Why We Need A Conference

We AAs love inspiring Big Book phrases like “We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.” One of the less read but truly consequential passages in A.A. annuals is the “Why do we have a conference” speech excerpt that appears in the AA Service Manual and in the AA history book, A.A. Comes of Age.

Here is an excerpt:

We may not need a General Service Conference to ensure our own recovery. We do need it to ensure the recovery of the alcoholic who still stumbles in the darkness one short block from this room. We need it to ensure the recovery of a child being born tonight, destined for alcoholism. We need it to provide, in keeping with our Twelfth Step, a permanent haven for all alcoholics who, in the ages ahead, can find in A.A. that rebirth that brought us back to life.

We need it because we, more than all others, are conscious of the devastating effect of the human urge for power and prestige which we must ensure can never invade AA We need it to ensure AA against government, while insulating it against anarchy.

We need it so that Alcoholics Anonymous, and Alcoholics Anonymous alone, is the ultimate repository of its Twelve Steps, its Twelve Traditions, and all of its services.

We need it to ensure that changes within AA come only as a response to the needs and the wants of all AA, and not of any few. We need it to ensure that the doors of the halls of AA never have locks on them, so that all people for all time who have an alcoholic problem may enter these halls unasked and feel welcome. We need it to ensure that Alcoholics Anonymous never asks of anyone who needs us what his or her race is, what his or her creed is, what his or her social position is.

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