Concept Six: Is A.A. Really a Business?

Concept Six: Is A.A. Really a Business?

Concept Six: Is A.A. Really a Business?

As I have found myself traveling down the inverted service triangle in Alcoholics Anonymous, I have long believed (and our service manual supports this) that A.A. is really a business – primarily a “printing business,” but a business, nonetheless.

That said, it’s really hard to wrap our heads around this idea because when we first come into A.A. all we can see is that for most of us, we have burned our lives to the ground due to our drinking (and our thinking). Yet, in A.A., we find a group of people who did the same thing but have found a solution – a spiritual solution. It’s hard for me to understand in the beginning (and rightfully so) that our general service structure is designed for one thing and one thing only – to help make 12th work possible. For this to be true, there needs to be some sort of structure in place to spiritually “organize” these efforts which is why Bill W. created the Conference (and it’s associated structure).

On page C20 in the 2021-2023 edition of the A.A. Service Manual, it states this:

“We should quite understand, too, that the conduct of our world services is primarily a matter of policy and business. Of course our objective is always a spiritual one, but this service aim can only be achieved by means of an effective business operation.”

If you look deeper at the service structure of A.A., you will find it is a well-oiled business hammered out on the anvils of experience. But we must never lose sight of what this concept teaches us that while this is true, in the end, A.A.’s stockholders (our groups) help define the direction the Fellowship is to take now, and for years to come.

I sat down with one of my sponsees this morning and studied Concept Six and because I am a visual kind of learner, I created the graphic above to help better explain what it says on page C20 of our service manual.  A.A. IS a business – a spiritual business.  But in order to make 12th Step work possible on the ground, we need to fully understand how services are offered to help create the tools for that 12th Step work to be done.

Please remember I am only one member of A.A. and the thoughts I share here are MY experience only.  If this topic brings feelings and emotions up for you, I strongly encourage you talk to your sponsor, your home groups’ GSR, your DCM, or your Area Delegate.  I hope that through those conversations you can become more well-informed and develop your own experience on this topic.

I love A.A. and am committed to sharing my experience so that others can get involved and help create the future of Alcoholics Anonymous for the still suffering alcohlic that’s about to walk through our doors.

In love & service,


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