Tradition Number Two (Study)

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

Tradition Number Two (Study)

Postby Oliver » Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:00 am

For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. (Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.)
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Re: Tradition Number Two (Study)

Postby Oliver » Sun Jul 16, 2006 11:15 am

In his essay on Concept 1 of the 12 Concepts for World Service, Bill W wrote:

"Tradition Two, like all the AA traditions is the voice of experience, based upon the trials of thousands of groups in our pioneering time. The main principles of Tradition Two are crystal clear: the AA groups are to be the final authority; their leaders are to be entrusted with delegated responsibilities only."

He also speaks of the consequences of breaching Tradition Two being "the future collapse of our fellowship" and "almost certain death".

===

For me, Tradition Two is all about God. It is about being led by God, allowing God to do with me as he wills, rather than what I will. I often have strong opinions about which decisions should be made in an AA business meeting - sometimes the group conscience moves with me, sometimes against me - but I can always trust that God has his hand on the collective conscience of AA and that I am likely to have been wrong :)

About trusted servants having only delegated responsibilities - that the group is always supreme. This, I feel, is important - it ensures that AA remains group-centred, and that one individual does not become a dictator or "take over" the meeting. It is also important for me when I undertake (basic) service, that I do not allow my ego to become inflated :)
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Re: Tradition Number Two (Study)

Postby Oliver » Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:20 am

Thanks for the checklist Tommy from NC, it has helped with my continuing inventory.

Oliver from England
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Re: Tradition Number Two (Study)

Postby SteveC » Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:23 pm

Hey Guys. How about just "keep it simple"? Don't make it too complicated.

Hugs!

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Re: Tradition Number Two (Study)

Postby stephbridget » Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:38 am

Thanks Steve. Even for an alcohlic like me this is getting complicated.

To me tradition two means: God is the one I turn to and the one in charge. We need people to help organize but by no right does it make them superior to anyone.
Focus on the Now...
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Re: Tradition Number Two (Study)

Postby Oliver » Wed Jul 19, 2006 6:12 am

Originally posted by SteveC:
Hey Guys. How about just "keep it simple"? Don't make it too complicated.
Sounds good to me....
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Re: Tradition Number Two (Study)

Postby SteveC » Mon Jul 24, 2006 12:36 am

Just to remind everybody.... Personal attacks in the forums will not be tolerated. I have removed the offensive post. Further attacks will result in the person being asked to leave the forums for a time out.

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Re: Tradition Number Two (Study)

Postby Oliver » Mon Jul 24, 2006 3:49 am

Thanks, Steve C.
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Re: Tradition Number Two (Study)

Postby stephbridget » Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:07 am

Thanks Steve.
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Postby OK » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:15 pm

First off one has to see that the Traditions are principles for spiritual unity not to be used as legalistic rules. Rules are for people who do not have principles and there is no rules here.
Tradition Two tells me who God is, where He is, and what He does. It says, "For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority...a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience." God expresses Himself in a specific location--my conscience. This is good news to me. I have wondered where and who God was and what He did. Now I understand what was meant, long ago, by the command, "Be still and know that I am God." Who is God? - the ultimate authority where is he? –in the group consciences, What does he do? Gives us direction and guides us.
In the last half of Tradition Two and I find the second gentle whisper toward humility: "Our leaders [you and I] are but trusted servants; they do not govern." I love the clarity and force of that simple word "but." As a leader I am but a trusted servant; I need not govern. Thank God! I have been a dubiously trusted leader who felt that he must govern for too long; now I may be relieved of all of that. As God may express Himself in my conscience, I am His and your trusted servant, who governs only me!
This Tradition is clear and in a specified order. Either one believes in the A.A. path or they don’t. A.A. does not make anyone conform or believe in anything here. It will still be the A.A. path not yours or mine by of A.A. weather one believes or not. Kind of hard to swallow isn’t it. No one said it would be easy just take everything you got.
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Postby jak » Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:04 am

Our A.A. experience has taught us that:

2.) For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern (short form, pg. 562 4th Ed.)

2.) For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. (long form, pg. 563 4th Ed.)

© Copyright 2007 Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
All Right Reserved


In the "Long Form" list of Traditions on page 563, Tradition Two is shorter than the "Short Form" version on page 562.

I looked into the index of the book 'Pass It On', from A.A. World Services, for information about when the sentence, "Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern." was added. I did not find info there. But this passage on page 324 caught my interest...

Though the "Twelve Points to Assure Our Future," basis of the Traditions, had now been published, they still had not been accepted by the membership. In keeping with the Second Tradition, Bill still had to "sell" them to the "constituency," and this he now set out to do. During the last three years of the decade, 1947 - 1950, still coping with his depression, he was out in the groups, "selling" the Traditions, whether his audience wanted to listen or not. Sometimes they did not. Bill remembered: "I recieved letters like this: 'Bill, we would love to have you come and speak. Tell us where you used to hide your bottles and tell us about that hot-flash spiritual experience of yours. But please don't talk any more about those damned Traditions.'"
This was only one of a number of circumstances where Bill found himself "force feeding" independence of autonomy to the members of A.A. During these years on the road, he was also talking about his ideas for an A.A. structure of elected representatives; leaders who were "trusted servants" were Bill's fondest wish for A.A.. In the time to come, Bill was to find himself in the curious position of having to persuade the Fellowship to take it's care and welfare out of his hands. He would spend the next years trying to turn the Fellowship loose - against the wishes of the very people whom he was trying to free from himself.

Pass It On page 324
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Postby jak » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:04 pm

From the A.A. SERVICE MANUAL


Delegates Encouraged to Question

The first Conference was set for April 1951. In came the delegates. They looked over our offices, cellar to garret, got acquainted with the whole staff, shook hands with the trustees. That evening, we gave them a briefing session, under the name of "What’s on your mind?" We answered scores of questions of all kinds. The delegates began to feel at home and reassured. They inspected our finances with a microscope. After they had listened to reports from the board of trustees and from all the services, there was warm but cordial debate on many a question of policy. Trustees submitted several of their own serious problems for the opinion of the Conference.

So went session after session, morning, afternoon, and evening. The delegates handled several tough puzzles about which we at G.S.O. were in doubt, sometimes giving advice contrary to our own conclusions. In nearly every instance, we saw that they were right. Then and there they proved, as never before, that A.A.’s Tradition Two was correct. The group conscience could safely act as the sole authority and sure guide for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Nobody present will ever forget that final session of the first Conference. We knew that the impossible had happened, that A.A. could never break down in the middle, that Alcoholics Anonymous was at last safe from any storm the future might bring. And, as delegates returned home, they carried this same conviction with them.

Realizing our need for funds and better literature circulation, some did place a little too much emphasis on this necessity; others were a little discouraged, wondering why fellow members in their areas did not take fire as they had. They forgot that they themselves had been eyewitnesses to the Conference and that their brother alcoholics had not. But, both here and at home, they made an impression much greater than they knew.
In the midst of this exciting turn of affairs, the Conference agreed that the Alcoholic Foundation ought to be renamed the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, and this was done. The word "Foundation" stood for charity, paternalism and maybe big money. A.A. would have none of these; from here out we could assume full responsibility and pay our expenses ourselves.

As I watched all this grow, I became entirely sure that Alcoholics Anonymous was at last safe — even from me.

AA Service Manual page S12
(written by Bill W)
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