Thursday, February 19, 2009

The final Tradition: Number 12

Whew, finally made it to Tradition 12. I've enjoyed doing this writing on the traditions of Al-Anon. It has helped me to clarify some of my thoughts. This tradition is one of my favorites.

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.

The principle here is respect. The tradition teaches me that I need to have humility and practice selflessness. Everyone in the fellowship is equal, responsible for themselves and entitled to respect. Selflessness helps me to be of maximum use to others.

There is no room in our primary purpose for ego, pride, arrogance, selfishness, or unwillingness. There is however a lot of room for gratitude, humility, willingness, love, forgiveness, understanding, joy, and freedom.

This tradition is also about humility. No one need be treated special or as someone's HP because when that occurs it is a certainty that the human who is deified will demonstrate clearly that they are not the God of my understanding. This means that we are all equal at a meeting. No one person's hurt is greater than another and no one's wisdom is greater than another. How much education you have or how successful you are or how rich you are has no bearing on what you can get from or what you can contribute to the program.

Meetings aren't the place to trot out our egos. I've seen people hurt by personalities taking precedence over principles. What this tells me is that if we are busy giving advice and not listening or busy arguing with each other, who then is concentrating on recovery? If we are busy gossiping, judging, or setting ourselves up as someone's HP, who is missing our experience, strength and hope? Maybe a good thing to consider about Tradition 12 is that if I am humble, then I won't be too full of myself, will keep gratitude in mind and actually T.H.I.N.K.
T houghtful
H onest
I ntelligent
N ecessary
K ind
Essentially, we leave "what we are" at the door and walk in as "who we are".


  1. i like your 'think'ing... this has been an enlightening trip you and steve have taken us on, thank you!

  2. Well done, Syd.

    You have patiently persisted in blogging the traditions and done a great job of it.

    What you have written has been a blessing to anyone who reads it.

    Thank you so much - from the bottom of my heart.


  3. "I yam what I yam"...or..."I yam WHO I yam"!

    Syd, you did F.I.N.E.--and even though that sounded trite, I really mean it. Looking back, this was honestly FUN for me. But committments are difficult, even now.

    And BOYOBOYOBOY, did I ever learn stuff about ME, certain failings, areas of my life which need more work than I had supposed. I learned from my own blog writing, but also much from yours.

    How 'bout in a month or so we do the steps again? It been a couple months since Mary blogged them--now THOSE were good!

  4. Thank Syd, you did a great job. I have not studied the traditions like I should.

  5. This is my favorite tradition... Principal above Personality. :)

    Betty Ann

  6. I'm just stopping by to drop off some traditional blogger gratitude and a hello to you Syd :)
    Thank you for sharing!

  7. Very true, I love it. This is so needed, the awareness of humility and equal respect to one another. Thanks so much to you and Steve for doing these it is so great. There is an NA speaker named Vito and he speaks of how the steps teach us how to live our lives and the Traditions teach us how to have relationships. Thanks for reiterating that.

  8. I've been printing out your blogg and using them to open discussions with my friend about relationships and the traditions. Thank you. It has been interesting and fun and very informative.

  9. thanks again Syd for doing this for us. Muchly appreciated. Thank God I am teachable today.

  10. One of the aspects of Al-Anon I've always been most grateful for, is the determined insistence upon equality. This is a blessing for those of us who come into 12-step with our self-esteem blasted and withered, after years of close contact with active alcoholism.

  11. At the meditation center shoes are not worn in the meditation hall. The shoes are left in racks outside. There is a great sign on that shoe rack, "Leave you ego with your shoes."

  12. Wow, this has been great. Who knew the traditions were so profound and important? Apparently not me :)

    I learned a lot and enjoyed this very much.

    Some friends and I use the acronym for think too, before we say something to or about someone else we ask if it fits this criteria:

    IS IT
    In Love

    If not, we are suppose to keep our mouths shut.

  13. Hi………
    Very cool your blog!
    Great! Keep up the great posts ……..
    Love, light and blessings to you and your family :)

  14. Standing ovation. Thanks you so much Mr. Syd. A tedious job well done.

  15. I like the THINK, never seen that. I agree with all you have said. Many thanks for all the hard work you and Steve have put in over the last few weeks. Very thought provoking and very inspirational.

  16. I love the idea of Anonymity...not because I care, particularly, if anyone knows that I am in AA, but because I like to listen to the words that a person says and not be swayed by knowing who they are or what they have accomplished. I have heard amazing thoughts from people with no formal education and some pretty foolish drivel from those who think they are above it all.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.