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Anonymous began spreading to other countries in the 1940's.
In that decade, the message was carried by A.A. members
in the armed services both during World War II and in the
occupation forces afterward. It was carried by travelers.
It was carried by seamen - or "internationalists" as they
came to be called - and by members posted by their employers
to overseas countries: the early "Loners." It was carried
by the media, especially by a Reader's Digest article on
A.A. which appeared in 1946.
spread of A.A. around the world was exciting to the "headquarters"
staff and deeply gratifying to Bill. In May 1950, Bill and
Lois went to Europe for the express purpose of visiting
A.A. there: In Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, France,
England and Ireland. And by 1955, Bill was able to declare,
at the St. Louis Convention, that "A.A. had established
beachheads in seventy foreign lands." In ensuing years,
those "beachheads" evolved into groups, the groups established
their own service offices and their own publishing operations
for A. A. literature and elected their own service boards.
General Service Conference Charter written in the late 1940's
by Bill W. and Bernard Smith, and adopted in 1955, envisaged
that the LJ.S./Canada Conference would eventually have "Sections"
in foreign countries. Instead, however, each country has
developed its own, autonomous service structure. Most are
patterned to a greater or lesser degree after the U.S./Canada
model - but they are all independent.
was against this background that Bill W. began thinking,
in the mid-1960's, of a worldwide service meeting. From
his personal observations during his 1950 trip to Europe
and his subsequent correspondence with A.A. pioneers in
many other lands, Bill was aware of how the fledgling service
structures were floundering. He realized their need for
A.A. literature in their own languages; the obstacles to
growth posed by the ignorance of professionals in their
countries; the arguments and controversies that arose within
their ranks; and their fears of all kinds of calamities.
In these respects, he saw strong parallels (as he wrote
Dr. Bob) with "our own pioneering time in Akron, Cleveland
and New York." By October, 1967, he was ready to make this
suggestion to the General Service Board:
is suggested that G.S.0. launch an inquiry, addressed to
overseas areas of largest A.A. population, asking whether
they would like, on a tentative basis and only for purposes
of exploration, to call a World Service Meeting to be held
in New York late in 1969.
two delegates should be asked from each participating nation
or region involved. Each country would be invited to contribute
to a meeting treasury and, further, to pay some part (perhaps
the first $200) of the expenses of each delegate.
delegates - including two delegates from our own North American
(U.S./Canada) Conference - would sit with members of our
board of trustees, plus the necessary staff and directors
of our services.
assembled meeting would first be shown the evolution of
our services here and the part they have played in North
American development. In retrospect, this evolution will
be seen as something that was absolutely necessary for the
functioning of A.A. as a whole, particularly in this country
and in Canada. The need to get similar undertaking launched
elsewhere will be presented as fundamental and essential.
In short, we will present the vision of general services
overseas as indispensable to future world functioning.
into consideration the development stages in which the few
existing overseas service structures find themselves, we
shall offer tentative next steps that each might take in
the direction of long-term world objectives.
these suggestions as a basis for-discussion, we shall then
review the difficulties to be anticipated in those countries
struggling to set up a general service body. Even at this
first meeting, we would come into agreement on a series
of such steps that could be relayed to other regions not
represented at the original meeting.
the next trustees' meeting, we would like authorization
to ask about 15 countries whether they would care to send
delegates. In short, we will probe their interest in such
by the January trustees' meeting, enough overseas interest
has been demonstrated, then I will prepare a more concrete,
and inclusive position paper on this subject - to be presented
to the 1986 General Service Conference, to ascertain their
views. If the Conference is favorable, we will ask for approval
of the needed funds."
was given by the board, and on, November 15, 1967, the following
letter was sent to representatives of:
3. New Zealand
8. Central America (Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, El
Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua)
9. South America
12. South Africa
are addressing this letter to you, and know you will see
that the members of your board are made aware of its contents.
Many thanks in. advance for your assistance in this important
this memorandum, I am proposing that A.A. take first steps
toward forming a world service conference. The time will
come when our overseas population may well exceed that
of the United States and Canada.
‘The Third Legacy Manual' (now ‘The A.A. Service
Manual') and in other writings, the principle has already
been enunciated that the General Service Office of North
America (in New York) should one day become the senior
service center among a number of national and zonal offices
started around the globe. This attitude on our part has
already been of value in forwarding A.A. efforts overseas.
It has banished all thought that New York general services
is going to run the world of A.A.
our North American Conference here will probably wish
to participate in a world' service conference to which
accredited delegates will be sent by national and zonal
A.A. offices from all corners of the globe.
doubt, we are approaching the time when there will be
an ever-mounting need for general service setups in a
great many parts of the world - offices and boards similar
to those that exist today in some countries, and are in
the process of developing in others.
are many problems of growth and relations that call for
an international exchange of experiences. The problems
of public relations, of anonymity, of self-support, of
relations with medicine and religion - these are all keenly
felt in many A.A. countries. The problem of printing and
distributing literature is another one that can best be
solved by exchange of experiences and policies.
a beginning, I propose a World Service Meeting - not a
conference, since it would not be fully representative
of world A.A. - to be held in the fall of 1969, and to
run for three days. This meeting could be held in New
York so that delegates would have access to the experience
of staff members and board members, and delegates would
have the opportunity of seeing a 30-year-old service office
at work. To the meeting would come delegates from countries
where the A.A. population was already considerable and
where the problems of growth were already present. Probably
less than 15 countries and/or zones would be involved
in the First World Service Meeting.
delegates might come from each country or zone.. One of
these delegates should be the principal A.A. service head.
The other could be the chairman of the general service
board or committee and could be an A.A. or a nonalcoholic.
delegates should have a working command of English. The
meeting will be conducted in. English, since the cost
of simultaneous translation is prohibitive. However, there
would be translators available for interview periods.
First World Service Meeting would be financed by voluntary
contributions of the participating countries (from A.A.
sources only), and each country would contribute to a
world treasury according to its ability to pay.
it be possible for you to give this program your early
attention and let us have these answers/
Does this program sound like a good idea to you?
Can you ‘elect' two delegates who can be said to
fairly represent the groups in your country or zone?
What contribution can your country or zone make to a world
In addition, each country would be asked to pay the first
$200 of expenses for each of its delegates. Would your
groups find this practical?
possible, please let me hear from you by the middle of
December. When we have heard from you - and if we find
substantial approval of the idea - we will present the
program to the North American Conference and ask them
to approve two delegates, and to help underwrite the meeting
sense a feeling of great growth in A.A. worldwide even
in the thought of a score or more of us gathered face-to-face
- talking of the great vision of general service offices
clear around the world.
"(Co-founder of A.A.)"
ideas presented by Bill were enthusiastically approved by
the countries to whom the letter was sent.
then prepared a lengthy position paper for presentation
to the General Service Board at its January, 1968, meeting
and to the General Service Conference in April. He traced
the beginning of local and national services, the origin
of the General Service Board, the writing and publishing
of the Big Book and other literature, the development of
the Traditions, the birth and growth of the General Service
Office and its various kinds of services, and finally the
role of the (U.S./Canada Conference and how it assumed leadership
from Bill and Dr. Bob. The paper then continued as follows:
one more vital development in our world service structure
is still greatly needed, We must now proceed to establish
other world service center; these in addition to the few
that have been taking form in recent years.
ago, it became apparent that New York could not forever
provide complete general services to all the A.A. countries
that occupy such vast regions of the world. The reasons
for this are not hard to understand; our present centralized
structure would develop serious defects:
If continued, growing centralization would tend to make
New York and its service leadership the "world capital"
of A.A. Psychologically, such an ever-growing concentration
would be most unwise.
It would foreclose the creation of effective world leadership
It would deprive other countries of the healthy responsibility
of manning their own overall services.
Administratively, an increasing centralization at New
York would also prove faulty. For example, just how could
New York actually manage and conduct public relations
in remote Europe or distant Australia? We can continue
to give advice on request, but never could we personally
render service, as we do in the North American region.
The financial problem of supporting an activity lodged
mostly at New York would finally become difficult, if
not impossible. Even now, about 15% of our service budget
goes for overseas activities. Only a fraction of this
expense is met by contributions from overseas; Canadian
and U.S. groups bear the brunt of it.
the A.A. population overseas may grow far larger than in
North America. What then? Would overseas A.A. - not at all
represented in the North American Conference - wish to finance
activities of G.S.O. in New York on a large scale, meanwhile
having nothing to say about the disposition of their contributions?
there has been considerable awareness of these problems.
Our "Third Legacy Manual" of service, and the General Service
Conference Charter therein, make it plain that the U.S.
and Canada - described as the North American Section - comprise
only a part of the eventual world service setup. This means
that in good time, and according to considerations of geography,
language, and actual need, other centers for overall service
can be created.
this juncture, two questions may well be asked: (1) Does
New York wish to withdraw entirely from overseas services?
(2) Is it meant that every country in. the world should
maintain an expensive general service office, aimed at duplicating
the North American operation?
answer to the first question is ‘no.' Little by little,
we simply wish to move all that part of our present overseas
service responsibility that is feasible to transfer. The
General Service Office in New York would continue to make
its longer experience available to the younger centers.
But meanwhile, we would shift as much of our present administrative
load as we could to new service centers abroad.
answer to the second question is also ‘no.' It is
not expected that countries of relatively small A.A. population
will need anything like a complete array of' general services.
