From the April 2011 magazine.

April 2011: The Traditions Come Alive

These three questions might prevent you from bailing on the next Tradition meeting you stumble into

"I learned the purpose of the Traditions by studying our history."

When I was new, and for a long time afterward, I became accustomed to hearing the Traditions read at meetings. The words sounded impressive, but they didn’t impact me deeply. I found that it was only when I was able to answer the following three questions that the Traditions came alive for me: What is their purpose? What is their structure? And, what is my response to them?

I learned the purpose of the Traditions by studying our history. By the mid-1940s AA had begun its rapid growth, but the accelerating growth of arguments, controversies and power struggles made Bill fear for our survival, especially when he learned of the meteoric growth and extinction of the Washingtonians a hundred years before. From his observations of what was occurring in our Fellowship and the lessons he learned from the death of the Washingtonians, he wrote what he titled “Alcoholics Anonymous Tradition Of Relations—Twelve Points To Assure Our Future.” I sometimes wonder what the impact of reading the Traditions would have been if prefaced with a simple statement of their purpose, such as: “These are twelve points to assure our future.”

-- Chet P.

Orlando, Florida

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