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A A got started in Santa Fe in 1946. During World War II a physician from Kansas City regularly visited Santa Fe during his Summer vacation. Art Stine was an accountant who became the first person in Santa Fe to recover from alcoholism through the program of Alco holics Anonymous. At the 1953 New Mexico ar-ea convention held at Silver City Art Stine told the story of his introduction to the program. Art was an accoun tant who had recen tly been divorced. On New Year's eve he had stumbled while stepping off a curb to a street that had recently been regraded. He did not take care of his injured heel and finally wound up in the hospital for about a month during which period he managed to stay drunk more or less constantly.

After his release from the hospital he had no place to live so he took up residence at his office which was at the time loca t e d in the Laughlin Building at 104 1/2 West San Francisco Street. By Art' s description he was drinking heavi ly eating very little, hardly even leaving his room. Two attorneys whose office was across the hall had referred the doctor from Kansas City to Art. The doctor simply appeared at Art' s one day wit h an offer to help with Art's drinking problem. The doctor had on ly a few days to work with Art before the doctor had to return home. Never theless the doctor took Art to his own apartment where a cot was set up for Art to use while he dried out. Art was thus handed the AA program to use and pass on. (PLEASE HELP FILL IN WIT H MORE INFORMATION)

The enthusiasm of the members in New Mexico was similar to that whic h is described in "AA Comes of Age." Several members quic kly a pproac hed the New Mexico Legis latu re with the news of the new program for recovery from alco holis m and they presented a plan for the establishment of a State Commission on Alco holism. In addition they deve lo ped plans for the establis hmen t of state funded treatment center s and educational programs.

They obtained the support of the liquor dea lers ' lo bby. The liquor dealers supported the es ta bli s hment of the Commission of Alco ho l is m which was funded by an earmark tax on the sale of liquor.

The 1949 Legis l ature created the Alcoholism" and provided that the governor would members, two of whom were required to be phys icians

Commiss ion of a ppoin t five

and at least

two members "shall be alcoholics who shall be successfully

recovered for two or mo re years prior to appointmen t as mem bers." Members were provided no salary for service as co mmissio ners , they were, however, a l lowe d to collect mileage and pe r diem payments allowed to other state officials.

"46-12-1. C_mmois:sion on _A_lco h_o_l ism: There is hereby created a "commis sion on alcoholism." On or before July 1,1949, the governor s hall appoint five (5) members of the commission,·=·

desi gnating one ( 1 ) for each of the terms of one (1), two (2),

three ( 3 ) four (4) and five (5) years from said July 1st. Annually thereafter , the governor shall appoint one (1) member of the commission to succeed the member whose term then expires. Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the commission shall be filled by the governor for the unexpired por tion of the vacated term At least two (2) members of the commission shall be perGons licensed to practice medicine in this state and t least two (2) members shall be alcoholics who shall have been

successfully recovered for two (2) or more yea,_r::_2 prior to

appointment as members. Three (3) members of the commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and the commiss ion shall meet once a month or more frequently, at the call of the presiding officer of the commission. The m mbers of the commission shal l receive per diem and mileage as provided in the Per Diem and Mileage Act (5-10-1 to 5-10-5), and shall receive no other compens tion, perquisite or allowance." Histor-y: Laws 1949, ch 114, Section 1; 1941 Comp Supp., Section 61-1201;

Laws 1963, ch43, Section 2. "

The Commission had an Executi ve Director who likewise was statutorily required to be "an alcoholic who shall hc<ve been sLtccessfully recovered for two or more years." (Section 46-12-6 NMSA as amended 1949) (A copy of the 1949 laws is attached)

The first Executive ·Director was Art Stine.

The Commission was charged with the obligation of studying th§ prcbl m of alcoholism, including methods and facilities available for the c ar.a , . c:u 11t o d y . and treatment, etc. of "persons ddicted to the intemperate use of spirits or intoxicating

Iiquids . 11 The courts were empowered to acknow ledge a lco ho lic s as sick persons in need of proper medical care , and the courts were authorized to commit alcoholics to the Joint custody and contr-ol of the Commission and the committing judge and state institution for a period of not less than four days nor more than three yea rs ( providing such chronic alcoholic had been five times convicted of intoxication in any court.) These laws were in actual practice used mainly to deal with persons facing criminal charges arising out of the use of alcohol.


