| print this
Anonymous history in your area
The History of Greater Minneapolis Intergroup
History – 24th Gratitude Night – April 14, 2007 -- Presented
by: Jon H. 2007 Board Co-Chair
of Greater Minneapolis Intergroup
Alcoholics Anonymous began in Minneapolis with a
12 Step call made during the Armistice Day Blizzard
in November of 1940 by two men visiting from Chicago.
The first AA meetings in Minneapolis were eventually
held at 2218 First Avenue South. It didn’t take
long for those first meetings to spawn new meetings
at new locations, often in the homes of AA members.
By the early sixties Alcoholics Anonymous had grown
beyond Minneapolis, with meetings in the suburbs,
including Richfield, Robbinsdale, Fridley and Columbia
to this growth, the AA members of Greater Minneapolis
realized there was a need for further reaching 12
step services. They had the vision of an Intergroup
Service Office that would provide vital 12 step
services, such as phone answering 24 hours a day
by sober members of AA, lists of AA members willing
to do 12 step calls and a published AA meeting directory.
Your Service Office is one of 500 Intergroup/Central
Offices in the United States and Canada. The first
Intergroup Office in Minnesota was opened in St.
Paul in 1966.
Minneapolis Intergroup Office that you know today
was opened in September 1968 at 24 East Franklin
Avenue. Since then, the office has moved several
times. Many our members recall visiting the office
at 6300 Walker Avenue in St. Louis Park, which was
our home for 15 years. The office moved to its current
location, 7204 West 27th Street in St Louis Park
August 1, 2000 over 6 years ago.
of the location, the core focus of Minneapolis Intergroup
has always been to provide AA 12 Step Services.
I want to review some of those vital services that
have been developed over the years:
HOTLINE phone services are the lifeline to new
AA members. Annually the Intergroup office answers
over 20,000 phone calls to find meetings of
Alcoholics Anonymous. We are pleased to say
our members are answering the phone 24 hours
a day, 365 days a year- ensuring that a sober
member of AA is always available to share experience,
strength and hope.
also AA literature. The office has sold thousands
of Big Books, AA Conference Approved Literature
and AA Grapevine Publications since 1968.
AA Orientation meeting began in 1970 and now
meets every Saturday morning at the Lutheran
Church of the Reformation. This meeting provides
speakers on topics helpful to newcomers, including
Steps, Traditions, and Chapters in the Big Book.
The first Saturday of every month the meeting
is ASL Interpreted for the Deaf & Hard of
1977, Intergroup began publishing a newsletter.
You know this newsletter today as the “MIRUS”
which stands for Minneapolis Intergroup Recovery
Unity and Service. 2500 copies are mailed or
distributed each month.
publish a When & Where meeting directory.
This is quite a project, since there are nearly
1200 groups meeting in 500 different locations
in our area. 10,000 copies of our pocket size
directory are used each year, either by our
own members or those from the professional community.
the past five years our younger AA members have
visited over 5,000 Middle and High School students
in our community. Annually we are invited to
these schools to put on AA Information Presentations
to school health classes. We have a special
IG committee that coordinates these Public Information
requests through our Service Office. We furnish
each of the schools we are invited to with an
ample supply of pertinent AA literature at no
members can also find meeting information on
our website which is updated weekly in our office.
It is also used as a Public Information service
to the professional community.
are over 1000 visits a week to our site looking
for AA meetings and general information about
services only scratch the surface of how Intergroup
provides 12 Step opportunities in the Greater Minneapolis
area, so you can just imagine the busy place the
office has become! Currently there are over 500
AA members actively contributing their time to these
efforts. In addition to the services mentioned previously,
volunteers go on 12 step calls and help newcomers
find sponsors. Without this level of commitment
from you, the heart of Minneapolis Intergroup would
cease to beat.
addition to individuals contributing their time,
the office also has paid special workers. This includes
an Office Manager and Staff Assistants, all active
members of our Fellowship with over 79 years of
combined AA experience. Due to their commitment,
you can always be sure the office doors will be
open at 9am Monday through Saturday, and they will
welcome you on your next visit.
special thanks to our Intergroup staff, Chuck, Steve,
Ginny and Claudia.
All across the greater Minneapolis Area, AA groups
stay in touch with the Intergroup office by electing
an Intergroup Representative. The Representatives
meet every month to hear updates on the office activities,
help their group get involved in 12 step opportunities
and to have their group’s voice and ideas heard.
addition to Intergroup Representatives, Minneapolis
Intergroup is governed by 12 members elected to
the Board of Directors with 4 rotating each year.
There is presently 186 years of combined AA experience
serving on your IG Board. Early in our history,
this Board included members of Al-Anon. In the 1980’s
it was decided our fellowships would be better served
if AA and Al-Anon had separate Offices. We have
been fortunate over the years to be located in the
same building with Al-Anon Information Services
of Minneapolis. This has facilitated a spirit of
cooperation between our two fellowships, for which
we are very grateful.
same spirit of cooperation has also developed over
the years with the General Service Structure. Your
Minneapolis Intergroup actively participates with
the 11 metro Districts, Southern Minnesota Area
and your General Service Office. We have been pleased
to house the Temporary Contact Desk for the Southern
Minnesota Area 36 Treatment Committee over the past
14 years and the Intergroup Service Office is the
main contact point for the Area 36 Corrections Committee
and their Correctional Facilities Contact Program.
Two years ago we added a toll free number so incarcerated
inmates can have immediate meeting information before
their release. If you would like to be involved
with the many 12 Step opportunities that carry the
AA message, please visit our 12 Step Service Tables
during the evening.
whatever capacity you are helping Intergroup carry
the message; your service work is priceless. In
addition to the time you contribute, 7th Tradition
Contributions from AA groups and individual AA members,
along with literature sales, ensures your Intergroup
Service Office can continue to provide vital services.
Every time you purchase a Big Book at Intergroup
you are buying it from yourself, the office is operated
by the members for the members. In this manner Intergroup
is self-supporting. Consistent with this principle,
Intergroup does not accept contributions from outside
the AA Fellowship.
Service Office is a busy place these days. Most
visitors are from the local AA community, although
the office has hosted AA Members and Professionals
from around the world. We have been visited by healthcare
workers from Japan, Peru, Brazil, and Vietnam. The
Serenity Prayer in Japanese is now hanging in the
office. The non-alcoholic (Class A) Trustee chairperson
for the General Service Office in Brazil made a
visit a couple of years ago. We now have a beautiful
color poster celebrating the 60th Anniversary of
AA in Brazil.
stop by and see us soon, have a cup of coffee. You’ll
find all the bustling activity I have described,
and the opportunity to learn more about our AA history
on the history wall.
closing, since 1968, Greater Minneapolis Intergroup
has been providing these “Vital Services” envisioned
by the founding board 39 years ago. Our vital services
are in greater demand than ever. The early board
members could not have predicted we would be playing
such a strong role in our community; we respond
to requests for information about AA from schools,
religious groups, medical groups and businesses.
We are also responding to the 12 Step needs of teens
and pre-teens with special 12 Step services. I’m
sure you can see the original vision lives on stronger
than ever, one day at a time, day after day. It’s
the spirit of participation that makes this possible.
In that spirit, let us not forget that at this very
moment a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous is
either standing by to answer our phone, or is now
speaking to a member of the community who may have
a drinking problem. It’s Our 12th Step Responsibility
– and We Are Going to Any Length.
you and enjoy the evening.
© 2007 Alcohloics Anonymous Greater Minneapolis Intergroup