Tradition 2

Short Form:

“For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as he may express himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.”

Long Form:

“For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience.”


Overriding Idea of T2:
God Speaks Through His Kids


Reading Assignment:
12&12: Pgs. 132-138

From the Foreword of the 12 & 12:  “A.A.’s Twelve Traditions apply to the life of the Fellowship itself. They outline the means by which A.A. maintains its unity and relates itself to the world about it, the way it lives and grows.”



In a relationship based upon the Traditions there is no such thing as individual authority. All decisions are arrived at by a majority agreement, reached after all elements of the problem or situation have been considered and a Higher Power has been contacted for guidance in the making of the decisions (an informed group conscience). Unfortunately, however, many times our relationships are unhealthy due to the dominance of one person or the other. The uninformed often times feels he/she has the ability to “know best” for its individual participants and tries to impose this attitude of “playing God” in the relationship.

All my life I feared authority. I had a very strange idea about it. I didn’t like anybody else’s authority. I only liked my own authority. Maybe it is not so strange if you’re a sick alcoholic like me. But I certainly did not have any respectful attitude for authority.

My first successful experience in not being fearful of authority was in A.A.. I did not fear my sponsor but relied on him. I saw my sponsor as the expression of a loving God. My second experience in not being fearful was when I started listening to the group conscience. The more I followed what I heard in A.A. through the group conscience, the better my life became. Gradually I have extended this trust in the group in A.A. to that of the world. Tradition 2 encourages me to listen in order to have good relationships with you and to trust you as part of the group conscience. God may, just may, be speaking through you.

Life forces me to become an elder statesman or a bleeding deacon. The group conscience will correct me if I am out of line and I have a choice to complain like a bleeding deacon or lead by humble example like an elder statesman.

THANK GOD A.A. is SELF-CLEANING (with God’s help of course).

Step-Tradition Parallel

Each tradition answers the question raised by the parallel step. The second step raises the question of how I can come to believe and what is sanity. I came to believe by trusting the group conscience in A.A., and then I began to trust God and eventually the world. The experience of trusting A.A. to keep me sober is the experience that gave me confidence in God and in you. This is how the second tradition helped me to come to believe.

(Excerpts from the text above come from the Traditions Study developed by the Unity Insures Recovery Through Service A.A. Group, Los Angeles, CA.)


Tradition Illustrated



As it states at the top of this page, the 12 Traditions were created to help each A.A. group maintain unity and relate better to the world about us.  With that in mind, they have been widely used in helping us learn how to be in better relationships with everyone in our life.  Below is a snapshot inventory you can take to see how well you are honoring the spiritual principle found in this Tradition (in and out of the rooms of A.A.).

(The foundation of this inventory is from the A.A. Tradition’s Checklist first published in the A.A. Grapevine)

  1. Do I criticize or do I trust and support my group officers, AA committees, and office workers? Newcomers? Long-timers?
  2. Am I absolutely trustworthy, even in secret, with AA Twelfth Step jobs or other AA responsibility?
  3. Do I look for credit in my AA jobs? Praise for my AA ideas?
  4. Do I have to save face in group discussion, or can I yield in good spirit to the group conscience and work cheerfully along with it?
  5. Although I have been sober a few years, am I still willing to serve my turn at AA chores?
  6. In group discussions, do I sound off about matters on which I have no experience and little knowledge?
  7. Why is it necessary that a healthy relationship be one in which the members are equals?
  8. How do you feel and react when someone tries to or dominates in your relationships?
  9. Do you have an inherent tendency to dominate people around you? How can you correct his defect of character?
  10. Are you someone who is always willing to allow someone else to take control and then complains because you don’t like what was done, yet were unable to make a decision yourself?
  11. What is the difference between suggestions, advice, and guidance?
  12. Is God or a Higher Power the only authority in your relationships? How does this Higher Power express Himself to you when making any decisions?
  13. Why is it necessary to give the minority opinion an open-minded evaluation in a group conscience?
  14. Why is humility a necessary ingredient in applying Tradition II to your relationships?