About The Second Tradition

The second of the 12 Traditions addresses the leadership aspect of AA. The group must come to the understanding that the one true leader of the group is God or the “higher power”. No individual directs an AA group. No individual for that matter can control or hold a level of authority over any other member of the group. When a decision is made, it does not rest in the hands of one individual. In connection with the first tradition of unity, decisions must be left up to the group. This means that ideas and concerns of either side must be addressed before making a decision.

This should not be confused with the leadership roles of the group. These roles include area representatives, secretary, and treasurer. Once again, these are not roles that give them the power to govern or make decisions on behalf of the entire group. Another set of “leaders” are those who lead their fellow members using their ability to advise people who seek it. They are known as “spiritual leaders.” They may not have all the answers, but they know enough to answer any question that’s asked.

The idea of leading as a group instead of an individual strengthens the intent to make sure that every group member is included in any discussion and is not left out in the cold. All AA groups strive to have every member begin and end their journey towards sobriety together without having to lose one of their own in the process.

If one were designated as a leader and ran it like a dictatorship, the morale of the group would be low, and cohesion would suffer. At the same time, it would be pointless for a group to “elect” a leader. In politics, candidates have their different views, ideas, and agendas, but in an AA group, there is one clear view and idea. To live a fulfilling life without having to struggle with alcohol addiction. In AA, no member is considered “popular” or an outcast of the group.

The second tradition must always defer to God or the higher power for supreme authority. No trust should be placed in a single individual. Instead, the trust should placed in themselves and each other. The group itself can make good decisions after a healthy discussion. As long as there is unity within the group, they can trust one another to lead together.