The 13th Tradition: Breaking AA Rules

AA has 12 Steps describing how to work the program and 12 Traditions outlining the rules of AA’s operations. To recap what a 13th step is: the not-so-secret practice of hitting on new members- from unwanted flirting & sexual comments to pressuring or forcing someone for sex.  So I wonder: What would the 13th Tradition be?

I think the 13th Tradition is breaking the rules of AA— I mean, if the 13th step breaks the “no dating in the first year” rule or the “men with the men/ women with the women” rule, then there has to be a 13th Tradition out there.  Granted, advice against relationships is unwritten, but a lot of AA traditions are unwritten.  Nowhere in the Big Book does it say “get a sponsor” or “say the Lord’s Prayer to close the meeting.”  Need I remind anyone that there are no rules against sexual harassment or crime in AA, either?

Alcoholics Anonymous 5th tradition reads: Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.  But how does an entire group carry it’s message to other alcoholics without:

a.) Breaking Tradition 12: “Anonymity”;
b.) Breaking Tradition 7: “Declining outside contributions”;
c.) Breaking Tradition 11: “Attraction not promotion,” and “personal anonymity”;
d.) Breaking Tradition 6: “Never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise.”

You can’t carry the AA message if you’re anonymous.  What if a non-member at an open meeting drops money in the basket? (FYI: AA.org says AA only accepts donations from members.)   If a rehab center purchases AA literature, is that an outside contribution? Have you tried staying completely anonymous at city parks, community buildings and churches?   How do you rent an office?  How do sponsors speak with probation officers and drug counselors.

download (2)You’re anonymous, yet somehow, people see by your example how great AA is: That’s attraction, not promotion. Huh?

When it’s a 12 Step treatment center, is that not code for “AA/NA treatment center”?  Didn’t the Big Book of AA state: While an AA group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied.”  So let’s say this is affiliation with U.S. courts sending offenders to AA, with treatment centers sending patients to meetings, is just implied affiliation.  If actual AA meetings are held inside jails and inside treatment centers, I think that definitely implies affiliation.  Especially if those institutions only have 12 Step meetings.

Perhaps, anonymously, there are AA members IMPLYING to judges and doctors that AA works. They stop just short of making endorsements, such as, “AA approves of the Betty Ford Center” but they certainly are not hiding their affiliation with treatment centers.  Also, if I wanted to be anonymous, my phone number would be unlisted.  AA does not advertise, except they might drop hints like dropping off used Big Books in jail cells.  That’s about as subtle as leaving McDonald’s coupons at a school, but saying McDonald’s was not paid to advertise there- McDonald’s does not endorse the school.  Yeahhhh…. right. 

This is how you work the magical, elusive 13th Tradition of breaking the rules– the same rules AA itself made up.

AAliarsIf the traditions are not firmly set rules, at least be honest about it.  Attraction is not promotion? The two words are so similar, it’s like saying it’s a melody, not music.  Bullshit.

Author side note: By the way, they’re “traditions,” as in they’re not rules, so of course they’re going to be broken.  Otherwise, they’d be called “rules.”  If you have a dictionary handy, you’d notice a difference here.  Similarly, nobody has to the steps, they’re only “suggested” steps.  Suggestions are not requirements.  Finally, AA says the “only requirement is the desire to stop drinking.”  You don’t even have to stop drinking.  According to all the above, you are just as successful completely drunk in AA as you are sober.

Author’s second side note:  Don’t take my first side note the wrong way; I’m not telling anyone to go to AA drunk or to NA high.  I try my best to use words as they are actually intended.  I try to say what I mean.

Big Book, Appendix 1, pg 564, The A.A. Tradition

12 Traditions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Traditions

My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AARMEDwithFacts

The 13th Step documentary FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-13th-Step-the-film/469973469749422

I get most of my facts about AA straight from the source: http://www.aa.org

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Having trouble explaining that you’re pro-choice, not necessarily anti-AA? Try copying and pasting this:

People who seek help to quit using alcohol/drugs need to first be shown the facts. What are the consequences of alcohol/drug abuse and addiction? What are the options available and evidence supporting different treatments? 

