The Twelve Traditions

From Alcoholics Anonymous Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Twelve Traditions

File:Twelve Traditions Cover.jpg
Cover of The Twelve Traditions literature


The Twelve Traditions are a set of principles that serve as the guiding rules for the structure and operation of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as an organization. They were formalized by AA co-founders Bill W. and Dr. Bob and are considered essential for maintaining the unity and efficacy of AA groups worldwide.

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 AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every AA 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. AA, 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 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.


The Twelve Traditions are considered foundational for maintaining the structure, unity, and mission of AA groups. They balance the autonomy of individual members and groups with the collective needs and goals of the AA organization.


Discussion of how the Twelve Traditions are practically applied within AA, such as during group meetings, in service work, and in relations with outside entities.

Criticism and Controversies

Outline criticisms and controversies surrounding the Twelve Traditions, such as debates about anonymity, governance, and inclusivity.

Further Reading

See Also

External Links