(return to Guidelines)
The A.A. Guidelines below are compiled from
the practical experience of A.A, members in the various service areas in trying
to carry the message to deaf alcoholics. The suggestions offered are drawn
directly from two surveys within the Fellowship. They also reflect guidance
given through the Twelve Traditions and the General Service Conference (U.S. and
CARRYING THE MESSAGE TO DEAF ALCOHOLICS
One A.A. member reminded us that, in Twelfth
Step work, "Try not to treat the deaf alcoholic as different or special.
Allow him or her the best possible freedom to fit into a typical A.A.
The main thing to remember is that deaf
people have the same problem with alcohol as anyone else. While they come up
with a thousand reasons why they are different, let's emphasize over and over
"Don't drink; Keep coming back."
Often, everything must be written out for
those with impaired hearing; not all are great readers and writers. A smile, a
handshake, and a cup of coffee help carry "the language of the heart,"
even to those minus their hearing.
Try to encourage the newcomer to take some
A.A. literature and summarize what the speaker said on a note pad. Encourage
them to come to another meeting and try to work out a way for the deaf person to
bring a professional interpreter who uses sign language with them, or contact
one yourself at a nearby agency, or check with your local intergroup or central
office or general service area committee.
You may want to consider an interpreter for
the deaf alcoholic as a means of communication, perhaps someone who knows the
individual. This is important, as a qualified interpreter is trained to
communicate on the individual's level and will be more effective.
Care must be taken that the deaf person
doesn't become so dependent on the interpreter that there is little or no
interaction with other members. It is difficult to convey feelings through
We have learned that deaf people have
varying degrees of language skills which differ depending upon their age when
they became deaf. Most deaf people use sign language, but there are various
levels of competence, ranging from low to high verbal skills, and there are also
different types of sign language, not to mention regional dialects.
As you know, interpreters are professional
people who charge fees for their services. There are groups that cover this
expense. Sometimes an agency will take care of the expense. On occasion, local
area committees, districts, and central/intergroup offices have authorized
payment for interpreters. Occasionally advanced students of signing will do the
job at no fee for the experience gained. Whatever arrangements are made should
be based on the group conscience expressed after discussion at a business
meeting. For instance, is the group agreeable to having a non-A.A. attend its
closed meetings to act as interpreter for the deaf alcoholic? Is the group
willing to cover the expense of this service, or does it wish to appoint someone
to contact the central office or a professional agency about providing an
interpreter? In order to welcome the deaf person (and the interpreter) and make
the newcomer feel that he or she is an important addition to the group, it is
important that a full understanding be reached in advance. Nonalcoholic
interpreters should be introduced to the group before meetings.
More and more, dedicated A.A. members are
learning sign language in order to be more effective in this Twelfth Step work.
Here are some comments: "As a result of trying to communicate with deaf
alcoholics, I am finishing a course in sign language." "Learning this
skill for a hearing person necessitates being with the deaf often. Expecting a
hearing person to give himself often to the deaf community is expecting the
heroic. When I say often, I mean like constantly." "As two of us go on
Twelfth Step calls, it isn't necessary that both use sign language: one talks,
the other interprets."
Many area, district and central and
intergroup office newsletters publish information about groups for the deaf and
availability of instruction in sign language for anyone interested in learning.
SHARING BY MAIL
The International Deaf Group by Mail, listed
in the front of all A.A. directories, and the Loners‑Internationalist
Meeting, an A.A. meeting by mail, published six times a year, are ways to share
with others. Also, deaf members or groups can correspond with each other by
writing G.S.O. or their nearest intergroup/central office.
A.A. literature cited as most helpful with
the deaf includes Living Sober, "A.A. at a Glance," "Twelve
Traditions Illustrated," "Twelve Steps Illustrated," "Is
A.A. for Me?," "It Happened to Alice," "What Happened to
Joe?," the A.A. Grapevine (monthly), and the books Alcoholics Anonymous and
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book, is
available in American Sign Language (ASL) on video cassette.
In response to requests for simplified
material, the following service pieces are available in easy‑to‑read
and large type: "Twelve Steps" (also available in French),
"Twelve Traditions," "A Brief Guide to A.A.," "A Deaf
Newcomer Asks," and "Is A.A. for You?" In addition, there is a
list of deaf groups and contacts, a press release on help for deaf alcoholics,
and these Guidelines. All are available free of charge.
The videos, "Young People and
A.A.," "Hope: Alcoholics Anonymous" and "A.A.‑Rap With
Us," are all closed‑captioned for the deaf.
