My name is Grace and I’m an alcoholic. I am humbled to serve as the Area 43 Delegate for Panel 72. In plain language, serving on “Panel 72” for “Area 43” means I represented NHAA at the 2022 General Service Conference, and will do so again next year in 2023.
The AA Service Manual (p. 32) tells us that “Delegates are charged with understanding the experiences, viewpoints and group conscience of their areas, while assuming responsibility for the U.S./Canada Conference as a whole. This is why the experience of being a delegate is like no other.”
My experience at Conference this year underscored the reality that AA members across the US and Canada have a wide variety of experiences. I listened carefully to Delegates representing areas that are different from New Hampshire – urban, communities of color, remote communities, Spanish, French and other non-English speaking AA members. All I can tell you is that God was in that room because I found it possible to prioritize their needs along with those of Area 43.
What I experienced was the miracle of group conscience. After ample time for debate, the group conscience would emerge. I could sense when we had reached substantial unanimity. The actual votes just confirmed what I could feel in the room. There was a common understanding of the needs of Alcoholics Anonymous.
It is the honor of a lifetime to serve as a Conference delegate. My time at the 72nd General Service Conference was the most spiritually and emotionally powerful experience in all my years of sobriety. Thank you for trusting me to represent you and to act in the best interest of the entire Fellowship.
My commitment to you – to the 600+ AA Groups and 9,000+ AA members in New Hampshire – is to continue to work hard on behalf of alcoholics everywhere.
The list of duties and responsibilities printed in The AA Service Manual are a good guideline of what you can expect from me as your Area 43 delegate:
The AA Service Manual, pp. 32-33
In addition to the annual Conference meeting, the delegate is involved in all aspects of the Conference structure throughout the year. The specific duties and responsibilities of each delegate will take on the flavor and customs of the area that they represent. However, delegates are encouraged to:
- Attend the annual Conference meeting fully prepared. Immediately upon election, every delegate is put on the G.S.O. mailing list to receive Conference materials and is given a password to the Conference dashboard maintained by G.S.O. to access important Conference-related information, including direct communications from the Conference coordinator and other G.S.O. employees.
- Communicate the actions of the Conference to area committee members and encourage them to pass on this information to groups and to intergroup/central offices. If an area is too large for the delegate to cover in person, they will ask area officers and committee members to share the load.
- Help the area generate greater interest among A.A. members in serving as GSRs and DCMs and in area positions. Inspire greater participation in area assemblies and other activities among GSRs and DCMs.
- Be prepared to attend all area and regional service meetings and assemblies applicable to their respective areas. From these meetings, delegates come to better understand their own areas and can make suggestions for the Conference agenda. Here, too, they come in contact with A.A. members who might not be reached otherwise.
- Help area committees encourage greater Seventh Tradition support for the area, G.S.O. and other local service entities.
- Provide leadership in solving local problems involving the A.A. Traditions.
- Remind GSRs to inform groups and individual A.A. members about Grapevine and La Viña magazines and all Conference-approved literature.
- Pass along calls for résumés for trustee and non-trustee director positions as requested by G.S.O.
- Cooperate with G.S.O. in obtaining information from groups for records and periodic membership surveys.
- Visit groups and districts in the area whenever possible.
- Work closely with committee members and officers, sharing experience throughout the year. After GSRs and committee members have reported on the Conference, learn from them how groups and individual A.A. members have reacted.
- Assume added responsibility if the area chair and alternate chair are unable to serve. Or, if an area committee is not functioning effectively, the delegate may take an active role in remedying the situation.
- Keep the alternate delegate fully informed and active, so that the alternate can step in for the delegate if necessary.
- Late in year 2 of the term, work with newly elected delegates to pass along a basic knowledge of Conference proceedings.