Saturday, September 17, 2011

The 12 Traditions Ruined the AA Program

In 1938 Associates of Rockefeller formed a tax-free charitable trust in New York, called Alcoholic Foundation. It's founding Trustees were Willard Richardson, who was in charge of all Rockefeller Church charities, Frank Amos, who was one of the best friends of Rockefeller and an advertising man, their lawyer John Wood, and two alcoholics, Dr. Bob whose house mortgage had been cleared by Rockefeller by giving him $3000, and Bill R., an alcoholic from New York who soon relapsed. (Pass it On [PIO], page 188) Dr. Bob, being in Akron and also a minority, had little say in the functioning of the trust. So you can see that the Alcoholic Foundation was nothing but one of the organizations of Rockefeller. Check this site to understand Rockefeller's involvement in the pharmaceutical cartels: and

Now the Alcoholic Foundation and Rockefeller did not finance the alcoholics in writing their book, but instead asked them to sell off their book for a song to Harpers. So the poor alcoholics raised $7500 from amongst themselves and formed the Works Publishing Inc. Bill and Hank who actually wrote and published the book kept 33% of the Shares each. Thus they somehow, with great difficulty, managed to publish the Big Book in 1939.

But the book did not sell too well in the first two years. Bill & Lois were desperate as they didn't even have a place to stay. Lois was always a cheerful woman, even in desperate times. The one exception to Lois’s good cheer—in Feb 1940 while walking down the stairs at the Grand Central Station, she suddenly sat down and started weeping. ‘Would they never have a home of their own? Would they never stop moving around?’ (PIO, page 216) And it looks like Rockefeller took advantage of this too. He threw a big dinner party for the alcoholics that month, and raised $2000 for them.

After the dinner the trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation started giving direction to the Fellowship (PIO page 234). After the book started selling well, some of the subscribers to the Works Publishing Inc. began to demand a share of the profits. However the Alcoholic Foundation, with Bill’s help (pg.235 Pass it On, which was written by the foundation) bought off all the shares of the members, conning Hank to surrender his 33% share. The foundation which could not get money from Rockefeller to help the alcoholics to write the book, now could obtain a lone to buy off the alcoholics! Thus the Alcoholic Foundation, which was a Rockefeller charitable trust, became the owners of everything that the AA founding members had achieved with so much hardship. And the 49 alcoholics who in 1938 had contributed towards writing of the book, and Hank who had 33% share in it, lost their royalties and only Bill was given royalties from the Big Book. And Bill who didn’t even have a place to stay in 1940 became the owner of his palatial mansion at Bedford Hill, New York.

Now the original AA program was a simple four-step program: See page 8 of the AA Archives document on:  . When an alcoholic came to them, the founders admitted him in hospital for a few days, where one of the recovered alcoholics like Dr. Bob would counsel him with the help of the inventory analysis and they would kneel or sit quiet for an hour of meditation. And after the alcoholic’s release from hospital he would go and make his amends, and do the inventory he had learned and meditate regularly. This was the simple path that the founders of our program followed, which they have said rarely failed. You can read my story on how I found what the original AA program was from this chapter from my book ‘12 Steps in a Day: The Lost Path’ on this link:

As the Big Book was written for alcoholics in other cities and distant places where the suffering alcoholics would not have a recovered alcoholic to counsel and do their inventory analysis for them, the Big Book suggested for them to write their own inventory and then go and share it with some other person. In this way their original program was changed into the suggested 12 Step program for the distant alcoholics. The original program had been effective because in it the inventory was used as an aid, by the recovered alcoholic who had already been analyzed, to analyze the suffering alcoholic. However the new 12 Step program, by splitting the inventory and its sharing into two separate steps lost the effective psychoanalysis element of the original program, unless it was explained to the alcoholic by another recovered person. (Today members are not even aware that they can use the 4th and 5th step to quickly eliminate anger and other debilitating emotions from their day to day life.)

Till the Big Book was written most of the original 100 alcoholics could not help other alcoholics through the steps as they did not have any written direction on the inventory. But after the inventory directions were written in the Big Book in 1939, they too started taking alcoholics through the Steps in 3 or 4 hours, as Dr Bob used to (see Big Book 3rd Ed. pg. 292). By the end of 1939 the 100 members grew to 400, by 1940 the 400 became 2000, and by 1941 they had grown to 8000.

The pharmaceutical industry’s profits depend on people suffering from illness. And alcohol is known to cause liver, heart and many other sicknesses. So an alcoholic staying sick is a source of income for the pharmaceuticals. So many alcoholics recovering so quickly was definitely a threat to the pharmaceutical kingpin Rockefeller’s profits. So we can see that it was in the interest of Rockefeller and his Alcoholic Foundation to see to it that the powerful original program of AA was made ineffective. This they did by making the 12 Traditions. And they could use Bill to make the 12 Traditions for them because Bill suffered from depression between 1944 and 1955. And he had even stopped working the Steps, for PIO page 298 says ‘Above all, Bill believed that his depressions were perpetuated by his own failure to work the A.A. Steps.’

The 12 Points, which later became the 12 Traditions, were written in 1946, during the first debilitating phase of his depression from 1944 to 1946, when it used to be difficult for him to even get out of bed over long periods of time. (PIO page 293) And Bill wrote the 12 by 12 book in 1951 and 1952 when ‘he was suffering from almost constant depression and was forced to confront the emotional and spiritual demons that remain “stranded” in the alcoholic psyche when the high tide of active alcoholism recedes.’ (PIO pg.352).

