The history of the Al-Anon fellowship in Poland with special reference
to the service structure
At this time, there was one therapy group for wives of alcoholics in Poznań. The group was led by psychologists at a rehabilitation centre. This group received the first information about Al-Anon from Hanka, an Al-Anon member in Canada, who sent numerous brochures and three books translated into Polish to us in Poznań.
The first Al-Anon group in Poland was registered with the World Service Office – “Ariadna” in Poznań. Al-Anon developed thanks in part to support from the AA fellowship and alcohol rehabilitation centres. Many Al-Anon groups were set up in places where there were already AA meetings
The first Polish meeting of Al-Anon groups took place during the first AA national convention in Poznań. There were five groups at this time. 84 people took part in the meeting, including many professionals, led by professor Wierzbicki, and other friends. An Al-Anon member from Munich, Emma, was also there, very much interested in the development of Al-Anon in Poland. From then on, meetings of all the Al-Anon groups in Poland took place during all AA national conferences or conventions.
The first Al-Anon group in Warsaw (Warszawa) was formed.
For the second AA national convention in Zawiercie, a list of all the Al-Anon groups in Poland was published – there were 72 groups at that time. In the same year, the first Alateen group in Poland, “Ala”, was started, sponsored by Poznań Al-Anon groups.
Initiated by the “Ariadna” group in Poznań, the first intergroup in Poland was set up. It consisted of about 20 groups from in and around Poznań, as well as cities further afield, such as Gdańsk, Warsaw and Wrocław. This intergroup was registered by WSO in New York.
Al-Anon in Poland, and more specifically the “Ariadna” group, received permission to publish the first Polish brochure. It was a combination of different texts, consisting of basic Al-Anon principles: “Al-Anon Twelve Steps and Traditions”, “The Slogans” and “Just For Today”. Other brochures and books translated into Polish were edited in Poznań, and one by one received permission to be printed and distributed.
The first book,
Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, was published, with a print run of 3,000 copies.
The tenth anniversary of the fellowship, and a meeting in Poznań to celebrate ten years of the “Ariadna” group.
At the AA convention in Gdańsk, a Temporary Al-Anon Service Committee was set up at the Al-Anon General Service Meeting, which represented the four existing intergroups. These were based around four major cities (Poznań, Gdańsk, Warsaw and Wrocław), and included 144 Al-Anon groups, 16 Alateen groups and three Adult Children focus groups.
The Temporary Service Committee published a very small fellowship newsletter. From 1987 onwards we had printed texts about Al-Anon on two pages of the AA newsletter “Zdrój”. In 1993, this changed.
Silesia-Dąbrowa, Galicia and Pomerania Intergroups were formed, (later the latter one was transformed into the Western Pomerania Area (Region Zachodniopomorski).
The Al-Anon Temporary Service Committee (the Polish GSO) changed its name in May to the Al-Anon National Service Committee (Krajowy Komitet Służb Al-Anon), and decided to organise the first Al-Anon Conference in Poland. The Committee had no office as such, but rented some space for the book store and archives. Volunteers worked from their own homes, and some printing jobs were delegated to specialist companies.
9 intergroup representatives took part in the Committee, which included around 200 groups around the country, except its eastern parts. The new list included 248 Al-Anon groups, 36 Alateen groups and 5 Adult Children focus groups.
“One Day At A Time in Al-Anon” was published, with a print run of 3,000 copies. There were 16 leaflets and four books translated into Polish, of which eight brochures and four books had permission to print from New York (copyright)
In August 1994, a Delegate of Al-Anon Poland took part for the first time in the International Al-Anon General Services Meeting (IAGSM) in Brussels.
In April in Gostyń, the fifteenth anniversary of Al-Anon Poland was celebrated.
Three Intergroups: Warmia-Mazury, Central (Centrum - now Łódź) and the East-Central (Środkowo-Wschodnia - now Lublin Area) were formed.
