship. But for obvious reasons, the World Service Conference can only meet for a few days once a year – someone must make decisions on behalf of CA during the remainder of the year when the group conscience of the Conference is unavailable. Thus, as this Concept makes clear, the Conference is better left to larger matters of policy. On an ongoing basis, however, the Conference must delegate to trusted servants (in this case appropriately called “Trustees”) the broad authority necessary to carry out these policies.
Many of the operations of our World Services, though spiritual in their ultimate intent, are essentially business matters. Cocaine Anonymous World Services, Inc. is a corporation that publishes literature, ships materials, manages finances, etc. As a practical matter, the Conference must delegate to the Trustees liberal authority to oversee the finances and public information activities, to oversee the operations of our World Service Office, and to guide the Fellowship as the active guardians of our Twelve Traditions.
Cocaine Anonymous World Service Manual 2023 Edition p. 60 – 62
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. The WSBT may consist of both addicts and non-addicts as may be needed for professional areas of expertise and to broaden our perspective. Its members are known as Trustees. The only interest of the Trustees is to serve the best interest of our Fellowship. They are given such authority by and through the World Service Conference.
The WSBT, like the World Service Office, functions as an entity apart from the program. All actions by the WSBT are guided by the Traditions.
The World Service Office is responsible to the WSBT. In order to perform their various functions, the WSBT utilizes a subcommittee system.
Cocaine Anonymous World Service Manual 2022 Edition p. 62
There are five types of Trustees: (1) World Service Trustee; (2) Regional Trustee; (3) World Service Office Trustee; (4) Trustee-at-Large; and (5) Non-Addict Trustee.
Regional Trustee: Regional Trustees are from the various designated regions. While no Trustee can be said to represent a geographical section of the country or world, Regional Trustees bring an invaluable regional point of view to the WSBT.
World Service Trustee: World Service Trustees are from an area within 125 miles of the World Service Office in California.
World Service Office Trustee: The WSO Trustee is an active volunteer director, who is not already a Trustee, on the WSO Board of Directors.
Non-Addict Trustee: Non-Addict Trustees are from the various designated Regions. Trustee-at- Large: The Trustee will be chosen from the seven regions of Cocaine Anonymous.
Trustees at Large are chosen for their special experience, talents or background. They should: have the ability to be versatile, fill in positions where needed on various committees, attend regional caucuses/conventions, and be, in the purest sense, a servant to the entire Fellowship.
Clarifying Questions and Answers:
Q: What is World Service Board (W.S.B.T.) of Trustees? A: The WSBT is an advisory board rather than a directive board.
Q: What does the WSBT do? A: It is their responsibility to offer guidance to members, Groups, and service committees in matters concerning the Traditions or matters, which affect C.A. as a whole.
Q: What authority does the WSBT have? A: The WSBT does NOT govern. As a practical matter, the Conference must delegate to the Trustees liberal authority to oversee the finances and public information activities, to oversee the operations of our World Service Office, and to guide the Fellowship as the active guardians of our Twelve Traditions. Our Second Concept ensures that major policy decisions can only be made by the group conscience of the World Service Conference.