1. Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but one 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 relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.
4. Each group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole.
5. Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.
6. Our Family Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim. Although a separate entity, we should always co-operate with Alcoholics Anonymous.
7. Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Al-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. Our groups, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10. The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our 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, films, and TV. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.
The Traditions in My Life
I have found with some study the Traditions have great value for my personal recovery and my interactions with others. The prevailing spirit of the Traditions as I have interpreted them is equality.
Tradition One: We all have needs and rights and it is important for unity to remember this applies to all people, including the members of my home. An atmosphere of mutual respect is most conducive to growth for the greatest number. Room for others to grow leaves room for me to grow. The whole is greater than any of its parts.
Tradition Two: Just as I need to be heard, so do others. A home can be a place for all to be heard. To improve the condition and encourage all to feel safe to share in the home, adults may see and present themselves as trusted servants guided by a loving Higher Power, not as dictators.
Tradition Three: Alcoholism has affected every member of my family. Al-Anon and the recovery offered me is my primary focus. This does not mean I have the right to force my belief in Al-Anon on others. My recovery does not detract from my family's unity. My preaching may.
Tradition Four: Just as I need and have the right to be myself, so do others. I must guard against my tendency to dominate, as this will adversely affect my family's needs and rights as individuals to be themselves. Respect for others promotes respect for me.
Tradition Five: Focusing on my recovery will improve my life but it will not jeopardize the common welfare of my family. I can share with those who ask for my help. Those who do not can be assured of my willingness to share should they ever be ready. They need not be judged or found lacking.
Tradition Six: My opinions, my views do not necessarily reflect the views of my family. For unity, my opinions should remain my own. If I want to support a cause it should be clear that I, not my family, is the suporter. This also applies to my Al-Anon recovery. I may believe Al-Anon is the best recovery system in existence but my family may not. Practicing my program quietly without trying to force it on anyone, does not violate this Tradition.
Tradition Seven: Being fully self-supporting is more than money. It is each person taking care of him/herself. It is not taking care of another nor expecting others to take care of me. Assuming responsibilities for others robs them of their dignity and self-respect. To depend on another to fulfill my needs or carry out my responsibilities invites disappointment and resentment.
Tradition Eight: EAch family member is equial and should remain so, with no one setting him/herself above another as teacher, advisor, etc. I do not know what is best for another person, even ones as close as my spouse or children. We should each be free to ask for outside professional help, but never set ourselves up as professionals nor set another up as a professional to us.
Tradition Nine: My family does not need me to control them. I need not do it all or know it all. I am not all wise; I don't need to be nor am I expected to be. I am responsible for my own growth and needs and others are responsible for theirs. We are all responsible for our home and upkeep needs to be shared. The division of care can be dealt with through the Second Tradition.
Tradition Ten: My view on any given subject can and may differ from that of any member of my family. Our differing views does not change our equality, nor do we need to convince anyone that our view is the right one, particularly in a public forum.
Tradition Eleven: Actions speak louder than words--show me don't tell me. I speak for myself but I never presume to speak for another, regardless of the relationship. I am responsible and answerable for my own actions, no one else's, nor are they responsible or answerable for mine. I own my loved ones the dignity of their privacy and the right to grow at their own pace, with no human yard-stick to measure them.
Tradition Twelve: All people are equal, responsible for themselves and entitled to respect. I see this repeated throughout my study of these Traditions and feel it encapsulates the spirit and principle of applying the traditions to my personal life.
I will try to practice these principles in all my affairs and especially in my home.
-Pauline P., West Virginia