First Things First

The First Group #0001

 

The Central Group

 

Cass Ave Methodist Church
The first group in Southeastern Michigan was born out of necessity. At this point in time we had come to rely too heavily on people outside of recovery, and for that we owed them a debt of gratitude which we can never repay, but it was time for us to stand on our own.

The wonderful accommodations at the Benson's home on 860 Taylor Street were quickly becoming too small, we had grown to a group of twenty-five; the drunks were breaking things and spilling coffee, even though the Bensons never complained.

Jim B. and wife

After what was probably to become our first group conscience, it was decided to move to Doty Hall, it was located north of the Benson’s. After a month or so there it was decided it was too far from where the chronic alcoholics were and we decided to look for a location close to where it all began and that was in the skid row of Detroit.

Map of The Central Group
Archie T. mentions in an open talk that we had a meeting or two at the Doty Hall, "but it did not work out. We eventually worked our way to 4242 Cass Ave, which became the first meeting place where we attempted to pay rent and learn to become self-supporting." This location was the Community Center for the Cass Avenue Methodist Church located a couple of blocks south of the center.

Archie and Jim B. were considered to be the founders of the group, even though every member at the time pitched in to make it a success. All other groups were created off of this group as they became necessary.

Bill W.

On October 15, 1941 Bill W., founder of AA, did a talk here to help the group celebrate the Central Group’s anniversary, with 300 people in attendance. Bill was interviewed by both the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News about this new organization. The article goes on to report that there were currently six women members in the “Detroit Chapter.”

Detroit News Page 1
As you read both articles you can see how our Fellowship was still struggling with anonymity, one paper refers to William W. the other to Mr. X.

A group information sheet dated September 19, 1943 lists the group with 30 members who met on Wednesday at       8:30 pm.  They met on Cass Avenue. A group information sheet dated January 11, 1944 lists the same information for the group.  Helen K. was the secretary.

In an August 14, 1944 report the Central Group: 30 members who met on Wednesday at 8:30 pm.

Detroit News Page 2

A group information card dated February 10, 1947 lists Farley F. as the contact person for the group.  They had 75 members and met on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Thomas M. was the treasurer of the group.

Detroit Free Press
As of January 28, 1949 the group had 50 members.  They met on Tuesday and Wednesday at 9:00 pm for closed meetings.  Henry G. was the secretary of the group and Bill S. was the treasurer. They met at St. John’s Parish House.

STATUS: Disbanded, 1966.

Copyrighted Bill T., Archivist, Area 33, Southeast Michigan
References: Detroit Free Press; Detroit News; GSO Archives; Greg D., Grosse Pointe
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