For example, several countries might wish to act together
in setting up a common general service office. Many nation
might never need anything more than a general service committee,
rotating in character, to be named by representatives of
groups on the occasion of national annual conventions. No
doubt such a committee could best be elected by the "Third,
Legacy method," and it could be authorized to look after
a few matters of overall concern and act as liaison with
other general service centers.
modest undertaking would establish in. each of such countries
a rotating national leadership, and moreover, the A.A. members
of the country would become educated as to what world services
are. This would prepare them for larger responsibilities,
should these appear later on. Such a token beginning could
be made in many countries of small population right away.
And the cost would be very small. The formation for an orderly
service evolution would thus be created.
course, at New York we stand entirely ready to encourage
and assist those general service and literature centers
which are already in existence or in immediate contemplation
- just as we have been doing for some years past."
is now our thought, here at New York, that a conference
to be made up of overseas delegates chosen at first from
a few overseas countries of large A.A. population, should
meet with us here in the fall of 1969. The conference purpose
would be to consider - in every aspect - the future development
of world service. A tentative inquiry has already been launched
as to the desirability of such an exploratory project, and
the overseas response has been most enthusiastic.
still remains to secure the official approval of our General
Service Board at its January 1968 meeting, and also the
approval of the North American General Service Conference
at its April 1968 gathering. I most heartily hope that such
authorization will be forthcoming, and that funds will be
voted to cover the New York share of the costs involved."
proposal was approved enthusiastically by the Trustees in
New York and by the Delegates to the 1968 Conference (U.S./Canada).
following year, October 9-11, 1969, the First World Service
Meeting was convened in the East Room of the Roosevelt Hotel
in New York City. In. attendance were 27 delegates from
16 countries, as follows:
- Bernice F. and Ernest L.
Belgium - Adolph V. and Andries VanStaen (non alcoholic)
Guatemala - Gustavo E.
Costa Rica - Roberto S.
Columbia - Arturo E.
Finland - Johan T. and Veiicko Kuosmanen
France - Jacques A. and Roger P.
- Guenter B. and Dr. Waither Lechler (non¬alcoholic)
Holland - Piet deW. and Hans K.
Mexico - Antonio H. and Jorge M.
New Zealand - Irvan T. and Ian M.
Norway - Haaiçon C. and Erling N.
South Africa - Glen B. and Andries K.
England - W.D. (Wick) W. and Alan B.
(U.S./Canada - Warren S. and Charles (Chuck) D.
of these delegates were the founders of A.A. in their respective
countries. Also voting members were Bill W.; Dr. Jack Norris,
Chairman of the General Service Board; and Bob H., General
Manager of the General Service Office and President of A.A.
World Services, Inc. Midge M. was the Secretary and Coordinator
of the First World Service Meeting. And because of the informational
nature of this initial gathering, all the other G.S.O. and
Grapevine staff members, and most of the Trustees were involved
theme of the meeting was "Our Common Welfare." The delegates
and their wives gathered for a reception and registration
at the Roosevelt on Wednesday evening. The first event the
following morning was a visit and tour of G.S.O. and the
Grapevine, then located at 305 East 45th Street. The opening
general session began at 10:45 a.m. with greetings from
Dr. Norris. Thereafter, the agenda for the next three full
days was broken down into segments devoted to structure,
finance, publishing, services, and general service boards.
Each segment began with an explanation of how that subject
functioned in North America, after which each country reported
on how the same subject operated there. The delegates then
met in smaller workshop group to discuss and share their
experiences regarding the subject. Time was also allowed
for some historical reminiscences by Bill W. and some sharing
from the U.S./Canada delegates on general service activities
at both the area level and the conference level.
"Opening Dinner" was held on Thursday, followed by an A.A.
meeting. It was chaired by Warren S., U. 5./Canada delegate;
and the speakers were Gustavo E. from Guatemala followed
by Bill and Lois. At the final evaluation session on Saturday
afternoon, the delegates unanimously agreed that the First
World Service Meeting had been worthwhile and approved the
idea of holding future meetings. New York was the unanimous
choice for the next meeting, which they agreed should be
three years hence; however, they felt that other future
meetings should be held in other areas of the world, if
feasible. They accepted the principle of staggered rotation
in electing future delegates, but left the specific implementation
up to their boards and offices. Finally, the delegates recommended
the formation of four committees to conduct the business
of the World Service Meeting until the next gathering could
be held. These were: Policy; Finance; Agenda/Admissions;
and Literature/Publishing - with members to be chosen by
lot, with emphasis on geographical distribution.
the proceedings of the First World Service Meeting -presentations,
reports and talks - were preserved in mimeographed form,
.a valuable historical resource. The only printed report,
however, was the Holiday Issue of "Box 4-5-9" in 1969, under
the general headline, "Language of the Heart Heard ‘Round
the World." And Midge M., writing to the delegates in November,
said, "It isn't possible to adequately put into words the
wonderful feeling of love and unity that existed between
the Second WSM met October 5-7, 1972, again at the Hotel
Roosevelt, Bill W., who had originated the concept, was
no longer present. He had died 20 months earlier. However,
with the theme "Our Primary Purpose," this gathering of
29 delegates from 16 countries followed the same general
format as the first meeting, with the same participants
from the New York G.S.O. Beth K. was now the Secretary and
coordinator. In addition to sharing in the same subject
areas as their predecessors, the delegates to the Second
WSM addressed the internal organization and procedures of
the World Service Meeting itself. Their resulting recommendations
have been followed ever since, with certain amendments.
was determined, for example, that the WSM should be held
every two years; that delegates serve a four-year term (thus
providing that approximately half would always be experienced,
while the other half would be new); and that observers do
not attend. The functions and responsibilities of the newly
formed WSM committees were reduced to writing. A procedure
was established for rotating future meetings and a Site
Committee was selected. Its recommendation was that England
should be the locus for the 1974 meeting, "with Mexico or
Finland as second and third choices." The General Service
Board U.S./Canada reaffirmed its willingness to underwrite
the third WSM regardless of location and to continue to
provide staff work between meetings as well as clerical
assistance on—site if desired by the host country.
Participating countries continued to be responsible for
delegate's fees plus additional direct contributions were
agenda items included a presentation and discussion on relations
with professionals; and a presentation and workshop on anonymity.
After the Second WSM adjourned, three activities took place
which made the event especially memorable for the delegates.
It happened that the annual "Bill's Birthday Dinner," sponsored
by New York Intergroup, was held October 7, so the delegates
were invited to sit on the dais with their countries flags
before them, in the grand ballroom of the New York Hilton
Hotel, filled with over 2,000 A.A. members and friends.
For many of the delegates, this was the largest A.A. gathering
they had ever attended. Lois was present to read Bill's
last message and lead the candle-lighting ceremony. The
delegate from Ireland was asked to read the Preamble in
Gaelic, and delegates from Australia, England, Sweden and
Columbia briefly shared their personal stories. It was nearly
as big a thrill for the audience as for the participants.
next day, Sunday, the trustees of the U.S./Canada Board
hosted a brunch at the Hotel Roosevelt for the WSM delegates
– the only occasion when the two groups had opportunity
to meet together and exchange ideas. Immediately afterward,
a busload of delegates and their spouses traveled to Bedford
Hills for a visit with Lois followed by mid-afternoon refreshments.
The visitors were moved at the experience of seeing Bill's
"hide-away," the studio where he did much of his thinking
and writing, and the collection of his mementos. The delegates'
last experience together was to join hands and voices as
Lois led them in the Serenity Prayer.
countries represented at the Second WSM were the same as
at the first, except: Ireland came in; Holland dropped out;
and. Nicaragua represented Central America in. place of
Guatemala and Costa Rica. The delegates were:
- Edward (Ted) C. and Bernice Farmer
Belgium - Andre M. and Andries Van. S.
Nicaragua - Juan D.
England - Gordon W. and Bill S.
Finaland - Veikico K. and Kalervo S.
France - Charles A. and Mireifle R.
Germany - Margret K. and Dr. Walther Lechler (non¬alcoholic)
Ireland - Frank McA. and Anthony (Tony) B.
Mexico - Jorge V. and Adalberto L.
New Zealand - Tom P. and H.A. (Snow) C.
U.S./Canada - Shirley S. and Ben P.
Norway - Arne P. and Hans K.
South Africa — Geoff R. and Bill S.
Columbia - Hector T. and Alberto C.
Sweden - Inga-Britt S. and Karl N.
Third WSM was held at the Gloucester Hotel in London, England,
from Tuesday, October 16, through Friday, October 18, 1974.
Although Waneta N., staff member at C.S.O. in New York,
was Secretary of the meeting and coordinated the planning
and organizing, the General Service Board for the United
Kingdom were the hosts and the G.S.O. at 11 Redcliffe Gardens,
managed by Bill S., provided the on-site stenographic and
clerical help. Additional staff help was provided by Waneta,
Betty L. and Niles P., assistant general manager, who had
made A.A. trips to many countries; these three went to London
about two weeks early and stayed to complete the final report
of the Third WSM.
Anonymous in 19 countries was represented by 33 delegates.
Argentina was present for the first time. For the 1969 and
1972 WSM's, the (U.S./Canada General Service Conference
had drawn names from among its delegate-members by lot to
serve as WSM delegates; for 1974, it was decided to send
two Trustees. The delegates assembled in London were:
- Dr. Bill Spence (non-alcoholic) and Edward (Ted) C.
Belgium - Jeroom B. and Dr. Andre Masschelein (non¬alcoholic)
Guatemala - Humberto R.
Honduras - Rodolfo M.
Nicaragua - Juan D.
Columbia - Hector T. and Dr. Guillermo Zuleta (non¬alcoholic)
Finland - Nub T. and Kalervo S.
France - Finn Rolf P. and Mireille R.
