The Only Requirement
Copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc. – Date unknown
On Monday, October 18th, 1982, I awoke out of a blackout. I was in a hospital where I was told I was a chronic alcoholic, suffering from a disease called Alcoholism, for which, “there is no cure … but there is “recovery,” if I could get to AA. Then I was asked if I believed in God. My answer was “No f-ing way!” The doctor told me that I may have a chance, “…just get to AA.”
I was taken to a meeting and told, “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking” – the Third Tradition. I was a member because I said so, and no one could tell me to leave. It was suggested that I don’t drink and go to meetings. I also got a Sponsor and joined a group, but NO GOD.
My Sponsor told me, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” I bent my knees and asked a Power greater than myself for help – one day at a time. It took quite a while for me to get a Higher Power. I was sober, and beautiful things started to happen. It wasn’t me. So, being a Native, I returned to my Creator as my Higher Power. I gave Him a name – Ralph. Each day He reminds me of the Tradition that brought me to – and kept me in – Alcoholics Anonymous. Over the years I have watched many who could admit they were bad drunks, but that word “alcoholic” just got caught in their throat.
This is why I always tell newcomers: “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking .”