Traditions Checklist for Online Groups

Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.

Questions for Tradition 1:

  1. Am I in my group a healing, mending, integrating person, or am I divisive? Am I more emboldened because we are online?
  2. Am I a peacemaker? Or do I, with pious preludes such as “just for the sake of discussion,” plunge into argument am I aware of this on social media platforms?
  3. Am I gentle with those who rub me the wrong way, or am I abrasive this includes social media and chat functions on platforms?
  4. Do I make competitive AA remarks, such as comparing in person vs virtual meetings or judging how meetings around the country/world are running their meetings?
  5. Do I put down some AA activities as if I were superior for not participating in this or that aspect of AA? Do I put in person or virtual meetings on a pedestal over each other?
  6. Am I informed about AA as a whole? Do I support, in every way I can, am I aware of the situation at GSO, Grapevine or local intergroup or just the parts I understand and approve of?
  7. Am I as considerate of AA members as I want them to be of me including on social media?
  8. Do I spout platitudes about love while indulging in and secretly justifying behavior that bristles with hostility is this changed at all in online meetings or social media?
  9. Without being able to see people face to face AA what am I doing to keep in touch?
  10. Do I share with AA all of me, the bad and the good, accepting as well as giving the help of fellowship has this changed at all due to quarantine?

Tradition Two: For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

Questions for Tradition 2:

  1. Do I criticize or do I trust and support my group officers, AA committees, and office workers? Newcomers? Old-timers? Has this changed at all because we have to do everything remotely?
  2. Am I absolutely trustworthy, even in secret, with AA Twelfth Step jobs or other AA responsibility? Do I take my online presence seriously?
  3. Do I look for credit in my AA jobs? Praise for my AA ideas both online and in person?
  4. Do I have to save face in group discussion, or can I yield in good spirit to the group conscience and work cheerfully along with it? Has this changed due to online meetings?
  5. Although I have been sober a few years, am I still willing to serve my turn at AA chores are there new online responsibilities I can help with?
  6. In group discussions, do I sound off about matters on which I have no experience and little knowledge is this true on AA social media platforms as well?

Tradition Three: The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.

Questions for Tradition 3:

  1. In my mind, do I prejudge some new AA members as losers including on social media?
  2. Is there some kind of alcoholic whom I privately do not want in my AA group or any online media group?
  3. Do I set myself up as a judge of whether a newcomer is sincere or phony?
  4. Do I let language, religion (or lack of it), race, education, age, or other such things interfere with my carrying the message are there more challenges with doing this online?
  5. Am I overly impressed by a celebrity? By a doctor, a clergyman, an ex-convict? Or can I just treat this new member simply and naturally as one more sick human, like the rest of us? Am I seeing more people like this online?
  6. When someone turns up in online AA needing information or help does it really matter to me what they do for a living? Where they live? What their domestic arrangements are? Whether they have been to AA before? What their other problems are? What other challenges are there in quarantine?

Tradition Four: Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.

Questions for Tradition 4:

  1. Do I insist that there are few right ways of doing things in both online and in person AA?
  2. Does my group always consider the welfare of the rest of AA? Of nearby groups? Of Loners in Alaska? Of Internationalists miles from port? Of a group in Rome or El Salvador? How has our perspective changed since we are all remote now?
  3. Do I put down other members’ behavior when it is different from mine, or do I learn from it including on social media platforms?
  4. Do I always bear in mind that, to those outsiders who know I am in AA, I may to some extent represent our entire beloved Fellowship, am I careful about this on online platforms?
  5. Am I willing to help a newcomer go to any lengths— their lengths, not mine — to stay sober? What does any lengths mean in quarantine?
  6. Do I share my knowledge of AA tools with other members who may not have heard of them? Are there new tools available in this digital age I can share?

Tradition Five: Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Questions for Tradition 5:

  1. Do I ever cop out by saying, “I’m not a group, so this or that Tradition doesn’t apply to me”? Is this easier or harder to fall into online?
  2. Am I willing to explain firmly to a newcomer the limitations of AA help, how has this changed in quarantine?
  3. Have I today imposed on any AA member for a special favor or consideration simply because I am a fellow alcoholic?
  4. Am I willing to twelfth-step the next newcomer without regard to who or what is in it for me? How has the 12th step changed in quarantine?
  5. Do I help my group in every way I can to fulfill our primary purpose, even online?
  6. Do I remember that AA old-timers, too, can be alcoholics who still suffer? Do I try both to help them and to learn from them both in meetings and on social media?