SANTA FE GROUP: The original group in this area was simply called the "5anta Fe Group," The group met fi1-st on Water- street but when the Commiss ion on Alcoholism got going the group began to hold its meeting at the East DeVargas street building which housed the Commission The Commi ssio n building fulfilled several functions at once. It was the executive office of the commission and provided an office for the Executive Director. In addition the building served as a small (four bed) residential treatment center, and the facility served as a club, or mee ting place for people to hang out. · For mal AA meetings were held twice each week. The existence of the East Devargas site was something

of a mixed blessing. While it provided needed beds, office and meeting space, it was really not adequately staffed and the building tended to a ttrac t persons who were not quite ready to quit drinking. The Santa Fe group was intertwined with the business of the Commission on Alcoholism.

The Commission and the AA members, working together, soon got busy. The New Mexico commission was one of the earliest effo rts by a state go vern ment to address the problem of alcoholism. Among the significant contributions that came from the early ties between AA and state government were the creation and funding of the Turquoise Lodge Treatment Center in Albuquerque in 1952 and the Yucca Lodge in Silver City. Turquois e Lodge is still in business, the Silver City program was moved to Roswell and operates today as the Pecos Valley Lodge.

The close affiliation between state government and AA might not be quite the relationship that the 12 Traditions would recommend (the Twelve Traditions were first published in 1946,

confirmed t the 1950 convention and presented in Twelve Steps

and Twelve Traditions in 1953) but it is important to note that the work on alcoholism and with alcoholics was being done in accordance with AA principles and practices by AA people.

It was a custom and practice of AA members to take state

ve hic les , remove the rear seats, and cruise First Street in Albuquerque picking up drunks to be delivered to Turquoise Lodge. It was also customary for members to regularly go to the drunk tanks at the local jails on Sunday and Monday mornings lo o kin g for prospects. There was an effort ta make sure that the AA Twelfth step work was done by AA me mbe rs . Much of the other work of the Commission was not AA work, but work relating to the study and education in the field of alco ho lis m.

Despite the effort to keep AA work and government work in harmony the involvement of the government in the work spelled trouble. Along with the Commission came several paid positions on the State pay ro l l. The paid positions included the Executive Director, Commission staffers and educators and paid positions at the treatment centers. As all of the emplo y ees were appointed by the Comm iss ion , and the commis sioners in turn were appointed by the governor, the election of a new administration was bound to spell trouble . At t he election of 1954 the Republican administration of Go ve rno r Mechem ended and t he Democrats came to town with Governor Simms. Tradition in New Mexico politics required that all appointed commissions be replaced by appointees of the incoming party. And so the old commissioners were out and new members (also recov9red alcoholics) replaced them. The Executive Director was fired and a considerable amount of ill will was created as the result of the political division wi thin AA in Santa Fe. Things got so bad for awhile that some of the incoming '' recovered alcoholics" wanted to have the 01.1tgoing "rec o vered alcoholics" indicted for alleged financia.l

irregLllarities however no criminal charges were ever filed.

At this time there was still only one group in Santa Fe. After the political fight the East Devargas site was closed and the Santa Fe Group moved to a building at Johnson Street and Chapelle (the old Santa F e Women's Club). The original Santa Fe Group thereafter went trough a series of moves,first to the Holy Faith Church on Palace Avenue, then to the Presbyterian Church at Marcy and Grant, then to St. Bede's and finally to the Guadalupe Church School where it now meets on Monday and Friday evening and is known as the Downtown Group.

TESUQUE GROUP: The second group to start up in the area was founded by George R., Bill c. and Alfo nso M. The group met at a saddle shop in Tesuque on Thursday and Saturday evenings and became known as the Tesuque Group. Rent at the saddle shop soon forced a move into town where it met first at the C hrist Lutheran church and then to St. John's Methodist c hurch where it now meets on Thursday evenings.

Throughout the 1960's AA trudged along in Santa Fe with just the two regular groups and a total of four meetings each week. Tesuque group had about sixteen members when it came into town and by the late si xties the Santa Fe Group generally had about

regular members.

