By Dan M.

Ever wonder what happens at a GSR Assembly? A seasoned GSR shares his experience.

“I couldn’t have known the sense of love and trust in a place where you can leave your phone or even your wallet on the table and feel that it’s absolutely safe. I remember joking that if I left cash on the table it would turn up in the lost-and-found.”

 I went to my first Pre-Conference Assembly in 2016 in Marin.  A Pre-Conference Assembly is where the General Service Representatives (GSRs) make their group’s opinions known to the Area Delegate, who will represent them at the annual conference in New York. 

As a brand new GSR, I had been to my district meeting and attended the Agenda Topics Workshop. I had followed suggestions on taking a group conscience. While that process was more difficult than it should have been, I felt prepared to deliver my group’s opinion on the topics of the year. I understood that this is where the future of A.A. is decided—from the language of our literature to financial decisions. But in my first Assembly, there was so much I couldn’t be prepared for.

I couldn’t have expected what a powerful experience it would be to be in a large hall with more than 400 A.A. members. I couldn’t have known the sense of love and trust in a place where you can leave your phone or even your wallet on the table and feel that it’s absolutely safe. I remember joking that if I left cash on the table it would turn up in the lost-and-found.

Before that first assembly, I couldn’t really understand the size and diversity of our Northern California Coastal Area. It was inspiring to hear the different thoughts of groups from Santa Cruz to Crescent City and all of the different kinds of people making up our program.

Since that day, I’ve attended many assemblies in person. And in the last two years, I’ve attended more on my laptop. On April 2nd and 3rd we will hold the 2022 Pre-Conference Assembly in person once again.  Organizers are working on an online component. Please click here for the flyer: Pre-conference assembly flyer 

I feel badly for those Service Reps who have represented their groups but have never had the experience of meeting people in line for lunch or the tingle you get when a room of 400 people goes absolutely silent before saying the Serenity Prayer in unison. I’m happy that we will have these experiences again.

A.A. has learned a lot in these last two years. We’ve learned that we can stay sober even when we’re not in the same room. We’ve learned that we can conduct our business efficiently and fairly with the tools of technology. I think we’ve also learned that we can be available to A.A. members who wouldn’t otherwise be there, that we can do more to increase access to those who don’t have mobility or transportation. “Who is not here?” is a question we must always be asking, whether we are in person or meeting remotely.

I hope that, as we return to in-person assemblies, people will come just to experience it, even if they don’t have a service position. So if you have never been to any assembly, now is your chance to join the fun and see how we ensure that the hand of A.A. is there for future alcoholics in the decades to come.

Dan M.’s home group is Fremont Men’s Stag, where he served as GSR in his first General Service position.