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Global Alcoholics Anonymous History Project
A.A. History - What, When, Why, How, and Where
are guides to help you, in general, in writing your Group or Area AA history.
You may want to check both questionnaires in gathering AA
history for your Town, City, County, State, Country, Republic,
Province, Territory, etc...
Groupís history can uncover facts and recollections that
will strengthen its foundation, when viewed in the context
of experience and local A.A. history. The facts can be relevant,
humorous, eye-opening, and significant to a number of places:
*1) to your Group itself
*2) to your District
*3) to your Area Archives
*4) to the Archives at GSO and
*5) sharing your groups
experience, strength and hope with other groups.
should write a group history? How could one go about getting
Interested individuals or
the group's GSR can participate in gathering the information.
Setting up a roundtable meeting to answer the questions
in this archives project has good possibilities for success,
and does not need to be completed in one session. Another
method some groups report having success with is at
a group's anniversary celebration. Inviting the group's
founders and long time members to speak, with someone acting
as a recorder of sorts. Assembling a group history
is easier than what you might think. Still others resort
to individual contact and interviews with their founders
and long time members.
Some also report it is helpful
to audio record the discussions / interviews with those
they approach. Others find taking hand written notes at
the time easier. If you do use audio taping, you should
get premission to do so before starting, and have an agreement
with those on the tape as to whether the tape will be erased
after you finish with it, or if you have plans of donating
it to your area AA archives.
should be included? (scope)
After the information is gathered
it needs to be decided how you want to present it. Some
seem to prefer a collection of stories, other seem to settle
for a basic time line of facts & events. For one reason
or another, some focus only on the founding years while
others cover the entire history till the present. Sometimes,
in hope of avoiding controversy, only the positive history
of the group is included. Others have chosen to include
both those positive and their 'learning' experiences. Often
presenting the later as humorous stories in retrospect,
much like the 'Rule 62' story in the 12&12. Our best
advice is to take your time and enjoy putting it
should it be actually structured?
From the above paragraph, you probably,
quite rightly, got the idea there is no right or
wrong way to write a group history. It's a matter
of your group's autonomy.
Realizing that "anyway you want
to" is probably less than helpful, let's revert back to
one possible example from Writing 101. Focus on what are
sometimes called the "5 W's" - who, what, where, when, and
the Date of Origin (D.O.E.) field on the white sheet update
forms, sent annually from GSO for the U.S. Directories,
is the record of when your Group first registered with A.A.
World Services. 1977 marked the first computerized list
for every AA Group. The information has been included on
the Group update forms since 1992, through an effort by
the GSO Archivist and the Trustees Archives Committee. Itís
one place to start from.
If your group was formed
before 1977, directories, group records, District Minutes,
and U.S. Directories may need to be conslulted in your search
for early dates. Check with your District Secretary,
D.C.M., or call the GSO Records Department direct: 212-870-3400.
You can also send an email to the
GSO archives as another means of helping you find the
date your group originally registered with New York.
Keep in mind, the actual
date meetings first started at your group may be different
than what is on file at GSO, as many groups actually held
meetings for a time before getting around to registering
with New York or may have written about 'how to form a group'
some time before actually holding meetings.
subjects of this history survey are about "where" your Group
meets, "how" your meeting structure developed, "who" are
the core members who gave direction to your current Group
life, and "what" your group does today, when included with
the earliest recollections you can find.
questionnaire can be easily printed by clicking "Print This"
above, top right. If there isnít enough space for the replies,
use more paper! Once you have completed your group history,
send a copy of it, typed up in text format or html, in an
email in its entirety to: Contact Info, and your groups
history will then get listed on the Global Map on Silkworth.net.
* For anonymity reasons, please remember to use first names
& last initials for posting on silkworth.net.
is recommended that you also deliver a copy of your completed
group history to your District Archives Committeethey
will know where to send it.
one and/or both of the following that best benifits your
For your Group
<=> For your Area
Jim M. thanks you for your effort. Your response
to this Group History Project will make a difference to
the still suffering alcoholic who finds recovery and fellowship
with an A.A. Group, who might also find this record years