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The Twelve Concepts Applied
The 12 Concepts try to design a structure to minimize friction and personal conflict. They are a system of checks and balances. By careful definitions and mutual respect, we maintain a working balance.
Most of the points in the applications are easy to read. The others have necessary detail and definitions that probably take more than one reading to digest. And most of the points apply only to the entire service structure outside the meetings. But some of the Concepts also apply to meetings and to sponsorship.
For an application to the district level, "assembly" and "committee" are used. Note that "assembly" is the district assembly, "committee" is the district committee, and "board" is the district board. The committee is made up of the board (district chair, treasurer & secretary), service chairs (PI&O, H&I, Events & Planning, and Structure & Finance) and ex-officio members (Group Registrar and Fulfillment Coordinator for sales of literature and tokens). The assembly is made up of the committee and all the GSR's.
A large part of the concepts are an expansion of Tradition 6, which tells us to separate the material from the spiritual (cf. AA's Long Form). Therefore it's important to have a district committee that focuses on the material and the spiritual and to have an assembly that focuses on the spiritual and only the highlights of the material. We don't want all the business details to bore the GSR's so much that they quit, so we keep the material details on the committee side. The spiritual is everything that can benefit the groups directly.
Applications to the district level of service assume that the district is incorporated (but much still applies if the district is not incorporated).
Almost all of the following was taken from AA's "The Twelve Concepts Illustrated" and "Twelve Concepts for World Service."
I. Concept 1: The Groups' and Districts' Responsibilities
Final responsibility and ultimate authority for CMA world services should always reside in the collective conscience of the Fellowship of CMA as a whole.
• GSR's are the collective conscience of the whole district.
• The entire responsibility of groups' effectiveness, happiness and sobriety is not entirely left to providence—we take responsibility.
• District committee members are accountable to the GSR's.
• We rely on our district committee members for management of our district services.
• Founders are perishable, and we need to find more leaders.
• Regardless of trouble or expense, we have to deliver our district services into its permanent keeping. We are supposed to make enough money so that the district lives on forever. We can't ignore the material side. We need to find a financial balance in the district.
• Groups can and will take final responsibility for their district services. So if people don't step up to take service commitments, services go away.
• Tradition 2 gives CMA groups the final authority.
• The collective conscience of our whole district fellowship is the final responsibility and ultimate authority.
• By a group not participating in the assembly meetings (not sending a GSR), the intergroup gets to do what it wants.
• In CMA, GSR's participate in the district and the area.
II. Concept 2: Properly Delegated Authority, Responsibility and Leadership—Who Has Ultimate Authority and Who Has Immediate Authority
The General Service Conference of CMA has become, for nearly every practical purpose, the active voice and the effective conscience of the Fellowship in its world affairs.
• The groups rely own the district, area, and world. The groups are the group conscience and they have the needed funds.
• Groups delegate operational authority to the district which is fully empowered to act and speak for the groups.
• Tradition 2 says that the principle of amply delegated authority and responsibility to trusted servants must be a part of the service structure. Following the groups' consciences, the district has final responsibility and immediate authorization to get their project underway AND to keep it going.
• The district board is in full legal charge of all district affairs. But ultimate responsibility and authority is in the groups.
• General and delegated responsibility lies in the assembly of GSR's for the district services.
• The assembly has become for nearly every practical purpose the active voice and effective conscience of our fellowship in district affairs.
III. Concept 3: The Right of Decision—Guarantee #1
To create and insure effective leadership, we should endow each element of CMA with a traditional "RIGHT OF DECISION," which allows our trusted servants to decide what matters can be disposed of by themselves and what matters require them to report, consult, or ask for direction.
• Every trusted servant has a right to decide how they will interpret and apply their own authority and responsibility to each situation as it arises. Therefore the trusted servant decides which problems they dispose of themselves and which they will consult or ask for direction.
• The Fellowship must have trust in their trusted servants.
• The higher level shall not instruct the lower level and vice versa.
• Each servant shall cast their vote according to their best judgment and conscience.
• An instructed servant is not trusted—they are a messenger.
• The Right of Decision is never an excuse for exceeding clearly defined authority or for failing to consult the proper people.
• Our entire program is based on mutual trust. We trust Higher Power, CMA and each other.
• We trust each other or no effective leadership can be possible.
