Pamphlet of the Month – “The 12 Traditions Illustrated ”_Lifeline 2016

The Twelve Traditions A Distillation of A.A. Experience (excerpt)

As newcomers, many of us say to ourselves, “Let the group officers worry about the Traditions. I’m just an average member. They’re rules for running groups, aren’t they? And everybody tells me, ‘There are no rules in A.A.’!” Then we look closer—and find that the Traditions are not rules—and they are not just for officers. They have deep meaning for each one of us, as the Twelve Steps do. Like the Steps, the Traditions were not figured out in advance, as courses of action against future problems. The action came first. Pioneer A.A. groups, with nothing to go on except the trial-and-error-and-try-again method, soon discovered: “Well, that way didn’t work. But the other one did. And this one works even better!” Both successes and failures were reported in letters to A.A. headquarters (eventually to become the General Service Office). In went these shared experiences of A.A.’s first ten years, and out came the Twelve Traditions. In 1946, then in the “long form,” they were published in the A.A. Grapevine. By 1950, they had been condensed to their present form and were adopted by A.A.’s First International Convention. “Our Traditions are a guide to better ways of working and living,” co-founder Bill W. said. “And they are to group survival what A.A.’s Twelve Steps are to each member’s sobriety and peace of mind…. Most individuals cannot recover unless there is a group. The group must survive or the individual will not.”…

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