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By the Power of God : A Guide To Early A.A.
Groups and Forming Similar Groups Today
Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W.
The Glumlot Letters: A Devil's Discourse on Sobriety, Recovery and the Twelve Steps of A. A.
Step-By-Step: Daily Meditations for Living the Twelve Steps
The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous: A Design for Living that Works
Trust the Process:
How to Enhance Recovery
and Prevent Relapse
Tradition One: Our common
welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
- Am I in my group a
healing, mending, integrating person, or am I divisive? What about
gossip and taking other members inventories?
- Am I a peacemaker? Or do
I, with pious preludes such as "just for the sake of
discussion," plunge into arguments.
- Am I gentle with those
who rub me the wrong way, or am I abrasive?
- Do I make competitive
remarks, such a comparing one group with another or contrasting A.A.
in one place with A.A. in another?
- Do I put down some A.A.
activities as if I were superior for not participating in this or that
aspect of A.A.?
- Am I informed about A.A.
as a whole? Do I support, in every way I can A.A. as a whole or just
the parts I understand and approve of?
- Am I as considerate of
A.A. members as I want them to be of me?
- Do I spout platitudes
about love while indulging in and secretly justifying behavior that
bristles with hostility?
- Do I go to enough A.A.
meetings or read enough A.A. literature to really keep in touch?
- Do I share with A.A. all
of me, the bad and the good accepting as well as giving the help of
Tradition Two: 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.
- Do I criticize or do I
trust and support my group officers, A.A. committees, and office
workers? newcomers? oldtimers?
- Am I absolutely
trustworthy, even in secret, with A.A. twelfth step jobs or other A.A.
- Do I look for credit in my A.A. jobs? praise for my A.A. ideas?
- Do I have to save face in group discussion, or can I yield in good spirit to the group
consensus and work cheerfully along with it?
- Although I have been sober a few years, am I still willing to serve my turn at A.A.
- In group discussions, do I sound off about matters on which I have no experience and
Tradition Three: The only
requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
- In my mind, do I
prejudge some new A.A. members as losers?
- Is there some kind of
alcoholic whom I privately do not want in my A.A. group?
- Do I set myself up as a
judge of whether a newcomer is sincere or phony?
- Do I let language,
religion (or the lack of it), race, education, age, or other such
things interfere with my carrying the message?
- Am I over impressed by a
celebrity? By a doctor, a clergyman, an exconvict? Or can I just treat
this new member simply and naturally as one more sick human, like the
rest of us?
- When someone turns up at
A.A., needing information or help (even if he can't ask for it aloud),
does it really matter to me what he does for a living? Where he lives?
What his domestic arrangements are? Whether he has been to A.A.
before? What his other problems are?
Tradition Four: Each group
should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or
A.A. as a whole.
- Do I insist that there
are only a few right ways of doing things in A.A.?
- Does my group always
consider the welfare of the rest of A.A.? Of nearby groups? Of loners
in Alaska? Of internationalists miles from port? Of a group in Rome or
- Do I put down other
members behavior when it is different from mine, or do I learn from
- Do I always bear in mind
that, to those outsiders who know I am in A.A., may I to some extent
represent our entire beloved fellowship?
- Am I willing to help a
newcomer go to any lengths - his lengths, not mine - to stay sober?
- Do I share my knowledge
of A.A. tools with other members who may not have heard of them?
Tradition Five: Each group
has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the alcoholic
who still suffers.
- Do I ever cop out by
saying, "I'm not a group, so this or that Tradition doesn't apply
- Am I willing to explain
firmly to a newcomer the limitations of A.A. help, even if he gets mad
at me for not giving him a loan?
- Have I today imposed on
any A.A. member for a special favor or consideration simply because I
am a fellow alcoholic?
- Am I willing to
twelfth-step the next newcomer without regard to who or what is in it
- Do I help my group in
every way I can to fulfill our primary purpose?
- Do I remember that A.A.
old-timers, too, can be alcoholics who still suffer? Do I try to help
them and to learn from them?
Tradition Six: An A.A.
group ought 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.
- Should my fellow group
members and I raise money to endow several A.A. beds in our local
- Is it good for a group
to lease a small building?
- Are all the officers and
members of our local club for A.A.s familiar with "Guidelines on
Clubs" (which is available free from GSO)?
- Should the secretary of
our group serve on the mayor's advisory committee on alcoholism?
- Some alcoholics will
stay around A.A. only if we have a TV and card room. If this is what
is requires to carry the message to them, shouldn't we have these
Tradition Seven: Every A.A.
group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- Honestly now, do I do
all I can to help A.A. (my group, my central office, my GSO) remain
self-supporting? Could I put a little more into the basket on behalf
of the new guy who can't afford it yet? How generous was I when tanked
in a barroom?
