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questions were originally published in the AA Grapevine
in conjunction with a series on the Twelve Traditions that
began in November 1969 and ran through September 1971. While
they were originally intended primarily for individual use,
many AA groups have since used them as a basis for wider
© The A.A.
These Principles . . .
One: Our common welfare should come first;
personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
Am I in my
group a healing, mending, integrating person,
or am I divisive? What about gossip and taking
other member's inventories?
Am I a peacemaker?
Or do I, with pious preludes such as “just
for the sake of discussion,” plunge into argument?
Am I gentle
with those who rub me the wrong way, or am
Do I make
competitive AA remarks, such as comparing
one group with another or contrasting AA in
one place with AA in another?
Do I put down
some AA activities as if I were superior for
not participating in this or that aspect of
Am I informed
about AA as a whole? Do I support, in every
way I can, AA as a whole, or just the parts
I understand and approve of?
Am I as considerate
of AA members as I want them to be of me?
Do I spout
platitudes about love while indulging in and
secretly justifying behavior that bristles
Do I go to
enough AA meetings or read enough AA literature
to really keep in touch?
Do I share
with AA all of me, the bad and the good, accepting
as well as giving the help of the fellowship?
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.
Do I criticize
or do I trust and support my group officers,
AA committees, and office workers? Newcomers?
Am I absolutely
trustworthy, even in secret, with AA Twelfth
Step jobs or other AA responsibility?
Do I look
for credit in my AA jobs? Praise for my AA
Do I have
to save face in group discussion, or can I
yield in good spirit to the group conscience
and work cheerfully along with it?
have been sober a few years, am I willing
to serve my turn at AA chores?
In group discussions,
do I sound off about matters on which I have
no experience and little knowledge?
Three: The only requirement for AA membership
is a desire to stop drinking.
In my mind,
do I prejudge some new AA members as losers?
Is there some
kind of alcoholic whom I privately do not
want in my AA group?
Do I set myself
up as a judge of whether a newcomer is sincere
Do I let language,
religion (or lack of it), race, education,
age, or other such things interfere with my
carrying the message?
Am I over
impressed by a celebrity? By a doctor, a clergyman,
and ex-convict? Or can I just treat this new
member simply and naturally as one more sick
human, like the rest of us?
turns up at AA needing information or help
(even if he can’t ask for it aloud), does
it really matter to me what he does for a
living? Where he lives? What his domestic
arrangements are? Whether he had been to AA
before? What his other problems are?
Four: Each group should be autonomous except
in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
Do I insist
that there are only a few right ways of doing
things in AA?
Does my group
always consider the welfare of the rest of
AA? Of nearby groups? Of loners in Alaska?
Of internationalists miles from port? Of a
group in Rome or El Salvador?
Do I put down
other members’ behavior when it is different
from mine, or do I learn from it?
Do I always
bear in mind that, to those outsiders who
know I am in AA, I may to some extent represent
our entire beloved Fellowship?
Am I willing
to help a newcomer go to any lengths – his
lengths, not mine – to stay sober?
Do I share
my knowledge of AA tools with other members
who may not have heard of them?
Five: Each group has but one primary purpose
– to carry its message to the alcoholic who still
Do I ever
cop out by saying, “I’m not a group, so this
or that Tradition doesn’t apply to me”?
Am I willing
to explain firmly to a newcomer the limitations
of AA help, even if he gets mad at me for
not giving him a loan?
Have I today
imposed on any AA member for a special favor
or consideration simply because I am a fellow
Am I willing
to twelfth-step the next newcomer without
regard to who or what is in it for me?
Do I help
my group in every way I can to fulfill our
Do I remember
that AA old-timers, too, can be alcoholics
who still suffer? Do I try both to help them
and to learn from them?
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.
fellow group members and I go out and raise
money to endow several AA beds in our local
Is it good
for a group to lease a small building?
Are all the
officers and members of our local club for
AAs familiar with “Guidelines on Clubs” (which
is available free from GSO)?
secretary of our group serve on the mayor’s
advisory committee on alcoholism?
will stay around AA only if we have a TV and
card room. If this is what is required to
carry the message to them, should we have
Seven: Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting,
declining outside contributions.
do I do all I can to help AA (my group, my
central office, my GSO) remain self-supporting?
