861 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2012-03-04
Re: Moderators removal of post

I'm disappointed that a recent post was removed from this Traditions section. I was going to reply to the poster's question regarding the problems in his/her group, with suggestions relating to relevant Traditions, Concepts and General Warranties of Conference. This could possibly have helped them to resolve the situation. Can the removed post be re-instated please?

Joined: 2011-04-20
No postings have been removed

No postings have been removed by moderators.
-Grapevine Editorial

Joined: 2013-09-05
Re: No postings have been removed

Oh? What happened to the recent post criticizing the cover on the October issue?

Joined: 2013-10-04
Covers of Grapevines -

Covers of Grapevines - October 2013 cover came up at Area meeting last weekend. Whether "good" or "bad" it brings up discussion of how we as individual and groups carry the message. We all learn and grow through discussion.

Joined: 2012-03-04
Re: Covers of Grapevines and critics

I think the October 2013 Grapevine cover is “good.” Well done to whoever designed it.

Joined: 2013-06-22
AA Speakers on Youtube

Seeing alot of AA speakers on youtube with advertisements attached before the talk begins. IN particular I am seeing this with alot of AA celebrities ( Circuit speakers etc...) Obviously there is no AA police, but as sponsors, do we discuss with folks we sponsor about affiliation? There is one individual who lists all his speakers as AA speakers on a public forum with an advertisement. Is it just me that sees this as wrong?

Joined: 2012-03-04
Re: AA Speakers on Youtube

No, it is not just you that sees this as wrong, I do too. I think there are many others who see this as well. AA speakers on Youtube, AA celebrities and circuit speakers represent the very antithesis of Tradition Twelve. They are destroying the foundation of our unity and good public relations.

In 2010 the General Service Conference (Great Britain) gave the following advisory action: “The Committee would like to draw attention to Conference recommendation of 1995 which reads: “that the practice of inviting speakers from overseas and paying their expenses is in breach of Traditions 4 & 12.” (AA Service News 143 Summer 2010, p 24, Committee 4, Question 3)

The Irish General Service Conference has advised that the “Big Book Study Movement is outside the structure of Alcoholics Anonymous in Ireland.” (A Service Handbook for Ireland, published by Alcoholics Anonymous General Service Conference of Ireland, page 12, THE GROUP: What is an AA Group?)

Hold Hands

Where did the "tradition" of hold hands at the end of the meeting come from and when did we start this practice. Thank You........David A

Joined: 2013-01-08
Holding Hands

Has anyone on this thread introduced a motion at a home group business meeting or group conscience to eliminate or make optional the hand holding lords prayer closing? If so, what was the group reaction?

Joined: 2013-09-05
Re: Holding Hands

A lot of posts on these forums sound like the old alcoholic mantra, "I like/dislike it, therefore everyone else likes/dislikes it."
To be honest, I don't remember whether my first few meetings closed with hand holding, prayers, or hugs and kisses. All I remember is the hope I got from the sober AAs, hope that I could also recover from my 'hopeless state of mind and body'.
I regret to say that in all my years in AA I haven't achieved the wisdom to know what will keep the newcomer coming back or what will drive him away. I do know, though, that I wouldn't want to have much to do with an association whose members can see only what's wrong with it.

Joined: 2013-11-25

Thank you for your comment. I was too scared to notice what was read at the beginning of my first AA meetings or how we ended the meetings. I was glad to be doing something about my problem other that drinking myself into oblivion! I was grateful to be around others who professed they had the same problem as me. I didn't see the God stuff as being a deal breaker. I was too busy trying to stay sober at the age of 17. I was sick of being alone, feeling alone, feeling hopeless.

RE: Holding Hands

Lunchbunc1: Yes, at our Sunday step meeting I introduced a
motion that we stop holding hands at the end of the meeting.
I see nothing wrong in the use of(citing) the lords prayer, just the coercion for everyone to join in what I call the "ring around the rosy circle". Everyone had a chance to
voice his/her view. Although I used the feeble excuse of
"spreading germs", the vote was 11 to 1 to keep holding
hands. This ritual brings comfort to some members; never
mind those who find holding hands with strangers uncomfortable. So they still close the meeting holding
hands in the circle. I either stand outside the circle
or just leave after every member has had the chance to
share. I have observed that it only takes one or two
members to start the circle. No one wants to make a
spectacle of themselves by standing aside. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2012-03-04
Re: Hold Hands

