The 12 Traditions

Discussion related to the 12 Traditions
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Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:10 am

Postby wareagle10 » Sun Jun 25, 2006 4:55 pm

Thanks Buck: I hope I never see, but, should I will pick it up and save it for you should you ever wish to have it back. AA has always baffled me as to how it can do what it does without all the politics and direct line organization, too.

I have always been a great fan of tradition 3, it is what kept me here. I do not do well with authority or dictates and so I found something to hang onto until I could build a faith in the program and the people. I am a person with very little religious background and therefore I have very little faith in a God. I use the group to help me, an oldtimer said that I used to have a higher power (God) and that was alcohol. I bowed to it everyday and gave it upper most consideration in everything I did, alcohol always came first. Now, he said, all you have to do is shift that mindset to the group and you will have your higher power. Your God will be a Group Of Drunks (GOD). It has always, for now, been that way. The rest of the program was suggested to me. Again, they told me, the program is SUGGESTED until it becomes a MUST. Been here every since.

I have enjoyed your sharing and you are doing extremely well for 7 months, I will look forward to more posts back and forth.

Take care and straight ahead, John.

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Postby cinderbobble » Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:35 am

:shock: It was such a shock to me to realize this program of sobriety works in spite of me, not because of me. And that even though I have abused this fellowship, I was welcomed back. I have the tools to live one day at a time, namely love and service, of which I am not a perfect user of that tool, but when I do! I mean it's great. Need to remember to use it more. This week, I had the opportunity to: 1) remember that what others think of me is none of my business, 2) pray to God to give somebody what I wanted for myself, and in earnest, so that this required effort on my part (went against my grain!), and 3) to read my BB (chapter to Agnostics), and 4) to be welcomed back to my home group meetng afteri being gone awhile. To think, in earnest what they mean about improving my conscious contact with God.

Rusty Zipper
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Postby Rusty Zipper » Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:04 pm

hi cinder... what took me a long time was to learn... "Do not take anything persional"... it help'd to free up those fears...

put all my beliefs, faith and trust in God... wow, what a differance that made.

bless................................. RZ

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My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:59 pm

Good evening, all.

Please take this only as the suggestion that it is. I recommend that anyone who decides to check out the Tradition section of the Forum Index, back track through this thread from the beginning.

I look for activity in the Traditions...and I'm guilty myself, of not posting here more often.

Tradition 10, for me...was the very first 'thing' I could wrap my brain around after coming in to AA. I could take this tradition/principle, and apply it to all my affairs, with some practice. So, then...with an ounce of ability to grasp on to something out of the BB, I set forth and tried this tradition on for size, and use it. If something...anything...was an outside issue for me...if it was something I couldn't change, I would accept it; if it was none of my business, I would 'cop' tradition 10 by saying: this is an outside issue for me. What I began to discover, in doing this, is that some of the big ball of a tangled and mangled web was beginning to straighten out. By 'consciously' adopting Tradtion 10, I slowly developed acceptance...I wasn't getting involved in situations, or conversations with people that would...have an effect on my sobriety. I began to realize, consciously, that I truly did have a desire to stop drinking and stay sober...I already had this desire, out of desperation, however after I began to absorb this--what was happening to me...a true desire began to sink in. After more time, I realized that I was practicing Tradition 12--by practicing Tradition 10...which gave me a more firm footing with...STEP 1...acceptance, courage, and serenity. The steps...I was willing, but they were more--quite honestly...more words...I found them a little overwhelming.

I admit...I was, at one time, one of those who...contributed a couple of Big Books to thrift stores...ironically with the cloudy thought that the books could help someone else. Wasn't for me; tried to read the next one, couldn't understand it; tried again--don't know what the reason was for unloading the next one...except to maybe say: I wasn't ready yet. Funny how I've never thought about that until reading thru this thread. The longer I'm sober, the more open I become...and the more that pops into my head that I've forgotten about. I've had a few Big Books come...and go, countless, for sure. THANK God ### I understand Him ...He didn't give up on me. I repeatedly was handed the key to what was wrong with me. It is interesting, though I would ditch them...each time made a little more of a dent. I doubt I even opened the cover to the first one. I did ### :oops: #### the next one. I'd read a bit more...or a different section...and I would give up. I suppose, in a way...looking at the BB, for the first, or second ###.,) is kind of like looking one-self in the mirror...the mirror of truth, unable to bear the facts of that truth. I do vaguely remember one thought that I had...that I was too young for this. This "Bill-dude" seemed to be some old guy, who wrote a book...a long time ago, so the BB was old, too. Justify, justify, justify. "Loaded" thinking #######.

