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Steps & Traditions Study
All References to The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are copyrighted by AA World Services, Inc. and are reprinted with permission. 

April 18th

http://www.e-aa.org/chat/eaa_chat_reading.php?ID=50

Tradition One:

“Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon  AA unity.”

THE unity of Alcoholics Anonymous is the most cherished quality our Society has. Our lives, the lives of all to come, depend squarely upon it. We stay whole, or A.A. dies. Without unity, the heart of A.A. would cease to beat; our world arteries would no longer carry the life-giving grace of God; His gift to us would be spent aimlessly. Back again in their caves, alcoholics would reproach us and say, “What a great thing A.A. might have been!”

“Does this mean,” some will anxiously ask, “that in A.A. the individual doesn’t count for much? Is he to be domi­nated by his group and swallowed u~ in it?”

We may certainly answer this question with a loud “No!” We believe there isn’t a fellowship on earth which lavishes more devoted care upon its individual members; surely there is none which more jealously guards the individual’s right to think, talk, and act as he wishes. No A.A. can com­pel another to do anything; nobody can be punished or ex­pelled. Our Twelve Steps to recovery are suggestions; the Twelve Traditions which guarantee A.A.’s unity contain not a single “Don’t.” They repeatedly say “We ought ...“ but never “You must!”

To many minds all this liberty for the individual spells sheer anarchy. Every newcomer, every friend who looks at A.A. for the first time is greatly puzzled. They see liberty verging on license, yet they recognize at once that A.A. has an irresistible strength of purpose and action.

“How,” they ask, “can such a crowd of anarchists function at all? How can they possibly place their common welfare first? What in Heaven’s name holds them together?”

End of Reading


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