The Play On Traditions

You can download it in a Microsoft Word document here or copy and paste from below. Very funny – great for conventions and AA parties.

PRODUCTION NOTES
This is readers’ theatre so you can do with no rehearsal, just a quick read-thru beforehand. However, if you have time, rehearsals are fun, you could think up some costumes and props. We’ve always done it without “real” actors! Nice to have someone with theatre background do the casting and “direction” but not necessary.

Parts can be assigned male or female. Actors need to change gender references throughout the script depending on what gender is cast in what role. Also, location references need to be changed to fit your area.

Actors sit in a semi-circle facing the audience. Can be at a table, but not necessary.

No need to read the stage directions (typed in italics) out loud during the production.

ACTORS: Take a yellow highlighter and highlight your lines so you won’t get lost. Enunciate and speak loudly. Hold your script off your lap so the audience can see your face as much as possible, helps them hear you also.

To be read as an introduction by either Newcomer, Delegate or the director:

THE PLAY tells the story of a confused Middletown AA group which is about five years old. The group grew quite rapidly during its first few years and at one time had about 150 members. However, for the past two years, attendance has been steadily falling off until there are now only 8 or 10 members left. See if you can guess why…

Most groups, from time to time, have had problems similar to those of Middletown. They have suffered from Promoters, Politicians, Bleeding Deacons, Little Red Riding Hoods, Romantic Triangles, and so forth.

However, AA Groups have not been divided by any controversial issue because when the chips are down, the Group Conscience does take over.

The Players are:
MONEYBAGS  Played by: _______________
EAGER BEAVER  Played by: _______________
POLITICIAN  Played by: _______________
FOUNDER  Played by: _______________
DELEGATE  Played by: _______________
NEWCOMER  Played by: _______________

THE PLAY opens at a special business meeting called to try to remedy a misguided situation.

THE PLAY begins with Moneybags sitting in the largest chair at the center of the table. There is an empty chair on her left and Eager Beaver is sitting in the next left chair.

Moneybags
You know, EAGER BEAVER, I was really surprised when the Founder agreed to this meeting tonight. I didn't think he would go for it at all.

Eager Beaver
Well, he probably didn't guess that we planned to get here early. You know, POLITICIAN is supposed to meet us here so we can try to get some plans made before the Founder arrives.

Moneybags
I hope POLITICIAN gets here before FOUNDER. We want to cook up some way to knock FOUNDER off his throne… or at least rock it a little.

Eager Beaver
Well, you know what the trouble is… He's just a dictator and he doesn't want to let anyone else do anything. When I was in Bigtown, I heard them talking about elections, and rotating leaders, and the group paying its own way… and a lot of stuff like that. But all FOUNDER does is hold on like grim death. He just won't let anyone else do anything.

Moneybags
Well… maybe it's all right. After all, FOUNDER is the Founder and he is supposed to know all about AA. I never heard of any of this stuff you ran into over in Bigtown, but I sure do know that our group has gone to pot.

Eager Beaver
I certainly hope when POLITICIAN gets here, we can think of something to do.

Moneybags
We have to do something soon, too. If FOUNDER should die, I'd have to take over the group, and I need to establish my authority ahead of time… I'm next in seniority, you know.

Eager Beaver
I don't care so much about that. I just don't like the way he does things. It just doesn't seem right. Oh, here's POLITICIAN now… Hi, POLITICIAN!

Politician enters and sits in chair second to the right of Moneybags.

Moneybags
Hi ya, POLITICIAN. We were just talking the situation over. Listen to what EAGER BEAVER has to say.

Eager Beaver
We've been talking about FOUNDER and the way he holds on to everything with an iron hand. I was just telling MONEYBAGS about when I went on vacation and attended an AA meeting in Bigtown. They sure don't do it the way we do it here at all. (To Moneybags) And you know that, too.

Moneybags
Well, all I know is what you told me… but you were saying something about some kind of elections. What was that all about?

Eager Beaver
The groups in Bigtown elect their leaders, and they have group secretaries and committees to run the meetings. They even invite other groups to take part in their meetings. They have dances and parties… all sorts of stuff we never even heard of around here.