Anyway...I'd like to see what others have to say here. Been since Sept.14 since this spot has seen any action :twisted: :wink: :lol:

Principles before personalities, kids,

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Questions about the 12 Traditions

Postby Dallas » Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:01 am

Below, are a couple of questions that I've often wondered about:

I believe the questions pertains to ALL 12 Traditions, and in particular, they would apply to Tradition Two:

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

The Questions:

1. "IF the 12 Traditions are Spiritual Principles, THEN, how is it possible that Spiritual Principles can be understood by individuals who have not experienced a Spiritual Awakening?"

2. "IF the individuals in the group do not already have a conscience that is guided and directed by a loving God, THEN how can they possibly allow God to express Himself in their conscience, -- which collectively would form the groups conscience"?

Anyone wish to answer the questions or share your thoughts about it?

Dallas B.

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Re: Questions about the 12 Traditions

Postby garden variety » Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:30 pm

Dallas wrote:1. "IF the 12 Traditions are Spiritual Principles, THEN, how is it possible that Spiritual Principles can be understood by individuals who have not experienced a Spiritual Awakening?"

I love questions like this - the bottom line is the 12 traditions don't have to be understood. Just like the steps - they were actions, and they have become answers to questions regarding group survival. They are the collected expereinces of members "in the fold of AA" and are taught to us. As far as "spiritual awakenings" are concerned, the book says "AA can mean just as much to uncounted alcoholics not yet reached." So the way I understand the 12 Traditions is, well, I don't have to understand. I just follow them in the same way they are taught to me by the others who have had a spiritual awakening.

Dallas wrote:2. "IF the individuals in the group do not already have a conscience that is guided and directed by a loving God, THEN how can they possibly allow God to express Himself in their conscience, -- which collectively would form the groups conscience"?

This one is a little trickier, but I have to move towards keeping it simple. The 12 Traditions are what make AA as a organization a "democracy" moreso than our country which is more a "republic". They (the ones who don't have a conscience) will either develop a conscience "as the result of these steps", and until then can and probably will "thwart" God's "expression" through themselves. If they continue to not have a "spiritual awakening", they won't remain in the group because they will go back out drinking. If the majority of the group don't have a conscience, then the group will fold.

I guess the way I'm saying it is, whether it's the groups with the traditions or the individuals with the steps, the sincere "desire" to stay sober will be the deciding factor for success at establishing a group, or for having a spiritual awakening.

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Postby Dallas » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:26 pm

Imagine this scenario: A new alcoholic comes to A.A., and we explain the necessity of sanity being restored. :lol:

The new alcoholic that has not yet had sanity restored shows up to the A.A. group's business meeting -- and wants to make some decisions.

Then, it's explained to him, this concept of 12 Traditions.

However, since sanity has not yet been restored -- how the heck is he going to have any clue what we're talking about in regards to Traditions?

And, in regards to taking actions based on the traditions as "we just do them and the results follows"... think back to what you thought about the 12 Steps -- before you took them -- and ask yourself where you would be today had you continued taking the actions of the Steps as you understood them.

For me, the 12 Steps didn't work -- even though I was working them. Why was this? Because I invariably discovered, later on, the actions that I had been taking, that what I thought was taking the Steps was in no way what was intented as "taking the Steps."

Three things that I think are worth mentioning.


Unity came first, because the group was here before I got here. They were recovered members of A.A. that had formed the group. If they had not been here, I might have rented a room, bought a big book, bought a few bottles of vodka, and started AA "as I understood it." (Recovered AA's would recognize this as "stinking thinking." )

So -- if I joined the group -- my stinking thinking would be present during what recovered AA's would have been desiring to be an "informed group conscience."

Recovery: Until recovery has taken place there is not understanding of any of the Steps or Traditions. :lol:

Service: We must serve -- to recovery.

And, after we have begun to recover, and serve, then we can become part of the solution -- and we'll gain an understanding of Spiritual Principles "after" we have had a spiritual awakening.

Dallas B

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Postby garden variety » Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:57 am

Hey Dallas,

I understand what you're saying completely.

