The Office and the Twelve Traditions

The Alcoholics Anonymous Office in Prahran works to ensure that its operations follow the letter and spirit of A.A.’s Twelve Traditions. This page has been compiled to help A.A. members understand how the Traditions apply to the Office’s operations.

Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on A.A. unity.

At every turn, the Office works to unify and include every A.A. member and group in its activities, and to encourage participation in all parts of A.A. recovery and service.

Tradition Two: 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.

The Office is not a “command center.” It provides coordination, information and experience. It offers a central point of contact for people outside of A.A. seeking information, and it provides 24-hour availability for alcoholics in need seeking help. It does not dictate any “policies and procedures” to groups, and while it may offer suggestions about how groups might conduct their affairs when asked, it never requires any group do anything.

Tradition Three: The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.

From the long form: “Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group …” The Office serves all A.A. groups in its service area, regardless of whether they provide financial support to the Office and regardless of size or meeting type.

Tradition Four: Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.

The Office operates independently of other intergroups and central offices. While we do not take direction from other organisations, we do communicate and consult with the General Service Office of AA and other intergroups on matters of shared experience and importance.

Tradition Five: Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Just as each group has a single purpose, the Office has a similar primary purpose: To help the alcoholic who still suffers find A.A. members and groups. All of the Office’s activities are carried out with that purpose in mind.

Tradition Six: 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, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

The Office works hard to maintain a separation of physical and monetary from the spiritual, and it adheres to policies that promote separation and non-affiliation. The Office does not stock or sell non-approved literature or other items; does not refer people to treatment centers or medical facilities; does not maintain or distribute meeting schedules for other 12 Step fellowships like Al-Anon and Narcotics Anonymous. While the Office will refer people, who would be better served by those organisations to them, we never endorse one over another.

Tradition Seven: Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

The Office is fully self-supporting through the donations of the A.A. members and groups it serves, and through its own activities, such as literature sales. It does not accept contributions from any non-A.A. member or organisation.

Tradition Eight: Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

Our volunteers are A.A. members and are never paid for 12 Step work.

Tradition Nine: A.A. as such, ought never be organised; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

The office is governed by the Steering Committee and the Representatives of the groups that support it.

Tradition Ten: Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

The office has no opinion on issues that do not directly affect its mission. The internal workings of any group are its own business, and the office does not advocate anything. It does not make rules or decisions on behalf of groups.

Tradition Eleven: Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather that promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.

The office maintains personal anonymity in public displays for both A.A. members in general and for its volunteers in particular. All office activities are conducted with anonymity in mind.

Tradition Twelve: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all of our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

The office strives to maintain the spiritual ideal of A.A.’s Steps and Traditions in everything that it does, and both its volunteer workers keep adherence to our Traditions in mind at all times.

The “short form” of the Twelve Traditions are reprinted from “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.” Copyright 1952, 1953, 1981 by the A.A. Grapevine Inc. and Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.). Reprinted with permission.