From the February 2010 magazine.


The evolution of young people's groups in AA

IN parts of Southern California, it's not uncommon for 13-, 14-, 15- and 16-year old boys and girls simply to walk into AA meetings. There are about 25 active young people's committees in California, busily showing thousands of young AAs that recovery involves service and having fun without drinking. Still, according to our latest membership survey, in 2007 only 2.3 percent of AA members were under 21 years old.

Although AA has long had young people as members, they usually weren't as young or as numerous as today. Co-founder Bill W. wrote about the first young person to join AA: "Then from another quarter we turned up with a prize. I guess this was the beginning of AA's young people's department. This new one, Ernie, had been a terribly wild case, yet he caught on very quickly to become AA number four." (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 73). Ernie was 30 years old at the time, July 1935, a scant month after co-founder Dr. Bob's last drink led to the formation of AA. The Big Book, published in 1939, states, "Several of our crowd, men of thirty or less, had been drinking only a few years, but they found themselves as helpless as those who had been drinking twenty years." (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 33) Obviously, men in their 20s tried to get sober in our Fellowship during the 1930s.



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