The ritual of holding hands came to my area in Great Britain about 2005, about the same time as reading “The Promises” and chanting “It works if you work it!” were introduced. This was a few years after speaker CDs began being passed around. Prior to that virtually all AA meetings that I have attended over the past 23 years have ended with a reading of the Traditions (short form) followed by the serenity prayer. I was quite shocked when I first saw how religious AA appears to be in US/Canada. I have not yet been to, or heard of, a meeting ending the Lord’s prayer in my intergroup. Around 2005 was also the time when the local convention committee decided it was a novel idea to get a few musical alcoholics to twang guitars and sing “Amazing Grace” at a “spiritual” meeting. The convention didn’t have a “spiritual” meeting before this. Standing in a circle holding hands, chanting “It works if you work it!” and singing religious hymns, aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, nor is a game of cricket.

AA membership doesn’t appear to have grown since 2001. It may have fallen, see membership estimates Box-4-5-9 summer issues 2001-2013. The estimated worldwide AA membership in 2001 was about 2,160,013. It is now estimated to be about 2,131,549 in 2013. I don’t think it’s too difficult to work out the reason why. Oxford Group style religion didn’t work with the majority of alcoholics 1935-1939. I don’t think its re-introduction is working for the majority of alcoholics in 2013.

RE: Re: hold hands

There is nothing wrong with closing an A.A. meeting
with The Lord's Prayer. Bill W. explains this view in a
letter to his friend Russ. It is known as the Dear Russ
Letter and is easily accessible. It is the coercion for
everyone to join in which I see as harmful to A.A. as
a whole..
What we lack today is the Group Conscience. God cannot
express Himself in our group conscience if we have no
group conscience meeting.
We have fewer members in Alcoholics Anonymous today
than we had twenty years ago. Something is horribly
wrong. What ever happened to the slogan "each one reach one?.
We have lost our effectiveness in helping suffering
alcoholics and their families. The reason can be explained
in two words: "dogma and distortion". ANONYMOUS

Each group can decide how

Each group can decide how they would like to close their meeting. Whether they choose to hold hands and recite the Responsibility Declaration, or if they choose to hold hands and recite the Lord's Prayer, it is their choice as a group.

However, the practice of closing a meeting by forming a circle, holding hands and reciting something in unison does create a negative image for the AA meeting, to both newcomers and outsiders who might want to recommend AA.

In addition to the image issue, the peer pressure to join in, in spite of the aversion some have to holding hands, is also harmful to the individual and to AA as a whole. There is no need to express AA unity through holding hands.

Individuals who are not comfortable with this practice should be able to forgo participation without having to face peer pressure to join in. I think if an individual does not want to participate they should not be made to feel badly about it. I do not participate in this practice, and if anyone asks, I have a number of responses that I can give:

It’s bad for AA's image.
It drives away newcomers.
It’s not mandatory.
It's not a necessary expression of AA unity
I’m uncomfortable with hand holding.
I prefer not to.
I feel more authentic and honest when I don't participate.

The ritual of stand, hold hands and pray

I don't think it's that important to figure out where the prayer circle ritual originated. What's important is what's happening in today's world. The vast majority of the public perceives AA groups as religious. This includes the still suffering alcoholics who needs the peer support they can get in an AA group. Perceiving AA groups as religious deters alcoholics from seeking help from an AA group.

Why do do people outside of AA perceive AA groups as religious? Well, one reason is that meetings end by holding hands in a prayer circle and praying. Without any doubt, if you asked people outside of AA if this practice is religious they would say yes.

Why does it matter if AA is perceived as religious? Because AA says it is spiritual but not religious. When people hear this slogan, but see AA groups that practice a prayer circle ritual, what do they think? That AA groups are hypocritical. The AA group says it's not religious, but it practices a religious ritual.

