“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.”
1. In the 12 & 12, on page 132, the first line of this first paragraph says:
“Where does A.A. get its direction? Who runs it?”
2. God, as he may express Himself through the group conscience, is the authority for the group. Some people get confused because they’re afraid that the group will run their personal lives, and they don’t want to surrender their personal life to the group conscience. The Second Tradition applies to the group.
3. The group conscience directs the actions of the group, not of the individuals within the group. We need to trust God’s direction and guidance for the actions we take in our own lives.
4. When a business matter comes up for discussion, and a decision needs to be made, all of the members present are encouraged to express their opinions and vote. Sometimes the result agrees with our individual opinion; sometimes it doesn’t. We need to trust that the decision reached is the expression of God’s will.
5. One common misconception is that there are no leaders in program. And yet the Second Tradition very clearly states that “Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.”
6. If our leaders are but trusted servants, then obviously, we must have leaders. The difference is that they are not dictators. They serve, they don’t govern.
7. Please turn to page 134, in the first full paragraph, in the fifth line, where it says:
“…the group now has a so-called rotating committee, very sharply limited in its authority. In no sense whatever can its members govern or direct the group.”
8. Skipping down to the seventh line from the bottom of that paragraph, on page 134, it says:
“The committee gives no spiritual advice, judges no one’s conduct, issues no orders. Every one of them may be promptly eliminated at the next election if they try this. And so they make the belated discovery that they are really servants, not senators.”
9. To function, every group needs service people: a secretary, a treasurer, a book person, etc. These people are servants of the group, not the authority behind the group.
10. Skipping down to the next paragraph, it says:
“This brings us straight to the question ‘Does A.A. have a real leadership?’ Most emphatically the answer is ‘Yes, notwithstanding the apparent lack of it.’”
11. In the 12 & 12, on page 135, six lines from the bottom of the page, it says:
“They do not drive by mandate; they lead by example.”
12. Moving on to page 138, the sixth line from the bottom of the page, quotes one of Bill Wilson’s favorite sayings. It says:
“…that sometimes the good is the enemy of the best?”
13. That’s an important concept because very often we reach a point in our program where we say, “How can I ask for God to make things better? Look at what He has done for me so far.”
14. We need to remember that God is all powerful, that there is nothing limited about Him. We need to remember that God can take a good situation and make it even better.
15. When we say, “Things are going well; how can I ask for it to get better?” we are putting a limitation on an all powerful God.
Please use R.A.'s Questions and Answers Forum to ask any questions or make any comments about any of this.