Germany - Rev. Rolf Schreiter (non-alcoholic) and Margret
Ireland - E.R. (Ted) C. and Anthony (Tony) B.
Mexico - Raymundo C. and Adalberto L.
New Zealand - Tom Pullar and Hugh (Monty) H.
Norway - Hans F. and Kans K.
South Africa - Anton S. and Mike T.
Argentina - Maria Marta L. and Hector G.
Sweden - Ulf T. and Inga-Britt S.
England - Ronnie H. and Gordon W.
U.S./Canada - Dr. John L. Norris (non-alcoholic) and Don
H., Chairman of the General Service Board for the United
Kingdom, also served as Chairman of the Third WSM, delivering
both welcoming and closing remarks. Inga-Britt S. gave a
stirring keynote address in which she also took note of
the fact that the English hosts had graciously turned to
Sweden for a keynote speaker of the first WSM to be held
outside the United States. With the theme of "Sharing,"
the meeting agenda devoted considerable time to communications.
In a segment on internal communications, Ronnie H. made
a presentation on the value of A.A. magazines such as the
"A.A. Grapevine" in the U.S. and "Share' in England; Hector
T. from Columbia, on the ways General Service Offices aid
communication with groups; and Margret K. of Germany, on
Conferences and Conventions as a means of communication.
In a workshop that followed, delegates in smaller groups
shared on these topics. In. a segment on external communications,
presentations were made by Andre M. of Belgium on working
with the professional community; by Ted C., Australia, on
public information and work in hospitals and institutions;
and Dr. Jack Norris on how A.A. can cooperate with occupational
alcoholism programs. This, too, was followed by workshops
to discuss the subjects in more depth.
communications between countries as the subject of three
special workshops formed along language and/or geographic
lines: one for the European countries; and second for Spanish-speaking
countries; and a third for all other English-speaking countries.
This plan proved to be so productive that it was to be a
feature of all subsequent WSM'S.
repeated at all subsequent WSM's is the "Statement of Purpose,"
a significant accomplishment of the Third WSM:
primary purpose of the ‘World Service Meeting is the
same as that of all A.A. activity; to carry the message
to ‘the alcoholic who still suffers wherever in the
world he may be, whatever the language he speaks. The World
Service Meeting seeks ways and means of accomplishing this
goal by serving as a forum for sharing the experience, strength
and hope of Delegates who come together every two years
from all corners of the world. It can also represent an
expression of the group conscience on a worldwide basis.
teaches us that organizing ourselves into a sound structure
enables us to develop and deliver our services more effectively.
The World Service Meeting encourages the planning of sound
service structures, suited to the needs and capabilities
of the various countries; and the explorations of expanding
A.A. services to reach the alcoholic through internal communication,
literature distribution, sponsorship, public information,
community relations and institutions' work."
delegates unanimously agreed that every other World Service
Meeting should be held in. New York. This would give each
delegate an opportunity to visit the New York Office and
Staff as well as to visit the Staff and Office in another
country of the world. They noted, however, that since the
actions of one WSM are not binding on the next, each future
Meeting will continue to choose the site for the next.
in the Literature/Publishing Committee and on the Meeting
floor, the problem of literature for Central American countries
was aired; namely, six countries with a common language
trying to set up separate A.A. publishing operations, but
without the financial resources nor the A.A. membership
to support such operations. Delegates from Scandinavia shared
that their G.S.O.'s co-operate by combining their printing
orders to affect savings. Each G.S.O. then pays the same
unit price and in turn sells at the same unit price to groups
in its own distribution area. Central American delegates
explained that nationalistic feeling even among A.A.'s in
their countries are an obstacle, but they will try to work
out means of more cooperation in literature matters.
noon, following the Chairman's closing remarks, Gordon W.,
the outgoing delegate from the U.K., symbolically turned
over his responsibility to Maria Marta from Argentina, the
most recent country to be admitted. To Cordon's emotion-filled
farewell, Maria Marta replied, in part:
are living in a world full of hate, violence, fear and egoism.
Nevertheless, we have succeeded in. forgetting all this.'
For two days we have worked in an atmosphere of peace, trying
with generosity to solve our problems and those of others
in real A.A. spirit. May Cod, as each of us understands
Him, help us to keep this precious gift always with us."
of the delegates went by motor coach, after lunch on Friday,
to Selsey-on-Sea, where they joined over 800 alcoholics
and their families at the 19th Annual Convention of England
and Wales. The weekend included a Saturday-afternoon session
during which six of the delegates shared their personal
stories. At this Convention, the WSM delegates were the
guests of the General Service Board for the U.K.
7-10, 1976, the Fourth World Service Meeting took place
at the Hotel Statler-Hilton in New York City. The theme,
"Working with Others," was highlighted eloquently in the
keynote address by Hugh M., delegate from New Zealand, who
emphasized A.A.'s reliance on assistance and cooperation
from non-alcoholic professionals from the earliest days.
It was also dealt with in presentations on A.A. in hospitals
and in rehabilitation centers and correctional institutions;
and was discussed in workshops in these areas. Special interest
groups were the topic of three presentations, pro and con,
by Dr. Jack Norris, chairman of the General Service Board
U.S./Canada, and by delegates from Norway and New Zealand.
recommendation of the 1976 WSM was that a standing committee
on "Working with Others" be formed; and that in order to
keep the number of committees to four, the Finance Committee
be combined with the Policy/Admissions Committee, as questions
relating to all three subjects are closely connected.
beneficial influence of WSM's was illustrated dramatically
in a report from the Central American delegates on the formation
of a Central American Literature Committee, to solve the
problems aired at the Third WSM. The need for literature
transcended political differences among the countries, which
banded together to pool their needs and establish a common
inventory printed in Costa Rica and financed by AAWS in
New York. The G. S .O. ‘s of the member countries
(i.e., Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama)
ordered their needs from New York, remitting payment there
also. New York then wired authorization to the printer in
Costa Rica to ship the order. This had all been worked out
between the newly-formed C.A. Literature Committee and AAWS,
as a result of the encouragement received at the Third WSM.
a sharing session, the delegates recommended that a biography
of Dr. Bob be written at this time. They felt that "quite
a lot had been done on Bill W. and what he did and said,"
but they felt a need for a life story of Dr. Bob. (This
WSM recommendation was forwarded to the 1977 General Service
Conference U.S./Canada, which recommended that writing proceed
on "a joint biography of Dr. Bob and Bill;" and the 1979
Conference approved their being published as two separate
books. "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers" was completed and
published in 1980.) In the same sharing session, it was
reported that the (U.S../Canada Trustees' Literature Committee
had suggested' that "a definitive history of the first 50
years of Alcoholics Anonymous be written and published,
separate from ‘A.A. Comes of Age'," and the delegates
expressed approval of such a project. (This, too, was undertaken
a decade later.)
service highlights and country histories delivered at the
Fourth WSM showed striking growth and exciting development
of A.A in the countries represented - especially when compared
with the reports at the First WSM nine years before. The
delegates now directed their concern to ways of helping
countries where A.A. was not developed enough to qualify
for attendance at a WSM.
Finland, was selected as the site of the 1978 WSM. It was
also suggested that the Sixth WSM, in 1980, be held in late
June or early July in New York, immediately preceding the
next A,A. International Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana.
will every forget the inspiring and uplifting closing talk
by Bob H., Chairman of General Services (U.S./Canada, who
had a major role in organizing the first two WSM's. He,
too, reminded the delegates of A.A.'s debt to non-alcoholic
friends in the beginning. He continued, "Non-alcoholics
serve on our boards and committees and cooperate with our
members at all levels in both government and private sectors.
Theirs has been a primary role in our recent accelerated
growth rate . . .cooperate with these wonderful folk? We
must and we shall. . .But what about cooperation with each
other - ‘working with others within A.A.? Do we, on
all occasions, work together as well as we should? I think
most of you would agree - we could do better, surely." And
later he said, "we have shared a unique experience here,
one that has been shared by fewer than 150 of our more than
1,000,000 members around the world. A bond has been forged
among us and memories created that will last as long as
we do. This is not because we have been together, but because
of what we have done together."
had happened four years before, the delegates to the Fourth
WSM were invited to participate in the annual Bill W. Birthday
Dinner at the New York Hilton. There they sat on the dais,
with their countries flags in front of them, and selected
delegates spoke on the program. And again, on Sunday, they
attended a brunch as guests of the Trustees U.S./Canada,
followed by a trip to Steppingstones.
the Fourth WSM, Brazil was represented for the first time.
A total of 21 countries were represented by 32 delegates,
- Maria Marta L. and Elsa P.
- Dr. Bill Spence (non-alcoholic) and Roy H.
- Jeroom B. and Bob van.
- Joaquim Inacio L. and Don L.
- Humberto R.Honduras - Rodolfo L.
- Juan P.
- David P.
- Nub T. and Valter L.
Europe - Finn. Roif P. (France) and Paul s. (Belgium)
- Rev. Rolf Schreiter (non-alcoholic) and Friedel H.
- Frank McA.
- Roberto M. and Raymundo C.
Zealand - Hugh (Monty) M. and Pat M.
- Hans F. and Oskar H.
Africa - Mike T. and John B.
- Ulf T.
– Tom H.
U.S./Canada – Dr. John L. Norris (non-alcoholic)
and N.M. "Mac" C. (Manitoba)
and Coordinator of the Fourth WSM was Betty L. and the Chairman
and presiding officer was Bob P., General Manager of G.S.O.
New York, who was to serve in the same capacity for four
more World Service Meetings.
