About Northern Colorado Intergroup (NCIG) / Central Office
Intergroup is a linked committee of volunteers made up of representatives from A.A. groups all over the Northern Colorado area. Intergroup encourages mutual support and cooperation among A.A. groups. It provides services that would be too much for the individual groups to handle by themselves. The NCIG Steering Committee also manages the Central Office (and its Office Manager or ‘special worker’) in Fort Collins, CO.
NCIG Central Office’s purpose:
- Help newcomers in Northern Colorado who are seeking A.A. to find meetings, and
- Assist meeting groups in carrying the message.
Your contributions help us stay open and active.
Central Office flyer (coming soon)
WHAT NCIG PROVIDES FOR NEWCOMERS, GROUPS, & MEETINGS IN THE AREA
- Phone service every day all day (24 / 7 / 365)
- A.A. information and meeting locations
- 12-step calls to newcomers and returning members
- A.A. literature and medallions
- A.A. literature in other languages
- A.A. Grapevines
- Lending Library
- Newcomer Packets and Meeting Lists
- Northern Notes newsletter
- Email subscription for events, updates & newsletter
- Private social media
- A centralized website with meetings & resources
- Public Information
- Special events
- Special orders
- Assistance in helping individual members set up a new meeting
- Outreach activities and service opportunities
- Cooperation with outside agencies
- Liaison with the Districts, Areas, GSO, World Services, and other Intergroups/Central Offices.
Intergroups part of a long tradition of Intergroup / Central Offices in A.A. The Northern Colorado Intergroup is similar to any other Intergroup in the US, from Baltimore to Boulder County to Oahu. A.A.’s World Services call them A.A.’s Front Line. As a service center, the history of Intergroup / Central Offices is intertwined with the development of Traditions 8 and 9 in the 1930-40s. The forerunner to today’s Intergroup / Central Offices, the Central Committee, was established in Cleveland Ohio in October 1939, four years after AA’s co-founders Bill W. and Dr. Bob met.
How an A.A. member performed their 12th step work was strictly their own business. The role of headquarters in New York was to arrange the 12th step call, but not to oversee or direct the content of 12th step work. A similar example occurred in the Philadelphia area. And, although Cleveland already had a Central Committee by 1940, Chicago’s one-room office is often referred to as the first Intergroup / Central Office or organized service center. Back in New York, a local service center began to be operated informally out of an A.A. clubhouse that had been established in 1940, on Manhattan’s West 24th Street. While A.A.’s “headquarters” in Newark responded to inquiries on a national level, this local service center responded to local inquiries.
The New York Central Committee was eventually replaced, as membership grew, with what is now known as the New York Inter-Group. This Inter-Group was formed in 1946 by 23 founding groups from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, The Bronx, and Westchester County. Over time, many service centers were incorporated as not-for-profits, similar to the New York Inter-Group. The naming conventions for these service centers changed over time too. Names like Central Committee or AA Association were replaced by the naming convention of Intergroup or Central Office. The term “intergroup” was first used in 1953 in Charleston, West Virginia. Currently, there are 757 Intergroup / Central Offices registered with AA’s General Service Office; 514 are located in the United States and Canada.
Just as each A.A. group functioned autonomously from other A.A. groups, each service center functioned autonomously from any other service center. Clearly, A.A.’s organizational structure, whether consisting of a service center, intergroup, central office, board, or committee, is not meant to govern. But A.A. does need some organizational structure, and the reason for that is succinctly summed up on page 175 of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions:
“Just as the aim of each AA member is personal sobriety, the aim of our services is to bring sobriety within reach of all who want it. If nobody does the group’s chores, if the area’s telephone rings unanswered, if we do not reply to our mail, then AA as we know it would stop. Our communications lines with those who need our help would be broken.”
In early A.A., the fundamental role of a service center was to be there when the phone rang, to help the still suffering alcoholic find a meeting or connect them to a sober alcoholic willing to do 12th step work. It’s the bedrock.
The Central Office’s Place Within A.A.’s 12 Traditions
The Central Office constantly works to ensure that its operations are in compliance with the letter and spirit of A.A.’s Twelve Traditions. This section of the About page has been compiled to share how the Traditions apply to the Central Office’s operations.
Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on A.A. unity.
At every turn, the Central Office works to unify and include every A.A. member and group in its activities, and to encourage participation in all parts of A.A. recovery and service. it is a ‘central’ place to gather A.A. information and to build a lasting recovery community for the next alcoholic.
Tradition Two: For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
The Central Office is not a “command center.” It provides coordination, information, and experience. It offers a central point of contact for people outside of A.A. seeking information, and it provides 24-hour availability for alcoholics in need who are seeking help. It does not dictate any “policies and procedures” to groups, and while it may offer suggestions about how groups might conduct their affairs when asked, it never requires any group to do anything.
