Life with Hope

A Return to Living Through
the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of
Marijuana Anonymous


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For our group purpose
there is but one ultimate authority,
a loving God whose expression
may come through in our group conscience.
Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

One purpose of the Twelve Traditions is to protect ourselves from ourselves. Tradition Two is an excellent example of this. As addicts, we are by nature self-centered and strong-willed. In MA it is easy to become a “big fish in a little pond.” However, one person or vocal minority cannot possibly run the fellowship. Controlling attitudes and behavior can easily drive away newcomers and old-timers alike

The sole authority in MA is a loving God as may be expressed in our group conscience. In Step Three, individuals make a decision to put their wills and their lives in God’s care. In Tradition Two the group permits God to be its ultimate authority as well. When we put God in charge by praying for God’s will and the power to carry it out, God can operate through our group conscience.

Nobody runs MA; there are no dictators, masters, or bosses. Instead we have secretaries, treasurers, and representatives. These are positions of service. No one member or outspoken minority is allowed to control MA. At times, each of us may have to accept a group conscience that is contrary to our own desire.

Experience has shown us that the conscience of the group, when properly informed, is much wiser than any one leader. Beware of any group that becomes known as


“so-and-so’s” group. With this in mind, there should be almost complete agreement among the members in order to carry a group conscience on any vote. If nearly complete agreement cannot be achieved, it may be a good idea to table the matter for further study.

We must also remember the second part of Tradition Two: our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern. In MA, authority flows from the individual members through elected representatives and on through World Services, not vice-versa. World Services benefits the individual members by serving the MA community. As trusted servants, these individuals make decisions on how to better serve MA, not on how to better govern it. In this way, leadership by selfless service has been shown to work where control and manipulation have failed. We can best maintain MA’s integrity by letting a group conscience, guided by a loving God, prevail.


© Marijuana Anonymous World Services—Life with Hope: A return to living through the 12 steps and 12 traditions of Marijuana Anonymous. A New Leaf Publications, a division of Marijuana Anonymous World Services, 2001. Print. ISBN 978-0-9765779-0-4

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