Relatives of Alcoholics Anonymous members in Phoenix began to get together in the 1940’s. At that time most AA members were men and the relatives were usually the wives. Here are the words of an Arizona wife describing these early meetings: “The wives’ group just kind of evolved – there was nothing really planned about it. At that time, to the best of our knowledge, there was no group anywhere for the [non-alcoholics] of the family. The men would drop their wives off at our place, just for company, and the conversation most naturally was about our men, their problems with the bottle, and all that went with it. We gradually found ourselves awakening to the fact that WE had problems, too. So we decided to have our own meeting every week. We . . . used the A. A.. 12 Steps for ourselves – just changing that 1st step. We had to admit we were powerless over an alcoholic! At that time, our group was known as Triple A – Alcoholics Anonymous Auxiliary.”
The family members moved their meetings from member homes to the Adams Hotel in downtown Phoenix, the same location as the AA meetings held on Tuesday evenings. In April 1948, Lois and Bill W. visited the meeting in Phoenix and attended a luncheon held in their honor. Lois stressed the need to continue the family groups and increase their number. The first literature for the family group was brought from California. This literature included The Twelve Steps, the Serenity Prayer, and a brief introduction to the Steps.
By this time, the Triple A family group had outgrown the meeting room at the Adams Hotel and moved to the Westward Ho Hotel. Subsequent moves were made to the Phoenix Women’s Club and the Trinity Cathedral. This first family group became known as the Pioneer Triple A Group.
Two wives of New York A. A. members, Lois W. and Anne B., formed a Clearing House Committee to coordinate the family groups that had informally sprung up around the country. Starting with 87 initial inquiries, they sent out questionnaires and received responses from 56 groups. As a result of the questionnaires, the name Al-Anon Family Groups was chosen and the groups adopted The Twelve Steps of AA. In Arizona new groups were forming in Tucson as well as in Phoenix.
Tucson groups published the Triple A booklet that included The Twelve Steps, the Serenity Prayer and an introduction to the Steps.
Al-Anon’s first book, The Al-Anon Family Groups, A Guide for the Families of Problem Drinkers, was published.
The World Directory of Al-Anon listed 7 groups in Arizona with 1 proposed group.
The first state assembly of Al-Anon was held in Phoenix on January 21 at the Desert Hills Hotel. 28 members represented 13 groups. Arizona’s first delegate to the World Service Conference was chosen. State officers were selected to coordinate the flow of information from groups throughout Arizona.
Al-Anon Family Groups have continued to grow. Today there are more than 300 Al-Anon and Alateen groups throughout Arizona.