From the May 1994 magazine.

A United Message of Recovery

Tradition Five

The long form of Tradition One states, in part, that "each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. AA must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare must come first." We are then given eleven other Traditions that show us what we must do in order to accomplish the goal of unity allowing recovery. We are shown that our membership is open to all who suffer from alcoholism--the only requirement is a desire to stop drinking. Another Tradition tells us that we have but one purpose--to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Other Traditions relate the things we need to watch for so we don't get diverted from that primary purpose--problems of money, property, prestige, authority, controversy, sensational advertising, and personalities. All these guidelines come to us from our founders and past members who experienced firsthand the consequences of what happens when these principles are not respected--the chaos, heartbreak, and confusion that results when the suggestions are not followed.

When Bill wrote "Problems Other Than Alcohol" in 1958, he made clear our singleness of purpose: "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."

-- Gay G.

Decatur, Georgia

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