The Original 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
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
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
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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