PUBLIC INFORMATION AND COOPERATION WITH
Based on the fine response G.S.O. received
from the professional agencies we contacted, we would encourage local P.I. and
C.P.C. committees to seek out agencies for the deaf (often included in local
agencies for the handicapped) and offer to put on an open A.A. meeting or a
Public Information meeting about Alcoholics Anonymous.
Another project that has been suggested for
P.I. committees is to take an A.A. meeting to schools for the deaf and/or
provide information and material about A.A. to such schools.
Often, local C.P.C. committees will exhibit
A.A. literature at deaf conferences. Some C.P.C. service people also make
presentations about A.A. and available services to conferences and professional
Apparently, there are a number of social
clubs for the deaf, and there are likely to be some alcoholics among the
members. At the very least, some club members may know of deaf alcoholics. If we
can make information available about what A.A. can offer the deaf person,
receptiveness toward attending A.A. meetings could become much more positive.
These clubs can be reached through the National Association for the Deaf or the
National Fraternal Association for the Deaf.
G.S.O. has T.V. public service announcements
that are captioned for the deaf.
EVENTS AND CONFERENCES
Deaf A.A. members may need a few special
considerations when attending an A.A. event. For those who have a fair amount of
hearing and/or who read lips, seating near the speaker may be all that is
required. Others who are deaf may require the use of a sign‑language
interpreter. Here are some points to consider when planning a conference or
meeting that will be attended by deaf A.A.s.
• Reserve interpreters well ahead of time
because they are in great demand.
• Budget the interpreting expenses. Find
out early what the estimated cost will be, whether by the hour or by the day. If
you are holding concurrent workshops, you may need more than one interpreter. If
your event is small (and short) you may be fortunate to find a qualified
volunteer, but do not expect to rely on volunteers.
• In arranging preferred seating for deaf
members, designate the reserved area clearly: "Please reserve for deaf
• Sensitize workshop leaders and meeting
chairpersons to the use of the interpreter. If there is trouble locating an
interpreter for a moment or two it is preferable to wait. In this way, those
members who depend on the interpreter will not be deprived of opening remarks or
• Stick with your plans once you have
announced that an event is sign-language accessible. Deaf people are very likely
to travel far for the few events that are interpreted. If the event is a large
one with concurrent meetings and workshops, plan for continuous availability of
several interpreters. Ask the deaf participants ahead of time which workshops
they plan to attend.
• If you are listing the event with the
General Service Office, your local intergroup/central office or in any A.A.
publication, specify that it is sign‑language interpreted. If possible,
have a T.D.D. number that deaf people can call for more information.
For information on TTY and TDD equipment
please check the Central Offices/Intergroup Directory, which indicates those
central offices with these special machines for the deaf. A list of offices
providing this service is also available from G.S.O.
We encourage you to keep us informed of your experience in trying to carry the message to deaf alcoholics, so that we can continue to improve our services in this area. G.S.O. will contact you when we receive requests for help from hearing‑impaired alcoholics in your community. We look forward to hearing from you, and wish you good luck in carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
With Special Needs
A.A. Guidelines are compiled from the shared experience of
A.A. members in various service areas. They also reflect guidance given through
the Twelve Traditions and the General Service Conference (U.S. and Canada). In
keeping with our Tradition of autonomy, except in matters affecting other groups
or A.A. as a whole, most decisions are made by the group conscience of the
members involved. The purpose of these Guidelines is to assist in reaching an informed
While there are no special A.A. members, many members have
special needs. For the purpose of these Guidelines, we define A.A.s with special
needs as persons who are blind or visually impaired; deaf or hearing impaired;
chronically ill or homebound, and those with limited reading skills.
Some areas are attempting to meet such needs by forming
Special Needs Committees. Since the goal is to make A.A. accessible, some
committees refer to themselves as Accessibilities Committees. In some areas
committees name themselves according to the specific need addressed, such as
"Hearing Impaired Committee." When one or more members of a group have
special needs (such as the need for an American Sign Language interpreter or
wheelchair accessibility, or have an illness which prevents them from getting to
the meeting room), A.A. members from that group will attempt to see that those
needs are met. The members of a Special Needs Committee explore, develop and
offer alternatives to make the A.A. message and participation in our program
available to everyone who reaches out for it.