Moneybags
(To Politician) Well, look, I'm only the financial brains around here, you're the politician! What do you think about having elections… And how would we hold one? How would we do it?

Politician
Hah! You and your money ought to be able to figure that one out. The big question is how are you going to handle FOUNDER?

Moneybags
Don't worry about that. I can handle him! But if you can tell me how to handle an election, we should be able to get something done.

Eager Beaver
Yes, I think we should start by having an election. But who's going to tell FOUNDER? I'd be afraid to. He might throw me right out of AA!

Moneybags
Well, I'm not afraid of him. I'll tell him.

Eager Beaver
Well, you've got your opportunity. Here comes Old Napoleon now.

FOUNDER enters and looks at everyone.

Founder
What the heck's going on here? I'm never late, so you must have come early. You weren't talking about Pops, I hope. (Walks over and stands behind Moneybags) Hey! What's the idea? Move over! Who said you could sit in my chair anyway?

Moneybags
Don't forget that I paid for it. I don't see why I can't sit in it once in a while when you're not here. (Moves to chair at Founder's left)

Founder
Just don't forget that it's my chair. After all, I am the Founder so I get to have the biggest chair. (Makes a Big Deal of getting into center chair.) Well, let's get busy. We've got to get people coming back to the meetings again and real quick!

Politician
(With sarcasm) Why don't you and MONEYBAGS pay them to come?

Founder
Will you stop interrupting!!! I've got a whole bunch of plans. I know what they need and I've got everything lined up.

First, we're going to have a TV program with O'Brien – Sheriff O'Brien, that is – and I'm going to be interviewed about all the good we've done people in this town. I'll tell them about how we are going to get O'Brien's backing, and I'll mention some of the outstanding bigshots in town who have been to our meetings… like Banker Jones and the Mayor's cousin and Doc Brown's ex-wife.

Also, I'm making a deal with Judge Jay so I can sit on the bench with him. We can comb over the likely-looking prospects and then I'll screen 'em. If they look like the kind I want in the group, I'll accept their applications and the Judge can sentence them to AA.

Eager Beaver
Isn't anyone supposed to be in AA if they want to?

Founder
Now, now, little girl, just listen to me. You're too new to know about all these things. After all, I've been sober five years now and I know what's best. The rest of you just listen and be loyal to me. After all, I started this group.  (Delegate enters) Who the heck are you and what do you want?

Delegate
My name is DELEGATE and I’m an Alcoholic. I'm a member of AA from Toledo, Ohio. I'm the delegate from my area to the General Service Conference and I  thought I'd stop by your beautiful island on my home from the Conference in Miami. I found your group listed in the World Directory, so I thought I'd visit you.

Eager Beaver
(To Politician) She sounds just like those people did in Bigtown. Remember what I told you? (To Delegate) What's a Conference?

Politician
What's General Service?

Moneybags
What "World Directory"?

Founder
Aawww, don't pay any attention to that sort of stuff. It's just a lot of rules and regulations they need in Miami. They wouldn't ever work in Middletown and we don't need 'em anyhow. I know what's best for us.

(To Delegate) We've got a real great group here. I started it myself and old MONEYBAGS here is my right hand. I've been sober for five years and I straightened MONEYBAGS up about three years ago.

Little EAGER BEAVER here has been around a couple of years, too, but she's still pretty wet behind the ears. She's always getting big ideas about doing things different.

My pal POLITICIAN is a newer addition, but boy, he sure knows how to get things done around City Hall. He’s only been off the stuff about ten months, so he's got a lot to learn, if he'll just start listening to me… (Looks back to Delegate) By the way, Babe, how long did you say you've been in this outfit?

Delegate
(Embarrassed) Well, I've been sober almost 15 years now, one day at a time.

Founder & Moneybags
FIFTEEN YEARS??????

Politician
Hey, FOUNDER, maybe you’d better move over and give her your chair!

Founder
(Loudly to Moneybags) Move over, you. I'm going to give my chair to this Oldtimer.

Moneybags
(To Eager Beaver) Move over, can't you!

Eager Beaver
(To Politician) Move over, can't you!

All shift around one chair to the right. Founder installs Delegate in large center chair with a lot of flourish.

Founder
There you are, Old Timer. Sit right down in my chair, right here in the center. Wel-l-I… Let's get this show on the road… (To Delegate) Did you hear my plans for getting the people back to the meetings?

Eager Beaver
That's all he ever does. He talks about what he's going to do, but he never seems to get around to doing anything. And he won't let anyone else do anything either. He just holds on like grim death. He calls the group his flower garden… I guess we're just his little weeds.

Politician
We need to weed him out. He thinks that just because he's the Founder and has more sobriety, that none of our ideas are any good. I've got some pretty good ideas on how to run this group, but he's going to make us wait until he dies before I can put any of my plans into effect. Anyhow, I'll bet that if we had an election, I'd win… I've been fixing those things around town for years.

Moneybags
Now listen here, you two. Let's show more respect for FOUNDER in front of this oldtimer.

Founder
That's right! What a way to talk. And in front of a stranger, too! After all the things I've done for this group… pulling people off bar stools, giving my time and effort, and how about all those trips I make to Chicago to find out how to operate?

Moneybags
HAH!! That's really a laugh! He's always telling stories about making these trips to Chicago to find out how AA works, but it wasn't like that at all. He was going to Chicago all right, but he was just playing footsie with the program. And what's more, he just couldn't stay sober, so he finally came back here.

When he talks about pulling "people" off barstools, he's talking about me. But if it hadn't been for me and my money, he wouldn't have anything. I got him his job; I started him in business; I pay all the expenses around here; and I pay for everything else. And when he says he started this group, he didn't have any choice. He couldn't stay sober in Chicago and he couldn't stay sober here on his own.

Eager Beaver
(To Delegate) Those two! They just squabble all the time. They won't tell you what's wrong, but I sure will. All our members are staying away and some of them are getting drunk because FOUNDER won't let anyone but himself have a word to say about anything.

Founder
Now, now, little girl. I've got everything under control… and from now on things are going to be different.

Delegate
Just how do you run your meetings?

Politician
Just for laughs, tell her!

Founder
Well, I sorta open the meeting by telling how I went to Chicago and about what a tough time I had getting people to come to meetings at first. Then I tell 'em how I run my group and how I screen out the new prospects. Then MONEYBAGS here tells them how much she has done for the town by helping me run the group. Then some of the others talk for a while and then I wind it all up with a real strong pitch.

Politician
That is a laugh! Let me tell you how he really does it. First he gets up and spouts off about how he founded the group and has the right to run it his way. He keeps this up for about 25 minutes… Then his friend (referring to Moneybags) gets up and tells us what a great gal she is and how much dough she spends on us. Then she lets FOUNDER take over again and he explains what MONEYBAGS has been talking about.

Then “Old Father Time” tells us not to take a drink before the next meeting, tells us again what a good Joe he is, and then he closes the meeting. Ask the others. They'll tell you the same thing.

(Turns to Founder) Hey, FOUNDER, how about telling us what happened to all the money you've been getting for the group. You know, from those rich friends of yours in town and the money from the charity drives and all… Tell our friend about that!

Founder
Don't worry  about all that stuff. I've got it all up here in my head.

Politician
You've got the figures in your head, but where's the loot? You got that up here, too?

Founder
No! I mean, yes! Oh, shut up and listen to this woman from Ohio.

Politician
You listen! That would really be a switch!

Delegate
I just happen to have this pamphlet on the 12 Traditions in my pocket. They are the guidelines we have arrived at as a result of the past experience of all the AA groups. You really should have a copy here.

The General Service conference, which I have just been to, is the guardian of our traditions and it's purpose is to promote unity, service and recovery. Our First Tradition says that our common welfare should come first… personal recovery depends on AA unity.

The Second Tradition explains that there are no bosses in AA. Our only authority is a loving God, as we understand Him. And our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern. The Ninth Tradition says that AA as such ought never be organized… it's better to create committees directly responsible to the members.

