THE TWELVE CONCEPTS FOR WORLD SERVICE
The Twelve Concepts for World Service were written by A.A.’s co-founder Bill W., and
were adopted by the General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1962.
The Concepts are an interpretation of A.A.’s world service structure as it emerged
through A.A.’s early history and experience. The short form of the Concepts reads:
1. Final responsibility and ultimate authority for A.A. world
services should always reside in the collective conscience of
our whole Fellowship.
2. The General Service Conference of A.A. has become, for
nearly every practical purpose, the active voice and the
effective conscience of our whole society in its world affairs.
3. To insure effective leadership, we should endow each
element of A.A.—the Conference, the General Service
Board and its service corporations, staffs, committees, and
executives—with a traditional “Right of Decision.”
4. At all responsible levels, we ought to maintain a traditional
“Right of Participation,” allowing a voting representation in
reasonable proportion to the responsibility that each must
5. Throughout our structure, a traditional “Right of Appeal”
ought to prevail, so that minority opinion will be heard and
personal grievances receive careful consideration.
6. The Conference recognizes that the chief initiative and
active responsibility in most world service matters should be
exercised by the trustee members of the Conference acting
as the General Service Board.
7. The Charter and Bylaws of the General Service Board are
legal instruments, empowering the trustees to manage and
conduct world service affairs. The Conference Charter is not
a legal document; it relies upon tradition and the A.A. purse
for final effectiveness.
8. The trustees are the principal planners and administrators of
over-all policy and finance. They have custodial oversight of
the separately incorporated and constantly active services,
exercising this through their ability to elect all the directors of
9. Good service leadership at all levels is indispensable for our
future functioning and safety. Primary world service
leadership, once exercised by the founders, must
necessarily be assumed by the trustees.
10. Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal
service authority, with the scope of such authority well
11. The trustees should always have the best possible
committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs,
and consultants. Composition, qualifications, induction
procedures, and rights and duties will always be matters of
12. The Conference shall observe the spirit of A.A. tradition,
taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth
or power; that sufficient operating funds and reserve be its
prudent financial principle; that it place none of its members
in a position of unqualified authority over others; that it reach
all important decisions by discussion, vote, and whenever
possible, substantial unanimity; that its actions never be
personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy;
that it never perform acts of government; that, like the
Society it serves, it will always remain democratic in thought
Copyright © A.A. World Services, Inc.
TWELVE STEPS | TWELVE TRADITIONS