R., Secretary and Coordinator of the Fifth World Service
Meeting, reported to the AAWS Board in November, 1978: "The
Hanasaari Sweedish-Fjnnish Cultural Center in Helsinki,
Finland, is the most beautiful spot I have ever seen. It
is an island retreat that served as the site of our Fifth
World Service Meeting, held October 5-7 . . . The experience
was beneficial emotionally, spiritually and mentally, and
I feel that I have moved up a rung on the ladder of life."
Her feeling was echoed by many of the delegates, including
"Mac" C., who said, "I will never be the same again." Part
of the magic was the isolated and serene setting, separated
from the distractions of the city. The accommodations were
pristine and Scandinavian in style, the sunny dining room
featured many smorgasbords, and the meeting room was a small
amphitheater with raised tiers of seats with pull-out desks
with microphones, which had the effect of encouraging participation.
advance contingent from G.S.O. New York went over nearly
a week before the Meeting to work at the G.S.0. in Helsinki
reproducing and assembling the delegates' manuals in English
and help with other preparations. It consisted of June R.,
Bob P., Phyllis M., Mary Ellen W. (Spanish-speaking), and
Dorothy McGinity, a non-alcoholic secretarial wonder-woman
from G.S.0. in New York, who ended up performing all the
recording-secretary and stenographic functions of the Meeting
single-handedly, working far into the night to prepare and
reproduce the committee reports and other materials. The
staff members from New York served as Committee Secretaries;
Bob P., Chairman, presided.
this Meeting, Holland was represented for the first time;
also, El Salvador, representing the Northern Zone of Central
America. The 34 delegates came from 20 countries, as follows:
- Anne O'C. and Bob McC.
Belgium - Adoiphe V. and Bob Van H.
Brazil - Joaquim macjo L. and Benedito Eloy V.
El Salvador - Humberto M.
Honduras - Jose C.
Nicaragua - Juan P.
Columbia - David P. and John. A.
Finland - Pentti K. and Valter L.
French-Speaking Europe - Annie C. (France) and Paul S.
Germany - Ferdinand B. and Freidel H.
Holland - Eric V. and Sip 0.
Ireland - Frank McA. and Ambrose M.
Mexico - Robert M. and Francisco C.
New Zealand - Dr. Fraser McDonald (non-alcoholic) and
Norway - Dr. Oscar Olsen (non-alcoholic) and Oskar H.
Sweden - Lennart R.
South Africa - John B. and Graham S.
England - Joyce C. and Bill S.
U.S./Canada - Virginia H. and N.M. ("Mac") C. (Manitoba)
John L. Norris had addressed the 32nd Annual International
Congress on Alcoholism in Warsaw, Poland, on September 3,
so he was invited to attend the Helsinki WSM as a guest.
He shared with the delegates - as he had with the Congress
in Warsaw - the results of the 1977 membership survey. The
survey is made every three years in the U.S./Canada, but
in this case it included similar data from Argentina, Brazil,
Columbia, El Salvador, Finland, France, Mexico and West
Germany as well. More than 19,000 A.A. members worldwide
participated. The findings were of considerable interest
to the delegates, who also expressed their appreciation
for Dr. Jack's presence.
theme of the Fifth WSM was "Recovery, Unity, Service -Worldwide."
The keynote address on this theme by David P., delegate
from Columbia, was so brilliant it was not only acclaimed
by his immediate audience in Helsinki, it became a kind
of minor classic as it was reproduced and distributed widely
in the Fellowship. For this reason, it is reproduced in
event we now open is indeed wonderful. We have gathered
because, in spite of all our differences, we have something
in common that binds us together with strong ties. We have
known the process of a painful sickness. We have achieved,
by the grace of God, a recovery which now allows us to live
and to love again. We are involved in the spirit of unity
that gives us strength. We are impelled by a desire to give
service. We are the inheritors of the Legacies of A.A.
astronomers speak about certain bodies in outer space which,
having lost their generating function, shrink slowly and
inexorably, concentrating themselves in such a way that
they shrink to infinitesimal size, but acquire an impressive
gravity. They are the so-called "black holes," of very small
volume, with terrific weight. Their density becomes so concentrated
that a gravitational vortex is formed around them, a ghostly
and catastrophic hole that devours everything that passes
by; light and radio and energy waves are absorbed and drawn
by that irresistible whirlpool.
same thing happened in our alcoholic life. Emotional overload
led to a shrinking of our mentality. A gloomy emptiness
surrounded us. A tremendous storage of negative energy took
place, aided by our own guilt and suffering. The greater
our emotional load, the smaller our spiritual dimension.
The greater the density of our selfishness, the shorter
the scope of our horizons. Black holes in the space of our
lives were sinking and paralyzing our willpower, our capacities,
our dreams, our ambitions, goals, end outlooks.
those surreal bodies, we did have a way out of our condition.
The lifesaving message of A.A. came to us. And the tiny
universe that confined us started to expand again. We began
to untie our imagination, our mind, and our good will. We
were ready to live and let live. Spiritual life was reborn.
We found harmony with brothers, God, and ourselves. And
we called that Recovery.
then is Recovery for me?
is not perfection, but the search for it. It is not lethargy,
but a state of awareness.
It is realizing that there
is a place for us in the world.
It is acknowledging that we,
alone, cannot do anything, but with the help of God we can
It is being sure that we walk
along the path, even though we make our path as we walk.
It is living today as we would
like to have lived yesterday, and as we wish to live tomorrow.
It is knowing that our journey
has a meaning, a reason for being.
It is a constant spiritual awakening. And, above all, recovery
is a working faith.
alcoholics have already suffered at the hands of a powerful
enemy. We do not wish to fight against anybody, not even
against alcohol. We have endured our illness physically,
mentally, and morally. When we awoke to reality, we stood
amidst the ruins of a shattered life, a destroyed morality,
and a smashed dignity.
the grace of God, however, we have survived by joining a
society of equals. We need each other in a harmonious environment
in order to survive. We needed Unity.
is Unity for me?
is not a monody, but a symphony of individual voices.
It is not a compact law, but
a mixture of different opinions.
It is knowing that our alcoholic
brother or sister has the same right to life, happiness,
and peace as we have.
It is feeling that the word
"we" stands-before the word "I."
It is admitting that we are
all equal before God.
It is acceptance that different
paths can lead us toward our final destiny.
It is a stripping of our pride,
so we won't feel greater or lesser than our fellows.
It is not doing to our neighbor
what we wouldn't like done to us.
And, above all, unity is a working humility -humility to
accept the ultimate authority that expresses itself in our
group conscience; humility to welcome anybody who wishes
A.A. membership; humility to understand that our service
tasks do not grant us power, command, or authority; humility
to keep anonymity that reminds us to place principles before
our drinking days, when the world was only a large "nobody's
land" we had selfishness as compass and our own fulfillment
as schedule. Money, intelligence, imagination, and initiative
were used only as tools for constructing a universe fitted
to our size. When our castle made out of cards fell down
on our own heads, someone else came to rescue us, understood
us, and delivered the message that saved us. So much was
put at our disposal - literature to read, experience freely
and gladly given, and a meeting place where a cup of coffee
was waiting for us.
first we received and used these services, taking them for
granted. But gradually we began to feel that a treasure,
which we had no right to hide away, was being placed in
our hands. We had to give to someone else the light of hope
that had illuminated our darkness. It was unfair to let
the fruits we had harvested rot in the barns of our laziness.
And so we turned to Service.
is Service for me?
is not altruism, but a need for survival. It is not charity,
but an expression of gratitude.
It is the responsibility of
lending a hand to our brother or sister who is drowning.
It is recognizing that, by
giving ourselves to others, we will find our own souls.
It is learning that they who
give the most, receive the most.
It is extending to other alcoholics
the sobriety that was bestowed on us.
It is working so that others
get a permanent place in the new world we have discovered.
It is remembering the words
of Bill W.: "We must carry A.A.'s message; otherwise we
ourselves may fall into decay and those who have not yet
been given the truth may die."
And, above all, service is a working love.
is love that works - unselfish, patient, tolerant, anonymous
love, love that doesn't have a price tag on it. Love that
has no envy and that endures everything.
the name of John my fellow delegate, and all the A.A. ‘s
of Colombia, I would like to thank you for your kind invitation
to, address you. May God help all the participants in this
meeting, so that we may be able to find new and better approaches
to bringing to all alcoholics in the world our Legacies
of Recovery with Unity through Service.
we should like to congratulate our Finnish brethren for
having undertaken, in such a brilliant, responsible, and
effective -way, the organization of this meeting.
you very much.
Policy/Admissions/Finance Committee reported that they agreed
that discussion of the future character and role of the
World Service Meeting was the most important subject on
its agenda, and it devoted the major portion of its time
to it. One suggestion was that the General Service Board
and Conference U.S./Canada be expanded and restructured
to incorporate worldwide A.A., but this option was rejected
by the committee. One member said, "The WSM, between 1969
and 1978, should have grown beyond its adolescence and assumed
the committee unanimously recommended that the WSM should
fulfill its purpose of achieving worldwide A.A. unity and
common practices among all countries. It proposed that this
subject be taken back by the delegates to their respective
national conferences or boards and discussed in depth, and
that it be prominent on the agenda for the 1980 WSM. This
proposal was approved unanimously.
of the Communications Among Countries workshop for Europe
came two recommendations that created great excitement among
all the delegates and had lasting impact on world services:
was recommended that a European Information Center be established.
The responsibility to implement the recommendation was accepted
by the U.K. delegates, with the Center to operate out of
the General Service Office, London. The purpose of the Center
is to receive information from participating countries for
dissemination to other European countries and G.S.O.'s.
