In the 12×12 is a story of a man that came to the early Akron Group and asked:
“…will you let me join your group? Since I am the victim of another addiction even worse stigmatized than alcoholism, you may not want me among you. Or will you?”
He was an alcoholic and the other “addiction” was his attraction to men…
At the 1968 General Service Conference Bill W. gave a talk on the Traditions and said the following:
At about year two of the Akron Group, a poor devil came to Dr. Bob in a grievous state. He could qualify as an alcoholic all right. And then he said, “Dr. Bob, I’ve got a real problem to tell you. I don’t know if I could join AA because I am sex deviate.”
Well that had to go out to the group conscious. You know. Up to then it was supposed any society could say who was going to join it. And pretty soon the group conscious began to seethe and boil and it boiled over. And under no circumstances could we have such a coward and such a disgrace among us said these gentlemen.
And you know, right then our destiny hung on a razor edge over this single case. In other words, would there be room that could exclude so called undesirability’s and that caused us in that time, and for quite a time with respecting this single case, to ponder what is the more important; the reputation that we shall have. What people should think? Or is it our character.
And who are we considering our record, alcoholism is quite as unlovely. Who are we to deny a man his opportunity, any man or women.
And finally the day of resolution came. And a bunch were sitting in Dr. Bob’s living room arguing what to do. Where upon dear old Bob looked around and blandly said, “Isn’t it time folks to ask ourselves; ‘What would the Master do in a situation like this? Would he turn this man away?'”
And that is the beginning of the AA tradition that any man who has a drinking problem is a member of AA if he says so not whether we say so. Now I think that the import on this on the common welfare has already been sustained because it takes in even more territory than the confines of our fellowship. It takes in the whole world of Alcoholics Anonymous. Their charter to freedom to join AA is assured. Indeed it was an act in general welfare.