The Traditions, A Framework for Recovery, Part 6, by John B.

The Traditions are designed to keep the GROUP from destroying ITSELF; the Steps are designed to keep US from destroying OURSELVES.

Tradition Six: “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.” 

Hello everyone, John here! It’s time for another episode of the Twelve Traditions made easy. So, let’s get right to it.

As was mentioned in my last post, the primary purpose of any and all Twelve Step groups is to carry its message to the suffering alcoholic/addict.

The concept embodied in this tradition naturally follows the concept embodied in Tradition Five. The idea here is that anything that interferes with the groups’ primary purpose, or confuses people about what is and what is not a Twelve Step group, can compromise its mission. The purpose of this tradition is to ensure we do not associate the group and/or organization with any other groups or organizations, in actuality or in the public’s mind.

Early on in AA when these traditions were first being hammered out, there were many ideas floating about with regard to exactly how we would carry the message.  Some of these included educating the public, getting involved in passing laws and becoming involved with employers.

My favorite is that we would build a hospital chain of our own, then go about gathering up skid row alkies and “sort out those who could get well, and make it possible for the rest to earn their livelihood in a kind of quarantined confinement.”[1]

Every time I read that part, I picture myself in that quarantined confinement scenario! I’d be safe and protected by the hand of AA, instead of facing life on life’s terms. Glorious!

The problem with Alcoholics Anonymous becoming a major player in the legislation game and hospital management and educating the public, and trying to resolve employer/employee disputes, is that some sort of profit must be made. As soon as that happens, you are in competition with somebody, and pretty soon after that, confusion.
Lucky for us all, AA arrived at the right answers to these and many more dilemmas. I don’t think we got there on our own. Could it be that we had help from a power greater than ourselves?
I think so.

[1] Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions pg 155

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