Thoughts on Tradition 10

Thoughts on Tradition 10

ES&F Tradition 10 explained


Hi Everyone!

I am continuing to find the spiritual principles in the traditions inspiring and so helpful for my program.  I am so grateful that we are now studying them in our group. They really are so useful within program, and outside of program. 

As a service, I wanted to post some of my ideas about Tradition 10. I am including the playback recording information for our group on Tradition 10 as well.

08-16-2020 #187. This is the link to the mp3. During our meeting, we continued reading and discussing the book Guiding Principles the Spirit of Our Traditions by NA up to page 194. We completed Tradition 10 and the principles are equanimity, civility, and self-restraint.

Tradition 10 Short Form: “Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”

Tradition 10 Long Form: “No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues — particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.”

The tenth tradition tells me: “Live and let live.”

Tradition Ten lets us know that our groups and our fellowship should not get involved in outside issues. For example, politics and religion are outside issues. In program, outside issues can also be extended to how someone defines their spiritual life, their sobriety, or abstinence, or their emotional stability, etc. We are then free to focus on sharing our experience with the spiritual solution offered through this life-changing program.

civility definition Ghandi

How to personalize Tradition 10:

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:

“Does the group do anything that publicly states an opinion or takes sides on any issues or controversy that are outside of AA?”

Consider: “How may your group or groups around you possibly broken Tradition 10?”

Visualize: “What it would look like what it would look like if a group violated Tradition 10?”

Visualize: “What is a personal example of what it would look like to break Tradition 10?”

After considering what it would look like to break Tradition 10, 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 10?

How does Tradition 10 help me understand the 12th Tradition that “we are to place principles before personalities?”

Are the principles of program prioritized over the individual personalities in the group?

How does Tradition 10 help me understand “we are actually to practice a genuine humility?”

Tradition 10 Spiritual Principles

Tradition 10: Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

Principle: equanimity, civility, and self-restraint

Problem: intolerance, self-righteousness, judgmental

Purpose: to promote unity by avoiding controversy

Process: share knowledge & personal experience, not opinions

Practice: sensitivity to the feelings and honor of others, regardless of any biases or provocations

Promise: self-awareness; harmony within diversity

Proposal: Do I see the benefit of setting aside controversial matters which could damage unity?

Ponder: what is the difference between self-restraint and self-censorship?

Life and let live

Practical application:

Am I careful not to enter into heated disputes with my friends?

Do I act with discretion by maintaining my focus and walking away from controversy with dignity?

Do I focus on my rights or on my duties? If I have to choose: would I rather be right or would I rather be loving?

Do I see the benefit of setting aside controversial matters which could damage unity?

Am I mindful of my boundaries by considering the effect of my words on others before I speak?

Tradition Ten Affirmation – Let me remember that we need to stay focused on our primary purpose, avoiding useless arguments on outside issues.

Shira’s Tradition 10 Prayer:  

God, I humbly ask You to remove my shortcomings of intolerance, self-righteousness, and being judgmental and replace them with equanimity, civility, and self-restraint. Help me to be sensitive to the feelings and honor of others, regardless of any personal biases or provocations. Please grant me the clarity to see others through eyes of love and respect so that I will not impose on others my way of doing things or thinking. Bless me with the self-awareness to recognize and regulate my behavior so that I may remain calm, composed and serene whenever I am disturbed. Please grant me the wisdom and fortitude to promote unity by avoiding controversy.

Quote: “…we must never, no matter what the provocation, publicly take sides in any fight, even a worthy one.” (AA 12 & 12)

I hope that everyone will find this information helpful!

Thank you all for sharing this journey with me. Together we can do what we could never do alone.

In love & service,


Civility Deborah King


Here is the post as a PDF:

Here is a link to the page on the blog that lists all of the various Traditions Study Guides and other references on the Traditions.


  1. oooh i did post a comment. i dont belong to link in or twitter or facebook or …..well, basically i agree with your comments and i think having respect for another human being as well as reading 12 steps and 12 traditions at every meeting is pretty self explanatory. thanks for including me in your email!!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.