Eager Beaver
(Excitedly) What did I tell you? That's just what they said in Bigtown!

Politician
That's what I've been saying all along.

Delegate
By the way, how many groups do you have here in Middletown?

Moneybags
I can answer that one! Another bunch around here tried to start another group a while back, but the way it was starting to grow, I figured I'd better put a stop to kind of nonsense. We couldn't have two groups… they were getting as big as us! So, what I did was, I had the police raid the joint where they were meeting. But I guess they must have paid someone off, because nothing happened, and they just kept right on meeting!

Some guy had come here from New Jersey and seemed to think he was pretty smart and didn't want to do things our way, so when the police didn't close them up – couldn’t find anything wrong, they said! – I took matters into my own hands. I just bought the building, turned off the heat and water, and put them out of business. After all, you know, it was either we wipe them out or they'd wipe us out!

Eager Beaver
You thought you were pretty smart, but I'd really like to see another group here. We could visit back and forth and exchange ideas… help each other in lots of ways. You and the Boss just don't want any competition, that's all!!!

Delegate
(To Founder) Our past experience proves that every group has the right to be self-governing, provided they don't hurt other groups or AA as a whole. This is our Fourth Tradition.

(To Moneybags) And no group has the right to interfere with another group as long as it is operating in accordance with the principles of AA.

(To everyone)
The cover of our "World Directory" clearly states that when two or more people are gathered together for sobriety, they can call themselves an AA group, as long as they are self-supporting and have no other affiliation.

Founder
Well, I don't know. It seems to sound OK and I suppose it might work in other places… but it would never work here. These people all depend on me because they know that I know the score.

Politician
(To Eager Beaver) You know, EAGER BEAVER, I almost didn't come tonight. MONEYBAGS was pretty darned nasty about that poker debt I owe her and I've had a lot of trouble trying to borrow the money to pay her back. After all, it is an AA poker debt and I know I have to pay it.

Delegate
(Curiously) May I ask what AA poker is?

Founder
Oh, that's just a little idea I dreamed up. We were pretty tired of just sitting around and listening to each other every week and some of the spouses were getting kind of jumpy about it. So I decided that for one meeting each month, we’d let the women cook up a potluck and we would have a poker game instead of a meeting. Just a friendly little "No-Limit" game.

Politician
Friendly? Boy!!

Eager Beaver
Yes, and he even chases away new people if they happen to show up on poker night.

Founder
We just tell them to come back next week. What's wrong with that?

Delegate
(Very politely – still shocked…) Our Fifth Tradition reads that each group has but one primary purpose: to carry the message to the Alcoholic who still suffers. Without new members, we would all die.

Newcomer enters and staggers up to the table.

Newcomer
Is this AAAA?

Founder
This's AA alright, but right now we're holding a business meeting. Come back the day after tomorrow. That's our regular meeting night.

Newcomer
The Judge told me that you people would be able to help me.

Eager Beaver
(Sympathetically) We want to help if we can.

Politician
(Stands) Didn't you hear the man? We're too busy now. Come back in two days.

Moneybags
Hey – wait a minute. I've got a wonderful idea. Let's show this oldtimer just how we screen new people with your system.

Founder
That's a great idea! (To Delegate) Watch this now! You'll see how careful we are. At first, we had an awful lot of trouble with all kinds of people trying to get into the group. So I finally had to set up a screening committee and make some rules. If they didn't agree with me, I just screened them out. I pass on all new applications and we just keep the Pure Alcoholics.

Politician
"Pure"… WOW!

Founder
(To Delegate, obviously ignoring Politician) I personally pass on all new applicants.

Newcomer
(Still standing) Are you sure I'm in the right place?

Founder
(Producing long form) You're in the right place alright and, if you're lucky, I might even let you stay. I just happen to have one of our application forms with me. What's your name?

Newcomer
NEWCOMER

Founder
What's your correct age?

Newcomer
41.

Founder
What kind of work do you do?