Such information would include forthcoming conventions and
other events to avoid conflict of dates, as well as shared
experience on diverse matters of service and structure.
(The Center was eventually to compile and publish a directory
of where translations of A.A. books and literature were
was also strongly recommended that those other European
countries not yet represented at the World Service level...be
encouraged to share their experience with us. Spain, Iceland,
Portugal, Austria, Italy and Greece were specially mentioned.
vision for the future is the establishment of some form
of European service meeting whose main objective will be
that of all service meetings within our worldwide Fellowship.
at its first meeting the Policy/Admissions/Finance Committee
was earnestly discussing related concerns as reported above.
While it was agreed that the concept of a worldwide A.A.
body was essential, it was felt that further benefit to
A.A. in the participating countries would be achieved by
more delegate reporting and by activity between meetings.
It was also felt that there was little benefit to non-participating
countries, which were the very ones, which needed help the
most in developing a service structure.
specific solution which might be explored between now and
1980 would be a reorganization of the WSM to provide for
regional service assemblies along language lines, where
this is possible, or along geographical lines...
direct result of these recommendations was to be the birth
of interim, "zonal" service meetings held in the years between
WSM's; namely, European Service Meetings and "Ibero-American
Encounters of A.A." See below.)
full session, the Fifth WSM reaffirmed the suggestion that
every other Meeting be held in New York, and reaffirmed
the suggestion made by the Fourth WSM that the 1980 Meeting
be held immediately preceding the next A.A. International
the conclusion of the 1978 WSM, the delegates were guests
of the Finnish Board on a sightseeing tour of Helsinki by
bus. Two incidents from the tour were especially remembered.
Sip 0., the appealing young delegate from Holland, had to
say goodbye halfway through to catch a plane home, and as
his small figure disappeared down the street with emotional
farewells following him from the bus, many eyes were moist.
And on a stop at the magnificent performing arts center,
Ellie Norris (Dr. Jack's wife) tested the acoustics of the
vast concert hall by singing a song in her lovely soprano
tour ended at the 30th Anniversary Convention of A.A. in
Finland, on Sunday afternoon, October 8, at the Helsinki
Fair Center. With a crowd of thousands filling the large
arena, the delegates heard talks by non-alcoholic professionals
and officials praising A.A. and saw honor paid to Veikko
K., past WSM delegate, manager of the Finnish G.S.O., and
most importantly, founder of A.A. in Finland! (They had
already met Veikko when he greeted thin at the opening of
the Fifth WSM with the message, "God has plans we don't
partly by the success of Finland's Hanasaari Island as a
meeting place, the Sixth WSM came together at the Harrison
Conference Center, in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York,
June 27-30, 1980 - and with the same enthusiastic reaction.
Iceland was admitted for the first time, revealing in its
report that it had over 2,000 A.A. members, a Board of Trustees,
a National Service Conference and a flourishing publishing
operation. This time, 22 countries were represented by 34
delegates, as follows:
- Tomes E. and Walter B.
- Anne O'C. and Bob McC.
.- Urbain W. and Romain B.
- Benedito V. and Roy P.
Salvador - Uzziel M.
- Jose C.
Finland - Pentti K. and Lloyd S.
French Speaking Europe - Annie C. (France) and Philippe
German-Speaking Europe - Fredinant B. (Germany) and Walter
England - Joyce C.
Scotland - Angus M.
Holland - Reginald B. and Sip 0.
Iceland - Tomes T. and Johannes M.
Ireland - Denis O'D.
Mexico - Roberto C. and Francisco Chevez (non-alcoholic)
New Zealand - Ken P. and Neil P.
Norway - Oscar Olsen (non-alcoholic) and Oivind S.
South Africa - Suliman E.
Sweden - Lennart R. and Curt L.
U.S./Canada - Virginia H. and Stan Cameron (Saskatchewan)
Maxwell, chairperson of the General Service Board U.S./Canada,
was chairman of the Meeting, delivering the opening and
closing talks. Bob P. presided, and Beth K. was Secretary
Maxwell's welcoming remarks were especially interesting
as the impressions of a professional sociologist regarding
Alcoholics Anonymous. Of his first exposure to a group,
he said, "I experienced the power of honest sharing, where
members no longer had anything to hide...I felt so at home...I
felt myself change and hated to leave." At the Traditions
he marveled. "The Traditions caution us against the common
tendency in human organizations to forget that money and
property and organization are only means that fall into
their rightful place when the end, the purpose is kept clearly
in view." He expressed wonder at the way the Conference
does not legislate or govern, but develops consensus by
"substantial unanimity." And he ended:
unity is based not upon authority but upon accepting differences,
allowing freedom, and keeping our focus on the primary purpose
of helping one another achieve and maintain sobriety.
the spiritual part of the program means an unself-centered
approach to everything, not insisting on having our own
way but accepting what is best for A.A. as a whole. The
A.A. way is to give each individual his dignity and freedom,
each group its dignity and freedom, and each country or
region its dignity and freedom. Our U.S./Canadian experience
is not binding on any of you, but we join in these World
Service Meetings to share our experience and your experience,
and through that sharing to help A.A. grow stronger in all
parts of the world.
a moving keynote address by Anne O'C. of Australia on the
theme, "Service - The Heart of A.A.," the first agenda item
of significance was, as recommended by the Fifth WSM, a
general floor discussion on "the possibility of reorganizing
the WSM to better serve its function." The session was lively
and marked by general agreement that no major changes are
needed at this time. The progress made toward having two
regular zonal meetings, one in Europe and one in Latin America,
was cited as a good way of maintaining communication begun
at the WSM and of including countries that do not yet quality
for attendance at the WSM. The unanimous sense of the meeting
was "that the World Service Meeting in its present form
should be continued at the present time, and that interim
zonal meetings continue to be encouraged, and that the delegates
fulfill their responsibilities in carrying the message back
from WSM's to their own countries and to the countries in
those parts of the world that need help."
agenda topics were presentations on "The Future of A.A.
Worldwide," and reports on the interim zonal service meetings.
It was reported that such a meeting had been held in Bogota,
Columbia, the previous November, and that planning meetings
involving a number of countries had been held in Great Britain,
aiming for a first European service meeting in 1981.
was the sense of the meeting that Mexico be the site of
the Seventh WSM in 1982. It was recommended that simultaneous
translation in Spanish and English be provided at that Meeting.
Policy/Admissions/Finance Committee formalized the earlier
sense of the meeting from the full floor discussion, "In
response to the question of possible reorganization of the
WSM, the committee recommends that the WSM be continued
in its present form and encourages the continuance and expansion
of zonal meetings in the interim years. And that for the
time being such meetings be complementary to, not a part
of, the WSM structure, but in the interests of continuity,
first-term WSM delegates should, where appropriate, be members
of the zonal meetings." The same committee recommended it
would not be appropriate for observers from countries without
a national structure to attend future WSM's, but recommended
that more countries might wish to invite observers to their
national conferences in order to share their experiences.
Working with Others committee recommended that since the
question of drug addiction frequently comes up at public
information meetings, it be stressed that A.A. offers a
program of recovery from alcoholism. People who are alcoholic
and also addicted to drugs are welcome to join our Fellowship.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop
delegates heard two moving a memorable closing talks. Tomas
T. from Iceland said, in part:
World Service Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous has become
the cornerstone of international cooperation and relations
within the Fellowship. To us, first-time attendees from
Iceland, this meeting is what Mecca is to the Muslim; the
experience of the infant, sitting at the knee of its elders,
absorbing from their lips the knowledge gained through hard-earned
victories of a lifetime, sprinkled with the awareness of
failures that do not need to be repeated by those who follow
in their steps. We have come here with an open mind to learn,
a will to share what little experience we may have; and
we leave all the richer in understanding - a key word, indeed,
as the problems we may have thought existed only for us
up north were the same for our fellow A.A.'s living south,
east, or west, and to solve them views had to be exchanged.
Back home, we will report that this Fellowship is one; within
it, borders do not exist."
Dr. Maxwell again drew upon his experience, his perspective
as a non-alcoholic professional and his extraordinary insight
in his closing remarks, which included the following:
Bill and Dr. Bob and some key others helped to design differs
from most organizations in many respects. Yet I believe
that herein we have the essential secret of A.A.'s effectiveness
and survival. To repeat myself, in a larger society characterized
by competitive striving for status,' recognition, power
and material things, A.A. has a recovery program based on
the opposite values of growing toward an unself-centered
way of life. Out Traditions end structure support the basic
recovery program. There is no confusion of ends and means.
There is singleness of purpose. There is an internal harmony
of program, principles, and practices which stands in striking
contract to the operations of most organizations and agencies
in our society.
sometimes wonder if A..A. is going to survive - a question
that has been asked every decade. Well, it is true that
individual members and groups in A.A. often fall short of
the mark. It is equally true that no human organization
is immune to drift and foundering. Nevertheless, it appears
to me that Alcoholics Anonymous has some very unusual assets
in its Traditions, its structure, and the nature of its
recovery program which will help to keep A.A. on course
for the foreseeable future."
soon as the Meeting adjourned, the delegates departed for
New Orleans, where they were the guests of the General Service
Board U.S./Canada at the International Convention of A.A.
them participated in spots on the program, and there, for
the first time, a luncheon reunion of present and past WSM
delegates was held.
Seventh WSM took place October 14-17, 1982, at the beautiful
and gracious La Mansion Hotel, a convention center/resort
in San Juan del Rio, Mexico - some 70 miles north of Mexico
City. The 38 delegates (a record number) and supporting
staff from G.S.O.'S in New York and Mexico gathered in the
capital and were transported to the meeting site by bus.
