Structure of A.A. General Services in the U.S. and Canada
While the following describes the general service structure in the U.S. and Canada, the structure of sister A.A. entities in overseas countries may differ as to detail, depending on local laws, on how A.A. evolved, and so on. Basic principles, however, as embodied in A.A.'s Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts are shared in common throughout A.A., worldwide.
Alcoholics Anonymous is not organized in the formal or political sense. There are no governing officers, no rules or regulations, no fees or dues.
The need for certain services to alcoholics and their families throughout the world has, however, been apparent from the beginning of the Fellowship. Inquiries have to be answered. Literature has to be written, printed, and distributed. Requests for help are followed up.
There are two operating bodies:
The two operating corporations are responsible to a board of trustees (General Service Board of A.A.), of whom seven are nonalcoholic friends of the Fellowship, and 14 are A.A. members.
A General Service Conference, consisting of 92 delegates from A.A. areas in the United States and Canada, and trustees, A.A.W.S. and Grapevine directors, and staff from the General Service Office and the Grapevine in New York, meets once a year and provides a link between the groups throughout the U.S. and Canada and the trustees who serve as custodians of A.A. tradition and interpreters of policies affecting the Fellowship as a whole.
At the local group level, formal organization is kept to a minimum. The group may have a small steering committee and a limited number of rotating officers — “trusted servants” whose responsibilities include arranging meeting programs, providing refreshments, participating in regional A.A. activities, and maintaining contact with the General Service Office.
The principle of consistent rotation of responsibility is followed in virtually all A.A. service positions. Positions in the local group are usually rotated semi-annually or annually. Delegates to the General Service Conference traditionally serve no longer than two years and alcoholic trustees of the General Service Board are limited to a four-year term.