By not expressing opinions on “external issues”, 12 tier groups hope to avoid controversy both publicly and within the community itself. This guideline also helps members focus on their common purpose.
Tradition 10: Alcoholics Anonymous (and Al-Anon) have no opinion on external issues; hence the A.A. name should never be drawn into public controversy.
In the preamble of Al-Anon to the twelve steps and traditions it says: “Al-Anon is not affiliated with any sect, denomination, political unit, organization or institution. There is no controversy, no reason to endorse or reject.
Likewise, Alcoholics Anonymous does not give its name to external organizations such as B. professional treatment facilities. You may see ads for treatment programs that are purported to be “12-step-based”, but you won’t see any that say they are with A.A.
Apply the principle to personal life
If this tradition is followed, it prevents the community as a whole from entering into public controversy, but the client can also be applied to “all matters” of individual members.
For example, when Al Anon members apply this principle to their lives, someone else’s recovery – or, more importantly, lack of recovery – becomes an external problem that enables them to “break away” from the problems of others and focus on their own recovery process.
The visitors to this website took the time to share their experiences, strengths and hopes regarding Tradition 10. Here are their observations:
Stick to the book
The great book of Alcoholics Anonymous is like the Bible, if we follow the message as it has been clearly stated there is no need to create controversy or outsiders trying to change who they are (along with insiders).
Over the years, many churches have developed different opinions about what has been written, leaving society with all sorts of new and improved ways to change the word of God that they are said to have understood – and in these changes we have seen a multitude of different churches arrive. While AA is not perfect, in its 10th tradition it tries more than any other community I have seen to stay exactly as it was written.
It may have some cracks, but I haven’t seen it torn apart like I’ve seen in so many churches based on public controversy and opinion and I believe because we value our 10th tradition and our best do to protect our community. for our afterlife is now – not when we die from the devastating effects of our disease. We as a whole know that we are responsible for keeping AA to ourselves as it is, or we are doomed before we can ever think of a place like heaven, so we will continue our 10th tradition .
Keep it simple
Alcoholics Anonymous could do nothing but die if it weren’t for that tradition. If AA “officially” expressed opinions on various subjects outside the program, it could serve to alienate members who disagreed. I’ve heard a lot of misinformed people refer to AA as a cult, if not Tradition 10, which could turn out to be just that when the politics of New York are set and the rest of us expect them to mentally follow. We would be like a political party.
I believe this tradition is important for individual AA members as well. Sometimes “opinions” or treatment center jargon is passed off as AA lore, things like “Everyone who smokes cigarettes is not really sober,” or when we try to be untrained doctors dealing with other members’ health and drug problems. I even read in the latest Box 459 about a member whose sponsor told her she had to go on a new sobriety appointment because she had an operation and needed pain medication.
These types of opinions can be passed on to newcomers like important parts of the program when they are actually off-topic. I think it’s important to keep Tradition 10 in mind when attending meetings. After all, the man or woman with the slightest knowledge of what this program is about is the most important person in the room.
Tradition 10: An Oxymoron?
In theory, it’s a wonderful tradition. In reality, there are many controversial issues and opinions that Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS) engages in.
As the old saying goes, if you don’t make a decision, you make a decision. The same applies to the lack of an opinion.
If AA theoretically does not take sides, it cannot put itself in any position other than that of neutrality. When they are neutral, there is no right or wrong, nor is there any chance that problems will distract AA from their primary purpose of helping alcoholics recover if they (the alcoholic) so choose.
This tradition is also a kind of oxymoron. Take 10 alcoholics and ask their opinion. You will likely get at least 12 opinions. All alcoholics have opinions, most of them strong. It is controversy that makes AA grow and prosper in a spiritual sense. It has been like this since the beginning of AA. All it takes to start a meeting is a grudge and a coffee pot.
AAWS itself goes to court to protect property. In this way, AAWS violates the confidentiality and anonymity of individual AA members and thus leads to public controversy.
AA the Fellowship and AAWS – the business and publishing empire – are separate entities. As a spiritual community, AA members, congregations, and groups help continue this tradition as intended by our founding members. As a company, AAWS has often broken this tradition and is putting AA at risk. Just a personal opinion.
Back to the study of the twelve traditions