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12 Traditions of AA: A Powerful Guide

Here is your perfect guide to the 12 Traditions Of AA and everything you need to know about it!

Alcoholism is not just an age-centric or a region-centric problem anymore. It is an issue that is affecting a large population of the whole world.

With time, it is taking serious turns and has become a severe social issue and has also negatively affected health, be it physical or mental health.

The extreme lust for alcohol imprisons an individual in the cage of addiction, and unlocking this cage is in itself a hard desire to realize into reality. However, continuous efforts are being made across the globe to eradicate this subject of deep concern. One of these efforts is AA, that is, Alcoholics Anonymous.

1. What Is an AA?: Alcoholics Anonymous

AA is an acronym used for Alcoholics Anonymous, a global fellowship, that includes both men and women. Membership in this AA group demands no monetary fees or dues. It was founded by Bill Wilson along with his physician Dr. Bob Smith in the year 1935.

The prime purpose of the group is to provide aid to the addicts of alcohol through their twelve steps programs and twelve traditions.

The AA group is non-professional, non-denominational, self-supporting, and apolitical in its very character. To be a member, the one and only requirement is to have a firm desire to get out of the life-threatening garb of extreme alcoholism.

It offers a humane opportunity to men and women to come forward and share their experiences and help others to recover and maintain a sense of sobriety.

Alcoholics Anonymous has a set of traditions, known as the 12 traditions of AA. These traditions form the real essence of the vision of the 12-step program group. These 12 traditions of AA reflect the authentic motive behind the idea of developing these groups.

2. 12 Traditions Of AA

The 12 traditions of AA are a beautiful combination of twelve priceless principles. One gets to know the thought behind the presence of these, in the mechanism of the 12-step group, which has a motivating force to help so many people get their alcoholism under control through sharing experiences and support.

The following names identify these 12 traditions of AA:

  1. Tradition One: Unity
  2. Tradition Two: Leadership
  3. Tradition Three: Eligibility
  4. Tradition Four: Autonomy
  5. Tradition Five: Carrying the message
  6. Tradition Six: Outside Enterprises
  7. Tradition Seven: Self Supporting
  8. Tradition Eight: Giving It Away
  9. Tradition Nine: Organization
  10. Tradition Ten: Outside Opinions
  11. Tradition Eleven: Public Relations
  12. Tradition Twelve: Anonymity

Let’s know all the 12 traditions of AA in detail.

2.1. Tradition One: UNITY

The first one on the list of 12 traditions of AA is the principle of unity. While one is in the disheartening trap of addiction to alcoholism, it becomes a very individualistic journey to come out of that trap all alone. Isolation from the world outside during this phase of transition makes one more isolated from within. This is where this tradition has an unprecedented role to play.

12 traditions of AA
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This tradition depends upon A. Unity is backed by the undeniable fact that unity within a group, consisting of all those willing to get out of alcoholism, is one of the best ways to achieve higher milestones in the 12-step program of alcoholics anonymous.

This tradition of alcoholics anonymous as a whole gives a non-judgmental platform to one and all alike, where each opinion can be openly presented. The best part is that even the least common views within the group are given equal importance.

As the principle of unity is all about, the members of every A. A group ought to accept the majority opinion for any decision and understand others’ points of view with respect, be patient towards opposing views, and bring forward the best way possible to make that decision a fruitful reality.

2.2. Tradition Two: LEADERSHIP

This tradition among the 12 traditions of AA is based on the philosophy of ensuring a sense of belongingness within the group of the twelve-step program. It specifies the criterion that no one within the group has dominating role towards the members. Every individual has a balanced role to play concerning the harmony of the group.

12 traditions of AA
Image by Mediamodifier from Pixabay Copyrights 2020

Along with these points, tradition two also focuses on some particular members of the group who are classified as leaders. But they are assigned to serve the group, with no purpose to rule or govern it, and no authority over any group members.

2.3. Tradition Three: ELIGIBILITY

The only eligibility criterion for AA group membership is a desire to stop drinking and leave the vice of extreme and uncontrollable urge for alcoholism. With this tradition, the individual with such passion gets motivated to join the AA group.

The prime aim is to minimize opinions on outside issues and mindfully participate and get beneficial results from the 12-step meetings.

2.4. Tradition Four: AUTONOMY

Next in line with the 12 traditions of AA is autonomy. The fourth tradition of autonomy is based on the norm that supports each group to be autonomous, except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole. Every group has the freedom to diversify its meetings at its convenience.

12 traditions of AA
Image by- Gerd Altmann/ Pixabay Copyrights 2014

The group should be autonomous simply because it has complete authority to individually decide on matters like a meeting place, the etiquette of discussion, the content of programs, the topic to be discussed, and financial issues.

2.5. Tradition Five: CARRYING THE MESSAGE

Tradition 5 of these 12 traditions of AA establishes a visionary motif of the 12-step group. That is the primary purpose to carry its message and make every alcoholic who still suffers free from the harsh times of addiction to alcoholism.

The members of the group can come to the 12-step rooms following their own needs. Personal recovery depends upon the progress of each member, and it varies from person to person. Through attaining this progress, they frame a path towards motivating others in the position they used to be, summon up courage and harden up willpower, and create an addiction-free future for themselves.

2.6. Tradition Six: OUTSIDE ENTERPRISE

This tradition affirms one basic principle for the mechanism of the alcoholism anonymous group, and that is to avoid being associated with any other organization.

The foundation is to stay true to the very character and purpose of the group. The A.A. group ought never to endorse, finance, or associate itself with any other organization, be it religious, political, civic, or charitable. The reason behind this resistance is to adhere to the aim of recovery, rather than diverting to other superficial streams, as the outside enterprise least varied spheres.