CARRYING THE MESSAGE TO
A.A.s WITH PHYSICAL
Many A.A. members are hearing impaired or deaf, visually
impaired or blind, confined to their beds with a chronic illness, or use
wheelchairs, walkers or crutches. Members of a group may feel stymied when first
faced with these out‑of‑the‑ordinary requirements but, in
fact, there are many accommodations which can be made so that alcoholics with
special needs can be active, fully functioning members of a "regular"
group. Some adjustments are simple and some are more complicated‑but all
are possible for the member willing to "go to any lengths" for his or
her own sobriety and to help another alcoholic.
If a member is home‑ or hospital‑bound and unable
to get to a meeting, taking a meeting to his or her bedside is the
"miracle" solution! "I can't tell you," one hospitalized
A.A. reported, "what a difference it made in my mental and emotional state
when those six people showed up in my room carrying the message of A.A. and all
the love and support of our Fellowship. And they did it twice a week for three
months, until I was able to make meetings again! I was so down in the dumps
before; I really had sort of given up‑and, to be honest, I had started
thinking I might as well have a drink, since 1 was dying anyway. But hearing the
experience, strength and hope of others in the program inspired me to fight both
my illnesses the cancer and my
alcoholism. I don't know what I would have done without A.A. at that low point
in my life."
For members who aren't confined to bed, A.A.s in their group
often drive them to and from meetings, install wheelchair ramps over steps to
the meeting room, and arrange the room so that there is ample space for
wheelchairs or walkers. It is important to identify meetings accessible for
wheelchair users in local meeting schedules.
Services and material available for members who are
chronically ill and/or have limited ambulatory ability include the Loners/ Internationalist
Meeting (LIM), a newsletter for A.A. members who are in isolated areas, at
sea, or home‑ or hospital‑bound (known as Homers) and stay in touch
with other members by mail and newsletters. A similar publication (not through
G.S.O.) is World Hello, an
international correspondence group. Many A.A.s share via computer bulletin
boards and on‑line meetings (contact G.S.O. for more information).
Alcoholics Anonymous, the Third Edition of the Big Book, is also available on
two 3 1/2" diskettes that run in Microsoft Windows. G.S.O. has a service
piece, "Tapes for Sale and Exchange," that lists distributors of A.A.
talks, and the Grapevine has a series of popular audiocassettes on A.A.
DEAF OR HEARING
For members who are deaf or hearing impaired, the use of a
skilled interpreter in American Sign Language (ASL) is encouraged. The Special
Needs Committee can compile and maintain a list of meetings where ASL signers
are available, as well as a list of ASL interpreters who are willing to sign at
A.A. functions. The cost of ASL interpreters is a factor for many groups. In
some areas, the intergroup or district committees provide financial assistance
and/or help coordinate efforts to make signed meetings available.
If your local central office or intergroup doesn't have a TDD
or TTY machine, encourage them to purchase one or start a fund for such a
purpose within your group or with other local A.A. groups. You might also keep a
list of deaf or hearing‑impaired A.A. members who have TDD or TTY machines
at home and want to network with other members. Put your deaf member in touch
with a hearing member of the group who is willing to help the newcomer get
comfortable. It's also helpful when speaking to look directly at the deaf or
hearing‑impaired member, since many are able to read lips. With the help
of your local central office/intergroup or district committee, efforts can be
made to start new A.A. groups especially geared to the needs of deaf or
Services and material available for the deaf and hearing
impaired include the Intergroup/Central Offices Directory (those with TDD or TTY
equipment are noted) that lists times and locations of local meetings; A.A.
Guidelines: "Carrying the A.A. Message to the Deaf Alcoholic"; and a
5‑volume 1/2" VHS video of Alcoholics
Anonymous in ASL. Pamphlets rewritten for the deaf or hearing‑impaired
alcoholic include "A Deaf Newcomer Asks," "A Brief Guide to
Alcoholics Anonymous" "Translation of the Twelve Steps,"
`Translation of the Twelve Traditions," and "Is A.A. For You?"
There is also a confidential list of contacts for deaf and
hearing‑impaired alcoholics. Deaf members are welcome to participate in
the LIM. There is also an
International Deaf Group by Mail listed under "Special International
Contacts" in the regional directories published by G.S.O.
