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wilmington preamble

The Wilmington Preamble has long been surrounded by controversy and discussion of such has sparked many a debate almost from its inception in the early years of Alcoholics Anonymous. The history of our fellowship has mostly been passed from member to member over the expanse of many years; member whose very disease has a tendency to distort one’s memory. Inaccuracies may prevail. The following is in no way an attempt to dispel those controversies, but an effort to establish an accurate history of the birth of the Wilmington Preamble and to keep it’s true history alive for the enlightenment of future generations. Documentable corrections are welcomed.

The Wilmington Preamble’s birth ties in with one of Wilmington’s earliest members, Shoes L. Shoes joined the Wilmington Group and got sober in May of 1944.The following month in June, Shoes was Chairman of the group and in charge of getting speakers for their meetings. There was at this time a sportswriter in town covering the horseraces at Delaware Park. His name was Mickey M. and Shoes asked him to speak at the group’s meeting. Mickey replied that he wasn’t much of a speaker but that he would write something appropriate. He reportedly went back to his room at the Hotel Dupont and wrote the Wilmington Preamble as we know it and it was read the following Friday night.

Being a sportswriter, Mickey M. covered events in other towns, and while in Baltimore covering the races at Pimlico gave the same preamble to the Baltimore Group which they also adopted as their own. Where it was actually read first is the subject of many debates but one fact remains clear, that this “Preamble” was widely accepted in Maryland and Delaware long before World Service sanctioned the shorter A.A. Preamble that is more universally accepted today.

The Wilmington AA Preamble

We of Alcoholics Anonymous are a group of persons for whom alcohol has become a major problem. We have banded together in a sincere effort to help ourselves and other problem drinkers recover health and maintain sobriety.

Definitions of alcoholics are many and varied. For brevity we think of an alcoholic as one whose life has become unmanageable to any degree due to the use of alcohol.

We believe that the alcoholic is suffering from a disease for which no cure has yet been found. We profess no curative powers but have formulated a plan to arrest alcoholism.

From the vast experience of our many members we have learned that successful membership demands total abstinence. Attempts at controlled drinking by the alcoholic inevitably fail.

Membership requirements demand only a sincere desire on the part of the applicant to maintain total abstinence.

There are no dues of fees in A.A.; no salaried officers. Money necessary for operating expenses is secured by voluntary contributions.

Alcoholics Anonymous does not perform miracles, believing that such powers rests only in God.

We adhere to no particular creed or religion. We do believe, however, that an appeal for help to one’s own interpretation of a higher power, or God, is indispensable to a satisfactory adjustment to life’s problems.

Alcoholics Anonymous is not a prohibition or temperance movement in any sense of the word. We have no criticism of the controlled drinker. We are concerned only with the alcoholic.

We attempt to follow a program of recovery which has for its chief objectives: Sobriety for ourselves; help for other alcoholics who desire it; amends for past wrongs; humility; honesty; tolerance; and spiritual growth.

We welcome and appreciate the cooperation of the medical profession and the help of the clergy.

By Cathedral City, CA Central Intergroup Office

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.