The essay on Tradition One (12 x 12) considers
In studying Tradition 1 with a sponsor, I was tasked with learning the principle behind the tradition. As the individual needed to conform to spiritual principles else they would sicken and die, AA history bears out the fact that alcoholics had a better chance of recovery when they banded together. Hence it was clear the group needed to survive or the individual would not.“the Unity of AA the most cherished quality our Society has. Our lives, and the lives of all to come, depend upon it. We stay whole, or AA dies”.(12 x 12, pg 129)
Placing my ego to one side, quieting my desires and personal ambitions for the good of the group, though painful at times, took priority as I knew I needed to stick with the winners. (Those who had Victory over Alcohol that day)
I had heard enough of what alcohol did to these alkies enough to know I ‘had it’, too. If they could find relief by working the AA program, then doing what they did was the only shot a drunk like me had.
That realization started a change in me in that I no longer felt compelled to change AA to fit me. Tommy’s Anonymous had never given me relief (no one else ever showed up for the meetings). Instead, I changed to fit Alcoholics Anonymous. I lost my terminal uniqueness, began to resign from having it MY way, decided to become a worker among workers, and commence to follow the path laid out long before I arrived.
Though I will never be mistaken for a “Yes” man, and while I sometimes bow grudgingly to the group’s wishes when the majority agrees on a course of action (and they can be wrong quite often, in my opinion ), I realize sobriety is a Team Sport.
And I, for one, need the team much more than it needs me.
Practice These Principles…**
Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA 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?
** 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.
12 & 12 and Traditions Check List reprinted with Permission AAWS