The Twelve Traditions
Take One, cynically--
- Common warfare should always come first. Fight your personal battles on your own time.
- Scientists don't recognize any higher authority. Lead, follow, or get out of the goddamned way.
- The only requirement for membership is a desire to fuck or get fucked.
- Each academic group should protect its own turf to the death, unless the level of violence threatens
to be taken as a sign of weakness by the barbarian hordes ever clamoring outside the gates.
- Each academic group has gotta recruit; hence, it is imperative that you take as many hostages as
- Get money, property, prestige, or power any way and anywhere you can--but make sure it looks
- Keep your turf boundaries tidy. Don't let outsiders fight for you; don't fight for outsiders. No
hostages from other turfs, unless it looks like they wanted to defect.
- The illusion of professional ethics is the most powerful weapon we have. Don't get caught fucking
your students, fudging your research findings, or hiring your relatives. All of this can be done with
complete social approval at a higher level of abstraction, or in specific circumstances for what seem
at the time to be good pragmatic reasons.
- The sewers run in a specific direction; don't shit upstream. Keeping the pipes flowing is
everybody's business. Waste treatment hierarchies are there to help you.
- Stoolies will be taken outside and shot.
- Image is everything. We never "force" anybody to do what we can convince them they secretly
want to do anyway. Look good, sound good, smell good.
- Above all else, you're not here and this ain't happening.
Take Two, disintegratively--
- We can only be healed if our group stays healthy.
- An academic addict needs an A.A. "leader" or "authority" like s/he needs a second belly button.
Authority addictions are among the hardest to shake.
- The only thing you need to do to belong to A.A. is want to stop reading and writing, teaching and
studying, publishing and publicizing.
- There are no subgroups or plenary groups or other institutional hierarchies in A.A.
- Each group has a single main purpose: to welcome the academic who still suffers.
- Academic addicts are people hooked on publicity. Recovery means not needing to motivate action
through money, property, prestige, or other ego boosts. No endorsements, sponsorships, or
- Don't take anybody else's money, either. Remember the perks of academia--the free phone calls,
photocopying, paper, pens and pencils, the free travel to conferences and collections--and beware.
- Academics Anonymous is an ongoing process of untraining in unprofessionalism. We don't want
to be or to have trained professionals in addiction counseling.
- A.A. is not an institution and has no institutional organization. We especially shun the institutional
structures of academia (we need no A.A. provosts, deans, chairs, etc.). Thus the importance of
thinking of these Traditions as traditions, and not, say, as by-laws--and really believing that
thinking of them as traditions actually keeps them from being or becoming by-laws.
- Expertise addicts in recovery have no opinion on any issues at all, inside or outside, or any sense of
the difference between inside and outside. They have no desire to enter public debate in the name
of Academics Anonymous.
- Publicity addicts in recovery have no need to promote themselves or their group. Anonymity flows
out of the loss of self.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to put ego-loss
before principles or personalities.
Back to AA contents.
Forward to Our Symbol.
Copyright 1993 Doug Robinson and Bill Kaul