- Vonnie E.and Bob McC.
Belgium - Urbain W. and Romain B.
Brazil - Saulo P. and Roy P.
El Salvador - Jose M.
Guatemala - Walter S.
Finland - Kari H. and Lloyd S.
French-Speaking Europe - Jean-Max B. (France and Ph8ilippe
Germany - Ferdinand B. and Manf red W.
England - Dr. David Robinson (non-alcoholic)
Scotland - Angus M.
Holland - Hans B. and Jan B.
Iceland - Valberg H. and Johannes M.
Ireland - Dennis O'D.
Italy - Roberto C.
Mexico - Roberto C. and Juan B.
New Zealand - Ken P. and Neil P.
Norway - Bjorn 0. and Qivind S.
South Africa - Suliman E. and John H.
Sweden - Curt L. and Eva H.
Trinidad/Tobago - Andrew B. and Ramnath B.
U.S./Canada - David A. and Stan C. (Saskatchewan)
Uruguay - Dr. Fernando C. and Carlos C.
was the first WSM for Italy, Trinidad/Tobago, and Uruguay.
For more than a year, it appeared that South Africa would
be unable to attend because Mexico had no diplomatic relations
with South Africa and would not issue visas to citizens
of that country. Appeals by G.S.0. New York to the State
Department in Washington and to the Mexican Consulate in
New York, pointing out the non-political nature of A.A.,
were unsuccessful. Finally, the G.S.O. in Mexico was able
to arrange for a special act to be passed by the Mexican
Parliament to make an exception and permit the South African
A.A. delegates to attend the WSM.
M., the Secretary and Coordinator, and Bob P. constituted
the advance force to work with the G.S.O. Mexico to set
up the meeting. Helpers from the latter office included
Genaro S., general manager; Juan B., a trustee as well as
WSM delegate; and especially Jose G., a bi-lingual businessman
-volunteer at G.S.O. who was designated the main contact
for planning and running the WSM, including handling the
funds. In addition, Consuelo D., trustee, was an adept and
hard-working hostess - primarily for the families and guests
of the delegates, but for all, as it turned out - assisted
by Oscar and Hector. The other staff assistance from G.S.O.
New York was provided by Susan D., Lois F. and Helen T.;
and by Elizabeth Garcia and Adelina Wilmot, bi-lingual non-alcoholics
handling the on-site liaison with the hotel as well as all
stenographic tasks, a herculean job.
predominant impression of the Mexican locus was the hospitality,
not only from those mentioned above, but also from the local
A.A. members. Upon the arrival of the buses at La Mansion
on Thursday, they were met by a delegation from the A.A.
groups in nearby San Juan del Rio, who presented the delegates
with a huge, beautiful floral bouquet and gave a speech
in Spanish, saying how proud they were that this important
meeting was being held in their town and asking God's blessing
on the proceedings. The bouquet remained on display in the
hotel lobby throughout the four days of the meeting.
this was the first WSM to have simultaneous translation
facilities, it was evaluated by the Policy/Admissions/Finance
Committee, which found it most beneficial. It was recommended
that similar simultaneous translations between English and
Spanish be provided at the Eighth WSM and beyond.
the Literature/Publishing Committee evaluated the worth
of the Latin American Translation Commission. They concluded
the Commission fulfills a needed function and recommended
its continuance be on the agenda for discussion at the next
Latin American Zonal Meeting.
considerable discussion of problems various countries were
experiencing with non-Conference-approved literature, the
committee's consensus was that countries who sell only A.A.
literature were experiencing little or no difficulties,
and countries who were selling more non-A.A. literature
were having problems. The committee suggested that members
be informed that Conference—approved literature reflects
the view of A.A. as a whole, while non-Conference-approved
literature often, represents the thinking of one person,
and not the collective A.A. group conscience.
theme of the Seventh WSM, "Carrying the A. A. Message,"
was emphasized and enlarged upon in detail in the keynote
address, presentations, workshops and the agenda of the
Working with Others Committee, which dealt with such aspects
as public information, cooperation with the professional
community, and work in treatment centers and correctional
institutions. In the committee report, the value of sharing
among countries in these areas was pointed out. In addition
to the delegates taking information back from the WSM's
and zonal meetings, it was suggested that bulletins and
newsletters on these subjects be exchanged and then translated,
where necessary, and distributed. It was also noted that
delegates from different countries might be invited to General
Service Conferences as observers to gain experience and
knowledge about these aspects. The committee recommended
that workshops on these subjects be held at conventions
and conferences in different countries.
Mexico, the workshops were adjudged to be especially helpful,
resulting in sharing among countries on public information,
on women in A .A., and on The Twelve Concepts, where interest
was very high. An important part of the agenda was the reports
from The First European Service Meeting and the Second Ibero-American
his closing talk, Fernando Cutierrez Herrera, distinguished
non-alcoholic attorney and Chairman of the Mexican General
Service Board, compared each human life to the stained-glass
windows in a cathedral - a masterpiece when the relationship
among the elements is harmonious. But alcoholism destroys
the human being's integrity and affects his family and social
relationships, and the "stained-glass" is broken. Alcoholics
Anonymous restores the marvelous work that is the human
life, and those in A.A. service such as the WSM delegates
are the anonymous craftsmen restoring, the integrity and
harmony and beauty.
the Eighth WSM was held on the site of the First World Service
Meeting, the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. Equally appropriate
was its theme, "The World Service Meeting Takes Its Inventory."
Perhaps because of this focus, the four days - October 21-25,
1984 - seemed especially rich and productive. Simultaneous
English/Spanish translation was again provided in the general
total of 38 delegates from 24 countries attended:
- Carlos C. and Juan R.
- Vonnie E. and James S.
- Marcel V. and Gilbert C.
- Saulo P. and Nilton F.
Salvador - Jose M.
Guatemala - Walter S.
Columbia - Ivan C. and Hugo C.
Finland - Kari H. and Raimo S.
French-speaking Europe - Jean-Max B. (France) and Maurice
Germany - Ingeborgz. and Manf red W.
Scotland - Raymond MCC.
England - James H.
Iceland - Marino P. and Olafur 0.
Ireland - Cecil C.
Italy - Roberto C. and Carlo E.
Mexico - Juan B. and Rafael R.
New Zealand - Ken P. and Jack de G.
Norway - Erik U.
South Africa - Pieter du T. and John H.
Sweden - Eva H.
Trinidad/Tobago - Rarnnath R. and Kapoor R.
U.S./Canada - David A. and Helen H. (Manitoba)
Uruguay - Dr. Fernando C.
the opening reception Sunday afternoon, delegates viewed
a new public information film produced by the G.S.O. of
Great Britain, a heartwarming portrayal of alcoholism and
recovery in A.A. entitled, "One Day at a Time." The Eighth
WSM was opened by Gordon Patrick, chairman of the General
Service Board U.S./Canada. After the roll call, John H.,
from South Africa, delivered an inspiring and thought-provoking
keynote address. After sharing a bit of his own recovery
and reviewing forcefully the objectives of the WSM, John
suggested a series of questions important to every delegate's
approach to the forthcoming week:
I have values? Have I a sense of direction? Am I able to
distinguish between thinking and doing? . . . How well do
I really communicate? Communications involves asking, telling,
listening and understanding. Am I getting to the ‘nitty-gritty'
of our spiritual principles? . . . Do we really speak the
language of the heart? What people feel about things is
often as important as what they know about them..."
the WSM to take its own inventory, he said, we must first
try to answer some probing questions:
the World Service Meeting:
Has the World Service Meeting come up to expectations?
Has it achieved the goals originally envisaged for it?
2. What is the World Service Meeting achieving at present,
and what will it be expected to achieve in the future?
Has it recovered from its growing pains, or am I helping
to prolong them?
ourselves as individuals:
Is the importance of the World Service Meeting understood
in my country?
2. What have I done to properly communicate the World
Service Meeting's recommendations to A.A. members in my
3. Am I dedicated enough? Am I truly committed? Have I
done as much as I should have done?
the A.A. Fellowship as a whole:
Are we sharing only "success stories" when we may, in
fact, have more to learn from projects which could be
seen as "failures"?
2. Do our recommendations play any part in the decision-making
process of A.A.
3. Should we ask the U.S./Canada General Service Conference,
General Service Board, and A.A. World Services, Inc.,
as the most experienced bodies, to be more explicit as
to what they expect from us?
4. Do we see other agencies in the field of alcoholism
as a "threat"? "Let's be friendly with our friends." -
Who are our friends? Do we make a concerted effort to
identify them? Do we number A.A.'s in other countries
among our friends?
5. What is our experience, strength, and hope?
Monday morning, Bob P., who presided, delivered an opening
address extemporaneously in which he shared an historical
perspective of carrying the A.A. message. He said, "We tend
to think of A.A. as beginning when Bill Wilson carried the
message to Dr. Bob and Dr. Bob sobered up. It really did
begin then, but Bill liked to trace the beginnings to 1932
in Zurich, Switzerland, and Dr. Carl Jung, the great psychiatrist."
He then related how Dr. Jung had told a patient, Rowland
H. that his only hope for recovery from alcoholism was in
having "a transforming experience of the spirit." Rowland
was able to experience such a transformation through the
Oxford Groups and to carry that message to a fellow-alcoholic,
Ebby T., who in turn carried it to Bill Wilson. Bob concluded,
course, this is the message we carry to still-suffering
alcoholics today. Are we carrying this message in all countries,
however? Perhaps the message has somehow become lost along
the way. Do we think that relating only our drunkalogs and
the fact that we have found sobriety in A.A. is enough?
