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The 12 Traditions of ACA

During our journey through ACA we come to understand that the Twelve Steps provide direction for us on an individual level, while the Twelve Traditions provide comparable guidance to ACA groups and the service structure. The ACA Traditions outline fellowship unity, group autonomy, and the ultimate authority of ACA - a loving Higher Power - as expressed in our group conscience. The Traditions offer wisdom on being self-supporting as a fellowship and on avoiding promotion when attracting new members. There is also guidance on the use of special workers who make Twelfth Step work possible. The ACA Traditions frame our leadership style in the language of being a trusted servant. We avoid a style of governance or authority over another When asked to serve, we lead by example rather than by directive. With the Twelve Traditions, we sustain ACA groups that allow the ACA Solution of reparenting one's self to emerge and thrive. 

ACA Traditions

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on ACA unity.

  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as expressed in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.

  3. The only requirement for membership in ACA is a desire to recover from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family.

  4. Each group is autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or ACA as a whole. We cooperate with all other Twelve-Step programs.

  5. Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the adult child who still suffers.

  6. An ACA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the ACA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

  7. Every ACA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

  8. Adult Children of Alcoholics should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

  9. ACA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

  10. Adult Children of Alcoholics has no opinion on outside issues; hence the ACA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, films, and other public media.

  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.


The Twelve Traditions are reprinted and adapted from the original Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and are used with the permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

- Excerpts from The Big Red Book, page 489, "Chapter 19: The Twelve Traditions of ACA"

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Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families

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