By the Book (founded July 1989); an open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous with Alanon participation. This was the second AA meeting I attended back at the beginning of my sober journey. I remember walking into the room and seeing people laughing, slapping each other on the back, whispered conversations, and all of this going on before, during and after every meeting! I remember thinking that this was a very tight knit group, and that I might experience some difficulties with becoming a “part of” this group. I decided to put aside my doubts, and I can happily report that this is a very inclusive meeting with lots of big-hearted, long-term sobriety! So how did this meeting get started? I sat down with one of the founding members, Ernie R. and here is how it happened. In the late 1980″s, The Valley View group, which met at 8:30 pm. on Tuesday nights (and still does) at the Alano Club had a large turnout at every meeting. So much so that people had to sit on the stage. Remember that this was in the 1980’s and there were only around sixty meetings a month stretching from Bountiful down to the Point of the Mountain and from Park City out to Tooele. Also around this time the GSO in New York changed the birthday milestones by adding 60 days, and 18 months. With so many new comers taking time to celebrate milestones it often happened that alcoholics with years of sobriety were not able to do likewise. This, of course, created resentments! As it happened there were about 15 members from the Valley View group who decided they wanted to go off on their own and start a new meeting. But they also wanted to include their Alanon wives. One member feared that would be breaking tradition. So they checked with GSO in New York and were told that it was not breaking tradition as long as the meeting was an open meeting, that no Alanon could hold a service position, and that all cash donated went to AA entities. So now all they had to do was buy a coffee pot and find a place to meet! For the first two years they met in a room at the Redwood Multi-Purpose Center, and then the building was closed for remodeling. Next they were able to meet in a room in the Union Trades building on Redwood Road. After almost three years they had to move again. The county buildings on 2100 South and State Street had just opened and the meeting moved to the cafeteria in the south building, then to a break room behind the guard station in the north building. The meeting in the break room locale lasted for almost four years. The problem with this location was that there was heavy civilian traffic in the hallway outside. Some folks were taken aback by the language (LOL) they were hearing coming from that room! The county let us stay, but put us up in a room on the third floor and that is where By the Book group now meets.
Compiled by Laura C. and Ernie R.