A STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE POLICIES
AND ACTIVITIES OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE ALCOHOLIC FOUNDATION
(Adopted by Board of Trustees
July meeting 1948)
Including pertinent correspondence
relating to this matter.
the past months the Trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation have
made a critical review of problems arising from the phenomenal
growth of the A.A. Movement and from the swelling routine activities
of the Foundation. In connection with that review the Trustees
reached certain conclusions which are set forth below.
the Trustees regard themselves as servants of A.A., first, in
performing these secondary tasks which are necessary to support
the principal objectives of the individual members of A.A., and
secondly, in preserving the stability and integrity of the A.A.
Movement. They affirm the aim of the Foundation to limit its organization
and activities to the bare essentials required to perform its
important but limited duties. The Trustees were also guided by
their desire that the Foundation grow as little as possible while
the Movement expands boundlessly in its healing mission to all
who seek recovery from the ravages of alcohol.
unanimous conclusion reached by the Trustees is that they can
discharge their duties and avoid confusion as to the lines of
responsibility affecting the Trustee function and the administrative
function in matters of policy and execution by continuing to perform
their services as they have heretofore done.
discussions referred to were likewise fruitful in that they involved
a re-examination of first principles, an emergence of a common
understanding concerning them and a resolution to adhere to them.
discussions also indicated that the rapid growth of the A.A. Movement
with its attendant problems makes highly desirable a periodic
evaluation of ideals and examination of practices lest its spiritual
birthright be impaired. The Trustees, therefore, believe it would
be of value to older members, and informative to newer members,
to set forth at this time the principles which they have reviewed,
by which they are guided, and which require repeated reaffirmation;
and to restate the function of the Alcoholic Foundation in its
relation to the A.A. Movement and its members.
the outset we must distinguish between the A.A. Movement which
is not an organized body and the activities of the Foundation
which is an incorporated body dedicated to serving the members
of A.A. individually and collectively through its subsidiary facilities.
Movement is exclusively a spiritual endeavor whose only aim is
to attain personal recovery and to carry the message of the way
to recovery to others. The Movement is the all-important thing.
It is in no sense governed by the Foundation which, in truth,
is entirely guided by the Movement.
Movement is a spiritual entity, comprising in substance the individual
members of A.A. and the Groups, in the local activities of which
most, but not all, members participate. The precepts of A.A. grew
out of experience, the experience of individuals and the experience
of Groups. So far, the basic principles of A.A. are reflected,
as to personal rehabilitation, in the Twelve Steps to Recovery;
as to its relations, in the Twelve Points to Secure Our Future,
sometimes called the Twelve Points of Tradition.
Movement represents a spiritual ideal in process of growth. It
can be imperiled by secular problems of money, property and authority.
These problems are involved with organization. Development of
organizational structure is intimidate to A.A. as a Movement.
Organization, therefore, has been and should continue to be kept
to a minimum. As the Movement grows the need for Organization
diminishes. Most of the problems of relations are coming to be
handled by local and regional groups and committees, functioning
autonomously, which is as it should be.
Twelve Points of Tradition developed out of concern for the common
welfare of A.A.. They are applicable at all levels: individual,
group, regional and central. Among other things the Twelve Points
reaffirm out of experience that God alone is our ultimate authority;
that we have but one primary purpose-- to carry the message to
the alcoholic who still suffers; that the principle of Anonymity
has primarily a spiritual significance -- to practice a truly
humble modesty; that A.A. should remain forever non-professional
and that only special services in extraordinary circumstances
should be paid for; that the least possible organization is required;
that all contributions are to be purely voluntary and the accumulation
of excess funds discouraged; and that matters of business, policy,
money and property should be separated from the spiritual concerns
of A.A. to the extent of delegating such affairs to appropriate
Alcoholic Foundation is such an instrumentality at the national
level. The Trustees (Directors) comprise five non-alcoholics and
four alcoholics. The Trustees are subordinate to the Movement;
they do not initiate activities nor administer them, nor, in the
first instance, deal with questions of "medium" gravity. They
do have jurisdiction over matters of large contract and important
policy and in all matters they constitute a tribunal of final
Trustees are primarily custodians of money, policy and tradition.
More concretely, they have custody of the funds contributed by
Groups and derived from the sale of the book Alcoholics Anonymous
and the monthly publication The A.A. Grapevine, although
the latter is not yet self-supporting; they maintain a general
headquarters office to deal with inquiries from individuals and
Groups; they conduct certain necessary business and legal affairs;
they endeavor to protect the Movement from objectionable publicity
where the problem cannot feasibly be handled at a local level;
in general, they strive to safeguard the established tradition
and policies derived from the thoughts and experiences of members
more concretely, the Trustees feel that they will best safeguard
the established tradition of A.A. by seeing to the application
of the Twelve Points of Tradition to A.A. activities at their
central point, insofar as practicable, in the following respects;
compliance in spirit and letter with the principle of Anonymity;
rotation in office or position; observance of appropriate standards
in compensation of paid workers; limitation of volume and scope
of activities at the general headquarters office; and inauguration
of a program of gradual decentralization of headquarters activities
to the end that the responsibility of "carrying the message" may
be gradually assumed by local groups and committees.
the Trustees feel that in order fully to carry on the duties with
which they are charged the independence of the Foundation must
be observed in respect of its constituency and its proceedings.
is the considered judgement of your Trustees that if the A.A.
Movement remains unshackled by the fetters of organization and
is kept free from the corroding effect of political procedures
which stem from over-organization, it will grow in vast numbers
and beneficent influence among those who are open to its message.
Statement of Principles was transcribed from a copy that was sent
to Clarence by Royal S. who was a member of the "Orthodox Movement"]