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12 Traditions

As the AA community grew, questions arose among it about group management, shared funds, personal affairs, public relations, anonymity, etc. Expanding experience through trial and error gave rise to AA's twelve traditions. Bill W initially published articles on the subject in the AA Grapevine magazine. They evolved into the "Twelve Points for Securing Our Future." In print, AA's Twelve Traditions were published in 1946, and the current wording was confirmed at the First International Celebration Convention in Cleveland, Ohio in 1950.

1. Our collective success should come first, personal recovery depends on AA unity.
* In the absence of unity, AA falls apart.
* Individual freedom, but still great unity.
* Paradox explanation: every AA member's life depends on following spiritual principles.
* The group must stay alive or the individual will be destroyed.
* The importance of joint success.
* How best to live and work together in groups.
2. For the purposes of our group there is only one basic authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are only trusted servants - they do not rule.
* Where does AA get its lead? The only authority in AA is God as He expresses Himself in the group consciousness.
* Group knowledge determines.
3. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
* Intolerance in the early days was due to fear.
* Depriving an alcoholic of the opportunity to join AA was sometimes a death sentence.
* Member definitions are removed.
* Two examples based on experience.
* An AA member is anyone who says they are.
4. Each group should be independent, except in matters concerning other groups or AA as a whole.
* Each group handles its affairs as it pleases, except when it comes to AA as a whole.
* Is such freedom dangerous?
* The group, like the individual, must conform to the principles that ensure the survival of AA.
* Two red flags: the group should not do anything that would harm AA as a whole, more than joining any group outside of AA. For example: an AA center that failed.

5. Each group has only one main purpose - to take their message to still suffering alcoholics.
* Better to do one thing well than many poorly. The survival of AA depends on this principle.
* From God (Higher Power) I have received the ability to identify ourselves with another alcoholic and share our recovery with a newcomer.
* Our only purpose is to take this gift of ours to another.
* Sobriety cannot be maintained unless it is shared.
6. The AA group should never become a guarantor or financier or lend the name of AA to any kindred organization or outside company, lest the problems of money, property and prestige distract us from our main purpose
* Experience proved that we could not support any related company, no matter how good it was.
* We cannot be everything to everyone. We stated that we could not borrow AA's name for any activity outside of it.
7. Every AA group should be completely self-sufficient and reject outside aid.
* No other AA tradition has been as laborious to implement as this one.
* Lack of reserve, initially forced by circumstances.
* Fear of abuse.
* Necessity separates the spiritual from the material.
* The decision to get by with voluntary contributions.
* The responsibility for the financial well-being of the service center was placed on AA members.
* The service center's operating principle: only operating costs and a reasonable reserve fund.
8. AA should always remain non-professional, but our offices may employ specialist staff.
* Twelfth step work and money cannot be mixed.
* Line division between voluntary 12th step work and paid service.
* AA could not function without paid labor.
* Professional workers are not professional AA members.
* AA's relationship with industry, education, etc.
* There is never compensation for the work of the 12th step, but those who work to serve us deserve their wages.

9. AA as such should never be organized, but we can form service bodies or committees that are directly responsible to those they serve.
* Special service councils and committees. The central service council, the trust staff and the group committees cannot draw up rules for AA members or groups.
* AA members cannot be prescribed individually more than collectively.
* Despite the absence of coercive power, "disorganization" does not hurt, because if every AA member does not follow the suggested recovery steps, he writes his own death sentence. The same applies to groups.
* Suffering and love are the disciplinarians of aa people.
* The difference between the spirit of authority and the spirit of service.
* The aim of our services is to make sobriety accessible to everyone who wants it.
10. AA does not take a position on external issues; because of that, AA's name should never be dragged into public controversies.
* AA does not take a position on public controversies. Not wanting to fight is not a special virtue.
* Staying alive and spreading AA are our main goals.
* What we have learned from the Washington movement.
11. Our outward action is based on attraction rather than attention; we should always maintain personal anonymity in the press radio, television and film circles.
* Relationship activities are important to AA. Good public relations saves lives.
* We are trying to make AA principles known, not AA members.
* The press has taken our cause as their own.
* Personal anonymity in public is the cornerstone of our public relations activities.
* The 11th tradition constantly reminds us that personal ambition has no place in AA.
* Each member becomes an active caretaker of our community.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our traditions, always reminding us to put principles before personal matters.
* The spiritual substance of anonymity is sacrifice.
* Giving up personal goals for the common good is the essence of all twelve traditions.
* Why AA couldn't remain a secret society.
* Principles are more important than people.
* One hundred percent anonymity in public.
* Anonymity is true humility.

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