“Honest” desire to stop drinking in The Preamble
When and why was the word "honest" taken out of the preamble? As in "an honest desire to stop drinking."
The word "honest" was removed from The Preamble in 1958.
According to the workbook entitled A Guide to the AA Grapevine
published by The Grapevine in 2004 (link to PDF
The Preamble was first published in the June 1947 Grapevine and was originally called "The AA Definition." That original version did read "the only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking."
"Honest" was dropped following the 1958 General Service Conference at which a conference delegate questioned the wording because the word "honest" was not in the Third Tradition. The workbook explains the reasoning of the conference this way:
"In the discussion that followed, most Conference members felt that as AA matured, it had become almost impossible to determine what constituted an honest desire to stop drinking. They were also concerned that people interested in the AA program could be confused by the phrase."
Much of the Preamble was derived from the original Foreword to The Big Book. The Foreword reads in part:
"We are not an organization in the conventional sense of the word. There are no fees or dues whatsoever. The only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking. We are not allied with any particular faith, sect or denomination, nor do we oppose anyone. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted."