What GSO Does For You

Service Material from the General Service Office




The General Service Office (G.S.O.)

"...serves as a clearinghouse and exchange point for the wealth of A.A. experience accumulated over the years, coordinates a wide array of activities and services, and oversees the publication, all translations of, and distribution of AA Conference­ approved literature and service materials." 

-The A.A. Service Manual, page S77


Staff members on assignments help with group problems by sharing accumulated A.A experience through extensive correspondence, phone calls, G.S.0.'s A.A. Web site and by traveling, upon invitation, to AA events, and in keeping with General Service Conference Advisory Actions will refer local matters to area delegates. Most staff members are assigned to handle correspondence from a specific geographic area (region). Equal services are provided

in Spanish and French, whenever possible.


The following services may be re-distributed to another assignment:



  • Coordinates annual General Service Conference (GSC) including G.S.O. Conference Planning Meetings and Delegate Chairpersons Orientation in January.
  • Supervises the following material for Conference members:GSC Communications Kit and Conference-related documents, forms, etc.
    • GSC Manual, Final Report, and informational mailings/communications.
    • GSC Background Material on hardcopy, CD and GSC dashboard. 
    • Summer edition of Box 4-5-9 (related to Conference).
  • Advisory Actions, Additional Committee Considerations, no action taken, and items tabled lists.
  • Seekssuggestions from areas for General Service Conference theme, presentation/workshop topics, and agenda items.
  • Responds to requests from area delegates for shared experience and Conference related inquiries where appropriate.
  • Secretary* to trustees' Conference Committee and Conference Agenda Committee.



  • Supervises and provides the following:
    • Welcome letter to newly listed C.P.C. committee chairs; C.P.C. Kit to area C.P.C. chairs; C.P.C. Workbooks to district chairs.
    • C.P.C.  Literature Discount Package Order Form and C.P.C.-related service material.
  • Coordinates the following:
    • A.A. exhibits at national conferences for professionals, and refers local conference invitations to local committees.
    • About A.A. bulletin for professionals.
    • Every three years, hosts Annual Day of Sharing with Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters and National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (N.C.A.D.D.)
    • Literature and videos that fall under the purview of this assignment.**
  • Provides periodic mailings (activity update reports) to C.P.C. chairs.
  • Responds to requests from C.P.C. committees for shared experience.
  • Meets monthly with medical students of Cornell University Medical Center who visit G.S.O., and provides information about A.A
  • As liaison representative, attends national meetings of National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (N.l.A.A.A.) and Recovery Month planning meetings.
  • Provides AA information in response to inquiries from professionals, and refers to local committees whenever appropriate.
  • Co-secretary* to trustees' Committee on C.P.C./Treatment/Special Needs Accessibilities and secretary* to Conference Committee on C.P.C.
  • Liaison to other Twelve Step Fellowships, such as Al-Anon, N.A., O.A., G.A., etc.
  • Contact point for 'special international contacts, such as International Pilots & Aviation Industry Professionals, International Doctors in A.A, International Lawyers in A.A, International Council for Homosexual Men & Women in A.A, and International Conference of Young People in A.A (l.C.Y.P.A.A.), etc. 


  • Supervises and provides the following:
    • Welcome letter to newly listed Corrections/Hospitals and Institutions (H&l)/Bridging the Gap (BTG) committee chairs; Corrections Kit to area Corrections/H&l/BTG chairs; Corrections Workbook to district chairs.
    • Corrections Literature Discount Package Order Form and Corrections-related service material.
    • Correctional Facility New Group and Group Information Change forms.
    • Distribution of videos "Carrying the Message Behind These Walls;" "It Sure Beats Sitting in a Cell" and "A.A in Correctional Facilities."
  • Provides periodic mailings (activity update reports) to Corrections/H&l/BTG chairs.
  • Responds to requests from Corrections committees for shared experience and contacts, including contact information for corrections professionals.
  • Coordinates the following:
    • Corrections Correspondence Service (C.C.S.) for incarcerated members.
    • Forwarding prerelease contact requests to local committees.
    • Sharing From Behind the Walls publication for inmates.
    • Literature and videos that fall under the purview of this assignment.**
  • Responds to letters from inmates.
  • Communicates need for outside C.C.S. letter writers.
  • Provides limited complimentary A.A literature to inmates, upon request.
  • Provides AA information in response to inquiries from corrections professionals, and refers to local committees whenever appropriate.
  • Secretary* to trustees' and Conference committees on Corrections.


