AA Old Preamble – 1940
We are gathered here because we are faced with the fact that we are powerless over alcohol and unable to do anything about it without the help of a Power greater than ourselves.
We feel that each person’s religious views, if any, are his own affair. The simple purpose of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is to show what may be done to enlist the aid of a Power greater than ourselves regardless of what our individual conception of that Power may be.
In order to form a habit of depending upon and referring all we do to that Power, we must at first apply ourselves with some diligence. By often repeating these acts, they become habitual and the help rendered becomes natural to us.
We have all come to know that as alcoholics we are suffering from a serious illness for which medicine has no cure.
Our condition may be the result of an allergy which makes us different from other people. It has never been by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently cured. The only relief we have to offer is absolute abstinence, the second meaning of A.A.
There are no dues or fees. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Each member squares his debt by helping others to recover.
An Alcoholics Anonymous is an alcoholic who through application and adherence to the A.A. program has forsworn the use of any and all alcoholic beverage in any form.
The moment he takes so much as one drop of beer, wine, spirits or any other alcoholic beverage he automatically loses all status as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
A.A. is not interested in sobering up drunks who are not sincere in their desire to remain sober for all time. Not being reformers, we offer our experience only to those who want it.
We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree and on which we can join in harmonious action. Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our program. Those who do not recover are people who will not or simply cannot give themselves to this simple program. Now you may like this program or you may not, but the fact remains, it works. It is our only chance to recover.
There is a vast amount of fun in the A.A. fellowship. Some people might be shocked at our seeming worldliness and levity but just underneath there lies a deadly earnestness and a full realization that we must put first things first and
with each of us the first thing is our alcoholic problem. To drink is to die. Faith must work twenty-four hours a day in and through us or we perish.
In order to set our tone for this meeting I ask that we bow our heads in a few moments of silent prayer and meditation. I wish to remind you that whatever is said at this meeting expresses our own individual opinion as of today and as of up to this moment.
We do not speak for A.A. as a whole and you are free to agree or disagree as you see fit, in fact, it is suggested that you pay no attention to anything which might not be reconciled with what is in the A.A. Big Book.
If you don’t have a Big Book, it’s time you bought you one.
Read it, study it, live with it, loan it, scatter it, and then
learn from it what it means to be an A.A.
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