One Size Fits All


Our Common Welfare is First – Tradition 1 is Number One

Problems of personality? Solved!

Problems of leaders that govern? Solved!

Problems of opinion? Solved!

Problems of disenfranchised members? Solved!

Problems of old versus young, women versus men, black versus white, gay verse straight – all solved!


Our “One Size Fits All” Solution

Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on A.A. unity. Our collective A.A. mandate, in simple terms, seems too simple to be remembered. We complicate it or dress it up and then we forget how simple it is. That’s when other things become more important. We forget, first doesn’t mean second, third or fourth, It means first.

The moment we find ourselves collectively stuck or at personal odds with one another, it’s easy to see that our common welfare is not number one. The 12 steps make the point: to skip over a step is to screw up the recovery process. If we do a step 4 before working steps 1, 2 and 3 – it’s not a fourth step. In order to receive a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, it is necessary to work them in order – starting with step one. This surely means that the 12 steps are written in the order of importance. And so it is with the 12 traditions. The only tradition that’s more important is the one that precedes it.

I guess everyone that’s been around the program has witnessed our forever and reappearing fights about autonomy. If we take tradition 4 separately and talk about autonomy, we can argue for months and only find new resentments. But the moment we connect autonomy to our common welfare and unity, the discussion changes. It becomes freeing and uniting at the same time. Every one of us, at every level, is better at service when we understand that our number one priority is spreading tradition one.

Everything else comes after that.

Tradition 1 and the Group Service Representative (GSR)

With our common welfare first, the GSR mandate is all about unity because our personal recovery depends on it. The GSR, being the information carrier for the group, doesn’t need to attend a “GSR University”. The GSR only needs to understand that the service position is to simply unite us. Any GSR that keeps his general members informed and carries the word of his group for the purpose of unity, is a good GSR serving our common welfare through unity.

Tradition 2 and the Chairperson

For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as he may express himself through our group conscious. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern. Cults can only happen when leaders govern. Tradition two doesn’t suggest, nor does it leave any wiggle room. A loving higher power in our group conscious and our leaders being but trusted servants make it very clear. The mandate of the chairperson is to facilitate our common welfare for the purpose of our unity.

Tradition 3 and the Treasurer

The only requirement is a desire to stop drinking. The treasurer’s service mandate is to keep our anonymous contributions tallied so our funds can serve the group’s conscious. The treasurer is in direct service to the common welfare and unity of the group.

Tradition 4 and the Secretary

Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole. The secretary’s mandate is to remind us what our group conscience is or was. This service position is to keep the group steadfast and united. To ensure that every endeavor the group might engage in is directed by a group conscience. That is, in every way, about our common welfare and unity.

Tradition 5 and Public information (PI), Hospitals and Institutions (H&I), and Literature Representatives

Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic that still suffers. The literature rep keeps us prepared for the still suffering incomer and for visitors. PI and H&I spearhead our outreach mandate. Their efforts to pique interest and reach the still suffering alcoholic is the open display of our common welfare and unity.

When our common welfare and unity is first, the service mandate is simpler.

GSRs go to intergroup to serve our common welfare and unity. Intergroup representatives act as GSR’s at region to serve our common welfare and unity. Delegates from region act as GSR’s at GSO etc. to serve our common welfare and unity. So how is it that we forget so easily? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother discussion. 😉

But if I ever find an A.A. problem that can’t be solved by each side putting our common welfare and unity first, you will surely hear about it – I will eat my hat!!

Greg M.
GSR, Stuttgart Serenity Seekers
Chair, Rhein-Neckar Intergroup



Editor’s note: this article has been published in accordance with our ArenA Editorial Policy.