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Northern California Hospital and Institution Committee of Alcoholics Anonymous

“ When a state goes down, or a society perishes, one discipline may always be found ; they forgot where they came from. ” Carl Sandburg
The Northern California H & I Committee is an freelancer Ninth Tradition service committee of Alcoholics Anonymous, carrying the message of convalescence to the alcoholic who is confined. The initial spark of hospital shape was set in movement on June 13th, 1935 when Bill W. and Dr. Bob ( alone three days sober at the time ) made their first visit to a hospitalized alcoholic and therefore found Bill D., the third penis of A.A.1
Word of A.A. ’ mho success had spread, and by 1942 San Quentin Prison Warden Clinton Duffy, recognizing that many of the inmates were incarcerated for reasons related to dipsomania, and concerned about the high rate of recidivism among alcoholics, realized the potential for A.A. to carry its message “ behind the walls ”. The visionary Warden Duffy contacted an A.A. penis from the San Francisco Groups, who along with an inpatient at San Quentin named Ricardo, in 1942 conducted one of the beginning known correctional institution meetings of A.A., reportedly with twenty dollar bill members in attendance.2
An incidental related by Warden Duffy in his book, The San Quentin Story, illustrates the early influence of A.A. in San Quentin :

  • In their constant and over-ingenious quest for alcohol, several prisoners had consumed a highly toxic printing fluid containing wood and grain alcohols and various commercial solvents.
  • As the symptoms of their poisoning began, they were brought to the prison hospital and harrowing hours followed, during which several of them died. The whole prison was tense as the fatalities continued to mount.. The San Quentin A.A. Group volunteered instantly and spent the rest of that long night and the next two days donating blood, foregoing meals and tirelessly assisting the overworked doctors administer treatment to their fellow alcoholics.. Previously A.A. hadn’t been any too popular, but now prison support for A.A. hit an all-time high and stayed there. Many of the survivors joined up. The first Prison Group had made its mark; A.A. had come to San Quentin to stay.3

With unconstipated meetings in San Quentin the parole figures abruptly dropped from the usual restitution rate of 80 % to a noteworthy 20 % 4 and held that way5. Seeing this success, Folsom Prison besides clamored for AA and in 1943, in an unprecedented military action of the Prison Board, inmate Ricardo volunteered and was permitted to transfer from San Quentin, a relatively progressive metier security adeptness to Folsom Prison, a inure maximum security facility just north of Sacramento, for the sole determination of helping to start A.A. there6. A.A. work in jails, prisons and penitentiaries began to take hold in Northern California american samoa well as in other states across the country, and late that class Bill W. visited Northern California and was a node loudspeaker at both prisons, an experience which he found profoundly moving.7
Enthusiasm among A.A. members on the outside to participate in this character of service make grew quickly. Rumor has it that when two groups from different cities showed up at the same time to conduct the evening ’ south meet, the resultant role was an affray in the prison parking draw to determine who would go in – possibly not the most spiritual room to decide the publish. This was before the being of the A.A. General Service structure as we now know it, so in club to coordinate and organize the efforts of the many volunteers who wished to participate, our Committee was officially formed in 1946 .
Since those pioneer days, the Northern California H & I Committee has evolved into a in full functional, independent service committee, with over 40 local areas represented and thousands of volunteers participating in our service exploit. As of 2013, Northern California H & I provides about 42,000 meetings a class, serving 22 major state and union institutions and hundreds of local anesthetic jails, hospitals, rehabilitation/recovery centers and other community facilities.

One of the greatest factors in our success has been the implementation of our Pink Cans. Until 1957, volunteers had to either provide the literature for H & I meetings themselves or beg it from their groups, much stretching the group ’ randomness funds beyond their ability to pay for other A.A. services. once again, God supplied the inspiration – why not pass a particular can for contributions, wholly separate from the Seventh Tradition and entirely for the aim of providing the much needed literature ? Oh, and we ’ ve got a bunch of PINK rouge about …. The irresponsible had found another way to become responsible, common sense became uncommon sense and the solution has provided A.A. literature for confined patients and inmates for over 50 years, without detracting from the groups ’ Seventh Tradition responsibilities. As a result of the funds available from the Pink Cans, the Northern California Hospital & Institution Committee has for many years been one of the largest purchasers of literature from the A.A. General Service Office in New York, thereby contributing greatly to A.A. World Services income .
The interview is much asked, “ now that A.A. has a fully develop General Service social organization, with its own Corrections and Treatment Committees, why should NorCal H & I remain a separate, independent overhaul structure ? ” first, due to the above- mentioned fund structure of the Pink Cans, NorCal H & I has the fiscal resources and the ability to purchase literature that would otherwise put a severe try on our World Service funds to match. Our Committee is answerable and responsible to those who fund us through the Pink Cans – the A.A. groups of Northern California. second, and possibly evening more crucial, our committee pre-dates the General Service structure, giving us the many blessings of over 70 years ’ experience in carrying the A.A. message to the alcoholic who is confined. We work closely with and are always cook to assist our brothers and sisters in General Service, and they with us ; we are much asked to serve as consulting members of their committees, and we maintain a relationship built on common deference and common determination .
An enduring bequest – in an article for the special issue of “ The A.A. Grapevine ” commemorating A.A. ’ s twenty-fifth anniversary, Warden Clinton Duffy, who was by then a member of the California Parole Board, said the be of Alcoholics Anonymous in prisons :

  • “The A.A. program is presented in a humble and humane manner, without high-pressure frills. This is the approach necessary to reach the man who has developed a highly suspicious nature. It helps him to face truth and reality, without self-pity or dodging of responsibility. It rids him of fears, hates, jealousies and suspicions that have been his for so long. He learns to eliminate his drinking – to fight the urge, the desire – to get help and Fellowship from his A.A. friends.”8

In 2005 the 25-millionth imitate of the book Alcoholics Anonymous was presented to Jill Brown, Warden of San Quentin Prison, in commemoration of the historic function San Quentin played in the development of Hospital and Institution ferment in A.A.9

1 AA Comes of Age, p. 72. AA World Services, Inc.
2 Ibid., p.89
3 Duffy, Clinton T. The San Quentin Story, pp 169-170. Doubleday & Co., Inc.
4 AA comes of Age, p. 90
5 AA Archives, Vol. 31, #1 (this writing indicates the rate may have stayed closer to 25-40%, still a spectacular drop)
6 Ibid., and Clinton T. Duffy article, reprinted AA Grapevine, July 2001
7 AA Archives, Vol. 31, #1; also Pass It On, p.289. AA World Services, Inc.
8 The AA Grapevine, June 1960, “I Didn’t Want To…”
9, FAQS about AA History
AA Comes of Age, p. 72. AA World Services, Inc.Ibid., p.89Duffy, Clinton T. The San Quentin Story, pp 169-170. Doubleday & Co., Inc.AA comes of Age, p. 90AA Archives, Vol. 31, # 1 ( this write indicates the rate may have stayed closer to 25-40 %, inactive a spectacular drop ) Ibid., and Clinton T. Duffy article, reprinted AA Grapevine, July 2001AA Archives, Vol. 31, # 1 ; besides Pass It On, p.289. AA World Services, Inc.The AA Grapevine, June 1960, “ I Didn ’ thymine Want To … ”, FAQS about AA History

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