I do not participate in the prayer ritual. I simply remain seated, fold my hands in my lap and meditate while the rest of the group forms the prayer circle. To anyone who cares about the newcomer and the future of AA as a spiritual, but not religious Fellowship, I recommend sitting out the prayer ritual.

re: ritual of stand, hold hands and pray

The main reason I consider the time and place this
ritual began is this: I attended meetings in the Northeast
through the 1970's, and we always just stood by our chairs
and closed with the Lords Prayer. I found it structured and
comforting. The "hold hands and pray" closing began in the
early 1980's.
We gained 600,000 members in the 1970's, tripling our
membership in that decade. From 1980 to 1990 we gained
a million new members, doubling our membership. We
stopped growing in the early 1990's and have fewer
members in Alcoholics Anonymous today than we had in 1992.
We have made several serious blunders, enough to
bring A.A. to the point it is today. Most members will
say AA is alive and well. That is simply not true. We
are near death, on life support. Yes we have morphed
from a fellowship to a Fellowship. Instead of encouraging
new members to find a Higher Power we tell them to "get
a sponsor".
I hope you continue writing and continue to refuse to
"stand, hold hands and pray". I hope you are young enough
to continue for several decades, and that you go to a
lot of meetings. You don't seem to express the anger that
I feel about the changes we made in the past three decades.
Angry at myself for not having the courage to speak up,
and ignoring the real history of A.A. ANONYMOUS

Hold Hands and Pray

David A. I call this a ritual. It reeks of religiosity
and cultism. These four words "hold hands and pray" appear
in the fourth edition of the big book, which, personally
I would have never approved.
I believe that many people are just not comfortable
holding hands with strangers. Sure, we get used to it,
and maybe enjoy it. But a pretty young female may
not be comfortable holding hands with old men like me.
IMO, it serves no purpose, and I personally no longer
"hold hands and pray". I stand by my chair, and try to
explain, if anyone asks, which they seldom do.
This "tradition" began in the Northeast in the
early 1980's. It is part of the reason for our near
collapse in the early 1990's. ANONYMOUS

holding hands sounds like you need to get your facts togeather b

around aa na since 1974 in pacific beach ca we held hands then really way of showing unity not religion as for as collapse never saw one yet been around 39 yrs sober 33yrs my ex has 48 yrs she'll tell you your crazy stop anallizing just use tools GOD gives us to live one day at a time with aout booze or any other type of chemical bruce r Sarasota fl

Bruce r Sarasota, fl

I believe that most of the changes in A.A. at the group
level had their beginning in the West Coast area. If
you are willing to look, I think you will find an
abundance of SMART RECOVERY meetings in that area today.
Members in that area distorted AA and now are walking
away from it. I suppose your wife would consider this
I have been sober in AA since 1970. The changes I have
seen are posted all over the "What's On Your Mind" Forum.
I posted many of the same messages on the previous "I SAY
FORUM". Before I found the forums, I simply wrote letters by hand to the Grapevine, and to any address I could get my hands on. Today I believe (hope) that all of that work is paying off. My memory is still clear. I know what I saw,
and participated in. Today I see the result of those
changes. Distortion and failure. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2013-09-04
Holding hands

Holding hands at meetings is not a Tradition it is a local custom and not all meetings do this. Sometimes I hold hands sometimes I don't. I don't make a big deal of it and explain on the rare occasion someone asks.

Being new on this I probably posted this twice for which I apologize. I know how to stay sober but am continually learning this new stuff.

dlemaster holding hands

How do you explain not holding hands, when everyone
else is joining? Do you follow the herd, or do you have
any convictions one way or another? I honestly feel that
the ritual, custom, "tradition" of holding hands and
praying at our meetings makes us look like some kind of strange religious cult. Although I joined in for two
decades, today I see it as a major cause of our loss
of effectiveness. If you see our fellowship as "alive
and well, this probably makes no sense. I no longer
"hold hands and pray" at AA meetings. The chanting which
is usually added, is, for lack of a better word, stupid.

What I do

I no longer participate in the prayer circle ritual at meetings. When others stand and hold hands, I simply remain seated. If someone on either side of me doesn't understand the visual cue and extends their hand to me, I simply say "I don't participate in this part." I meditate quietly while the ritual proceeds around me. I think my quiet meditation provides a spiritual, but not religious presence.

I've only been asked once why I don't participate. I responded that "I'm not very religious." I think there are many reasons that this practice in AA meetings is not a good thing. For instance, about a year ago a women remained seated when the group rose to form the prayer circle and said "group prayer is against my religion." I asked her about it after the meeting and found out that some religious people take to heart the words in Matthew 6:5:

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others."

RE: what I do.

