The 12 Traditions

“Al-Anon is not a religious program, but it is a spiritual one. Our Twelve Steps speak of a Power greater than ourselves and a God of our understanding. We do not impose a particular image or definition of that God or Higher Power. Instead, we leave it up to the individual members to define these terms for themselves, and to find a personal, spiritual relationship that allows them to benefit from what our program has to offer…..

“We may find a Power greater than ourselves in natural law, universal love, beauty, a mountain or a thunderstorm or the many wonders of nature, creativity, and any number of other sources. Some of us continue to use the collective wisdom of our Al-Anon group as a Higher Power, noting that wonderful insights and changes take place when we avail ourselves of that wisdom. The God of understanding may be male or female, an inanimate object, disembodied spirit, or force of nature.”

From HOW AL-ANON WORKS  (Step 3, p.49)


These guidelines are means of promoting harmony and growth in Al-Anon groups and in the worldwide fellowship of Al-Anon as a whole. Our group experience suggests that our unity depends upon our adherence to these Traditions.

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.
  4. Each group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole.
  5. Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.
  6. Our Al-Anon Family Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim. Although a separate entity, we should always cooperate with Alcoholics Anonymous.
  7. Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Al-Anon Twelfth-Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. Our groups, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV and films. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.

Reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.