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                                    The Twelve Concepts

                                         for World Service

                         How Bill W. explained the spiritual principles that undergird
                                A.A.’s structure and how the parts work together.

                  his is a pamphlet about the Concepts; it is NOT the
              T Concepts themselves. They are found in the book
              The A.A. Service Manual/Twelve Concepts for World
              Service, and should be read by every “trusted servant.”
                 As A.A. grew up, it began with the groups — first
              only a few, then hundreds and then thousands. Very
              early an Alcoholic Foundation, later renamed The
              General Service Board, was formed to be responsible for
              our affairs. And with Dr. Bob's death and Bill’s facing up
              to his own mortality, a General Service Conference
              assumed the leadership which had fallen to the co-
              founders. Meanwhile, a tiny publishing operation and
              service office had grown in size and importance to the
              Fellowship, and a monthly journal, the A.A. Grapevine,
              was being published.
                 Which of these entities was supposed to do what?
              Little wonder there was confusion! What was their rela-
              tionship? Who was in charge? What were their responsi-
                                                                       bilities — and what were their rights? Bill W. himself
                                                                       sometimes took part in the pulling and hauling that took
                                                                       place, and so he saw the need to “reduce to writing” his
                                                                       concepts of the “why” of the whole structure, the les-
                                                                       sons to be drawn from experience, the relationships and,
                                                                       above all, the spiritual principles.
                                                                         As Bill set them down, the Twelve Concepts are a
                                                                       potpourri: Concepts III through V, IX and XII deal with
                                                                       spiritual principles; the remainder, though they have
                                                                       spiritual overtones, are devoted to describing the rela-
                                                                       tionship of the various service entities and how they
                                                                       work together.
                                                                         What follows in this pamphlet is an illustrated intro-
                                                                       duction to the Twelve Concepts. If it is answers or guid-
                                                                       ance you are seeking, go to the Concepts themselves.

                                                                         Throughout this pamphlet, wording from the Twelve
                                                                       Concepts themselves (subject to some editing for clari-
                                                                       ty) is indicated by quotation marks; the rest of the text is
                                                                       either descriptive or explanatory.
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