Collective Conscience – by Carolyn Smith

CONCEPT ONE – Final responsibility and ultimate authority for Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (or Heroin Anonymous World Service Board) should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship.

I’m going to start by saying, this is the first time I’ve really looked at, and thought about the concepts. How they affect the fellowship, how they affect the Region and Area, how they affect the group, and even, how they affect me.

In the Concepts Checklist from the AA Service Material from the General Service Office, there are many questions about looking at the concept. I’m going to answer the questions as a member of Heroin Anonymous, based on my HA experiences.

Our area is very small, we only have 2 meetings. We do not have a GSR yet, because the GSR generally would attend District Meetings. We do not have that yet. What we DO have is Delegates. There are two. One from each meeting. The two delegates attend the Area Meetings (CT only), the Regional Meetings (CT, NY, NJ, PA, and other states to come). As delegates who attended the last World Conference, we volunteered for different committees, therefore, we attend those meetings as well.

Because our HA in CT is so new, just made two years in December 2021, we are trying to build up our area and membership to the best of our abilities. We have the literature from WSOB, and the key tags for sobriety time. We follow the readings and format suggested for our Big Book Meeting. Before the Conference, the two delegates reviewed the items to be voted on with our home groups. This way, we knew the direction they wanted us to vote in. We do retain the ability to vote our conscience as well, especially after the other information comes in, and maybe gives us another viewpoint to look at. Thankfully, we feel that our home group is part of AA/HA as a whole and our group’s decisions and actions reflect that.

We do hold regular group conscience meetings encouraging everyone to participate. In fact, we had group conscience and voting for new positions being available and who would serve on them. The Regional group is in the process of voting in a trustee to represent us at WSOB. This is a very interesting process. We are gathering people who may be interested – this will happen up until January. In February, we will present the resumes of the candidates to the regional group. In March, we will invite the candidates to our meeting for an interview process. We will then take the resumes and the notes from the interview back to the homegroup to get the group conscience on which they feel would be the best candidate. In April, we will put it to a vote, and offer the position to the winner.

We are trying to incorporate many of the things that were voted on in the conference into our meetings. We now have a meeting flyer! We are changing Tradition 7 to read “An HA group” instead of “A HA group”. We are also motivated to bring meetings into facilities. Our meeting does feel like we have a true voice. It creates such a sense of unity – which, coincidentally, is what Tradition One was about.

We saw that with the Covid-19 situation we are willing to do what it takes to ensure that our democracy of world service will work under all conditions. Our meetings had to go to Zoom or close for over a year! For a brand-new fellowship, that was tough. But we persisted. We continued to attend our Zoom meetings, building our fellowship. Building friendships. Building on our sobriety.

As for what this means to me, in my life… Let’s look. “Final responsibility and ultimate authority for MY LIFE should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole HOUSEHOLD.” So, yes, I changed some words around to make it all about me. But I can take those same thoughts and personalize them.

I do take my family’s thoughts and opinions in decisions. If we will offer a room to rent someone or add a pet to the household. You know, the important decisions.

I do try to allow that each family member is part of the household and do our decisions and actions reflect that for that to be a reality. We have had quite a few “family meetings” to discuss some important things. Not just about adding people or pets, we have talked about race relations, sexuality, gender identity, addictions, mental health, self-harm, suicidal tendencies, schoolwork, chores. You name it, we discuss it.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I would like to make it more frequently that we get together for these types of conversations. The thing that makes me happiest, is that my kids feel that they can talk to me about anything. I am honored to have that trust, and they know they are safe with me.

As for an upside-down Family Triangle, to be honest, this one I’m not sure of. I will ask for the input of the kids, but in the end, the final decision is up to me. I try to keep the household comfortable and a safe space for everyone.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I’d love to hear if this was helpful in any way for you.

December 26, 2021

CONCEPT TWO – Stay tuned for

Leave a Reply