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December 1956

Group Sponsorship

"ONLY BY CONTINUING TO CARRY THE MESSAGE of AA to other alcoholics who need and want help can we strengthen our own sobriety. The more groups there are in more places, the better we can help others ourselves.

"Reluctance to start a new group in a location where it could prove helpful reduces our chances of reaching someone to whom AA could mean the difference between life and death.

"AA experience in the past shows that the interests of the individual, of the 'prospective member' and of the community are served best when we do not let physical comfort, personality factors or other elements keep us from starting new groups when the time is right for such action."

These paragraphs are quoted from the "Secretary's Handbook," page 8, but how many members are ever fortunate enough even to see this suggestion, much less realize its importance? As a result, many groups have grown so large that the new member is lost in the shuffle, does not have the opportunity to develop through group activities that wonderful feeling of "belongingness" that comes from being really needed, and consequently loses interest or becomes a mere bystander. It seems to us that the reluctance on the part of groups to sponsor new groups as a matter of course, particularly in the smaller communities, is a rather provincial attitude.

We would like to make this suggestion (which probably has been made many times before), that each group might sponsor another group each year, as part of their Twelfth-Step program, until there is a meeting every night--and day, if necessary--in every locality.

From experience we have learned that many benefits may be derived from starting new groups. First of all, the older members' interest is renewed. "We've got a new baby!" Secondly, the contacts which are necessary to arrange for meeting-places, informing the different agencies of the existence of the new group, etc., result in new sources for our "life-lines" and renewal of old ones. The newcomer is given his turn at the not-so-glamorous duty of arranging for coffee and other "group housekeeping" chores, is taken on Twelfth-Step calls, and generally becomes a necessary part of the small group--and thus gives a new interest to older members.

We think too, that in the roundup of membership, the small group would be able to count noses more easily: "You are a member (of this group) if you say you are," instead of the haphazard guesswork that is evident by the varying estimates of group membership.

We would like comments from other groups on the feasibility of each group sponsoring at least one other group.

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