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A Study of Tradition 6

The 12 Traditions of A.A. and Al-Anon

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Updated June 25, 2014

In order to preserve the integrity of the program and maintain their primary spiritual aim, 12 step support groups do not endorse any outside organizations and causes.

Tradition 6: Our groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

And the Al-Anon version adds: Although a separate entity, we should always cooperate with Alcoholics Anonymous.

As individuals, members of 12 Step Support Groups are free to endorse, finance, or affiliate with any organization, religion, political party, charitable or civic organization they wish. But as a group, such endorsement could lead to misunderstanding and confusion.

With so many outside organizations in recent years attempting to "use" the name of Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon to promote their treatment programs or therapy approaches, it is more important than ever that Tradition 6 be observed. Although individual members may recommend, or even be employed by such organizations, the group should avoid associating its name with these outside enterprises.

Even such worthy projects as starting a 12 step "club" or supporting a shelter for abused spouses, should not be entered into as a group project, but rather as an effort of members as individuals, if they so desire. Invariably, these situations can involve into struggles over finances and control and can divert a group and the fellowship away from its primary focus on recovery.

Members come into the rooms each week seeking help from the experience, strength, and hope of others members. This process can be diverted if the group spends part of the allotted time for discussion of outside activities.

There are other issues involved with Tradition 6. Visitors to the About.com Alcoholism site have added their comments in our 12 Steps and Traditions study on the bulletin board. Here are their comments:

More about Tradition 6

Staying Focused
"We should keep strictly with this principle in order to keep us as individuals focused on our primary purpose."

Cooperation?
"When a group's discussion becomes dominated by outside issues, it robs individual members of their meeting time."

Back to The Twelve Traditions Study

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