"Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

Copyright© by The A.A. Grapevine, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

Excerpt from the fifth chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous:
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest. 
Reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc

AA 12 Steps

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Traditions Checklist
from the AA Grapevine
These questions were originally published in the AA Grapevine in conjunction with a series on the Twelve Traditions that began in November 1969 and ran through September 1971. While they were originally intended primarily for individual use, many AA groups have since used them as a basis for wider discussion.

Tradition One
Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.

1.Am I in my group a healing, mending, integrating person, or am I divisive? What about gossip and taking other members' inventories?
2.Am I a peacemaker? Or do I, with pious preludes such as "just for the sake of discussion," plunge into argument?
3.Am I gentle with those who rub me the wrong way, or am I abrasive?
4.Do I make competitive AA remarks, such as comparing one group with another or contrasting AA in one place with AA in another?
5.Do I put down some AA activities as if I were superior for not participating in this or that aspect of AA?
6.Am I informed about AA as a whole? Do I support, in every way I can, AA as a whole, or just the parts I understand and approve of?
7.Am I as considerate of AA members as I want them to be of me?
8.Do I spout platitudes about love while indulging in and secretly justifying behavior that bristles with hostility?
9.Do I go to enough AA meetings or read enough AA literature to really keep in touch?
10.Do I share with AA all of me, the bad and the good, accepting as well as giving the help of fellowship?

Tradition Two
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. 

1.Do I criticize or do I trust and support my group officers, AA committees, and office workers? Newcomers? Old-timers?
2.Am I absolutely trustworthy, even in secret, with AA Twelfth Step jobs or other AA responsibility?
3.Do I look for credit in my AA jobs? Praise for my AA ideas?
4.Do I have to save face in group discussion, or can I yield in good spirit to the group conscience and work cheerfully along with it?
5.Although I have been sober a few years, am I still willing to serve my turn at AA chores?
6.In group discussions, do I sound off about matters on which I have no experience and little knowledge?

Tradition Three
The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. 

1.In my mind, do I prejudge some new AA members as losers?
2.Is there some kind of alcoholic whom I privately do not want in my AA group?
3.Do I set myself up as a judge of whether a newcomer is sincere or phony?
4.Do I let language, religion (or lack of it), race, education, age, or other such things interfere with my carrying the message?
5.Am I overimpressed by a celebrity? By a doctor, a clergyman, an ex-convict? Or can I just treat this new member simply and naturally as one more sick human, like the rest of us?
6.When someone turns up at AA needing information or help (even if he can't ask for it aloud), does it really matter to me what he does for a living? Where he lives? What his domestic arrangements are? Whether he had been to AA before? What his other problems are?

Tradition Four
Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole. 

1.Do I insist that there are only a few right ways of doing things in AA?
2.Does my group always consider the welfare of the rest of AA? Of nearby groups? Of Loners in Alaska? Of Internationalists miles from port? Of a group in Rome or El Salvador?
3.Do I put down other members' behavior when it is different from mine, or do I learn from it?
4.Do I always bear in mind that, to those outsiders who know I am in AA, I may to some extent represent our entire beloved Fellowship?
5.Am I willing to help a newcomer go to any lengths-his lengths, not mine-to stay sober?
6.Do I share my knowledge of AA tools with other members who may not have heard of them?

Tradition Five
Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers. 

1.Do I ever cop out by saying, "I'm not a group, so this or that Tradition doesn't apply to me"?
2.Am I willing to explain firmly to a newcomer the limitations of AA help, even if he gets mad at me for not giving him a loan?
3.Have I today imposed on any AA member for a special favor or consideration simply because I am a fellow alcoholic?
4.Am I willing to twelfth-step the next newcomer without regard to who or what is in it for me?
5.Do I help my group in every way I can to fulfill our primary purpose?
6.Do I remember that AA old-timers, too, can be alcoholics who still suffer? Do I try both to help them and to learn from them?

Tradition Six
An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. 

1.Should my fellow group members and I go out and raise money to endow several AA beds in our local hospital?
2.Is it good for a group to lease a small building?
3.Are all the officers and members of our local club for AAs familiar with "Guidelines on Clubs" (which is available free from GSO)?
4.Should the secretary of our group serve on the mayor's advisory committee on alcoholism?
5.Some alcoholics will stay around AA only if we have a TV and card room. If this is what is required to carry the message to them, should we have these facilities?

Tradition Seven
Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. 

1.Honestly now, do I do all I can to help AA (my group, my central office, my GSO) remain self-supporting? Could I put a little more into the basket on behalf of the new guy who can't afford it yet? How generous was I when tanked in a barroom?
2.Should the Grapevine sell advertising space to book publishers and drug companies, so it could make a big profit and become a bigger magazine, in full color, at a cheaper price per copy?
3.If GSO runs short of funds some year, wouldn't it be okay to let the government subsidize AA groups in hospitals and prisons?
4.Is it more important to get a big AA collection from a few people, or a smaller collection in which more members participate?
5.Is a group treasurer's report unimportant AA business? How does the treasurer feel about it?
6.How important in my recovery is the feeling of self-respect, rather than the feeling of being always under obligation for charity

Tradition Eight
Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers. 