In June, there were eleven Intergroups: Poznań, Warsaw, Gdańsk, Lower Silesia (Dolnośląska), Galicia (Galicja), Pomeranian (Pomorska), Silesia-Dąbrowa (Śląsko-Dąbrowska), Radom, East-Central (Środkowo-Wschodnia, based in Lublin), Central (Centrum, based in Łódź) and the Warmia-Mazury Area.
A translation of “Alateen’s Fourth Step Inventory” was published.
August – Al-Anon participated in the 6th AA Congress in Warsaw, around 150 Al-Anon members and 30 Alateen members took part. A meeting of the Temporary Service Committee took place and it was decided that the term “Intergrupa” (Intergroup) would be changed to the term “Region” (Area), and a date was set for the first Al-Anon Service Conference (June 1997).
In the second half of the year, the Areas elected Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the first Al-Anon Service Conference.
Two members attended the ninth IAGSM in Virginia Beach (topic: The role of experience in understanding and loving another person).
The first Al-Anon Service Conference in Poznań. Eleven Areas took part. The Board of Trustees was elected for their first term and six committees were formed (Finance, Archives, Structures and Group Registration, Literature, Co-operation with Society, Co-operation with AA, Adult Children and Alateen).
The Suwalski Area was formed – representatives attended the first Annual Service Conference.
There were twelve Areas in Poland (and one whose representatives did not attend service meetings – the Central Area (Region Centrum), based in Łódź.)
April – the second Annual Service Conference due to take place in June was cancelled and rescheduled for June 1999.
The Southern Greater Poland Area (Region Południowa Wielkopolska) and the Suwalski Area (Region Suwalski), now the Mazury-Podlasie Area (Region Mazursko-Podlaski), were formed.
The second Annual Service Conference was held in Poznań – the Committee for Co-operation with Alcoholics Anonymous, Adult Children and Alateen was changed to the Alateen Committee.
We participated in the 25th anniversary of AA in Poznań in August. The first meeting of potential Alateen sponsors was held.
The General Service Office was legally registered in Poznań as the Association of Service Al-Anon Family Groups (Stowarzyszenie Służb Grup Rodzinnych Al-Anon) on April 23, 1999
The decision to publish “The Twelve Concepts of Service” was taken.
The Association employed an accountant – a paid employee.
May – the third Annual Service Conference was held in Poznań.
The Nominating and Conference committees were formed. The Trustees started service for a second term (to a large extent, the Trustees elected in 1997 stayed on for a second term, due to lack of volunteers for service).
A celebration of 20 years of Al-Anon in Poland was held in Katowice (at the end of June and beginning of July).
Two people took part in the IAGSM in Essen (October).
The Al-Anon and Alateen newsletter was changed to the current format under the name “Razem” (Together), appearing six times a year and with more content (December).
The fourth Al-Anon Service Conference was held in Poznań (June). A panel of Delegates was brought into the Conference for a trial period. The Service Conference Charter of Al-Anon Poland was accepted.
“Al-Anon and Alateen groups at work” and
“Digest of Al-Anon and Alateen Policies” were published.
Regular Wednesday opening hours at the Association were started, and a mailing address
email@example.com was set up.
A catalogue of CAL printed in Polish was published.
The fifth Annual Service Conference was held in June in Gietrzwałd – the first time it was not held in Poznań. Changes in the Conference Charter regarding the location of the conference were introduced (outside Poznań every other year), and Area representatives were introduced into the Conference structure.
A second panel of Area Delegates was introduced for a trial period.
The Southern Greater Poland Area (Region Południowa Wielkopolska) decided to combine with the Northern Greater Poland Area (Region Pólnocna Wielkopolska) as one Area.
A Central-European AA convention was held in Warsaw. We sent an open letter to families of alcoholics and Al-Anon structures suggesting that we work together – there was no reply.
The Polish Delegate did not attend the IAGSM due to financial difficulties.
An Al-Anon meetings list, with a print run of 300 copies, was published.
The sixth Annual Service Conference was held in Poznań-Głuszyn. The Conference Charter was changed to include the possibility of serving for two terms as a Trustee. The criteria for establishing Districts within Area structures were drawn up.
