A short history of the AA preamble…

Alcoholics 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.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.

A.A. 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.

Alcoholics Anonymous Preamble

I knew I’d have to cover the AA preamble as part of the newcomer guide to literature, but I honestly didn’t think it would have an interesting back story. If you have time, be sure to check out this excellent piece from Alabama District 12 to find out more about its origins and how the text has changed over time.

According to sources the preamble was printed in AA’s newsletter the Grapevine in 1947 (a year before the Serenity Prayer was first published within its pages). It was originally written by the editors as a brief definition to help explain AA to rapidly growing interest from those outside of the fellowship. Over time it began appearing within conference approved literature and groups all over the world now use it to open meetings.

While it’s often easy to overlook, I love the reading as it has all of our core principles in one short reading. Our desire to stop drinking and help others to do the same. The fact that AA is self supporting and not allied with any external people or organisations and of course the fact that it ends on our primary purpose, the reason AA was founded and the single reason we are all here – to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety…