By laws for an AA group

Is the concept of a Home Group dying? What is a Home Group anyway? Talk about it here.
Post Reply
iHeartAA
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:42 pm

By laws for an AA group

Post by iHeartAA »

I first got sober in a farm area. Our groups and business meetings were kept really simple. GSR, chair, secretary, treasurer, coffee maker, greeter. Follow Traditions the best way we can. Very simple.

In a new group, they have by laws with very corporate language. Officers, laws, rules, simple majority votes. Very corporate sounding and not very spiritual sounding.

AA is a spiritual organization that runs counter-corporate. Group conscious, substantial unanimity, minority opinion, trusted servants that do not govern and whose titles carry no authority. Genuine humility. Democratic in thought and action.

I don’t know how to feel about by laws in groups. Every AA group should have the least organization. Dr Bob’s last words were to “Let’s keep this simple.”

Thoughts?
User avatar
PaigeB
Trusted Servant
Posts: 9198
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Location: Iowa USA

Re: By laws for an AA group

Post by PaigeB »

iHeartAA wrote: Sat Feb 27, 2021 8:40 am I first got sober in a farm area. Our groups and business meetings were kept really simple.

In a new group, they have by laws with very corporate language. Officers, laws, rules, simple majority votes. Very corporate sounding and not very spiritual sounding.

Every AA group should have the least organization. Dr Bob’s last words were to “Let’s keep this simple.”

Thoughts?
Somewhere along the line AA adopted Robert's Rules of Order. It is not corporate, it's British I think. It helps to keep folks from shouting each other down. We do it around here when "Necessary" but also around formal voting. I learned enough to bark out "Call the Question!" It means get back to order and have the Secretary read the original question, concern or proposal.

Both work.
Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
As you move to service in District and Area Robert's Rules become important because we don't know each other that well and it prevents argument!
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB
Indianapolis
Trusted Servant
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:42 am

Re: By laws for an AA group

Post by Indianapolis »

Fourth tradition is that "each group should be autonomous" except as to issues affecting other groups or AA as a whole.

So, if a group decides it wants formalized bylaws, I'm in no position to judge it. It doesn't affect my home group or AA as a whole.

I don't know if it's "best practice." I 100% hear your concern and appreciate that my home groups aren't so formalized. If I were in that group I'd think long and hard about a vote to abandon the legalities. Otherwise, if the majority wanted the bylaws and I didn't, I'd find or start a new group.

I'll also say, they didn't include a tradition that "all groups should have the least possible organization." That's not in the traditions. There are prohibitions on paid employees and outside sponsorships and the like, but the only directly on point tradition is the autonomy one, I think.
1Peter5:10
Forums Contributor
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:56 pm

Re: By laws for an AA group

Post by 1Peter5:10 »

The "official" explanation of Tradition #4 begins on
page 146 of The Twelve and Twelve.

It does not discuss how much formality is too much.
Not does it discuss how to identify groups that have adopted too much formality. It does however warn us via anecdote that such groups certainly do exist and that too much structure can be a problem.

It makes no such warning about groups having too little structure or formality.
iHeartAA
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:42 pm

Re: By laws for an AA group

Post by iHeartAA »

The long form of Tradition Nine

“9. - Each A.A. group needs the least possible organization. Rotating leadership is the best. The small group may elect its secretary, the large group its rotating committee, and the groups of large metropolitan area their central or intergroup committee, which often employs a full-time secretary. The trustees of the General Service Board are, in effect, our A.A. General Service Committee. They are the custodians of our A.A. Tradition and the receivers of voluntary A.A. contributions by which we maintain our A.A. General Service Office at New York. They are authorized by the groups to handle our overall public relations and they guarantee the integrity of our principle newspaper, the A.A. Grapevine. All such representatives are to be guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders in A.A. are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole. They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.“

On Robert’s Rules, I’ll have to see how they do it at the Assembly, but I was taught substantial unanimity. When a vote gets rammed through by one vote, one side gloats over “winning,” the other side becomes the bitter “loser.” In Concept XII, Fourth Warranty, “That all important decisions, be reached by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity.”

