EDITOR’S NOTE – THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR THE POINT (PUBLISHED BY AASF) AT THEIR REQUEST, HOWEVER WHEN SUBMITTED TO THEM THEY REFUSED TO PUBLISH IT WITH NO EXPLANATION…
Since the beginnings of Bay Area Alcoholics Anonymous, Marin County’s many A.A. groups have been part of the San Francisco Intercounty Fellowship, as were the groups in other area counties. As A.A. grew, each of the other counties formed their own intergroups to provide more local services, opening office facilities and bookstores to provide literature, publishing their own newsletters and schedules, and organizing events and service entities. A.A. experience has demonstrated that central/intergroup offices are remarkably helpful, particularly in populous areas, aiding their groups in their common purpose of carrying the A.A. message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
Many Marin fellowship members think it is time to follow the other counties, so in the past two years the Marin Intergroup 2020 committee has been meeting monthly to investigate and plan for establishing a Marin Intergroup, with the year 2020 as a target. The committee conducted a survey at a recent Unity Day gathering, asking attendees multiple questions about their interest in having a Marin Intergroup including a bookstore, central office, and meeting place. The response was overwhelmingly positive, especially for having a local bookstore closer than San Francisco.
As a result the emphasis for the MI2020 committee has been to ramp up efforts to assess and investigate the myriad factors that would go into opening a new A.A. bookstore, likely to be located in the San Rafael area for central access. Subcommittees are looking closely at cost and locations for possible rental properties, additional expense and operational details, research about other intergroup bookstores, management and expenses, as well as marketing and discovering opportunities for use by other service committees and A.A. groups to hold meetings, and additional possible functions. The concept has shifted from developing the new intergroup before the bookstore to establishing the new intergroup after the bookstore. (ED. NOTE – THIS PLAN HAS SINCE BEEN MODIFIED)
There has been some mention of Marin A.A. groups possibly “abandoning” or “pulling-out” from the current San Francisco-Marin intergroup by proceeding with this investigatory phase of the process; however we should keep in mind that all the intergroups that currently operate throughout the Bay Area were once part of the SF Intergroup, and this process is no different than what has previously occurred. Also, the MI2020 committee has been working alongside the current intercounty intergroup to proceed with transparency and fellowship to avoid any possible misinterpretation of the process. (ED. NOTE – THE INTERCOUNTY INTERGROUP SINCE REQUESTED THAT MI2020 NOT COMMUNICATE WITH THEM FURTHER)
There may be some concern too that the Marin groups’ financial support will be significantly missed on the SF intergroup’s balance sheet; however there is no reason to suggest that a solo SF Intergroup cannot remain viable. There have also been concerns raised that perhaps the Marin A.A. groups may not provide enough support to operate a bookstore and central office/intergroup. Several plans for enlisting their support have good potential and there are more possibilities being suggested.
The General Service Office has published A.A. Guidelines for Central or Intergroup Offices (MG-2) that describes the many elements and details to be considered when proceeding from concept to reality when starting a new central/intergroup office. It includes such topics as: “What is a Central or Intergroup Office?”; “Functions of a Central/ Intergroup Office”; “Making a Good Beginning”; “Getting Under Way”; “Group Representation at a Central/Intergroup Office”; “Staffing the Intergroup”; “Supervision – Making the Office Serve”; “Facing Financial Responsibility”; “Central/Intergroup Offices and G.S.O”; “Newsletters or Bulletins”; and “Communication”. We recommend reading the complete document here: https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/mg-02_centralorinter.pdf
For any A.A. members who are interested in participating, the Marin Intergroup 2020 committee meets the first Monday of each month at 7:00PM at the Marin Alano Club (SINCE CHANGED TO WHISTLESTOP IN DOWNTOWN SAN RAFAEL). For any questions, please contact MI2020 Committee Chair Pat P. through the Contact Us link.
- Originally published March 16, 2018
- Revised October 2018