To be of Service

To be of service to A.A. is to give something back in exchange for what we have so freely been given.


Our Twelfth Step, carrying the message, is the basic service that the AA Fellowship gives: this is our principal aim and the main reason for our existence.  Therefore, AA is more than a set of principles; it is a society of alcoholics in action.  We must carry the message, else we ourselves can wither and those who haven’t been given the truth may die.

Hence, an AA service is anything whatever that helps us to reach a fellow sufferer, ranging all the way from the Twelfth Step itself to a ten-cent phone call and a cup of coffee, and to AA’s General Service Office for national and international action. The sum total of all these services is our Third Legacy of Service.

Services  include  meeting  places,  hospital  co-operation,  and  Intergroup  offices;  they  mean pamphlets,  books,  and  good  publicity  of  almost  every  description.  They  call  for  committees, delegates,  trustees  and  conferences.  And, not  to  be  forgotten,  they  need  voluntary  money contributions from within the Fellowship.


Experience has shown that for most AA members, a feeling of ‘belonging’ to a particular Group, often   known  as  the  member’s  ‘Home  Group’,  is  important  in  maintaining  sobriety  through Alcoholics Anonymous.

In the early days of the Fellowship, the AA members met in the homes of fellow members to share their experience, strength and hope with one another.  From such Home Groups they went on to help newcomers seeking sobriety through AA.

Thus the concept of the Home Group has grown to thousands of Groups through which the Home Group member helps others to recover from alcoholism.  Through the years, the very essence of AA strength has remained with the traditional “AA Home Group”.  This is true especially where isolated alcoholics have found sobriety, Fellowship, service work and the true joy of good living through their own AA Group.

Traditionally, many AA members through the years have found it important to belong to one Group which they call their Home Group.  This is the Group where they accept responsibility and try to sustain friendships.  And although all AA members are welcome at all Groups and feel at home at any of these  meetings, the concept of the  Home Group has still remained the strongest bond between the AA member and the Fellowship.

The Home Group concept affords the AA member the privilege and right to vote on issues which might affect AA as a whole and is the very basis of our service structure.  In Concept One Bill W writes “The ultimate responsibility and final authority for World Services resides with the Group, rather than with the Trustees of the General Service Board or the General Service Office.”

Obviously, as with all Group Conscience matters, AA members have but one vote each, and this should be exercised through their Home Group.

One AA member states the following about her Home Group: “This is the Group where I accept responsibility for being informed and available.   My Group cannot be in a contest designed for individuals, Group rivalry, or competition to see which Group is the biggest, or stays sober the longest, or which Group contributes the most service, or who is the most sought-after speaker.”

“… part of my commitment is to show up at my Home Group meetings, greet newcomers at the door, and to be available to the newcomer – not only for them, but also for me.  These Home Group members are the people who know me, who listen to me, and steer me straight when I am going off the beaten track.  This Home Group cares about me, and thus I can care about the newcomers that come to my Group.  When a newcomer walks in I want them to have the very best AA has to offer, just as I had.

“… if each of us stays active in our Home Group, making coffee, rotating onto committees, opening and closing meeting places, taking the 12 Steps and practicing the 12 Traditions, our Home Group will not only survive, it will be there for days, months and years to come offering all of us the loving, joyful and free life that AA has to offer, not only to us, but to all who follow us in this life of giving.”