When an alcoholic applies the Twelve Steps of our recovery program to his personal life, his disintegration stops and his unification begins. The Power which now holds him together in one piece overcomes those forces which had rent him apart. Exactly the same principle applies to each A.A. group and to Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole.
So long as the ties which bind us together prove far stronger than those forces which would divide us if they could, all will be well. We shall be secure as a movement; our essential unity will remain a certainty.
If, as A.A. members, we can each refuse public prestige and renounce any desire for personal power; if, as a movement, we insist on remaining poor, so avoiding disputes about extensive property and its management; if we steadfastly decline all political,
sectarian, or other alliances, we shall avoid internal division and public notoriety; if, as a movement, we remain a spiritual entity concerned only with carrying our message to fellow sufferers without charge or obligation; then only can we most effectively com‑
plete our mission. It is becoming ever so clear that we ought never accept even the most alluring temporary benefits if these should consist of considerable sums of money, or could involve us in controversial alliances and endorsements, or might tempt some of
us to accept, as A.A. members, personal publicity by press or radio. Unity is so vital to us A.A.’s that we cannot risk those attitudes and practices which have sometimes demoralized other forms of human society. Thus far we have succeeded because we have been different. May we continue to be so!
But A.A. unity cannot automatically preserve itself. Like personal recovery, we shall al‑
ways have to work to maintain it. Here, too, we surely need honesty, humility, open‑mindedness, unselfishness, and, above all—vigilance. So we who are older in A.A. beg you who are newer to ponder carefully the experience we have already
had of trying to work and live together. We would like each A.A. to become just as much aware of those disturbing tendencies which endanger us as a whole as he is conscious of those personal defects which threaten his own sobriety and peace of mind. For whole movements have, before now, gone on benders, too!