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Metropolitan Area Groups

 

The 1st Inter-Group

 

Central Call-in Center
The first mention of the Metropolitan Area Groups in our files was April, 1942. This entity was created because of the urging by Bill W. for large metropolitan areas to create central committees for a couple of reasons, 1) to handle the large influx of alcoholics requesting information and 2) to ease the burden of our New York office having to correspond with so many groups.

June 1941-No Committee

              Contact person: Archie T.

              75 members

December 1941- No Committee             

Contact persons: Archie T. and Jim B.

           74 members, 4 groups

There is a Preamble and Code of Procedure for the A.A Group of Metropolitan Detroit dated September 28, 1942.  In the preamble, to define local groups, they listed 6 groups that were affiliated with AA in the metropolitan area.  Those groups were Central, Dearborn, East, North, Northwest, and Tuesday Morning

Code of Procedure Pg 1

This Code for membership had very strong “regulations.” To achieve membership a new person had to attend four “Instructional” meeting and read the “official” AA book completely. They also had to attend four “regular meetings” concurrently. Afterward two members with a minimum of six months sobriety could submit his name for membership.

Code of Procedure Pg 2
If a member were to relapse they would lose their “membership.” The relapse would have to go before a “tribunal” board made up of three members with at least six months of sobriety (keep in mind Archie T. has 3 years). After the interview, they could recommend you for membership to anyone of the several group chairs or deny you membership.

This may seem harsh, but this was a new fellowship and we were in unchartered territory.    

The Metropolitan Groups continued to be listed in New G.S.O.’s print directories until 1951.  Here is a complete listing of the Metropolitan Groups:

April 1942- Detroit Metropolitan Group

              Contact person: Jim B.

              175 members

September 1942- Detroit Metropolitan Group

              Contact person: Jim B.

              175 members

On January 12, 1943 Jim B. wrote to Bobbie B., secretary at the GSO, in response to her inquiry as to the number of members in the Metropolitan Groups.

 I have put the matter right up to the secretaries of the various groups and I get a figure of 170. You showed 175 before and I suggest you repeat that.

Tire rationing is telling.  Our Dearborn group has given up its Friday night meetings, because so many went out from Detroit and would not go that far under present conditions.  They have, however, started a Sunday “instructional” meeting in the music studio of Herb S.

I am enclosing a corrected meeting card which shows six meetings per week, not including the Pontiac meeting and four weekly “instructional” meetings.  These are held in different places and so it is quite impossible to fill out your form in this regard. 

 We have five distinct groups here not inducing the Pontiac or former Dearborn group, now divided among other groups.

January 1943- Detroit Metropolitan Group

              Contact person: Jim B.

              175 members, 5 groups

May 1943- Detroit Metropolitan Group

              Contact person: Helen K.

              5 groups: Central, 30 members

              East Side, 30 members

              North Side, 15 members

              Northwestern, 50 members

              Tuesday Morning, 20 members

November 1943- Detroit Metropolitan Group

              Contact person: Helen K.

              5 groups: Central, 30 members

              East Side, 30 members

              North Side, 15 members

              Northwestern, 68 members

              Tuesday Morning, 35 members

By this time Helen K. was the acting secretary for the groups.  A January 28, 1944 correspondence between Helen K. and Bobbie B.:

The letter reveals that Paul S., of the North Group ran an ad that attracted a lot of attention.  They had 150 calls in three days.

February 1944- Detroit Metropolitan Group

              Contact person: Helen K.

              6 Groups: Central, 30 members

              Eastern Group, 30 members

              North Group, 30 members

              Northeastern,    -?-

              Northwestern, 87 members

              Tuesday Morning, 30 members

August 1944- Detroit Metropolitan Group

              Contact person: Helen K.

              7 groups: Central, 30 members

              Eastern, 59 members

              Hubbell, 35 members

              North, 20 members

              Northeastern, 14 members

              Northwestern, 35 members

              Tuesday Morning, 15 members

February 1945- Detroit Metropolitan Group

Contact person: Helen K.

              10 Groups: Central, 50 members

              East, 46 members

              North, 35 members

              Northeastern, 28 members

              Northwestern, 44 members

              Tuesday Morning, 15 members

              Hubbell, 36 members

              Grosse Pointe, 25 members

              Uptown, 16 members

              Ann Arbor,   -?-

In February, 1945 the Metropolitan Committee instructed WWJ radio, that was starting a new radio program called, “The Glass Crutch” that all communication for the program was to go through the Central Committee, including all stories written by members and request for help by active alcoholics.

