Audio: History of the Windsor Group
The First Windsor Group, the Second Canadian group.
In fall 1941 and the spring of 1942 some members from the three existing Detroit groups attempted to get AA started in Windsor with very little success.
In the spring of 1943, a guy by the name of Chuck P. could not stay sober and was in pretty bad shape. He was the head draftsman for an engineering company, in which he was eventually fired from. His cousin, Ken Anderson persuaded him to go to a meeting in Detroit. They attended an open meeting at 4242 Cass Ave, which was the Central Group, the first group in Detroit.
Chuck had heard the speaker give his own story and had thought his cousin had spoken to the speaker beforehand. Afterward Chuck went up to the speaker and thanked him for being so open and honest. Up to that time Chuck only knew about Alcoholics Anonymous what he had read in the Jack Alexander article in the Saturday Evening Post. He began to stay sober.
Chuck went back to work for the drafting company he had worked for previously and was supervised by a man he had previously supervised, Wilf W. Chuck started noticing that Wilf appeared to have the same disease that he had, alcoholism. After six months and much discussion at lunches and on breaks he persuaded Wilf to attend an AA meeting with him.
By this time Chuck had gotten another man sober, Al K., he was a lawyer from Windsor. The three of them would go to meetings in Detroit. They would take their car to the tunnel (gasoline was rationed), park their car, drop a nickel in the fare box for the tunnel bus, ride through the tunnel, walk several blocks to the Grand River Street Car, ride the street car for an hour out to Plymouth road, then walk a half-mile to Plymouth and Ilene—after the meeting they would do the whole process in reverse. Wilf relapsed and his last drink was October 21, 1943 at a company party.
The Windsor Group started on October 22, 1943. The founders were Chuck P. Al K., Wilf W., Jim I. and Ben B. The first meeting was held at the board room of the Walsh Advertising Co. At the meeting were three speakers from the Northwest Group (and their wives). Chuck, Al K., a drunk they had dragged out of the Norton Palmer Hotel and Wilf. This had compromised the first official meeting in Windsor.
The speakers from the Northwest Group each had a look of purpose on their faces along with a smile. One speaker had killed someone with their car and spent seven years in the Jackson State Penitentiary, one was from an insane asylum, Ypsilanti State Hospital and another having lost his business and family.
In 1944, on their 1 year anniversary, they held an anniversary dinner and dance at the Prince Edward Hotel inviting their Detroit friend and had probably 200 people in attendance.
From this humble beginning, meetings began to spring up all through the City of Windsor and Ontario.