Thanks for the Bible Verse. I consider myself religious,
and have been for a long time. I currently attend a
Bible teaching Baptist Church. I sometimes wear my
"dog tags" labeling me a Baptist.
When I am asked why I longer participate in the hand-
holding ritual I say "It is not mandatory". I am
convinced that this custom is harmful to A.A. as
a whole. I find holding hands with strangers uncomfortable
and sometimes repulsive. Our first tradition of unity
goes much deeper than joining hands. Reading your message
assures me that I am not alone in this opinion. More of
us need to speak up. ANONYMOUS

What I do

Thanks for sharing that when you don’t participate in the prayer circle that you say “It is not mandatory.” I think my response of “I’m not very religious” creates a false impression that everyone who is religious thinks these practices are appropriate in AA meetings.

Spirituality can be practiced without asking the entire group to engage in group prayer. Those who are personally religious can easily understand the difference between praying together in a church or synagogue and praying together in an AA meeting. Non-participation in group prayer is not an indication of lack of religious belief. That was really my point in quoting Matthew 6:5. There’s nothing wrong with group prayer in the appropriate setting, but in an AA meeting it creates an exclusionary environment for both those who are non-religious and those whose religion doesn’t allow it.

Like you, I also find holding hands with strangers uncomfortable. Holding hands with someone I’ve only met for the first time at a meeting is an unearned familiarity. Although some people apparently find this practice makes them feel more connected to the group, I’ve found this type of false intimacy to be alienating. Additionally, newcomers who don’t really want to participate but have poor self-esteem or a lack of assertiveness about their boundaries will not protest and will simply go along with the ritual. Later, when they think about doing what they really didn’t want to participate in, they may not feel better about themselves but worse.

Joined: 2011-05-15
Tradition 5

Clean~ means I haven't drank alcohol or used any other mood-changing mind-altering chemicals. See story "Acceptance is the Answer"

Sober~ means that my Serenity and Spirituality are in tact today... I can think and act like a drunk, with or without drinking.

Our membership is defined as people with the desire not to drink, whether they call themselves "Alcoholics" or not... Tradition 3.

Anyone that thinks the AA's 12-steps is only for the alcoholic or only about alcohol probably hasn't worked all the steps and probably hasn't yet identified their own real problems yet.... they are still blaming it all on the booze. Being an alcoholic that came to the program with that "hopeless state of mind and body", I am grateful to have learned that my usage was but a symptom of my real problems. By doing an inventory, identifying my liabilities, I am able to grow closer to my Higher Power and those I love... to Recover.

Today, I can identify almost anyone suffering from that same hopeless state as an "alcoholic" whether they've ever had a drink in their life or not. So long as they have a desire not to drink today, they are a welcome member of our group. The message is the same and the Steps will benefit them... Step 12-... carry the message and practice these principals in all our affairs.

Deweeb Tradition Five

An individual who has never drank alcohol is not an alcoholic and cannot possibly qualify as a member of
Alcoholics Anonymous. I hope "your group" doesn't call
itself an A.A. group. It doesn't appear to be one. ANONYMOUS

3rd Tradition

Suggestion: Re=read the long form of our Third Tradition, then re-read "Problems other Than Alcohol" pamphlet by Bill W. Thank you, m

Joined: 2012-03-04
Re:Tradition 5

As Bill sees it:

“…All sorts of outfits have tried to move in on us, including communists and heroin addicts, prohibitionists and do-gooders of other persuasions.

Nearly all of these people, who happened to have an individual problem with alcohol, not only failed to change AA, but, in the long run, AA changed them. I have a number of them among my closest friends today, and they are among the best AAs I know.

You also have some people who are not alcoholics, but are addicts of other kinds. A great many AAs have taken pity on these people, and have actually tried to make them full-fledged AAs. Of course, their identification with alcoholics is no good at all, and the groups themselves easily stop this practice in the normal course of AA affairs

Thoughtful AAs, however, encourage these sponsors to bring addicts to open meetings, just as they would any other interested people. In the end, these addicts usually gravitate to other forms of therapy. They are not received on the platform in open meetings unless they have an alcohol problem, and closed meetings are, of course, denied them. We know that we cannot do everything for everybody with an addiction problem…”

“…And also, if various hippie addicts want to form their own sort of fellowship along AA lines, by all means let us encourage them. We need deny them only the AA name, and assure them that the rest of our program is theirs for the taking and using--any part or all of it.."

