Newcomers to the rooms of 12-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous may hear the word “member” and think that there is some sort of process required to officially join. Fortunately, this is not the case. There are no dues, fees, secret handshakes, or passwords to become a member of a 12-step recovery group. All you need is a desire to stop drinking or using drugs. Along with the twelve steps of recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous, there are also twelve traditions. The third tradition of A.A. states: “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.” We don’t need to be vocal about this to attend a meeting. If some part of us feels that our drinking has become a problem, we are welcome at any recovery meeting. Alcoholics Anonymous, in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, explains, “You are an A.A. 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 A.A. 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 A.A. member the minute you declare yourself.” We are welcomed with open arms the moment we decide that we want to stop drinking. Alcoholics Anonymous was not always open to everyone in the way that it is today. Why did they decide to drop any membership requirements? According to Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, “The answer, now seen in Tradition Three, was simplicity itself. At last experience taught us that to take away and alcoholic’s full chance was sometimes to pronounce his death sentence, and often to condemn him to endless misery. Who dared to be judge, jury, and executioner of his own sick brother?” Denying anyone membership into a recovery group would be to limit his or her chance of achieving sobriety. Therefore, all that is ever, and will ever, be required for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
Your story can become one of hope, faith, and courage. You can make the courageous decision to seek help now and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, a men’s treatment center in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with experienced professionals dedicated to addressing the individual needs and unique challenges of each client. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777