Thoughts on Tradition 9

thoughts on tradition 9

Hi Everyone!

I am finding the traditions to be so helpful for my program. They really are guiding principles and so useful not only within program, but also for my relationships in general.

As a service, I wanted to post this week some of my ideas about Tradition 9. 

Tradition 9 Short form: AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

Tradition 9 Long form: Each AA group needs the least possible organization. Rotating leadership is the best. The small group may elect its secretary, the large group its rotating committee, and the groups of a large metropolitan area their central or intergroup committee, which often employs a full-time secretary. The trustees of the General Service Board are, in effect, our AA General Service Committee. They are the custodians of our AA Tradition and the receivers of voluntary AA contributions by which we maintain our AA General Service Office at New York. They are authorized by the groups to handle our over-all public relations and they guarantee the integrity of our principal newspaper, the AA Grapevine. All such representatives are to be guided in the spirit of service, for true leaders in AA are but trusted and experienced servants of the whole. They derive no real authority from their titles; they do not govern. Universal respect is the key to their usefulness.

How to personalize Tradition 9:

Dan S., who wrote the BBA, suggested in a talk on the traditions that the traditions need to be personalized in order to understand them. He suggests that after you read the tradition in both the long and short vision, ask yourself: “Is there a governing individual or exclusive group authority that dictates organization to our group?”

Consider: “How may your group or groups around you possibly broken Tradition 9?”

Visualize: “What it would look like what it would look like if a group violated Tradition 9?”

Visualize: “What is a personal example of what it would look like to break Tradition 9?”

After considering what it would look like to break Tradition 9, ask “How does the 12th Tradition that “anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities” apply?

For example:

How is anonymity the spiritual foundation of Tradition 9?

How does Tradition 9 help me understand the 12th Tradition that “we are to place principles before personalities?”

Are the principles of program put before individual personalities in the group?

How does Tradition 9 help me understand we are actually to practice a genuine humility?”

Tradition 9 Spiritual Principles: simplicity, accountability, prudence and fidelity.

Practical application:

How do I take responsibility for my actions while practicing surrender about outcomes?

Am I driven by a desire to be in control or a desire to give service?

Tradition Nine Affirmation: Let me remember that we need to keep an open-mind for His guidance, His flow of love and wisdom, avoiding the closed-mindedness of too many rigid rules or over organization.

Shira’s Prayer for Tradition 9: God, I humbly ask You to remove my shortcomings of defiance, self-obsession, & suspicion and replace them with simplicity, accountability, prudence & fidelity. Thank you all that for all that you have given me! May I be willing to use the gifts that You have given me to make a difference in the lives of other people, and yet to surrender the outcome of my actions to Your loving guidance, direction and care. May I create a space within myself and in my relationships with others to see what is truly important in life and seek to be fair and just in all my decisions and actions. I ask for a truly open mind so that I might share with others what has been so freely given to me in a real spirit of love and compassion for my fellows.


Just as the aim of each A.A. member is personal sobriety, the aim of our services is to bring sobriety within reach of all who want it. (AA 12 & 12)

A.A. has to function, but at the same time it must avoid those dangers of great wealth, prestige, and entrenched power which necessarily tempt other societies. Though Tradition Nine at first sight seems to deal with a purely practical matter, in its actual operation it discloses a society without organization, animated only by the spirit of service —a true fellowship. (AA 12 & 12)

I hope that everyone will find this information helpful!

Looking forward to “seeing” everyone on Sunday. Thank you all for sharing this journey with me.

In love & service,



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