1 06, 2022

Central Office Celebrates 75 Years!

The Central Office Archives Committee and longtime Bay Area member Peter M. compiled a history booklet of our local Central Office which serves San Francisco and Marin counties. It highlights important facts and developments. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of Central Office this year, The Point is featuring the following highlights from the booklet.

As part of the 75th anniversary celebration and to honor Founders’ Day, Central Office is hosting an open house on June 11. Activities include a scavenger hunt, raffle and food. Literature will be discounted. Stop by for a visit, learn more about Central Office and join in the fun. June 11 @ 1-4pm, 1821 Sacramento St., San Francisco.

When Central Office First Opened

A February 1952 issue of A.A. Grapevine focusing on A.A. in San Francisco and Los Angeles describes problems at the Alano Club on Bush St. and that “strains had developed because of the uncomfortable overcrowding of A.A. meetings, drunks, panhandlers, wolves and Red Riding Hoods,” upsetting the meetings.

First Central Office and 1957 Meeting Schedule

Tempers flared and relationships became strained, but finally in January 1947, the first San Francisco Central Office was opened. Correspondence available in the GSO Archives indicates that the first Central Office Secretary (or manager) was a woman, Anne C., but by 1948, Bob G. had become the Secretary. There was a subsequent move to 406 Sutter St. in 1951, and three years later in 1954 to 166 Geary St. where the Central Office remained until 1981. 

The First Newsletter

The first local A.A. newsletter appears to have been created to coincide with Bill W.’s visit of March 1951, and the first issue appeared in January 1951 titled, You Name It. After consideration of various titles including Central Office Reporter, San Francisco A.A. Newsvine, Tangibles & Intangibles, Good News was decided upon for the publication. A.A. member, O.K. P., a career newspaperman, is credited with starting the paper. 

While the Good News has always been associated with the Northern California Council of Alcoholics Anonymous (NCCAA), and is still published by NCCAA, when the Good News started it was published monthly through the San Francisco Central Office and NCCAA used the Central Office as its mailing address. 

O.K. P., the first editor of the Good News, would later serve as Central Office manager and also as a delegate to the General Service Conference.

For many years, the Good News was the best source of local information on Alcoholics Anonymous and included updates on fellowship activities around Northern California from Monterey to Sacramento and Eureka. Still there was always news on the fellowship in San Francisco, including speaker line-ups for Central All-Groups which was a Friday 8:30pm meeting listed as open to the public and frequently included professionals from the community, including lawyers, judges, and doctors working with alcoholics in the community and A.A. members sharing their experience, strength and hope.

While the Good News is still produced, it has eventually come to focus more on the activities of NCCAA, and its three conferences per year throughout Northern California. Central Office developed a Secretary’s Newsletter in the 1960s focusing more specifically on activities concerning the Intergroup Fellowship.

Recollections of a Local Member

“My first memories of Central Office started in December 1968 with my first phone call, a very helpful volunteer tried to convince me to attend a meeting that evening. I declined and asked only for some literature, which arrived the next day! My first service commitment was Literature person which required a trip to Central Office at 166 Geary. What a great experience, a ride up to (I think the 6th floor) in an old-fashioned caged elevator, nervous if it would make it, but it was fun looking through the bars as we passed each floor.

I met all the office staff, Neva, Jen, Harriett, Kay and Paul G., Central Office Secretary. Paul was ever so gracious, invited me into his office, his door was always open to everyone. He was always dressed in a suit and his signature bow tie. I always looked forward to delivering the group contributions, having a chat with Paul and the staff. I would often drop in for a cup of coffee and a little arms-length A.A. fellowship. 

The Central Office later moved to 1046 Irving St. and that was a very nice office, spacious work area for the volunteers and a welcoming atmosphere. Chris W. was the front desk receptionist, Harry R. always sitting in one of the chairs in the reception area, lots of good A.A. Since I was working in the financial district, it was a little more difficult for drop in visits. Bill S. was now the Secretary, then it passed on to Erwin K. and the office moved to Oak and Fell, Market Street area. The eventual move to our present location on Sacramento St., where there is a great staff of volunteers, a renewed lease for the future!” — S.K. 

1 06, 2022

True Brotherhood

By Christine R.

For years I kept hidden the very topics we share daily.    A huge surprise to hear the men and women share their experience, strength, and hope on the topics I was sure “would go to the grave with me.” 

With the passing of time and “constant contact with others,” not only was I given answers to my inner dilemmas, I was also shown the way through example.  One such example came when I was newly sober – and not going to meetings.  

I was resentful at my homegroup.  I did not want to do the work.  I could not find a sponsor. (Yeah, right!)  Three years sober but not in recovery.  When one gets into this position, one cannot take a drink, but suicide sure seems like a step up.  Suicidal, resentful, and lonely.  That’s where I was on a Thursday night.