After an assessment of a person’s using history and cultural beliefs, an individualized treatment approach should be developed. A treatment professional has the latest research available and needs to keep a person informed while they make a huge life changing decision to never drink again. 

People seeking help for depression typically are offered the latest most effective treatments. They don’t favor one type over another, because each person has a different mix of symptoms. Same with the concept of addiction as a disease. When a person goes to AA, early on, it is important to let them know if they aren’t getting results from the program perhaps they need a different method of recovery. There is no need to make another person feel ashamed, or guilty, if the 12 Steps are not helping them out. It is through the humility of knowing we don’t know everything, and having the compassion to help others even if it isn’t us who can help them, that shows we care.

And to probation officers and judges:  A court offering treatment instead of jail time needs to offer a variety of treatment options.  The goal is successful treatment of the offender, not successful recruitment of AA members.  We all know of people who have went to AA just to get their paper signed and went on to get more DUI arrests.

This is about helping to treat alcoholism, first and foremost, and being friendly and considerate of other methods available.

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6 thoughts on “The 13th Tradition: Breaking AA Rules

  1. +Great Post! Thanks for all of your research. Even though AA knows 13 stepping along with more serious sex abuse goes on by AA members they still refuse to do nothing about it.

    • Thank you so much! So much of the research already exists. I hope I am adding one more voice to the truth on these matters. If I can do that, I’ve accomplished a great task. Also, there is so much hypocrisy in the “fellowship” and willful denial of obvious facts: They do promote, for one thing. Also, the people at the top know damn well there are faithful members who would never want to destroy AA or admit there are problems in the rooms. They depend on people to follow their nonsense traditions faithfully, so they have a built-in army of defenders behind them.

      Professionals, experts, researchers need to be completely unbiased here. Opinions of 12 Step members should be scrutinized when they defend the fellowship but are unable to provide much evidence. Personal testimonials are not evidence— I can personally testify that I was psychologically harmed from the 12 Steps, thankfully, I recognized that and stood up for myself. There are so many who don’t. They think they deserve to feel pain and worthlessness because they are addicts- self admitted addicts- and are unable to recognize that the meetings are actually making them feel depressed and hopeless.

      People who desire to belong somewhere will defend abusive behaviors, just to keep the peace. To not lose friends. To not lose their status as long time sober AA members. They witness young people and women in a 13th step situation and turn a blind eye to it- because they believe these victims must be “still sick” and “acting out” or on a “dry drunk” and somehow deserve this mistreatment. They defend the abusers as “sick people” and say really evasive things like, “We don’t like to see this happen, but we tell everyone to ‘stick with the winners'” …. Sick thinking that never ends… because they keep telling themselves they’re still sick.

      Meanwhile, it’s an industry in the billions of dollars and it’s run by pride and uncaring people who want nothing but the easy fame and glory of running 12 Step treatment centers. They don’t care who is getting abused, raped, or even murdered. As though, say, if that was happening for cancer patients those would be normal side-effects too. This madness has to end.

      • Awww thank you! I just want to be open and honest about programs that claim they’re “honest programs” so to speak… If I learned anything from going there, it’s do as they say, not as they do… lol. I thank you for your feedback ~Juliet

    • AA’s board members should sit down and work the 12 steps together… Step one, admit they are powerless over the alcoholics at the meetings… Step 5 admit the exact nature of their wrongs… Step 9 make direct amends…. How can you expect people to take you seriously if you set an example of covering up crimes and brushing it under the rug? I think some very intelligent people recognize this and use it as an excuse too. It really angers me.
      ~Juliet

  2. Pingback: The 13th Tradition: Breaking AA Rules | empoweredannmaria

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