|Index:||Preamble||Chapter 3 - More About Alcoholism||Chapter 5 - How it Works||The 12 Traditions||The Promises||Home Page|
Our Father, We come to you as a
You have said where two or more are gathered,
there You will be in the midst.
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.
of Alcoholics Anonymous
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.
only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own
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.
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.
3 – More About Alcoholism
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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);
5 - How It Works
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as
we understood Him.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact
nature of our wrongs.
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make
amends to them all.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so
would injure them or others.
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly
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.
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
description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal
adventure before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
That God could and would if He were sought.
(Big Book - Alcoholics Anonymous pages 58-60)
common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
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
requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a
has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still
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.
group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may
employ special workers.
such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees
directly responsible to those they serve.
Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be
drawn into public controversy.
relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always
maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place
principles before personalities.
(Big Book - Alcoholics Anonymous Appendix I)
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.
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)