• It would be too much red tape to attempt to cover every conceivable action in the bylaws.
• Tradition 2 says that we ought to trust our responsible leaders to decide.
• (There will always be plenty of ultimate authority to correct inefficiency, ineffectiveness or abuse.)
• There should always be love for occasional mistakes.
• Except for written guidelines, the trusted servant should always be able to decide which matters they will fully dispose of and which they will refer to others for opinion or guidance.
• The Right of Decision is a symbol of our confidence.
• If you show up, you have the right to participate.
IV. Concept 4: Traditional Right of Participation—Guarantee #2
At all responsible levels, we ought to maintain a traditional "RIGHT OF PARTICIPATION," allowing our trusted servants voting representation in reasonable proportion to the responsibility that each must discharge.
• There are no superiors, inferiors or advisers on the spiritual side with district assemblies.
• Accountants and other professionals may attend district board meetings to be put into direct communication with the district board. Although these professionals do not vote in assembly meetings (they only vote in board and committee meetings), they may freely participate. (This is on the material side of the district when GSR's are not present.)
• In CMA there are no second-class members, reinforcing Tradition 2.
• On the assembly, we all truly belong and are trusted servants.
• Trusted servants shall be allowed a voting representation in reasonable proportion to the responsibility that they must discharge.
• No class is set in absolute authority over another.
• Participation can usually stop a demoralizing misuse of final authority.
• We should not vote on reports of our own past activities. (For example the secretary would not vote to approve their own minutes.)
• Only deny non-board members their vote when: Special situations involve past performance, job qualifications or financial compensation; or doing a sweeping reorganization of the district board itself due to malfunction of the board. But this should never be construed as a bar to non-board members voting on structural changes.
• All of us deeply desire to belong—a spiritual reason for the Right of Participation. We want a relation of brotherly partnership. There are no second-class members.
• Right of Participation is a correction of ultimate authority.
• We are the trusted servants described in Tradition 2.
V. Concept 5: Right of Appeal and Right of Petition—Guarantees #3 & 4
Throughout our structure, a traditional "RIGHT OF APPEAL" and a "RIGHT OF PETITION" ought to prevail, thus assuring that minority opinions will be heard and personal grievances will be carefully considered.
• Right of Appeal assures that the minority opinion will be heard.
• Right of Appeal assures that petitions to resolve what is undesirable will be heard.
• When a group or district is leading a business meeting, make sure that the minority has a second opportunity to present its views.
• Even after substantial unanimity (Concept 12) is reached, those opposed are polled individually to see if they wish to speak further, thereby giving the body a chance to reverse itself.
• On issues of grave importance, the minority has the DUTY of presenting its views.
• The Right of Appeal recognizes that minorities can be right, and that even when in error they provide a most valuable service when they compel a thorough debate on important issues.
• The well heard minority is our chief protection against an uninformed, misinformed, hasty or angry majority.
• Trusted servants are almost always a small but truly qualified minority.
• We must pay special attention to the minority voice.
• Because of the tyranny of the majority, a simple majority is seldom a sufficient basis for a decision.
• The Right of Appeal eliminates fear of counter attack.
• Be encouraged to file a minority report whenever you feel a majority to be in considerable error. Giving a minority report is orally giving a further explanation.
• Filing a minority report is your duty when the error will seriously affect the district as a whole.
• A complaint can be carried to the next level (area or world level).
• The Right of Appeal protects the minority.
• The Right of Appeal says we trust in minority groups.
• Trusted servants must always be ready to do for the groups what the groups cannot or should not do for themselves. Consequently, servants are bound to use their own information and judgment, sometimes to the point of disagreeing with the uninformed or biased group opinion. This occurs when the group conscience cannot or should not act directly. Therefore we trust a small but truly qualified minority.
• The district board can veto a simple majority when the vote is less than 2/3 for business of the fellowship.
• We shall never be subject to the tyranny of the majority or minority.
VI. Concept 6: Final Responsibility and Ultimate Authority
Although the General Service Conference has the final decision respecting overall matters of general policy and finance, it recognizes that the chief initiative and active responsibility in most of these matters, especially the day-to-day functioning of CMA's world services, should be exercised by the Trustees acting together as the Board.
