Traditions & Slogans
My name is Gigi and I am an alcoholic. Today, by the grace of a Power greater than myself, and with the help of you and all my other A.A. comrades, I celebrate 23 years of continuous sobriety. I like the vein that we have been pursuing in the past weeks, because it is literature based. My recovery depended upon the literature early in my recovery, when I was too sick to go out for several months at a time and did not yet have a computer. I was given a list of the Steps and Traditions and the underlying principles. When I read the list of principles for the Traditions, I was surprised to see that many of them are our slogans.
Usually when I am in a f2f meeting and it is announced that the topic will be a Tradition, there is a round of groans around the room. 🙂 Nevertheless! reading the Foreword to the Second Edition, we see that it states on page xix: “As we discovered the principles by which the individual alcoholic could live, so we had to evolve principles by which the AA groups and AA as a whole could survive and function effectively.” These I have found to be helpful to me in living with and functioning effectively at home, at work, and in any group of which I am a member. If I am having difficulty with others, it often comes back to one of these.
(That page lists the Traditions, out of order and more as they are mentioned in our Preamble. I will send that as a separate post.)
So here they are, the Tradition and Slogans:
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A. A. unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority–a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
Principle: Right Relationship to HP; Let Go and Let God
3. The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.Principle:
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A. A. as a whole.
Principle: Live and Let Live
5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
Principle: First Things First
6. An A. A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A. A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
Principle: Keep It Simple
7. Every A. A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
Principle: Altruism / Selflessness
9. A. A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
Principle: Service, Taking Responsibility
10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
Principle: Personal Humility
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Please share with the group something about one of these principles or slogans. Which one is your personal favorite; which do you use the most right now? Do you aspire to one of these? Does one of them make you want to run the other way?
For me, First Things First is one I am using a lot right now. It’s interesting to me that it fits right in with the job I do in GROW. As Back Up Listkeeper, I’ve been helping new members get into the group. It’s a lovely service for me because I get to serve as one of the first contacts, along with my sister Listkeeper and the Greeters. We have a lot of newer members to AA lately, so it feels like First Things First is acting in my life. And our primary purpose of carrying the message is getting done (Tradition 5).
I have been struggling with my health the past year and a half, and staying in balance means that I have to prioritize my days well. First things have to come first or it all comes crashing down! It is a much simpler way to live than I would do on my own. 🙂 Which is probably really good for me, and why I am in this position. When I let my HP take charge, I have to have First Things First. It means that sometimes I have to put dinner on the table for my husband and me rather than snack on stuff and sew or read. Again, really good for me, keeping life in balance, and eating a good meal instead of junk food.