The E-AA Group: a Spiritual Entity
"Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation" (Tradition Three, Long Form).
AA's essential group work is done by alcoholics who are themselves recovering in the fellowship, and each of us is entitled to do our AA job in the way we think best within the spirit of the Traditions. This means that we function as a democracy, with all plans for group action approved by the majority voice. No single individual is appointed to act for the group or for Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole.
Each group is as unique as a thumbprint, and approaches to carrying the message of sobriety vary not just from group to group but from region to region. Acting autonomously, each group charts its own course. The better informed the members, the stronger and more cohesive the group -- and the greater the assurance that when a newcomer reaches out for help, the hand of A.A. always will be there.
Most of us cannot recover unless there is a group. As Bill said, "Realization dawns on each member that he is but a small part of a great whole. ... He learns that the clamor of desires and ambitions within him must be silenced whenever these could damage the group. It becomes plain that the group must survive or the individual will not" ("The A.A. Group ... Where it all begins," p. 11).
References to the AA group as a spiritual entity date at least to the 1940s (see Bill W's Grapevine article, "Safe Use of Money," October 1946). In 1950, the principle was accepted throughout the Fellowship with the approval of the Twelve Traditions. Tradition Two reads: "For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority -- a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern".
Reference: Links: A.A. Traditions and (The Long Form)
The A.A. Service Manual combined with 12 Concepts for World Service, PDF
The A.A. Group ...Where it all begins, PDF
Added: 01/27/13 Modified: 04/06/13