Newcomer
I'm not working right now. I just got fired. They said I was drinking on the job.

Founder
What's your religion?

Newcomer
Catholic.

All heads, except Delegate's, snap to poor NEWCOMER. Hold for a second. Look at each other, Hold for a second. Then all murmur sympathetic remarks.

Founder
W-E-L-L-L-L-L, I don't know. We never have too much luck with these Catholics. Besides, that takes a different form. (Takes out longer form.) Let's try it again. What's your political affiliation?

Newcomer
Huh?

Founder
What's your… Oh, never mind. Who did you vote for in the last election?

Newcomer
I always vote straight Probation, I mean, Prohibition ticket.

Politician
Boy! What a bunch of crackpots they are!

Founder
What's your formal education?

Newcomer
Well, I had to leave school in the 8th grade… but later on I was made a trustee.

Founder
(Impressed) Trustee? What school was that?

Newcomer
San José Reformatory.

Founder
Tsk, tsk. Were you ever in jail?

Newcomer
Sure! I just got out. They sent me over here.

Founder
Were you ever in jail on a moral’s offense?

Newcomer
Morals? Well, there was this woman in Tavernier… No, no! I've only been arrested for drinking, and then they framed me. I only had two beers!

Founder
You been drinking today?

Newcomer
(Raises right hand) Only two beers. So help me!

Founder
What's the matter with you? Can't you even stay sober long enough to come down here?!

Newcomer
If I could stay sober, I wouldn't have to come down here.

Founder
Well, things aren't looking too good, but I'm going to let you fill out the rest of this application form yourself. You go over there to that other table and finish this… and keep quiet. We're very busy.

Newcomer
Can I ask you a question?

Founder
No! Just go over there and sit down and be quiet. You're here to be seen and not heard! (To Delegate) Well, what did you think of that? It'll give you an idea of how careful we are in our screening. Why, you could bring your wife or your sister or your maiden Aunt here and they'd never find any riff-raff around.

Politician
Har, har, har! Only those "Pure Alcoholics" he was talking about.

Founder
Right! I've screened out all the riff-raff, the undesirables, the panhandlers, con men, trouble-makers, and all the phony-baloneys…

Politician
Hey, FOUNDER, tell the Delegate about the fallen women.

Founder
What do you mean? I don't know what you're talking about! You're nuts.

Politician
Sure you do! Remember last winter when those gals came in?

Founder
(Sheepishly) Oh, that… that was nothing… ha,ha…

Politician
Well, go on! Tell her.

Founder
Oh, it really wasn't anything… Well, ya see, one night last winter a couple of babes tried to come in here, but I'm pretty sharp and I recognized their type right away. I knew something had to be done quickly, so I just told them plainly that they could not stay in here and contaminate my group. Then I escorted them to the door.

Politician
HA, HA, HA! To the door, through the door and we didn't see him again for three weeks.

Founder
Now wait a minute! It wasn't exactly like that. It was only two weeks. (Blustering) Say, why don't you mind your own business?

Politician
Well, it certainly proved that you knew your 13th Step!

Newcomer
I know about the 13th Step!

Moneybags
Will you shut up!

Delegate
How many people do you think you have eliminated from this group with this screening method?

Founder
Oh, I guess we've managed to get rid of a couple hundred in the past year or so.

Delegate
I wonder where they all are now?

Eager Beaver
I know of two of them who died. (Emphasize the word “died” for Newcomer’s benefit.) They were both girls I went to school with.

Newcomer perks up upon hearing the work "died," and tries to sneak out of the room. Eager Beaver catches him, talks him into returning to the table. She gives him a candy bar to eat. While she is returning to her seat, he sneaks a bottle out of his pocket and tries to take a drink.  Monevbags sees him, rushes over and takes it away.

Delegate
You know, in the early days of AA, this screening problem came up. It caused a lot of trouble and we finally had to agree that if these people were Alcoholic, they should always be accepted. It didn't really matter if they had other problems or if they weren't ready to accept a Higher Power right away or if they were controversial in some other area.

