Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people 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 © The AA Grapevine, Inc.
Reprinted with permission
(The following is taken directly from "SMF-127 The A.A. Preamble: Background Information".)
THE PREAMBLE was introduced in the June 1947 issue of the AA Grapevine magazine. It was written by the then-editor, who borrowed much of the phrasing from the Foreword to the original edition of the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous.
In those early years, the Grapevine had just begun to circulate among nonalcoholics, and the Preamble was intended primarily to describe for them what AA is and is not. It is still often used for public information purposes. As time passed, it began appearing in all Conference-approved publications, and many AA groups now use it to open meetings.
The original version differed in two ways from the familiar form we all know: 1) It stated that the only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking,” and 2) it contained only the very brief statement “AA has no dues or fees.”
People often ask why the word “honest” was deleted. At the 1958 General Service Conference, a delegate asked about the words “honest desire to stop drinking,” suggesting that since “honest” does not appear in the Third Tradition, it might be deleted from the Preamble. In discussion, most Conference members felt that as AA had matured, it had become almost impossible to determine what constitutes an honest desire to stop drinking, and also that some who might be interested in the program could be confused by the phrase. Thus, as part of the evolution of AA, the phrase had been dropped from common usage. The midsummer 1958 meeting of the General Service Board of Trustees ratified the deletion, and since then the Preamble has read simply “a desire to stop drinking.”
At the same time, the phrase “AA has no dues or fees” was clarified to read as it presently does: “There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.” The current version of the Preamble appears on page one of every issue of the Grapevine.
At the 71st General Service Conference in 2021, after a series of votes, a final Advisory Action requested that “The Preamble revision replacing the words ‘men and women’ with the word ‘people’ be presented to the General Service Board for approval as the new revised A.A. Preamble.” The revised A.A. Preamble first appeared in the July 2021 AA Grapevine and the July/August La Viña, and afterwards throughout Grapevine and A.A.W.S. literature and other media.
When reprinted, the Preamble should carry the following credit line: Copyright © The AA Grapevine, Inc. Reprinted with permission.