  • Supervises and provides the following:
    • Revisions and updates to A.A Guidelines and Service Material (SM F-).
    • D.C.M. (district committee member) and G.S.R. (general service representative) Kits for newly listed D.C.M.s and G.S.R.s.
    • A.A Group Handbook for newly listed groups.
    • Information/literature packages for starting new groups.
    • List of "Service Material Provided by G.S.O."
    • New Group, Group Infor .
    • Responds to requests from local offices for shared experience.
    • Provides periodic mailings (activity update reports) to Intergroup/Central Offices.
    • Participates at Annual Intergroup/Central Office Seminar.
    • Serves as a member on Intergroup/Central Office Seminar Policy Committee.
  • Web Site Liaison.
    • Responds to inquiries/suggestions for changes related to G.S.O.',s A.A Web site.
    • Supervises G.S.O.'s A.A Web site at www.aa.org.
    • Works closely with Publishing and in consultation with Intra-Office Web Site
    • Committee and A.A.W.S. Services Committee on changes to www.aa.org.
    • Shares collected experience with local Web site committees upon request.
    • Prepares Web Site Reports to AAW.S. Board and Conference Committee on Public Information.
  • Secretary* to A.A.W.S. Services and Conference Report and Charter committees.


  • Responds to inquiries from members, groups, committees outside U.S./Canada, and refers to G.S.O./Service Office where one exists.
  • Provides shared experience on starting new A.A groups in countries where A.A is getting started, and refers to nearest G.S.O. when appropriate.
  • Responds to inquiries from professionals overseas where no service office exists.
  • Provides contacts for members relocating/traveling overseas, upon request.
  • Supervises International A.A Directory.
  • Provides A.A literature upon request where no local offices exist and there are limited resources.
  • Maintains communication with foreign G.S.O.s and Service Offices and responds to requests for shared experience.
  • Coordinates World Service Meeting (WSM) held every other year, including G.S.O. planning meetings. 
  • Supervises the following material for WSM members: WSM Manual, Final Report, and Informational Mailings/Communications.
  • Upon invitation, travels overseas to service events, conventions, zonal meetings, etc., meets with professionals as arranged by local A.As.
  • Secretary* to trustees' International Committee and its Trip Consultation Team.


  • Coordinates programming, finances and Convention facilities.
  • Provides Convention information through mailings, Box 4-5-9, G.S.O.'s A.A Web site and A.A Grapevine.
  • Works with local A.A committee to provide Host Committee for this event.
  • Co-secretary* to trustees' and Conference committees on International Convention/Regional Forums.


  • Supervises and provides the following: welcome letter and informational packet on A.A.literature for newly listed area/district Literature committee chairs.
  • Coordinates the following:
    • Recovery-focused Conference-approved A.A Literature and other publicationsthat fall under the purview of this assignment.**
    • Box 4-5-9 (News and Notes from G.S.O.) publication for the Fellowship in close conjunction with Publishing.
    • Calendar of Events for Box 4-5-9 and related correspondence.
    • A.A. literature display packages.
  • Responds to inquiries about A.A. Conference-approved literature when appropriate.
  • Responds to requests from Literature committees for shared experience.
  • Provides periodic mailings (activity update reports) to Literature chairs.
  • Secretary* to A.A.W.S. Publishing Committee and trustees' and Conference committees on   Literature. 


  • Provides information on board vacancies that includes announcements, resume forms, guidelines and procedures.
  • Supervises maintenance of Confidential G.S.O. and Grapevine Roster.
  • Secretary* to trustees' Nominating Committee and Conference Committee on Trustees.
  • Remote Communities:
    • Provides shared experience on working with Remote Communities.
    • Staff liaison and resource to Pre-Conference Remote Communities Meeting. 


  • Supervises and provides the following:
    • Welcome letter to newly listed P.I. committee chairs; P.I. Kit to area P.I. chairs; P.I. Workbook to district chairs.
    • P.I. Literature Discount Packages Order Form and P.1.-related service material.
  • Coordinates the following:
    • Annual Anonymity Letter to Media.
    • Triennial A.A. Membership Survey.
    • Press Releases and Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for TV and Radio.
    • P. I. activities at International Convention.
    • Literature, PSAs and videos that fall under the purview of this assignment.**
  • Provides accurate and consistent information about A.A in response to inquiries from media, researchers, and students, and refers to local committees whenever appropriate.
  • Responds to requests from P.I. committees for shared experience.
  • Provides access to PSA distribution data to area P. I. committees.
  • Refers invitations for A.A. informational presentations at schools and educational institutions to local committees.
  • Refers invitations to local health/community fairs to local P.I. committees and provides limited quantities of A.A. literature for this purpose and upon request.
  • Provides periodic mailings (activity update reports) to P.I. chairs.
  • Forwards anonymity breaks at the level of public media to area delegates; clarifies misinformation about A.A. in print whenever appropriate and on a case-by-case basis.
  • Secretary* to trustees' and Conference committees on Public Information. 