• The assembly has the principal responsibility of the maintenance of our district services, and the assembly has the final decision respecting large matters of finance and general policy. But the assembly recognizes that the active responsibility in most of these matters should be exercised primarily by the district committee.
• Concept 1 says that final responsibility and ultimate authority rests with the groups, but Concept 2 says that the groups must delegate this responsibility to the assembly. The assembly must in turn delegate administrative responsibility to the committee. The district bylaws and assembly charter should explain the freedom that the committee must have.
• The district board has the legal and practical responsibility for the operation of district services.
• The committee is responsible for public information and for the message throughout the district.
• The committee overseas financial operations and the substantial reserve fund.
• Concept 9 details the committee's functions.
• Although our objective is always a spiritual one, nevertheless our district is a business operation.
• Our whole service structure resembles a corporation. The groups are the stockholders.
• Like other boards of directors, our district board/committee must be given large powers if they are to manage the affairs of the district.
• Just as the groups find themselves unable to act decisively respecting district matters unless they delegate a great amount of active authority and responsibility to the assembly, so must the assembly delegate a liberal administrative authority to the committee in order that the committee may act freely and effectively in the absence of the assembly.
• Therefore we must consider carefully the leadership that the committee must have in order to function at top effectiveness.
• Also, we need to define clearly the professional and financial skills that will always be required for a balanced committee.
• We give the committee latitude because we hold them responsible.
• Our committee is expected to lead in the formation of policy, and we must see its proper execution.
• The committee is entirely responsible for the investment and use of the reserve fund.
• Our spiritual objective can only be achieved by an effective business operation—if there is no money, we cannot carry the message.
VII. Concept 7: Balance of Powers Between the Committee and the Assembly
The Bylaws of Crystal Meth Anonymous is a legal instrument that fully empowers the Board of Trustees to manage and conduct all of CMA's world services. The Conference Charter itself is NOT a legal document; it relies instead upon the force of tradition and the power of the CMA treasury for its final effectiveness.
• The assembly recognizes that the bylaws are a legal instrument, that the committee members are thereby fully empowered to manage and conduct all the district service affairs of CMA.
• The assembly charter is not a legal document, and it relies instead on the force of tradition and the power of the district purse for its final effectiveness.
• The board (committee) is invested with complete legal power over the district funds and services.
• But the assembly has such great influence and financial power that it could overcome the legal rights of the committee.
• The practical power of the assembly is superior to the legal power of the committee.
• Superior power is derived from the assembly charter because the GSR's could cut off financial support from the groups.
• Theoretically the assembly is an advisor to the committee only, but practically it has ultimate power if need be nearly always. The exception would be in legal matters such as with the need to pay taxes.
• The assembly recommends, although these recommendations have the force of directives to the committee.
• The committee does not have legal authority to veto an assembly recommendation. The committee simply refrains from using its legal right to say "no" when it would be much wiser—all things considered—to say "yes."
• If the assembly will always bear in mind actual rights, duties, responsibilities and legal status of the board (committee), and if the committee members constantly realize that the assembly is the real seat of ultimate service authority, then neither will be seriously tempted to make a rubber stamp out of the other. In this way, grave issues will always be resolved and harmonious cooperation will be the general rule.
• The GSR's shall find themselves in ultimate authority over the committee (when there are 2/3 more GSR's than board members).
• The board is given the right to reject, but not elect new committee members. The assembly nominates and the board accepts or rejects the nomination for committee members.
• So that the committee can be accountable for effective management, the committee choices—subject to assembly approval—have to be left pretty much up to the committee themselves because the committee understands what the committee needs. And except in time of reorganization, this selection method would continue.
• Tradition 2 allows trusted servants within the scope of their duties to be trusted to use their own experience and judgment. Trusted servants are expected to exercise leadership, and leadership is not simply being submissive.
• Whether or not the committee will exercise their veto is a matter of circumstance.
• Following are 3 examples in which it would be the duty of the committee to veto assembly actions:
1. If in haste or heavy stress the assembly issues a directive to the committee that is in clear violation of the bylaws, charter or state or federal laws or would seriously injure CMA's public relations. So if the assembly refused to reconsider, then the committee could use their legal right to veto.
2. Although the committee should never substantially exceed an assembly approved budget, the committee may reduce the budget even at the expense of cancelling a project.
3. If by reason of unforeseen conditions, any plan or assembly directive becomes impractical or unworkable during a fiscal year, the committee should veto and cancel it.