- Should the Grapevine
sell advertising space to book publishers and drug companies, so it
could make a big profit and become a bigger magazine, in full color,
at a cheaper price per copy?
- If GSO runs short on
funds some year, wouldn't be okay to let the government subsidize A.A.
groups in hospitals and prisons?
- Is it more important to
get a big A.A. collection from a few people, or a smaller collection
in which more members participate?
- Is a groups treasurer's
report unimportant A.A. business? How does the treasurer feel about
- How important in my
recovery is the feeling of self respect, rather than the feeling of
being always under obligation for charity received.
Tradition Eight: Alcoholics
Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers
may employ special workers.
- Is my own behavior
accurately described by the Traditions? If not, what needs changing?
- When I chafe about any
particular Tradition, do I realize how it affects others.
- Do I sometimes try to
get some reward - even if not money - for my personal A.A. efforts.
- Do I try to sound in
A.A. like an expert on alcoholism? On recovery? On medicine? On
sociology? On A.A. itself? On psychology? On spiritual matters? Or,
heaven help me, even on humility?
- Do I make an effort to
understand what A.A. employees do? What workers in other alcoholism
agencies do? Can I distinguish clearly among them?
- In my own A.A. life,
have I any experiences which illustrate the wisdom of this Tradition?
- Have I paid enough
attention to the book TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS? To the
pamphlet "A.A. Tradition - How it Developed"?
Tradition Nine: A. A. as
such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or
committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- Do I still try to boss
things in A.A.?
- Do I resist formal
aspects of A.A. because I fear them as authoritative?
- Am I mature enough to
understand and use all elements of the A.A. program - even if no one
makes me do so - with a sense of personal responsibility?
- Do I exercise patience
and humility in any A.A. job I take?
- Am I aware of all those
to whom I am responsible in any A.A. job?
- Why doesn't every A.A.
group need a constitution and bylaws?
- Have I learned to step
out of an A.A. job gracefully - and profit thereby - when the time
- What has rotation to do
with anonymity? With humility?
Tradition Ten: Alcoholics
Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought
never be drawn into public controversy.
- Do I ever give the
impression that there really is an "A.A. opinion" on
Antibuse? Tranquilizers? Doctors? Psychiatrists? Churches? Hospitals?
Jails? Alcohol? the Federal or state government? Legalizing marijuana?
Vitamins? Al-Anon? Alateen?
- Can I honestly share my
own personal experience concerning any of those without giving the
impression I am stating the "A.A opinion "?
- What in A.A. history
gave rise to our Tenth Tradition?
- Have I had a similar
experience in my own A.A. life?
- What would A.A. be
without this Tradition? Where would I be?
- Do I breach this or any
of its supporting Traditions in subtle, perhaps unconscious, ways?
- How can I manifest the
spirit of this Tradition in my personal life outside A.A.? Inside
Tradition Eleven: Our
public relations policy is based on attraction rather then promotion; we
need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press,
radio, and films.
- Do I sometimes promote
A.A. so fanatically that I make it seem unattractive?
- Am I always careful to
keep the confidences reposed in me as an A.A. member?
- Am I careful about
throwing A.A. names around - even within the Fellowship?
- Am I ashamed of being a
recovered, or recovering, alcoholic?
- What would A.A. be like
if we were not guided by the ideas in Tradition Eleven? Where would I
- Is my A.A. sobriety
attractive enough that a sick drunk would want such a quality for
Tradition Twelve: Anonymity
is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to
place principles before personalities.
- Why is it a good idea
for me to place the common welfare of all A.A. members before
individual welfare? What would happen to me if A.A. as a whole
- When I do not trust
A.A.'s current servants, who do I wish had the authority to straighten
- In my opinions of and
remarks about other A.A.s, am I implying membership requirements other
than a desire to stay sober?
- Do I ever try to get a
certain A.A. group to conform to my standards, not its own?
- Have I a personal
responsibility in helping an A.A. group fulfill its primary purpose?
What is my part?
- Does my personal
behavior reflect the Sixth Tradition - or belie it?
- Do I do all I can do to
support A.A. financially? When is the last time I anonymously gave
away a Grapevine subscription?
- Do I complain about
certain A.A.s' behavior - especially if they are paid to work for
A.A.? Who made me so smart?
- Do I fulfill all A.A.
responsibilities in such a way as to please privately even my own
- Do my utterances always
reflect the Tenth Tradition, or do I give A.A. critics real
- Should I keep my A.A.
membership a secret, or reveal it in private conversation when that
may help another alcoholic (and therefore me)? Is my brand of A.A. so
attractive that other drunks want it?
- What is the real
importance of me among 500,000 A.A.s?
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