When there is substantial unanimity, there’s a confidence that the vote was given a careful consideration.

Tradition IV, “but we’re autonomous!” I’ve heard talks on this Tradition not be used to override all of the other Traditions.
Indianapolis
Trusted Servant
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:42 am

Re: By laws for an AA group

Post by Indianapolis »

I retract my prior message! Don't know if I've read/studied that longer form, but you're right. Interesting.
User avatar
Brock
Trusted Servant
Posts: 4702
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: By laws for an AA group

Post by Brock »

In Concept XII, Fourth Warranty, “That all important decisions, be reached by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity.”
Throughout the book of concepts they say as a reminder that these apply at all levels of world service, and in concept 5 they state - “Unless it has been absolutely unavoidable, the Conference has usually refused to take important decisions on anything less than a two-thirds vote.” So for the groups I have been involved with, including this one, that has been our guideline. But we usually say something like ‘silence indicates consent,’ so if someone just sits quietly and does not vote it means they agree with what was proposed, or in the case of voting here they don’t respond yes or no within a reasonable period of the proposal being posted, (usually one week).

I absolutely agree with keeping these things as simple as possible, and have found that those who try to complicate it are just trying to show off their knowledge of business, or maybe just watch too much of how the government is run.

It’s not a nice feeling when a group we want to be a part of is doing things we disagree with, or as in this case even things the literature indicates it shouldn’t do. But really it comes down to a choice of three things, we can attempt to change it as is being done by yourself, we can leave the group, or best of all we can accept it as something we have no power over. Too often people choose leaving, even in this group I have seen little arguments over procedure, lead to members of many years and service at the highest level quitting never to be heard from again. If only actually accepting things was as easy as reading ‘acceptance is the answer,’ in practice it’s often quite hard to do. But as the literature says these hard lessons lead to growth and the rewards found in humility, and demonstrate that we are able to hand over things which we can not control.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
Db1105
Forums Contributor
Posts: 313
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:32 am

Re: By laws for an AA group

Post by Db1105 »

Brock wrote: Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:06 am
In Concept XII, Fourth Warranty, “That all important decisions, be reached by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity.”
Throughout the book of concepts they say as a reminder that these apply at all levels of world service, and in concept 5 they state - “Unless it has been absolutely unavoidable, the Conference has usually refused to take important decisions on anything less than a two-thirds vote.” So for the groups I have been involved with, including this one, that has been our guideline. But we usually say something like ‘silence indicates consent,’ so if someone just sits quietly and does not vote it means they agree with what was proposed, or in the case of voting here they don’t respond yes or no within a reasonable period of the proposal being posted, (usually one week).

I absolutely agree with keeping these things as simple as possible, and have found that those who try to complicate it are just trying to show off their knowledge of business, or maybe just watch too much~~~and how the government is run.

It’s not a nice feeling when a group we want to be a part of is doing things we disagree with, or as in this case even things the literature indicates it shouldn’t do. But really it comes down to a choice of three things, we can attempt to change it as is being done by yourself, we can leave the group, or best of all we can accept it as something we have no power over. Too often people choose leaving, even in this group I have seen little arguments over procedure, lead to members of many years and service at the highest level quitting never to be heard from again. If only actually accepting things was as easy as reading ‘acceptance is the answer,’ in practice it’s often quite hard to do. But as the literature says these hard lessons lead to growth and the rewards found in humility, and demonstrate that we are able to hand over things which we can not control.
Please show some respect and not post your political opinions.
User avatar
Brock
Trusted Servant
Posts: 4702
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: By laws for an AA group

Post by Brock »

I have removed the reference to the speaker's name and just left “how the government is run.” The point I was trying to make is that some folks seem to overcomplicate AA business and run it like a government, I am from the Caribbean and have no opinion one way or the other about US politics.

I trust that this is a satisfactory change in the wording and am closing the report made to the moderators about the post.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
Post Reply