  • Coordinates Regional Forums, including:
    • Negotiating Hotel Contract (costs, rooms, set-up, equipment, personnel, etc.).
    • Scheduling participants.
    • Working with Host Committee.
    • Mass mailing to all groups and trusted servants in reg ion.
    • Translations as needed.
    • Regional Forum announcements.
  • Supervises the following material for Forums:
    • Registration Form/Flyer.
    • Early-Bird Forum Newsletter . ..
    • Agenda and Program.
    • Evaluation Form and Summary, and Final Report.
    • Translation Equipment as needed.
    • Forum-related Service Material.
    • On-site Forum Displays.
    • On-site A.A Conference-approved Literature and Service Material.
    • Forum information for G.S.O.'s A.A Web site.
  • Responds to Forum-related inquiries.
  • Assists Local Forum committees upon request.
  • Co-secretary* to trustees' and Conference committees on International Convention/Regional Forums.


  • Trains new G.S.O. A.A staff.
  • Chairs weekly Staff Meeting and prepares minutes.
  • Facilitates coverage of staff assignments for staff absences, and when appropriate.
  • Coordinates correspondence, legal documents and checks related to bequests or Wills naming A.A.W.S., the General Service Board, or G.S.O. as beneficiary.
  • Responds to inquiries from attorneys, executors or members related to bequests/Wills.
  • Serves as a director on A.A World Services, Inc. board and prepares final draft of A.A.W.S. Highlights.
  • Secretary* to Conference Policy/Admissions Committee andassistant to the General Service Board. 


  • Supervises and provides the following:
    • Welcome letter to newly listed Treatment/H&l/BTG committee chairs; Treatment Kit to area Treatment/H&l/BTG chairs; Treatment Workbook to district chairs.
    • Welcome letter to newly listed Special Needs-Accessibilities committee chairs; Special Needs-Accessibilities Kit to area Special Needs-Accessibilities chairs; Special Needs-Accessibilities Workbook to district chairs.
    • Treatment Committee Literature Discount Package Order Form and Treatment related service material.
  • Distribution of video "Hope."
  • Literature and videos that fall under the purview of this assignment.**
  • Provides periodic mailings (activity update reports) to chairs of Treatment H&l/ BTG and Special Needs-Accessibilities committees.
  • Responds to requests from Treatment H&l/BTG committees for shared experience and contacts.
  • Responds to letters from clients or patients in treatment centers, and refers to local committees whenever appropriate.
  • Responds to inquiries from treatment professionals, provides A.A. information and literature, and refers to local committees whenever appropriate.
  • Coordinates Special Needs/Accessibilities-related service material.
  • Provides special needs literature when appropriate.
  • Responds to inquiries pertaining to Special Needs-Accessibilities from members, groups and committees and provides shared experience.
  • Responds to inquiries from professionals working with special needs populations.
  • Communicates with alcoholics with special needs regarding suitability of current literature formats.
  • Co-secretary* to trustees’ C.P.C./ Treatment Special Needs-Accessibilities Committee and secretary* to Conference Treatment Special Needs-Accessibilities Committee.
  • Coordinates the following for Loners-Internationalists Meeting (an A.A. meeting by mail):
    • Bimonthly Loners-Internationalists Meeting (LIM) bulletin.
    • Providing complimentary literature, including Loners-Internationalists & Homers Directory and Box 4-5-9 subscriptions.
    • Responding to inquiries from Loners, Internationalists, Homers, Port Contacts, and Loner Sponsors.
    • Providing contact information for members in military, upon request.

