A Guide for ACA Delegates to the Annual Business Conference

The following information is intended to orient ABC delegates to become effective participants. Please contact the Delegate Training Subcommittee with any questions at:  [email protected]


Each April, ACA’s World Service Organization (WSO) conducts an Annual Business Conference (ABC). Meeting groups, Intergroups and Regions (aka ‘groups’) send delegates as representatives. Together they strive to represent the collective conscience of ACA’s worldwide fellowship In keeping with Concept I of the 12 Concepts of Service in ACA (see below).

The business conducted during the conference will include, among other things:

  • Review and acceptance of the Treasurer’s statement and committee reports;
  • Review of new literature in the Conference Approval process;
  • Ratification of the Board of Trustees and certain committee chairs; and
  • Review, discussion and vote on agenda items from the ballot proposal process.

A Delegate is a chosen representative of a meeting group, Intergroup or Region, who attends the Annual Business Conference (ABC) to participate in the discussion and voting, presenting the views of the group they represent. A delegate’s length of service is determined by their individual group. The Delegate Training Subcommittee suggests that a delegate serve a 1 year minimum for continuity of participation.

In addition to representing their group during the ABC, a delegate can serve in other ways. In January, before the ABC, a delegate may assist their group by shepherding the voting process as regards the current ballot proposals. After the ABC, delegates can offer their insights, their experience, strength and hope, by participating in surveys and offering written reports to their group and intergroup. A delegate may also be inspired to volunteer in some manner with the World Service Organization. Or they may want to offer their insights to a first time delegate, the following year.

Representatives who travel to serve in twelve step programs customarily are assisted with their expenses. Partial or full reimbursement depends on the financial condition of the group.


Preparing for the ABC

The best source of information about the World Service Organization and the ABC is the Operating Policies and Procedures Manual, known as the OPPM. This document is continually being updated and broadened. It includes the organization’s Bylaws, our Traditions and Concepts, and an overview of the ABC. The latest version of the OPPM can be found in the Quick Links on the home page of acawso.org.  The entire website can be explored to the fullest. For information about last year’s ABC, go to https://acawso.org/category/abc2018/

Attending the monthly WSO Board Teleconference provides a good sense of the reporting aspect of the conference. These are held on the second Saturday of each month at 11a.m. to 12:30p.m. Pacific Time and 2p.m. to 3:30p.m. Eastern Time.  The phone number for the teleconference is (712) 432 0075, and the access code is 427266#.

Additionally, the Delegate Training Subcommittee (DTSC) provides guidance and support through a phone workshop a month prior to the Conference. The schedule will be sent to delegates and posted on the Delegates Education Page. DTSC also manages a ‘buddy program’, pairing new delegates with people who have experienced a previous conference, when requested.

A certain step to becoming a delegate is to register on the website (tbd).


During the ABC

Delegates receive reports from WSO and its committees. They consider proposals for possible action. They are guided by underlying principles. ACA’s service structure is an upside-down pyramid, as is traditional for twelve step programs. They operate with democratic practices which ensure that power rests with the membership.

The ACA Commitment to Service

I recognize in this commitment that the true power of our Program rests in the ACA fellowship as expressed in our group conscience. I acknowledge that I am a trusted servant; I do not govern. I shall to the best of my ability, abide by the word and the spirit of the literature of the ACA program and more specifically The Problem, The Solution, The Twelve Steps of ACA, The Twelve Traditions of ACA and The Twelve Concepts of Service in ACA, in executing the duties entrusted to me by the fellowship and the ACA WSO Board of Trustees. I agree to continue to participate in ACA meetings and to work on my own recovery.


Concept I:  The final responsibility and the ultimate authority for ACA World Services should always reside in the collaborative conscience of our whole fellowship.

Voting with the Right of Decision:  At the Conference, you may be presented with new or additional information that requires you to vote for the greater good of ACA, which may not conform to your group’s conscience.  As a delegate, we remain open to this information and are responsible to vote in a manner that in your informed opinion is best for ACA as a whole.

Concept III:  As a means of creating and maintaining a clearly defined working relationship between the ACA meetings, the ACA WSO Board of Trustees, and its staff and committees, and thus ensuring their effective leadership, it is herein suggested that we endow each of these elements of service with the traditional Right of Decision.

Concept IV:  Throughout our structure, we maintain at all responsible levels a traditional Right of Participation.


Common Terminology

  • Parliamentary Procedure: a body of rules governing meetings and operations of organizations to allow orderly deliberation to reach decisions with least possible friction.
  • Robert’s Rules of Order (RR or RRO): the most common form of parliamentary procedure.
  • Right of Decision: participants have the right and responsibility to speak and vote their own conscience, in the absence of any contrary mandate, on any issue regardless of the level of service
  • Right of Participation: allows the world servant voting representation equal to his responsibility
  • Right of Petition: assures us that petitions for grievances and the minority opinion are heard and properly acted upon.