12 Traditions

What are the ‘Twelve Traditions’?

The “Twelve Traditions” of A.A. are suggested principles to insure the survival and growth of the thousands of groups that make up the Fellowship. They are based on the experience of the groups themselves during the critical early years of the movement. The Traditions are important to both old timers and newcomers as reminders of the true foundations of A.A. as a society of men and women whose primary concern is to maintain their own sobriety and help others to achieve sobriety:

  1. Our common welfare should come first, personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  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.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. 
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

What are the 12 Traditions? has been reprinted from pamphlet P-2, Frequently asked questions about A.A. ® with permission of A.A. ® World Services, Inc.