We don't seem to talk about it much in AA meetings. We'll let you know that the only requirement for AA Membership is simply a desire to stop drinking.
That requirement is originally from a longer requirement that indicated that you "had to have an honest desire" to stop drinking.
What happened was: some drinkers that were unable to stop drinking and attend meetings -- were getting asked to leave -- because they hadn't already stopped drinking.
The Fellowship decided that the "honest desire" was left up to individual interpretation and some were telling others that "you don't have an honest desire."
On my first trip into AA -- I had an honest desire. I stopped drinking. I stayed sober 5 1/2 months. We gave out little chips for certain lengths of sobriety. My next one was to be the six month chip. I really wanted it badly! You see... I had it all planned out. If I could stay sober six months -- I figured my problem was not as bad as I thought it was, and someday I could go back to drinking "normally." (Duh? Dallas? WHEN did you ever drink normally??? )
So, at five and a half months -- I took a trip down to Mexico, to work on a nice real pretty tan, so that I'd look great in my white shirt and jeans, with little sun streaks of blond in my hair, and my blue-green eyes popping out of my head shouting "Look at me!!! I'm sober!!! I did it!"
Long story that happened in a short time. Bottomline was: I started buying drinks for her -- and not drinking them -- because I was sober and had stopped drinking! And, for a little double insurance against my next first drink -- I announced before the purchase of each drink for her, proudly... "This is not for me! I don't drink any more! I'm a sober member of AA!"
After she had a couple of drinks -- and seemed to have a problem drinking them fast enough for my pleasure, I began to help her out a little bit -- by taking a couple of sips of her drink. Just a couple of sips mind you -- sip after sip after sip after sip after sip --- chug, chug, chug, chug!!! I'll bet you can guess how the story ended, huh?
About a week later -- I made it back to Los Angeles. I was near to be coming up on getting that six month chip! I was embarrased. Felt ashamed. Thought... well, maybe... no one else saw me down in Mexico! Maybe, I could go take that chip anyway and not tell them of the problem that I had! You see... several of the AA's had warned me before I left that -- "You're just setting yourself up! You're going to get drunk again!" (And, of course... that made me mad ... that they didn't believe in me! )
Shorten the story? K. My decision was: Go to different AA meetings -- where no one knows me. Get sober in those, for 90 days, then... go back to my first meetings where they had tried so hard to help me, and announce: "Oh! I did have a little slippie-pooh nothing major, mind you, but I'm back now and 90 days sober! Look at me go will you!"
I had an honest desire to quit drinking. I was getting more desparate by the day. You see, alcoholism is progressive -- it gets worse -- not better.
My plan was -- have my last drink -- head out to an AA meeting. Quit for good. And, be sober for the rest of my life!
Well. I met all the requirements and then also met the one's that we don't tell new people in AA!
For sobriety in AA to work... you've got to be willing to quit for good. Forever... at least according to the AA book, that's what it says. And, I was ready there! I wanted to quit for good.
Next... I was ALMOST willing to go to ANY lengths to not drink and to take what we call "The 12 Steps" (means to me: willing to go to extreme measures to have my problem removed!).
For the next five months... I quit... nearly every day. Sometimes, I even quit a few times each day. Most often, I tried to attend an AA meeting every day... My problem was, after a few drinks... I couldn't always find the meeting.
And... when I did find the meetings... hardly ever, could I sit through the entire meeting... without going out to my car to get a little nip -- to help me make it through the next meeting!
Remember, how I mentioned... alcoholism progresses??? Well... that's what had happened to me. And, if you're alcoholic -- I personally guarantee and promise you -- it will happen to you, too! Got something to look forward to, huh???
BTW: Next time you attend an AA meeting... and you smell booze on someone... don't be so fast to judge them! They want sobriety alright -- they just can't get it!
So what's the bottomline to this story? I'm one of the reasons, they shortened the "honest desire to stop drinking" to simply "desire to stop drinking" requirements.
They already knew, in AA, several years before I got there -- that me, and others like me, would be coming along -- that had an honest desire to stop drinking -- but, we couldn't stop! And, they still wanted us to keep coming back! Figuring: the best place for any alcoholic to be, drinking or sober, would be to be in a meeting of AA! At least there -- we might hear something that may help us to finally plug the jug for good and for all!
Eventually -- I got another shot at sobriety. And, that was on November 14, 1986. And, I haven't had a drink since.
So, I encourage you -- if you can't stop yet, if you feel ashamed and embarrased -- I understand, been there, too -- don't let that keep you away! Don't allow the excuse to keep you from "continuing to keep going back!"
If I can do it -- so can you! And, I'm wishing you the best of the best of the best! If you have trouble, need help, or if you go back to AA, and feel like they ran you off... come back here and let me know! I'll help you straighten them out -- as long as you have an 'honest desire' to stop drinking!