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Gratitude in Action … The founding of A.A. in Canada in 1944

Courtesy: Flickr Joshua Uhl

It is cold out tonight. We got a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. They called for more snow overnight last night, which didn’t manifest. But they are plowing snow away as I write tonight downstairs on the streets around here.

We are sitting at ( -9c/ -14c w.c.). It was a quiet day. I did not sleep well last night, even after going to bed at 1 a.m. I was still awake looking at the clock at 7 this morning – I guess I finally fell asleep and slept until I had to get up and get ready to go. It was an easy set up and we had a business meeting. Members are aching for jobs to do. I don’t know how many more jobs we can bring forth without extending the length of the meeting.

And even with that, people are bitchy when it comes to lengthening the meeting beyond our hour fifteen minute meeting. There are always a handful of people who love to bitch about anything. My sponsor says that we are too spoiled with instant gratification today and people want it “Right now or three hours earlier…”

We sat more than 40 folks and we read from the Big Book, from the 4th edition story “Gratitude in Action” the story of Dave B, one of the founders of A.A. in Canada in 1944.

In Pass it On, the book I just finished reading, Bill was so worried that there were so many requests for meeting info and to find actual meetings and back in 1944, meetings were still in their infancy, with the fellowship still growing by the week.

Letters would come in to N.Y.C. and get disseminated to city centers far and wide as new meetings were founded. The First edition of the Big Book was published and sold for $2.50 a copy. They could not print them fast enough to get them to all the people who needed them.

Bill was still trying to get the word out about the fellowship – and he made several tours of the United States and Canada over a number of years carrying the message to lone A.A’s scattered across the U.S. and Canada. It took several years for AA to “Come of Age” when the books were codified – the steps and traditions set up and in place, and also that the General Service office had been created and operating at optimum performance.

Bill counted on lone A.A’s around the world to set up meeting centers and to begin to carry the message to sufferers where ever they may be. And so it went for Dave B. Here in Quebec. It is written in the book that in October of 1944, Bobbie from the New York Office wrote him saying:

“You sound very sincere and from now on we will be counting on you to perpetuate the Fellowship of A.A. where you are. You will find enclosed some queries from alcoholics. We think you are now ready to take on this responsibility.”She had enclosed some four hundred letters that Dave answered over the course of the following weeks. And soon he got answers back.

We can be grateful for this lone A.A. who was handed the job of carrying the message through Quebec and on into Canada from East to West. There are hundreds of meetings in Montreal alone. They span French, English, Spanish and even Farsi.

One can hit a meeting at several times a day in several locations all over the city. The more bilingual you are the more meetings you are able to hit. The General Service office serves thousands of alcoholics here in the city. And it all began with one man Dave B. some 68 years ago.

We went the entire period. We gained several new members this week, which brings us to fifteen members at our home group. Everybody wants to do something to be of service. And over the next few months we will be looking to expand our reach into the Grapevine, General Service and the Phones. We are looking into getting a Grapevine Membership at $50.00 a year, I need to research that this week some time.

*** *** *** ***

I have a midterm exam tomorrow in Geography and I need to do some serious studying, it shouldn’t be too bad. I’ve got a basic understanding of what he is going to ask us, but I need to go over the power points and my notes and polish off the essay question on China’s One Child Policy.

That has been the day in brief.

More to come, stay tuned …

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