As a rule, Alcoholics Anonymous does not get involved with other organizations. This is defined by Tradition six which says that, “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.”
If You Are Going To Do It…Over-Do It!
As an alcoholic, I always subscribed to the “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing” school of thought. My tendency has always been to take everything to the extreme.
I’m happy to learn that I am in good company. The original founders of Alcoholics Anonymous seemed to exhibit a bit of that tendency as well. Their early success prompted them to think big…really big. The envisioned sharing their methods with the world by opening their own hospitals, getting involved with industry and even by changing the laws of the land.
Should Alcoholics Anonymous Get In Bed With Politicians?
I’m mindful of politicians who accept an endorsement from this labor union or that pharmaceutical company. He will swear up and down and claim that such support does not entitle the groups to any sort of special access. In reality, that’s hard to believe. We all know that industries hire lobbyists to argue for their causes. They don’t do this out of good conscience. They do it to add zeros to their bottom lines. Once the politician gets into bed with the lobbyist, he is there to stay.
The same is true with a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. If they were, as an organization, to give their support to a particular product or ideal, they would be irrevocably connected forever. This association could be good, but it could also be bad. Either way, it would have the distinct danger of interfering with AA’s primary purpose…to help other alcoholics.
Alcoholics Anonymous, on the group and organizational level, avoids political, financial, and reciprocal affiliations with other organizations. The reason is simple. They could easily become embroiled with those groups. Messy political ties and favor trading could cause confusion within the organization.
Keeping It Straight!
This confusion could stand in the way of them being able to carry out their primary purpose. This means that an active alcoholic who seeks help could become confused as to what Alcoholics Anonymous does. He may say “I thought they helped drunks get dry, but it looks like they are in some other business.” If that suffering individual failed to reach out to AA because of that confusion, AA would have failed him.
Tradition six keeps that failure from ever happening.