Tradition Three: The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
From the long form: “Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group …” The Central Office serves all A.A. groups in its Northern Colorado service area, regardless of whether or not they contribute financially to the support of the Central Office, no matter what language they use, and no matter how large or small they are.
Tradition Four: Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
The Northern Colorado Central Office in Fort Collins operates independently of other intergroups and central offices. While we do not take direction from other organizations, we do communicate and consult with other intergroups on matters of shared experience and importance. When there are issues affecting A.A. as a whole in this area and beyond, the Central Office does consult with Districts, the Area, and A.A. World Services.
Tradition Five: Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
Just as each group has a single purpose, the Central Office has a similar primary purpose: To help the alcoholic who still suffers find A.A. members and meetings/groups. All of the Central Office’s activities are carried out with that purpose in mind.
Tradition Six: An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
The Central Office works hard to maintain a separation of physical and monetary from the spiritual, and it adheres to policies that promote separation and non-affiliation. The Central Office does not promote non-conference-approved literature or other items (but will also provide what groups and individual alcoholics request); does not refer people to specific treatment centers or medical facilities, but may guide callers based on their location and, if necessary to a District’s Bridging the Gap Committee; does not overlap with other 12-step programs, but if people come to us, we may pass on information for contacting other 12-step fellowships. While the Central Office may refer people who would be better served by those organizations to them, we never endorse one over another or mix the kinds of literature from them with A.A.’s.
Tradition Seven: Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
The Northern Colorado Central Office is fully self-supporting through the contributions of the A.A. members and groups it serves and through its own activities, such as literature sales and events. It will not accept contributions from any non-A.A. member or organization. The Central Office never demands funds from any groups or members.
Tradition Eight: Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
The Northern Colorado Central Office and its employee do not do A.A. 12th Step work as part of their paid duties. Instead, they make it easier for A.A. members to do 12th-step work. As a first contact with both alcoholics in need and the general public, the Central Office volunteers match a caller (if needed) with an A.A. member who can help meet the caller’s needs. While our special worker may be an A.A. member, and while they do the usual A.A. 12th Step work on their personal time, they are not ever paid for that work. Although the special worker will receive and pass along suggestions from A.A. members and groups, they are not paid to endure any harassment from A.A. members, for safety is just as important in A.A.
Tradition Nine: A.A. as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
The Central Office is governed by the Steering Committee and the Intergroup Representatives through Bylaws. The Steering Committee is elected on a rotating basis; both individuals and groups rotate holding seats as often as possible (usually on an annual or bi-annual basis). The Intergroup Representatives are elected by their groups for varying terms (depending on what frequency of rotation the group decides), and while no formal policy requires specific term limits or rotation requirements, most groups elect Representatives for terms ranging from six months to two years, and force rotation after one or two terms.
Tradition Ten: Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
The Northern Colorado Central Office has no opinion on issues that do not directly affect its mission. From time to time, the Central Office is asked about all sorts of issues in A.A., from smoking in groups, parking problems, harassment issues, and choosing a meeting space, to legal counsel for people contemplating suing groups or A.A. as a whole. The internal workings of any group are its own business, and the Central Office does not advocate anything. Although it does offer suggestions, service structure contacts, and the accumulated experience of groups in its service area, it does not make rules or decisions on behalf of groups. So, although no one is in charge in A.A., we do our best to support the mission of our primary purpose to carry the message of recovery and keep folks sober.
Tradition Eleven: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
The Northern Colorado Central Office maintains personal anonymity for both A.A. members in general and for its employee in particular. We do not participate in public displays or outside events. All Central Office activities are conducted with anonymity in mind. If an interview is requested we refer to the Public Information officer in the Area.
Tradition Twelve: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all of our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
The Central Office strives to maintain spiritual principles and ideals of A.A.’s Steps and Traditions in everything that it does, and both its paid and volunteer workers are trained to keep adherence to our Traditions in mind at all times.
The “short form” of the Twelve Traditions are reprinted from “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.” Copyright 1952, 1953, 1981 by the A.A. Grapevine Inc. and Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.). Reprinted with permission. Many thanks and acknowledgment of the Fort Worth Central Office for posting a variation of this applied and fitting interpretation.
WHAT A.A. WORLD SERVICES SAYS ABOUT CENTRAL OFFICES / INTERGROUPS:
“Unity is the glue that holds the intergroup/central offices and general services together, but it is communication that jumpstarts mutual cooperation and harmony—vital both in reaching suffering alcoholics and in being attuned to the needs of those who are recovering in A.A. Many local intergroups produce their own flyers or information pieces. Also, the General Service Office publishes Guidelines and other service material that share the accumulated experience of intergroups and central offices in the United States-Canada and worldwide. These define an intergroup as “an A.A. service office that involves partnership among groups in a community—just as A.A. groups themselves are partnerships of individuals. It is established to carry out functions which are best handled by a centralized office…. It exists to aid the groups in their common purpose of carrying the Alcoholics Anonymous message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”