Volume 1.3 June 1999
Inside This Issue
|1||Archives General Purpose: News from the front|
|2||Article: History of the AA Preamble. Why was the word "Honest" removed from the AA Preamble?|
|3||Web Notes: ..Daggerrose|
|4||Article: What happened to the AA logo inside the cover of the Big Book?|
|5||Article: Short Group History|
|7||Letter from the Fellowship...............................Upcoming Events: Fourth Annual Archives Workshop/Chicago|
Archives State Chairperson: Pauline L.
Archives Alternate State Chairperson:Charlie M.
Archives Secretary: Kim P., Archives Treasurer: Mike D.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The primary purpose of this newsletter is to carry the message ofrecovery to the alcoholic who still suffers. The aim is to be informative regarding ourheritage and to keep the record straight, so that no distortion of our history occurs.
NEWSFROM THE FRONT
April 19, 1999 was a gorgeous day for our open-house and dedication ceremony for theArea 64 Archives. This was a huge success thanks to the many, many dedicated AAmembers efforts with their donations of time, money, sweat, and support. They madethis an event to remember!! We had several out of state visitors; Kentucky, Florida, andIndiana to mention a few.
We were blessed with having past chairpersons of the Archives and several pastdelegates present. David P. (Alt. Del.) hosted the event and introduced the speakersKittylu A. (Hickory Hill Group, Memphis), David Y. (District 15), Al S. (Mt.
Donations far exceeded our expectations: there were so many it would be impossible tolist them all here. Most have been catalogued and put in their place, but there are someleft to go. Please visit us and be uplifted by our Tennessee AA history.
This picture has been removed to protect the Anonmity ofthose in Photo.Betty B.cutting the ribbon April 19, 1999
History of the AAPreamble: Why was the word "honest" removed from the Preamble?
Fragments of AA HistoryThe AA Preamble
The words contained in the AA Preamble areperhaps the most often repeated words throughout the AA Fellowship. Used to open manymeetings around the world, the Preamble encapsulates the essence of AAs Traditionsand gives an overview of the practices and principles so vital to AA life.
Yet, where did these words come from? Who wrote them, and why?
Following the first major surge of AA membership in the early 1940s, due in part to theJack Alexander article about AA in the Saturday Evening Post and subsequent mediastories about AA, there was an increasing and widespread interest in AA, both amongpotential candidates for the Fellowship and among those nonalcoholic family members,friends, and professionals who dealt with alcoholics in their daily lives. With hope ofproviding a concise definition of AA for such interested people, the June 1947Grapevine carried the original version of what is now known throughout the AA world as thePreamble. It was written by Tom Y. , the Grapevines first editor, who borrowedheavily for the phrasing on the following paragraph in the Foreword to the firstedition of Alcoholics Anonymous:
"We are not an organization in the conventional sense of the word. The onlyrequirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking. We are not allied withany particular faith, sect or denomination, nor do we oppose anyone. We simply wish to behelpful to those who are afflicted."
The Preamble, initially referred to as "the AA Definition," took its placethereafter in each monthly issue of the Grapevine, and soon began to appear inConference-approved literature and many other publications.
The phraseology from the Big Book regarding "an honest desire to stopdrinking" as "the only requirement for membership" was carried over intothe original wording of the Preamble. However , at the 1958 General Service Conference, adelegate asked about the words "honest desire to stop drinking," suggesting thatsince "honest" does not appear in the Third Tradition, it might be deleted fromthe Preamble. In discussion, most Conference members felt that as AA had matured, it hadbecome almost impossible to determine what constitutes an honest desire to stop drinking,and also that some who might be interested in the program could be confused by thatphrase. Who was to determine what was an "honest desire" anyway? Thus, as a partof the evolution of AA, the phrase had been dropped from common usage. The mid-summermeeting of the AA General Service Board ratified the deletion, and since then the Preamblehas read simply "a desire to stop drinking."
