Index: Preamble Chapter 3 - More About Alcoholism Chapter 5 - How it Works The 12 Traditions The Promises Home Page

Opening Prayer

  

Our Father, We come to you as a friend.

You have said where two or more are gathered,
there You will be in the midst.

            We believe You are here with us now and this is something You would have us do, and that it has Your blessing.

            We pledge with You to be honest and to search our hearts for weaknesses and errors, that we may deserve Your help.

            We believe that you want us to be real partners with You in the business of living, accepting our full responsibilities, and certain that the rewards will be freedom, growth and happiness. For this we are grateful.

            We ask You at all times to guide us. Help us daily to come closer to You. Grant us new ways of living and of gratitude.

 

Please join me in the Serenity Prayer.

 

            God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

                                                                                                Amen.

 

  

Preamble of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

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

There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.

AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes.

Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Copyright (c) by the AA Grapevine, Inc.; reprinted with permission. A.A. and Alcoholics Anonymous are registered trademarks ® of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3 – More About Alcoholism

Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.

We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals -- usually brief --  were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.

We are like men who have lost their legs; they never grow new ones. Neither does there appear to be any kind of treatment which will make alcoholics ofour kind like other men. We have tried every imaginable remedy. In some instances there has been brief recovery, followed always by a still worse relapse. Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing a making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic. Science may one day accomplish this, but it hasn't done so yet.

   

 

Despite all we can say, many who are real alcoholics are not going to believe they are in that class. By every form of self-deception and experimentation, they will try to prove themselves exceptions to the rule, therefore nonalcoholic. If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink like other people!

Here are some of the methods we have tried: Drinking beer only, limiting the number of drinks, never drinking alone, never drinking in the morning, drinking only at home, never having it in the house, never drinking during business hours, drinking only at parties, switching from scotch to brandy, drinking only natural wines, agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job, taking a trip, not taking a trip, swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath), taking more physical exercise, reading inspirational books, going to health farms and sanitariums, accepting voluntary commitment to asylums  --  we could increase the list ad infinitum.

(Big Book - Alcoholics Anonymous pages 30-31);

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5 - How It Works

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average.

There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it -- then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol, cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. we asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

 

1.      We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

2.      Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3.      Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4.      Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5.      Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6.      Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7.      Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8.      Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9.      Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, "What an order! I can't go through with it." Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventure before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

a.     That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

b.     That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

c.     That God could and would if He were sought.

(Big Book - Alcoholics Anonymous pages 58-60)

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   The 12 Traditions

     1.      Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.

2.      For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

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

4.      Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.

5.      Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

6.      An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7.      Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8.      Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9.      A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

(Big Book - Alcoholics Anonymous Appendix I)

 

   

  The Promises

 

 

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not.

They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

(Big Book - Alcoholics Anonymous pages 83-84)