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Anonymous history in your area
OF AA IN THE SAN DIEGO AREA
The Story of Alcoholics Anonymous in San
have been searching my thousands of files for this flyer,
which is currently seen around Southern California. We scanned
it and filed it in my computer several months ago. It was
featured around that time in my Focus magazine. There is
another San Diego history brochure we are in process of
computerizing. I will post it when completed.
This story does not cover all of the AA pioneers in San
Diego, including Hugh Mc. and Jim B. The other brochure
is obscure as well on the people who worked diligently to
make Alcoholics Anonymous work in San Diego. It is unfortunate
that anonymity and principles before personalities are often
misconstrued by aspiring historians, who elect to write
AA history without information about the wonderful personalities
who carried the AA message. I spoke with Hugh Mc. on several
occasions prior to his death; and I took notes. I have the
distinct honor, too, in knowing several other surviving
oldtimers in San Diego. This has created a framework from
which, another project in the works, I am writing a rather
comprehensive essay on San Diego Alcoholics Anonymous.
Nonetheless, the following flyer is interesting and I hope
enjoyed by all.
first (AA group) meeting in San Diego was held on November
7, 1940, a Friday night, in an apartment at 3229 Adams Avenue.
meeting was (later) moved to a hall at the East San Diego
its first anniversary, the group was listing 75 members.
December 31, 1941, San Diego AA held its first New Years
Eve dance in a ballroom in the basement of the Maryland
Hotel on 'F' Street.
a time, the Friday night meeting was moved to the mezzanine
of the California Theater Building in downtown San Diego.
group meeting night was moved to Wednesday.
in San Diego reached a milestone in the spring of 1946.
Attendance at the Wednesday night meeting was running as
high as 200. It was becoming difficult for a group so large
to discuss and vote on the increasing amount of AA "business"
and organizational details that had to be dealt with. The
solution was to invite each of the seven groups then listed
in the county to send representatives to a meeting at the
Chamber of Commerce building in Old Town to establish a
"Central Committee" for San Diego AA. The committee,
held its first meeting on April 13,1946. The new "Central
Committee" in San Diego laid down the organizational
framework, which eventually evolved into the Coordinating
Council. Within a year the roster of groups was approaching
20 and some members of the Central Committee were convinced
that the time had, come for AA to rent an office and employ
a secretary full-time. The committee called a general meeting
of San Diego AA members on January 29, 1947, to decide the
issue. A total of 127 members attended to debate whether
AA should assume this new financial responsibility .The
vote was 86 to 41 in favor.
Central Office opened in 1947 in quarters in the old Broadway
moved in 1948 to the California Theater Building, in 1971
to 2100 Fourth Ave, and in 1989, to its present location
at 7075-B Mission Gorge Rd.
Central Committee became the Coordinating Committee and
finally the Coordinating Council, with the voting system
and committee structure undergoing many changes in ensuing
The first issue of "The Coordinator"- newsletter
distributed to AA groups and members in the San Diego area-
appeared in October 1948. The newsletter served to keep
members abreast of the news about AA activities, and also
to remind them of their obligation to the support of the
Central Office. Contributions from groups, and the proceeds
from passing the basket at the Wednesday night meeting,
were consistently falling short of covering all the office's
expenses. Early in 1950 the Central Committee voted to establish
the "Buck-a-Month Club" as a way for individual
AA members to contribute directly to the support of the
General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous was established
in 1951. This brought into being the San Diego Area Assembly.
Tom B. was elected San Diego's first New York delegate in
one meeting of tour alcoholics in 1940, San Diego AA has
grown to include more than (500) groups with a combined
membership in the thousands. In March of 1977 &1 AA
office was opened in Vista as a North County branch of the
San Diego Central Office. This did not fully satisfy the
need for more direct services to the growing number of AA
members and groups in the northern part of the county. At
a meeting on June 16, 1979, representatives of North County
groups voted unanimously, to establish and Support an independent
office. So, beginning on July 1, 1979) AA services in the
northern, and southern sections of San Diego County, were
provided by separate offices. One, in Vista, and one in