Alcoholics Anonymous is a staple resource in recovery communities around the nation. Since its founding in 1935, it has maintained a significant presence in large part due to its consistency and standardization.
Every AA meeting, no matter where it takes place, follows the same guidelines. Likewise, every AA meeting has the same starting ritual—the attendees observe a moment of silence, pray the Serenity Prayer, then recite the AA preamble.
The AA Preamble
The AA preamble reads as follows:
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.”
This preamble is recited at the start of each meeting to ensure that all attendees understand the purpose of the group meeting.
The First Paragraph
The first paragraph reads as follows:
This paragraph starts out by defining who the meetings are for and continues on to state one of the hallmark features of AA, which is the sharing of personal experiences to help one another. The journey of group members from addiction to recovery is one of the most potent learning tools for new members. Oftentimes, new members are still struggling with denial. Simply hearing lectures on what one did wrong is a poor way to engage with one’s heart.
Hearing another’s story can be humbling and open us up to meaningful change. Likewise, it can show us a firsthand account of someone achieving sobriety, which can often seem impossible. Hearing what’s possible is not as powerful as seeing what’s possible. By participating in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, we can see then gradually become an improved version of ourselves.
Long-term participation of members is incredibly beneficial for everyone involved. If a long-term member shares their experience of remaining sober for 5, 10, or even 15 years or more, new members get positive proof that there are, in fact, strategies that work for the long haul.
On the other hand, the shared experiences of newcomers constantly reinforce the memory of long-term members—a reminder of the struggles that substance abuse always brings. AA provides everyone the knowledge that they are not alone and that change is possible.
The Second Paragraph
The second paragraph reads as follows:
This second passage helps to define the goals and ultimate purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous. Moreover, contained in this paragraph are also Traditions 3, 7, and 10 of the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Tradition 3: The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
This tradition is straightforward. Anyone who sincerely wishes to stop drinking is welcome.
Tradition 7: Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
This tradition is meant to protect the integrity of AA. Outside contributions open the door to influence that could potentially undermine the mission of AA to provide a space for individuals to help one another stop abusing alcohol.
Tradition 10: Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
Alcoholics Anonymous has a singular focus. As such, it seeks not to enter into public discourse of any kind. Again, the sacrosanct goals of AA would only derive detriment from outside influence or pressure.
This second paragraph and the three traditions it makes known at the beginning of each meeting remind people that AA is a haven of healing, free of persecution and judgment.
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
If you are having trouble quitting alcohol despite previous attempts, you probably have an alcohol use disorder. To safely move forward, think about entering into medical detox as soon as possible.
Detoxing from alcohol on your own is dangerous. With at-home detox, relapse is much more likely, and alcohol withdrawal itself can lead to a life-threatening condition known as delirium tremens.
At Just Believe Recovery, we offer comprehensive treatment programs including detox, partial-hospitalization and residential formats. We offer clinically-proven services, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, 12-step group support, individual and family counseling, dual diagnosis treatment, relapse prevention, aftercare planning, and more.
Our compassionate staff seeks to lead those we treat out of addiction and into the healthy lives they deserve.