1.Is my own behavior accurately described by the Traditions? If not, what needs changing?
2.When I chafe about any particular Tradition, do I realize how it affects others?
3.Do I sometimes try to get some reward-even if not money-for my personal AA efforts?
4.Do I try to sound in AA like an expert on alcoholism? On recovery? On medicine? On sociology? On AA itself? On psychology? On spiritual matters? Or, heaven help me, even on humility?
5.Do I make an effort to understand what AA employees do? What workers in other alcoholism agencies do? Can I distinguish clearly among them?
6.In my own AA life, have I any experiences which illustrate the wisdom of this Tradition?
7.Have I paid enough attention to the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions? To the pamphlet AA Tradition-How It Developed?

Tradition Nine
AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve. 

1.Do I still try to boss things in AA?
2.Do I resist formal aspects of AA because I fear them as authoritative?
3.Am I mature enough to understand and use all elements of the AA program-even if no one makes me do so-with a sense of personal responsibility?
4.Do I exercise patience and humility in any AA job I take?
5.Am I aware of all those to whom I am responsible in any AA job?
6.Why doesn't every AA group need a constitution and bylaws?
7.Have I learned to step out of an AA job gracefully-and profit thereby-when the time comes?
8.What has rotation to do with anonymity? With humility?

Tradition Ten
Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy. 

1.Do I ever give the impression that there really is an "AA opinion" on Antabuse? Tranquilizers? Doctors? Psychiatrists? Churches? Hospitals? Jails? Alcohol? The federal or state government? Legalizing marijuana? Vitamins? Al-Anon? Alateen?
2.Can I honestly share my own personal experience concerning any of those without giving the impression I am stating the "AA opinion"?
3.What in AA history gave rise to our Tenth Tradition?
4.Have I had a similar experience in my own AA life?
5.What would AA be without this Tradition? Where would I be?
6.Do I breach this or any of its supporting Traditions in subtle, perhaps unconscious, ways?
7.How can I manifest the spirit of this Tradition in my personal life outside AA? Inside AA?

Tradition Eleven
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. 

1.Do I sometimes promote AA so fanatically that I make it seem unattractive?
2.Am I always careful to keep the confidences reposed in me as an AA member?
3.Am I careful about throwing AA names around-even within the Fellowship?
4.Am I ashamed of being a recovered, or recovering, alcoholic?
5.What would AA be like if we were not guided by the ideas in Tradition Eleven? Where would I be?
6.Is my AA sobriety attractive enough that a sick drunk would want such a quality for himself?

Tradition Twelve
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. 

1.Why is it good idea for me to place the common welfare of all AA members before individual welfare? What would happen to me if AA as a whole disappeared?
2.When I do not trust AA's current servants, who do I wish had the authority to straighten them out?
3.In my opinions of and remarks about other AAs, am I implying membership requirements other than a desire to stay sober?
4.Do I ever try to get a certain AA group to conform to my standards, not its own?
5.Have I a personal responsibility in helping an AA group fulfill its primary purpose? What is my part?
6.Does my personal behavior reflect the Sixth Tradition-or belie it?
7.Do I do all I can do to support AA financially? When is the last time I anonymously gave away a Grapevine subscription?
8.Do I complain about certain AAs' behavior-especially if they are paid to work for AA? Who made me so smart?
9.Do I fulfill all AA responsibilities in such a way as to please privately even my own conscience? Really?
10.Do my utterances always reflect the Tenth Tradition, or do I give AA critics real ammunition?
11.Should I keep my AA membership a secret, or reveal it in private conversation when that may help another alcoholic (and therefore me)? Is my brand of AA so attractive that other drunks want it?
12.What is the real importance of me among more than a million AAs?
The Twelve Concepts
1.Final responsibility and ultimate authority for A.A. world services should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship. 
2.The General Service Conference of A.A. has become, for nearly every practical purpose, the active voice and the effective conscience of our whole society in its world affairs. 
3.To insure effective leadership, we should endow each element of A.A. - the Conference, the General Service Board and its service corporations, staffs, committees, and executives - with a traditional "Right of Decision." 
4.At all responsible levels, we ought to maintain a traditional "Right of Participation," allowing a voting representation in reasonable proportion to the responsibility that each must discharge. 
5.Throughout our structure, a traditional "Right of Appeal" ought to prevail, so that minority opinion will be heard and personal grievances receive careful consideration. 
6.The Conference recognizes that the chief initiative and active responsibility in most world service matters should be exercised by the trustee members of the Conference acting as the General Service Board. 
7.The Charter and Bylaws of the General Service Board are legal instruments, empowering the trustees to manage and conduct world service affairs. The Conference Charter is not a legal document; it relies upon tradition and the A.A. purse for final effectiveness. 
8.The trustees are the principal planners and administrators of over-all policy and finance. They have custodial oversight of the separately incorporated and constantly active services, exercising this through their ability to elect all the directors of these entities. 
9.Good service leadership at all levels is indispensable for our future functioning and safety. Primary world service leadership, once exercised by the founders, must necessarily be assumed by the trustees. 
10.Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority, with the scope of such authority well defined. 
11.The trustees should always have the best possible committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs, and consultants. Composition, qualifications, induction procedures, and rights and duties will always be matters of serious concern. 
12.The Conference shall observe the spirit of A.A. tradition, taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that it place none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over others; that it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of government; that, like the Society it serves, it will always remain democratic in thought and action. 

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