12 Steps, 12 Traditions, and the 12 Concepts of the service

12 Steps Overview

Study of these Steps is essential to progress in the Al-Anon program. The principles they embody are universal, applicable to everyone, whatever their personal creed. In Al-Anon, we strive for an ever-deeper understanding of these Steps, and pray for the wisdom to apply them to our lives.

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Did you know, the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous were adopted (with permission) almost word for word by Al-Anon Family Groups?

‘Because of their proven power and worth, A.A.’s Twelve Steps have been adopted almost word for word by Al-Anon. They represent a way of life appealing to all people of good-will, of any religious faith or of none. Note the power of the very words!’ [from Al-Anon Alateen Service Manual 2022-2025, p.13.]

12 Traditions Overview

These guidelines are the 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.

Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity.

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.

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.

Each group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole.

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.

Our 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 co-operate with Alcoholics Anonymous.

Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

Al-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

Our groups, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films and TV. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.

The Traditions that follow bind us together in unity. They guide the groups in their relations with other groups, with A.A., and the outside world. They recommend group attitudes toward leadership, membership, money, property, public relations, and anonymity.

The Traditions evolved from the experience of A.A. groups in trying to solve their problems of living and working together. Al-Anon adopted these group guidelines and over the years has found them sound and wise. Although they are only suggestions, Al-Anon’s unity and perhaps even its survival are dependent on adherence to these principles. [from Al-Anon Alateen Service Manual 2022-2025, p.14.]

Twelve Concepts of Service

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are guides for personal growth and group unity. The Twelve Concepts are guides for service. They show how Twelve Step work can be done on a broad scale and how members of a World Service Office can relate to each other and to the groups, through a World Service Conference, to spread Al-Anon’s message worldwide.

That only sufficient operating funds, including an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle;

The Al-Anon Family Groups have delegated complete administrative and operational authority to their Conference and its service arms.

The Right of Decision makes effective leadership possible.

Participation is the key to harmony.

The rights of appeal and petition protect minorities and insure that they be heard.

The Conference acknowledges the primary administrative responsibility of the Trustees.

The Trustees have legal rights while the rights of the Conference are traditional.

The Board of Trustees delegates full authority for routine management of Al-Anon Headquarters to its executive committees.

Good personal leadership at all service levels is a necessity. In the field of world service the Board of Trustees assumes the primary leadership.

Service responsibility is balanced by carefully defined service authority and double-headed management is avoided.

The World Service Office is composed of standing committees, executives and staff members.

The spiritual foundation for Al-Anon’s world services is contained in the General Warranties of the Conference, Article 12 of the Charter.

General Warranties of the Conference

In all its proceedings the World Service Conference of Al-Anon shall observe the spirit of the Traditions:

A big blue circle with the number "1" in the middle.

That only sufficient operating funds, including an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle;

That no Conference member shall be placed in unqualified authority over other members;

That all decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, by unanimity;

That no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy;

That though the Conference serves Al-Anon, it shall never perform any act of government; and that, like the fellowship of Al-Anon Family Groups which it serves, it shall always remain democratic in thought and action.

Carrying the message, as suggested in the Twelfth Step, is Service, Al-Anon’s third legacy. Service, a vital purpose of Al-Anon, is action. Members strive to do as well as to be.

Anything done to help a relative or friend of an alcoholic is service: a telephone call to a despairing member or sponsoring a newcomer, telling one’s story at meetings, forming groups, arranging for public outreach, distributing literature, and financially supporting groups, local services, and the World Service Office. [from Al-Anon Alateen Service Manual 2022-2025, p.16]

First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery Podcast

Podcast hosted by Al-Anon’s World Service Office to help identify if Al-Anon or Alateen could help you.

Our program of recovery is adapted from an original concept developed by the completely separate Twelve Step Program (with which we have an enduring affiliation) Alcoholics Anonymous. It is based on the Twelve Steps (for personal recovery), the Twelve Traditions (for group unity), and the Twelve Concepts of Service.