BLIND OR VISUALLY
For A.A. members who are blind or visually impaired, simply
getting to the meeting room can be the biggest problem. The Special Needs
Committee can compile and maintain a list of sighted members who are willing to
provide transportation to and from meetings and other A.A. functions. Several
groups have asked their local central office or intergroup to code Twelfth Step
lists to identify members who are willing to provide transportation. Volunteers
may be recruited to guide the blind or visually‑impaired newcomer to
chairs, the hospitality table and rest rooms, until that member is acquainted
with the surroundings. Meeting rooms should always be set up exactly the same
way, or else the blind or visually‑impaired members should be alerted to
what's different. Banging into a chair or a table in what was empty space at the
prior meeting can be both dangerous and embarrassing.
Services and material available to help the blind or visually
impaired alcoholic include books and pamphlets available in Braille, in large
print, and/or on audiocassette tape, and a list of suppliers of A.A. talks for
sale or exchange.
LIMITED READING SKILLS
Some alcoholics are unable to take advantage of the wealth of
supportive and informative literature in A.A. If you become aware that a member
might have a limited ability to read, there are several ways to be helpful
without embarrassing him or her.
For instance, when your group's literature chairperson
announces which books and pamphlets are available at that meeting, he or she can
also mention the numerous books, pamphlets and Grapevine articles which are
available on audiotape. Or, if you think a member of your group might have
limited reading skills, you can structure your Step and Traditions meetings so
that the Step or Tradition is read aloud at the beginning of the
meeting‑which is great for everyone!
Services and material available to help A.A.s with limited
reading ability include audiocassettes; a list of suppliers of A.A. talks for
sale or exchange; illustrated, easy‑to‑read literature, such as
A.A. For Me?," "Twelve Steps Illustrated,"
"Too Young?," "What Happened to Joe," "It Happened to
Alice," "It Sure Beats Sitting in a Cell," and films and videos.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR
Respect for the dignity of others has to be the foundation for
all our efforts to carry the message to alcoholics with special needs, with
emphasis on identification rather than on how we are different. As one deaf A.A.
put it, "I'm just an alcoholic, like everyone else here. I have the same
need to be a `worker among workers' and not be singled out for special
treatment. If you can just make the program available to me, I'll do what I have
to do to work it." The goal is to allow the alcoholic with special needs
the freedom to fit into a typical A.A. meeting.
Beyond helping those in your own group or committee, others
may be informed about carrying the message to alcoholics with special needs
through workshops and presentations at A.A. gatherings, such as area assemblies,
conventions, conferences, round‑ups and Regional Forums.
In the interests of good communication and working together,
Special Needs Committees are encouraged to keep their area committees and local
central/intergroup offices informed of their activities. It is also helpful to
work closely with committees handling Public Information and Cooperation With
the Professional Community in terms of keeping the public and appropriate
agencies informed about making A.A. accessible for alcoholics with special
There are many materials and services available for alcoholics
with disabilities, and many more which need to be developed. Those with special
needs might also include the elderly, alcoholics who speak other languages, and
groups who are under‑represented within A.A. (For sharing on those
subjects and a list of all available materials for alcoholics with special
needs, write to G.S.O.)
Our Big Book says, "We are people who normally would not
mix," and this is especially true when someone is a little
"different" from the others. But the rewards of giving this kind of
service to a fellow alcoholic are immense! Group fellowship grows stronger, the
person with special needs is included and respected as a
fully‑participating member of the group, and everyone's sobriety is
strengthened. When faced with the challenges of accommodating a special need, we
would do well to remember: "When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I
want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that, I am responsible."
Please share with the General Service Office your experiences
and successes in carrying our A.A. message of recovery to alcoholics with
disabilities. G.S.O. will in turn share your experience with any A.A. member
trying to reach out to alcoholics with special needs.
A.A. Guidelines are
compiled from the shared experience of A.A. members in various service areas.
They also reflect guidance given through the Twelve Traditions and the General
Service Conference (U. S. and Canada). In keeping with our Tradition of
autonomy, except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole, most
decisions are made by the group conscience of the members involved. The
purpose of these Guidelines is to assist in reaching an informed group
"AA's far‑flung Twelfth Step activities, carrying
the message to the next sufferer, are the very lifeblood of our AA adventure.
Without this vital activity, we would soon become anemic; we would literally
wither and die.
"Now where do AA's services-worldwide, area,
local‑fit into our scheme of things? Why should we provide these functions
with money? The answer is simple enough. Every single AA service is designed to
make more and better Twelfth Step work possible, whether it be a group meeting
place, a central or intergroup office to arrange hospitalization and
sponsorship, or the world service Headquarters [now the General Service Office]
to maintain unity and effectiveness all over the globe.
