Group Inventory

From that ten-cent phone call and a cup of coffee to AA's General Service Office. What's your take on service?

Group Inventory

Postby matt z » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:03 am

Hey everybody, I haven't been here in a while, but I always come here when I can't find information in my area. Does anyone have any experience with taking a group inventory? I was voted in as GSR for my group and when I asked what my responsibilities are I was told to go to District Meetings. After I got my Service Packet I see that there is actually a whole lot more. I have started listening to some tapes I found on XA speakers regarding GSR and the 12 concepts. One of the speakers mentioned something about a group inventory. Now I'm a little more than curious. This speaker also said that if I am not reporting to my DCM what is going on with my group, then I'm not really doing my job. I talked to one other GSR in my area and he says that the majority of the groups in our area have not done a group inventory in a while. I have seen the little sheets about group inventory, but that's about all I know. I hope that everyone is doing well. thank you for any responses. Thanks for reading if you don't respond.
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Re: Group Inventory

Postby PaigeB » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:02 am

It looks like you have jumped in with both feet! I did that just about 2 years ago when I was voted in as GSR and now I have passed it on to another. Certainly the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I will miss it.

It was a challenge to get my group to bounce out of a rather "mellow" stasis. We did not do a group inventory. Maybe the new gal will have such a thing in mind!

We here at e-aa have done one. I think it is in the Forums some where. Ask our coordinator Ann in a PM. Her name is in red and you just click on it to go to her profile where you will see an option to send a Private Message.

Good luck and Good Love.
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Re: Group Inventory

Postby Todd M » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:01 am

Google / web Search "AA group Inventory" ...
there are many choices to choose from...

each list of questions the group conscience discuss to identify areas to improve.
at the next meeting the group conscience makes a list of Group Actions to aim at.

some large groups form an separate committee to identify these things,
then bring it back to the Business meeting...

my home group tries to do this every 3 years

this e-AA group did one about 2 years ago
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http://www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
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Re: Group Inventory

Postby Tommy-S » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:55 am

Congrats, Matt

Service is that 3rd leg of our Legacies, and is as necessary as Unity & Recovery for personal growth and balance for me. Besides, I have a lot of fun in service.

The AA website is a great help (http://www.aa.org).

Under Literature, then Miscellaneous, you'll find a downloadable Service Manual http://www.aa.org/lang/en/catalog.cfm?category=8

Also under Literature, then Service Materials, there is a Traditions Checklist which the Grapevine put out as a Home Group Inventory (I have included it in the Tradition posts on here) http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/smf-131_en.pdf

The GSR is, after all, the Guardian of AA Traditions.

And Oct/Nov 2002 Box 4-5-9 has an article on Group Inventory (pgs 5-6) that is worth a read http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/en_box459_oct-nov02.pdf


I am Not clear as to what your speaker was referring to in regards to reporting your Group activities at the District Meetings?

At our District, Group 'reports' took the form of assistance needed such as declining attendance or the Group's anniversary celebration or some event the members were inviting others to join in (bowling night or softball or a fishing trip). New service opportunities (treatment/jails, etc) were something the Group often knew of before the DCM did, and brought information to District Meetings

Different Regions, Areas & Districts, like our autonomous Groups, function a little differently... So to assume one speaker has it the 'right' way for every place is a little on the foolish side.

As was said, jump in and get the feel of things. Ask questions. And have fun keeping the doors of AA open for those who need us.

Thanks for your Service :)

Tommy
Last edited by Tommy-S on Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Group Inventory

Postby matt z » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:57 pm

Wow! Thanks for the assisatance. I just came from my group meeting and we took a group conscience about defining my role. I was a little put off, but I asked myself what was I expecting. I was told that all I do is go to district meetings and get fliers and directories and that's it. I shared what I stated in my earlier post and I was told that what I hear on speaker tapes is one persons opinion. I was then told that if I wanted to move forward and put forth the effort I was more than welcome, but in regards to trying to get my group to go along with any rules or regulations (not sure what that meant) that I would be met with some resistance. I asked if a group inventory had ever been completed and I was told no. The group has been around since 1986. I was told you could try to do one, but group members might not allow it. I talked about what the GSR pamphlet says and I was told that our group doesn't need that type of rigidity. I was repeatedly told that I was free to do what I wanted with the GSR role, but I might find that no one else would be on board. I asked how many home group members there were and I was told maybe 4 and they didn't really know. I was nominated to this position by a home group member, this wasn't my home group until I was asked to serve. It has given me a lot to think about. I wondered if they didn't want me to do the work than why fill the position? I was told that the group could probably Do without the GSR position and it really wasn't that important. That's not what the GSR pamphlet says, but ok. I left slightly dismayed, but then I thought that this is an opportunity and I can look at it anyway I want. The book tells me that aa shows me how to create the fellowship I crave. I am going to continue looking into this. I will do as the group asks me, but that doesn't mean I can't learn a little more if I take the initiative to do so.

