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The Three Legacies:

Al-Anon's Guiding Principles

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Al-Anon has three sets of guiding principles adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous, referred to as our Three Legacies. They include:


Suggested Preamble to the Twelve Steps

The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems. We believe alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.


Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.

Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.


The Twelve Steps

12 Steps

Study of these Steps is essential to progress in the Al-Anon program. The principles they embody are universal, applicable to everyone, whatever his personal creed. In Al-Anon, we strive for an ever-deeper understanding of these steps, and pray for the wisdom to apply them to our lives.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Traditions

12 Trads
These are Al-Anon’s 12 Traditions. These guidelines are the means of promoting harmony and growth in Al-Anon groups and in the world-wide fellowship of Al-Anon as a whole. Our group experience suggests that our unity depends upon our adherence to these Traditions.

1. ​Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends on unity.

3. The relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or a friend.

5. Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.

7. Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

9. Our groups, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion we need always to maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV and films. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.

2. For our group purpose there is but one authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern. 

4. Each group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole.

6. Our Al-Anon Family Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim.

8. Al-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

10. The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.

The Twelve Concepts of Service

12 Concepts
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are guides for personal growth and group unity. The Twelve Concepts are guides for service. They show how Twelve Step work can be done on a broad scale and how members of a World Service Office can relate to each other and to the groups, through a World Service Conference, to spread Al-Anon’s message worldwide.

1. The Ultimate Responsibilty and Authority for Al-Anon World Services Belongs to the Al-Anon Groups. 

3. The Right of Decision Makes Effective Leadership Possible.​

5. The Rights of Appeal and Petition Protect Minorities and Assure That They Be Heard.

7. The Trustees have Legal Rights While the Rights of the Conference are Traditional.

9. Good Personal Leadership at All Service Levels is a Necessity. In the Field of World Service the Board of Trustees Assumes the Primary Leadership.

11. The World Service Office is Composed of Selected Committees, Executives and Staff Members.

2. The Al-Anon Family Groups Have Delegated Complete Administrative and Operational Authority to their Conference and its Service Arms.

4. Participation is the Key to Harmony.

6. The Conference Acknowledges the Primary Administrative Responsibility of the Trustees.

8. The Board of Trustees Delegates Full Authority for Routine Management of Al-Anon Headquarters to its Executive Committees.

10. Service Responsibility is Balanced by Carefully Defined Service Authority and Double-Headed Management is Avoided.

12. The Spiritual Foundation for Al-Anon’s World Services is Contained in the General Warranties of the Conference, Article 12 of the Charter:
In all proceedings the World Service Conference of Al-Anon shall observe the spirit of the Traditions:

  1. that only sufficient operating funds, including an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle;

  2. that no Conference member shall be placed in unqualified authority over other members;

  3. that all decisions be reached by discussion vote and whenever possible, by unanimity;

  4. that no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy;

  5. that though the Conference serves Al-Anon, it shall never perform any act of government; and that, like the fellowship of Al-Anon Family Groups which it serves, it shall always remain democratic in thought and action.

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