"Though not costly, these service agencies are absolutely
essential to our continued expansion ‑to our survival as a Fellowship.
Their costs are a collective obligation that rests squarely upon all of us. Our
support of services actually amounts to a recognition on our part that AA must
everywhere function in full strength‑and that, under our Tradition of
self‑support, we are all going to foot the bill."
Bill W., October 1967 Grapevine
One of G.S.O.'s responsibilities is to share A.A. experiences
with groups and members who request it. In these Guidelines, we are glad to
provide some sharing from a variety of sources, though we are aware that actual
A.A. practices often vary. So, if your group has found solutions other than
those cited below, please let us know, so that we may share your experiences
Some often-asked questions received at G.S.O. regarding
finances cover such topics as group rent, bank accounts and insurance;
reimbursement for service workers; I.R.S. deductions and I.D. numbers; roles of
the General Service Board and Conference Finance Committees.
SOME QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question: Why do A.A. groups support A.A.'s essential
Therefore, Alcoholics Anonymous accepts no outside
contributions. In accordance with the Sixth Tradition, A.A. makes no
contributions to any outside organization or cause, no matter how worthy.
A.A.s want our Fellowship to endure, and to be readily
available for the still‑suffering alcoholic to come. An A.A. group makes
this possible by taking care of its basic group expenses: rent, refreshments,
A.A. literature. After meeting these basic group expenses and providing a
meeting place, many groups participate by supporting the central (intergroup)
office where one exists, the area and district general service committees, and
the General Service Office (G.S.O.).
Question: Doesn't all A.A. money go into one pot? In
other words, when our group contributes to central office/intergroup, isn't our
money distributed to the area, district and G.S.O., as well?
Answer: No. Each A.A. entity-group, district, area,
central office and G.S.O.-provides a specific service and is autonomous. Each is
separate from the other.
Question: How do groups divide their excess funds,
Answer: Outlines for contribution plans are described
in the pamphlet "Self-Supporting Through Our Own Contributions."
Question: Our group would be glad to contribute to
these various service entities, but we do not know where to send our check.
Where do I find mailing addresses?
Answer: If there is a central office/intergroup in your
community, it will be listed in the telephone directory. (If your group does not
already have an intergroup representative, think about electing one.)
Your group's general service representative (G.S.R.) probably
has addresses for the area and district committees. If not, call G.S.O. for
Other sources: The names and addresses of your general service
delegate and area chairperson are listed in your regional A.A. Directory.
Contributions to the General Service Office can be sent to:
G.S.O. Grand Central Station P.O. Box 459 New York, NY 10163
Please make checks payable to: General Fund. Pre-addressed
group contribution envelopes are available from G.S.O. (See catalog/order form.)
Question: After covering our group's expenses, we have
very little money left. Isn't it embarrassing to send what seems to be just
nickels and dimes?
Answer: The General Service Conference has emphasized
that it is not concerned about the amount each group contributes, but that each
group contribute something. At a recent service assembly, one G.S.R. said
"It is a spiritual obligation to participate by contributing."
Question: If the facility in which an A.A. group meets
cannot accept rent (such as a federal or state building, what can be done in
accordance with our tradition of self-support?
Answer: A group can usually contribute in some other
way. For example, the group might furnish equipment or furnishings to the
Question: How do we know that G.S.O. has received our
contribution, and credited our group?
Answer: All group contributions are acknowledged by a
computerized receipt, sent to the person indicated on your contribution
envelope, or to the G.S.R. if a name and address is not indicated.
Quarterly contribution statements are sent to each group's
G.S.R. These statements reflect year‑to‑date information, whether or
not the group contributed.
REIMBURSING SERVICE WORKERS
Question: Is it our group's responsibility to reimburse
service workers for their expenses?
Answer: Each group, district, area or service committee
is autonomous, of course, and each has different needs and resources. While it
is certainly up to the group conscience, many A.A. members seem to agree that no
one should be excluded from service because of finances. Some service workers'
expenses come out of their own pockets, while others are reimbursed.
We are aware that in those areas holding two- and three-day
assemblies, expenses of participants (G.S.R.s, D.C.M.s, etc.) are sometimes met
by asking groups to contribute toward the expenses of their trusted servants.
Expenses for area officers are usually covered by the area treasury.
The A.A. Service Manual includes some information regarding
reimbursing G.S.R.s' expenses to such functions but does not address the
Question: Our group needs to open a bank account and we
were asked for an "I.D. number." Can we use G.S.O.'s?
