Welcome to the section for Group Service Representatives---or GSRs! Just like individuals attend meetings because we cannot recover in isolation, meetings connect to the larger CoDA community to stay healthy. This is achieved not only through disbursing 7th Tradition donations to the lower levels of service, but by sending a representative to the monthly LA CoDA business meeting.
What exactly is a GSR?
"The link between the CoDA group and CoDA as a whole. Ideally, a GSR is an established member of the group, with experience, knowledge, and understanding of CoDA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions..." (CoDA Meeting Handbook, pg. 19)
Benefits to having a GSR are plentiful!
- highlight your meeting's strengths and report changes
- bring news and motions to your meeting and bring your meeting's input to LA CoDA
- pick up free copies of meeting lists, newcomer pamphlets, and event flyers
- pick up literature orders for your meeting
- get support with meeting issues during open discussion
Why does CoDA suggest GSRs serve for 2 years?
Each meeting is autonomous in deciding the requirements and length of service for their GSR, but CoDA, Inc. suggests electing a meeting's Group Service Representative to a 2-year term. Other meeting positions may rotate more frequently, but in order to serve effectively, a GSR needs to learn about the inner workings of the intergroup in addition to the meeting they represent. Understanding the LA CoDA Guidelines, learning how each officer and subcommittee serve the fellowship, and gaining familiarity with the business structure of why and how things are done are all important aspects of a GSR's role that take time to develop. Every position in a meeting requires continuity--showing the next trusted servant the ropes when finishing a term--but that is difficult or impossible for a GSR who has not served long enough to fully understand the role themselves.
Another reason 2 years is suggested is because personal recovery takes time. Service at the intergroup level can sometimes be triggering, especially without the support of a sponsor or the insights gained through working the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Developing a strong foundation for our individual recoveries allows us to give service from a place of joy and gratitude instead of fear and guilt. Being of service for 2 years allows us to witness our service and interactions with others evolve as we continue to work on ourselves. Many of us purposefully choose to serve in new ways and at new levels as we gain more recovery in order to embrace the new growth opportunities they present. Growth is only possible outside of our comfort zone.
Lastly, LA CoDA cannot provide so many valuable services to the fellowship without a slew of trusted servants on the board and on subcommittees. We are self-supporting through the contributions of service more so than financial donations, but often a lack of experience and/or fear of the unknown deter members from volunteering at the intergroup level. By serving as GSR for 2 years, members can eventually meet the criteria for LA CoDA positions while learning about which service opportunities might be a good fit. They themselves are not only better prepared to transition into intergroup service, but they can more clearly explain it to members in their home meeting, resulting in even more members contributing service on subcommittees.