Grapevine Online Exclusive

A Desire to Stop Drinking

A member discusses his thoughts on singleness of purpose

It raised its ugly head again at a meeting I recently attended. Who qualifies as an AA member and who shares? Tradition Three states that "the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking." The young man I have in mind is adamant he is only an addict, even after I talked with him. He attends AA meetings but identifies as an addict.

We all know that, at open meetings of AA, all are welcome. When we are asked to identify, our answer is either "Hi, I'm ..., an alcoholic" or "Hi, I'm ..., and I'm a visitor." This young man, like other addicts, must to be taught that he can attend only open AA meetings, should identify as a visitor, and not expect to share, declining if called on, since only members of AA can share at an AA meeting.

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