By Dave K
I have been studying the concepts with my sponsor using the “Twelve Concepts for NA Service” booklet. The sixth concept states that “Group conscience is the spiritual means by which we invite a loving God to influence our decisions”.
It is important to understand the difference between personal and group conscience. With personal conscience, we determine what is best for ourselves as individuals, by applying spiritual principles, and communicating with our higher power through prayer and meditation. With group conscience, we use our connection with a higher power, and apply spiritual principles, to decide what is best for the group, rather than what is best for us personally.
There can be conflicts between what is best for us personally, and what is best for the group. For example, it may be better for me personally if my home group does not meet at a certain time, because I want to watch a football game, or whatever, at that time. However, I should help my group formulate a group conscience, by putting aside these personal preferences, and voting what I honestly believe to be best for the group.
Votes should reflect differences in our interpretation of God’s will for our group, rather than differences in personal preferences. I should seek from my higher power guidance on what is best for our group, rather than what is best for me personally, and then vote what I honestly believe is best for the group.
In forming a group conscience, it is important that every addict get a say, not just the most popular addicts and/or the addicts with the most clean time. No addict’s input into the determination of group conscience is any more important or less important than anyone else’s. Hopefully it should be readily apparent what the group conscience is, but if not it may be necessary to have a vote, and everyone should get an equal vote.
It is important to realize that group conscience can be experienced in activities other than just making decisions. When we attend meetings and share with each other our spiritual awakening in a way that provides experience, strength and hope to one another, we experience our group conscience. The group conscience can be applied not to just a service issue but also to our own spiritual growth.
We can apply the sixth concept to our own personal lives, by seeking our own spiritual awakening which we bring to our groups and service work. We apply the sixth concept in our lives by seeking to carry out God’s will rather than our own. We apply the sixth concept when we seek to hear the spiritual message behind the words that we hear.