In Alb uquerque.AA had grown up around its clubs, the first being the I$leta Club, then the Desert Club and then the Heights Club. In S nta - F e however there was considerable resistance to the creation of a club. The experie nce at the old facili ty on East Devargas had taught a hard lesson about AA getting -tan g le d up with outside entities. So the groups continued the practice of meeting at church properties. But that practice too had its pitfalls. The lessons that AA groups have learned from holding their meeting at church sites seem to teach us this. At any c hurch there will be some church me mbers who are reluctant to inviting reco vering alco holics to their building. AA members in turn have a tendency toward wearing out their welcome by leavin g the meeting room littered up and smelling of cigarette smoke. Oftentimes the chairs and tables are not properly stored away. Then from time to time the church decides that it needs its meeting hall at the time the AA meeting is scheduled, that of course interferes with a group being able to maintain a consistent meeting schedule. Finally a gro u p, or the c hurch decides that it is best for the AA group to move alo ng. In order for an AA group to maintain a consistent relationship with a church which provides a regular meeting place all of these concerns must be consistently addressed.

RAP: In 1971 R.A.P.(Recovery of Alcoholics Program) was opened.R.A.P. is a nonprofit o mmu ni ty based treatment facility program funded through government grants. George R.• Alfonso

M_ _ _ _ , Ado l pt1 A ,, _ and Bi11 c wer-e instrL1men ta l in se tting it u p . The first plan was to set it up in Taos , but Santa Fe would up as the site. RAP's firs t fac ilit y was on

Garfield Street near Guadalupe Street. Many of the o r ig ina l

organizers and staffers were veterans of Turquoise Lodge.

By July 1971, there were two groups (Santa Fe Group and Tes uque Group) with a total of four meetings per week.. The Santa Fe Group, by now was meeting Tuesday and Friday at Holy Faith Episcopal Church on Palace Ave. , an d Tes uqu e Gro u p met Thursday and Saturday at the Lutheran c hurc h. T her e were approximately sixty (60) toeig hty (80) regular AA members in the community by 1972. Meetings were frequently attended by as many as forty (40) people, many of whom were inpatients at RAP.

There was a tendency for Hispanic mem bers to freque nt the Santa Fe gro u p, and for Anglo members to attend the Tesuque Group, however there was never any real ethnic div is ion and that tendenc y eventually dissolved.

SERENITY GROUP: The Serenity Group which meets Wednesday evening at the Holy Faith Church was establis hed by John W_ _ _ in 1975. The group members were from the Tesuque Group. The Tes uque group had once again lost its meeting place and had to move to another church. This problem of meetings moving about from church to church was becoming so mething of a problem. The va lue of being abl e to fin d an AA mee tin g at the regularly scheduled time and place os obvious. The Serenity GrouOp has made it a poin t to maintain a solid working relationship with the church where the meetings are held to ensure the desired stability. At each meeting the tables and chairs are returned to their pro per place, the room is cleaned of all litter and no smoking is allo wed .

THE FRIENDSHIP CLUB: In 1978 the Tesuque Group lost its Saturday night meeting place at St. Bede's Church. That event became the impetus for the formation of the Friendship Clu b. The organization of a club was slow in starting in Santa Fe. The experience that the old-timers had with the Devargas Street building and all of the political fighting that had been associated with it had left many of the AA members re l uc ta nt to organize anything more complex than an AA grou p. Albuquerque had long successful ex per ienc e with clu bs , the first being the Is le ta Club around which AA flourished. But in Santa Fe any effort to start a club fa ile d until 1978.

Barbara B. was the primary leader in setting up the Friendship Clu b. It was organized as a nonprofit corporat\on, Jack Flynn signed the artic les of in co r poration. Gilbert L wasthefirst president for a few months, succeeded by Jack F lyn n . Other members who were active in setting up the club

were Phil v _


The Fr iends hi p club was initially loc a t ed next to the Turf Club on the Old Albuquerque highway. The building was old, cold and the utility bills were too high. Plumbing bills were low because Jack Flynn,as president, had the job oi unclogging toilets. After just one winter the club was moved to the West San Francisco Street location where it stayed for about two

y ars. Parking was a pro ble m and the rents went

Lip the;,

neighborhood was changing. The club moved to location on Baca Street for a few months and then

a tempol'"ary to the Alta

Vista Street location where it stayed until 1990.