- Bill W. (Extracts, 'The Traditions in Action', AA Grapevine March 1971)

Key points on drug addicts:
1) “..their identification with alcoholics is no good at all..”
2) “..They are not received on the platform in open meetings unless they have an alcohol problem, and closed meetings are, of course, denied them…”
3) “..if various hippie addicts want to form their own sort of fellowship along AA lines, by all means let us encourage them. We need deny them only the AA name, and assure them that the rest of our program is theirs for the taking and using--any part or all of it.”

I think your group and yourself are seriously off beam with AA Traditions. I suggest your group has a workshop on AA Traditions and how these relate to the pamphlet “Problems Other than Alcohol”
And why there is a separate fellowship called NA

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Tradition 5

"Anyone that thinks the AA's 12-steps is only for the alcoholic or only about alcohol probably hasn't worked all the steps and probably hasn't yet identified their own real problems yet.... they are still blaming it all on the booze."
Your entire letter smacks of someone who knows little or nothing of the Traditions.
First, a little AA history. Bill w.'s first draft of step twelve said we should carry this message 'to others, especially alcoholics.' The other members and those friends of AA who read the first draft made him remove 'to others' and focus on alcoholism.
I suggest you read the long form of Tradition Three (Big Book, page 563). It clearly states that AA is for alcoholics.
In the essay on Tradition Three Bill included the story of the first person who approached AA with another addiction. addicts who quote the Traditions always ignore the final sentence of the story: "Never did he trouble anyone with his other difficulty." (12&12, page 142).
Tradition Five: "Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry its message to the ALCOHOLIC who still suffers.
I strongly urge you to read the pamphlet, "Problems Other Than Alcohol".
You might also consider changing yourself to fit AA rather than insisting that AA change to suit you.

Joined: 2012-03-04
Re: Tradition 5

With a constant influx of newcomers, I guess history will go on repeating itself. General Service Conference advisory Action 1972:

There was much discussion, during which a show of hands indicated that more than one-half the delegates are concerned with this problem in their areas. After discussion, it was moved that "G.S.O. prepare a clear-cut statement of what A.A. is and what it is not." (Box 4-5-9 June July 1972, pp. 6, 8)

AA is not NA, and the meaning of 'clean' is not 'sober.' If confused about this, try looking up their meaning in a dictionary. I think addicts should stop saying "I'm clean and sober" in AA meetings, and save the 'clean' bit for treatment centers and NA. AA has a single purpose. Whether an alcoholic is sober and clean, or sober and dirty is irrelevant. If he hasn't had a drink of alcohol today then he's sober. If he's squeaky clean or decidedly dirty, these are problems other than alcohol.

Your thoughts on Bill W's Grapevine article.

Below I are excerpts from a letter written by Bill W. It can be read in it's entirety in the Grapevine archives.

Problems Other Than Alcohol
What can be done about them?
The Grapevine's 20th Anniversary reprint from the February, 1958, issue

"PERHAPS there is no suffering more horrible than drug addiction, especially that kind which is produced by morphine, heroin and other narcotics. Such drugs twist the mind, and the awful process of withdrawal racks the sufferer's body. Compared with the addict and his woes, we alcoholics are pikers. Barbiturates, carried to extremes, can be almost as bad. In AA we have members who have made great recoveries from both the bottle and the needle. We also have a great many others who were--or still are--victimized by 'goof balls' and even by the new tranquilizers."

"Now there are certain things that AA cannot do for anybody, regardless of what our several desires or sympathies may be."

"Our first duty, as a society, is to insure our own survival. Therefore we have to avoid distractions and multi-purpose activity. An AA group, as such, cannot take on all the personal problems of its members, let alone the problems of the whole world."

"Sobriety--freedom from alcohol--through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps, is the sole purpose of an AA group. Groups have repeatedly tried other activities and they have always failed. It has also been learned that there is no possible way to make nonalcoholics into AA members. We have to confine our membership to alcoholics and we have to confine our AA groups to a single purpose. If we don't stick to these principles, we shall almost surely collapse. And if we collapse, we cannot help anyone."

"Suppose, though, that we are approached by a drug addict who nevertheless has had a genuine alcoholic history. There was a time when such a person would have been rejected. Many early AAs had the almost comical notion that they were pure alcoholics--guzzlers only, no other serious problems at all. When alcoholic ex-cons and drug users first turned up there was much pious indignation. "What will people think?" chanted the pure alcoholics. Happily, this foolishness has long since evaporated."

