Western Washington Area – Our Stories Disclose, 3rd ed.
Writing your Group History
Sitting down to write the history of your AA group can be intimidating. Here are a few steps you can follow to make the task less daunting. Remember, a group history can be as short as a paragraph, or as long as a page or two!
Step One – Brainstorming what you know
The first thing you need to know is whether your group history is already in the book. (2nd ed., Green Book through 2002) If your group was founded before 2002, be sure to check.
Whether or not your group history exists, you can read examples of group histories in Our Stories Disclose.
Jot down all the information you already know about your group including:
- meeting day, time and location
- the format you follow (open/closed; speaker; literature study, etc.)
- number of home group members, as well as the number of regular attendees
- any specialty (women’s, men’s, LGBTQ, etc.)
- activities you participate in as a group (visiting other meetings, sober activities, fellowship etc.)
- how you conduct business (when is the business meeting? is there a steering committee? etc.)
- what makes your group unique and special: (how do you celebrate sobriety birthdays, anniversaries of the group’s founding, any other interesting information)
Step Two – Gathering additional history
Do you know who founded the group and why? What people do you need to contact? Make a list of names, phone numbers or other contact information. Consider having a group history party – brew a pot of coffee and invite people who used to attend your group, people who know the history, and anyone else who might be interested. If your group has an archivist, don’t forget to gather those materials, as well as business meeting minutes, letters and reports.
Here are some questions you can use to interview folks:
- What was the original vision of the group founders? What did they hope to achieve?
- Did you split off from another group? If so, why?
- What was the original location of the group? Has the location changed?
- Has the group name changed at all?
- What is the group’s history of participation in General Service?
- Did the group experience any growing pains or controversies?
- Have group inventories been conducted regularly? Have they been helpful?
- What were the group’s biggest challenges initially, and how did you overcome them?
Step Three – Write your group’s story
Now that you have all your notes, compile them into a story form. Pretend you are telling it to a friend. Your group history can take any form you like*, but here is a suggested outline:
- Founding and early history
- Changes and challenges
- What we are like today
Step Four – Finishing touches
When you have written a draft, share it with some of your group members and ask what they think. Is it too full of tedious details? Or are there important details left out? When you are satisfied (don’t be too much of a perfectionist), send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will help you put the finishing touches on your group history, and you will have done a wonderful service to your group and to Alcoholics Anonymous of the Western Washington Area.
For electronic submission:
Please click here for the online form. The form will allow you to either upload a document or directly type it in.
For a hard copy submission:
Give the completed printed form to an OSD committee member,
Or mail to:
Western Washington Area 72
702 Kentucky Street, Unit 535
Bellingham, WA 98225