At the same time, the phrase "AA has no dues or fees" was clarified to readas it presently does: "There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we areself-supporting through our own contributions."
Over the years, as the Preamble caught on within the Fellowship and with nonalcoholicfriends of AA, it has been translated into many other languagesRussian and Danishbeing the most recent. In addition, the Preamble has been used in television and radiopublic service announcements, has been adapted (subject to copyright approval) by manyother "twelve step fellowships" as a concise definition of who and what theyare. It has also been cited in many research papers, self-help books, masters theses, andhas appeared in the occasional doctoral dissertation.
Such is the brief history of the AA Preamblethis shining beacon whichdraws so many sick and suffering alcoholics into its light. And no matter where thePreamble may end up, it will always be best known as the beginning of yet another meetingof Alcoholic Anonymous. from the Grapevine....."What We Were Like."
The following is a short explanationof the above article by Frank M., longtime GSO archivist
Usage of words "Honest" and "Sincere" in the Preamble and 3rdTradition:
The Foreword to the first printing of theBig Book carried the statement," The only requirement for membership is an honestdesire to stop drinking." In composing a statement that would describe thefellowship, the editor of the A. A. Grapevine, Tom Y., borrowed this sentence, as well asothers, from the Foreword and the total definition later on came to be called thePreamble. The first printing of the Preamble appeared in the June 1947 issue of theGrapevine.
The short form of the Traditions (which alsoappeared for the first time in the Nov. 1949 issue of the Grapevine) did carry themembership statement but without the word "honest" preceding the word"desire." After the Traditions were adopted by the whole fellowship at the International Convention in 1950,the Grapevine started to carry both the TwelveSteps and Twelve Traditions in each issue; the Third Tradition reading, "The onlyrequirement for A. A. membership is a desire to stop drinking," but the Preamblestill retaining, "...an honest desire..."
Since the adoption of the short-form Traditions,the Third has always read "The only requirement for A. A. membership is a desire tostop drinking," and so was used in this form by Bill in writing the book "TheTwelve Steps and Twelve Traditions."
(The "long form" or firstpublication of the Traditions, written by Bill and appearing for the first time in theApril 1946 Grapevine over several issues, did not carry this statement.)
The change in the Preamble was made in 1958 by theGeneral Service Conference action. This Conference action did not apply to the ThirdTradition, but to the Preamble. The Grapevine dropped the word "honest"beginning with the Sept. 1958 issue, and on recommendation and action of the Literaturecommittee of the Conference, it was agreed to make this deletion anywhere in the A. A.literature it may still appear.
As for the insertion of the word"sincere" in place of "honest" in the wording of the Third Traditionas it appeared in "A. A. Comes of Age." both in the listing of the Traditionsand in the body of the chapter on Unity, only Bill W. knows why he used this word! As of 1979, it still appears in "A. A. Comes of Age," and will be changed in thenext printing. Frank M., GSO Archivist.
What Happened tothe AA Logo on the inside cover of the Big Book?
The Circle and Triangle was adopted as an official AA symbol at the internationalconvention in St. Louis in 1955. The Circle and Triangle appeared on the title page of theSecond Edition of the Big Book, which first appeared in 1955 (the first edition, publishedfrom 1939-54, had a floral pattern on the title page). The logo continued to appear on allprintings of the Second Edition , and on most printings of the Third Edition (firstpublished in 1976) as well. This continued through the 47th printing, whichappeared in 1993. In the 48th printing (also 1993), however, the Circle andTriangle symbol was dropped from the title page, and it has not appeared since (werenow up to the 65th printing). This article from the Aug-Sept. 1993 issue of Box4-5-9 relates why.