Tradition Six: An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

Questions for Tradition 6:

  1. Is it good for a group to get a larger capacity/ capability video platform?
  2. Are all the officers and members of our local club for AAs familiar with “Guidelines on Clubs” and “Questions on Anonymity”(which is available free from GSO)?
  3. What other online groups are our group members a part of related to alcoholism?
  4. Some alcoholics will stay around AA only if they can meet in person. If this is what is required to carry the message to them, should we make ourselves available to them?

Tradition Seven: Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

Questions for Tradition 7:

  1. How have I participated in digital contributions to my group, intergroup, district, area, or GSO?
  2. Am I fully informed about the financial situation of The Grapevine? Do I have a digital subscription?
  3. Is it more important to get a big AA collection from a few people, or a smaller collection in which more members participate?
  4. Is my group holding a regular business meeting that includes a treasurer’s report? How has quarantining affected our group’s treasury?
  5. How important in my recovery is the feeling of self-respect, rather than the feeling of being always under obligation for charity received?

Tradition Eight: Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

Questions for Tradition 8:

  1. Does my personal definition of nonprofessional hinder the efficiency of carrying the message online?
  2. When I complain about any particular Tradition, do I realize how it affects others?
  3. Do I sometimes try to get some reward—even if not money—for my personal AA efforts?
  4. Do I try to sound in AA like an expert on alcoholism? On recovery? On medicine? On the traditions as they relate to virtual meetings?
  5. Do I make an effort to understand what AA employees (both GSO and intergroup staff members) do? What workers in other alcoholism agencies do? Can I distinguish clearly among them?
  6. In my own AA life, have I any experiences which illustrate the wisdom of this Tradition?
  7. Have I paid enough attention to the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions? To the pamphlet AA Tradition—How It Developed?

Tradition Nine: AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

Questions for Tradition 9:

  1. Do I still try to boss things in AA?
  2. Do I resist formal aspects of AA because I fear them as authoritative?
  3. Has my group found an election process that has worked for us for our virtual meeting?
  4. Do I exercise patience and humility in any AA job I take?
  5. Have I taken an excessively visible role in my group since going virtual?
  6. Does my group have a constitution and bylaws? Why or why not? Do they need to be updated?
  7. Have I learned to step out of an AA job gracefully—and profit thereby—when the time comes?
  8. What has rotation to do with anonymity? With humility?

Tradition Ten: Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

Questions for Tradition 10:

  1. Do I ever give the impression that there really is an “AA opinion” on Antabuse? Tranquilizers? Doctors? Psychiatrists? Churches? Hospitals? Jails? Alcohol? The federal or state government? Legalizing marijuana? Vitamins? Al-Anon? Alateen?
  2. Do I believe that bigotry (racism, sexism, homo/transphobia, etc) are outside issues, or do I acknowledge that they can create barriers to recovery for prospective newcomers?
  3. What in AA history gave rise to our Tenth Tradition?
  4. What is an outside issue and how does it differ from an inside issue?
  5. What is the relationship between this tradition and the increasing diversity in AA we’ve seen since 1935?
  6. How can I manifest the spirit of this Tradition in my personal life outside AA? Inside AA?

Tradition Eleven: 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.

Questions for Tradition 11:

  1. How does my behavior inside and outside the fellowship portray AA?
  2. Am I always careful to keep the confidences reposed in me as an AA member?
  3. How do I define anonymity at the public level?
  4. What would AA be like if we were not guided by the ideas in Tradition Eleven? Where would I be?
  5. How has the changing digital landscape affected how I practice this tradition?

Tradition Twelve: Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Questions for Tradition 12:

  1. How do I choose to place the common welfare of AA before my own wishes/desires?
  2. Do I trust AA’s trusted servants, even when they seem to make the wrong decision?
  3. Recognizing Tradition Three, am I aware of any behaviors or beliefs that may make AA seem unwelcome to alcoholics?
  4. Do I ever try to get a certain AA group to conform to my standards, not its own?
  5. Now that we’re in a virtual world, how effective is my group at carrying out our primary purpose online?
  6. Does my personal behavior reflect the Sixth Tradition—or subvert it?
  7. Do I know how my 7th tradition contributions are spent by my group, intergroup, district, area, and GSO?
  8. Do I complain about certain AAs’ behavior—especially if they are paid to work for AA?
  9. Do I fulfill all AA responsibilities in such a way as to please privately even my own conscience?
  10. Do I carry out our primary purpose in a loving and open way, or in a dogmatic and rigid way. What does this have to do with Tradition 10?
  11. Should I keep my AA membership a secret, or reveal it in private conversation when that may help another alcoholic (and therefore me)? Is my brand of AA so attractive that other drunks want it?
  12. What is the real importance of me among more than a million AAs?