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.

But for a loving God, none of us would be sober. Ultimately we would be dead. Without sobriety, our group would not exist. Therefore, the individual group belongs to God (or the God of the understanding of the groups individual members – AKA: a Higher Power). In order for that Power to express itself, then the members of the group who vote need to have been spiritually awakened as the result of working the 12 Steps. Members who vote in a Group Conscience meeting, need to be actively seeking God’s will in their respective lives by living our program. If we have worked the Steps, had the promised spiritual awakening and have reviewed the Traditions with a sponsor, then we have a responsibility to vote in a group conscience and participate in the discussion prior to vote under the guidance from our respective sponsors

In our business meetings, the members are not there to vote their own individual agendas, wants or wishes. They are there to apply the principles of this fellowship to whatever issue is before the group conscience. This is one of the things that is meant by “principles before personalities” in our 12th Tradition. A sure indicator that we are expressing self-will instead of God’s will is when we find our selves being hostile or rancorous in a group conscience. The business meeting of a healthy group is often indicated by the calm consideration of what is heard there, its members focusing on principals rather than personal agendas and the lack of ill will toward each other afterward. If we are all living by the same principles and are all spiritually awakened, then the members will largely be in agreement on the issues anyway. A healthy group will hold a group conscience on a regular schedule in order to give God an opportunity to regularly express Himself.

We should give ourselves ample notice before voting in a group conscience. An issue should be presented at one group conscience and decided on not before the next scheduled group conscience, though there are sometimes exceptions. This gives the membership a chance to study the issue, to study the Traditions and Steps as applied to the issue, looking for conflicts and finally to give each person a chance to seek God’s will through meditation and prayer.

While we honor the group conscience as though God did speak through the vote, we must remember that God ultimately expresses Himself through what happens or “reality”, as we like to call it. The goals of the group may be lofty, but the telltale of how well the group is pursuing God’s will, is whether or not those goals are achieved. We ultimately know God’s will by the success or failure of the group. Money and service are often an indicator. If the goal(s) of the group require(s) financial and/or service support and the funds don’t materialize and/or the members do not do the work necessary, then we know that it wasn’t God’s will. The long form of the Seventh Concept of World Service spells this out quite clearly. Assuming that we always speak for God puts us on the plane of arrogance at the group level. Either way, we honor the group conscience accordingly whether we as individuals agree with it or not.