Elections for the third term of the Board of Trustees took place.
Three Districts were established: Ostrów-Kalisz District (previously the Southern Greater Poland Area), the Bydgoszcz-Toruń District, and the Przemyśl District (now the Subcarpathian District– Okręg Podkarpacki ).
The seventh Annual Service Conference was held in Supraśl in June.
The Suwalski Area changed its name to the Mazury-Podlasie Area.
The Conference included workshops on Service Sponsorship and the Seventh Tradition.
Changes in the Conference Charter were introduced regarding the definition of quorum for the Conference, and adding a footnote with reference to the Article 12 of the Al-Anon World Service Conference Charter, containing General Warranties of the Conference. Changes were approved to amend the Statute of the Association of Al-Anon Family Groups due to the application to become an institute for public welfare.
We participated in the 30th anniversary of AA in Kraków in August.
The Polish Al-Anon web page was set up, as well as the Internet Committee (currently the Public Information Committee).
There was no Polish Delegate at the IAGSM in Brazil (topic - Building Al-Anon’s Future on a Spiritual Foundation – the Warranties).
The Book of Gratitude was set up and Al-Anon members from all over Poland began to sign it.
To celebrate Al-Anon’s 25th anniversary, a history of Al-Anon began to be recorded.
The anniversary was celebrated in each Area and in
Two people attended the German Al-Anon Service Conference in Essen, by invitation (in February).
The Opolski District was set up.
The Association was granted the status of an institution for public welfare (in March).
“A Guide to Alateen Sponsorship - An Unforgettable Adventure” and a new meeting list were published.
The eighth Annual Service Conference was held in Stęszewek (near Poznań) – the topic was Well- organised, yet a fellowship. Changes were made to the Conference Charter regarding asking permission from the WSO to change the Steps, Traditions, Concepts and Warranties. The topic for the next Conference was chosen – Al-Anon – our common welfare. Service Committees met for the first time with both Area Representatives and Delegates present.
A convention to celebrate Al-Anon’s 30th anniversary in Poland was held in Funka in September. Two members of the WSO. from the United States attended – Marsha and Mary Ann.
Two Trustees from the German Fellowship attended – Emma and Matthias.
A General Service Meeting was held in Gliwice in the Silesia-Dąbrowa Area.
The fellowship’s website address was established as
May was designated CAL month – suggestions for ways to celebrate CAL were published in “Razem”, the Al-Anon newsletter.
The ninth Annual Service Conference was held in Sulejówek (23rd-25th June). The brochure
“Nasze Struktury” (Our Structures) was approved.
Al-Anon Area anniversaries were celebrated:
- The Lower Silesia Area (Region Dolnośląski) celebrated 20 years of Al-Anon at a convention in Grodowiec (30th June – 2nd July).
- The Western Pomerania Area (Region Zachodniopomorski) celebrated 15 years of Al-Anon at a convention in Szczecin (21st – 23rd July).
- The Gdańsk Area (Region Gdański) celebrated 15 years of Al-Anon at a convention in Sztum (15th August).
Our Delegate, Jola attended the IAGSM in Virginia Beach (4th – 5th
The Board of Trustees met in Wroclaw (4th – 5th March) and in Szczecin (2nd – 3rd September).
A universal informational leaflet about Al-Anon was developed.
A General Service Meeting was held in Jastarnia in the Gdańsk Area (2nd – 3rd December), with the participation of representatives from the Łódź Area, after several years’ absence. Elections to the Board of Trustees for the fourth term.
A discussion took place in Warsaw about seminars and the Conference Charter (3rd February). An additional meeting of the Board of Trustees was held.
The Board of Trustees met in Lublin (10 – 11th March). Concept Two was discussed and there was a meeting of Area Representatives. Guidelines for organising Area Service Seminars were established.
The tenth Annual Service Conference was held in Pniewy, near Poznań (15th – 17th June). The Conference Charter was approved and Concept Three was discussed. A Representative and Delegate from the Łódź Area took part in the conference after several years’ absence.
