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Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.


The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.


There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.


A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes.


Our primary purpose is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

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The Modern 12 Steps

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
  1. Came to trust that resources outside of ourselves could restore us to rational thinking and behavior.
  1. Decided to turn our direction and actions over to the guidance of those resources.
  1. Made an honest and thorough list of the issues in our lives.
  1. Admitted to ourselves and another person our specific role in those issues.
  1. Became entirely ready to make changes in our character.
  1. Began making changes in our thinking and behavior with humility and honesty.
  1. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  1. Made direct amends to those people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  1. Continued to be aware of our thoughts and actions and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  1. Pursued a program of ongoing self-improvement and empowerment through meditation, reflection, and study.
  1. Having experienced a personal transformation as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this program to other addicts and to practice these principles in all aspects of our lives.

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  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.


  1. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


  1. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of external spiritual resources as we understood these.


  1. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.


  1. Admitted to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


  1. Were entirely ready to remove all our defects of character.


  1. Humbly took action to remove our shortcomings.


  1. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.


  1. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.


  1. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.


  1. Sought through reflection and meditation to improve our understanding of our new spiritual principles, seeking only knowledge for their meaning and the power to carry these out.


  1. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.



The Twelve Traditions

In April of 1946, Bill W. wrote an article for the Grapevine entitled “Twelve Suggested Points for A.A. Tradition,” an early presentation of what would become known simply as The Twelve Traditions. With his usual foresight, Bill had looked around the program some ten years after he and Dr. Bob met in Akron in 1935, and realized that, as A.A. grew, it was important to preserve its unity and singleness of purpose. During the 1940s, Bill received hundreds of letters from the A.A. groups that were springing up all over the country, letters asking him sometimes contentious questions about group autonomy, anonymity issues, A.A. endorsement of outside enterprises, and the like.

These letters, which described what Bill would call a “welter of exciting and fearsome experience,” played a key role in helping him formulate the Twelve Traditions. Published one by one in the Grapevine, from December 1947 to November 1948, and adopted at the First International Convention in Cleveland, the Traditions provided guidelines (not rules) that would help A.A. groups then and in the future conduct themselves in their relationship with the outside world and with Alcoholics Anonymous itself. “I offer these suggestions,” Bill wrote in that first April 1946 article, “neither as one man’s dictum nor as a creed of any kind, but rather as a first attempt to portray that group ideal toward which we have assuredly been led by a Higher Power these ten years past.” 

Today, A.A. groups continue to use the Traditions to strive towards that group ideal as they carry their message of hope to still-suffering alcoholics around the world.


  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one authority – our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

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From the 1970 International Convention


This we owe to A.A’s future:

To place our common welfare first,

To keep our Fellowship united.


For on A.A. unity depend our lives,

And the lives of those to come.

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From the 1965 International Convention



When anyone, anywhere

Reaches out for help,

I want the hand of A.A.

Always to be there

And for that,




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