Tradition 10 & Checklist

The 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, the principles that hold our groups and society together.

Tradition 10 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:15 pm

Tradition Ten, Long Form: No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues–particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.

“Never since it began has Alcoholics Anonymous been divided by a major public controversy... This, however, has been no earned virtue”. (12 x 12, pg 176)


We learned our lesson from the Washingtonians. This is not to say, personally (and sometimes not so privately) we all agree.

Fall-outs seen by breaching in Anonymity at the level of Press, Radio and Films often end up with AA and public controversy.

For instance, a few years back, one half of a noted film critic pair wrote in his newspaper blog. The piece praised Alcoholics Anonymous, as because of AA, the critic celebrated 30 years of sobriety. Though his intentions may have been the best, this Anonymity break was followed about six months later with the critic making news again, apparently being accused of making remarks considered ‘racial’. For any following this film critic, his actions may have gotten some of the public thinking AA was racist... and what a controversy that would be for us.

I have seen this Tradition in action in a situation involving service work at a State Department of Corrections facility, wherein one AA informed the staff the other AA was no longer allowed to volunteer there (personalities overrode principles). Temptation to straighten both the member and the matter out took a back seat, as the sponsor helped the ‘wronged’ AA understand that any fight before the staff would probably lower their estimation of AA, at best.

(The matter resolved itself without giving AA a ‘black eye’ with the facility, as the member creating the conflict dropped out of the service position later on that year, and the volunteer was elected to fulfill the position).

Avoiding controversy on a larger level has seen our fellowship ‘back down, too, as was the case with the discontinuation of the “Circle and Triangle” logo on our literature. First adopted by AA at the 1955 St. Louis Convention, the logo was discontinued at the 1994 General Conference, rather than embroil AA in legal actions for and against. (“Frequently Asked Questions about AA’s History”) http://www.aa.org/lang/en/subpage.cfm?page=287#cinco

On a more personal level, attempts to get AA meetings started on base in Iraq, for others as well as my own survival, Anonymity was broken with base medics, chaplains, combat stress team and the Army’s Mayor Cell. (Though I explained AA Anonymity and my desire Not to be pointed out as “The AA guy”, or the base drunk, it was a chance I had to take to keep sober). But with that disclosure, came responsibility to act my best no matter where I was, a, the time, as anything I did unseemly or improper in my normal duties may have been construed as poor reflection on AA.

The principle is something I can make use of on a personal level, too, for when I engage in gossip about another AA, or another group, I am perpetrating controversy in private, which may seriously affect or diminish their chance for sobriety.

Rendered ‘white a snow’?... playing well with others ALL the time?... hardly.

“...most of us have really loved controversy...... That is the spiritual climate in which AA was born, and by God’s grace, has flourished nonetheless.” (AACoA, pg 123-125)

“...part and parcel of learning to work and live together. Let it be noted, too, that they were almost always concerned with how to make AA more effective, how to do the most good for the most alcoholics.” (12 x 12, pg 178)


And... As noted in the discussion on Tradition Four (viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10327), having AA on the World Wide Web with who knows who watching and listening in, may be similar to being in a fish bowl in a stadium, bringing a new set of situations and circumstances for us to learn to practice AA principles.

With a little luck, and a lot of common sense, may we not to destroy the very thing which saved out lives, so we can continue to carry the message of Hope and Recovery to the still suffering Alcoholic, in and out of the rooms, whether face to face or through the Internet.

Thanks

++++++++++++++++++++

Practice These Principles…**

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?

++++++++++++++++

** 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.

++++++++++++++++

http://www.aa.org/1212/
http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/smf-131_en.pdf
12 & 12 and Traditions Check List reprinted with Permission AAWS
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Re: Tradition 10 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:48 pm

Here's another example of Controversy at the Public level, which was brought to my attention.

"Two A.A. Groups Subject of Some Unwelcome Publicity"

"On any given day, A.A.s are meeting in schools, churches, community centers and other venues across the U.S. and Canada— Conversely, if we project an unpleasant impression, the same alcoholics may fall through the cracks of public distaste, distrust and even unfriendliness.

California delegate .....(Panel 58) reports that word of such difficulties, concerning two groups in her San Diego-Imperial Area, erupted recently on, of all places, the local TV evening newscast. The groups in question meet at the same church—one on Tuesday nights; the other, six days a week at 6:45 a.m. A resident whose property abuts the church parking lot was complaining of noise and other difficulties outside the church and in the parking lot before and after meetings—and had actually taken a video." (Box 4-5-9 Apr-May 2008, pg 7)

http://www.aa.org/newsletters/en_US/en_ ... -may08.pdf

I have been in groups renting meeting space from a landlord or organization, and some of the after meeting antics or even just the trash and cigarette butts left lying around have soured AA's relationship with the Host facility or neighbors... fortunately, it was dealt with and Not video taped for air on the evening news... Something to consider. Thanks
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Re: Tradition 10 & Checklist

Postby PaigeB » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:39 pm

Thanks Tommy.

Having just been elected to serve as the Public Information Chair in my f2f District this is pretty important. I will be in a position to work with people who don't know a whole lot about AA. I will be a first impression...

2. Can I honestly share my own personal experience concerning any of those without giving the impression I am stating the “AA opinion”?


I don't know. I hope I can. I will try with all that is in me to protect the Traditions. I know that I alone cannot damage AA beyond repair. I can be ever watchful of potential slips where MY opinion (ego) gets in there... I will be grateful instead. Try to BE the message and not the mess.
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Re: Tradition 10 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:50 am

Terrific, Paige...

And the PI workbook is on the AA Web, under Literature and then Miscellaneous...Free download
http://www.aa.org/lang/en/catalog.cfm?c ... roduct=104

And you'll do great.

AA will survive, also :)
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Re: Tradition 10 & Checklist

Postby PaigeB » Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:09 am

Thanks for that Tommy!
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Re: Tradition 10 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:12 pm

A Grapevine reprint of Bill W's article on Tradition Ten, Feb 1953 (courtesy of Karl :) )

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6458
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Re: Tradition 10 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:26 am

Karl has posted the reprint of Bill W's Grapevine article on Tradition 10 in this Discussion:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6458
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Re: Tradition 10 & Checklist

Postby Edward10 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:07 pm

The Tenth Tradition is vital for our growth and spiritual well-being as a fellowship. We cannot afford to be categorized or labeled by taking positions on outside issues. Public positions may attract some, but they would invariably alienate others. By remaining neutral on outside issues within the larger society, we are accessible to the broadest base of addicts. We do it this way so that no addict seeking recovery need ever die. As lofty and distant as that goal may seem at times, we can have it if we are willing to pay the price, don't back off and don't get side tracked.
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Re: Tradition 10 & Checklist

Postby ann2 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:33 am

Hi Edward10, welcome to our forums! Glad you found us and thanks for your share!

Ann
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Re: Tradition 10 & Checklist

Postby Tommy-S » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:19 am

Welcome, Edward

quote] we are accessible to the broadest base of addicts. We do it this way so that no addict seeking recovery need ever die. [/quote]

That's Alcoholics in AA...That lofty goal you speak of for 'Addicts' is NA... Traditions 1, 3, 5, 6 (and the rest of the Traditions) are also important for AA's growth.

Thanks, Tommy
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