Alberta / Northwest Territories
Area 78 Alberta / Northwest Territories (AB/NT) of Alcoholics Anonymous has a total land mass of 2,007,952 square kilometers. It consists of the province of Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Western Nunavut (bounded in the east on the 90th Meridian), a couple of sections of British Columbia (East Kootenay in the south and Peace River in the north), as well as a couple of towns in Saskatchewan (Lloydminster and Maidstone) located along the Yellowhead Highway near the Alberta border. Please see our maps to get a sense of how large of an area this is! Traveling long distances, outside of the large metropolitan areas has long been accepted as part of Area 78 service work.
Currently, there are 46 districts that make up Area 78 in its entirety. District Committee Members (DCMs) and General Service Representatives (GSRs) from each district come together throughout the year to stay connected, to do the work that is required to keep AA functioning in AB/NT, and to share what is happening in their district. They do this at the two area assemblies and two Area Committee Meetings (ACM) held each year. The Assemblies are held in Red Deer, an Alberta community halfway between the major metropolitan centers of Calgary and Edmonton. Active districts bid for the privilege of hosting an ACM during the March Pre-conference Assembly each year.
The Northwest Territories has a population of about 48,000. The two major centers of Yellowknife and Hay River contain over two thirds the population. There is more of a challenge to reach out to communities in the north than those located south of the 60th parallel due to lack of road access. Many of the communities are only accessible by boat, plane or driving on winter ice roads. There are five districts in NT, and two are active carrying the message of sobriety through their PI/CPC and Correction committees. Though not an area policy, an area officer or committee chair visits remote communities north of 60 at least once a year.
Alberta has a population of about 4,250,000 with roughly 75% living in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor. Both cities have strong Central Office support and each has its own website. There are websites in many of the area districts. Our Area 78 website is an integral part of carrying the message of recovery to all types of remote communities. Groups are scattered throughout the province in small communities that have very few members.
Nearly all groups in Alberta are accessible by road. Because of the geographical size of Area 78 we do have increased transportation expenses for the different AA service entities (group, district, and area); these include overnight stays to and from meetings and functions. Because of the smaller size of group membership, some groups find it difficult to reach out to the public and professionals in their districts but many do have PI, CPC, and Correction committees that stay active even with membership constraints.
There are many native (aboriginal) reservations and we see many districts reaching out the hand of A.A. in many ways. One district supplies literature, and a group in the district picks up members from the reservation and transports them to and from their meeting. Members living on reservations do attend local meetings near them.