From the January 2020 magazine.

What’s Best for the Group

A member in Oregon shares her thoughts about one of our most important Traditions

After seven years in AA, I finely feel like I’m starting to acquire a working knowledge of this vital principle, Tradition One. This Tradition makes clear that the welfare of the group should come before any one member. The group comes before me, before you, before the old-timer, and yes, even before the newcomer. Who knew? Not me.

Even though I thought I had been practicing the First Tradition for a while now, I was actually only understanding it in my head. The principle was not yet in my heart. Because I knew the AA literature and could even recite the long form, I was following the technicalities of the Tradition—the “letter of the law,” rather than the spirit of the principle. Over time, I found I was never truly able to practice any of the other Traditions until this particular principle really had sunk into my heart.

-- C.B.

Bend, Ore.

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