VIII. Concept 8: The District Board Acts in Two Capacities
Our Board of Trustees is the principal planner and administrator of overall policy and finance, as decided by the General Service Conference. It also has custodial oversight of CMA's separately incorporated service entities, which the Board exercises by its ability to select the executives of these entities.
• The committee is the principle planner and administrator with respect to larger matters of overall policy and finance.
• But the board has full stock ownership and custodial oversight that it exercises by confirming all chairs of the subcommittees.
• The committee must devote itself almost entirely to the larger questions of policy, finance, group relations and leadership. In these matters the committee must act with great care and skill to plan, manage and execute.
• The committee must not be distracted with details and endless questions that arise in routine operations. It must delegate its executive functions to its subcommittees and to therefore have custodial oversight.
• The committee members are guarantors of good management.
• A corporate service entity should possess bylaws, capital and executives.
• Be warned against too much money and authority.
• The committee bears the primary responsibility of the good conduct of all our district services.
• The committee must devote itself to the serious questions of leadership with great care and deliberation. Here the committee is expected to skillfully plan, manage and execute.
• The committee members are the guarantors of good management of district services.
• Committee members shall have legally defined titles, duties and responsibilities.
• The committee is to be legally chartered.
IX. Concept 9: How Can We Best Strengthen Leadership
Good service leadership at all levels is indispensable for our future functioning and safety. Primary world service leadership, once exercised by the founders of CMA and the General Service Committee, must necessarily be assumed by the Board of Trustees.
• Good service leaders are indispensable for our future functioning.
• The operating results can be no better than the personal performance of those who must make it work, no matter how good the structure is.
• Furnishing our structure has to be a continuous effort.
• GSR's are the initial source of our leadership. They are the foundation to the entire service structure.
• Together, the GSR's are the district's group conscience (when 2/3 of the assembly are GSR's).
• No society can function well without able leadership and the district is no exception.
• A leader in CMA is a person who puts principles, plans and policies into such dedicated and effective action that the rest of us want to back them and help them with their job.
• Good leadership never passes the buck.
• Our leaders lead by example, but do not boss us.
• For meetings without GSR's, the needed improvement seems to be a matter of increased care, responsibility and education.
• Good leadership is an essential protection for the security of the district's future.
• Good leadership originates plans, policies and ideas for improvement of our fellowship and services.
• Nothing can be more fatal to leadership than opposition for opposition's sake. It can never be my way or no way at all.
• A leader must realize that even proud or angry people can sometimes be dead right.
• True leadership must always use careful discrimination and soul searching.
• A leader compromises cheerfully when it will cause progress. We recognize that progress nearly always is characterized by a series of improving compromises.
• We must use careful discrimination and timing for when to not compromise.
• We will have to disagree without loosing our friendship.
• If in an argument, we thank the other person when they bring us truth. Then we admit we were wrong. Listen carefully.
• Vision is all-important. We shall surely suffer if we cast the whole job of planning onto Providence. We must distinguish between fantasy and thoughtful estimate. Vision is the essence of prudence. Try to think months and years ahead.
• Continually we are in need of tolerance, responsibility, flexibility and vision.
• Every sponsor is necessarily a leader. The stakes are about as high as they get. The qualities of a leader can make the difference between life or death.
X. Concept 10: Service Responsibility has Equal Authority
Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority, with the scope of such authority well defined.
• The scope of authority is always to be well defined and clearly understood.
• Authority must be delegated at every level.
• Concept 1 says that final responsibility and ultimate authority resides in the groups.
• Concept 2 says that the assembly delegates to the committee.
• The service triangle has service as the base with the other two legs being responsibility and authority.
• When delegated authority is operating well, it should not be constantly interfered with. Otherwise there can be demoralization. Therefore it is highly important that the board not unnecessarily interfere with or usurp the subcommittees.
• The board is in ultimate authority over its district corporation.
• The subcommittee chairs are in ultimate authority of their subcommittees.
• Ultimate authority should practically never be used in full except in an emergency.
• The committee has the legal right to veto assembly votes in rare cases. Therefore the board has administrative authority equal to their responsibility. This does not deny ultimate authority of the assembly to reorganize the committee.
• In Tradition 2, we see group consciences as ultimate authority and trusted servants as delegated authority.
