The sixth Tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous is the longest, and it’s all about the money.
6th Tradition. Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim. We think, therefore, that any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed, thus dividing the material from the spiritual. An A.A. group, as such, should never go into business. Secondary aids to A.A., such as clubs or hospitals which require much property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups. Hence such facilities ought not to use the A.A. name. Their management should be the sole responsibility of those people who financially support them. For clubs, A.A. managers are usually preferred. But hospitals, as well as other places of recuperation, ought to be well outside A.A. — and medically supervised. While an A.A. group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied. An A.A. group can bind itself to no one.
Short: An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise.
I want to break this down into smaller, manageable chunks.
“Problems of money, property, and authority may easily divert us from our primary spiritual aim.” Another reminder that the Alcoholics Anonymous is a “spiritual program” (religion). Focusing primarily on a spiritual aim means not focusing on sobriety, mental health, or emotional needs. But alcoholics are generally people struggling with those three issues. AA does its followers disservice by asking them to prioritize the spiritual over all.
“any considerable property of genuine use to A.A. should be separately incorporated and managed” This doesn’t mean AA owns no property; it means AA assigns property management to its Service. The General Service Organization of Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as its Board of Trustees, reported assets worth over $24Million on 2014 tax filings.
“thus dividing the material from the spiritual” AA groups take a lot of pride in not owning meeting spaces, and scorn the churches which share with them for owning property. It’s odd.
“An A.A. group, as such, should never go into business.” The World Services Organization is a business, selling AA literature, but it’s not at the group level so it’s permitted. This kind of loophole is hidden behind every sentence of this Tradition.