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What is the Central Service Office?

Your intergroup or Central Service Office (CSO) is where the still-suffering alcoholic first calls or shows up for A.A. help.

Although local CSO operate independently of A.A.'s worldwide service structure, they are a vital part of the Fellowship. In most areas, any group that so wishes can belong to the local intergroup (CSO) , which is supported by contributions from its member groups. These contributions are purely voluntary.

In areas where it may not be practical to open a service office as such, groups sometimes set up joint committees for their Twelfth-Step efforts and activities, and use a carefully briefed central telephone answering service to take calls. Due to workload, a local service system of this type seems to work better if it is handled separately from the work of the area general service committee.

Most CSO function with only one or two paid workers (some have none) and so rely heavily on A.A. volunteers for help. Many A.A.s have found that serving at intergroup-answering calls from alcoholics and doing what else needs to be done-greatly enriches their sobriety and broadens their circle of friends.

What Does the CSO Do?

An Intergroup or CSO is a vital A.A. service office that represents a partnership among groups in a community - just as A.A. groups themselves are a partnership of individuals.

These offices are established to carry out common functions that are best handled by a centralized office, and it is usually maintained, supervised, and supported by these groups for their common interest. The office exists to aid the groups in carrying the A.A. message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Methods and goals vary from one area to another, but generally the intergroup or central office responsibility is to:

Copyright by AAWS as pamphlet P-16, "The AA Group...Where it all begins", reprinted with permission.