GSR Welcome Information

“The strength of our whole A.A. service structure starts with the group and with the general service representative* (G.S.R.) the group elects. I cannot emphasize too strongly the G.S.R.’s importance.”

Bill W. on General Service and the G.S.R.

*The term General Service Representative was replaced by Group Service Representive in the UK in 2001


Welcome to Shropshire Intergroup! Along with other Group Service Representatives from Shropshire and Mid Wales, you have become part of an important service body. You are now responsible for maintaining a crucial link of communication between your group, Intergroup, Region, the General Service Office and the World Service Office. You will also be asked to vote on behalf of your group on matters that affect our local and national fellowship.

Like other Intergroups, Shropshire Intergroup maintains a range of services designed to carry the message into all areas of society and thereby fulfil our primary purpose. While groups shoulder a large portion of the responsibility, there are services for which it would be impractical for a single group to run. Consequently, Intergroup works to perform these tasks on behalf of the groups.

Despite these responsibilities, Intergroup is not a management body, it does not sit above the groups. Responsibility is delegated by the groups to Intergroup. This means that it is the groups who are in charge via their GSR. That’s you! Take a look at the service structure diagram below.

This may seem complicated at first, but it was that way for many of us. After experience of seeing it in practice, we can assure you that it works and that you’ll soon get to understand the way that the service structure of Alcoholics Anonymous works.

You have been elected by your group to represent your group. It is suggested that GSRs have a minimum of two years of continuous sobriety and serve for a minimum of two years and a maximum of three. If you are ever unable to attend an Intergroup meeting, your group should elect an alternate GSR to attend in your place. This ensures that the best possible channel of communication is maintained between your group, other groups, Intergroup and the rest of the service structure.

As an elected representative it is your job to carry information back to your group. As difficult as it may be, it is best to carry information first and your opinions second. Some time before each Intergroup meeting most GSRs will speak with their group either by calling a Group Conscience or less formally to see if there is anything they wish to raise at Intergroup. After an Intergroup meeting it is your job to carry back all the information about what was discussed and any responses to your member’s questions or concerns.

Again, welcome! Sit back, relax, take notes and never be afraid to ask questions.

The Job of a GSR

The guidance below is taken directly from The AA Structure Handbook for Great Britain, chapter three.

Essential Reading

It is expected that all GSRs will have a good working knowledge of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and the following publications. Don’t worry if you have not read everything on the list yet, but it would be wise to begin reading. Many members have found it useful to begin small informal study groups to support one another as they read the literature.

GSRs are expected to be familiar with the following books;

Additionally, you will also find the following pamphlets helpful;

A Few Important Tasks

As a new GSR it is essential to get your contact information to the Intergroup Secretary and GSO. The easiest way to do this is via our website by clicking the button below.

Even if you have been a GSR before, please complete the form with as much information as you can. Completing the form on our website will update both the General Service Office in York, our ECLO (to update the website) and our Intergroup Secretary.

Also on the website you’ll find a form to submit a Twelfth Step list. This is a list of people from your group who are willing to take a twelfth step call from a telephone responder and then help the newcomer to a meeting. Please submit this information by clicking the button below. 

Jargon Buster

ASLO - Armed Services Liaison Officer

ECLO - Electronic Communications Liaison Officer

ELO - Employment Liaison Officer

GSB - General Service Board

GSC - General Service Conference

GSO - General Service Office (based in York)

GSR - Group Service Representative (historically General Service Representative)

HLO - Health Liaison Officer

PI - Public information

PILO - Public Information Liaison Officer

PLO - Prison or Probation Liaison Officer

TLO - Telephone Liaison Officer

WSO - World Service Officer (based in New York)


Lastly, if you ever need help, please don’t hesitate to contact the Intergroup Chairperson or Secretary.

A presentation on the role of the GSR can be found by clicking the link below.