Most of the AA income to GSO comes from sales of AA approved literature. At this time we at group level have no say or power over AA’s choice to turn it into BIG BUSINESS in New York New York. They have no intention on changing this and are clearly in violation of the seventh tradition.
At the bottom of the triangle of AA sits non-alcoholic AA Chairperson, Terry Bedient who is very concerned about AA’s attendance in the U.S. and Canada, this article is taken from his blog at https://rebelliondogspublishing.com/home/blog/a-rebel-s-welcome-to-new-aa-chairperson-terry-bedient
Terry Bedient a previous officer in the army and medical adminstrator, risk manager became AA’s General Service Board’s Treasurer in 2008 (not to be confused w/ General Service Office). Selected to the board as one of seven rotating non-alcoholic Trustees in 2008, Terry comes to AA from an Employee Assistance Program background and has been active in Public Information, several other committees and, most recently, AA’s Treasurer (2017) https://aa-nia.org/wp-content/pdf/del_page/GSBReport-en.pdf.
New York gets these numbers from 62 autonomous General Service Offices. As a Canadian, the double-digit decline decade over decade makes me wonder. At one time, Canadian AAs were over 110,000 and now we are 25% less. Conversely, non-US/Canada members increased 20% (1997-2017).
Every year since 1991 membership has dropped. Granted not all those who leave AA get drunk. I have personally witnessed people who know how to “live the 12 step program” and have healthy fellowship outside of AA.
In the Summer Box 4-5-9: News and Notes from the General Service Office of A.A. our latest membership numbers will be posted. Comparing our January 1, 2017 numbers with a year prior, we can look at what the trend means for AA and how we might be responding to the trend. To let the cat out of the bag, worldwide AA membership is down 6% over last year. AA has largely had flat membership numbers since 1991 (2.1 Million members). Membership isn’t down everywhere but USA and Canadian membership is down about 10%.
In response to this membership decline, freethinkers might wonder if the tough-love rigidity of
fundamentalist AAs are bullying alcoholics out the door. I’ve heard from “our more religious
members” that the book Living Sober, agnostic 12-Step or anything other than a strict 164-page
diet is killing alcoholics. The “make AA great again” crowd and the “AA must be reformed”
crowd will both affirm their suspicions about the others bad influence on AA when they view
membership trending. One camp thinks GSO is too religious and the other thinks it’s too liberal.
All of us have biases. Maybe that’s why I started this blog with a reminder of “Doctor (Bob)’s
Opinion,” that “Without some tolerance, we might tend to become a bit smug or superior—
which of course, is not helpful.”
Both secular AA and back-to-basics AA are on the rise and if each are helping alcoholics find
sobriety, that’s great. Let’s hope we don’t crowd out the less vocal moderates in the meantime.
How many freethinkers have been to a dozen back-to-basics meetings and how many back-tobasics
members have been to several atheist/agnostic groups? It’s hard to cultivate tolerance
when confined to an echo-chamber.
“In 1986 this violation of the 7th Tradition was widely recognized and a goal was set to sell literature at cost. To follow AA Tradition NONE of GSO income was to come from book profits.
Now, after 17 years to fix the problem MOST of GSO income comes from book profits and it is explained away as being quite proper. 56% of income comes from literature sales. No efforts to fix it are underway.
An AA group that paid it’s bills by selling books for profit would violate Tradition and would be shunned. Today the GSO pays most of it’s bills by selling books for profit and should be shunned until it stops.
Simply put, the GSO refuses to scale back to a level that contributions will support.
There is no GSO service or expense that is more important than our basic principles. years is long enough. GSO does not deserve our support until it follows Tradition.”