Tradition 3

The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking

What does this really mean and how do you know if the potential member really has a desire to stop drinking?

Over the years, I heard stories about the good old days when new A.A. members were interviewed to determine if they were truly alcoholic.  Before A.A., the alcoholic choices were institutions, jails, and death.  So, why not allow anyone who wanted this recovery program to have it?  From the A.A. literature and attending A.A. meeting over the years, I deduce that the main motive was fear.  They were afraid that if the A.A. recovery program went away so would their new lives, which means that they would be face again with institutions, jails, and death.
During my early years of sobriety, I did not care about who was in the rooms of A.A.  Now, I understand that if A.A. does not survive, I may not survive.  In A.A. meetings, I heard people introduce themselves as drug addicts, sex addicts, and what not.  So are they alcoholics who want to show everyone that they are better than those who introduce themselves as alcoholics?  I believe this is true for some.  These alcoholics are in danger of losing their new way of living that they so desperately want and I wonder why.  Again, I believe it is simply fear.

If the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking, how do you know if a member has a desire to stop drinking?  My theory is that when someone says that they are an alcoholic in an A.A. meeting they have a desire to stop drinking.  Anything else shows a lack of respect for the A.A. recovery program.  Today when I hear someone say that A.A. has saved their life and then introduced themselves as something other than alcoholic, I feel that they have slapped the face of A.A.

Love and Tolerance is our code, so all are welcome.  However, we ask those non alcoholics attending our meeting to respect A.A by attending only open meeting and not sharing so the alcoholic can have the opportunity to recovery by sharing.

~ Walter C.
Stansbury Park, UT

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