I posted this question, moons ago see # 1802 and was reminded by Arthur that
the card I purchased from a vendor at an AA function was a �creative
exercises of individual imagination�.
I am not an AA Historian; I just �try� to spend the gold the real Historians
�And Glen reminds us that: There are twelve "steps," twelve "traditions,"
and twelve "concepts," along with four "absolutes," seven "deadly sins,"
and so on, but there is no official list of twelve things (or four or seven
things) called "principles." It is just a general term referring to
any kind of AA policies, rules, guidelines, or program ideas��
Great info. on keeping it simple�..here we go�..�BUT�, being of magnified
mind and perhaps still suffering from �I need more input�, I wanted
something to aim at. At least if God removed my defect, and nature abhors a
vacuum, then the principle would automatically come in.
From an early post of AAHL concerning the single word principles�
They originated with a Texas Intergroup sometime around 1951, I think --
there's a copy of the original Intergroup sheet/flyer/whatever in the
Archives in NYC. They are not GSO literature, and as they date from the
time when the Conference had been established, they are at most local AA
literature. So far as I know "practice these principles" in Step 12 is
intended to refer to the Steps. -- Jared L.
If you really want a nice list of �principles,� there is a recent book by
Dick B. (published in 2000) entitled �By The Power Of God, A guide to Early
A.A. Groups & Forming Similar Groups Today�; see pages 190, 191, 192.
Finally, there were spiritual principles to be Practiced in daily living.
Principles from the Sermon On The Mount, from 1 Corinthians 13, from the
Book of James, from the Oxford Group's Four Absolutes, and from a number of
other biblical sources as well.
The Big Book reality does not specifically list the "Principles" or describe
the "works' that are to the follow the attaining of "Faith." But I believe
the following are among the principles the Big Book suggests should be
. (1) Relying upon God (Big Book 46, 50, 51-53, 68, 80, 98, 100, 120); (2)
Being rigorously honest (pp. 58, 64, 67,9 69, 73, 84, 86); (3) Eliminating
selfishness and self-centeredness (pp. 67-68, 84, 86, 145); (4) Eliminating
resentment, jealousy, and envy (pp. 64-67, 84, 86, 145); (5) Eliminating
fear (pp. 67-68, 84, 86, 145); (6) Practicing patience, tolerance,
kindliness, understanding, love, forgiveness, and helpfulness to others
(pp. 20, 77, 83, 84, 97, 118, 153). And there are additional Twelfth Step
principles embodying ideas of humility, forgiveness, and service (Big Book,
pp. 73, 77). Also, stressing overcoming the bondage of self, sharing by
confession, making restitution, reconciling, seeking guidance, and so on
(Big Book, pp. 63, 73, 76, 77, 85-88).
The Rev. Harry Almond said, of the biblical principles of the Oxford Group
(which contained many of A.A.'s roots): "A good place to start is with the
Ten Commandments. " In modern words, Almond summarized them as follows: (1)
You shall have no other gods before me. (2) You shall not make for yourself
a graven image ... or ... likeness. You shall not bow down to them or serve
them. (3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (4)
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (5) Honor your father and mother.
(6) You shall not kill. (7) You shall not commit adultery. (8) You shall not
steal. (9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (10) You
shall not covet.
And there were the Oxford Group's own spiritual principles of absolute
honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love from the Oxford Group's Four
Absolutes, which we have already discussed. As we have also discussed at
length, Professor Drummond in his The Greatest Thing in the World-which was
widely read and recommended in early A.A.-summarized the "love elements" of
I Corinthians 13 as follows: (1) Patience. (2) Kindness. (3) Generosity. (4)
Humility. (5) Courtesy. (6) Unslflshness. (7) Good Temper. (8)
Guilelessness. (9) Sincerity." These, said Drummond and Dr. Bob, were vital
elements in living the principles which Dr. Bob said could be simmered down
to "love and service." (Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers page 338.)
Many A.A. principles, detailed elsewhere, came from the Book of James and
include: (1) Patience. (2) Seeking the wisdom of God. (3) Avoiding
temptation. (4) Telling the truth. (5) Avoiding anger. (6) Studying the word
of God and "doing" it. (7) Helping the unfortunate. (8) Loving your
neighbor. (9) Avoiding adultery and killing. (10) Backing up faith with
works. (11) Bridling the tongue. (12) Avoiding envy and strife. (13)
Avoiding lying. (14) Avoiding selfish lusts. (15) Avoiding pride. (16)
Submitting to God. (17) Purifying hearts. (18) Being humble. (19) Avoiding
speaking evil of another. (20) Doing good. (21) Avoiding riches for the sake
of riches. (22) Avoiding grudges. (23) Avoiding swearing and false oaths.
(24) Relying on prayer. (25) Confessing faults. (26) Converting sinners from
the error of their ways. The following A.A. principles, detailed elsewhere,
seem to have come from the Sermon on the Mount: (1) Humility. (2)
Compassion. (3) Meekness. (4) Spotless conduct. (5) Making peace with
enemies. (6) Harmonizing actions with God's will. (7) Overcoming
resentments. (8) Making restitution. (9) Avoiding retaliation. (10)
Conducting prayers and good works anonymously. (11) Forgiving. (12) Seeking
God first. (13) Utilizing self- examination. (14) Doing the will of God.
(15) Being rigorously honest. (16) Avoiding evil. (17) Being unselfish. (18)
When I try and practice the 12 Steps, the 12 Traditions and the 12 Concepts,
the best I can at the time, they pretty much capture the principles noted by
Dick B. I still like it.
From: "Leo" <leo_carling@...
Date: Sun, 28 May 2006 23:42:05 -0000
What are the "Principles of the Program"? I've seen a few lists, each
with different content. Some common terms are: honesty, faith, courage,
willingness, humility and perseverance.
I can't find the information in any of the AA texts, therefore I assume
they aren't clearly defined. If there an official source for the
"Principles of the Program"?
From the moderator:
There are twelve "steps," twelve "traditions," and
twelve "concepts," along with four "absolutes," seven
"deadly sins," and so on, but there is no official
list of twelve things (or four or seven things) called
"principles." It is just a general term referring to
any kind of AA policies, rules, guidelines, or program
It's good to begin by going to the Message Board at
and doing a search for the word you're interested in.
A partial search which I just made for the word
"principles" turns up a large number of relevant
Messages 3116, 2908, 2899, 2522, 2521, 2520, 1973,
1972, and 1971.
To better understand how the word "principles" is
used in AA literature, it can be helpful to go to
a concordance to the Big Book, where one could look
at all the passages in the Big Book where that word
is used. Two useful concordances are:
I think that anyone who goes through all the different
kinds of usages of that word in the Big Book will
quickly see that it is just a very general kind of
term, and does not refer to some specific list of
twelve words, or whatever.
Glenn Chesnut (South Bend, Indiana)
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