From the July 1952 magazine.

Tradition Three

The third of a new series of articles explaining The Twelve Traditions. . . - The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.

THIS tradition is packed with meaning. For AA is really saying to every serious drinker, "You are an AA member if you say so. You can declare yourself in; nobody can keep you out. No matter who you are, no matter how low you've gone, no matter how grave your emotional complications. . .even your crimes. . .we still can't deny you AA. We don't want to keep you out. We aren't a bit afraid you'll harm us, never mind how twisted or violent you may be. We just want to be sure that you get the same great chance for sobriety that we've had. So you're an AA member the minute you declare yourself."

To establish this principle of membership took years of harrowing experience. In our early time nothing seemed so fragile, so easily breakable as an AA group. Hardly an alcoholic we approached paid any attention; most of those who did join us were like flickering candles in a windstorm. Time after time their uncertain flames blew out and couldn't be relighted. Our unspoken, constant thought was, "Which of us may be the next?"

-- BILL W.

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