We in A.A. are men and women who have discovered, and admitted, that we cannot control alcohol. We have learned that we must live without it if we are to avoid disaster for ourselves and those close to us. With local groups in thousands of communities, we are part of an informal international fellowship, which now has members in 146 countries. We have but one primary purpose: to stay sober ourselves and to help others who may turn to us for help in achieving sobriety.
We are not reformers, and we are not allied with any group, cause, or religious denomination. We have no wish to dry up the world. We do not recruit new members, but do welcome them. We do not impose our experience with problem drinking on others, but we do share it when we are asked to do so.
Within our membership may be found men and women of all ages and many different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Some of us drank for many years before coming to the realization we could not handle alcohol. Others were fortunate enough to appreciate, early in life or in their drinking careers, that alcohol had become unmanageable.
The consequences of our alcoholic drinking have also varied. A few of us had become derelicts before turning to A.A. for help. Some had lost family, possessions, and self-respect. We had been on skid row in many cities. Some of us had been hospitalized or jailed times without number. We had committed grave offenses – against society, our families, our employers, and ourselves.
Others among us have never been jailed or hospitalized. Nor had we lost jobs or families through drinking. But we finally came to a point where we realized that alcohol was interfering with normal living. When we discovered that we could not live without alcohol, we, too, sought help through A.A.
All the great faiths are represented in our Fellowship, and many religious leaders have encouraged our growth. There are even a few self-proclaimed atheists and agnostics among us. Belief in, or adherence to, a formal creed is not a condition of membership.
We are united by our common problem, alcohol. Meeting and talking and helping other alcoholics together, we are somehow able to stay sober and to lose the compulsion to drink, once a dominant force in our lives.
We do not think we are the only people who have the answer to problem drinking. We know that the A.A. program works for us, and we have seen it work for every newcomer, almost without exception, who honestly and sincerely wanted to quit drinking.
Through A.A., we have learned a number of things about alcoholism and about ourselves. We try to keep these facts fresh in our thinking at all times, because they seem to be the key to our sobriety. For us, sobriety must always come first.
Reprinted from This is A.A. p. 7,8, with permision of Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing (now known as Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)