The Pot – My Responsibility

Tradition Seven – My Responsibility

‘Every AA Group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.’


As a newcomer the Tradition Seven pot was ‘just something that happened at AA meetings’. I’d toss a bit of loose change in because that’s what I thought everyone else did. Until I started to practise the principles of AA in my life, it was not something that I took seriously.

As an alcoholic I was always dependent on other people for my material welfare. The dole office, my family, partners etc. Anytime that I did have money it was frittered away on drugs and alcohol or other things that I thought would make me feel good about myself. I would then find myself left with no money to buy food or pay my rent. I relied on other people to bail me out constantly.

Now, I am trying to practise spiritual principles in my life, and to make amends to those I have wronged. Part of this is learning to be financially self-supporting. I pay my own way today.

This is the reason that AA groups are all self-supporting. We have been a burden on others in the past and its high time that we pay are own way now! At first I was more than happy to spend hours upon hours passing the good news on to other alcoholics, but seemed to have an aversion to putting anything more than a couple of twenty pence pieces in the pot.

After working out my weekly budget, I came up with a figure that was affordable yet significantly expressed my gratitude for AA and my home group. I knew that in order to live, AA has to come first, so I put aside this amount at the beginning of each week so that I didn’t spend it before my home group night. This has an additional personal benefit to me in that this practice eventually grew into a proper weekly budget which I still keep up seven years later.

All money that I put into the pot goes to help the still-suffering alcoholic.  Starting at group level it is gradually filtered up through the service structure. We also hold onto a prudent reserve should there suddenly be no Tradition 7 contributions whatsoever.

If it wasn’t for alcoholics putting money in the pot at their home groups, many of us would never have found our way here. I want as many alcoholics as possible to know about AA and for our meeting to be running smoothly when they arrive. I also want to stay sober. This is the reason why I take my contributions seriously. They are part of my recovery, not an added extra.

Josephine P, Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth, Oct 2013