Answer: More and more frequently, A.A. groups in the
U.S. are being asked to supply an ID number to a bank when opening a checking
or savings account, whether or not it is interest bearing. According to G.S.O.'s
outside auditors, no local A.A. organization can use the tax-exempt status or
identification number of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc.
Local entities should obtain their own tax-exempt status and I.D. numbers.
Question: How do we obtain an I.D. number for our group
Sharing its experience, one area advises that the SS-4
form headed "Application for Employer Identification Number" is needed
to open a checking account in your groups name. To obtain the form call your
local Social Security office or IRS office. You'll find the phone number listed
in the "blue pages" of your phone directory under Government
Offices-U.S. and broken down by towns.
In filling out the application form, it is suggested that you
consult with the IRS or a professional, such as an accountant or tax specialist.
Be sure to include the signature of a group officer or member where such is
asked for. Date the form, list a phone number, and mail to the IRS Center listed
for your area. In time, the I.D. number will be mailed to the address shown on
the SS-4 form.
Also, you might want to check with your local service
structure to find out how other groups have handled bank accounts.
Question: Are my contributions to A.A. tax-deductible?
Answer: Contributions to an A.A. group, central office,
or intergroup are tax-deductible only if the entity is a qualified charitable
organization as determined by the Internal Revenue Service.
Contributions made directly to the General Service Board of
A.A. are deductible under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Internal Revenue Code has no provision under which the
General Service Board of A.A. could apply for tax-exempt status for all groups
and other A.A. entities, since each entity is autonomous in financial matters,
as in all other ways. Donations at A.A. groups are not deductible unless the
group has filed the proper application of Form 1023 with their local I.R.S.
office and has obtained a ruling that the organization is tax-exempt.
Experience has shown that some tax examiners may make exceptions if proof of
contribution is presented, but this is strictly up to the individual tax
Question: Our landlord has asked us to provide our own
liability insurance. Can G.S.O. help?
Answer: The liability insurance of G.S.O. cannot be
extended to cover local groups. A.A. groups are autonomous, and are not
subsidiaries of G.S.O. The group might consult a local insurance agent or
attorney about liability matters.
WHO MANAGES G.S.O.'S SHARE OF OUR CONTRIBUTIONS?
The General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc. is the
custodian of all contributed funds. The board's Finance and Budgetary Committee
meets quarterly to review and approve G.S.O.'s budget and financial statements.
The A.A. World Services Board meets monthly, and maintains
direct control of income and expenditures. This service board is composed of:
the G.S.O. general manager, who is president; two regional trustees; two general
service trustees; and three non-trustee directors. (The chairmanship of this
board rotates each year between a regional and a general service trustee.)
The budgeting process of G.S.O. is under the direction of the
controller, who oversees the annual budget for G.S.O., which is reviewed by the
general manager before presentation to the Salary and Budget Committee of the
The Salary and Budget Committee reviews the budgeting process
and makes its recommendation to the entire A.A. World Services
Following approval, the A.A. World Services Board makes its
recommendations to the trustees' Finance and Budgetary Committee. Finally, the
annual General Service Conference reviews A.A.'s finances through its own
All of A.A.'s financial affairs are an open book. A summary is
published in each Quarterly Report and a full accounting is in the annual Final
Conference Report. And the account books themselves are available at the General
Service Office for scrutiny at any time.
What is the General Fund?
The General Fund is a sum of money consisting of A.A. groups'
and members' contributions. This fund, administered by the General Service
Board, is used by G.S.O. to cover expenses attributable to group services.
What is the Reserve Fund?
The Reserve Fund is A.A.'s "prudent reserve," an
amount of money primarily set aside to ensure that in time of emergency or
disaster G.S.O. would be able to carry on for a reasonable length of time.
The Fund is currently defined not to exceed one year's
combined operating expenses of A.A. World Service, Inc., A.A. Grapevine, Inc.,
and the General Service Board of A.A., Inc. All funds of the operating entities,
in excess of those required for working capital, are transferred to the Reserve
The use of the Reserve Fund may be authorized by the board of
trustees on recommendation of the trustees' Finance and Budgetary Committee. It
has been used in the past for moving, related construction and refurbishing of
the General Service Office.
For more information on finance
Final Conference Report, The A.A. Service Manual/Twelve
Concepts for World Service
"Self-Supporting: Where Money and Spirituality Mix"
"The A.A. Group"
"Twelve Traditions Illustrated"
"A.A. Tradition-How It Developed"