However, the members individually are free to join any of the organizations of their choice. There is no barrier for them. But when it comes to the Alcoholics Anonymous group as a whole, it remains out of the reach of such collaborations.

2.7. Tradition Seven: SELF-SUPPORTING

This part of the 12 traditions of AA retards the streaming of outside contributions. More precisely, the group’s purpose ought never to endorse finance from external sources and should be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. For contributing financial support, the members are not forced to contribute. It’s their wish to decide freely whether they want to donate or not.

12 traditions of AA
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay Copyrights 2016

This tradition specifies that 12-step groups should be self-supporting and sustain their finances with their contributions. There is a strict prohibition to accepting outside contributions because such contributions would only lead to outside influences adulterating the pure nature of the group.

2.8. Tradition Eight: GIVING IT AWAY

This tradition frames the structural outline for the group, which allows the provision that service centers may employ special workers, along with staying firm for the unpaid and non-professional nature of the organization.

This recovery is not in exchange for any monetary demands. The ones involved in the recovery of the newcomers are completely non-professionals and help others based on their own experience. They help, and in return, this leads to a reinforcement of their recovery as well.

The need to employ special workers is to have a workforce ready for those tasks that are out of the capability of voluntary workers. As a reward for their work, special workers are paid salaries.

2.9. Tradition Nine: ORGANIZATION

With an identity of an organization, Alcoholics Anonymous ought never to be organized, but at the same time, the group may create service boards or committees that can be directly accountable to all the people they aim to serve positively.

The 12-step group is the personification of the moral of “fellowship of equals.” There’s no sense of oppressing authority within the group. This settles the whole group on an equal ground of belongingness.

But for the executive decisions to be made, there is a mechanism of group conscience votes. In this voting procedure, any particular issue is discussed, and thereby votes are cast, and based on the majority votes, the decision is finalized. This altogether maintains a sense of understanding within the group.

2.10. Tradition Ten: OUTSIDE OPINIONS

With an unbeatable focus on the group’s main purpose, Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside matters and stays away from controversial issues from all directions. This aversion to controversies implies both the standpoints of disputes arising publicly and disagreements within the fellowship.

12 traditions of AA
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay Copyrights 2017

It also stays away from presenting any opinions regarding issues that are outside the domain of the group. And hence, the name of Alcoholics Anonymous ought never to be drawn into public controversy.

2.11. Tradition Eleven: PUBLIC RELATIONS

The eleventh tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous is hinged with a significant attribute. The group believes in one important principle: to always maintain personal anonymity, especially at the level of media, that is, at the level of press, radio, and films. This attribute of public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion.

This tradition also specifies avoiding using group names. For instance, if a member of the group has to say something in front of the media, they should identify themselves with their own names only, and there is no need to present the group’s name. The fundamental purpose behind this anonymity is to protect the positivity one derives from fellowship.

2.12. Tradition Twelve: ANONYMITY

12 traditions of AA
Image by Nikin from Pixabay Copyrights 2017

Last on the list of 12 traditions of AA is the Anonymity principle. If one wants to explore the spiritual spirit of the AA group, there is no other virtue that can stand on the forefront except anonymity. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all the twelve traditions and keeps the notion of placing principles before personalities at the group’s core.

The twelfth tradition clarifies that anonymity at the level of the personal sphere is crucial, which further makes it important to always maintain personal anonymity for the 12-step program.

The AA group has no professionals or doctors to treat the ones desiring to be part. Instead, it is formed of such individuals who have come out of the same problem of alcoholic addiction and aim to make others join this lineage.

Here is a video to know the 12 traditions mentioned above of AA even better. Do watch!

3. The Golden Twelve Traditions

Alcoholic abuse has become a threat to social peace and has completely distorted many families’ victims of this sin. Therefore, it becomes the need of the hour to eliminate this thorn from the garden of harmony.

The best tool that has appeared in the world’s eyes for controlling alcoholic addiction is the bliss of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 traditions of AA. Alcoholics Anonymous has a 12-step program that is backed by the virtues of these 12 traditions of AA.

Naming in sequence, unity, leadership, eligibility, autonomy, carrying the message, outside enterprises, self-supporting, giving it away, organization, outside opinions, public relations, and anonymity are the 12 traditions of AA.

There is utter importance of these traditions, especially in the present time when the concept of Alcoholics Anonymous and its implementation can bring a positive impact on those who have entered the cave of alcoholism but cannot find a way to get out of that cave.

This can bring a shining ray of hope for all such people and can play an irreplaceable role in making the world more peaceful and harmonious because, at last, peace and harmony is the real purpose behind one’s life.

Read more like this article, here.

4. Frequently Asked Questions

4.1. What type of group is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a non-professional self-help group organized by global fellowships to provide help to addicts of alcohol.

4.2. How does AA works?

AA is based on social interaction which gives an open space to people, who are suffering through the recovery from addiction to alcohol, to interact and share emotional support.

4.3. Are the 12 traditions of AA effective?

Yes! AA traditions provide practical and emotional aspects to help them get sober and recover from the addiction, with a safe and supportive space.

4.4. What are the three powers of AA?

The three powers of AA are recovery, unity, and service. These are the power steps that focus on providing equal solutions to maintain sobriety.

4.5. Do you stay in AA forever?

You can stay as a member of AA as long as you are comfortable and want to continue to feel supported in the organization. Also, it is absolutely OK to leave the group anytime you want if/ when you feel the recovery is over and you can start a different life.

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