Tradition 4 - Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other
groups of A.A. as a whole.

Member: Sanders W.
Location: Graceville, Fl.
Date: 25 Apr 1998
Time: 23:57:33


I amvery definately a real alcoholic and my name is Sanders. In discussing the traditions, I have to remember I am not re writting them, I am just trying to live according to them to the best of my ability. I have felt that the traditions are to the group, what the steps are to the individual and remamber All the fights have already been fought for us, so we don't have to re- fight them. This tradition tells us to stay where we belong and do what we know and that is to help each other to stay away from a drink one day at a time. We can do it however we so desire as long as it does not affect the other groups. We even have a right to be wrong and can learn from mistakes and start over again. Enough from me and I want to hear other views on this tradition. Thanks for letting me share and God bless. Sanders

Member: Linda P
Location: CA, USA
Date: 26 Apr 1998
Time: 01:56:18


Hi everyone, my name is Linda, I am an alcoholic.

Tradition 4, wow. I shall share an experience that can shed some light where others that are new might have a better understanding of what this is all about. I was involved with a group when I was new to this program. The meeting was filled with newcomers. This secretary of the group wanted to have a guest non-AA person come and talk to our group about nutritition. I figured it was alright, and so did everyone else, after all, what did we newcomers know about the traditions, much less what AA was all about. I figured it was an educational program involving nutritution. So we all voted to have him come. The speaker came the following week, and after giving his speel, decided that we needed to consider taking vitamins, and guess what, he was of course selling some. The following week, a few old timers talked to this secretary, he would not back down, even though he was informed of the Tradition 4 and a few others that his was violating. This man unfortunately did not stay sober, but the rest of us, through guidance from the old timers finally figured out what AA was truly all about, learning to stay sober one day at a time through working the steps for personal growth, and observing Traditions of AA to safeguard the fellowship from falling apart, to stand united under one purpose, in staying sober, and helping the next drunk to do the same. Hopefully this example is useful.

Love to all,

Linda P.

Member: Kevin G
Location: Brooklyn, NYC
Date: 26 Apr 1998
Time: 12:06:58


Hi my name's Kevin and I'm an alcoholic.

My home group's step meeting has a group members share briefly on the corresponding tradition. Going to share on the 4th Tradition this Thursday. (Also a tradition meeting the first Sat of each month).

I like to think each group has the right to be wrong, but not at the expense of another nearby group or AA as a whole. When my home group started a Tradition meeting on the first Sun each month we made sure we contacted the other nearby group that had meetings on that night. We also made sure that the other group did not have a traditions meeting that would conflict. We read the tradition and discuss around the table.

Kevin G.

Member: Mark B.
Location: Eielson AFB, Ak
Date: 26 Apr 1998
Time: 13:44:39


Mark, Dope fiend, alcoholic. I've been to meetings all over the world. The one thing that stays the same and is the constant, is, the singleness of purpose. That's the unifying element. I'm greatful that meetings are different, have different customs and different formats. Allows me the opportunity to learn different methods. At times, I'm most comfortable in meetings that are large, podium participation type. It allows me the chance to kick back and just listen. Other times I love the intimate small discussion meetings, or a speaker meeting. Thank God nobody can mandate how they run, how they flow. Some meetings that have always stuck with me throughout the years are, the Friday midnight meeting at the Angelino club in Burbank, the Friday night meeting at Studio 12 in Hollywood. The Thursday night BB study in Amersfoort Holland, The Sunday night 12x12 meeting at the Jelinek clinic in Amsterdam. The Sunday afternoon meeting at the Frankfurt Flughaven, The Thursady night 2000 in North Pole Alaska. Different faces, but the feelings and the emotions behind the stories stay the same. different formats, but the singleness of purpose is the same. About 3 years ago, I was deployed to Incirlik AB in Turkey for 90 days. I was met at the aircraft by a guy I had helped 12 step back at my home group. I had 10 years sober, he had 2 years, and yet, for the next 90 days, he carried me. Took me to the local meetings, showed me the local ropes, 12 stepped me after flying issions over Iraq. " We do together, what I can't do alone". Singleness of purpose. What a deal. I'll never forget the impromptu meetings held in my tent after landing, wired to the max cuz they be shooting at us, and the calming influence of the members of the Incirlik group, bringing me back down to reality, helping me get back in touch with what's the most important thing for a drunk like me, " Do not drink or use, under any circumstance". Hugs to all,


Member: Jane
Location: Ma.
Date: 26 Apr 1998
Time: 15:04:28


Linda P. your example was perfect. Many thanks. I really enjoy the variety, Mark, as well. Was delighted to experience being SERVED tea at meetings in England some time ago. Have seen many regional customs, but not much that would threaten AA as a whole. That's why I liked your story, Linda. The " singleness of purpose" is a good tool for a group to stay on track. Traditions are so important to group health.

Member: Rod H
Date: 26 Apr 1998
Time: 22:53:15


I just left an AA meeting at a local club house and left with a bad taste in my stomach. I didn't want to say anything about it at the meeting because I didn't want to put bad air in the meeting. I guess I am asking for is what to do? I have to work down here 3 days a week and I like to attend as many meetings as I can during the week. The problem I am having with the group dowm here is they get totally away from AA and insest on talking about issues that have nothing to do with AA. Tonight they where talking about beauracricy, Insurance rates and cansolations and losing drivers license. I literally got nothing AA foundation or steps, or traditions what so ever. I am used to good solid AA and am so very gratefull for the program. I just found out that I could use the internet to do my Meetings. Thank God for your services and you wounderful peolple. Thank God for my constant contact with my Higher Power and for another 24 Hours sober. One day at a time, Stay into the now group and God Bless.

Member: Amy G.C.
Location: Switzerland
Date: 27 Apr 1998
Time: 01:42:56


Autonomy is important to me because I realize most people do not understand the disease and many don`t respect the effort to overcome it. That gets me down man. Love to you all, Amy G.C. PS Autonomy means less to me within closed meetings like this one...

Member: Martina G
Location: CT
Date: 27 Apr 1998
Time: 07:22:07


To me one of the greatest things about autonomy is that it respects choice and highlights the fact that we are diverse. As an alocholic I tend to thrive on either being controlling or being controlled. When I have indepence and someone isn't telling me what I should or shouldn't do, or should or shouldn't be, but it is my choice (or my local meeting's choice), then I get flustered with the responsibility of it. I think this is good for alcoholics and as you can see in all the traditions and steps, wise. Tradition 4 is short, simple and wise because besides autonomy, it also takes into account the fact that the purpose of AA as a whole should be considered and respected in all that we do. How we do that is up to us individually and as a small group.

Member: Doris
Location: Oregon
Date: 27 Apr 1998
Time: 11:36:35


Hi there, Doris here and I am an alcoholic, OH ! Mark, you do make me think, realize and appreciate what all you people are doing for us. Thank you again. W O W ! this is a toughy for me. Trying to keep it simple i guess I have to say If it aint broke don't fix it. I certianly can't improve on the way this A A thing works. Those people who put this all together must have been directed by the hand of the HIGHEST POWER. Man usually isn't that good at doing things like this by himself. Murphys Law keeps proving itself to be true in almost every organization and government. But A A seems to run itself and run itself well. These small things that happen are very isolated and always caused by some person or group trying to vary from the BIG BOOK. I can't see where the steps and traditions can be improved on. I have been involved in many clubs and organizations over the years and EVERY time there is trouble it is always caused by "EGO ! ". And I have to admit sometimes it has been MY ego. But, I am trying to get better. I am so enjoying this section and I am learning so much, Thank you, Doris

Member: kathy b
Location: long island NY
Date: 27 Apr 1998
Time: 12:02:10


hi, my name is kathy and i am a drunk from ny. how great it is to read the 4th tradition and the others views. this says to me today that as long as the group does no harm to aa in general or other groups it can run meetings any way it wants to, however the group consience speaks. the hard part is when does it hurt aa in general? Ihave seen groupd try to ban 'wet drunks' from meetings because they are disruptive,or ask parents to not come with schoolage children because of aninimity breaks for teachers. This is not what I believe bill w or doctor bob ment tradition four to be concerned with. AA members should not have religous or political afiliations. Whatever happened to this being a self diagnosed disease. I speak only for myself and not for AA as a whole, but I am concerned for my life line...........alcoholics anonymous not being too concerened with alcohol, steps or traditions. Thanks for caring enough on this giant www. I am a virgin at cyber meetings in love and service

Member: Becky
Location: N.E.
Date: 27 Apr 1998
Time: 16:38:25


I brought my youngest to meetings in the early days because I had to, but only to open meetings where everyone is welcome. By definition a closed meeting is for alchies only. That way we can have more and deeper sharing. I would bring quiet activities stuff, like crayons and coloring books or Leggos and juice and snacks. Some of the local groups ask that children be supervised. That's autonomy. I feel so bad for kids that are shushed and punished for being fidgety in a 1 1/2 hr. meeting but aren't given some "tools" to do it! Peace. Becky

Member: Barbara S.
Location: NJ
Date: 28 Apr 1998
Time: 10:36:33


My name is Barbara, and I'm an alcoholic.

AA's Traditions are so interesting! Like nothing else I've ever seen, actually. And I've found that they, as much as the Steps, have changed me for the better. This one, for example, helps me remember that what other people do is their own business, as long as it's not harmful to anyone else. It's helped me to recognize that there are all kinds of ways to live in the world, and that all kinds of people exist. And more - that I can learn something from them (and possibly they from me)! AA has pushed me to develop as a human being, in ways I would probably never have even imagined.

