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 founders 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.
“Seven – Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.”
The Seventh Tradition simply states that the only contributions each group should accept should be from members of the fellowship, and no one else. This prevents the fellowship from being corrupted by outside sources, by ensuring the only money coming in is from within.
This tradition was put to the test early on in the fellowship’s existence when offers for outside contributions started to occur in times when the fellowship was cash poor. By denying these contributions, however, the integrity of the fellowship was kept sound.
It is important to note that while contributions come from within, there are no dues or fees required for membership to the fellowship. This very important point keeps the third tradition valid, in that the only requirement for membership is simply a desire to stop drinking. No member is expected to contribute, and if they do, are not expected to contribute outside their means.
“Eight – Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.”
The program defines “professional” as someone who charges a fee or is hired to counsel an alcoholic. This would go against several of the principles laid out in the twelve steps and traditions. Each member receives the message of Alcoholics Anonymous for free and thus is expected to give away what was so freely given to them in the first place.
“Nine – A.A. as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.”
Tradition Nine sets up the loose rotating leadership that each group has. Often the homegroup members of a particular group will elect positions, such as treasurer, secretary, representative, etc, that rotate over time to allow all members the chance to provide service work. This also extends to intergroup committees, which oversee the groups in a given area, such as a city or county.
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.