Oxford Friday 2200 Late Recovery Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting

**** 11 & 18 August we will be at the Friday  Breakfast Meeting Venue at the Woodstock Road Baptist Road Church Hall *****

 

 

SMI Entrance

St Margaret’s Institute
Polstead Road
Oxford
OX2 6TN

 

The meeting is held in the small meeting room off hall as you go left through the blue door.  The meeting is a candle lit meeting.  We have two shares a month and we have a Step meeting and a Tradition meeting once a month.

 

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Group History

Friday Late Night (Originally 2145 till 2300 now 2200 till 2315)
St Margaret’s Institute, Polstead Road, Oxford

Formed May 29, 1998

The meeting was the original idea of Reuben S of Faringdon. It was planned and set up by Reuben and Alida of Oxford. The thinking behind it was to give wider options of timing – there were already one early and two lunchtime meetings in Oxford and the surrounding area, in addition to the regular evening ones, but no late meeting within reasonable travelling distance. It was thought that having a late night meeting would serve several purposes:

it allowed for people with children to see them after work etc. before coming out;

it allowed for those working away from town in the week to get back and still make a meeting;

it was recognised as a particularly difficult time in the week (especially for newcomers), that was not yet covered by a meeting;

it was hoped that by leading up to midnight it would help people into the weekend with a good start.

The timing was set late enough to allow those wishing to go to the Friday Step Meeting to make it to both meetings. There was a general wish to pick up on a perceived need for something less ‘traditional’ and formal, and to make room for people who in more established settings felt constrained in talking about emotions and ‘how it is today’.

The first meeting was held on Friday May 29, 1998. Those present signed a Big Book: Reuben S, Dilys, Suzy T, Alida, Chris K, Audrey,Big John, Alan M, Peter Q, Lorelie Ann, Nigel H, Polly M, Dave L, Nina P, Robert, Dugal, Christian O, Sam S, Chris, Angela B and Paul. Dilys did the first Chair.

The meeting started with a Group Conscience which established an interim format. This was confirmed subsequently as the general format for meetings to come.

The main features were that it be: Closed, focused on living in recovery,‘Bare Bones’ – very simple format, just reading the preamble then into main chair to allow maximum sharing from the floor, open sharing from the floor – many meetings in Oxford go round the room – this was a move to balance that with an alternative. Non-smoking, but with a request for those needing to smoke to try to refrain from disrupting the meeting by going in and out candle-lit to reflect the sense of spirituality gained by the late-night mood. We closed the meeting by holding hands for the Serenity Prayer.

Officers elected for the first year were: Peter Q – GSR, Nigel H – literature secretary, Big John -Treasurer, Alida – group secretary.

Nearly a year later the group has been going strongly, with a consistent attendance of between 15 and 25 people. There are regular visitors from Cheltenham and Warwickshire, and a steady trickle of students from the USA who have come to the meeting regularly during their period in Oxford. The mood is warm and welcoming, and people appreciate the gentleness of the candlelight. Quite a number of people attend after a regular Friday evening meeting elsewhere.

A record book has been kept of all Group Conscience meetings.

(February 1999)

In June 2017 Kriss O a long standing member of the group wrote an updated history of the group for our anniversary meeting.  He has since moved to Linconshire and is sadly missed.

 

A brief history of:

Friday Late Night Recovery

The original idea for a recovery-based meeting late on a Friday came from a local solider named Reuben and a lady named Alida (the first secretary, who now carries the message in Bristol and on her global travels).

At the time, there were no late evening meetings in the Oxford area and it was thought that having a late night meeting would serve several purposes:

  1. it allowed for people with children to see them after work before getting to a meeting;

  2. it allowed for those working away from town in the week to get back and still make a meeting;

  3. it was recognised as a particularly difficult time in the week (especially for newcomers), that was not yet covered by a meeting;

  4. it was hoped that by leading up to midnight it would help people into the weekend with a good start.

The timing was set late enough to allow those wishing to go to the Friday Step Meeting to make it to both meetings. Some members continue this tradition to this day!

The original intent was for something relaxed, to make room for some fellows who didn’t feel relaxed in more formal settings. That said, there was also a serious recovery aspect, looking to the otherwise-known-as ‘headbangers’ meetings in Scotland.

The first meeting was a business meeting, held on Friday May 29, 1998. Those present signed a copy of the Big Book, which miraculously survives in the corner cupboard. It was agreed that the meeting would be:

  • Closed – and focus on living in recovery

  • Bare Bones’ – a very simple format, just a few readings and into a main chair to allow maximum time for open sharing from the room (this was deliberately different to the ‘going around the room’ approach of the other meetings at the time)

  • Non-smoking

  • Candle-lit

It was originally hoped to close on the turn of midnight, but constraints on the use of the room meant that it would have to close at 11.45 pm. It has however been a group tradition on and off over the years since for a few group members to congregate outside under a street light and see in the Saturday morning discussing important intellectual matters such as philosophy, religion, politics, wrestling and anatomy.

Back to the early years, the group for a while had a consistent attendance of between 15 and 25 people, with a steady trickle of students and visitors from the USA. The relaxed mood proved popular, although the meeting was occasionally disrupted after 11 pm by merriment and the odd fight when the pub next door closed.  

Over the years since, the meeting has continued by and large as it was originally set up. Whilst the licensed premises next door have become quieter, newer – noisier – neighbours in the form the Lindyhoppers have added to our entertainment.

There have been times however when attendance has been so low that the meeting was down to just a couple of people. This resulted in the Tradition seven pot going entirely toward room rent – and of course replacing the mysterious disappearances of big books.

Whilst focussing on getting and staying dry – and always welcoming the newcomer and returning experimenter – there has of course been the odd occasion to get the mop and bucket out. Thanks to St Margarets Institute (who have always been good to the group) to providing vinyl chairs in this room!

On the subject of ‘wet and dry’, a history of the group would be incomplete without a mention of the now infamous ‘party in the park’, when – kicked out of St Margarets Institute whilst the room was decorated – the meeting was held by lantern under a gazebo in heavy rain in the park down the road. Some of us will go to any lengths eh?

Of course the meeting has matured with time… we now have not just candles – but candelabra – or candelabras – whatever. The group has recognised in its service structure the position of ‘Candlemeister’ and we continue the theme to our group founders intent of providing a safe place late for alkies to chillax on a Friday.

As a group we take the our traditions very seriously:

Never organised – forever non-professional!

(June 2017)

 

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