The following departments provide additional services:



  • Maintains G.S.O. Archives in accordance with accepted practices and standards characteristic of the industry.
  • Responds to requests for research and information from the Fellowship, G.S.O. staff, A.A. service workers, trustees and directors, and other external researchers as to various aspects of A.A. history.
  • Provides information about group and area histories.
  • Provides assistance to area and district archivists regarding collection and preservation.
  • Supervises and provides the following:
    • Archives Workbook.
    • A.A. Guidelines on Archives.
    • "The A.A. Archives" pamphlet.
    • Distribution of video "Markings on the Journey."
  • Produces and distributes, upon request, historical photograph sets and photographs of our co-founders (A.A. members only); copies of pre-publication manuscripts of the first edition of the Big Book; bookmarks and wallet cards; and other give-a-ways.
  • Maintains and updates content for the Archives portal on G.S.O.'s A.A. Web site.
  • Maintains rotating exhibits of interest, as wel l as a library and other items of interest, for visitors touring G.S.O.
  • Upon request, coordinates scheduling and shipping of a trave ling exhibit for area events.
  • Writes and distributes Markings, the Archives newsletter.
    • Collects copies of all materials printed or produced by A.A.W.S. and the A.A. Grapevine, as well as copies of all board minutes, committee reports, and other significant permanent records.
    • Preserves all historical and current permanent records of A.A.W.S. and the A.A. Grapevine, through digitization, preservation photocopying, and other archival preservation techniques.
    • Collects oral history interviews from early members.
    • Processes, organizes and catalogs all historical and current permanent records so they will be accessible and searchable.
    • Manages storage and inventory of inactive records stored off-site.
  • Secretary* to trustees and Conference Archives committees.


  • Receives and acknowledges all contributions from A.A. groups and members.
  • Provides self-support packets upon request and supervises service material such as group contribution envelopes and birthday envelopes.
  • Responds to all inquiries pertaining to individual (member) contributions, group contribution records, account balances, and A.A. finances when appropriate.
  • Sets up and supervises annual budgets; and maintains accurate financial records.
  • Supervises content for the Finance portal on G.S.O.'s A.A. Web site.
  • Chief Financial Officer (C. F.O.):
    • Secretary* to A.A.W.S. Finance Committee, trustees' Finance and Budgetary Committee, and Conference Finance Committee.
  • In conjunction with staff coordinator, responds to inquiries related to bequests. 


  • Maintains database of group and service position records and mailing lists.
  • Supervises annual group records update.
  • Provides FNV (Fellowship New Vision) database program and instructions for area registrars or area trusted servants responsible for area group records.
  • Processes all updates to records including new group information, trusted servants, Local offices, etc


  • Edits, designs and publishes all A.A. Conference-approved literature, video; audio and special needs items in three languages: English, Spanish and French; and some service material items.
  • Creates catalog and order forms.
  • Maintains inventory control.
  • Processes all literature orders.
  • Handles customer inquiries regarding orders.
  • Maintains small in-house shipping department.
  • Manages outsourced warehousing and shipping companies.
  • Oversees translations/licensing of A.A. World Services copyrighted material.
  • Handles research and development for new publications and new formats.
  • Manages day-to-day upkeep and design of G.S.O.'s A.A. Web site.
  • Publishes the following:
    • Box 4-5-9.
    • G.S.O. Quarterly Report.
    • A.A. Directories and Lists of Domestic and International offices.
    • Markings.
    • About A.A.
    • Sharing From Behind the Walls.
    • Loners-Internationalists Meeting (LIM).
  • International Convention souvenirs.
  • Sends publication updates to local offices and General Service Conference members on new literature, pricing changes, etc.
  • Publishing director and managing editor act as editorial and publishing consultants to trustees' and Conference Literature committees.
  • Publishing director acts as publishing consultant and provides Publishing Reports

A.A.W.S. Board of Directors. OTHER G.S.O. SERVICES:

  • Gives office tours to visitors upon request.
  • Provides visitor welcome packets.
  • Provides informational packets containing some A.A. literature in response to general inquiries for general information about A.A.
  • Sets up annual visit/tour for General Service Conference delegate visitors and guests during Conference week.
  • Sets up large group visits and provides welcome/presentation meeting with refreshments (coffee, etc.).
  • Provides local A.A. office information to anyone looking for A.A. meetings; provides group contact information to A.A. members where no local office exists for Twelfth Step purposes and when appropriate.
  • Arranges board meetings, housing and meal forms, mailings for the quarterly meetings, minutes, dashboard, etc.
  • Handles reprint requests/permissions for use of A.A.W.S., Inc. copyrighted material.


*Secretaries to board and General Service Conference committees prepare meeting

agendas, background, minutes/reports and communications.

** Working closely with Publishing and assignment's corresponding trustees' committee, and

per Advisory Actions applicable to A.A. Conference-approved literature.







Rev. 7/31/13                           SM F-176







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