While the Twelve Steps are what keeps us sober, the Twelve Traditions keep the fellowship alive and well for the next newcomer. The Traditions were born out of the founder’s experience with trial and error in the early days of the fellowship. In eighty plus years of existence, the fellowship has managed to thrive and continue to grow each year, despite remaining leaderless, accepting no outside contributions, and without any sort of promotion.
The Traditions have laid the perfect blueprint for countless spinoff fellowships to Alcoholics Anonymous, and ensure their survival for years to come. Here, we will briefly break down each Tradition and what they mean.
“Ten – Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”
Much like earlier traditions, Tradition Ten functions to protect the integrity of Alcoholics Anonymous by decreeing members and groups to remain neutral on all outside issues. This is important, for if certain groups were promoting a specific religion or politician, for example, this would certainly cause controversy that would hurt A.A. as a whole.
Politics and organized religion simply do not mix with the primary purpose of the fellowship- to help the still sick and suffering alcoholic. We are quite a diverse group of people, from all different classes and backgrounds. By remaining neutral on outside issues, the fellowship does not tear itself apart from within.
“Eleven – Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.”
Alcoholics Anonymous has over two million active members and over 110,000 groups worldwide. This is quite an amazing feat, considering Tradition Eleven mandates the fellowship functions on attraction, rather than promotion. This tradition is honored down to the individual level, where it is understood that our character and actions promote the fellowship far better than any words or commercials we could create. Often times our friends will recommend us to people suffering from alcohol or addiction, which embodies the principle of Tradition Eleven.
“Twelve – Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.”
Much like the previous tradition, Tradition Twelve represents a principle that is carried down to the individual member level. The anonymity of the fellowship results in principles being placed above any individual person. This leads to practicing humility, which is one of the core principles the fellowship believes in. The importance of the principle of anonymity is to the fellowship is written directly in the Twelve Traditions, which states that “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions”.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.