That building

served well for several years and many new groups werg established and thrived at that location. The building ultimately became toe small, the rents were going up and it eventually came time to move again. Many of us still remember the qreen shag carpet and the greasy orange carpet underneath it with mixed emo tions . In 1990 the Club moved to its current location on Rosina Street. Af ter the

club had been located there tor about a year the AA Central Office moved to the suite next door in the same building.

The Friendship Club operates as a non profit corporation run by board members who are elected by the membership. Its primary purpose is to provide a meeting place for AA groups and other 12- lt@ ;F U § . Af1crd bl rent and ad equate parking have alway s been two main topics of concern. Concern with these matters has

l ad tc trouble in Santa Fe as it has everywhere else where recovering alcoholics get involved with money, pro perty and outside issues. From time to time, well intentioned AA members and Club members have taken up the discussion of someday pu rc has ing a building or property to build on so that the Club could have a permanent site without having to deal with ever increasing ren ts. In the mid 1980's the club receive d so me c on tr ibut o ns from outside sources which included a government revenue sharing grant for c haritable organizations and se vera l contributions from grateful relatives of persons who had been h lped by AA. As AA could not accept any such monies from non AA sources it was thought acce pta ble for the Friendship Club to accept the money and to ho1d it in a "bui1ding fund". This wa.s


done and before long some Twenty Three Thousand Dollars ($ 2 3 000 .00 ) was safely esconsced in a bank in the form of certificates of deposit requiring two s igna tures to cash which were then placed into a safety deposit box. In due time an annual election of board members occurred and a new board president took office. In no time at all the new president had cas hed the certificates of deposit and converted most cf the money to his own use. Although he was iden tified , prosecuted convicted and spent some time in jail the money was gone.

The difficulty that Santa Fe's club has had with money is not unheard of around AA. In a Grapevine article written in 1947 Bill W. suggested that the notion of buying or building a club was not wise. He pointed out the fact that any club that could be afforded would be too small, and a big ex pensive building

would cause a 9eparate set of troubles. He also pointed out that the AA tradition of being self supporting ought to be followed by clubs as well sop as o avoid any outside attachments nd to maintain the public perception of AA as a fully self supporting organization. (The Language of the Heart, p 75; 1988 The AA Grapevine, Inc.)

The operation of the Friendship Club was in disarray and a group of board members lead by old-timer Rue ben P had to spend a tremen dous amount of time and effort to salvage the club from collapse. This group did a wonderful service to AA and the club. They found the Rosina Street location, presided over the move and remodeling of the building and have the club on a sound financial footing which is self supporting throuqh group donations and club dues. The club now has paid staffers which allows the building to be kept open all day and the building is kept clean and orderly. The existence of paid staffers effectively prevents the building from being used as a hang out by our friends who are not yet ready to stop drinking.

The ex losion in the number of AA groups in Santa Fe real ly got started with the establishment of the Friendship Clu b. After the club was set up there was now a place to set up new meetings, almost at will. At first there was some reluctance to set up any meetings at the club that would compete with older establ is hed meetings. It was not long before the noontime meeting (Roadrunners) was established Monday through Saturday. At 6:00

p. m. the Happy Hour Group began meeting Monday, Wednesday, Thu rsday and Friday.

The AlAnon group took the Wednesday noon slot at the club and so the Rebos group was established at the Webber Street church.

This was a fairly large meeting until the smoking

The group was seriously divided over that issue and non-smoking group.

issue arose.

it became a

Early Birdm: This egular morning group was established January 27 1985 following a visit to Albuquerque by Dr. Paul (author of Doctor, Alcoholic, Add ict). Dr. Paul spoke fondly of his own home group which was an early bird morning mee tin g. It all sounded so wonderful that several of the Santa Fe members who heard him speak started our morning group the next day . The Ea r ly Bird group seems to be particularly popular with members in their first few years of sobrie ty.

Gay meetings: The first gay meeting in the area was started

by Herb, Amber Priscilla and Elsie, The first few meeting s were held in a house but the meeting soo n moved to the Friendship club at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting was called the Mariposa Group. The meeting gradually became popular with non-gay members and the feeling among gay members that they wanted their own group pro mpted a move from the club to its current site at St. Bede's. The Live and Let Live Gay meeting took the Tuesday night slot at the club which was vacated by the Mariposa Group.

womens grou p-- prisons- -cen tral of fic e