LettingGo of the Circle and Triangle As a Legal mark'
The symbol was registered as an official A. A. mark in 1955, and was freely used byvarious A. A. entities, which worked very well for a while. However, by the mid-1980s,there was a growing concern by the members of the Fellowship on the use of the circle andtriangle by outside organizations. In keeping with A. A. s sixth Tradition, thatAlcoholics Anonymous" ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A. A. name toany related facility or outside enterprise .", A. A. World Services beganefforts in 1986 to prevent the use of the circle and triangle by outside entities,including novelty manufacturers, publishers and treatment facilities. The policy wasundertaken with restraint, and only after attempts at persuasion and conciliation hadfailed were legal actions considered. In fact, of approximately 170 unauthorized userscontacted, only two suits were filed, both of which were settled at a very early stage.By early 1990, some members of the Fellowshipseemed to be saying two things: "we want medallions with our circle andtriangle," while others were saying, "we dont want our symbol aligned withnon-A. A. purposes." The desire of some A. A. members for anniversary chips wasaddressed by the A. A. World Services and Grapevine Boards in October 1990, when theyconsidered the possibility of producing medallions. The boards felt that tokens andmedallions were unrelated to our primary purpose of carrying the A. A. message, and thatthe matter should be given a thorough airing at the Conference in order to seek a groupconscience from the Fellowship. The essence of this decision was relayed to the 1991General Service Conference in the A. A. W. S. Boards report.
The 1992 General Service Conference began to confront the dilemma by hearingpresentations on why we should or should not produce medallions, and the responsibility ofA. A. W. S. to protect our trademarks and copyrights from uses that might suggestaffiliation with outside sources.
The result was a Conference Advisory Action for the General Board to undertakea feasibility study on the possible methods by which sobriety chips might be madeavailable to the Fellowship, followed by a report to an ad hoc committee of 1993Conference delegates.
Following lengthy considerations, the ad hoccommittee presented their report and recommendations to the 1993 Conference. Afterdiscussion, the Conference approved two of five recommendations that: 1) the use ofsobriety chips/medallions is a matter of local autonomy and not one on which theConference should record a definite position; and 2) it is not appropriate for A. A. WorldServices or the Grapevine to produce or license the production of sobrietychips/medallions.
Among the considerations in the ad hoccommittees report were the implications of continuing to protect A.A.strademarks from use by outside organizations through legal means.
Coincidentally, the A. A. W. S Board had begun to consider recent developments,culminating in recognition that the prospects of increasingly costly and lengthylitigation, the uncertainty of success, and the diversions from A. A. s primarypurpose were too great to justify continuing the protection effort of the circle andtriangle.
During the post-Conference meeting of the General Service Board, the trustees acceptedA. A. W. S. recommendation to discontinue protecting the circle and triangle symbol as oneof our registered marks.
By early June, The General Service Board reached substantial unanimity insupport of A.A.W.S.s statement that, consistent with our original purpose to avoidthe suggestion of association or affiliation with outside goods and services, AlcoholicsAnonymous World Services, Inc. will phase out the "official" or"legal" use of the circle and triangle symbol. A. A. W. S. will continue toresist unauthorized use of our other marks and any attempts to publish A. A. literaturewithout permission.
The triangle within a circle will, ofcourse, always have a special meaning in the hearts and minds of A.A.s, in a symbolicsense, just as do the Serenity Prayer and slogans, which have never had any officialstatus.
Aug-Sept. 1993, Box 4-5-9
Letter from Area20 (Illinois) State Archivist
When my own Area 20 considers its Archives, thequestion that always gets tossed in the mix is "just how does Archives carry themessage, anyway?" and there are many (with long-term sobriety, too) who voice theirskepticism. Of course you all have walked into a discussion where the skepticism turnsinto cynicism, that unfortunate trait of some of our trusted servants. I have one examplethat Im ready to give them, and I send it to you here.
