11th Tradition

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

11th Tradition

Postby MyNameisVictor » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:42 am

Hi all,

I hope everyone is well and is having a happy and healthy New Year. I am writing to get your thoughts on something, if I may. I have to give a talk on the 11th Tradition next week and am having troubly reconciling something (an AA friend of mine brought this up and I have been giving this a lot of thought). As you all know, the 11th Tradition states: "Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and

Ironically however, AA itself, in part, was launched by a promotional article in The Saturday Evening Post (I believe it was March 1941, by Jack Alexander) that got people interested in it. That article was pitched by Bill Wilson and others (before the traditions were born) and helped get the word out that this fellowship called AA had been born. I am trying to think of how to reconcile that. I want to say that no one is an expert on AA (including myself) and that people will join AA when they are ready - not because they saw an advertisement, movie, heard a radio ad, etc.). But then, this whole matter comes up.

Any thoughts on this? Thanks.

God bless,
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Re: 11th Tradition

Postby ann2 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:04 am

Hi Victor,

You might be interested in exploring the PI committee in your area and the CPC committee -- Public Information and Cooperation with the Professional Community are two very important service areas and involve just that fine line between getting the word out (which I think is the best use of the media) and advertising ourselves just to be in the spotlight.

The article in the Saturday Evening Post wasn't meant to be promotional. Jack Alexander was an investigative journalist and he was set to pull the plug on our loony society by showing how ridiculous we were and how we were taking advantage of poor lost alkies. He got "converted" by his research experience (carefully planned by Bill W. et al. natch) and instead of the tear-down we got something that some consider a puff piece. Mr. Alexander went on to serve as a non-alcoholic trustee from 1951-56.

I think the upshot of this and many other experiences was that we as a movement have to be *careful* about the information that is offered to the media, BUT we (often desperately) DO want our existence made known. The media is one way we have of letting people know we are here -- and often, it's the people who are in contact with alcoholics, not the alcoholics themselves, who can pass on that information. So again the CPC and PI committees in your area might have some excellent comments to offer.

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Re: 11th Tradition

Postby MyNameisVictor » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:50 am

Thanks Ann! Will do. Happy New Year and hope you're well.
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Re: 11th Tradition

Postby Tommy-S » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:26 pm

Thanks Victor,

But I am Not sure why the need to reconcile.

That the Saturday Evening Post was 'promotional' may have merit, however, in accordance with Tradition 11, the Names of the people it speaks of as successful AA's were changed, keep Anonymity at the level of press, radio & films.

I would debate Bill & Bob as 'regular AA's' in the same manner that one would say Neil Armstrong or Admiral Perry were regular astronauts or regular explorers. Each in their own way, accomplished a first, and 'firsts' are always given special status in history. (Likewise with most of the AA pioneers)

I have met those AA's who consider "Bill did it" as some kind of valid argument for whatever nonsense they think they should be able to do. Simply asking what they 'founded, created, etc' usually ends the confrontation, and maybe helps them get a little right-sized.

AA"s Timeline reads (in part):

Mar ‘41 Saturday Evening Post

1946 12 Traditions first formulated and published

Jul ’50: Cleveland International Convention. 12 Traditions adopted

Apr ’51: First General Service Conference meets, linking AA Trustees with entire Fellowship (5 year experiment)

Oct ’54 “Alcoholic Foundation” becomes General Service Board....”The motivation is to signal that the AA membership is taking full responsibility for itself”

It wasn't until '51 that AA began to experiment as the Ultimate Authority, fulfilling the plans of Bill & Dr. Bob to relinquish the reigns (Dr.Bob passed before the General Service Board could take over) . The 20th Anniversary Convention in ST. Louis (1955) was the final end of Bill's reign and the beginning of the Fellowship running itself, as the Resolutions passed declared the "Trustees entirely capable of assuming the guardianship of AA 12 Traditions & of taking full guidance and control of our World Services...permanent successors to the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous" (AA Comes of Age, pg 226)

It took 20 years for the guardianship of AA to shift from our co-founders to the GSO/GSC/Trustees. Understanding the history in which we evolved, I believe reconciles any 'issues'/

thanks... Tommy

Here's some more info on Tradition 11 here:

Bill on Tradition 11, Grapevine, Oct ‘48 viewtopic.php?f=24&t=6554

Tradition 11 & Checklist viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10370

(And BTW, the PI & CPC Workbook are downloadable at http://www.aa.org... Literature, then Miscellaneous)
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Re: 11th Tradition

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:48 pm

Check out T11 in the 12&12. Always something to share in a meeting from there.

Also remember, Traditions were mostly born from mistakes made in the first 15 years. They didn't have all the answers up-front, plus Bill W and Dr Bob needed to let go and allow the fellowship to go how and where it will... Hopefully without imploding.
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