The aa 7th tradition addresses the need to be self-supporting. In precise terms, the 7th tradition clearly advises against asking for help. This might seem a bit contradictory as we’re often encouraged to seek help. But when adequately explained and understood, it becomes clear that it actually supports the principles of recovery. The Seventh Tradition enjoins all AA groups to be totally self-supporting, completely refusing contributions from outsiders. This rule reinforces the messages of Tradition Four and Tradition Six, both of which cover the topics of Autonomy and withholding endorsements, respectively. This 7th tradition aa groups adhere to encourages us to reject help when it is not needed. It delineates the necessity to personally accomplish those tasks within our means.
Seeking and accepting financial help even when unnecessary, was an integral part of being an addict and alcoholic. And as much as loved ones might think they’re helping us by offering unsolicited financial support, they might unwittingly be enablers. This is why it is necessary that we’re able to reject nonessential help, thereby refusing to be enabled.
The seventh aa traditions history talks about a time the groups needed money and contemplated accepting the donation of ten thousand dollars from a woman’s will. Their decision to reject the money was reached when they realized that there were many other such donations left in wills and testaments out there. And if they accepted one, they would have to accept the others. This might result in the group becoming too rich, and increase the risk of outside influence.
The aa seventh tradition is beneficial to both the individual and the group as a whole. Addicts and alcoholics often lose all their worldly possessions and join AA groups as indigents. Because no registration fee is required before becoming a member, this does not stop them from entering the group. But as they become sober and begin to progress, they are encouraged to start participating financially in the group by contributing to the basket when it is passed around at meetings. This serves the dual purpose of making them responsible and also providing an avenue for them to give back to the group.
For the group, tradition 7 provides much-needed Autonomy and protection from outside influence. It is a popular truth that he who pays the piper calls the tune. To prevent this, AA groups operate from donations from its members, and politely turns down all donations from outsiders, no matter how well-intentioned. This independence also often enhances the dignity of the individual. After a long time of depending on others for handouts, being able to depend on himself to take care of his needs and those of his group helps build his confidence.
By making the irresponsible become responsible, vis-à-vis financial independence, Alcoholic Anonymous is able to engrain the virtues of independence with self-sufficiency in its groups. As tradition 7 teaches the beauty of giving instead of always taking, members are taught to serve those who are indeed in need. They are reminded that they are not the only ones with struggles. There are people in the same situation or even worse off, and they need our help. The more we practice this way of life, the more we realize that it applies to other aspects of life as well.
Completely accepting the Seventh Tradition means refusing to be enabled and eschewing selfishness and greed. We also assert independence by earning our desires and only asking for spiritual and emotional help. This will help us acquire the responsibility we need to stay sober.