What are the principles?

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

What are the principles?

Postby Dean C » Sun Sep 07, 2003 3:02 pm

"The principles we have set down are guides to progress." (p. 60, "Alcoholics Anonymous")

There are over two dozen references to "the principles" in the Big Book, often preceded by the word "spiritual." I've heard some folks say that there are 36 principles (12 Steps, 12 Traditions, 12 Concepts, totalling 36). But that's wrong. Bill W., for example, in his introduction to "Twelve Concepts for World Service" noted that each Concept is a collection of principles. So, taking only the Steps, what are the principles, how many are there?

I don't know. But I saw the following in the Final Report of the 2003 General Service Conference, and I liked it. It was in the presentation "What Are the Principles?" by Rita L., the Southwest Texas delegate. She says she got it from a taped talk by Rod I.

Step 1: Honesty
Step 2: Hope
Step 3: Faith
Step 4: Courage
Step 5: Integrity
Step 6: Willingness
Step 7: Humility
Step 8: Brotherly Love
Step 9: Justice
Step 10: Perseverance
Step 11: Spirituality
Step 12: Service

Kinda cool.
"Whatever can be said can be said clearly."
-- Ludwig Wittgenstein
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Blue Moon » Mon Sep 08, 2003 11:57 pm

Originally posted by Dean C:
I don't know. But I saw the following in the Final Report of the 2003 General Service Conference, and I liked it. It was in the presentation "What Are the Principles?" by Rita L., the Southwest Texas delegate. She says she got it from a taped talk by Rod I.

Step 1: Honesty
Step 2: Hope
Step 3: Faith
Step 4: Courage
Step 5: Integrity
Step 6: Willingness
Step 7: Humility
Step 8: Brotherly Love
Step 9: Justice
Step 10: Perseverance
Step 11: Spirituality
Step 12: Service
I think of the first 3 principles as being:

Step 1: Honesty
Step 2: Open-mindedness (Hope is a good one)
Step 3: Willingness

That said, I believe willingness comes early in the chain because unless I'm willing to become honest, I won't be honest. Unless I'm willing to become more open-minded I don't. Unless I'm willing to change, no change will happen.

A quick glance at Appendix II also seems to put the principles in the order "Willingness, Honesty, Open-minded".
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby mmw. » Thu Sep 11, 2003 11:46 am

I have seen that list of principles before for the Steps and I have always like them.

I also believe in the HOW of the program: Honesty, Open Mindedness and Willingness.

For me, I had to get Honest first before I could open my mind and be willing.

Without principles, those of us who were very undisciplined when we drank, could not become the sober, responsible citizens of the world we are now.
You must be the change you want in the world. Ghandi
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby soul » Tue Sep 23, 2003 9:43 pm

Hi,

and thank you for the topic on the Principles.

I too have read (several) version of the 12 Principles as Dean wrote it.......and i too, rely on the HOW. I know that even some old AA coing have the H the O and the W in each corner of the triangle.

I personally believe that the Principles of the AA program are based on the 4 absolutes, Honesty, Unselfishness, Love and Purity -- : Honesty:It is true of false?......... Unselfishness: How will it affect the other fellow?......... Love: Is it ugly or beautiful?........ Purity: Is it right or wrong? --

I often ask myself those four questions to get to the root of my motives in any actions or reactions. I believe that the co-founders relied on the 4 absolutes (originally from the Oxford Group) to write the Big Book and all that followed to convey the message to the still suffering alcoholic.

What do you think?

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Re: What are the principles?

Postby riffdude » Wed Sep 24, 2003 6:41 am

I have seen similar lists around. I like them because they remind me of the meaning behind the words of the steps.

I have also seen step 3 listed as confidence, willingness, and commitment. I like commitment the best. When I "work" step three I am making a commitment to follow through with action (applying the principles in all my affairs).
Time is an eternity that stammers.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby soul » Wed Sep 24, 2003 7:31 am

Riff's post reminds me of something i heard at a meeting the other day............

