Al-Anon’s Twelve Traditions are guides for the conduct and the unity necessary to maintain healthy groups. This year, Al-Anon will be celebrating 65 years. We have had some healthy groups, we have many that continue to be healthy today. Al-Anon shows us how to maintain healthy groups, by way of our traditions, and by doing a group inventory.
Al-Anon says when we stray too far from the tradition, our groups becomes less effective, even falling apart. The health of the group is essential. I have looked at our conference-approved literature, in much of it, suggests we adhere to the tradition. Our program states the traditions are a pattern for the guidance of Al-Anon groups. The traditions describe the purpose of the groups and suggest a design that will help avoid distractions and errors that could dilute or confuse the Al-Anon program. Let’s look at a few of our Traditions.
Tradition 3 asks us not to have any other affiliations. When we have dual members in Al-Anon, we ask that you don’t disclose what other 12 step groups you belong to.
Tradition 4 tells us each group should be autonomous. Some groups mistake this for us being able to do whatever we want, but this tradition tells us we can be autonomous within Al-Anon guidelines and principles.
Tradition 5 reminds us of our primary purpose; to help the families and friends of alcoholics.
Tradition 6 “ask us!” Let’s not be diverted from our primary spiritual aim. It also asks us to cooperate with AA, theirs is a guideline that clarifies, cooperate with AA, that is the G-3 guideline. That guideline states dual members’ attendance at an Al-Anon meeting indicates their membership eligibility, and their willingness to focus their attention on the help only Al-Anon can offer.
Tradition 7 asks us to be fully self-supporting. Are we really being fully self-supporting when our members don’t step up to carry out the responsibility of our group and our district? Are we being fully self-supporting when we don’t allow rotation of service at the group and district level? Are we being fully self-supporting by giving the same suggested dollar amount as we did in 1951, when everything in our nation has increased and those dollars are to cover the expense of our groups, districts, area, and the WSO?
Tradition 11 tells us; our program is based on attraction. Are we displaying our attraction to the newcomer in a way that they may want to return? Are we maintaining anonymity or are we breaking it when we share a story? This tradition reminds us who you see here, what you hear, when you leave here, let it stay here.
Our program also states that as our recovery expands, our ability to benefit from the traditions expands. With education of our traditions to our members, we will have healthy groups. So for healthy groups to continue, our program says most often it depends on how well the members of the groups understand and apply the Traditions.
Alternate Delegate, Panel 55
The Forum; A meeting in my pocket, serenity in my day.