Back to: OIAA IGR Forum 29 April 2023
Nine Functions of an Intergroup
From AA Guidelines (MG02) Central or Intergroup Offices
The A.A. Guidelines below are compiled from the shared service experience of A.A. members throughout the U.S. and Canada. They also reflect guidance given through the Twelve Traditions and the General Service Conference. In keeping with our Tradition of autonomy except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole, most decisions are made by the group conscience of the members involved. The purpose of these Guidelines is to assist in reaching an informed group conscience.
WHAT IS A CENTRAL OR INTERGROUP OFFICE? A central or intergroup office is an A.A. service office that involves partnership among groups in a community — just as A.A. groups themselves are partnerships of individuals. A central/intergroup office is established to carry out certain functions common to all the groups — functions which are best handled by a centralized office — and it is usually maintained, supervised, and supported by these groups in their general interest. It exists to aid the groups in their common purpose of carrying the A.A. message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
FUNCTIONS OF A CENTRAL/ INTERGROUP OFFICE A.A. experience has demonstrated that central/intergroup offices are helpful, particularly in populous areas. There are nearly 700 central/ intergroup offices throughout the world, performing vital A.A. services. These constitute a network of service outlets and A.A. contacts to help carry the A.A. message. The following suggestions outline the basic services a central/intergroup office might offer:
1) A.A. Inquiries — By providing an Alcoholics Anonymous listing in the local telephone directory and on appropriate websites, the central/ intergroup office may receive inquiries from those seeking help. They will refer the caller to a nearby A.A. group, where sponsorship may be arranged, or have a twelfth stepper contact them. Many local A.A. offices now have their own websites.
2) Office Facilities — The central/intergroup office can maintain a conveniently located office in which paid workers and/or volunteers coordinate local A.A. services.
3) Meeting Lists and Other Literature — At regular intervals, the central/intergroup office may publish and distribute up-to-date lists of meetings and other information about local A.A. services. Many intergroup/ central/intergroup offices sell A.A. Conference-approved literature for the convenience of local groups.
4) Information Exchange — The service office may function as a clearinghouse for the circulation and exchange of information among all the A.A. groups in the community. In this same connection, a logical function of the central/intergroup office is to provide “exchange” meetings, where group program chairpersons meet regularly to exchange meetings with other groups.
5) Local Committees on Public Information (P.l.) and Cooperation with the Professional Community (C.P.C.) in cooperation with district and area P.l. and C.P.C. committees — The central/intergroup office is an ideal contact with those in the community seeking information about A.A. Thus, A.A.’s relations with the public and professionals in the alcoholism field are often handled through the cooperation of general service committees and central/ intergroup offices. To avoid duplication of efforts and other difficulties, good communication between all parts of A.A. is paramount. A.A. Guidelines and Workbooks on P.l. and C.P.C. are available on G.S.O.’s website at www.aa.org.
6) A.A. in Correctional and Treatment Facilities — The central/intergroup office can maintain contact with local groups in correctional facilities and treatment facilities, offering literature and prerelease A.A. contacts and arranging for A.A. speakers and visitors to meetings. When there is a corrections or treatment committee for this purpose, the service office may assist it through close cooperation with local hospitals and prisons. Central/intergroup offices handling institutional contacts can find A.A. Guidelines and other service material on aa.org for shared experience in providing these services.
7) Local A.A. Events — An A.A. central/intergroup office is a logical body to manage the details of an annual dinner, picnic, or convention, if the participating groups wish it.
8) A.A. Bulletin or Newsletter — The preparation of a publication for periodic distribution to A.A. groups is often a function of the central/ intergroup office.
9) Accessibilities — Many central/intergroup offices carry information on groups that are wheelchair accessible, or which may provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for members who are Deaf. Some offices have equipment or materials for communicating with alcoholics who have visual and auditory challenges, those who are housebound or chronically ill, those who are living with the effects of brain damage or stroke, and others who may have less visible challenges.