XI. Concept 11: Non-Board Members of the Committee Who Support and Share Leadership with the Board
While the Trustees hold responsibility for the administration of CMA's world services, they should always have the assistance of the best possible committees, staffs, consultants, and if necessary, corporate executives who are not Trustees. Such individuals, whether volunteers or paid employees, should be chosen with care. Serious concern should be given as to how they are selected, what qualifications they possess, and what rights and duties they will have.
• The service chairs (PI&O, H&I, Structure & Finance, Events & Planning) and the ex-officio members (group registrar and fulfillment coordinator)--and anyone else necessary--are to have ample freedom and authority to do their job.
• Paid workers like an accountant should be compensated in relation to the value of their services and abilities in the commercial world, assuming service money is available.
• Paid personnel get voting representation on the board and committee. They are to be treated as the same as volunteers, friends and coworkers.
• The following are suggestions for structure and finance.
1. Mix spirituality and money in just the right proportion. They make sure that the district doesn't become money crippled or go broke.
2. They need prudent members with financial experience. They should be realists.
3. Keep district services solvent in good times and in bad.
4. Conservatively estimate each year's income.
5. Develop plans for increasing income.
6. Keep a cold eye on needless costs.
7. At mid-year ask for budget revisions if necessary.
8. Continue to set aside money for the prudent reserve.
9. It can be okay to sometimes run temporary deficits.
• For public relations, it is important to keep growing everywhere. We need the increasing good will of editors, writers, TV and radio stations.
• For literature, we believe that cheap looking literature is not in our best interest.
• Leaders are good salesmen. They also discern when to act on their own and when to consult others as is guaranteed by the Right of Decision.
• Although we have a business to conduct, we have to keep our friends.
• The district should be a smooth running organization, or it risks loosing 7th Tradition monies.
• The more responsible the assignment, the longer the term of service must be.
• Sustained willingness to practice spiritual principles in all our affairs can work through clashing personalities.
XII. Concept 12: The 6 Warranties
The General Warranties of CMA's General Service Conference are: In all its proceedings, the General Service Conference shall observe the spirit of the CMA tradition, taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that it place none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over any of the others; that it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy; and although it may act for the Fellowship of CMA as a whole, it will never perform acts of government, and it will always remain democratic in thought and action like the Fellowship which it serves.
• The corporation (district) shall never become the seat of perilous wealth or power.
1. The 7th Tradition protects the district against the accumulation of too much money. Therefore we limit contributions and refuse to take outside donations.
2. Perilous power is protected against through Tradition 2. Therefore we believe in a loving God as our ultimate authority, and we are leaders and only trusted servants.
• Sufficient operating funds and a prudent reserve should be the districts prudent financial principle.
1. The prudent reserve should be a full 1-year's operating expenses.
2. The prudent reserve is not obtained from the group contributions. If your district has roundups, the money should come from that or other fundraisers.
• None of the committee members shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any other. Refer to Concept 4.
• All important decisions should be reached by substantial unanimity, generally agreed to be a 2/3 majority vote. Therefore, all important matters will be extensively debated, time permitting.
1. Substantial unanimity safeguards against a hasty or overbearing simple majority of 51%.
2. Since substantial unanimity is strongly desired, this warranty protects the minority by giving them plenty of time to share their frequent wisdom.
3. If any minority remains opposed, they are far more satisfied having had a full and fair hearing.
4. Substantial unanimity can be overridden in rare cases when a minority obstinately blocks a necessary and urgent action.
• No committee action shall ever be personally punitive or incite public controversy. We don't personally attack or punish. Refer to Tradition 1.
1. We should not enter into public controversy, even in self-defense. Public contention would eat at our unity and future effectiveness.
2. Our public relations should be peaceful and non-aggressive.
3. If the district comes under public attack and there is no basis in fact, the best thing to do is be completely silent, as unreasonable people are stimulated more by opposition. But if their attacks continue, respond informatively in private.
4. If criticism is justified, even in part, then acknowledge this privately and thank them.
• The committee shall not perform acts of government, and the committee will always remain democratic.
1. The committee shall entirely abstain from any act that could limit our freedom.
2. The committee shall always act respectfully and in love toward all CMA members.
3. The committee should be a symbol of freedom to grow in God's likeness.