We embody our rules within the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Listed below are the Twelve Traditions, along with a brief explanation of most of them for clarification purposes. If you have any questions about something that hasn’t been mentioned on this page, we highly encourage you to talk with your AA sponsor.
1) The welfare of every member of AA is pinnacle; the recovery of all of us depends on unity within AA. We must avoid judging or interrupting our fellow members and instead encourage others as they share their personal thoughts and experiences. There is no room for insults, only for support and motivation.
2) The ultimate authority in our group is a loving God; however, He expresses Himself in any of our individual members. The leaders of AA are only humble servants, they don’t govern any part of the group. Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t associated with any religion, but one of the 12 Steps we employ relies on belief in a higher power. This faith is more powerful than anything, including love and even the AA community. Nobody is capable of staying sober on their own; sobriety must be governed by a higher power and rely on others for support. Nobody in AA is above another, we are all there to support each other along the road to sobriety.
3) You only have to want to stop drinking to become a member of AA. Our group welcomes all religions, genders, nationalities, genders, political beliefs, and sexual orientations. As long as you desire freedom from alcohol you are welcome in all AA meetings.
4) Each AA group should remain autonomous, except in the event that matters affect other groups or AA collectively. AA depends and thrives on the support provided by members within your local group.
5) Our purpose is solely to carry the message of AA to suffering alcoholics. The very last step of the 12-Step AA program is to help individuals start on the road to sobriety and remain sober. This step is a major help to persons battling addiction by keeping them accountable, and other members benefit by focusing on being a source of motivation for others.
6) An AA group should never accept endorsements, financial help, or loans from any institution or enterprise outside of AA. Accepting offers like this could bring financial problems, property issues, and encourage notoriety that distracts from our fundamental purpose.
7) Every AA group should decline all outside offers for contribution. This ensures that we remain focused on our fundamental goal and remain autonomous.
8) Though our service centers may recruit professionals, Alcoholics Anonymous should always be non-professional. Sponsors are not therapists, neither are group leaders; they are individuals that face the same challenge with alcoholism as you. They uphold the same mission you do – to share and help other members.
9) As such, AA should never be an organized program. However, we may create committees and service boards that aim to help members further.
10) The name of AA should not be drawn into public debate or controversy, as Alcoholics Anonymous has entirely no opinion on matters that do not involve AA. We know that each individual seeking our help has their own ideas and beliefs, but these can be divisive when the main strength in AA comes from us standing together united. Community discussions should be focused on sobriety and issues directly related to the health of our members and their goal to get and stay sober.
11) We must remain anonymous when it comes to press, radio, and film appearances so that we do not promote ourselves. Our policy of public relation is based on appealing to the public, not promoting to them. There is no shame in being an AA member, but members should not give interviews or promote the program to others. Doing so results in our organization losing humility, one of AA’s core values.
12) Anonymity is the basis of our spiritual foundation and the foundation of the 12 Traditions. It reminds us to place our principles before our personalities. We ask that members keep the identity of other members a confidential to people outside their local group. Some people may face consequences, personally or professionally, if their participation in AA were to become public. Respect the privacy of each and every individual involved in the AA 12-Step program.