This is the text of an old
preamble that used to be used at AA Meetings. It was found floating around
USENET. From what we can tell it was never "official" AA literature.
We are gathered here because we are
faced with the fact that we are powerless over alcohol and unable to do
anything about it without the help of a Power greater than ourselves. We
feel that each person's religious views, if any, are his own affair. The
simple purpose of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is to show what may
be done to enlist the aid of a Power greater than ourselves regardless of
what our individual conception of that Power may be.
In order to form a habit of depending
upon and referring all we do to that Power, we must at first apply
ourselves with some diligence. By often repeating these acts, they become
habitual and the help rendered becomes natural to us.
We have all come to know that as
alcoholics we are suffering from a serious illness for which medicine has
no cure. Our condition may be the result of an allergy which makes us
different from other people. It has never been by any treatment with which
we are familiar, permanently cured. The only relief we have to offer is
absolute abstinence, the second meaning of A.A.
There are no dues or fees. The only
requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Each member
squares his debt by helping others to recover.
An Alcoholics Anonymous is an alcoholic
who through application and adherence to the A.A. program has forsworn the
use of any and all alcoholic beverage in any form. The moment he takes so
much as one drop of beer, wine, spirits or any other alcoholic beverage he
automatically loses all status as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A.
is not interested in sobering up drunks who are not sincere in their
desire to remain sober for all time. Not being reformers, we offer our
experience only to those who want it.
We have a way out on which we can
absolutely agree and on which we can join in harmonious action. Rarely
have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our program. Those
who do not recover are people who will not or simply cannot give
themselves to this simple program. Now you may like this program or you
may not, but the fact remains, it works. It is our only chance to recover.
There is a vast amount of fun in the A.A.
fellowship. Some people might be shocked at our seeming worldliness and
levity but just underneath there lies a deadly earnestness and a full
realization that we must put first things first and with each of us the
first thing is our alcoholic problem. To drink is to die. Faith must work
twenty-four hours a day in and through us or we perish.
In order to set our tone for this
meeting I ask that we bow our heads in a few moments of silent prayer and
I wish to remind you that whatever is
said at this meeting expresses our own individual opinion as of today and
as of up to this moment. We do not speak for A.A. as a whole and you are
free to agree or disagree as you see fit, in fact, it is suggested that
you pay no attention to anything which might not be reconciled with what
is in the A.A. Big Book.
If you don't have a Big Book, it's time
you bought you one. Read it, study it, live with it, loan it, scatter it,
and then learn from it what it means to be an A.A.