12 Traditions of AA

The 12 Traditions of AA are the by-laws for the operations of Alcoholics Anonymous. Stating that AA is not to have a governing body nor be an organization for-profit.

What are the 12 Traditions of AA?

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.

2. For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.

5. Each group has but one primary purpose: to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

6. An A.A. group aught never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. 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.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

More About the 12 Traditions

The 12 Traditions found on page 562 in the Big Book.

The 12 traditions are located in the back of the Big Book in a section called Appendices. You can find the 12 traditions on page 562 and the longer form version on page 563.

  • Read the 12 Traditions (both short and long form version) for free online.

First written in 1946 (long form version), the traditions have helped AA stay the course without controversy or corruption. The traditions are so important to the success of AA that they are read at the beginning of every AA meeting. When people read the 12 traditions for the first time, it breaks every normal rule of a functioning organization that it’s a wonder how AA survived!

But Alcoholics Anonymous does survive and it’s only growing bigger every year. In each AA meeting, a basket is handed around for members to donate money, as AA is self-supporting. Putting money in this basket is not required. If you have the means, a dollar or two is appreciated. Groups depend on this money in order to pay for rent and to buy literature.

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