"We cannot give AA membership to nonalcoholic narcotics addicts. But, like anyone else, they should be able to attend certain open AA meetings, provided, of course, that the groups themselves are willing."

"AA members who are so inclined should be encouraged to band together in groups to deal with sedative and drug problems. But they ought to refrain from calling themselves AA groups."

"There seems to be no reason why several AAs cannot join, if they wish, with a group of straight addicts to solve the alcohol and the drug problem together. But, obviously, such a dual-purpose group should not insist that it be called an AA group nor should it use the AA name in its title. Neither should its straight addict contingent be led to believe that they have become AA members by reason of such an association."

"Certainly there is every good reason for interested AAs to join with outside groups, working on the narcotics problem, provided the Traditions of anonymity and of no endorsements are respected.""

"In conclusion, I want to say that throughout AA's history, most of our special-purpose groups have accomplished very wonderful things. There is great reason to !hope that those AAs who are now working in the grim regions of narcotics addiction will achieve equal success."

"In AA, the group has strict limitations, but the individual has scarcely any. Remembering to observe the Traditions of anonymity and nonendorsement, he can carry AA's message into every troubled area of this very troubled world."

Bill W.

Joined: 2012-02-09
anonymity break

I announced my discovery that I was an alcoholic in a newsletter sent out to my fraternity from college. This was before social media, before the internet. I want to share my hind site.
I am not a celebrity, other than in my own mind.
It turned out bad, because I wasn't the only one in my family who belonged to this fraternity. It never occurred to me to discuss what I was planning to do. Thus,it caused alienation within my closer family.
My motive was that I wanted attention, although I told myself that I would be casting light onto the dark world of alcoholism. It would have been better if I had asked my sponsor at the time what he thought.
Since I have been sober a long time, there have been times when I drew attention to myself that way. Never did it leave me any sense of peace.
I wasn't prudent, nor was I self-sacrificing.
It did draw a phone call from another one of us within the group who had discovered he was alcoholic.
When he called me to talk about it he was friendly, and gave me a brotherly input.
But, the negative outweighed the positive.
The good was the enemy of the best.

Tradition 11

When a celebrity takes pictures of them self with the Big Book and posts it on a social media site, how do you guys feel about it? Are they breaking Tradition 11?

Joined: 2013-07-23
Tradition 11

To me it wrong for a celeb to go on any source of media and say of sorts "hey look at me! I'm great as I have joined AA, so give me points for that" what is the message sent should the celeb fall on their butt?

re tradition 11

Google "AA guidelines internet " for following. AA traditions on the web. Tons of great information.

Celebrity Pictures with the Big Book

I feel that they are breaking Tradition 11.The news of their membership in AA may be known by the public,but they don't need to be looking for public or media attention on any level by having such pictures taken and posted on a social media site or printed in news papers and or magazines!

The 12 Traditions Illustrated-The Twelfith Tradition:We do not want to sell our program as a "surefire remedy" in the extravagant terms of a promotional campaingn (Tradition Eleven),nor dramatize it it by identifying noted people in A.A., thereby implying that recovery has been for each of us an individual accomplishment.

Anonymity - Sacrificing person ambition for the common good.

Let us always remember that anonymity - not taking credit for our own or others' recovery - is humility at work.

Joined: 2012-03-04
Re: Tradition 11

Yes. When a celebrity takes pictures of them self with the Big Book and posts it on a social media site they are breaking Traditions 11, 12, 4 (long form) and 1. The Traditions are a set of interrelated principles which all combine in the spirit of Tradition 1: “Our common welfare should come first…” Other Traditions are each a specific application of Tradition 1. In this case the words “actual or implied” in Tradition 6 comes to mind. Anyone who discloses their full name or picture in any public media giving an “actual or implied” message that they are an AA member breaks the spirit of tradition 1. Any justification for such behaviour would simply be an alcoholic’s deluded rationalisation. As Bill sees it:

“A.A.’s of worldly prominence sometimes say, ‘If I tell the public that I am in Alcoholics Anonymous, then that will bring in many others.’ Thus they express the belief that our anonymity Tradition is wrong-- at least for them.