Conference weekend, a close friend and pastdelegate, who now lives in Tennessee brought a newcomer A year ago at our NorthernIllinois Area Spring to the Archives display room. The new guy was sober about 36 hours,was cut and bruised from falling down many times, but he was at the point of getting abetter grip on himself. My friend later told me his thoughts on what better place to bringhim to, an Area 20 Conference celebration, and especially introducing him to the A.A.Archives (he also told me he wanted to introduce the new guy to me, too). We had somephotographs of an article from Norman Vincent Peales magazine "Guideposts"from about 1949 on the table, and the new guy began reading it. That issue had a piecefrom Bill, somewhat excerpted from the then-current pamphlet "Why is AlcoholicsAnonymous anonymous?" and other choice thoughts from Rev. Peale. The reading,combined with the articles content, relaxed the new guy. His brief visit into theArchives turned into a two-hour twelfth step. Hes still sober today from whatIve heard, but it was Archives that "broke down the wall" for hisunderstanding of just how much history backed up the principles of our Fellowship. I hadthe opportunity to twelfth step him, stepping outside of my service role as AreaArchivist, of course, but his delight in viewing the items on display sure made a positiveimpression. And for me, without getting sly or manipulative, I was able to relate some ofour collective experience, strength, and hope at the same time, having my serviceexperience ready to help carry the same message. The experience will probably stay with mefor years, it was such a hopeful sharing for the newcomer.
Rick T. Area 20
Well, again theres not a lot to reportconcerning your Web Pages. Kim P., your trusted servant has received the tools necessaryto begin her journey in participation with the site. We are slowly recognizing the greatpotential the Internet has to offer us in our walk in Sobriety.
Please log onto
Above all lets ask ourselves this question
In Gods Grace and A. A. Service Daggerrose
In my best times and worst timesin my sobriety, when I sat down and wrote a poem, it helped me get through another 24hours, without a drink or drug.
I hope by sharing them with you,it will also help you get through the best and worst days of your sobriety, 24 hours at atime.
So hang in there, go to meetings,call your sponsor and remember God loves you and so do I.
Orbie M., Pulaski
Getting sober is hard to do
But with good people and A. A.you can pull through
Never think you can do it alone
Because this disease ofalcoholism will prove you wrong
You have to work the steps, onethrough twelve
You need to get a sponsor,thats going to be rough as hell
Because he may be the one to helpsave your life
You need to call when you need totalk, day or night
Home group is important too
Its just like going back toschool
You get to know people just asthey are
There is no need to hide themdeep down scars.
Service work, yes indeed
It will help you get over some ofthe fear and needs
So just come in to A. A. and jumpin with both feet
Because the feelings you aregoing to receive is going to be neat .
Orbie M., Pulaski
WINDOW ON THEPAST, GUIDE TO THE PRESENT, AND LIGHT FOR THE FUTURE
"So many of us in servicethroughout the A.A. world believe that a careful study of our history is essentialtodeepen appreciation for our gifts and to foster a renewed effort to remember and carryforward our original message. Archives, then, are about keeping our collective history andits struggles before us, stimulating a feeling of humility and trust in Godsguidance, and taking the abstract wording of our traditions and transforming them intovital tools for our survival. Keeping clear this window to our past can provide the bestlight for our future."
Frank M. GSO Archivist, April1996
"THE LORDS PRAYER"
This was written byan 8 year-old boy to his mother over a quarter of a century ago, donated by Daggerrose. Whomet him at a jail meeting.
I do believe the Lord above, createdyou for me to love.
He picked you out from all therest, because he knew Id Love you best.
I once had a heart and it wastrue, He took it from me and gave it to you.
So treat it well as I have done,for you have two and I have none.
When I die and go to Heaven andyour not there by Judgment day, Ill know you went the other way.
So just to prove my Love is true,Id go to Hell to be with you.
I LOVE YOU!
" Just For Today"
This living in "JustToday" means so much to me.
Its likevisions widened and Now theres more to see.
Each new days a newbeginning Bestowed from him on high,
And each ray of sunshine,a gleam from Gods eye.
A morning mist upon amountain lake so clear.
And if you will look alittle closer, youll feel His presence near.
