Alcoholics Anonymous History In Your Area
Panama City, Florida
PANAMA CITY GROUP
The oldest of Panama City’s AA groups, the “Panama City Group,” was formed in 1941. Two AA members from Akron, Ohio, were then working at the Wainwright Shipyard, an area presently known as Port Panama City. A desire and need to continue in their sobriety led these men to form the first AA group in Panama City. AA was then only six years old and the first publication of the Big Book had come out a mere two years earlier.
Although it is generally discouraged, the meeting place of this new group was to be found in the private homes of its members. The first meeting outside of a home was held in 1958 at Carpenters Hall on 4th Street. Story has it that the members of AA complained about beer being left in the hall by others. This complaint resulted in AA being asked to leave. The group then moved to the old City Hall. Membership was growing.
The next meeting place for the Panama City Group was at the Presbyterian Church Sunday School room at 7th and Magnolia Streets with about nine members.
About 1964, the group moved to 39 East Beach Drive and had grown to about 15 members. This location was a vacant, very old and a very “Gulf Coast” type large home which has fondly remained in the memory of many “sobered-up” alcoholics. The group was to use this meeting place for about nine years.
In the fall of 1973, the meeting place of the Panama City Group changed from 39 East Beach Drive to the Fellowship Hall of the First United Methodist Church on 4th Street. This location was utilized for about a year, after which the group moved to the Trinity Lutheran Church at 11th and Balboa streets where it continued to meet for the next ten years.
On May 10, 1979, the Panama City Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
Late in 1983, the group moved its meeting place from the Trinity Lutheran Church to the Oakland Terrace Club House and continued to meet there until 1986. It was at this time that other users of the clubhouse complained about smoking. Since state smoking laws had just been changed, the group was told that the meetings had to be non-smoking meetings or else the group would have to change its meeting place. The group elected to move.
Since 1986, meetings of the Panama city Group have been held at the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at 14th street and Beck Avenue. There are three meetings held each week at this location, all of which begin at 8:00 p.m.
TUESDAY meetings consist of a closed discussion meeting; a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Step meeting in the kitchen; a non-smoking meeting in another room; an Al-Anon meeting; an Al-Ateen, and an Al-Atots meeting.
THURSDAY meetings are always Open Speaker meetings.
SATURDAY meetings are Open Discussion Candlelight meetings (Saturday Night Alive meeting). This meeting can be open-ended if the chairman is so inclined and others wish to continue.
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