They forget that, during their drinking days, prestige and the achievement of worldly ambition were their principle aims. They do not realize that, by breaking their anonymity, they are unconsciously pursuing those old and perilous illusions once more. They forget that the keeping of one’s anonymity often means the sacrifice of one’s desire for power, prestige, and money. They do not see that if these strivings became general in A.A., the course of our whole history would be changed; that we would be sowing the seeds of our own destruction as a society.”

--- Bill W. (As Bill Sees It, page 198)

Promotion and Tradition 11

Yes. If one person is turned off on AA by a celebrity touting AA one day and behaving like a buffoon the next, it is too many. Personally, I think any posting regarding AA membership on Facebook, for example, is a violation of Tradition 11, even if I am the one person who sets his privacy controls perfectly so that only select people can read my posts, those who are aware of my involvement in AA. If there is any chance someone else might see it, I wouldn't post it. As a friend noted regarding other postings on social media, best to only post those things that you would not be embarrassed by if they showed up on the front page of the NYTimes tomorrow -- as we tell our children. If it doesn't pass that test, kiddies, don't post it. Not that my children ever listen...

Dress Code

We have a newcomer to our AA Group that has created quite a stir. The group is coed and we sit in a circle. The newcomer has been attending the meetings in short shorts which is causing some of the men in the group to feel quite uncomfortable. I keep going back to the third tradition but feel that this needs to be addressed. Any ideas what the correct AA response should be? Confused group secretary.

Joined: 2012-03-04
Re; Dress Code

Wearing Mini-skirts is OK. Love beads too. Wearing thongs of theological doctrine is not. If the newcomer wants to go completely women’s lib and burn her bra then that’s fine as well. You might find the following AA Grapevine articles from the digital archive helpful to spread around your group.

“Editorial: On Cultivating Tolerance” by Dr. Bob (AA Grapevine July 1944)
‘The Fundamentals in Retrospect’ by Dr. Bob. (AA Grapevine September 1948)
‘The Traditions In Action’ (AA Grapevine March 1971)
Also, AA Tradition How It Developed page 12

I suggest taking a lead from Bill W. and Dr. Bob

"Some weeks ago, there was a young people's convention of AAs. Shortly thereafter, lour of these kids visited the office. I saw one young gal prancing down the hall, hair flying, in a mini-skirt, wearing love beads and the works. I thought, 'Holy smoke, what now!' She told me she was the oldest member of the young people's group in her area--age twenty-two! They had kids as young as sixteen. I was curious and took the whole party out to lunch.
"Well, they were absolutely wonderful. They talked (and acted) just about as good a kind of AA as I've seen anywhere. I think all of them said they had had some kind of drug problem, but had kicked that, too. When they first came around, they had insisted on their own ideas of AA, hut in the end they found AA plenty good enough as it was.” Bill W. (extract from a letter to an AA member; The Traditions In Action, AA Grapevine March 1971)

“YET, withal, there are no "shibboleths" in A.A. We are not bound by the thongs of theological doctrine. None of us may be excommunicated and cast into outer darkness. For we are many minds in our organization and an A.A. decalogue in the language of "Thou shalt not" would gall us indeed.” Dr. Bob, (The Fundamentals In Retrospect)

Underneath their phoney respectability it sounds like some men in your group are wearing their thongs far too tight. Maybe they'd sit more comfortable if they let it all hang loose.

Re dress code

Oh my dear what is really the big fuss here? I mean the person isn't naked, and besides I've seen worse. Read tradition 12 in the 12 and 12. As far as I'm concerned if this bothers you, it's your problem, not the alcoholic with short shorts. another thing what did you look like when you first went in the rooms of AA? I only mean to say this for you to look at yourself. I don't judge others no matter what age, sexual background, race, religion and how a person appears.


RE: Dress Code

What night is that meeting? Time and location, please.

... joe

... you are funny ! & obvious.

Possibly the best thing to do

Possibly the best thing to do is to draw a chart with three columns:
I’m resentful at - The Cause - Affects my:
The new member -her sexy dressing - ?????

You can find the rest of the instructions in chapter 5, How it Works.

re dress code

If you are their den mother you might need to do something but as secretary, relax, you’re off the hook.

re dress code

AA is a great place for men (and women) to grow up. Growing up includes being able to deal with discomfort. If the newcomer meets the local ordinances she's dressed. She's not responsible for anyone else's feelings.

