MONTHLY FOCUS march: TRADITION 3 detail

 (printable version)

Tradition 3 Checklist

Tradition Three 
“The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”
(Alcoholics Anonymous World Service Inc.. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (p. 139)). AA World Services, Inc. Kindle Edition.)


THIS Tradition is packed with meaning. For A.A. is really saying to every serious drinker, “You are an A.A. member if you say so. You can declare yourself in; nobody can keep you out. No matter who you are, no matter how low you’ve gone, no matter how grave your emotional complications—even your crimes—we still can’t deny you A.A. We don’t want to keep you out. We aren’t a bit afraid you’ll harm us, never mind how twisted or violent you may be. We just want to be sure that you get the same great chance for sobriety that we’ve had. So you’re an A.A. member the minute you declare yourself.”

To establish this principle of membership took years of harrowing experience. In our early time, nothing seemed so fragile, so easily breakable as an A.A. group. Hardly an alcoholic we approached paid any attention; most of those who did join us were like flickering candles in a windstorm. Time after time, their uncertain flames blew out and couldn’t be relighted. Our unspoken, constant thought was “Which of us may be the next?” (Alcoholics Anonymous World Service Inc.. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (p. 139). AA World Services, Inc. Kindle Edition.)


Alcoholics Anonymous The Big Book
There are no fees or dues whatsoever. The only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking. We are not allied with any particular faith, sect or denomination, nor do we oppose anyone. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted.
(A.A. World Services. Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition . A.A. World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition.)


As Bill Sees It:201 Unlimited Choice 
Any number of alcoholics are bedeviled by the dire conviction that if ever they go near A.A. they will be pressured to conform to some particular brand of faith or theology.

They just don’t realize that faith is never an imperative for A.A. membership; that sobriety can be achieved with an easily acceptable minimum of it, and that our concepts of a Higher Power and God—as we understand Him—afford everyone a nearly unlimited choice of spiritual belief and action.  
(AA World Services Inc. As Bill Sees It . A.A. World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition.)


Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers:
By 1939, the prevailing A.A. attitude was summed up in the foreword to the Big Book, stating, “The only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking.” 

Most A.A.’s simply wanted to get people into the program, rather than keep them out. This might mean overcoming inbred prejudices and crossing social, religious, racial, and national boundaries in order to carry the message of recovery to anyone, anywhere, who needed help. It also meant doing the very same things in order to accept help. And if A.A. as a fellowship never had any greater achievement, it could say that most members have done more than pay lip service to this idea. As the discussion of the Third Tradition in the book “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” shows, there was a great deal of fear about alcoholics who might be odd or different. In A.A.’s second year, a man came to an A.A. group and said he was the “victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than alcoholism.”
(Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers . Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.. Kindle Edition. )