Tradition Ten (Short): Cocaine Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the C.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
Tradition Ten (Long): No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues—particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.
AA, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, P. 178
“The Washingtonian Society, a movement among alcoholics which started in Baltimore a century ago, almost discovered the answer to alcoholism. At first, the society was composed entirely of alcoholics trying to help one another. The early members foresaw that they should dedicate themselves to this sole aim…Their membership passed the hundred thousand mark… Instead, the Washingtonians permitted politicians and reformers, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic, to use the society for their own purposes…Soon, Washingtonian speakers violently and publicly took sides on this question…it didn’t have a chance from the moment it determined to reform America’s drinking habits. When the Washingtonians became temperance crusaders, within a very few years they had completely lost their effectiveness in helping alcoholics. The lesson to be learned from the Washingtonians was not overlooked by Alcoholics Anonymous. As we surveyed the wreck of that movement, early A.A. members resolved to keep our Society out of public controversy.”
Clarifying Questions and Answers:
Q: What should no C.A. Group or individual member do? A: No opinion on outside issues.
Q: This applies particularly to what? A: Controversial issues—particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion.
Q: Who does C.A. oppose? A: No one.
Q: Aside from our Program of Recovery, our Traditions and our Concepts, on what may we express our views? A: None.
- Am I ever mindful that Cocaine Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues, especially when I share my personal experiences concerning treatment centers, churches, hospitals, jails, and my opinions about such topics as alcohol, legalizing marijuana, religion, etc.?
- Do I understand that if Cocaine Anonymous expressed any opinions on outside issues, it could create exclusion and controversy?
- Do I make every effort not to breach this tradition, even in the slightest way?
- Do I continually remind myself that I cannot control anyone’s thinking or beliefs, especially other addicts, sponsees, etc.?
- At the group level, do I refrain from expressing my opinions on outside issues?