Could I put a little more into the basket
on behalf of the new guy who can’t afford
it yet? How generous was I when tanked in
Grapevine sell advertising space to book publishers
and drug companies, so it could make a big
profit and become a bigger magazine, in full
color, at a cheaper price per copy?
If GSO runs
short of funds some year, wouldn’t it be okay
to let the government subsidize AA groups
in hospitals and prisons?
Is it more
important to get a big AA collection from
a few people, or a smaller collection in which
more members participate?
Is a group
treasurer’s report unimportant AA business?
How does the treasurer feel about it?
in my recovery is the feeling of self-respect,
rather than the feeling of being always under
obligation for charity received?
Eight: Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever
nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ
Is my own
behavior accurately described by the Traditions?
If not, what needs changing?
When I chafe
about any particular Tradition, do I realize
how it affects others?
Do I sometimes
try to get some reward – even if not money
– for my personal AA efforts?
Do I try to
sound in AA like an expert on alcoholism?
On recovery? On medicine? On sociology? On
AA itself? On psychology? On spiritual matters?
Or, heaven help me, even on humility?
Do I make
an effort to understand what AA employees
do? What workers in other alcoholism agencies
do? Can I distinguish clearly among them?
In my own
AA life, have I any experiences which illustrate
the wisdom of this Tradition.
Have I paid
enough attention to the book Twelve Steps
and Twelve Traditions? To the pamphlet AA
Tradition – How It Developed?
Nine: AA, as such, ought never be organized;
but we may create service boards or committees
directly responsible to those they serve.
Do I still
try to boss things in AA?
Do I resist
formal aspects of AA because I fear them as
Am I mature
enough to understand and use all elements
of the AA program – even if no one makes me
do so – with a sense of personal responsibility?
Do I exercise
patience and humility in any AA job I take?
Am I aware
of all those to whom I am responsible in any
every AA group need a constitution and bylaws?
Have I learned
to step out of an AA job gracefully – and
profit thereby – when the time comes?
What has rotation
to do with anonymity? With humility?
Ten: Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on
outside issues; hence the AA name ought never
be drawn into public controversy.
Do I ever
give the impression that there really is an
“AA opinion” on Antabuse? Tranquilizers? Doctors?
Psychiatrists? Churches? Hospitals? Jails?
Alcohol? The federal government? Legalizing
marijuana? Vitamins? Al-Anon? Alateen?
Can I honestly
share my own personal experience concerning
any of those without giving the impression
I am stating the “AA opinion”?
What in AA
history gave rise to our Tenth Tradition?
Have I had
a similar experience in my own AA life?
AA be without this Tradition? Where would
Do I breach
this or any of its supporting Traditions in
subtle, perhaps unconscious, ways?
How can I
manifest the spirit of this Tradition in my
personal life outside AA? Inside AA?
Eleven: 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.
Do I sometimes
promote AA so fanatically that I make it seem
Am I always
careful to keep the confidences reposed in
me as an AA member?
Am I careful
about throwing AA names around – even within
Am I ashamed
of being a recovered, or recovering, alcoholic?
AA be like if we were not guided by the ideas
in Tradition Eleven? Where would I be?
Is my sobriety
attractive enough that a sick drunk would
want such a quality for himself?
Twelve: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation
of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place
principles before personalities.
Why is it
a good idea for me to place the common welfare
of all AA members before individual welfare?
What would happen to me if AA as a whole disappeared?
When I do
not trust AA’s current servants, who do I
wish had the authority to straighten them
In my opinions
of and remarks about other AAs, am I implying
membership requirements other than a desire
to stay sober?
Do I ever
try to get a certain AA group to conform to
my standards, not its own?
Have I a personal
responsibility in helping an AA group fulfill
its primary purpose? What is my part?
Does my personal
behavior reflect the Sixth Tradition – or
Do I do all
I can to support AA financially? When is the
last time I anonymously gave away a Grapevine
Do I complain
about certain AAs’ behavior – especially if
they are paid to work for AA? Who made me
I fulfill all AA responsibilities in such a way as to
please privately even my own conscience? Really?
my utterances always reflect the Tenth Tradition, or
do I give AA critics real ammunition?
I keep my AA membership a secret, or reveal it in private
conversation when that may help another alcoholic (and
therefore me)? Is my brand of AA so attractive that
other drunks want it?
What is the
real importance of me among more than a million
© The A.A.
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