Group History Guidelines

Look to the Past to Protect the Future Stepping Stones

The purpose of Area Archives is to preserve the experience, history and memorabilia of the Al-Anon fellowship from the beginning of the family movement in that locale. The history should be preserved so as to be available to the membership and the serious researcher, within the framework of our Traditions, for the good of Al-Anon as a whole. (from Al-Anon guidelines for Area Archives)

Do not put me in a garbage can; I belong to Al-Anon.

The stories and letters of how members of Al-Anon in Area 86 (Ontario South) carried the message of hope to the families and friends of alcoholics are such a joy to read. What stories do you have about your Al-Anon group?

Did you know that our first delegate, Edith D., had a new hat to go to New York to the World Service Conference? Being in Al-Anon, Edith and her group members learned that it was important to take care of oneself. The group voted to buy Edith a new hat so she would look her best as she represented Ontario South as our first delegate.

Al-Anon had its beginnings here; Ontario South and in Toronto. In 1948 Bill and Lois on a train trip to Canada met with the wives group. These women told Lois how they talked with one another to help themselves. Their first slogan was Hands Off. They also said they were not a coffee and cake group. These women met first in the kitchen of St. George’s where the North Toronto AA Group met. They decided they wanted to meet by themselves so they rotated to people’s homes. The women wanted a meeting space of their own and rented space in the basement of Summerhill United Church. There were cockroaches so that would not do. Space was available at St. Clements Anglican Church at the corner of Duplex and Briarhill.

The wives first met in May of 1944 and called themselves Wives Group. They then changed the name to wives of AA and then to Al-Anon.

One of the best ways to protect the future of the Al-Anon fellowship in an area is to look to the past. Of course, our primary purpose remains—to carry the message of hope to the families and friends of alcoholics. We can, however, renew our own sense of purpose by continuing to collect and preserve the rich and meaningful heritage of our past within the whole range of Al-Anon services.