by Conrad G
Around 1968 a group of 10 men met in Gordon T’s apartment. I was there. The apartment was on Central Avenue in the Haight Ashbury. Our meeting was called to discuss starting the first official gay AA meeting in S.F. We agreed to start the meeting.
We rented space at 261 Fell Street in the building with the rose garden. Our goal in starting the meeting was to encourage members of the gay community who were reluctant to come into the mainstream of AA to come to our meeting. Then we could encourage them to enter mainstream AA as they became more comfortable living sober.
We were surrounded by beautiful psychedelic art
Our local Central Office was not comfortable with the idea of gay meetings. We therefore did not list this meeting in their directory. We listed the meeting with the Society for Individual Rights’ monthly newsletter.
The 35-and-under group of Alcoholics Anonymous that met on Thursday nights in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in North Beach was S.F.’s unofficial gay group. The meeting was for anyone who wanted to attend. We had a lot of very good friends who came regularly also what was then a large gay attendance of maybe twenty.
As a community little did we ever dream our community would be as large as it is today, with gay AA meetings throughout the Bay Area and throughout the country, including Hawaii. The first conference was the Living Sober conference here in S.F., held yearly around the same time as the Pride Parade so travelers could come to both.
Coffee, jasmine tea and cake were served
Since we were unable to use 261 Fell for our very first meeting, two of our members with a hippie pad in the Haight invited us to use their space. They had decorated their pad with metal wall sculptures painted in bright pastel colors. A piece of round iron sculpture with all kinds of flowers appeared to grow out of the carpet.
After reading the usual opening literature, we added the last paragraph of page 68 and all of page 69, ending with the first paragraph on page 70 from Alcoholics Anonymous Third Edition. After that it was always read at all of our meetings. Then the black light was turned on and all others off. We were surrounded by beautiful psychedelic art. No drugs were taken, no marijuana smoked. Coffee, jasmine tea and cake were served. Conrad G. and Carlos S. were co-secretaries. The only people still with us in body that I know of are Don K., Gordon T. who now lives in Hawaii, Roland S. in Palm Springs. In 1968, it was a beautiful, first gay meeting.