To learn more about Nassau General Service Archives, please visit www.nassaugsaaarchives.org
Dear Trusted Servant,
SENY Archives is updating the written history of AA as it has developed in various counties, including Nassau County. Please review the following Nassau AA History, and send me any comments or proposed corrections you or your home group may have: I will forward your input to the SENY Archives Chair.
“What we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now…”
· The Early Years – 1940’s:
In the August 1981 issue of the Nassau Intergroup Newsletter, it states the first home group in Nassau County began in a member’s home in Garden City during the war years. Many early groups met in group members’ homes, which is why they were called “home groups.” Within a few short years, as AA membership grew in Nassau, the need for larger meeting spaces was imminent and necessary. Thus, AA groups began forming and meeting in larger places such as church basements. Early sources suggest the first group to meet outside the traditional home group atmosphere held its meetings in either Baldwin, Freeport, Manhasset, Merrick/Bellmore, Mineola, Garden City, Roslyn, or Valley Stream. However, at the June 14th 2008 Nassau County Big Meeting, ten old-timer panelists, each with thirty-seven to fifty-one years of sobriety, believed the Mineola Group was the oldest group in Nassau County, with their meetings being held at the Mineola Fire House. This uncertainty explains the need and importance for documenting our history through archives, as well as making our history available for future generations of AA members to enjoy.
· 1948 to 1969
The Manhasset-Roslyn Telephone Service fulfilled a need at a time when there were relatively few groups on Long Island and membership was small. The Manhasset-Roslyn Group undertook this service and effort, unassisted financially by any other group or by New York Intergroup. The vast growth in population on Long Island brought with it a greater demand for AA information and a constant increase in activity for the telephone answering service. The burden of handling the service became excessive, more trying, and more than any one group could sustain, no matter how highly dedicated its members were.
Founding members of the Nassau Answering Service were involved in setting up Nassau General Service and Nassau Intergroup. Many of these same people continued to participate in Nassau Intergroup and General Service. From these dedicated people the purpose and agenda of the Nassau General Service Representative Meeting became clear: (1) to learn how to cooperate with each other and our friends in carrying the message to the still suffering alcoholic; (2) to offer an accurate recap of news and history for Area 49’s newsletter, The Link, and to pass along AA General Service Guidelines and the Twelve Concepts for World Service; and (3) to encourage districts to organize and carry the message of our primary purpose while practicing principles before personalities through the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts.
· Early 1970s
Chaired by the Panel 17 SENY Delegate, the first Nassau General Service Representatives meeting was established in Nassau County was attended by a small number of members representing their groups. The Mineola Group held these meetings at their location.
· June 24, 1970
Members from AA groups voted overwhelmingly at the Church of the Advent, Westbury, to assume the burden of providing a telephone answering service to help the suffering alcoholic in Nassau County. AA volunteers staffed this service, called the Nassau Answering Service of Alcoholics Anonymous. Around this time, there are fifty-three groups in Nassau. With help from clergy friends, almost all of whom were non-alcoholics, at the Church of the Advent, the telephone answering service was set up in the basement of Winthrop Hall, Advent Street, in Westbury. This important institution helped establish better communication for twelfth step calls between groups throughout Nassau and the suffering alcoholic. Rumor has it that this is the first live AA hotline service provided in the United States.
The Nassau General Service Representative Meeting moved from the Mineola Group location to the Church of the Advent, Winthrop Hall, and they elected the first Local Committee Member.
The Nassau Answering Service moved into its own office in Hempstead and changed its name to The Central Office of Nassau.
· June 17, 1978
Nassau County’s first Share-A-Day, held at Adelphi University, Garden City, was hosted by The Central Office of Nassau. In subsequent years, various locations throughout the county held this event.
The Nassau General Service Representative Meeting became the Nassau General Service Committee and was chaired by a District Committee Member at Large, or DCM at Large. South Eastern New York (SENY), Area 49, requested that Nassau form General Service districts. Ten groups per geographical district were established and districts were given the freedom to merge. Nassau General Service Committee decided to cap the number of districts at twenty.
The Central Office of Nassau relocated to a new office in West Hempstead. The groups at that time, having the “courage to change,” followed their Higher Power’s guidance and underwent another name change to Nassau Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous. During this time, Nassau Intergroup began providing service to 153 groups. The AA hotline received over one thousand phones calls per month. It continues to be an AA service entity.
· July 11, 1982
On this date, the First Annual Nassau Intergroup Picnic, held at Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, for AA members, their families, and friends enjoyed a day of fellowship and fun.
Nassau Intergroup became incorporated in the State of New York.
A small number of General Service members, having attended a Spiritual Breakfast in the Bronx, decide to organize a similar event in Nassau. The purpose of the event was to offer fellowship as well as to inform groups about General Service and the services provided.
Nassau County’s first Spiritual Breakfast, an open AA event, was hosted by the Nassau General Service Committee. Held at a catering hall in Massapequa, some two hundred attendees enjoyed the event.
· Mid 1980s
Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. organized a dinner dance for the evening of Nassau County’s Share-A-Day for AA members and their guests to attend.
Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. outgrew its office in West Hempstead, so the organization relocated to a larger office in the same building.
Nassau General Service Committee underwent another name change to Nassau General Service Group, and is chaired by a District Committee Member Chair (DCMC).
