Dual Members in Service



Conference Members
Executive Director
Dual Members in Service Policy

This is a continuation of the memo series of WSO answers to questions from the fellowship. It is intended to help Area Delegates to respond to these frequently asked questions.

Question: If the WSO is a non-profit corporation, how can they exclude alcoholics (or anyone) from their service structure?

Answer: The World Service Office is a corporation, but Al Anon Family Groups and the Conference are not incorporated and have no legal standing. See Tradition Nine and Concept Seven. The Charter spells out the relationship between the groups and the Board of Trustees.

The dual member policy is a long-standing policy of the fellowship and is in accordance with Tradition Six. This is also in keeping with the spirit of the Conference Advisory Actions of Alcoholics Anonymous which stated in approving the guidelines for group separation of A.A. and Al Anon in 1967:

“The use of the word ‘family’ should be deleted from an A.A. group’s name…officers should be either A.A. or Al Anon depending on affiliation and new members be encouraged to stick to either an A.A. or Al Anon group since they will get the most help by staying close to the group relating to their problems.”

Since the groups and the Conference do not exist in law and we take no outside funds, the fellowship is not covered under any discrimination mandates. Societies can form rules to meet the needs of their principles as long as the purpose is justified and not
based on discriminatory intent. We don’t forbid A.A. members from joining Al Anon, we just don’t let them serve in policy making positions that could create a conflict between A.A. and Al Anon or create the appearance that we aren’t separate entities with separate purposes.

Many members have threatened to sue over the years but there is no entity to sue. The WSO is a clearinghouse, not an enforcer. Anyone is free to form another organization for families and friends with its own set of rules (see Warranty Four, of Concept Twelve
in the Service Manual, p. 197). As it has been said many times before, it is time to accept the group conscience of Al Anon Family Groups around the world and move on.

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