These things really don't make any difference. Many of these people stayed on to become good members. This is why the Third Tradition says "the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking."

Founder
W-E-L-L-L-L-L… Maybe you're right. I guess we could try it. If it didn't work, we could always go back to screening them.

Delegate
Another thing… is your group self-supporting?

Moneybags
Self-supporting?! What a joke! This gang wouldn't support anything. I support them. Nobody else will. I own this building so I let them have free rent. I own the cafe down the street so I provide free refreshments. And my husband owns a furniture store so I gave them all this furniture. I get money for FOUNDER from a lot of my friends, and I always put a twenty in the basket after the meeting.

Politician
It isn't those twenties I mind… it's the way she waves them in the air before she finally puts them in the basket. I still think we should move into the back room of Shapiro's Furniture Store and pay him $2 a night for it. Then we could all kick in the way EAGER BEAVER wants us to.

Delegate
You have an excellent idea there. Our Seventh Tradition says every group should be self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

Moneybags
Declining money? And what else? Oh, brother!!

Politician
Hey, don't let such crazy ideas louse up the deal I made with O'Brien to get him re-elected sheriff and the deal with FOUNDER to go on TV with him. We need O'Brien! He's a big help to us. He gets the Judge to put the Alkys in jail for us or to take them out for us.

Moneybags
(To Founder) Of all the dirty double crosses I ever heard of! You told me the group would go along with my man Olson to help get him elected instead of O'Brien and I've already promised him we would. Olson's a coming man. He's going to be Governor some day, and I've promised to finance his campaign.

Politician
Baloney! O'Brien's the best man! I promised him that this group would support him!

Founder
(To Politician) Yes, I know, O'Brien's really a good guy… but if MONEYBAGS thinks that she can put Olson over, then maybe we had better reconsider.

Politician
(To Founder) What a lousy trick. I've already promised O'Brien that we we would support him, and don't forget: he's promised to set up the deal with Doc Brown to change the name of his Hospital to the AA Hospital and to put us AA's in charge.

Moneybags
(To Founder) Olson can do that just as well as O'Brien can.

Politician
(Founder) O'Brien's the one who can do us the most good.

Moneybags
(To Founder) He isn't either. Olson's the one.

Founder
Well, we certainly need the hospital in AA's name. I'm spending too much time and money running around screening new prospects. With the hospital in our name, we could charge plenty and even make some dough… and at the same time, Doc could get them sobered up for us. He can give them lots of tranquilizers to calm them down and then, after they're well, I can screen them!

Eager Beaver
What if these people don't have any money to pay for the hospital?

Moneybags
Then I guess they'd just have to do without the hospital. But this hospital deal is really a good one. All those things are Tax Exempt, and we could put in a free case now and then. You know, Doc Brown is a drunk himself and he knows how to handle them.

Politician
O’Brien's the one who can put this over.

Moneybag
No he’s not. Olson's the one.

Politician
You want to go outside and make something out of it?

Founder
(Stands) Now, now, gang. We do have company, you know. But let's think about this. If we do back Olson and he gets to be Governor, then he can do a lot of things for us.

Politician
(To Founder) I always knew you were a rat.

Moneybags
(To Politician) You're nothing but a rat-fink yourself!

Eager Beaver
(To Delegate) Isn't this just terrible? (To the others) That's what's the matter with this group. All this politics and stuff. That's the reason the other group started. You wanted them to vote for your man and they didn't want to get involved in politics, but you said they had to. So they finally started a group of their own.

Politician
O'Brien's the best man for AA.

Moneybags
Olson's better.

Founder
Maybe Olson's going to be Governor some day… hmmm…

Newcomer raises hand again.

Founder
(To Newcomer) Shut up!

Delegate
You know, everything you have been talking about is covered in our Traditions.

(To Moneybags) For example, Tradition Seven says that we should be self-supporting.

(To Politician) And the Tenth Tradition warns us to stay out of politics and public controversy. A hundred years ago, a society called the Washingtonians almost had the answer to Alcoholism. Abraham Lincoln often praised them and even talked at their meetings. But then they got involved in politics and in-fighting against slavery, in trying to make alcohol illegal and many other things. They fought for so many different causes that they became divided among themselves and so the group died.

