by Carla H.
An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. —Tradition Six
Only after some time (and the miracle happening) could anyone, especially me, see the reason for this Tradition. When I was new I had so much enthusiasm for everything about A.A. I wanted to bring the message to the world, and cash in on my life-changing seminars that people would pay handsomely for. But I had no path forward.
I really had no ability or desire to make plans or take steps to make anything real. That would involve actual work. No, thank you. All I wanted to take was the easy way. Which meant doing nothing and hoping something good like fame and fortune would come of it.
Literature has at least one example of an A.A. money-making scheme that failed
When A. A. was new, some members may have had thoughts like mine. After all, this is a life-saving program. Who wouldn’t want to share the joyous news with whoever would listen? The world could be a better place and we can make that happen. We might even get rich and famous trying! Especially if someone has been poor, or lost everything due to alcoholism, they might want to profit from sharing this miracle cure with others.
Our literature gives at least one example of a money-making proposition that failed: A.A. hospitals. The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions states that the hospitals project “bogged down because you cannot put an A.A. group into business; too many busybody cooks spoil the broth.” It also states that A.A. got involved in legislative committee meetings and “agitated for legal reform … We saw we’d soon be mired in politics.”
Tradition Six reminds us of our primary purpose
Fortunately, those experiences became cautionary tales early A.A.s heeded after losing money and serenity trying to profit from what we have to offer. I often hear in meetings from fellow A.A.s who think the traditions are dull. I find them so useful in reminding me to be right-sized, to respect the members who came before and remember those around me today. Tradition Six reminds me our primary purpose, to stay sober and help others who want to recover, comes first. What’s more, our primary purpose really is our only purpose. And we don’t need money, property or prestige to pursue it.