Thanks for the replies and the information. I hope all of you have a wonderful day.
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Re: Group Inventory

Postby Tommy-S » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:26 pm

Certainly an interested, but Not uncommon story. AA's resist change even for the better :)

The role of GSR is also defined in the Service Manual (though I don't know if covers more or less than the GSR pamphlet).

Concept III (Service manual) is the Right of Decision...
"...Trust our responsible leaders to decide, within the understood framework of their duties (GSR Duties pg s26-s27), how they will interpret and apply their own authority and responsibility to each particular problem or situation as it arises", (pg 15)
. This is the difference between a Trusted Servant and an Instructed Messenger. The GSR is supposed to be a Trusted Servant.

I would certainly recommend checking out Concept 9 in the Service Manual, as Bill W included "Leadership in AA: Ever a Vital need" (Service Manual, pg 38) We do lead in AA, and maybe you will be the fellow to help motivate these folks towards cooperation.

(I started a topic on this: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=10387 )

But remember, we are trusted servants. We are the Designated Authority of the group's Ultimate Authority (as the Higher Power is the Ultimate Authority for the Group... in Theory, if not fact). Our responsibility is to do the best for the group, not 'run' the group.... " they do not govern." (Tradition 2)

That being said, I might tell the Group, "No thanks"... Not being a group member and having the Group's Trust, I would not willing become their Instructed Messenger as I am not much for 'volunteering' to swim upstream.

Regardless of what you decide, you may wish to start looking for a Service Sponsor in that area, preferably someone with at least the next position you wish to hold (like DCM). It helps to have someone well versed in Traditions & Concepts & our Service Structure... I know it makes a difference in my Service.

Thanks

Tommy
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Re: Group Inventory

Postby matt z » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:38 pm

Tommy, thank you for the reply. I managed to get through the first four chapters of the service manual. The more and more I look at this I think that I was just "the guy" to fill a position. I meet the majority of the suggested requirements. How I got this position was by way of default. I was approached by the old GSR about 4 months ago. She kind of pussy-footed about me maybe wanting to go to the district meetings. I didn't think much of it, until she said that she wouldn't be able to fulfill the duties of GSR. I didn't know enough to ask if there was an alternate. The twelve traditions are all kind of a big "huh" for me. I have 22 months of sobriety and I, now, have an interest in service work. When she finally came out and said that she thought that I would be good for this particular GSR position I knew enough to ask "aren't I supposed to be voted in?". That was arranged and lo and behold! Here I am. I am writing my sponsor tonight, and I will ask him what his thoughts are.

I will say this, I had no idea how AA was being held together before I started asking questions and reading information regarding service. If anything I can chalk this up to experience and I know that others won't let me flop around confused. Tommy, thanks a million for helping out.
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Re: Group Inventory

Postby Tommy-S » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:03 pm

Thanks, Matt.

If you think you are the guy for the job, then you'll be able to do so. Our district meetings were nothing spectacular, but it did get me involved in putting on some local workshops, usually Correction Facilities stuff where we would invite the Chaplain or a member of the prison staff to come and tell local AA's about service in the prison & answer questions and concerns from those thinking about volunteering. It was a lot of fun, and with District hosting it, they provided the coffee and refreshments, and reimbursed us for (or donated) the AA literature we passed out.

Area Assemblies here are great... The entire Saturday is nothing but workshops for the various committees, and we get to meet & make new AA friends (& AA resources like the literature person(s) who have books and materials to donate, etc). Since we don't stay overnight, there is nothing to pay, except for lunch when we take over one of the local Chinese Buffets.

2 things I found important... Start training your replacement as soon as you find one, and keep enthused... Enthusiasm for Service gets others involved, and as we do have fun, that's not too hard a thing to do.

Best of luck... Tommy
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