Lois Wilson, a cofounder of Al-Anon, once wrote, "Al-Anon...holds together by means of a loving understanding among its members. Al-Anon is united - without organization, without management, without a chain of command or a set of rules - by its members' willingness to be obedient to the unenforceable." The Twelve Traditions guide our conduct in forming and maintaining healthy groups for the benefit of all Al-Anon members.
The Traditions that follow bind us together in unity. They guide the groups in their relations with other groups, with AA, and the outside world. They recommend group attitudes toward leadership, membership, money, property, public relations, and anonymity.
The Traditions evolved from the experience of AA 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.
- 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 cooperate 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.