The Preamble in it's present form is a condensation of A.A.®principles as they appear in the foreword to the 1st Edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous©1939, published by A.A. World Services, Inc.®
The Preamble was written by Tom Y., the first editor of The Grapevineand first appeared in The GrapevineJune, 1947. The original wording was, "We are not an organization in the conventional sense of the word. There are no dues or fees whatsoever. The only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking. We are not allied with any particular faith, sect or denomination, nor do we oppose anyone. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted.", and was referred to as 'the AA Definition'.
The Preamble was originally written for those professionals outside AA who may come into contact with alcoholics and is now read widely at the start of many A.A. meetings both closed and open.
A delegate to the 1958 General Service Conference suggested that, as the word 'honest' does not appear in the Third Tradition, it may be dropped from the Preamble. At the mid-summer meeting of the AA General Service Board in that same year the deletion of the word 'honest' was ratified and at the same time "There are no dues or fees whatsoever", was amended and ratified to the present form.
'The Promises', as they are referred to within the Fellowship of A.A., begin with the last paragraph on page 83 and continue through the first two paragraphs on page 84 of that same chapter and book. These sections are reproduced on this website with permission of the publisher.
The Twelve Steps are widely referred to in A.A. literature and a comprehensive study of them is beyond the scope of this website. However, if it's helpful we would like to refer you to these A.A. publications:
As with the twelve steps, a more comprehensive review of the twelve traditions may be undertaken with the referred publications listed above in footnote 3. In addition the book The A.A. Service Manual Combined With Twelve Concepts for World Service"©, Copyright © 1962, 1969, 1986, 1987, 1989-2003 by A.A.W.S.,Inc. may be of great help
The Concepts were an attempt by Bill W. to preserve the lessons of past experience and explain to future servants of our Fellowship why our service structure is the way it is today. In the words of Bill W.: "The 'Twelve Concepts for World Service' to be described in this Manual ("Third Legacy Manual of A.A. World Service" _ed.) are an interpretation of A.A.'s world service structure. They reveal the evolution by which it has arrived in it's present form, and they detail the experience and reasoning on which our operation stands today. These Concepts therefore aim to record the 'why' of our service structure in such a fashion that the highly valuable experience of the past, and the lessons we have drawn from that experience, can never be forgotten or lost." [page 3 The A.A. Service Manual Copyright © 1962, 1999-2000 Edition] reproduced with permission A.A.W.S., Inc.
To those that would like to learn more about the A.A. Fellowship: its program of recovery, its Traditions, and its service principles, we would recommend the following publications in addition to those already noted:
Bill W.'s biography from early childhood in Vermont, his schooling, military service in WW1, meeting Lois and the lifelong marriage that ensued. Details his struggle with depression as well as the debilitating alcoholism that plagued him until 1935. Accounts his meeting with Dr. Bob S. the other co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the story of early A.A. in New York.
A biography of Dr. Bob, co-founder with Bill W. of Alcoholics Anonymous. Recalls in the words of people who knew him personally what life was like for the Dr. before he got sober, what happened when he met Bill and what transpired as a result of their life-long friendship and efforts to bring sobriety to still suffering alcoholics. A history of the early years; the struggles and victories, the heartbreaks and exhilirations; of the fledgling movement and developement of A.A. in the Midwest.
More resources may be found by visiting AA or by contacting us.