A ‘Group Service Representative’ (GSR) is a member of ITAA who has been elected by a particular ITAA group to represent that group at International Service Meetings (ISMs). ITAA’s service structure resembles an inverted pyramid, with the groups at the top, and the ISM at the bottom. In other words, the International Service Meetings serves the interests of the groups. This means that the most important consideration for our service bodies when making fellowship-level decisions is that the needs and perspectives of all ITAA groups be well represented. GSRs ensure that our groups’ voices are heard when making fellowship-level decisions.
While GSRs have a special responsibility to represent the views of their groups, all members of ITAA are strongly encouraged to attend and vote in the ISM, as this helps improve the diversity and strength of our fellowship’s decisions.
Each group is autonomous, and may set its own requirements, length of term, and duties for its GSR(s). Below are some suggestions as to how groups might define the GSR service role for their meeting.
Each group may determine whatever requirements for its GSR service role that the group conscience deems prudent. Some example requirements might be:
- Having attended at least 10 ITAA meetings
- Having been in ITAA for 3 months
- Regularly attending the particular meetings of the group you would represent
- Being able to attend the ISM for the group you would represent
- Regularly attending ITAA meetings
- Currently working the Steps
- Familiarity with the Traditions and Concepts
- Having stable sobriety as you define it
- Being able to attend 1 of the 2 rotating meeting times for the ISM Meetings
- Not already GSR for another group
- No requirements
Suggested Length of Term
Each group is also empowered to set the length of term for this service role. The international fellowship has suggested a maximum term length of 2 years.
GSRs connect the ISM Meeting with the Group they represent. Each group can decide the responsibilities of their GSR(s). To this end, GSRs may:
- Participate in International Service Meetings through discussion and voting
- Represent their group’s needs and perspectives in International Service Meetings
- Notify their group of any relevant decisions or information
- Practice ITAA’s 12 Traditions through their service
- As needed, hold group consciences in their home groups regarding agenda items to be discussed at the ISM Meetings, and then transmit the outcomes and sentiments of the group conscience to the ISM.
Individual groups may also decide on alternative or additional responsibilities.
Familiarity with ITAA’s Twelve Traditions
While our Twelve Steps guide us in our individual paths to recovery, the Twelve Traditions help keep our groups and our wider fellowship on sound spiritual footing as we do service. As trusted servants, GSRs will need to have an understanding of the traditions, or a willingness to learn about them. Reading some literature on the traditions will be very helpful. To that end, there are some suggested resources at the end of this document.
There can be differing interpretations of certain traditions, and ultimately we attempt to apply and uphold them to the best of our ability and trust that our Higher Power’s will is revealed through the group conscience. When unsure how to interpret or apply a certain tradition, we can ask our fellows in service for guidance.
On Electing Multiple GSRs
ITAA has over 70 groups at present (online and face-to-face), with members in every continent. Since ITAA is an international fellowship, our International Service Meetings are held on a rotating time schedule, to enable members in different time zones to participate. Ideally, at every ISM we would have representatives present from many, if not all, ITAA groups. To that end, groups might decide to elect multiple GSRs who are based in different time zones, so that they can send a representative to all ISMs.
On the other hand, groups may wish to avoid electing a single member as GSR of multiple groups so that more members have an opportunity to do service and participate in our fellowship-wide group consciences.
Voting in International Service Meetings
In ITAA, any member may attend and vote at the International Service Meetings. One does not need to be elected GSR in order to attend and vote.
Suggested Resources for GSRs
Practicing the 12 Traditions is central to our service as GSRs. In addition, Robert’s Rules of Order is a method for taking group conscience and a process for moving through discussion and voting in such a way that everyone’s voice can be heard. We use Robert’s Rules to run International Service Meetings. We recommend that GSRs familiarize themselves with the following resources:
Many of us have also found valuable guidance in the literature of other 12 step fellowships, even if not every detail is applicable to ITAA: