Archives: Westside>Northwest>Plymouth-Ilene Group #0003

Westside>Northwest>Plymouth-Ilene Group #0003

Early Church @ Plymouth & Ilene

The North-West Group of Alcoholics Anonymous of the City of Detroit was formed in, 1941. It was the outgrowth of a separation when the original single group, then numbering approximately forty members and meeting at 4242 Cass Avenue, decided to divide into three units as a matter of convenience. Accordingly, the East Side Group, meeting at the Mack Avenue Business Men’s Club, the North-West Group, meeting at 10216 Plymouth Road, and the Central Group, meeting at 4242 Cass Avenue, came into existence.

The first meeting of the North-West Group was held on the night of October 16th, 1941 and there were about twenty members present. Since that Thursday night there has been a meeting every Thursday night of this group in the same hall regardless of
weather, time or season of the year (1948).

In June, 1943, a group of members proposed the idea of a separate discussion meeting to more advantageously present the Twelve Steps of the Recovery Program to the new affiliates and a decision was made to hold a closed meeting for alcoholics only for this purpose. The first discussion meeting of the North-West Group was held at 10216 Plymouth Road on Monday night, June 14th, 1943, and has been held every Monday night without exception thereafter. Mon. – Instructional meeting, Thur. – Closed meeting, Fri.-Open meeting.

A plan of presentation of the Twelve Steps of the Recovery Program was developed prior to this meeting in 1942, but greatly promoted by this group in 1943. This plan consisted of dividing the Twelve Steps into four categories for easier study and the divisions were:

  • Admission
  • Spiritual
  • Restitution and Inventory
  • Working and Message.

Each division came to be discussed on each succeeding Monday night in rotation and this method was so successful that it was adopted, first by other groups in Detroit and then throughout the United States and finally was published in its entirety by the Washington, D.C. groups in a pamphlet entitled “An Interpretation of the Twelve Steps”.

A group information sheet dated September 29, 1943 lists the group with 68 members, one of which was in the armed forces.  They met on Plymouth Road on Thursdays at 8:30 pm.  Helen K. was the contact person for the group.

Around the Christmas of 1943, the group purchased a fifth printing of the first edition of our beloved Big Book. It was sent to our co-founder Bill W., for inscribing. It was then sent to Dr. Bob for his inscription. Also signing it were Marty M., the first woman in AA, Bill D. of Akron, the first member after the co-founders, Archie T., the founder of AA in Detroit, Mike E., the first man to become a member in Detroit and Ruby V., the first woman member in Detroit. All future inscriptions in the book were closed by unanimous motion of the group. The book was then hand bound and tooled in India Goat-skin, lettered in gold on the cover and presented to the North-West Group by its own members as a Christmas present to itself, in perpetuity, at Christmas, 1943. It was paid for from the treasury of the group at a cost of twenty-five dollars.

The inscriptions are as follows:

“Best wishes to a grand group in the finest of fine undertakings.”

Ruby V. (L.D. Jan, 1941) (The first Detroit woman in AA)

“To Detroit AA may they flourish forever.”

Marty (The first woman in AA)

“May the Northwestern Group always have Gods richest blessings.”

Mike E. (L.D. Sept, 1939) (The first Detroit AA member.)

“Congratulations to the Northwester group for their splendid work and
with best wishes for their continued service in the work of the Lord.”

Bill D. (L.D. June, 1935) (The first customer, see page 170)

“Nothing would afford me more pleasure in the years to come then to see
every group in this United States accomplish what the Northwestern
Group has in the last three years.”

“The Fearful One” Arch (L.D. Sept 1938) (The Detroit AA
Founder, see page 332.)

“To the Detroit Northwestern Group of Alcoholics Anonymous;
Greetings-and may your beacon, burn ever bright.”

Ever, “Bill”, (L.D. Nov, 1934)

“Best wishes to your continued successes in all your tests of using the

Dr. Bob (L.D. June 10, 1935)

Sad to say, this book has disappeared; it would be nice to discover it again and bring it home to the archives, so that, it could be appreciated by everyone.

As of January 11, 1944, the group had 87 members.  They continued to meet on Thursday at 8:30 pm.

An updated form for the group was received August 14, 1944. 14 members met on Wednesdays at 8:30 pm.

Since its inception, the North-West Group has grown until, March, 1948; the following are some of the other groups formed either in total or in part, by separation from the parent North-West Group.

North Young Men’s Lincoln Park
Oakman Plymouth-Ilene Dearborn
Down River Hubbell North-East
Grand River University Farmington Warren-Southfield

April 1948

In 1961 the church at 10216 Plymouth Rd build a new building next door at 10226 Plymouth Rd, then in 1962-63 the group moved to 13650 Ilene St, the Church’s Club Hall.

In 1968 the group had an 8:30 pm Monday closed meeting, Thursday 8:30 pm open meeting, and moved to St. Paul’s Church at 14025 Hubbel Street at Grand River, Detroit. By 1971 the Thursday meeting was discontinued.

STATUS: Disbanded, 1974.


  • References:
  • © 2013 by Bill T, Archivist, General Service of Southeastern Michigan, Area 33
  • For further