Bill W. wrote in Twelve & Twelve A.A. Tradition Ten____”Disliking the attempt of some to manage a group, half its membership might angrily rush off to form another group more to their liking.  Elders temporarily turned Pharisee, have sulked.  Bitter attacks have been directed against people suspected of mixed motives.  Despite their din, (ruckus) our puny rows (arguments, drama) never did A.A. a particle of harm.  They were just part of parcel (collection of ideas) of learning to work and live together.  Let it be noted, too, that they were almost always concerned with ways to make A.A. more effective, how to do the most good for the most alcoholics.”

I remember when I first got sober I was scared to death to have an opinion on anything or to make any personal choices that would affect other people.  I was afraid to choose what to have for dinner for fear that my dinner guests or family wouldn’t like it.  I had no self-confidence left it was all gone.  I felt I was totally wrong, bad and didn’t want the rest of the world to see that.  I had taken actions against my own heart and loved ones’ for so long that I had beaten myself to a pulp.  To heal from my emotional trauma and spiritual depravity I got lots of addiction based empathic group therapy, and I worked the steps a bunch.  I went to meetings allot and I got a sponsor.  

And for my self-esteem issues I worked the fourth and twelfth step in depth.  I took meetings into jails and institutions for years.  I sponsored new-comers and processed my own underlying causes because…alcohol was just a symptom of my grave emotional disorder, and immaturity.  The most important part of my recovery was my relationship with my Higher Power.  Without the Grace of God my recovery would not have come together like it did with all the solutions within reach.  My God rolled out the red carpet of recovery for me and I walked down that strip of change shaking and fearful. 

I did allot of Eleventh Step meditation which helped me to become open-minded and patient.

I worked hard and long to figure out who I was and to become rebuilt.  Would it serve me now to have no opinion on personal matters or matters of state?  I vote.  I make decisions for my daughter.  I am no longer afraid to have an opinion and rightly so.  I don’t make other people’s choices for them and should never try to.   I vote in my groups A. A. business meetings on matters of The New Life Group, Gainesville, Florida that could affect lots of people.  Our AA group is autonomous, which means we have the power to be self-ruling, self-determining, independent, sovereign, free, un-monitored as does any A.A. Group as long as we don’t break the Twelve Traditions as they are properly set down.  If we were to choose to do away with the big book in all our meetings all together guess what?  We, meaning those who raise their hand for the vote have that power of choice as long as it’s voted on. 

Have you ever sat in an A.A. meeting and heard someone quote the Tenth Tradition? Which is:

“AA has no opinion on outside issues hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.” 

Or better yet have you even been in a private Facebook group where people are discussing matters of A.A. and their varied ideas, thoughts and opinions and someone quotes the Tenth Tradition as if we AAers are not allowed to have an individual opinion in a private group?

What does The Tenth Tradition really mean?  Does it mean that I shouldn’t have an opinion on anything except what shirt to put on?  Does it mean that I cannot agree to disagree with my fellows in a business meeting vote?  Does it mean that I am not allowed to state my opinion in a meeting or a group on Facebook?

PLEASE!  We don’t get sober and do all the work sited above to rebuild our personalities just so we can be opion-less!  Having no opinion on anything is not how AA got formed and built.  The founders had to mull over many choices and argued and got resentments in the process. 

Shrugging away from stating my own personal opinions could be nothing more than fear-based running from responsibilities.

If I am one of the one’s quoting the Tenth tradition in meetings I better read it first so I understand just what I am quoting and what it means.


Here is a quote from the Tenth Tradition in the Twelve and Twelve.

“Let us reemphasize that this reluctance to fight one another or anybody else is not counted (motives?) as some special virtue which makes us feel superior to other people.  Nor does it mean that the members of alcoholics Anonymous, now restored as citizens of the world, are going to back away from their individual responsibilities to act as they see the right upon issues of our time.  BUT WHEN IT COMES TO AA AS A WHOLE, THAT’S QUITE A DIFFERENT MATTER.  IN THIS RESPECT WE DO NOT ENTER INTO PUBLIC CONTROVERSY, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT OUR SOCIETY WILL PERISH IF IT DOES.” 

Tradition ten twelve & twelve page 177

Am I saying that we should argue all the time and not “cease fighting”?   No, struggling wears us down and can cause emotional hangovers.  Disrespectful actions will boomerang back at me and hurt me.  However having my own belief system is a healthy stance and a sign of emotional sobriety.  Running from choices could be is a sign of low self-esteem.  What I am saying is that I have an opinion and should express it and even debate it sometimes which has nothing to do with the Tenth Tradition and A.A. as a whole having a public opinion in a political light.

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