The Twelve Traditions are the guidelines that A.A. groups are encouraged to follow. As A.A. began to grow, everywhere there arose threatening questions of membership, money, personal relations, public relations, management of groups, clubs, and scores of other perplexities. It was out of this vast welter of explosive experience that A.A.’s Twelve Traditions took form and were first published in 1946 and later confirmed at A.A.’s First International Convention, held at Cleveland in 1950.

The Twelve Traditions

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA 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 out service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service board or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA 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.

Learn more about the 12 Traditions by reading the Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions book online. This book clarifies the Traditions, by which A.A. maintains its unity.

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