Group Conscience

The term group conscience comes from the second tradition: “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern”. This is scary stuff. An organization who talks to God is a religion. An organization where God talks back through its leaders, is a cult.


The group conscience is the collective will of a specific AA group, but like any group, there are leaders; and in the case of AA, the Old-timers run the show, and they are as a rule the most dogmatic. Also, many are batshit crazy, controlling and really have no life outside of the insular world of Alcoholics Anonymous. Notice the highlighted part – ‘God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants’. The end result is a group of Bill Wilson Mini-Mes who believe they are running with show with a mandate from God.

  • There are no true leaders in twelve step programs. That's the entire point of the group conscience. At my meetings, every member is free to attend the business meeting. All votes are counted equally. Any motion can be presented. The business meetings are where we make the rules we use during our meetings. The "leaders" would be anyone who shows up for the business meeting. It's much more democratic than our government in the US, or any other that I'm aware of. If you are allowing others to "run the show" that is your neglect of your program.

    • MA

      There may be no official leaders, but the nutjob old-timers run the show. You may not be able see this, as I'm guessing you might be one of them.

  • Mike

    @MA: "There may be no official leaders, but the nutjob old-timers run the show. "

    You can bet your bottom dollar that the wacky old-timers are running the show. The common traits of such people?:

    – lack of solid social contacts outside of the program. AA is their playground.

    – highly neurotic. This usually manifests itself in the obsessive/compulsive behaviors that the rituals of the program encourage.

    – low tolerance for stress. Just see what happens when someone crosses them or something doesn't go as planned.

    – sexually and/or financially hard-up. No need to comment here.

    The list goes on.

  • Gunthar2000

    It's not just the old-timers… AA is the only organization I know that allows you to give yourself a promotion to management. All you have to do is learn a few lines and you are the boss of the next new guy.

  • tintop

    mike — you got it.

  • Mel Gibson

    the prisoners running (ruining) the prison.

  • SoberPJ

    I find it thoroughly ironic that Bill Wilson wrote the chapter To Wives and it is a main component of the Alanon program. I mean, don't they know their program is based on a lie? It would be interesting to be in an Alanon business meeting and have someone make a motion to declare in their preamble that, to be rigorously honest, we should announce that the chapter To Wives was written by a sociopathic womanizer so new comers can know the truth. I think that would expose the non-leader old timers pretty quickly.

  • Catherine

    I’m happy to be sober and that God choose a sociopathic womanizer is his way of letting US ALL IN

  • I am happy that Alcoholics Anonymous is Spiritual and not Religious. I would not want any religion to be associated with any group who’s founder used a Ouija Board which is the Devils tool (clearly outlined in the Bible as a way to become Spiritual. I am not very happy that Alcoholics Anonymous members who preach you can pick anything to prey for, even a boor knob which breaks the Second Commandment handed down from Mount Sinai are allowed in Church basements.

    “You shall have no other gods before me”
    Exodus 20:5
    You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

    The Devil is cunning and powerful, just like Alcoholism is in the scripture of the false prophet Bill Wilson.

  • MikeAugustine

    Gee, catherine, I learned at sunday school that god chose his only begotten son as the means by which we are all in, not some hair-brained sociopath.

  • Sally


    Careful about taking your will back or you will surely drink. I’m happy that I have the will to abstain and don’t have to worry about that.