"My sponsor said that if he had the opportunity to add or change anything to the AA litterature, he would write at the end of each Step :'And practice this principle in all my affairs' "

Sometimes, i need things to be told many times and in a simple way, even if repetitive, so that i can 'get it' ! ....lol

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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:05 am

Originally posted by soul:

I believe that the co-founders relied on the 4 absolutes (originally from the Oxford Group) to write the Big Book and all that followed to convey the message to the still suffering alcoholic.
Curiously there is not one word about the four absolutes in the BB. If they work for you, of course that's fine.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby soul » Wed Sep 24, 2003 4:28 pm

Blue Moon posted :

"Curiously there is not one word about the four absolutes in the BB. "

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Through out the Big Book, the words unselfishness, honesty, and love are mentioned, as part of the foundation of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Purity has somehow fallen through the cracks...........Perhaps something that Bill Wilson was still working on..........

Here is a link that brings some more information and references about the influence of the 4 Absolutes in early AA and in the program.


AA history - 4 Absolutes, etc......

This is sure a great topic, and i thank you again for bringing it up Blue Moon.

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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Clark » Sat Sep 27, 2003 11:13 am

What was that comment by Dr Bob to Bill, that goes something like ....."let's not mess this thing up....."?

The idea was that we should keep it (the program) simple.

I've been trying to remember this, I think it is referred to as Dr Bob's last message. He was talking about his funeral.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Amy » Sun Sep 28, 2003 2:17 pm

This whole discussion has aroused my curiosity. I have heard of the "principles" here and there and thought I found the answer when reading the September 16 Thought for the Day in the book "Twenty-Four Hours a Day," which I realize is published by Hazelden, not AAWS. Anyway, this entry indicates the priciples are membership requirement, spiritual basis, personal inventory, restitution, and helping others.

I like what you posted Dean, the principles as they relate to each step, thanks for sharing that.

--BethB
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby Blue Moon » Fri Jul 16, 2004 5:57 pm

Originally posted by CHIEF:
You all correct when you say the absolutes are not mentioned in the B/B per say,however if you have done the first nine steps you will see these absolutes used time and time again.They were also called the cardinal teachings of Jesus Christ. Chief
Correct, although any mention of Jesus Christ can scare off newcomers... would have done me! Curiously, having experienced the benefits of the first 9 Steps, my subsequent Step 11 explorations have led me to conclude that far older spiritual teachings are also quite compatible with this program.
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Re: What are the principles?

Postby zoomie » Wed Nov 10, 2004 7:44 am

I just came across this post and I know it's an old one.
I just got done writing out my step 4 and of course doing my 5th soon after.
In the BB on how to do a step 4,they listed Principles.
I had to ask my sponcer what it was ment by a resentment against "principles",being that I agree with all the principles in AA.
He said the principles set down in the 4th step, are about the principles of "your church", like if your church had the principle of thou shall not have an abortion,and you beleive in the right of choice. Or,your club had a principle of Chritians only,but you think all should be able to join or your school has a no exscuse policy for being late and you feel that everyone should be aloud to be late... Those are principles of other groups.
LOL, I said I don't belong to any church,only to a club pool and I'm cool with them and I try my utmost to abay the laws of my city,state and country,so I therefor conclude, I have no principles! LOL, he thought that was kind of cute and he laughed.
So there are principles and then there are the principles of AA.
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Postby OK » Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:59 pm

Every group has principles. a group of thieves, churches, police departments, prisons, A.A. all have principles. If one was interested and wanted to find out about a certain place one would look to the tradition of that place.
The Traditions are A.A.'s principles in writing, written down so no principal would change them.
A.A. Traditions if practiced hold people together and were written objectively years after A.A. as a whole digested all 12 suggested steps. Did you ever wonder why the 12 steps are only suggested? Tradition two in action.
Here in A.A. the traditions solely belong to A.A., not to you or me or anyone else and ought to be practiced not just suggested like the steps. There is people in A.A. and people of A.A.. The one’s of A.A. practice the principles as most others just reads them and uses them for personal gain not the spiritual unity the traditions were intended. . Just watch the attitudes and the crying when an A.A.’s traditions/principles is mentioned. I am glad A.A. has no principals, that’s what makes A.A. great again thank you Tradition two
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