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Alcoholics Anonymous history in your area
Minneapolis, Minnesota

The History of Greater Minneapolis Intergroup
2007 History – 24th Gratitude Night – April 14, 2007 -- Presented by: Jon H. 2007 Board Co-Chair

   History of Greater Minneapolis Intergroup
Alcoholics Anonymous began in Minneapolis with a 12 Step call made during the Armistice Day Blizzard in November of 1940 by two men visiting from Chicago. The first AA meetings in Minneapolis were eventually held at 2218 First Avenue South. It didn’t take long for those first meetings to spawn new meetings at new locations, often in the homes of AA members. By the early sixties Alcoholics Anonymous had grown beyond Minneapolis, with meetings in the suburbs, including Richfield, Robbinsdale, Fridley and Columbia Heights.

Due to this growth, the AA members of Greater Minneapolis realized there was a need for further reaching 12 step services. They had the vision of an Intergroup Service Office that would provide vital 12 step services, such as phone answering 24 hours a day by sober members of AA, lists of AA members willing to do 12 step calls and a published AA meeting directory. Your Service Office is one of 500 Intergroup/Central Offices in the United States and Canada. The first Intergroup Office in Minnesota was opened in St. Paul in 1966.

The Minneapolis Intergroup Office that you know today was opened in September 1968 at 24 East Franklin Avenue. Since then, the office has moved several times. Many our members recall visiting the office at 6300 Walker Avenue in St. Louis Park, which was our home for 15 years. The office moved to its current location, 7204 West 27th Street in St Louis Park August 1, 2000 over 6 years ago.

Regardless of the location, the core focus of Minneapolis Intergroup has always been to provide AA 12 Step Services. I want to review some of those vital services that have been developed over the years:

  • Our HOTLINE phone services are the lifeline to new AA members. Annually the Intergroup office answers over 20,000 phone calls to find meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. We are pleased to say our members are answering the phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year- ensuring that a sober member of AA is always available to share experience, strength and hope.
  • There’s also AA literature. The office has sold thousands of Big Books, AA Conference Approved Literature and AA Grapevine Publications since 1968.
  • The AA Orientation meeting began in 1970 and now meets every Saturday morning at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation. This meeting provides speakers on topics helpful to newcomers, including Steps, Traditions, and Chapters in the Big Book. The first Saturday of every month the meeting is ASL Interpreted for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing.
  • In 1977, Intergroup began publishing a newsletter. You know this newsletter today as the “MIRUS” which stands for Minneapolis Intergroup Recovery Unity and Service. 2500 copies are mailed or distributed each month.
  • We publish a When & Where meeting directory. This is quite a project, since there are nearly 1200 groups meeting in 500 different locations in our area. 10,000 copies of our pocket size directory are used each year, either by our own members or those from the professional community.
  • Over the past five years our younger AA members have visited over 5,000 Middle and High School students in our community. Annually we are invited to these schools to put on AA Information Presentations to school health classes. We have a special IG committee that coordinates these Public Information requests through our Service Office. We furnish each of the schools we are invited to with an ample supply of pertinent AA literature at no charge.
  • AA members can also find meeting information on our website which is updated weekly in our office. It is also used as a Public Information service to the professional community.
  • There are over 1000 visits a week to our site looking for AA meetings and general information about Alcoholics Anonymous.
These services only scratch the surface of how Intergroup provides 12 Step opportunities in the Greater Minneapolis area, so you can just imagine the busy place the office has become! Currently there are over 500 AA members actively contributing their time to these efforts. In addition to the services mentioned previously, volunteers go on 12 step calls and help newcomers find sponsors. Without this level of commitment from you, the heart of Minneapolis Intergroup would cease to beat.

In addition to individuals contributing their time, the office also has paid special workers. This includes an Office Manager and Staff Assistants, all active members of our Fellowship with over 79 years of combined AA experience. Due to their commitment, you can always be sure the office doors will be open at 9am Monday through Saturday, and they will welcome you on your next visit.

A special thanks to our Intergroup staff, Chuck, Steve, Ginny and Claudia.
All across the greater Minneapolis Area, AA groups stay in touch with the Intergroup office by electing an Intergroup Representative. The Representatives meet every month to hear updates on the office activities, help their group get involved in 12 step opportunities and to have their group’s voice and ideas heard.

In addition to Intergroup Representatives, Minneapolis Intergroup is governed by 12 members elected to the Board of Directors with 4 rotating each year. There is presently 186 years of combined AA experience serving on your IG Board. Early in our history, this Board included members of Al-Anon. In the 1980’s it was decided our fellowships would be better served if AA and Al-Anon had separate Offices. We have been fortunate over the years to be located in the same building with Al-Anon Information Services of Minneapolis. This has facilitated a spirit of cooperation between our two fellowships, for which we are very grateful.

The same spirit of cooperation has also developed over the years with the General Service Structure. Your Minneapolis Intergroup actively participates with the 11 metro Districts, Southern Minnesota Area and your General Service Office. We have been pleased to house the Temporary Contact Desk for the Southern Minnesota Area 36 Treatment Committee over the past 14 years and the Intergroup Service Office is the main contact point for the Area 36 Corrections Committee and their Correctional Facilities Contact Program. Two years ago we added a toll free number so incarcerated inmates can have immediate meeting information before their release. If you would like to be involved with the many 12 Step opportunities that carry the AA message, please visit our 12 Step Service Tables during the evening.

In whatever capacity you are helping Intergroup carry the message; your service work is priceless. In addition to the time you contribute, 7th Tradition Contributions from AA groups and individual AA members, along with literature sales, ensures your Intergroup Service Office can continue to provide vital services. Every time you purchase a Big Book at Intergroup you are buying it from yourself, the office is operated by the members for the members. In this manner Intergroup is self-supporting. Consistent with this principle, Intergroup does not accept contributions from outside the AA Fellowship.

The Service Office is a busy place these days. Most visitors are from the local AA community, although the office has hosted AA Members and Professionals from around the world. We have been visited by healthcare workers from Japan, Peru, Brazil, and Vietnam. The Serenity Prayer in Japanese is now hanging in the office. The non-alcoholic (Class A) Trustee chairperson for the General Service Office in Brazil made a visit a couple of years ago. We now have a beautiful color poster celebrating the 60th Anniversary of AA in Brazil.

Please stop by and see us soon, have a cup of coffee. You’ll find all the bustling activity I have described, and the opportunity to learn more about our AA history on the history wall.

In closing, since 1968, Greater Minneapolis Intergroup has been providing these “Vital Services” envisioned by the founding board 39 years ago. Our vital services are in greater demand than ever. The early board members could not have predicted we would be playing such a strong role in our community; we respond to requests for information about AA from schools, religious groups, medical groups and businesses. We are also responding to the 12 Step needs of teens and pre-teens with special 12 Step services. I’m sure you can see the original vision lives on stronger than ever, one day at a time, day after day. It’s the spirit of participation that makes this possible. In that spirit, let us not forget that at this very moment a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous is either standing by to answer our phone, or is now speaking to a member of the community who may have a drinking problem. It’s Our 12th Step Responsibility – and We Are Going to Any Length.

Thank you and enjoy the evening.

Copyright © 2007 Alcohloics Anonymous Greater Minneapolis Intergroup

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