Can a non-alcoholic be a group member?
Our 13 year old daughter wants to know if she can be a "member" of our new group. She has never had a drink of alcohol but she helps us with refreshments and the clean-up at every meeting. She is a big part of our sobriety.
According to The Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, the individual member or prospective member determines whether he or she is qualified as a member, not the group. The book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
makes clear on page 139 that the focus is on the serious drinker with a desire to stop drinking.
Consider Tradition 3:
Short Form: 3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
Long Form: 3. Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.
This would seem to make clear that to be a member of A.A. a person needs to drink and then want to stop.
However, there is still some room for discussion on the question of whether a non-alcoholic can join an A.A. group while not joining A.A.
Page 159 of Alcoholics Anonymous
(The Big Book) describes the purpose and nature of meetings this way:
Seeing much of each other, scarce an evening passed that someone's home did not shelter a little gathering of men and women, happy in their release, and constantly thinking how they might present their discovery to some newcomer. In addition to these casual get-togethers, it became customary to set apart one night a week for a meeting to be attended by anyone or everyone interested in a spiritual way of life. Aside from fellowship and sociability, the prime object was to provide a time and place where new people might bring their problems.
This reflects the common practice in early A.A. of seeking to include the entire family in meetings. In this context a 13 year old daughter while perhaps not a "member" certainly does not need be excluded from any group activity as long as that is in line with your group's conscience. Each A.A. group is entirely free to decide for itself who can attend the group's meetings and it what capacity they can serve.