Al-Anon Preamble to the Twelve Steps
The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems. We believe alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.
Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.
Al-Anon has but one purpose; to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.
The Twelve Steps
Because of their proven power and worth, AA’s Twelve Steps have been adopted almost word for word by Al-Anon. They represent a way of life appealing to all people of goodwill, of any religious faith, or of none. Note the power of the very words!
- 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 search 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.
The Twelve Traditions
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.
- 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 to 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 Twelve Concepts of Service
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 to strive to do as well as to be.
- The ultimate responsibility and authority for Al-Anon world services belongs to the Al-Anon groups.
- 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 selected 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 proceedings the World Service Conference of Al-Anon shall observe the spirit of the Traditions:
- 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 an act of government; and that like the fellowship of Al-Anon Family Groups which it serves, it shall always remain democratic in though and action.