From the March 1994 magazine.

They'll Ruin AA

Tradition Three

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the "pure alcoholic" is a thing of the past. The 1977 AA survey showed decisively that newcomers to AA more and more are approaching this program with the problem of alcohol--and something else. This situation is not a novel one. Years ago, when ex-convicts began coming to AA, the cry was "Oh, we can't handle their problems. AA is only for alcoholics." Very effective AA hospital and institutions committees resulted from these newcomers. Later, when newcomers who still had jobs came to the program, the cry was "But they're not real alcoholics." The upshot of these persons' impact on AA was to raise the alcoholic's "bottom" so that future newcomers could identify earlier in the progression of the illness.

More recently, newcomers began arriving at AA in their early twenties and even teens, and the cry was "I spilled more than you drank. You're too young to be an alcoholic." But these young people were somewhat different, and formed their own groups in AA. Then persons with different sexual preferences appeared, and the attitude was "They'll contaminate us. We don't need them." Again, separate groups have formed for these persons. Now, we're seeing alcoholics with dual drug problems, and once again the cry is "They'll ruin AA."

-- D. K.

Oakland, California

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