Long form Shorter? Tradition 2

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

Long form Shorter? Tradition 2

Postby Tommy-S » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:13 pm

Did You Ever Wonder…?

“Why is the long form of Tradition Two shorter than the short form?” This is a question that G.S.O.’s Archives receives nearly every week; it also comes up at Regional Forums.

Answer: A.A.’s Twelve Traditions were originally published in a series of articles starting with the May 1946 issue of the Grapevine. These are what we consider the Long Form of the Traditions. For the next several years, Bill W. traveled around the country explaining the Traditions and trying to get members to become more familiar with them. In 1949, A.A. member Earl T. of Chicago initially suggested to Bill that he rewrite the A.A. Traditions, stating that they were too long. Bill worked on shortening the Traditions with the idea of producing a concise statement for information and instructional purposes
that could be printed along with the Twelve Steps.

In a letter dated June 17, 1949, Bill explained the following about the “short form” of the Traditions. He wrote, “Accordingly, I have worked over the material once more, coming up with what I hope is a quieter and clearer job — something which would be a more fitting companion to the Twelve Steps themselves and of just about the same wordage.”

After many searches through the years, the Archives staff has been unable to find any documentation by Bill as to why he chose to include the additional line in Tradition Two, “Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.” In their search they turned up a letter written by former G.S.O. Archivist Frank M.:

“As you’ll recall historically, the climate was not fully positive for ‘organizing’ Alcoholics Anonymous in the late ’40s and early ’50s. Folks thought things might get too complicated if Traditions were to come on line and a General Service Conference started. They worried about ‘control issues.’ Thus the line about ‘our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern’ was added to allay these fears.” Box 4-5-9 Fall 2012

http://www.aa.org/lang/en/en_pdfs/en_box459_fall12.pdf


BTW... One can subscribe electronically to Box 4-5-9 on the AA Web site... It's free :) www.aa.org

Thanks... Tommy
Last edited by Tommy-S on Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Long form Shorter? Tradition 2

Postby PaigeB » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:51 am

Interesting! Thanks Tommy!
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Re: Long form Shorter? Tradition 2

Postby Tommy-S » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:30 am

Yeah... that was keeping me awake at nights. :)

I am a fan of the Box 4-5-9, though. Glad I got the subscription and AA's web site allows me to see back issues. Thanks!
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Re: Long form Shorter? Tradition 2

Postby Marc L » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:19 pm

Don't know where that info comes from but last time I checked the 12&12, Tradition 2 short form is one paragraph while Tradition 2 long form is several pages. So which is longer?

Marc
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Re: Long form Shorter? Tradition 2

Postby Tommy-S » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:51 pm

Hi Marc,

12 x 12, pg 133 'Short' Form:

"For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority -- a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. [u]Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern."[/u]

A look at "The Twelve Traditions, The Long Form" included in the 12 x 12's back section:

12 x 12, pg 189 Long Form:

"Two -- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority -- a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience"


All of the other "Long Form"s of the Traditions have additional language added, except for Tradition Two, which is 'shorter' :)

Thanks
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