The Third Tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.” This tradition is especially important for the newcomer. Certain groups have certain requirements/criteria for example, sports teams, social groups, and so on. Some of us may have been members of different groups in our lives. Many of us have felt like we’re different and we don’t belong even if we were part of a team or a group.
A.A./N.A. is not like most groups. When we finally admit that we have a problem we feel scared, lonely, confused. The fellowship and the Third Tradition allow us to walk into the rooms, no strings attached and no judgment. Because you have a desire to stop drinking, you are accepted. We are welcomed into the 12-Step program because we have surrendered or at the very least desire that surrender that everyone talks about.
Maybe we went to drug/alcohol rehab and so the initial apprehensiveness isn’t as intense. If we didn’t go to treatment, the first time experience is a little more nerve-racking.
Yet when we walk through those doors and even though we are nervous, anxious, terrified and don’t really know what to expect, we see this group of people who are happy. They are comfortable. They are welcoming. They are free. There is a sense of family that emanates from everyone. Just by being there, we are a part of the group. For the first time in our lives, we truly belong.
“Tradition Three insured that we would get what we need—each other.” (A.A. Daily Reflections pg. 33)