My home group is HUGE and there are a lot of new folks that join. We have one major business meeting a year, and yes, those who have not had their sanity restored participate. Usually they distract everything and everybody, throw in their two cents and effect the group business outcome to a degree, then they disappear a few weeks later never to be seen again.

But I say "to a degree". Which goes back to the "democracy" built in to the 12 Traditions. When a group calls a "business meeting" or a "group conscience", the veteran members had better show up unless they want the outcome of the group left to "insanity". That's what I learned being a secretary. The group I was secretary with had one "business meeting" and elected officers with only 4 people participating. The home group was larger about 25 - 30, and the meeting was announced, but only 4 members showed up. I was one of them, but guess what? I was outnumbered by 3 others who were, let me say, "less sane".

Their choices and decisions pretty much deralied the group and were not at all in line with a sane method of running the group (it had been sane up until that meeting). Today that group struggles, and it is in constant chaos with only a handful of regulars. Their next secretary was arrested for DV shortly after he was elected. People were leaving the group left and right. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the group was fine while I was secreatary and when I left it fell apart - even though it did - that's just how the timing went. It wasn't about me at all - it was the traditions working as they should. I left the group because I saw the writing on the wall and I tried to change it but couldn't. But in the long run, that's how the traditions are supposed to work. An AA group is a true form of democracy, unlike anything I've ever seen or experienced before, and I thank God for the Traditions as much as I do for the Steps.

My sponsor has 30 years of sobriety and I have only nine years, yet he asks me on a regular basis to teach him more about the traditions and share my experience with them as secretary. That's because he's never been in an officer position before, and he makes it his business to be sure our home group survives and remains healthy and with singleness of purpose.

One time he got so upset, he started interviewing other home group members about an issue. After the meeting, several other longtimers were fussing back and forth with him - I'd call a "cat-fight" but it wasn't that bad, but it was heated and didn't have to go that way. He went about things the wrong way because he didn't "understand" the traditions.

I called him aside, and told him about the tradition that was applciable which was number two. Then I went on and explained how it's supposed to work in a group. His jaw hit the ground and his eyes got huge. He had no clue, even after 30 years, that the 12 Traditions were there to address his issue. Another issue came up with my sponsor that was getting him riled up again. This time, we talked about it before our home group. He came at me with a bit of an "attitude" at first because he was again "worked up" - He kind of hit me with "Well since you know more about the Traditions than me, then what do you do with this issue?"

I zeroed in on the 1st Tradition this time. I had to go over every single word with him at least three or four times. Then he stepped back and scratched his head and said "You mean if....?" and put his situation into the tradition and worked out the solution on his own using the tradition. I said yuppers - you're 100% on the money meaning his solution was in line with the 1st Tradition. He smiled and the light went on. He looked at me and said "You know these 12 Traditions are really important! I'm gonna get out my 12 and 12 and re-read it." How's that for irony? The new guy teaching the longtimer.

Since that day, he has done exactly what he said. He re-read his 12 and 12, and now he brings up the traditions all the time. It's like it added a new dimension to his sobriety.

All that to say, even though he's got 30 years and is a fantastic example of living the steps and a perfect sposor for me, he was getting "worked up" into reactions that were running on anger and other strong emotions that had to do with the group's survival or group business. In other words, even though he had the "spiritual awakening", he was still handling group issues not very much different than a newcomer who doesn't understand the traditions.

But in all the experiences I've seen with the traditions, I can say from the bottom of my heart that they work and you don't have to understand how or why. I've seen them work in an ugly way that destroyed the group and I seen them work in positive ways that bring strength to the group. It's not about understanding them - it's all about following them and taking the actions just like the steps. The traditions are just as miraculous to the group as the steps are to the person. And it all goes back to those 3 "Essential" ingredients needed for recovery: the HOW! Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness.

But the other big thing with the 12 Traditions is, just like with the steps, in order to do them to the best of my ability, It's best to have another human being who's had a spiritual awakening, to TEACH them to me. I didn't have that benefit, so I had to "sink or swim" as secreatary. No I didn't understand the traditions at that time, but thank God that came after I re-did the steps with my second sponsor, and the spiritual awakening was there. All I did was exactly how I teach them now. I followed them word for word - completely and thoroughly - and I didn't have clue how they would work or why, but by golly they worked like charm. Today it's gone full circle, and I'm someone in my home group that folks with much more 24 hours than me can come to for help with learning the traditions.

