The Danielsville Group AA meeting is on Fridays at 7:00pm.
|7:00 PM O/D/HA|
Once known as the Madison County Group
Submitted by Dick T, who has 48 years of sobriety in 1993. Formerly known as The Helping Hand Group and the Danielsville Group of Madison County, the Madison County Group now meets on Thursday night and has 10 home group members.
In September, 1974, AA and Al-Anon meeting started and Danielsville at the Civitan Club. There were open discussion meetings on Tuesday and open speaker meetings on Sunday at 4 pm. The founders, the late Bill McC, Dick T, and Snuffy (who disappeared long ago) were joined by eight to ten members, including Lee C, Charlotte B, Hap B, Luther H and Jimmy D. There was good support from Athens and other neighboring groups.
In 1977, we were forced to leave the Civitan Club because there was no restroom in the building, not even a "little house out back". We moved into the small room under the courthouse used by the motor vehicle department during the day. There was no kitchen, but a small restroom. This was hardly said more satisfactory than the Civitan Club because it was behind the door at the meeting room and any move you made in there was plainly heard by all in the meeting. Also we were forced to serve instant coffee because we were limited for space in which to put a coffee maker. Complaints were plentiful about the coffee. Alcoholics!!! We could drink beer that tastes as though it came out of a horse or swill rot-gut "likker," but how critical we become over the quality of our refreshments when sober. Here we continued the evening meeting but discontinued the Sunday meeting due to lack of space.
In 1978, we moved to the multipurpose building in Danielsville for larger quarters plus a kitchen. The management did not trust us with the keys first, and occasionally pre-empted our meeting by taking over the room for some political gathering. The fact is that we was not shown a hell of a lot of respect by the community during these early days. They treated us like a bunch of drunks and so we were on the lookout for new quarters.
In 1979, we move to the Methodist Church Hall at the invitation of Reverend Ben Sorrow, a real friend to AA. In gratitude for this we, as a group, attended Sunday morning service, all seated as a body in one of the rear pews. Reverend Ben called attention to us and included a comment about us as examples of practicing Christianity. Pretty heady stuff for a gang of ex-drunks, but we loved him for it. We met here for about two years, went for some unknown reason attendance began to decline. After a good many meetings for only two to three showed up, we concluded that it would be wiser to discontinue, particularly because in Athens only 10 miles away, there were groups galore where there was better AA than we had to offer under the circumstances.
During this period, from 1979 for the next ten years, there was no AA group as such in Madison County. Those who have been in the Madison County group began attending meetings in Athens, Royston and other neighboring groups. In addition, Lester E from Ila and a member of New Freedom Group in Athens spearheaded meetings for probationers who were sentenced to attend AA. They met also in the Methodist Church Hall until Lester suffered a bad car wreck and went to the VA Hospital, probably for life. Another splinter group that builds in this, was a meeting at the Bluestone Fiberglass plant in Danielsville under the care of Graham N, a recovering AA member from Danielsville. This was officially known as the Gin-house meeting because it was held in what was formerly in old cotton gin. Strictly speaking it was not a group because it was not represented in service structure activities like GSO, Intergroup, Etc., but they did keep the breath of AA alive until the conventional AA group was revived.
In September, 1989, Dick T and Janet P decided to try again to get a group going in Danielsville. In case anyone wonders why this unusual effort to start AA in Madison County it can be explained by the fact that Dick T retired and moved into Comer Madison County. Being stupid, or stubborn, or both, he wouldn't give up and when Janet, then working for mental health, offered to lend a hand they went for it. Ironically, Janet, not aware of the past problems of meetings in the Danielsville multi-purpose building went ahead and arranged for meetings there and then was suddenly transferred to Jekyll Island. The new group was back in the old digs. We advertised in the local paper and began getting 15 to 20 newcomers per meeting. After about two years of closed discussion meetings every Tuesday with one monthly open speaker meeting, we found ourselves in a pretty stable group. Then some of the newcomers began to get grandiose ideas: a local Clubhouse, and two meetings a week. Wiser heads convinced the others that a clubhouse was out of the question, and experience has shown that two meetings a week amounted only to one meeting split in half. Nevertheless, it was tried, and nearly broke up the group.
Here's how: the same lack of cooperation that we experience when we met there ten years earlier existed. Trouble over keys, locks changed without our knowing it, chairs locked up so that we could not sit the attendance, and other problems induced us to go back to the Methodist Hall. So now we were committed to two meetings a week, and in two different locations a closed discussion meeting at multi-purpose and an AA study meeting at the Methodist Hall, one at 8 p.m. and the other at 8:15 pm. Actually what had happened was that the group is split into two separate factions; some new members who wanted to run things their way and the "old guard" opposing these new plans.
However, any doubts that are Higher Power was with us were dispelled by the outcome of this confusion. We did not break up, but grew closer and worked things out so that we had a better, stronger group. Ultimately The advocates of two meetings a week agreed that one well attended was better and so today we have an open discussion meeting at the Methodist Hall at 8:15 p.m. every Thursday except for an open speaker meeting every third Thursday of the month. We averaged between 12 and 20 members and are celebrating birthdays regularly the fellowship is strong and we are regularly attracting new members. The Methodist preachers have been most cooperative.
Over the years we have held step meetings, tradition meetings, Big Book meetings, group and individual anniversaries, beginners meetings and group consciences. Today there is enough AA in the hearts and minds of enough people in Madison County to ensure that the program will always be there in the future whenever the Higher Power decides to offer the gift of sobriety to our children and children's children. With His help, we have been privileged to pass it on.
Dick added at the end of his group's history, "This history of Georgia AA will be more and more appreciated as time passes, for our history of the struggles and faith of those who kept the light of AA shining and shining for us gives us strength and sobriety."