On this particular Thursday night, I was putting up glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling.  For the placement of these stars, I had to turn the lights off and on.  Lights off to see the glowing stars.  Lights on to put them up on the ceiling. Alone in the dark.  Back and forth.  Lights on.  Lights off.  Lights on.  Lights off.  That’s how they found me.

The “They” in this case, was a handsome dentist and two attractive women who came knocking on my door at 9:15 p.m.  The Thursday Night Chip Meeting ended at 9:00 and my visitors came directly from that meeting.  Several people from my home group, worried about my state of mind, decided to mount up a posse.  The dentist I knew.  The two women he brought with him, I did not.  Eager to put on a good face (especially for the handsome doctor), I welcomed them in.

Within a very short period of time, the dentist left.  What?  He left me in the care of the two women. This was a guy who knew how to care for the woman in trouble.  He brought women to help.  A worker among workers. A woman among women.  I did not know how to be a woman among women.  But that night – I learned.

Never had I met these two women.  Yet, they let me drop my “face” and allow the tears to flow. Patiently, they heard my tales of death. My loneliness.  My isolation.  With chamomile tea and their attention, they formed a loving bridge to bring me back to humanity and, again, to a place in the world.  

These women tucked me into my bed. Like angels, they stayed on either side of me until I drifted off to sleep.  Before nodding off, they insisted I meet with them at the 7:00 a.m. Fairfax meeting the following morning.  At 6:30 in the morning, going against morning commuter traffic, a pain in the ass to drive, and I said, “Yes!”  I’d be there.  Who was I to say “no” having loved back to health by two strangers all night long?  

Sure enough.  They were there waiting in the doorway for me.  Later, we went to the  “Coffee Klatch.”  Aptly named for us A.A. folk who gathered immediately after the meeting.

You see, it’s the meeting before the meeting and the meeting after the meeting that encourages the growth and maintenance of the sisterhood/brotherhood I found that night and the following morning.  These women lead by example.  The dentist lead by example.  To this day, when I understand one of us is in trouble, thanks to the lessons from these three, I mount up a posse and head out to help.  If it’s a guy, I call a guy in the program.  Get him to make the calls.  If it’s a woman, I take another woman with me, and we show up.  

Many an AA has told the story of showing up unexpectedly and the amazing grace that occurs when they do.  By working the Steps, attending meetings on a daily basis and by sharing my experience, strength, and hope with another human being, I recall that night.  A night of being rescued from the flickering darkness into unimaginable Light. 

1 06, 2022

A Step 6 Poem

Entirely Ready

by Dee H

When I am a better person I won’t harm myself

Are you ready? I am entirely ready. 

Pride, anger, fear—feelings come up

Self righteousness, sloth, too lazy to clarify

Resentment kicks up the dirty dirt


Defects of character? Yes?

More gently put—homeostatic imbalance

Maudlin guilt is exhausting when you’re sober

Let us change our uncomfortable story 

This too shall pass my dear


A vicious cycle, this wallowing in self-pity

How dare you remove my endearing characteristics! 

Does anyone love me because I am a perfect person? 

You love me in spite of things, don’t you?

Watch me manipulate my way to God


This is a learning disability

Delay is dangerous—perhaps fatal

My body likes what it likes

I now relinquish the need to harm myself


Everything is God’s

I am part of the greater reality

Everything and almost nothing

A tiny dot in the macrocosm

I need not fear loss nor trespass

I belong to God


(I need objective correlatives)


Would my life be easy if I were perfect?

In my disease I am right you are wrong

The tall Redwoods in my yard are beautiful in their imperfection

Not every brown pine cone sprouts seeds

But the trees’ faults will not kill them

They bend toward the light


It is not I who removes my defects

God shows me what they are and removes them 

Recovery is an education—a blueprint to remove suffering 

Quicker amidst this Group Of Drunks

Thanks to my fellow travelers

Our goal is enjoyment in service


I write to experience God’s mercy

It’s a privilege to have this time

Delay is dangerous—perhaps fatal

Would you like to help me write a poem? 

Share your story with me!

What was it like? What happened?

We can shift how we hold things

1 06, 2022

Russian Roulette

Just Another Friday

By John W

Only a fool would play with all chambers full

The brutal truth, they would do so only once.

So too the bottle for those enslaved by its pull,

Handcuffed in mind, donning hat of spiritual dunce.


Odd indeed it is that disguised as life,

To us comes the answer to our dilemma.

While spinning the chamber may end the strife,

There is instead a solution to our mania.


The immediate, yet penultimate task to achieve,

To put the plug in the jug, forego gat with chambers full.

With only death for failure, ourselves we could not deceive

So it was the decision after the admission or else the trigger pull.


At this game of Russian Roulette we no longer played,

We had found the heralded solution and with it we stayed.

Go to Top