What are the Three Legacies of Alcoholics Anonymous and what do they represent?
The Three Legacies of AA are RECOVERY, UNITY, and SERVICE. These legacies have been passed down to us from the founders, cofounders, and old timers of AA.
1) Recovery is contained in the Big Book and Twelve Steps.
2) Unity is contained in the Twelve Traditions.
3) Service is contained in every act which helps AA function or which
carries the AA message to those who need it.
The Twelve Steps guide our actions in recovery as individuals. The Twelve Traditions guide our actions as a group. And the Twelve Concepts for World Service guide our actions as an assembly in service.
Bill W. stated that the Three Legacies, "In a sense represent three impossibilities, impossibilities that we know became possible, and possibilities that have now borne this unbelievable fruit." He went on to share the following, "...Old Fitzmayo, one of the early AA's and I visited the Surgeon General of the United States in the third year of this society and told him of our beginnings. He was a gentle man, Dr. Lawrence Kolb, and has since become a great friend of AA. He said, 'I wish you well. Even the sobriety of a few is a miracle. The government knows that this is one of the greatest health problems but we have considered the recovery of alcoholics so impossible that we have given up and have instead concluded that rehabilitation of narcotic addicts would be the easier job to tackle.' Such was the devastating impossibility of our situation."
"Now, what has been brought to bear upon this impossibility that it has become possible? First, the grace of Him who presides over all of us. Second, the cruel lash of John Barleycorn who said, "this you must do, or die!" And finally the intervention of our Higher Power through friends, who were at first a few and were now a legion!"
It is out of experience in living and working together that came the need to apply the spirit of the Twelve Steps to the steps of our lives. These were the forces that generated the Twelve Traditions of AA and out of this sprang a sense and action of Service to keep a united front.