Sometimes it is enough, but it's not the message that was
carried to Bill - the one he repeated over and over again
- that it is only through a transforming experience of the
spirit that we may recover. So in taking our inventory of
the World Service Meeting, perhaps we should see if we are
carrying this message through our service structure, literature,
and Twelfth Step efforts in all our countries."
the days that followed, the delegates, through presentations,
discussions, workshops, and committee actions, addressed
the responsibilities imposed upon them by the Meeting theme
and other agenda items. Of unusual interest was a presentation/discussion
on Communication through Literature moderated by the delegate
from England with presenters from Mexico, Italy and Finland.
In all four countries, virtually all the A.A. literature
is published in their respective languages and the resulting
growth in membership has been dramatic. Italy's story was
especially inspiring, as no literature in Italian existed
until 1980, and now there is a full inventory of books and
pamphlets - and A.A. has grown from seven groups to 120
in just four years! Another extremely popular session was
that devoted to "Back to Basics," especially a presentation
by David A., delegate from U.S./Canada.
were also given of the interim service meetings in Europe
the 8th WSM closed Thursday afternoon, the delegates enjoyed
two more days of scheduled activities. Friday morning they
toured G.S.O. New York and lunched there. Later at an informal
reception at the Roosevelt, they met the U.S./Canada General
Service Board. After dinner, three non-alcoholic Trustees
– Dr. Jack Norris, Joan Jackson and Mike Alexander
– shared their experiences and Dr. Bill Flynn moderated
a sharing session on the non-alcoholic Trustee's role. On
Saturday, the delegates visited Stepping Stones, and that
night were guests of honor at Bill's Birthday Dinner. Jack
de G. from New Zealand and Fernando C. from Uruguay were
speakers and other delegates sat on the dais, over-looking
the crowd of more than 2,000.
Susan D, served as Secretary and Coordinator of this Eighth
WSM. A unique but excellent report of the event appeared
in the New York Daily News October 28, 1984, in a column
by Bill Reel. This columnist had requested permission to
attend some of the Meetings, which the delegates agreed
to and this account resulted:
Life Beyond The Bottle
coincidence last week: Alcoholism made scary news when a
study revealed that a staggering 11% of New York State high
school kids are hooked on alcohol…and ex-drunks from
two dozen countries met here at the Hotel Roosevelt to share
experience, strength and hope at an international convention
of Alcoholics Anonymous.
was the worst drunk in my village when I was 17," a slight,
soft- spoken black man from Trinidad commented. He said
he joined A.A. at age 20 in 1973 and has been sober ever
big guy with a winning grin from South Africa put in, My
wife used to send me to the café on the corner for
a loaf of bread, and I'd get back two days later. He said
A.A. sobered him up 14 years ago.
U.S. delegate, Dave from Dallas, asked, "does anybody know
how much it costs an airline to make an unscheduled stop
to throw a drunk off? It costs $6,000. I know, because I
was thrown off three times by three different airlines.'
from Dallas got a knowing laugh from fellow delegates when
he defined a well-balanced alcoholic as one who has a chip
on both shoulders.
was a lot of happy laughter and a few tears of gratitude
during the busy week of discussions devoted to how A.A.,
with over a million members attending 56,000 groups around
the world, 30,000 of them in the U.S., can best reach out
to victims of the universal disease of alcoholism.
was hope for young alcoholics: When a presenter revealed
that 27% of A.A.'s in Brazil are under 30, a man from the
world office of A.A. in New York who keeps track of national
membership survey's commented that the percentage is about
the same in the U.S.
years ago, how many members were under 30?' she asked.
were so few back then that we didn't bother to include the
question in surveys,' he said. ‘But there's been an
explosion of young people into A.A. in recent years.
began in Akron, Ohio in 1935 when a New York stockbroker
on business there, sober six months for the first time in
years, sought out and helped another alcoholic, a local
M.D. The fellowship grew from that meeting. It is self-supporting
and declines outside contributions. A big jump in membership
occurred upon the publishing of the book "alcoholics Anonymous,"
which outlined principles of recovery from the disease.
More than a million copies of the book have been sold. It
took 34 years to sell the first million, fifteen to sell
the second million, ten to sell the third million and 3
to sell the fourth million.
between countries was evident in workshops and committees
last week at the Roosevelt. Insights were exchanged on internal
matters such as communication, service structure, literature
distribution and the like.
for sobriety permeated the parley. Carlos from Argentina,
thanking A.A. for his victory over alcoholism, addressing
in a voice husky with emotion a room that included, among
others, ex-drunks Vonnie from Australia and Marcel from
Belgium and Nilton from Brazil and Jose from El Salvador
and Walter from Guatemala and Hugo from Columbia and Kari
from Finland and Jean-Max from France and Ingeborg from
England and Olafur from Iceland and Cecil from Ireland and
Carlo from Italy and Rafael from Mexico and Erik from Norway
and Eva from Sweden and Helen from Canada and Fernando from
Uruguay, told them, "I am not a good speaker, but I am very
enthusiastic about A.A. I am deeply moved to be here. When
I talk as today, I begin to cry.'"
ANERICAN SERVICE MEETINGS
the Fifth WSM in Helsinki, Finland, which had recommended
that interim, zonal service meetings be held, the delegates
from Latin America concluded independently that little had
been done in the past to exchange experiences among their
countries. They promised each other they would try to initiate
a Latin American service meeting. Upon their return home,
they received a letter from the Mexican delegate which further
stimulated them into action. Through correspondence with
each other and consultation with their respective G.S.O.''
they agreed on Bagota, Columbia, as the site, and selected
Dave P., past WSM delegate from Columbia, as the coordinator.
Encuentro Ibero-Arnericano de Servicios Generales de A.A.
was the proper name for the ensuing service meeting held
November 15-17, 1979. Seventeen delegates from ten countries
participated, representing Argentina, Brazil, Columbia,
Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and
Venezuela. G.S.O. New York was also invited to participate
and sent Beth K., the WSM coordinator, and Mary Ellen W.,
who had been born in Columbia and served as interpreter
for Beth. There were also three observers, one from Venezuela
and two from Columbia.
being an initial meeting, some time was necessarily spent
in internal organization and "housekeeping" decisions, such
as defining the objectives of the meeting, setting criteria
for delegates, agreeing on how sites of future meetings
would be selected and how they would be financed, establishing
standing committees, etc. These steps were accomplished
efficiently through a Planning Committee.
half the countries participating had never attended a WSM,
they benefited greatly from a session devoted to sharing
by all countries on the state of A.A. in each and their
problems and experiences. Also helpful were presentations
on "The Reason for Zonal Meetings," "Sponsorship among Countries,"
and "Institutions and Public Information Work." And for
many, it was their first understanding of the role of G.S.O.
New York, and its relationship to other countries, from
a talk by Beth K.
two moves were made which turned out to be of transcendent
importance in the years that followed. The first was to
emphasize strongly the principle of sponsorship of countries
with an A.A. service structure by those countries that already
have a structure, literature, etc. An International Sponsorship
Committee was established to help accomplish this objective,
and specific responsibilities for the less developed countries
were assigned. The second move was to establish a Spanish
Translations Committee to analyze all translations of A.A.
literature in Spanish and to bring about agreement on a
common, unified translation. This committee was composed
of representatives from Argentina, Columbia, El. Salvador,
Mexico, and the Central American Literature Committee.
was decided that the second Ibero-Arnerican Service Meeting
would be held in Argentina in 1981, and that they would
be held every two years thereafter.
his report to the Sixth WSM the following year, Benedito
V., delegate from Brazil, summarized the meeting accurately:
"As a new experience, the meeting had excellent results.
The participation was even greater than expected. ...A large
agenda (was) handled easily. We believe that with the anticipated
actions of the permanent committees and the experiences
collected in Bogota, we will, through each successive meeting,
arrive closer to our final objectives..."
the 1981 Encuentro in Buenos Aires, on August 13-17, six
countries were represented: Argentina, Brazil, El. Salvador,
Mexico, Venezuela and Uruguay. The latter was welcomed to
its first service meeting as an example of country-to-country
sponsorship on the part of Argentina. Phyllis M. represented
G.S.O. New York, as the Secretary and coordinator of the
WSM. A local interpreter was provided to help her participate.
the Primer Encuentro, the Spanish Translations Committee
had changed its name to the Latin American Commission for
Translations into Spanish, to reflect better its scope and
independence. The Meeting devoted considerable discussion
to the Commission's composition and functions, and urged
it be continued.
the participating countries reaffirmed their commitment
to help newer countries to form C.S.O.‘s and service
structures, to assist the orderly growth of A.A. They also
made a number of recommendations to improve the organization
of the Ibero-Americano Encuentros and the sharing of the
experience back home.
Encuentro Ibero - Arnericano
capital city of Brazil, was the site of the Encuentro held
July 26-31, 1983, with past WSM delegate Eloy T. as coordinator.
Susan D., as WSM Coordinator, represented G.S.O. New York.
Five countries - Brazil, Columbia, El Salvador, Mexico and
Uruguay - were represented by six delegates.
before, the countries' reports and discussions of their
various problems was an important part of the agenda and
valuable to the participants. Subjects covered included:
the place of special interest groups; the splinter movement
in Mexico called "The 24-Hour Groups;" public information
work; and copyright and publishing concerns.
Ibero-Ainerican Commission for Translation met during the
Encuentro, and Susan was impressed with how hard they worked.
