Must I call myself an alcoholic in meetings?
Do I have to say I am an alcoholic each and every time I am at the same meetings or if I want to read or comment? I can not find this in the Big Book or other literature.
No, there is no rule about what a person "must" say - but it is polite to stick to the customs of the particular group.
In AA, you don't ever
have to say you are an alcoholic. Using the somewhat cliched AA introduction of "Hi, my name is ___ and I'm an alcoholic" is not requirement but simply a custom adopted independently by many groups and members. It began in the years just before WWII.
At the oldest existing AA group in Akron, Ohio, the custom has never taken root. People introduce themselves by simply saying their full name. No mention of being an alcoholic and no response from the group (no chorus of "Hi Joe.")
Customs and practices vary from group to group and from region to region because AA avoids putting rules into place. There are no rules about how a person must introduce themselves and people are ultimately free to introduce themselves as they want. It is important to realize though that in may groups it will be taken as rude if you stray from the group customs.
Out of respect for the group and the help they freely offer you should certainly consider introducing yourself in the group's accustomed fashion - group unity is typically seen to be more important than the individuals in the group.
If you are an "addict" that is fine, but in the context of an AA meeting that is often seen as somewhat irrelevant. We can be many, many things besides an "alcoholic" but the meetings are for the alcoholic — so we usually introduce ourselves as simply alcoholics rather than focus on our differences. For more on this click here
If members of the group you attend object to the way you introduce yourself, you can assure them that you do
want to quit drinking (this is the ONLY requirement for AA membership) and explain you don't really want to be redundant or introduce yourself an alcoholic. If the group still has a problem with it then you are free to find (or start) a new group.
If you don't want to quit drinking, a group can exclude you from their meetings if they choose to.