Although I have been an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous and have remained sober with the grace of God, for 11 years, I have often felt that I was not “giving back” enough, by doing service work in AA. Approximately one month ago, I was given the opportunity to grow in the program and perform service work by taking on the role of General Service Representative for one of my regular AA meeting groups. The other members of this AA meeting group elected me to the position and I immediately resolved to perform my duties in that position to the best of my abilities.
Last Thursday night, I attended my first District Meeting, which is one of a G.S.R.’s responsibilities, in West Hartford, Connecticut. Fortunately, my sponsor, who has been a G.S.R. previously, attended the meeting with me and I’m very glad that he did so. Prior to the meeting, nobody really told me what to expect there and / or exactly what my duties in that position, were comprised of. My sponsor, Bill, took the time to point out which pamphlets, brochures and flyers I should bring back to my Alcoholics Anonymous group and I followed his instructions.
Laid – out on a long table at the District Meeting, were many different types of Alcoholics Anonymous literature, along with an array of flyers that advertised activities, meetings and a range of special events. I picked up a host of flyers that I thought would be relevant to my group, and at our weekly meeting last night, I arranged them on a table at our meeting place. There were also some Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlets that were geared toward G.S.R.’s at the District Meeting and I also picked up some of those.
One of the first things I noticed upon arriving at the District Meeting, was how many people were attending. I would estimate that at least 120 people were in attendance at the meeting, many of whom were fellow G.S.R.’s. At the beginning of the meeting, one of the people in charge asked all new G.S.R.’s to stand or raise their hands. As it turns out, there were quite a few new G.S.R.’s there, besides myself.
Shortly after the meeting began , one of the people in charge asked all new G.S.R.’s to meet in an adjoining room, where we would take part in an orientation meeting. At that mini meeting, us new G.S.R.’s, about 10 in number, were given a piece of paper on which we were asked to fill – out and hand in our contact information, including full name, address, telephone number and optional e – mail address. The contact information is necessary, because Alcoholics Anonymous G.S.R.’s do receive mail correspondence regarding various matters.
One of the main purposes that AA G.S.R.’s serve is as a link between AA’s General Service Office and individual AA groups. At the District Meetings, many ideas and agendas are brought up and discussed and the AA G.S.R. brings those ideas and agendas back to his or her individual AA group for further discussion and exploration.
Other areas that are part of an Alcoholics Anonymous G.S.R.’s universe are issues that arise concerning AA’s Traditions, as well as working with the individual groups’ treasurer, when it comes to matters of finance and AA’s philosophy of keeping A.A. self – supporting.
Most Alcoholics Anonymous G.S.R. terms run for two years and an alternate G.S.R. is also usually elected at the same time as an individual groups’ G.S.R. Although it is not written in stone, it is recommended that Alcoholics Anonymous G.S.R.’s have at least two or three years of sobriety before taking on such a responsible position.
If you are a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, with at least two years of sobriety, and are active with a specific meeting group, perhaps you might be interested in becoming an AA General Service Representative, or G.S.R. It’s a great way to become more connected with your group and AA as a whole and it is a responsible way to perform service work.
Personal experience with being a G.S.R.
Consulting with other AA members