Alcoholics Anonymous History In Your Area
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
East York Group Celebrates 30 Years
As I was traveling through the east end of the city to attend this particular meeting, I found that I had arrived a good hour early. Scanning the area for a coffee shop (a familiar refuge for any recovering alcoholic), I heard laughter coming from around the corner …. So I followed the sound and discovered that members of the East York Group were already there, with the doors open, ready to greet any newcomers or fellow AAs at their weekly speaker meeting. Needless to say I didn’t need to go to that coffee shop.
A passage in the ‘Grapevine’ book, “The Home Group: Heartbeat of AA”, says “The home group is where the AA member takes the first tiny step into making the support system of Alcoholics Anonymous work … home groups become the spokes in the big wheel of Alcoholics Anonymous.”
Since July 18, 1972, this group, originally called the New East York Group, has adhered to these sentiments by opening its doors to many members over the years. The group will be celebrating 30 years of service on Tuesday, July 23 at 8:00 pm at St. Columbia – All Hallows Church (just east of St. Clair and O’Conner).
Some members, like Milton B., joined the group after moving into the area. Milton joined about three years ago, and the first person to greet him was East York member, Jimmy H. “The first time I came to the East York Group,” said Milton, “I was made to feel very welcome, and I’ve been here ever since. I love this group. There’s a lot of love, laughter, and camaraderie.”
Milton also tells of the commitment and joy in service that the group demonstrates by attending and supporting service meetings. Some members, like Milton, carry the message of AA into correctional facilities.
Bill L., who joined the group seven years ago, shared his feelings about the group and his understanding of the importance of sponsorship. “We have a real variety of sobriety,” Bill says, adding, “When you find a solid group, you find solid sponsorship.” In keeping with this idea, the group recently implemented a temporary sponsorship program.
There are more men than women in the East York Group group, but more women have joined recently. Joanne E. says having more male members doesn’t bother her because, “We’re all good friends and we are here to support each other.” She also said that the women at the group have solid sobriety, and this has attracted more women.
Liz V., the group secretary, is relatively new at the group. Liz’s enthusiasm for the group was immediate and she’s happy doing service at the group level.
Harold M. one of the early members, has been with the group for 26 years. As an unofficial group historian, he mentioned that the original location was, “down the street a piece.” John M., who, sadly, has passed on, started the group. Harold is very grateful he still belongs to East York and can share his experience with new members.
Perhaps the most poignant comment made about the East York Group came from Gerry H., who had been a member for ten years. He said the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and past and present members of the East York Group, “… saved my life, and I have a lot of gratitude.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to attend the East York Group’s 30th anniversary. They’ll surely welcome you (as they did me) into their friendly fold. A sign posted on the podium says it all: “If you are new here, let us know – YOU ARE NO LONGER ALONE.”
Copyright © July 2002, Better Times, GTA Intergroup, Toronto, Canada