Apparently the difficulties presented by different national
attitudes, different languages and different literature
in the 21 countries involved had, impeded much accomplishment
by the Commission since its inception four years before.
Yet there was no question of the need for it. At this meeting,
its members hammered out a document spelling out the Commission's
purpose and scope, methods and procedures. The chairmanship
was to rotate to the host country of each succeeding Encuentro.
The purpose and scope was defined as:
To motivate the correct translation of new A.A. literature.
2. To review existing translations to insure the spirit
of A.A. in the original text is preserved.
3. To implement unification of basic A.A. literature in
Spanish, avoiding regional differences.
4. To harmonize necessary adaptations with the original
5. To share information and coordinate work in order to
avoid duplication of effort.
working procedure was:
Each piece of literature translated should be sent to
the chairman of the Commission.
2. He distributes copies to the Commission members.
3. They read the piece, checking for accuracy and faithfulness
to the spirit of A.A., and return their corrections to
the chairman within 60 days for pamphlets and 6 months
4. The Chairman (with the help of his G.S.O. if necessary)
reconciles the members' corrections and suggestions for
revision, and approves the manuscript.
5. The country writing the piece writes A.A.W.S., Inc.
for permission to reprint, informing them of the Commission's
approval. And when they print the piece, they note both
the copyright credit to A.A.W.S., Inc. and the approval
of the Commission.
Commission also acknowledged its reporting responsibility
to the Literature/Publishing Committee of the World Service
Meeting, and to the G.S.O.'s in Latin America.
seven delegates at this Encuentro represented five countries:
Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico, and Uruguay. Carlos
C. of the latter country was the coordinator. G.S.O. New
York was represented by Vicente M., staff member for H ispanic.
services. There were two other invited observers. The city
of Punta del Este, on the sea, was the site for the meeting,
held October 7-12, 1985.
theme of this Encuentro and the thrust of its discussion
was sponsorship between countries. Also, in addition to
the usual sharing of information and problems, the past,
present and future of this Ibero-Arnericano service meeting
was discussed. It was noted that financial difficulties
in many countries made it almost impossible to attend. However,
some countries who are not present are able to benefit from
reports taken back by sponsoring countries. It was recommended
that, since the U.S./Canada has more Spanish-speaking groups
than many Ibero-Americano structures, they be invited to
send two delegates to these Encounters.
the Ibero-Americano Commission for Translations met and
decided that the policy of rotating the coordinating responsibility
as the host country of the Encounter rotates, was not working.
After a presentation by Vicente M., it was decided that
since he has a permanent oversight of Spanish translation
of A.A. literature in U.S./Canada, it would be more efficient
to have G.S.O. New York act as coordinator rather than to
have this responsibility rotate. Otherwise, the purposes
and procedures of the Commission remain unchanged.
the seed was planted for interim, zonal service meetings,
from the Communications Among Countries European workshop
at the 1978 WSM in Helsinki, Finland , Bill S., the delegate
from England and manager of the G.S.O. for Great Britain,
immediately started to get the ball rolling. He set up an
exploratory meeting with other European delegates to follow
the General Service Conference of Great Britain in April,
1979. Besides Great Britain, Finland, West Germany, Norway
and Switzerland were represented. They agreed to aim for
a first meeting in 1981 - possibly in Switzerland to coincide
with the 25th anniversary convention of A.A. there. It was
also agreed that financing should follow the general principle
of that of the WSM, and, significantly, the General Service
Board of Great Britain volunteered to underwrite the expenses
of such a meeting in the same way that the U.S./Canada Board
a European Information Center was established, working out
of the G.S.O. in London, and observers began to be exchanged
among various European General Service Conferences. And
a new entity was heard from-the English-Speaking Intergroup
of Continental Europe - which was to affect future planning
for the European Service Meeting.
ESICE grew out of a need for communication among the English-speaking
Armed Forces groups (mainly American and Canadian) in West
Germany. These English-speaking groups had little in common
with the German-speaking groups in their host country, and
obtained their literature and other services from, G.S.O.
New York. There were also English-speaking groups in a half-dozen
other European countries. None of them were a part of the
service structure of their host countries. So a separate
service office evolved, beginning in the mid-1960's, to
publish directories of the English- speaking groups first,
just for West Germany, and later for the rest of continental
Europe - as well as to distribute English-language literature,
publish a newsletter and perform other typical intergroup
1978, the ESICE served over 100 English-speaking groups
in seven countries, but its officers wanted to have some
structural link to A.A. as a whole. They first explored
the possibility of becoming a part of the General Service
Conference U.S./Canada or a part of the WSM - neither of
which was deemed appropriate. At the suggestion of G.S.O.
New York, they approached the General Service Conference
of Great Britain. , Both sides agreed this made sense, so
the English-speaking Intergroup of Continental Europe found
a "home" there.
it was that in April, 1980, a second exploratory meeting
was held to move toward a European Service Meeting, attended
by representatives from Britain, Sweden, West Germany and
the ESICE. It was decided to take positive action to have
the first ESM in 1981, to invite each participating country
to send two delegates, and to conduct the meeting in English.
the above was reported by Joyce C., delegate from England,
at the Sixth WSM in Glen Cove, Long Island, in June, 1980.
First European Service Meeting
First ESM was held October 23-25, 1981, in Frankfurt, West
Germany, which was chosen as the site because it is a center
for A.A. activity in Germany as well as the location of
the ESICE, and also because of its being a transportation
center, easily reached by plane, train or car. Most of the
staff work was done by Bill S. the indefatigable manager
of G.S.O. for Great Britain, wearing his other hat as director
of the European Information Center. He was assisted by bi-linigual
A.A. members in Frankfurt, including Uli Z., a very active
A.A. contact known to many A.A. travelers. Three volunteers
from the ESICE were omnipresent, a kind of catalyst for
the proceedings. The General Service Board for Great Britain
underwrote the expenses and paid for all rooms and food,
so delegates paid only their transportation; and Gordon
W., chairman of that Board was an invited participant. The
only non-European participant was Bob P., C. S. 0. New York,
invited to deliver the keynote address, to lead the A.A.
sharing session, and to share U.S./Canada experience in
committees and workshops. The venue of the meeting was the
Hotel National, and old, elegant hostelry in central Frankfurt.
astonishing total of 14 countries attended, represented
by two delegates each:
agenda was patterned after those of the WMS's, and the theme
was "Support Your Neighbor Country."
P., in his keynote address, traced the origins of the meeting
back to Bill Wilson's vision of A.A. worldwide, and hailed
the thrust of the theme. He then zeroed in on the need for
translations of the Big Book and other basic literature
to adhere faithfully to the original text, and for overseas
service boards to publish their own literature rather than
relinquish the right to outside parties. Finally, he warned
of the perils of ignoring the Traditions, as had been done
in some countries.
time was necessarily spent at this First ESM in organizing
itself as a viable and ongoing event - including the decision
to continue holding ESM's in the same central location.
Reports of the various countries were exciting, often showing
surprising growth and development. Then there were Spain
and Portugal, just as proudly reporting their struggling
beginnings; i.e., Portugal with nine groups and 30 members!
Special note was taken of the absence of other countries
where A.A. has very little foothold, such as Denmark, Greece
and Austria. And a great deal of benefit was gained from
the committee meetings, workshops and sharing sessions.
W. ended the weekend by speaking movingly of "so much joy
and so much love among us all...We have made a tremendous
start and we have fulfilled Bill W.'s vision, and I am sure
he would have been terribly pleased at what has been done."
Second European Service Meeting
Second ESM, held February 18-20, 1983, in Frankfurt, was
attended basically by the same countries as the first, except
that Portugal and Switzerland were unable to be represented,
and three new countries were present for the first time:
Denmark, Malta and Poland. The English-Speaking Intergroup
again played a prominent part in the staffing and the business
of the meeting, which had the theme, "Sharing Experience
in Service." The Chairperson was Valerie L. of Great Britain,
and the invited participant from G.S.O. New York was Phyllis
M., who delivered the keynote address. After invoking words
of Bill w. on service, Phyllis shared highlights of the
1982 WSM in Mexico, of which she was the Secretary and Coordinator.
special interest were the "New Country Reports." In Denmark,
there were only a small number of men and women - four groups
in Copenhagen, three elsewhere. Very little literature has
been translated into Danish, although the "Twelve Steps
and Twelve Traditions" is ready for printing if it can be
accomplished. However, the other Scandinavian countries
had agreed to help and visitors from Finland, Norway, Sweden
and Iceland were expected for a big open meeting.
A.A. in Malta went back 17 years, the Malta Group consisted
almost entirely of Irish and English residents. However,
Maltese-speaking members have begun to show up, and translation
of literature into Maltese has commenced.
A.A. activity was reported by Poland, although the program
is still new there. There are 14 groups, comprising 200
members. Other innovations are a national meeting and the
election of an embryonic service committee. Their main problems
centered around the translation and publication of A.A.
literature, and they hungered for all kinds of A.A. sharing.
closing the weekend, Valerie quoted one of her sponsors
to the effect that a good meeting starts when it ends. "Go
home now and practice what you have heard," her sponsor
told her. And she suggested that the delegates to the Second
ESM do likewise.
Third European Service Meeting
We Growing into Our Responsibilities?" was the theme of
the third ESM, at the same venue. Delegates were assembled
from the same 14 countries as at the Second ESM, including
the ESICE. Hubert O'R. from Ireland was the Chairman, and
the invited participant from G.S.O. New York was Susan D..
Since the meeting was held March 8-10, 1985, note was taken
of A.A.'s 50th Anniversary. As before, the communication
and sharing were of benefit to all participants, especially
the newer countries.