Interviews - June 2015

SEPIA Monthly Newsletter

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Our groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary

A.A. members employed by outside agencies “wear two hats”— but Tradition Six cautions any
such members against wearing both at once! On the job, they may be alcoholism counselors; they are not “A.A. counselors.” At meetings they’re just A.A.’s, not alcoholism experts.
-from “The Twelve Traditions Illustrated”


“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character”

“Of course, the often disputed question of whether God can—and will, under certain
conditions—remove defects of character will be answered with a prompt affirmative by
almost any A.A. member. To him, this proposition will be no theory at all; it will be just
about the largest fact in his life.”


The Conference recognizes that the chief initiative and active responsibility in most world service matters should be exercised by the trustee members of the Conference acting as the General Service Board.

While the Trustees must always operate under the close observation, guidance and sometimes the direction of the Conference, it is nevertheless true that nobody but the Trustees and their wholly-owned service corporations could possibly pass judgment upon and handle the very large number of transactions now involved in our total world service operation. In view of this very large responsibility, they must therefore be given a correspondingly large grant of authority and leadership with which to discharge it. We should quite understand, too, that the conduct of our world services is primarily a matter of policy and business.
-from Page 27 – The A.A. Service Manual


75th Anniversary of AA in Philadelphia

“It seems a great movement towards Philadelphia is welling up here amongst the brethren. At least one automobile load will put in an appearance, and perhaps two. It never rains – it pours!” — Bill W. in a March 4, 1940 letter to Jimmy B.

Alcoholics Anonymous began in Philadelphia on March 6, 1940, started by traveling salesman Jimmy B. (whose Big Book
story is “The Vicious Cycle*” and who had been instrumental in convincing Bill W. to tone down the “God” references in
the Big Book). In mid-February of that year, Jimmy B. had gone to Philadelphia to take a new job. Once there, he contacted
Charlie B., whom he had known in New York, and together they hooked in two Oxford Group alcoholics whom Charlie
knew, Bayard B. and Edmund P. Next came George S., who had written to the New York office seeking help (George S. had
sobered himself up after reading the September 1939 article in Liberty magazine entitled “Alcoholics and God”).
All of these men needed, as Jimmy B. put it, “a few fellow alcoholics around…to stay sober. [And] thus I found myself in
the middle of a brand-new group.” The first open meeting of the Philadelphia Group of Alcoholics Anonymous was held
March 6, 1940, in George S.’s house. Bill and Lois W. were present (among an automobile load of alcoholics who had
come down from New York) and coffee and donuts were served.
The newly formed A.A. group attracted the attention of two Philadelphia physicians, Dr. C. Dudley Saul and Dr. A. Weise
Hammer. Saul, who had lost two sons to alcoholism, was chief of staff at St. Luke’s hospital, and began allowing the Philadelphia
A.A.’s to hold their meetings there. Even more importantly, Saul and Hammer were friends of Judge Curtis Bok,
the owner of Curtis Publications, which was the parent company for The Saturday Evening Post. Bok was impressed with
A.A. and by December of 1940 he was writing a letter of support to the Philadelphia Group that read in part: “My interest
in A.A. is very sincere and you can count on me for as many good words and good deeds in connection with it as I can
True to his word, Judge Bok called in a reporter named Jack Alexander and asked him to investigate this new program
for an article for the Post. To aid Alexander, Drs. Saul and Hammer wrote a list of the first names and last initials of 28
alcoholics who had stayed sober through the program. When the Post article appeared on March 1, 1941, A.A. in Philadelphia
exploded, as it did in New York and the Midwest, and a bigger clubhouse was needed. Ruth Hock, Bill’s secretary, at
the Central Office in New York contacted the Philadelphia Group* to order 10,000 reprints of Alexander’s piece (at a cost
of $175.00).
Only a year had passed since Jimmy B.’s arrival in the City of Brotherly Love, but already A.A. had firmly taken hold.

Mike G.

As published in Markings

*Minor changes were made with the author’s permission, to maintain historical accuracy

It’s Not too Late!


80 years—Happy, Joyous and Free
Thursday to Sunday, JULY 2 to 5, 2015
The Preregistration deadline has passed, but you can still register (Up until the show begins!)
online OR onsite for $110 USD.

Registration and housing can be found at

JOINT HOSPTIALITY SUITE Area 59 & 60 will be co-hosting a suite at the International convention. Consider making a monetary contribution. Make checks to: EPGSA and mark clearly “Hospitality Suite 2015” or sign up to volunteer in the hospitality room at the Omni Hotel– Magnolia suite. Contact to volunteer



SALERNO BEACHHEAD GROUP—Meetings are held Monday (BB), Tuesday (T/D) and Wednesday (W.A.I.T. “Where Am I Today”) from 12:15 to 1:15pm at University Lutheran Church 3637 Chestnut Street. It will no longer be meeting on Thursdays and Fridays. (6/15)

FALLSINGTON SATURDAY NIGHT—Address has been corrected to: 318 Durham Road, Penndel (19047) (6/15)
THE SOLUTION—Steps, Traditions meeting—starting March 2, meet from 7:30 to 8:30 pm at Unity Club, 445 Bethlehem Pike, Colmar (18915)

SOLEBURY MEETING meets for one hour on Mondays at 7 pm at Solebury United Methodist Church. Chair selects literature. Open to all. (4/15)

GOOD MORNING GROUP—starting 3/14/15—new meeting on Saturdays at 8:30 am at Foundry Church at 25 Cedar Road, Wallingford (19086)

BIG BOOK BREAKDOWN changed name to FRIDAY NIGHT STEPPIN OUT at St. Mark’s at 508 Harry St. Conshohocken at 7 pm.

T.B.D. Group—started 4/2015 WEDNESDAYS at 9 pm as a Closed Speaker meeting at Bensalem Baptist Church, 3351 Richlieu Rd. Bensalem


BLACK HORSE GROUP on Wednesdays at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church at 406 Fairfield Road (and Jefferson) in Plymouth Meeting has changed its
time from 5:30 pm to 6 pm and it is now a beginners meeting.

FIRST THREE STEPS has changed the meeting time to Thursdays at 6:30 pm (instead of 7 pm)


Saturday Mornings 8 to 9 am—GO TO ANY LENGTH (a running group) Meet at Northwestern Avenue & Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park near Northwestern & Germantown Avenues, Chestnut Hill—beginning and experienced runners welcome. Contact: (4/15)

MANAYUNK BIG BOOK group meets every Monday at 7:30 pm at the St. John the Baptist Church, 146 Rector St, Philadelphia (19127) Enter on Cresson Street. Unique study of the big book All are welcome. (4/15)

SPIRITUAL AWAKENING GROUP—Big book study 6:30-8:00 pm at Holy Cross Baptist Church Annex (1903 Wynnewood Road). Please come share your experience with the first 164 pages of the Big Book! (6/15)

BIG BOOK BREAKDOWN–Meets every Tuesday at 7 pm at the Trinity United Presbyterian Church– 360 N. Oak Ave, Clifton Heights, PA– All are welcome to help us carry the message by breaking down the big book of AA paragraph by paragraph! (6/15)

THE GOOD NEWS GROUP OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS which holds meetings daily, on a variety of topics and formats, at the 6809 Center (4842 Umbria Street– 2nd Floor–in Roxborough) is in need of support. (6/15)

BENSALEM SATURDAY MORNING group at 10 am at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Rt, 13, 601 Bristol Pike in Croyden needs support.


AA at the CENTER—at Abramson Center 1425 Horsham Road in North Wales on Saturdays at noon has CLOSED its Doors. (5/15)

See for the latest up to date meeting lists.