Till the traditions came, AA was simply there to help those who were afflicted, or the suffering alcoholics. But this took a back seat in the traditions. In Tradition One says that AA’s welfare comes first. So with this tradition the most important thing, what come first in AA is to take care of AA and not the suffering alcoholic. So whenever there is a conflict between the welfare of AA and the welfare of the suffering alcoholic, it becomes binding on the members to sacrifice the suffering alcoholic’s welfare or the suffering alcoholic. What a shame!

Till the 12 Traditions were made personal recovery depended on taking the Steps but the Tradition One says that it depends on our unity. So the traditions saw to it that members did not consider the steps so important. Also in the 1st Tradition (Long Form) we can see that the Traditions were made on a false premise: that most of us alcoholics would die if AA dies, and so AA's welfare must come first. But the Big Book, page 98, clearly says, "Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man (alcoholic) that he can get well regardless of anyone (including AA members)."

The 12 Traditions made it binding on the members to follow the suggested 12 step program which was not the effective original path that the founders had followed. Books or literature on following the original program could not be used in AA. The Beginners Meetings that many groups had started in 1941, when large number of alcoholics started coming to AA, to take the alcoholics quickly through the steps had to close down after the 12 Traditions were formally adopted, in 1950/51.

The Big Book say on page 55 that God could only be found deep down within ourselves. ‘In the last analysis it is only there that He can be found.’ And it immediately follows this by saying that ‘If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway.” This meant that alcoholics could join them in AA only if they took the steps to search diligently within to find God. The requirement for membership was taking the steps. When the requirement for membership as well as the requirement for staying sober or recovery were both the same their unity was assured, even without the Traditions.

The 12 Traditions however changed the requirement for membership so that anybody who just said he was an alcoholic could become a member, probably because Bill himself had stopped working the steps. This new requirement encouraged members to stay in AA without working the Steps, and the recovery rate of AA fell.

Practically everything that an AA group does in some way or the other affects the other groups, or AA as a whole. In Tradition Four (Long Form), it says, "And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect AA as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation." Thus Tradition Four made it binding on all groups to take authority from the Alcoholic Foundation, which was a trust formed by a pharmaceutical giant. The result of this has been that the they systematically saw to it that the AA program lost its effectiveness over the years. So much so that the program which had made the fellowship multiply 4 and 5 times a year in the initial years of AA, increasing from 100 to 100,000 in ten years, is now taking over 20-30 years just to double – 1 million members in 1975, and 2 million members only after 1995, and still only about 2 million in 2010. Also when Bill W discovered around 1960 that 66 percent of the alcoholics can recover by merely taking Vitamin B3 with a proper hypoglycemic diet, the Trustees, most of whom were doctors,  invoked the Traditions and refused to allow him to share about his greatest discovery in AA. Do read Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism by Abram Hoffer, who was Bill W physician. Much of the book can also be read on Amazon:

While Bill was down with depression and deluded about the Traditions, AA co-founder Dr. Bob who took 4800 alcoholics through the Steps in 8 years (2922 days) at the St Thomas Hospital in Akron, said that the Traditions were too unwieldy and never approved the traditions till the fellowship had somehow got the Traditions approved. But the AA members were never told about this. The Alcoholic Foundation (General Service Board) which controls what is written in the AA literature has taken great troubles in hiding this fact. I was fortunate to see through it:

In ‘Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers’, published in 1980, on page 325 it says, ‘It was not until 1950 and Dr. Bob’s last appearance at a large A.A. gathering—the First International Convention, in Cleveland—that he agreed to confirm the Twelve Traditions.’ From this I had gathered that Dr Bob had approved the 12 Traditions. But later on when I checked the book ‘Pass it On,’ published in 1984, I found on pages 338-339 that Bill had presented the 12 Traditions as a natural corollary of the 12 Steps and got the Traditions adopted officially for A,A., without any discussion on them, on Saturday, July 29, 1950, by a standing vote of those present at the Cleveland convention. And Dr. Bob’s last appearance was on the next day July 30, 1950. So you can see that Dr. Bob never approved the traditions but only agreed to confirm them as the Traditions had already been adopted by AA. Clarence Snyder’s book says that the convention was held in Cleveland because Cleveland was the strongest AA fellowship then, and the whole Cleveland contingent had walked out when the Traditions were adopted as Bill at the convention instead of them being adopted after a proper discussion at a service committee meeting or conference.

From the above discussion, I hope it is quite evident that the 12 Traditions have made the groups, committee and members puppets in the hands of the General Service Board of AA (or NAWS) and are doing more harm to the fellowship than helping it. It is about time to get rid of the Traditions. As long as members take the Steps and clean house, all will be well, even if the Traditions were not there. It's about time to educate the AA (NA) members about this and get rid of the AA GSO (NAWS).

In order to make it easy for addicts and alcoholics to take the 12 Steps in just 3 or 4 hours like the founders of the 12 Steps took their Steps, in order to calm their emotions, improve relationships and overcome their addiction and other problems I have written the book 12 Steps in a Day: The Lost Path


  1. Also note that Clarence Snyder's Biography book which can be read on the internet says that the obituary of Frank Amos,the founding trustee of the Alcoholics Foundation, says the he was one of the five co-founders of AA.

    1. That is horrible only diference is I do not think 12 steps can be donein a jiffy
      BE blessed

  2. I don't think the traditions are the main reason why AA is corrupt. I think that the key problem with AA is that it blames the victim and relabels blaming the victim as something like taking responsibility. The concept runs throughout the steps and the Big Book (the main text of AA) but is perhaps most clear on p.62:

    "Selfishness--self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt" (p.62).

    Blaming the victim as a cultural trait works to explain why AA blames anyone who doesn't do well in AA, which is about 95% of the people who try it, as well as why Newcomers are blamed if they become 13th Stepped, and, of course, for any other psychological abuse that older members inflict on newer ones.