Politician
Well, I'm a politician, you know. A public-spirited citizen. I don't see what's wrong with supporting my candidates.

Delegate
It's fine to be a good citizen and, hopefully, we will want to participate in these things. However, we need to do them as individuals, not as AA members. Politics have no place in AA if we are to survive ourselves.

Moneybags
Well, what about the hospital? There's nothing political about that.

Delegate
(To Moneybags) The early AA's tried that, too. And many other things. They were even going to scoop up all the drunks on Skid Row and put them on AA Farms, run by AA's and financed by the sale of AA books. Fortunately, we didn't sell enough books and the plan fell through.

Later, we learned that we shouldn't try to act like professionals, which we weren't, and that we should never be paid for our 12 Step work. Also, it is never advisable to lend the AA name to any related facility or to any outside enterprise.

Eager Beaver
All this certainly makes a lot of sense to me.

Delegate
We've got to learn to stick to our own business, which is to carry the message, not the Alcoholic. Also, it is very important that group funds, collected from the members, should not be given to outside agencies. Many of these agencies do help the Alcoholic and, while we co-operate with them whenever possible, we should never go as far as to actually endorse them or affiliate with them, whether actual or implied.

Newcomer raises hand.

Founder/Moneybags/Politician
Oh shut up!!!

Moneybags
At least we can go through with our TV show. (To Delegate) I own the TV station and I promised Olson that I would put our group on with him. That way we can get in a plug for Olson and get new recruits for the group at the same time.

Politician
(Grumbling) I want equal time for O'Brien

Eager Beaver
Is that being anonymous? Suppose that someone who did want to join AA and needed our help was to see the show. They might be frightened off because they thought they would have to go on TV if they joined AA.

Founder
You'll understand these things better when you've been around as long as I have.

Moneybags
I can't see that it would do any harm this one time. I can't let Olson down.

Politician
And I can't let O'Brien down.

Delegate
(Opening pamphlet) Why don't we see what it says about it in here? Tradition Eleven says that our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. You don't really need a political TV show to attract new members. In fact, the Traditions say that we always need to maintain anonymity at the public level.

You see, AA is a spiritual program, and Tradition Twelve says that anonymity is the spiritual foundation of AA. Look here, I have an idea. Why don't we have NEWCOMER read our Traditions straight through and see if applying them might not make a big improvement in the problems of your group. (Hands pamphlet to NEWCOMER)

Newcomer
(Reads through Traditions, last page of script)

All sit thinking for a moment.

Moneybags
Boy! There goes the TV show, the election, the hospital, the poker games…

Eager Beaver
Well, I for one sure won't miss them.

Founder
How did we manage to get so far off track? It really looks like we have been making every mistake in the book. You know, I was only doing what I thought was best… and I guess I never even thought about checking to see what AA might suggest we do. Well, what do you think, gang? Shall we go along with DELEGATE and see if we can't get our group back on the right track?

Moneybags
I’m for her 100%. I'll just write a check right now… (reaches for purse)

ALL
No, no, no, no!

Eager Beaver
We pay our own way, remember?

Politician
I'm all for it. It's just what I've been talking about all along!

Founder
I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'll order some of these pamphlets right away. And I'll even eliminate the screening committee, which is myself, and we'll have an election…

Eager Beaver
Good! I certainly think DELEGATE was guided here by a Higher Power today. I think we knew all along that we were on the wrong track, but we didn't know where we went wrong.

Delegate
Actually, every one of our Traditions is based on the mistakes that the early members of AA made.

Founder
Hey! I've got an idea! Just to show my good faith, here's this NEWCOMER, a brand new person. I'm going to start him off without his application.

(Walks over to NEWCOMER and tears up application. Moves NEWCOMER over to table with group. Goes proudly back to seat.)

Welcome, young man. Keep coming back and don't pick up that first drink!

THE END

The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.

2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.

5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

6. 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.

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

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

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

10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

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

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