This is service material printed by the General Service Office.
A.A. World Services, Inc. Box 459 Grand Central Station New York, NY 10163
Bill W. helped write an Intergroup pamphlet, which was published by the Intergroup Committee of New Jersey in March 1949. On the back page of the pamphlet, Bill wrote:
“Every A.A. member wants every alcoholic in the world to have the chance that he has had. Every A.A. member wants unity for our movement. Every A.A. member wants the good opinion of medicine, religion and the general public. We know we must have these things or the new man may never get his chance.”
“The Intergroup associations are the best insurance we can have that our life lines to the hundreds of thousands yet to come will never break or tangle. Let us always be generous. Let us warmly support Intergroup.”
A.A co-founder Bill W., 1949
Dr Bob was not only a supporter of the Intergroup/Central Office concept, he was an active participant in the Akron Central Committee. In “Dr Bob and the Good Old timers,” his involvement was discussed in some detail by Dan K., an early Akron A.A.
“Doc used to play an important part in the Central Committee. That was the steering committee for the office. We’d meet the first Monday of every month and he always attended. There’d be a member from each group. During the meetings, sometimes, the words would fly like you were in a barroom.” During one meeting Dr Bob stood up, hushed the crowd and said: “Gentlemen, please. We’re still members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Let’s carry the principles of A.A. into these business meetings. You are servants of your group (s), here to take the ideas formulated by the committee. Let one man talk at a time, and let us conduct this business meeting as a service to the Lord and a service to our fellow members of Alcoholics Anonymous.”
Are Intergroups & Central Offices a part of Alcoholics Anonymous?
Traditionally, general service committees and Intergroup/Central Offices have performed different functions. Central Offices provide local services; general service committees maintain the link between the AA groups and the AA General Service Board by means of the conference. So these two separate but vital service structures co-exist in many areas in mutual cooperation and harmony.
At the time the conference was started, there were already well-established Central Offices in several large cities, providing services for local AA groups and members. Today there are many more Central Offices located in the United States and Canada; supported by the AA groups in the communities they serve.
In contrast, the Conference structure is the method through which all AA groups in an area can provide the most effective communications within the area and between the groups and the General Service Board and G.S.O. on matters of policy that affect AA as a whole. These include policy on: Conference approved literature, AA public information, AA Cooperation, AA activity in treatment and corrections facilities, AA finances, the AA Grapevine, and the election of trustees to the General Service Board.
Many areas find that a liaison between the Intergroup & Central Office and the Area Committee is very helpful in maintaining good relations and communication. In some areas the liaison has a vote at the assembly; in others, a voice but no vote.
Reprinted from The AA Service Manual 2003-2004 Pg S37.
What Is A Central Office?
A Central Office (or Intergroup) is an A.A. service office that involves partnership among groups in a community – just as A.A. groups themselves are partnerships of individuals. It is established to carry out certain functions common to all the groups – functions, which are best, handled by a centralized office – and it is usually maintained, supervised, and supported by these groups in their general interest. It exists to aid the groups in their common purpose of carrying the A.A. message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
Intergroup/Central Office Functions
The A.A. experience has clearly demonstrated that central offices are essential, particularly in populous areas. There are over 500 Intergroups/Central Offices functioning throughout the world, performing vital and indispensable A.A. services. Needless to say, these constitute a network of service outlets and A.A. contacts for which we should be very grateful. These Intergroups/Central Offices provide such services as:
· Answer inquiries from those seeking help – suffering alcoholics, sober alcoholics, meetings, groups, professionals and the general public.
· Receive, arrange and follow up Twelfth Step Calls.
· Publish local AA meeting lists. Maintain websites listing local AA meetings.
· Communicate with a newsletter.
· Acts as an information exchange for local Groups, Areas, & Committees.
· Cooperate closely with GSO & local General Service Area Committee.
· Order, sell and distribute AA Conference approved literature.
Individual and Group Participation will help us “Carry the Message”
Intergroup/Central Office depends upon the local members and groups for the necessary support to carry out its responsibilities. This support comes in the form of volunteer help and financial contributions. Our efficiency and the continuation of services offered are related to the level of support from the groups.
· Visit Central Office – Drop in. Introduce yourself. Have a cup of coffee. Chat with the phone volunteer or staff member. This is the “heart line,” that first contact for newcomers; the point of new beginnings and directions; the information center for people in the fellowship.
· Volunteer at Central Office – help by answering our hotline phones.
· 12 Step Volunteer – sign up to be available to call suffering alcoholics who wish to get sober.
· Communicate with Central Office – With your help, Central Office maintains current information about meeting locations, times and special events.
· Intergroup Rep – represent your group at the monthly Intergroup business meeting.
· Intergroup Committees – Public Information, Newsletter, Phone, Outreach, and Special Events…
7th Tradition Financial Contributions
“When we meet and defeat the temptation to take large gifts, we are only being prudent. But when we are generous with the hat, we give a token that we are grateful for our blessing and evidence that we are eager to share what we have found with those who still suffer.” Bill W.
The seventh Tradition states, “Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” For support, our Intergroup/Central Office relies on the contributions of its groups and individual members so the work of carrying the message can continue. Groups contribute monthly to Intergroup/Central Office while individual members may contribute up to $2000 yearly through the birthday plan, individual contributions and in memoriam. Support of your group demonstrates gratitude for sobriety and a willingness to share with the alcoholic who still suffers.
I am responsible…
When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that I am responsible.