Why I Love the Traditions 

“… I was drawn to groups that stick to the traditions. At those meetings I felt an extra measure of safety and solidity.” – Hope for Today 

For most of us, the traditions are an afterthought to the program, kind of boring but… whatever. I’ve learned that our program wouldn’t exist without them, and when I apply them in my outside life, things work way better there too. So here’s my recap of the traditions, in my own words. As they say, take what you like and leave the rest…

Tradition 1 says that we have unity, but also individual liberty. However, in matters of disagreement, the welfare of the group always comes first. 

Tradition 2 says that old timers (like me) are NOT in charge, it’ll always be a group conscious. This supports tradition 1, common welfare first. 

Tradition 3 says no one can ever kick you out of AA or Al-Anon, though you can be voted out of a group if, due to your behavior, it’s in the common welfare for you to go. 

Tradition 4 says no other AA group or organization can ever dictate to, or control another group or meeting. It also suggests we don’t take ourselves too seriously. 

Tradition 5 reminds us that, above all else, our primary purpose is to carry the message to those still suffering. 

Tradition 6 reminds us that using our experience, strength, hope and sobriety outside of AA and Al-Anon in conjunction with earning a living is fine.  But using our affiliation with AA or Al-Anon as a means to promote ourselves or a business is not cool at all. In fact, it damages our program. 

Tradition 7 says that we should contribute to the success of our recovery and the program by throwing down a couple bucks. It’s a very small investment, particularly for guy’s like me that spent 50 times that amount each day on my bad habits. 

Tradition 8 is kind of like 6 in that if we mix money making opportunities with the AA and Al-Anon, we will stop being able to save people, like us, from a lifetime of suffering. 

Tradition 9 says the people we’ve elected to be in service are not in charge, WE are actually in charge of THEM, and if they think it’s the other way around, we will simply have them step down. 

Tradition 10 says we stay out of controversy by not commenting on outside issues like politics and religion. A pretty smart and simple idea no matter where I go. 

Tradition 11 says that we are irrepressible promotors, but must stop doing that if we want to help others. Instead let’s work a rock solid program, have all the promises come true, and then smile as others are attracted to our way of life. 

Tradition 12 reminds us that lots of people in the program will bug us but we need to practice acceptance and tolerance, and take what we like and leave the rest if we want to remain in recovery and have a better life. We also need to keep what we hear and see in the rooms confidential. That builds integrity within us and helps others feel safe. 

When I use the principles behind the traditions to guide my thoughts, words and actions… ILML! 

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