But if I was new and still "insane", and I didn't have a sponsor or an elder to "teach" me, or I didn't even want to learn, then I'd be just like you said. I'd be half-measuring the traditions and going all over hell with my own definitions and interpretations. Then it would be look out world, I'm a fool, and I'm a home group member and I get to decide home group business. Hopefully, there would be more than 4 people showing up to those business meetings - I tell you what!

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My name is Anne, I'm an alcoholic

Postby musicmode » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:41 pm

Great stuff...and great questions..I, too...enjoy questions like this.

With me, and with my example of Tradition 10...I didn't understand either, the steps or the traditions, however...I'm one of those people who has to go thru it once before I get the hang of it--like a card game...explain to me all the rules before we start playing...I'll be lost before ya deal...take me thru a 'dummy' hand, and explain as I go...then I catch on. Tradition 10, was one I felt I could 'try on for size'...I wanted to get my toes into something, and this looked as though it were something I could maybe try, in terms of practicing these principles in all our affairs. I began to see, in saying: This is an outside issue for me, that...this 'stuff' would work...mainly, by trying it and applying it. Perhaps one could call it "blind faith", as I had no where's near connected the idea that the 12 Traditions were Spiritual Principles...that came later on. When this realization occured, I could then see that, in fact...I was practicing "spiritual principles" :idea: . I sort-a then began to grasp a little fibre of this program.

As for question 2...I'll be back on that one...I actually just dropped by for a "quick coffee", and to see who was around (hi Dallas, I think you were on as a user when I tapped in). I've seen how "self-will" can run riot and upset those in a group. Stand-by... :wink:

In love and tolerance,
Anne M.

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Postby Dallas » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:41 pm

All the meetings that I attend, I go to what hasn't been figured out yet, if it's a Club or a Group that has many groups that are part of the group....

At business meetings they discuss things like "Well. Is 90 days sober long enough to be a GSR, even if a guy is still using drugs, to be the GSR, or is that asking too much?" Or... "is 30 days too long and too much to ask of an alcoholic to be sober, to be chairing the meetings. And, what do you do on the days, when the most sobriety anyone has is 24 hours, to be chairing the meeting? And, if no one is sober in the meeting -- who should we let chair the meeting, so that we can keep the doors open for the newcomer who might come in looking to get sober?" :lol: :lol: :lol:

Most all the local "Old-timers" with what they call "Quality Sobriety" attend other meetings -- because they don't want to get what the newcomers have got.

Unless, it's on Popular Days -- when the Old-timers from other groups show up to be seen and heard espousing their profundities of ideas that they think about.

The Old-timers don't show up for the business meetings.... where things like group conscience or Traditions might be discussed -- and they avoid the night meetings -- when too many newcomers are present that it might affect their quality sobriety. Hey, it's not uncommon, at night, to have a few, and sometimes several still suffing alcoholics stumble in to the night meetings at the Club! :lol:

And, those Old-timers, in their exclusive clicky type meetings, where you have to be a friend of a friend of a friend that's important in their Group, is the only one who can share -- talk about how important it is to be helping the newcomers, and the responsibility of A.A. to keep it's hand stretched out in service to the alcoholic who is still suffering! :lol: :lol:

The reason that I prefer to go to the night meetings at this little club, is because it's full of newcomers and still suffering, still drinking alcholics! It makes it real easy for me to find a newcomer that I can reach out to, and hopefully to share something of value to them, so that someday, they too, might be able to become an Old-timer, and be welcomed into those exclusively clicky Old-timer's meetings -- where they can hear about how important it is to still be reaching out to help the still suffering alcoholics! :lol:

On some nights, it could seem like a war zone. You never know what to expect. On one Saturday night, a lady drunk living in the back of a drunk-house with her drunk boyfriend got stabbed in the back in the alley, two doors up from the parking lot of the club. Her and her drunk boyfriend used to always come in to the meetings for coffee and to use the phone, and to try to borrow a few bucks for a drink. And, at the business meetings, the Group would discuss whether and how long those two drunks should be banned form coming in to the building.

I still don't attend the group business meetings, unless they specifically request me to be there. I know I'll be out-numbered, and that alcoholic-insanity will prevail in the decisions that are made.

Trying to share and be helpful to the new guy who wants it, and the guys and girls who are still coming back -- even if they haven't been able to be sober in a meeting.
Last edited by Dallas on Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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