5. Message


5. MESSAGE Twelve Step groups are made up primarily of one thing: people. While there may be steps, traditions, literature, and informal customs, the most concrete building blocks of a meeting are the people. Lacking their presence, none of the other things mentioned above can have any effect. The motives of each member vary widely,…

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6 . Endorse


  6. ENDORSE This drawing had me stumped at first. Among other things, the 6th tradition warns against AA endorsing any outside enterprise. Possibly, the early AA groups found it was best to remain fully focussed on recovery from alcoholism. There were plenty of other serious issues and concerns, then and now. But AA made…

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7. Self-supporting


SELF-SUPPORTING If you go to a Twelve Step meeting, chances are that a basket or other container will be passed around among the attenders. The leader will announce that there are no dues or fees, meaning no one is required to give any money at all. Whether some or all contribute, the money will be…

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8. Non-professional


8. NON-PROFESSIONAL This tradition always catches me off-guard when I read it. In most life-or-death situations, health care professionals are allowed and even encouraged to participate. By virtue of their training and experience, they know how to evaluate risks and conditions, then respond with the appropriate treatment. Why, then, would an organization whose members are…

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9. Responsible


9. RESPONSIBLE Being called a responsible person is a compliment. In conversation, it describes someone who can be trusted to do the right thing. That does not precisely match the meaning as it appears in the 9th tradition. The Websters definition: Responsible – Liable to respond When I have difficulty understanding a key word within…

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10. Controversy


  10. CONTROVERSY The word “controversy” seems fairly self-explanatory. Controversies can be political, social, scientific and even personal. One party claims something as a fact, while someone else disagrees it is a fact at all. The definition: Controversy – Acts of disputing or contending Why would the Twelve Traditions warn against controversy if its members…

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11. Attraction


11. ATTRACTION The co-founder of AA was a promoter. He sold various products and information in the years before alcoholism almost killed him. The Big Book describes what he was like before, what happened, and what he was like afterwards. If he had supported himself as a promoter before getting sober, it seems logical he…

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12. Anonymity

12. ANONYMITY This word has both boring and sinister meanings as of this writing. Anonymous donors generously give money to worthy causes while keeping the source of the gift a secret. That’s considered an unselfish action. Unfortunately, people who become well known publicly often receive anonymous death threats. If the word has so many ideas…

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1. Insanity


1. INSANITY Page 37 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous talks about a type of insanity that is unique to alcoholics and addicts. The writer, Bill Wilson, openly admits that he did not take the definition out of a medical or psychological diagnostics manual. If he had, it might have sounded like the dictionary…

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2. Proportion


2. PROPORTION This drawing shows two boys eating breakfast in a restaurant. Both paid a nickel for their order. One  kid seems satisfied and ready to eat what he ordered. The other kid appears to be in the middle of complaining about what he received, how it was cooked, or the amount he was given.…

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