RA offers hope, sanity, and recovery, especially to those who, despite their best efforts, have yet to find full recoveries, no matter what their problems or behaviors may be and their family and friends.
VI The Twelve Traditions
5) Tradition Five


“Each RECOVERIES ANONYMOUS group ought to be a spiritual entity
having but one primary purpose—to carry its message to those who still suffer.”

1. In order to more clearly maintain the focus of the Fellowship, R.A. has adopted the Fifth Tradition from its original long form. This is slightly different from the short form adopted later by A.A.

2. In the 12 & 12, on page 190, it shares this tradition. It says:

“Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose—that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

3. Our Fifth Tradition is our reason for existing. If we lose our focus as to our primary purpose, if we start to duplicate what is already available, either in other fellowships, in therapy, or in other forums, there would be no reason for us to exist.

4. In the 12 & 12, on page 150, at the end of the next to last line on the page, it says:

“The unique ability of each A.A. to identify himself with, and bring recovery to, the newcomer in no way depends upon his learning, eloquence, or on any special individual skills. The only thing that matters is that he is an alcoholic who has found a key to sobriety.”

5. If the pioneers had wanted to say: “…who has found sobriety,” that’s what this would say, but it doesn’t. It says “a key to sobriety.” Anyone who has these books has what they need to give away—the fact that there is a solution. It’s not dependent upon your learning, your eloquence or your own degree of recovery.

6. Skipping down to the second sentence of the next paragraph, it says:

“It is the great paradox of A.A. that we know we can seldom keep the precious gift of sobriety unless we give it away.”

7. The discussion of this tradition continues by giving another example of how this program works. Bill Wilson was feeling restless one day and afraid of taking a drink. He didn’t call his sponsor and say, “Help me”; he didn’t pick up the Big Book and try to do some reading; he didn’t go to a meeting. What he did do was go to the hospital and find a newcomer to work with, someone to carry this message to, and thus enhance his spiritual status.

8. Bill recounts that when he arrived at the hospital, the doctor told him that, even though he probably wouldn’t be able to do anything for the tough customer that the doctor had as a patient, sharing the program would help Bill.

9. In the 12 & 12, on page 152, at the bottom of the page, Bill shares this newcomer’s question and his response. It says:

“‘Do you really mean the only reason you are here is to try and help me and to help yourself?’

“‘Yes.’ I said. ‘That’s absolutely all there is to it. There’s no angle.’”

10. In sharing our program, we don’t have an ulterior motive. We’re not selling anything, we’re not promoting anything, we don’t charge for our services. We are here because sharing the program is how we get and stay recovered.


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