History Behind AA’s Responsibility Statement
July 24, 2019
Identification Is
August 28, 2019
Indians discovering new land

Don’t take yourself so damn seriously.

The story is described in Alcoholics Anonymous book The Twelve Step and the Twelve Traditions (known in AA as the 12 and 12). The basic story is that early in the history of AA, a group out in the hinterlands somewhere convinced the local town to fund a recovery/treatment/AA facility. This was going to be an elaborate facility with space for medical treatment, residential recovery, and AA meetings. The local group setting all this up started coming up with rules on how the place would be run, who could be admitted etc. And naturally, there was much disagreement over all this.

To try to resolve their differences, they sent a copy of their 61 rules to the NY office of AA. The volunteers at NY had no idea on how to run a large facility or what to say to this group about their rules. While they were discussing it, another message from the group was delivered saying simply: Rule 62, don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Apparently, they had decided that the potential ego-driven rewards of running a big facility were not worth the risk of tearing their group apart.

This episode is used to illustrate the development of AA’s fourth tradition: Each group should be autonomous…

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.