“Each group has but one primary purpose: to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”
What is AA Tradition Five? It’s one of the easiest traditions to understand, because it’s all about keeping things simple.
Tradition Five states that AA (and other 12 Step fellowships like NA) has just one single purpose or goal: “to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”
For individual meetings, Tradition Five is important because it helps 12 Step groups from spiraling out into other projects (like bake sales, or social groups) that might be less important than saving lives.
Fellowship and fundraising can be fun, but this tradition is a reminder that our main goal should always be the work of recovery.
The 12 Steps & 12 Traditions book notes, “better do one thing well than many badly!”
For the individual alcoholic, Tradition Five is a reminder that helping others get clean and sober can be a benefit to your own recovery.
People in recovery “can help problem drinkers as others seldom can,” the 12&12 explains, and doing that can help you stay clean and sober for one more day.
As the popular AA slogan says, you’ve got to give it away to keep it.
And by following Tradition Five, you can keep that goal your primary purpose.