Joined: 2013-06-22
Tradition 7

The A.A. groups themselves ought to be fully supported by the voluntary contributions of their own members. We think that each group should soon achieve this ideal; that any public solicitation of funds using the name of Alcoholics Anonymous is highly dangerous, whether by groups, clubs, hospitals, or other outside agencies; that acceptance of large gifts from any source, or of contributions carrying any obligation whatever, is unwise. Then too, we view with much concern those A.A. treasuries which continue, beyond prudent reserves, to accumulate funds for no stated A.A. purpose. Experience has often warned us that nothing can so surely destroy our spiritual heritage as futile disputes over property, money, and authority.

Honestly now, do I do all I can to help AA (my group, my central office, my GSO) remain self-supporting? If I do not have money ( and do not let anyone shame you into putting what you don't have in the basket) what else can I do? Consider the story of Bill's sponsor Ebby:

Ebby called Bill on the phone (personal cost) and then got into the subway (personal cost) Spirituality and money began to mix. One without the other would have amounted to nothing at all.” “Right then and there, Ebby established the principle that A.A. in action calls for the sacrifice of much time and a little money.”So, perhaps you don't have money for the basket this week. Can you provide a ride to and from the meeting? Can you make a phone call to a newcomer instead of waiting for them to call that 1000 pound phone? Can you give up some time outside the hour-long meeting to ensure AA remains self supporting?For additional reading, refer to the pamphlet where money and spirituality mix-


No sense in even doing the other Traditions if you cannot grasp TRADITION 1
Like tiring to do 11 steps without taking or understanding Step 1
Upon careful reading not your administrators interpretation !!

Tradition 1

My name is Mike, Alcoholic.

I write this article not from any pious, holier than thou perspective, but as one guilty of breaking many Traditions in 23 years sobriety.

Tradition one is the foundation of all the Traditions. “Our common welfare comes first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity”.

For an alcoholic like me, selfish, self-centered and egotistical in the extreme, Tradition 1 is a tough pill to swallow. It asks me to put something (AA unity) ahead of my own selfish interests which was always first in 32 years of drinking. Most of us need the fellowship in order to get sober and stay sober.

I found I could not do it on my own but could with your help. The survival of AA is essential for most of us. Could AA have survived if we continued to think and act in our old selfish ways? I think not!

The remaining eleven Traditions talk about specific things that will destroy AA unity. In short the following is what I was taught by my sponsors.

1. Lack of an informed group conscience often results in too many self-centered egotistical leaders and too few humble trusted servants. Without group business and inventory meetings it is impossible to achieve an informed group conscience (Tradition 2).

2. Prospective AA members must have a desire to stop drinking (minimum) else they can’t qualify for AA membership (Tradition 3).

3. Groups that injure other groups or AA as a whole should not rationalize or justify doing so by claiming group autonomy and the right to be wrong (Tradition 4).

4. Our primary purpose, carrying the message to the still suffering alcoholic, is being lost or watered down. Discussions and sharing on other addictions such as smoking, drugs, eating and mental disorders are becoming more frequent and accepted during meetings. (Tradition 5).

5. Groups should not lend, finance or endorse the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise. Treatment centers, hospitals and clubs have nothing to do with AA and are none of our business (tradition 6).

6. Groups must be financially self- supporting and not accept funds from outside sources. AA would be at risk to the will of those providing the funding. Groups have a responsibility to financially support all levels of AA service including their intergroup, district, area and GSO (Tradition 7).

7. AA must remain forever non-professional. All our 12th step work must be done without fee for service (Tradition 8).

8. The least possible organization is the goal of AA. Too much organization can cause disunity so let’s keep it simple. (Tradition 9).

9. AA has no opinion on outside issues including alcohol reform, politics and sectarian religion. In order to eliminate AA’s reputation of being a religious cult we should stop religious practices during meetings including chanting, group prayer, prayer circles, preaching and excessive God talk. Let’s keep our spiritual paths personal (Tradition 10).

10. Members should maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, films and internet. Attraction not promotion is the key to a successful public relations policy including eliminating all promotional practices in AA meetings (Tradition 11).

11. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our Traditions. We must place principles before personalities (Tradition 12).

The traditions teach me how to live within my group, other groups and AA as a whole. These same principles apply to AA groups and all levels of AA service.

The Traditions keep us in unity. Without unity our fellowship will perish and many of us will drink and die.

Thanks for the part you play in my sobriety.

Mike B.
Oliver, BC.

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