Representatives of Al-Anon in Poland – Jola and Iza – went to Essen for the European Talks (10th – 12th August).
The Board of Trustees and Area Representatives met in Olsztyn (15th – 16th September). Study of Concept Four
The Association moved to new premises.
The members of the Nominating Committee and the Board of Trustees were established.
The first Area-based Regional Service Seminars (RSS) took place, on Area invitations – in Rokitno in the Western Pomerania Area (Region Zachodniopomorski) on 7th July and in Funka in the Bydgoszcz-Toruń District on 29th September.
A meeting of the Board of Trustees and Area Representatives appointed to work with the Literature Committee took place in Olsztyn near Częstochowa (8th – 9th December).
The first all-Poland meeting of Area Treasurers took place in the Association’s new premises in Poznań in January. The first Finance Committee workshops took place and the chairperson was elected.
The first Professionals and Institutions Committee workshops took place in Warsaw in January and the chairperson was elected.
General Service Meeting in Tenczyn (Galicia Area) in March. The Board of Trustees met and the Public Information Committee and Archive Committee had their first workshops, and chairpersons were elected.
The first Alateen Committee workshops took place in Warsaw in April and the chairperson was elected.
Seminar in Wroclaw (26th April) on the topic Sharing Experience Through Service led by Jola from Lublin and Henia from Suwałki on the invitation of the Lower Silesia Area (Region Dolnośląski).
The eleventh Annual Service conference took place in Puck (6th – 8th June). The topic was “Gratitude to the Fellowship through Service”. Committee chairs participated in the conference for the first time. A Trustee Treasurer was elected. The full Tactical Committee met for the first time. The setting up of committees was approved for a trial period of three years. The 15 year anniversary of the Al-Anon newsletter was marked with an exhibition.
The Policy Committee and the Board of Trustees met in Katowice (6th – 7th September).
The European Al-Anon Service Meeting was held in Helsinki (1st October). Our Polish fellowship was represented by Jola from Lublin, Iza from Warsaw and Ewa from Poznań.
IAGSM in Helsinki (1st – 4th October). Our Polish fellowship was represented by Jola from Lublin and Iza from Warsaw.
The 15 year anniversary of the Al-Anon newsletter was celebrated in Funka (27th – 29th September).
A service meeting took place in Wrzosowo near Radom (6th – 7th December). Workshops were held for Delegates.
The Policy Committee and the Board of Trustees met in Falenica (13th – 15th March). It was decided that the Board of Trustees should consist of eleven Trustees and two Honorary Trustees.
Four Area-based Regional Service Seminars (RSS) took place in: Warsaw (17th January), Radom (21st March), Biały Kościół/Strzelina in the Lower Silesia Area (Region Dolnośląski) (23rd – 24th May) and in Elbląg (18th July).
A meeting of the Committee for Public Outreach took place in Warsaw (17th April).
The Association of Al-Anon Family Groups Service celebrated its 10th Anniversary
The Twelfth Annual Service Conference took place in Pniewy, near Poznań (5th
– 7th June). The topic was “Love and Service - the Foundation of the Al-Anon Spiritual Programme”.
The fifth term of Trustees was elected. The Association’s Statute and the Conference Charter were approved. A committee was formed to develop the Conference Charter, “Our structures” and the Association statute. The Nominating Committee was formed.
“The Concepts – Al-Anon’s Best Kept Secret” was published.
A Delegate of Al-Anon fellowship Poland – Iza – took part in the third European Talk Meeting in Essen in Germany (21st
– 23rd August). The meeting was re-named the European Zone Meeting.
The Policy Committee, the Board of Trustees and Area Representatives met in Szczecin (11th – 13th September). It was decided that, due to financial constraints, only three General Service Meetings, including the Conference, would take place in 2010.
The Policy Committee, the Board of Trustees and Area Delegates met in Krypno near Białystok (30th – 31st January).
The Board of Trustees met in Poznań (13th March).
The Board of Trustees met in Poznań (22nd March)
The Thirteenth Annual Service Conference took place in Wrocław (28th
– 30th May).