1. Welfare


1. WELFARE The book Alcoholics Anonymous claims that an alcoholic is like a man who has lost his legs; legs which cannot and will not ever grow back. This was painful news to me. Like many addicts, I genuinely believed that a return to the lifestyle I remembered was possible, but without any of the…

Read More

2. Conscience


CONSCIENCE The 1934 definitions of some words surprised me, but not this one. Now, as then, a person with a conscience knows when something is not right. They won’t take things that don’t belong to them and they refuse to say things that are not true.  The second tradition urges groups rely on their collective conscience…

Read More

3. Membership


TRADITION You join a Twelve Step group by desiring to stop drinking. Others might claim there are more conditions and expectations than that. However, the 3rd Tradition explicitly states: “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.” That principle extends to other groups which are based on particular things other than drinking…

Read More

4. Affecting


4. AFFECTING Like most people, I had very little notion of what the Twelve Steps were until I needed them to help me stay alive. A relative had once invited me to an open AA meeting when I was a teenager. I appreciate her doing that because, years later I needed what recovery like those…

Read More

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,…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More