TRADITION 33.) Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.
Short version: "The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking."
As I stated earlier in my exploration of our beautiful Twelve traditions, I am able only to relate my own experiences with these seemingly deep, dark secrets--at least to me, as a new member, 1974--of Alcoholics Anonymous. (And I DO feel so very inadequate, sometimes wishing I'd never started this.) But heeeere's Number Three! BTW--I AM a HAPPY guy, Banana Girl, ask my wife! -grin
Yes, ONE requirement, and one only...a desire, whatever that means. What if I desire sobriety today--but not tomorrow? Do I qualify? Well, from my OWN perspective--you're not gonna like this--I had a desire for everything when I was pulled into an A.A. meeting for the first time (BTW, it was my 'only' "first time"!) I had a desire for everything EXCEPT....to stop drinking. I wanted a new car, a bigger boat, a nicer wife, some respectful children, an understanding boss, and a few good friends thrown into the mix. I thought this new 'thing'--A.A.-- where I had found myself that night, might be able to supply most or all of this. They looked like a fairly well-to-do crowd. I figured with a bit of luck, I might even find a sweet girl friend who would "understand" all the problems I was having with my wife, job, children, health, bank, friends, and my "inner self" -BIGGEST GRIN EVER!.
Well, after not drinking for nearly a year, and trying to work the steps, with the aid of a pseudo sponsor, drenched in buckets of tears, I called during the dark of night for help. It was surrender time. It was STRONG "desire to stay sober" time. It was "have but one desire" time, not a dozen desires, all suspect. Let's move on here:
Now THIS I DO--finally--understand. That the crying need, the long-timers' demand, for "singleness of purpose" in Alcoholics Anonymous is critical to the recovery of its members.
Funny thing--alcohol is the 'LEGAL' drug--yet I have NEVER gone into my home, my church, the homes of my friends, my workplace(s), and bragged, "Well I drank a quart of vodka yesterday, and also three six-packs of BUD, four glass-fulls of White Port, and, oh! I forgot--that pint of Early Times while driving home. And I did not 'mix' any of that with ice, water, colas, or whatever. I am a 'champion' drinker! 'Out-of-the-bottle-Steve' they call me!"
OR, some years later:
"Hey peoplesh, I've dishcovered a new and valuable shource of anergy--190 proof Alcohol. The brand name? I dunno, all it shez on the bottle ish ALCOHOL. Try shome??? It'sh 95% alcohol, will grow HAIR on the end of your finger." (NOTE: I may blog about this another time...sheeeesh!)
No, no, no. I did my 'serious' drinking in 'private' and I'd certainly not want all of you to know how WEAK I really was. However, I have constantly heard--and still hear this--my 'druggie' friends telling me and everyone else...what they've been 'doing', whether pills, injections, breathing, sniffing or snorting. Funny thing, I repeat--because most of that stuff is ILLEGAL!
Important: I HID my drinking history, but I BRAGGED about my drug regimen!
I am also a 'druggie'..."cross-addicted?" No, NOT addicted to crosses (ho-hum).
What DOES separate Steve the Alcoholic, from Steve, the Druggie? Me, the alcoholic lived between twenty and thirty YEARS in D.E.N.I.A.L. That's the big word here--for me. I would tell anyone about my drug habits, but NOBODY would ever know my alcohol intake (they would not have believed it, anyway! -grin).
Alcoholics Anonymous is for sick, sick, people like me who, when I have one SIP, one TASTE, one SMELL, I become immediately overwhelmed with the compulsion to drink myself into oblivion. Then I wake up somewhere and wonder, "What happened? I DID NOT WANT THIS AGAIN." NOTE: This has not happened to me for nearly 35 years, but writing about this tradition brings it all back into focus. Thank you for allowing--urging--me to continue. It has become 'good' for me.
One of my sponsees needs only hear the "Pshhhhhh" of a bottle cap releasing the gas, and then he finds himself helpless to stop. Another, the ice shaking in a glass will do it. Several people I know CANNOT walk through the 'beer-and-wine aisle' of a grocery store without sensing the immediate and overwhelming desire to get drunk.
IF Alcoholics Anonymous allows ANY intrusion into our recovery program, thousands, maybe millions of alcoholics may die. I must keep this thing simple, I must keep this thing as clean as possible. Others are welcome to use this program of recovery, as it suits their purposes, and my blessing (and prayers) are with them also. But this is truly LIFE and DEATH with me.
I DO love 'recoverers' of ANY ilk, and realize we can all learn from each other--we are ALL God's children. I must however, insist that I keep my A.A. program separated from the steps I worked to relieve my bondage of smoking, eating, gambling, porn, sex, speeding (in a vehicle), uppers, downers, middle-of-the-roaders, and I'm still working on the "excitement" thing....and, of course, of COURSE--PRIDE! What a big one...pride!
Do I sound like near perfect? NO! And NEVER! "I am not a saint (understatement!!!), but I have finally become willing to grow along spiritual lines." Sound familiar? Yep! Big Book page 60...
I just remembered. What a great example of the differences in perspectives of various fellowships on these Traditions (OR on the steps), is the fact that SYD is writing ALSO at this time on the Traditions--his viewpoint being from that of the ALANON program. I sure hope you might check out Syd's blog, if ya ain't been there already!. First of all he is G.O.O.D. (F.I.N.E. -grin), and secondly you can see for yourself a difference in the workings of these two "sister' programs. Thanks to Syd for his enlightenment. And thanks to his encouragement, I'm still here--for aye or nay (on the Traditions).
Peace and Love,
WHO posted this? And WHEN?