“It is suggested that ACA meetings hold a regular business meeting monthly or quarterly.” ACA Fellowship Text, Section III. Handbook, pg 594
Groups can read more in this Handbook section for further guidance as well downloading the Conducting a Business Meeting tri-fold under the Literature tab.
Any topic that affects the group as a whole can be brought up at a business meeting.
- There is a brand new booklet called Crosstalk that ACA put out recently. There’s also a great booklet called Good Enough Group, this helps a group work together soberly. Our experience shows that when one person is thinking about crosstalk parameters or other issues, other members are thinking about it too. Any topic can be brought up at a business meeting so that the group can make some group decisions about it. Maybe the format will change a sentence or two, maybe it won’t, but either way, when the group spends time working together on a confusing topic, the way becomes clear very often. Here’s links to the the Crosstalk Booklet and the Good Enough Group Booklet
- Tradition One Meditation from Chapter 19:
“Higher Power. I am your trusted servant seeking to support my ACA group and its primary purpose. Please remind me that the life of my program and my own recovery depends upon my willingness to put the group’s welfare above my own will. Help me recognize unity.”
- Tradition Two Meditation from Chapter 19:
“Higher Power. I understand that you make your voice heard in a group conscience. I ask you to remind me that the life of my program and, therefore, my own recovery depends upon my willingness to put the group’s welfare above my own will . Where I disagree with the common view of my fellows in service, allow me to state my case honestly and respectfully. Allow me to listen to and consider the views others. May I state my view and support all group decisions, including the ones I might disagree with. Your will, not mine, be done.”
- Tradition Twelve snippet from Chapter 19:
ACA is program of people, and therefore a program of diverse personalities. Our membership is made up of people in varying degrees of codependence, addiction, and PTSD recovery. Some of our members are new and still hurting from growing up in a dysfunctional home. Others have worked through some of the effects of being raised in a dysfunctional setting. There will be conflicts, hurt feelings, and differences of opinion in ACA. There will be people storming out of business meetings, thinking they have been poorly treated in the meeting. Some have been mistreated, and some have not. There will be trusted servants believing they have been shunned and unappreciated by the group. There will be game players, not yet committed to ACA recovery, who manipulate others and unwittingly disrupt another’s recovery through selfishness. There will be romantic relationships that sour and occasionally spill into meetings. Some group members may unwisely take sides.
However, anonymity is there ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. And it works. Each one of the scenarios mentioned above has been met with Tradition Twelve anonymity. Held up against anonymity, our perceived wrongs, gossip, and pettiness hold no light. When we place principles before personalities, we change as people, and we honor ACA. Anonymity ensures that everyone gets collective credit for ACA’s success.
- Tradition Two excerpt on Domination of Service from Chapter 19:
Conversely, some new leaders try to govern their meeting with a tight fist. They think they know what is right for ACA and the group; there is no room for discussion at business meetings or settings involving ACA matters. These control-seeking members can be disruptive and divisive. They seem to act like “tradition lawyers” and are willing to split hairs over business meeting rules, meeting agendas, and voting procedures. Their short-sighted behavior, if left unchecked, can literally kill the group. Business meeting disputes spill into regular meetings and feelings are hurt and resentments fester. Members stop attending the group or feel unsafe to support the group. The group suffers until someone asks a loving God to enter a group business meeting and their regular meetings.Group members may rise up and call a special meeting to discuss the group’s direction. If circumstances have deteriorated enough, the original founder or trusted servant may be voted out of office. As a result, the disenchanted “leader” may leave the meeting, feeling abandoned by the group. But the meeting will continue as long as it follows the Steps and Traditions of ACA.
- Our experience has shown that when any body of people join together to do the good work of ACA, it can be helpful to have the group decide together on what guidelines the group agrees to follow. Using the Traditions, the Concepts, the commitment to service (p. 601) can be a great combination in this situation. Additionally, there is some wisdom to be found in the section on page 603 having to do with starting an Intergroup or Regional Committee. Committee work can be done with all voices heard using the group conscience decision making process and/or Robert’s Rules also to help keep order. Using common sense and assertiveness as Tradition 9 chapter states, is always a good rule of thumb also.
- Tradition Nine excerpt from Chapter 19:
Many of us arrive at ACA wounded and angry. We hurt, so we want to hurt others. However, no one has the right to harm anyone in ACA. We must avoid our misguided attempt to recreate our dysfunctional family system through the ACA group. Angry or disruptive members are usually acting out their family role, unknowingly reconstructing their dysfunctional family setting. Some of us can relate to this claim . We realized that our disruptive behavior allowed us to blame the group. We could avoid working on ourselves by blaming group members for imagined wrongs and slights. The tolerance we found in ACA allowed many of us to change.
- ACA Commitment to Service page 601:
“I perform service so that my program will be available for myself, and through those efforts, others may benefit. I will perform service and practice my recovery by:1. Affirming that the true power of our program rests in the membership of the meetings and is expressed through our Higher Power and through group conscience.
2. Confirming that our process is one of inclusion and not exclusion; showing special sensitivity to the viewpoint of the minority in the process of formulating the group conscience so that any decision is reflective of the spirit of the group and not merely the vote of the majority.
3. Placing principles before personalities.
4. Keeping myself fit for service by working my recovery as a member of the program.
5. Striving to facilitate the sharing of experience, strength, and hope at all levels: meetings, Intergroups, Regional committees, service boards, and World Services.
6. Accepting the different forms and levels of service and allowing those around me to each function according to their own abilities.
7. Remaining willing to forgive myself and others for not performing perfectly.
8. Being willing to surrender the position in which I serve in the interest of unity and to provide the opportunity for others to serve; to avoid problems of money, property, and prestige; and to avoid losing my own recovery through the use of service to act out my old behavior, especially in taking care of others, controlling, rescuing, being a victim, etc.
9. Remembering I am a trusted servant; I do not govern.