· August 12, 1990
Nassau’s Spiritual Breakfast formally changed the name to Nassau AA’s Unity Breakfast.
· June 15, 1991
Nassau General Service Group and Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. co-hosted the first Big Meeting, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous in Nassau County. It was held at the Tilles Center, CW Post Campus of Long Island University, Brookville, NY.
· October, 1994
Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. formed its own Institutions Committee, a service function that used to be provided by New York Intergroup’s Institutions Committee. Nassau Intergroup’s Institutions Committee, the largest standing committee in the county, brought AA meetings into hospitals, detox and rehab facilities, as well as to the Nassau County jail on a weekly basis.
· December 5, 1996
The Ad Hoc Special Needs Committee became a permanent Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. standing committee.
· February, 1998
Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. became fully self-supporting through group’s contributions, providing service to over three hundred groups. The twenty-four hour hotline continued to be staffed by volunteer AA members since 1977. Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. began publishing a monthly newsletter called the Nassau Intergroup News. At no charge to members, 90,000 meeting lists were distributed. The intergroup also had an active Cooperation with the Professional Community Committee, Public Information Committee, and Speaker’s Bureau.
Since the late 1970s, the Nassau General Service Group began holding its meetings at the Westbury Group’s meeting place in the Church of the Advent, Westbury. In the late 1990s, the new clergy advised Nassau General Service Group members that they must find an alternative meeting location. The following year, their meetings were held at the Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. office in West Hempstead.
Nassau General Service Group meets at the Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. Office in West Hempstead. During this period, redistricting of Nassau General Service Group’s districts takes place.
New By-Laws were written and adopted during this period. The Nassau Intergroup office serves as a location for service workshops hosted by Nassau General Service Group.
There were no significant occurrences during this period.
As a public information effort, members from District 206 contact libraries and high schools in their district and offer them a copy of the book Alcoholics Anonymous.
The dinner dance, hosted by Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. since the mid 1980s, was held for the last time.
Nassau County’s Big Meeting underwent a hiatus.
· October 23, 2006
The first issue of Nassau General Service Group’s newsletter, The Gazette, debuted.
Nassau General Service Group’s By-Laws underwent the amendment process. Though there are some active districts meeting regularly, inactive districts are a concern. Thus in an effort to help rebuild inactive districts, the DCMC suggests district meetings be held at the bi-monthly General Service meeting until such time when these districts are able to meet regularly on their own. Two GSRs become DCMs of their respective district at the February meeting.
· January 1, 2008
Due to an ever-increasing amount of participation by members, the Nassau Intergroup Representatives Meeting relocated from the Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. office, West Hempstead to a larger meeting space at the Garden City Community Church, home of the Garden City Group.
· April, 2008
Nassau General Service Group received its New York State tax-exempt number.
· May, 2008
Although the numbers constantly change, Nassau Intergroup’s meeting list was updated and released during the month of May. It contained various types of AA meetings available for alcoholics and interested members of the public. AA groups and meetings throughout Nassau County span two cities, three towns, and sixty-four unincorporated areas. The meeting list included 269 distinct AA groups who provide 690 AA meetings each week from which to choose from.
· June 5, 2008
While production costs continually rose, it is decided at the monthly Nassau Intergroup Representatives meeting that Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. would continue to publish meeting lists, free of charge, to members for as long as possible. This is also in keeping with the Intergroup’s tradition of providing service for AA members.
· June 14, 2008
After a two-year break, Nassau General Service Group resurrected Nassau County’s Big Meeting and used the Garden City Group’s meeting location to hold the event. Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. decided not to be involved in this event any longer.
· August 18, 2008
Nassau General Service Group conducted a county inventory.
· September 13, 2008
Nassau General Service Group in Nassau County hosted the SENY Election Assembly. This was the first time Nassau County hosted an election assembly. The Garden City Group offered their location, the Garden City Community Church.
In the spirit of cooperation Nassau General Service Group and Nassau Intergroup of AA Inc. work together placing two copies of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous into every library throughout the county. Information on how to contact AA is included with each book.
· May 9, 2009
Districts 208/209 host a “Spirituality and Sponsorship” workshop. Later interested members from California enquire about this workshop as they are interested in holding a similar workshop in their area.
· October 10, 2009
Nassau General Service Group hosts the Big Meeting at the Garden City Group’s location.
· June 6, 2010
Nassau, Queens and Suffolk General Services host a successful tri-county workshop on “Service and Spirituality” at the St. William the Abbot School, Seaford. This is a first for all three counties and it is hoped more tri-county workshops will be held in the future.
· August 14, 2010
A large turnout of members, family and friends attend the Big Meeting held on the beach in Long Beach, NY.
· September, 2010
Nassau General Service Group conducts a new county inventory.
· October 2010
Members from Districts 208/209, with assistance from SENY, arranged with Cablevision Long Island to air an AA public service announcement (PSA) produced by AAWS titled Testimonials. The PSA is scheduled to air from November 29 to December 26 and includes the AA hotline numbers of both the Nassau and Suffolk Intergroup.
· November 13, 2010
District 208/209 hosts a service workshop on “History, Hopes and Heroes” at the Village Church of Bayville, NY.
Members in Nassau County are dedicated and committed to carrying AA’s message of hope to the alcoholic who stills suffers. We do this through the many service activities that we organize. Our goals are to continue to cooperate with other AA service entities, to work with professionals in the community, and the public seeking information.
Yours in service,