This Tradition also makes me aware that there is something much greater than my own ego: the good of AA as a whole. I try to act accordingly - and it's not always easy, as someone mentioned, to know what matters affect "other groups or A.A. as a whole." It's always proved to be a good idea to talk with other people about it, consult GSO, read the literature, have a group conscience. To try to find our way as best we can, and to be willing to admit to error and correct it, if necessary.

What a great thing we have stumbled (literally, for many of us!) onto! Thanks, everyone, and peace to all....

Member: daffy  d.
Location: georgia
Date: 29 Apr 1998
Time: 01:59:10


Member: John C
Location: Washington DC.
Date: 29 Apr 1998
Time: 14:57:07


John C. Washington, DC

Hi I'm John and I'm a drunk. To me the separateness and total Autonomy of a group is good--unfortunately It does result in some groups having to talk about Burreaucracy, dice-polar bears or anything. We also have autonomy-we can choose to be in that group or no. I can walk- and have done so-past rooms-that didn't meet my needs. I needed BB. I needed Traditions. I needed honesty. I needed compassions--yet tough love. Autonomy gives me the freedom to be unemployed and walk to that kind of a group--It is and was what I needed. There other folks went to their type. HP and I went to the one I found.

Johjn C. Washington, DC

Member: Bonnie C
Location: Seattle
Date: 29 Apr 1998
Time: 16:51:33


Hi bonnie/alcoholic here, Hi extended family ((((ROOM-HUG)))) what a glorious day to be clean and sober here in the northwest, don't tell anyone but the sun is out up here, I'm sure this is a mistake and as soon as some other part of the country figures out that it's missing they'll come and take it back LOL --- the traditions are the glue that binds us and lets us heal in a somewhat structured environment unlike some of our homes that had no structure or safety. so I love and respect these traditions for without them we would all recreate our distructive homes here. my sponsor, wise woman that she was, told me to do all steps and traditions with a dictionary, I didn't know what the word autonomous (independent, self-governing) meant when I got here, so I looked it up. Then I went to business meetings and watched it work, then I became a secretary, then an alt GSR, this was after I washed enough coffee cups and ashtrays to peal the skin off my hands, and set up and took down enuf folding chairs to bend a back, loving every minute of it, BELONGING to something where my vote counted. I am still very active, I just kinda got volenteered to chair a meeting at my home group hall and I make coffee when necessary, wash dishes or coffee cups and go to the business meetings once a month, also hit the last half hour of the 8pm meeting every evening after work M thru F. we have our potluck on birthday night and theres lots to do. this is not where i got sober and it works a little different up here than in San Diego where I did but I belong here and to do that i have to get involved and be a part of. put my hand out, make friends and once there put my hand out when a new face walks in. Independent, self-governing, as long as it sticks with the good of AA and follows the principles set down in the long form of the steps and traditions in the 12&12 I don't know how anyone could be confused with purpose. by the way, I was told to ask for a hug from one stranger each meetings. thank God He keeps sending new people. It works. thank God for AA and thank AA for my God. Dear God please bless all who venture here. ******************************************

Member: Perry h
Location: Poconos, PA
Date: 30 Apr 1998
Time: 07:35:27


I can try to apply this tradition to my life. It reminds me that, as a result of my sobriety, I have become alive again ad should live life to the max! Try new things. Change jobs, wives, whatever! Enjoy. I did not get sober to be misrable.

The catch is: To enjoy my sobriety without affecting others around me. Be kind , considerate, and loving in all of my affairs.

I recently bought a CD player for my car. I now rock into Allentown to the Rolling Stones. The sound is awesome. And I still drive 55mph. (Lie!) But I do keep my car under control as to not affect others around me... I guess what this traditon says to me is

Live it Up! but be very considerate of others. I was never considerate of others when drinking....

Thinking of ohters is what it is all about for me, for when I give it away... I get to keep it.. (sobriety and just about everything else) Love, Perry H

Member: Steve G.
Location: So. Cal
Date: 01 May 1998
Time: 19:33:26


Hi, I'm Steve G., alcoholic.

This is my first time contributing to a meeting on-line. It's great to see a tradition discussed. I'm very proud of my home group. 12x12 mens stag. We alternate a step and tradition every week.I'm not aware of another meeting with this format.

I consider myself very fortunate to be a sober member of AA and of that mens group. The 4th tradition insures that every meeting has the room to form it's own personality. Thank God, or we would have to listen to the same people saying the same thing over and over. I'm very fortunate to live in So. Cal. there are at least 1200 meetings every week. So, my friends and I can take a short ride in almost any direction and have the opportunityto listen to many different voices shareing about AA and sobriety. This tradition also protects our groups freedom to conduct our "closed" meeting as we see fit, as long as it does'nt pose a threat to any other meeting, or AA as a whole.I am eternally grateful to God and AA for patience and tolerance afforded me in my own little quest to turn my life 180 degrees from where I came.

My sponsor tells me the difference between a drunk and an alcoholic is that a drunk has no conscience. I'm, grateful I've got a conscience today

Steve G.