The mid-1970s were an exciting period for our fellowship. The influx of out-of-staters to the area was tremendous, which created what seemed in the blink of an eye a rapid growth of AA meetings. The transplants far outnumbered the native Floridians.
The 1970 meeting schedule listed nine groups holding 25 meetings. The 1975 schedule listed 35 groups offering 71 meetings, a sizable increase.
The transplants introduced new ideas, which were seldom well-received by the established groups. It was not unusual to hear, “If you liked it so much where you came from, why in heck don’t you go back?” Despite the resistance to change, good ideas have a way of becoming traditional. Examples are holding hands while closing the meeting with the prayer and the spontaneous “Hi!” that greets each speaker.
A second club was organized in the area on April 30, 1977: Rebos (sober spelled backward) leased 1400 feet of business space in the Live Oak Center in Casselberry. The complex was brand new. Woe to the offender who spilled coffee on the clean, plush rug. The walls were bright and spotless. Compared to other AA facilities in the area, this was really “uptown.” The initial deposit, considered prohibitive at the time, was obtained by a few members making sizable contributions. Dues for club members were $5 a month. Bingo, luaus, dances and movies were scheduled, in addition to two AA meetings a day. The group was called Live Oaks. Early members included Luke P., Pat McM., Charles L. and Janet J.
Several months after Rebos was established, a suggestion was made to move Intergroup next door to it, where some space was available. Proponents of the move reasoned that this would put the Intergroup office in a more desirable location, away from the drifters who made Marie (our Intergroup administrator) feel unsafe. When the proposal was presented to the groups at the next delegates’ meeting, it met with a great deal of opposition. A committee was appointed to make a feasibility determination. Studies were made on what constituted the area’s geographic center, population density, and accessibility to the facility. Volunteers who worked at the Intergroup office were interviewed. Just about everyone asked Marie what she thought of the move. There was much controversy. The issue became emotional. When the vote was finally taken, it was overwhelmingly decided to stay at the 205 E. Jackson Street location.
Had the proponents for the move waited a while, events would have dictated the move anyway. The building at 205 E. Jackson was sold and demolished to make room for the new county office complex.
Some thought an Intergroup office being located within a city block of a club was too close, that the club people were forever trying to run Intergroup. Insofar as the proposed move next door to Rebos was concerned, one person opined, “We (Intergroup) would become a pimple on the butt of Rebos.” That space was by then taken anyway. So we did what you would expect an alcoholic to do. We moved into the same building where the Winter Park Group had found a new home several months earlier. Their address was 859 South Orlando Avenue (17/92). The Intergroup Office address was 839 South Orlando Avenue. The hotline telephone number remained the same: 647-3333.
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