The freshly fallen snow,untouched by the steps of man,
All of this just has tobe, Gods creation plan
The trees and themountains, reaching for the sky,
As if theyrepraising their Creator with one majestic cry.
So now I would like tothank you, for allowing me to see,
This day of Creation, madefor only me ..
Short Group History
I have been asked to write a brief history ofAlcoholics Anonymous and its beginnings in Murfreesboro, TN.
The first meeting was held at the public healthdepartment. There were twelve (12) people in attendance. We agreed we needed A. A. hereand I was asked to be chairman of the group. Our meetings were Monday, an open meeting,Thursday, a closed meeting. We had some discussions with non members who wanted to attendand conduct some of the meetings; we lost one (1) or two (2) for awhile but they did"came to believe", our way was for A. A. s only.
After about a month at the Health Dept. werented 2 rooms in the old Masonic Bldg., we used this location for about four (4) years.
The group membership was up and down for a longtime but when it started to grow it has gone forward for a long time.
The group how has a place to meet for all occasionsand we are all proud of this.
A lot of my old friends are now gone an we allmiss them; but we are all glad they passed our way. I am the only one of the original 12left.
Lester S. 9-26-86
The 1999 FourthAnnual Archives Workshop
September 16, 17, 18, 19, 1999
Arlington Park Hilton
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Pre-workshop sessions beginningThursday afternoon, Sept. 16
Roundtable Discussions andSharing
Conservation Training all day Friday
10:00 A. M. kickoff
Saturday discussion Groups andWorking sessions
Saturday night All Chicago openMeeting
Sunday Sharing Session on ArchivesService
For Hotel information call Laura Z.847-831-3538
For General Information call ChicagoArea Service Office 312-346-1475
Sept. 1st is roomreservation cut-off date
(Rooms have the reduced rate of$79.00 per night, double occupancy. Call the hotel direct to register under"Alcoholics Anonymous" or "Archives Workshop Weekend" for the Workshopdates.
Arlington Park Hilton Hotel
3400 Euclid Avenue
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
An airport limousine is available
Notes from the AAState Convention
Memphis June 11, 12, & 13
I was fortunate to be able toattend the state convention in Memphis week-end before last. It was a hoot. The hostcommittee did an outstanding job of providing speakers, accommodations, and sustenance.Met many old friends and new ones.
There was a standing committee workshop on Saturdaymorning, which was very informative. Interestingly, one can get a capsulated view of eachstanding committee by just being present and listeningthe speakers were limited toabout 10 minutes and just gave the most basic information and of course, answered anyquestions from the audience.
Dwayne L. (Grapevine) informed us that thecirculation of the Grapevine is about 240,000 and the first issue of the magazine (V 1.1)was in 1944.
David P.(alt.CPC ) gave the information that CPC isan offshoot of the PI committee in the 70 and works closer with individuals, bycontrast PI is more broad based and works more by furnishing information. There are 12pamphlets available addressed to the professionals: e.g. lawyers, doctors, human resourcepersonnel, schools, counselors, etc. David also reminded us of the standing committeemeetings in Jackson at the next assembly.
Dennis T. (Treatment Facilities) stated that since1935 CPC has cooperated with the Treatment Facilities--Towns Hospital and St. ThomasHospital in Ohio which helped over 5,000 alcoholics was the first examples.
Corrections Facilities was represented by Milton C.(Memphis), who reported that GSO receives about 700 letters monthly from inmates in penalinstitutions. The state of TN has three coordinators: in the east, west, and middle of thestate. They work to "bridge the gap" statewide and handle the prereleasecontacts.
Archives: Pauline L. briefly spoke about the statusof the new building and the great turnout of support for the dedication in April thisyear.
All told it was a successful convention withmuch fun and fellowship. Thanks Memphis EPL
Please contact Pauline L. withsuggestions for this newsletter E-mail archivetn@Aol.com.Contributions solicited and welcomed.