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A Study of Tradition 10

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

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Updated February 09, 2014

By not expressing opinions on "outside issues," 12 step groups hope to avoid controversy, both publically and within the fellowship itself. This policy also helps members keep the focus on their common purpose.

Tradition 10: Alcoholics Anonymous (and Al-Anon) has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
As Al-Anon's preamble to the twelve steps and traditions says, "Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization or institution. It does not engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any cause.

If this tradition is followed, it works to keep the fellowship as a whole from engaging in public controversy, but the principal can also be applied to "all the affairs" of individual members. For example, if Al-Anon members apply this priniciple to their lives then someone else's recovery -- or more importantly, lack of recovery -- becomes an outside issue, allowing them to "detach" from the problems of others and focus on their own recovery process.

Visitors to the About.com Alcoholism site have taken the time to share their experience, strength, and hope on Tradition 10. Here are their observations:

More About Tradition 10

Sticking to the Book
"A.A. tries harder than any other fellowship I've seen to stay with the message exactly as it was written."

Keep it Simple
"Sometimes 'opinions' or treatment center jargon get passed off as A.A. lore."

An Oxymoron?
"As the old saying goes, by not making a decision you are making a decision. The same goes for not having an opinion."

Back to The Twelve Traditions Study

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