Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Yesterday allows us to take care of today and today allows us to prepare for tomorrow.
Whenever a society or civilization perishes there is always one condition present; they forgot where they came from. — Carl Sandburg
It is truly amazing how I came to A.A. meetings for several years sat next to a few members, exchanged pleasantries and never truly knew them.
My sponsor and I were traveling to Irma to visit friends and celebrate birthdays. We invited a long timer from another group who had visited our group many times over the years. One whom we exchanged pleasantries with many times. The member spoke of meetings years ago in a place called Hurstwood hall, just outside of Sherwood Park.
The only running water came in thru the roof. They would bring water to every meeting to have on hand for the next meeting to make coffee. They would bring newcomers and share their experiences, nourish and teach these newbies the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. How the group managed to move into Sherwood Park and have heat and running water and more members. How other groups developed and our message grew as more found sobriety. My sponsor and I received more than 2 hours of history on our District, history that we discovered had never been documented.
Shortly after an Archives representative was elected for our group. Then the District elected an Archives Chair. Both then attended the North America Archives conference being held in Winnipeg that year.
Like any other A.A. service, the primary purpose of those involved in archival work is to carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous. Archives service is more than mere custodial activity, it is the means by which we collect, preserve, and share the rich and meaningful heritage of our Fellowship. It is by the collection and sharing of these important historical elements that our collective gratitude for Alcoholics Anonymous is deepened.
We are currently staying sober and carrying the message in a time which may never be repeated again. We are coming together for the greater good of all. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the cement which binds us.
The opportunity to capture and archive these moments, successes, triumphs and struggles are vital. The movement to online functions, meetings, Assemblies and our General Service Conference are truly amazing. We of Alcoholics Anonymous are a resilient lot, whom given the opportunity will cease the moment through Unity, to be there for our fellow members and those yet to come.
I would encourage you to work with your members to Archive your Groups history, whether its 2 members or 200. It is the spirit of participation, no contribution toward carrying and preserving the message can be too small. Bill W. spoke about our collective obligation to support A.A. Services, one of these being our Archives.
Everything you need to get started can be found in our “Archives Workbook,” (M-44I).
Our A.A. Guidelines on Archives (MG-17) states:
A.A. members have a responsibility to gather and care for the Fellowship’s historical documents and memorabilia. Correspondence, records, minutes, reports, photographs, newspaper and magazine articles from the past and the present should be collected, preserved, and made available for the guidance and research of A.A. members and others (researchers, historians, and scholars from various disciplines) — for now and for generations to come.
Courage and Vigilance are the cornerstones of tomorrow. We need to ensure courage as A.A. unity cannot automatically preserve itself. Like personal recovery, we shall always have to work to maintain it. Here, too, we surely need honesty, humility, openmindedness, unselfishness, and above all—vigilance. So we who are older in A.A. beg you who are newer to ponder carefully the experiences we have already had of trying to work and live together. With vigilance, we need to make a difference today, so those to come can make a difference tomorrow.
Your Trusted Servant,
(please see below)
GENERAL SERVICE OFFICE ARCHIVES
The mission of the Alcoholics Anonymous General Service Office Archives is to document permanently the work of Alcoholics Anonymous, to make the history of the organization accessible to A.A. members and other researchers, and to provide a context for understanding A.A.’s progression, principles and traditions.
Consistent with A.A.’s primary purpose of maintaining our sobriety and helping other alcoholics achieve recovery, the Archives of Alcoholics Anonymous will:
• Receive, classify, and index all relevant material, such as administrative files and records, correspondence, and literary works and artifacts considered to have historical importance to Alcoholics Anonymous.
• Hold and preserve such material.
• Provide access to these materials, as determined by the archivist in consultation with the trustees’ Archives Committee, to members of Alcoholics Anonymous and to others who may have a valid need to review such material, contingent upon a commitment to preserve the anonymity of our members.
• Serve as a resource and laboratory to stimulate and nourish learning.
• Provide information services to assist the operations of Alcoholics Anonymous.
• Promote knowledge and understanding of the origins, goals and programs of Alcoholics Anonymous.
For a more detailed discussion of archival matters, please review the
“Archives Workbook,” (M-44I) / Our A.A. Guidelines on Archives (MG-17)
available from G.S.O or your local central office and your
Area 78 Literature Committee Chair: Neil P. firstname.lastname@example.org.
For answers to any specific questions, and lists of additional resources, contact your G.S.O. Archives at email@example.com or 212-870-3400.
Other valuable information is available at www.aa.org and your
Area 78 Archives Committee Chair: Catherine P. firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Our Area 78 Archivist, Tim H. is currently compiling archival material towards the consideration of a book on The History of Area 78.