Pre-1946 Directory Front

The Central Committee wanted the first AA Club, located at 14 Milwaukee Ave to be disbanded because of lack of control over the club.

Pre-1946 Directory Back
A May 1, 1945 correspondence lists two other groups to join the Metropolitan Group, the Hubbell Group and the Windsor Group.   

August 1945: Detroit Metropolitan Group

              Contact person: Helen K.

              10 Groups: Central, 35 members

              North, 40 members

              Northwestern, 100 members

              East, 93 members

              Grosse Pointe, 25 members

              Northeastern, 40 members

              Uptown, 12 members

              Tuesday Morning, 10 members

              Dearborn, 45 members

              Harper-Warren, 15 members

In a letter dated Feb. 11, 1946 from John S., secretary of the committee, identifying himself as the “public relations counsel” for AA in Detroit is written in a kind of rigid legalese. He states, “I want to make it clear that any individual member contacting the New York Office from Detroit has no official standing unless he bears a letter of authority from the Central Committee through the General Secretary, Helen K.”

“Conversely (sic) AA in Detroit will not accept any representatives from any individual member unless authorized as aforesaid purporting to convey any information to us from the New York Office.”

Bill W. says in his reply that: “It is with real distress that I have just finished reading your letter…Naturally I feel badly to find so many people, all good friends of mine, arrayed against each other in what appears to be a rather serious split among Detroit Groups.”

February 1946: Detroit Metropolitan

              Contact Person: Helen K.

              700 members

In February 1946, Helen K., requested that the groups be listed in the directory as the Detroit Metropolitan

Area Groups- Sixteen Groups.

Helen K. - Box 5 College Park Station.

Membership 700

She also asked that the Hubbell Group be listed separately.  

In early 1946, there were some disagreements among the groups and they split into two committees, the Metropolitan Group and the Alcoholics Anonymous Groups of Greater Detroit. 

17 groups were represented by the Alcoholics Anonymous Groups of Greater Detroit. They were: Lincoln Park, Dearborn, Southwest, Windsor South, Grand River, Northwest, Tuesday A.M., Central, Uptown, Highland Park, Pontiac (Stevens), Pontiac (Y.M.C.A), Northeast, Indian Village, Royal Oak, Windsor North Group, and Sunday Group.  Frank N. served as the General Secretary for these Groups. 

August 1946: Metropolitan Area Groups

              Contact Person: Helen K.

              4 Groups: East

              Harper-Warren

              Hubbell

              North

              300 members

Helen K., general secretary of the Metropolitan Area Groups, wrote to the GSO on January 8, 1947 with some updates. 

Everything was going smoothly at the time, with attendance being somewhat lower than normal, but the groups were going on quietly and efficiently. She also said that some of the members had 6 years of sobriety.

February 1947: Metropolitan Area

              Contact Person: Helen K.

              6 groups, 200 members

August 1947: Detroit Metropolitan Area Group

              Contact person: Helen K.

              6 groups, 200 members

February 1948: Detroit Metropolitan Area Group

              Contact person: Helen K.

              6 groups

August 1948: Detroit Metropolitan Area Group

              Contact person: Helen K.

              6 groups

In a letter to Helen K., Bill W. writes about the passing of the first ten years of A.A.  He mentions Archibald T.’s return to Detroit and the starting of a group there:

One of those milestones I’d like you to regard once more with me. It was that day, when after a long convalescence at Dr. Bob’s in Akron, Archibald T. looked at Bob and me and said, “I’m going back to Detroit and face the friends I hurt. And I’m going to try and start an A.A. Group.”

In a May, 1949 letter, Bill W. says, “Alcoholics Anonymous is in the process of evolution concerning its relations with the outside world. When you consider the vast army of screwballs that we really are, I think we have done astonishingly well.” A big part of the reason that the Fellowship was healthy was that groups learned from their mistakes, and the solutions to their problems were codified in the 12 Traditions.

Spring 1949: Detroit Metropolitan Area Groups

              Contact person: Helen K.

Spring 1950: Detroit Metropolitan Area Groups

              Contact person: Helen K.

              Grosse Pointe Farms

              Sherwood Forrest Group, 30 members

              University Group

Spring 1951: Detroit Metropolitan Area Groups

              Contact person: Helen K.

              Grosse Pointe Farms

              Harper- Warren, 25 members

              Sherwood Forrest Group

              University Group

 In 1951 this office was closed and merged with AA of Greater Detroit.

Copyrighted Bill T., Archivist, Area 33, Southeast Michigan
AA of Greater Detroit; Box 459; G.S.O. Archives
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