Families and Friends. Lois & Anne
March 4th is a birthday date of Lois W., wife of Bill W., co-founder of AA. From New York; 3rd of March is a birthday date of Anne S., wife of Dr. Bob, co-founder of AA from Akron. Lois was an organizing Founder of Al-Anon. Lois' efforts in organizing, establishing and developing the organization named Al-Anon is monumental and awesome. In 1951 there were 87 groups and contacts - Families and Friends, already existing in USA and Canada. Lois with her friend Anne B. (New York) organized and registered the existing and interested groups and contacts (50+ joined from the original 87 contacted). Lois and Anne B. named the new organization Al-Anon in 1951/1952. "Al" for Alcoholics, "Anon" for Anonymous to be different but NOT SEPARATED from AA ..It is not my intention to take from Lois the honor and wonderful accomplishment.... But the history of Family Groups require some detail and clarification. It was Anne S., wife of Dr. Bob who said in 1935:
"the alcoholic does not suffer alone; a whole family suffers, ..... the whole family needs to recover together".
This is why Dr. Bob and Anne took into their home first "alcoholics and their families".
Children of Dr. Bob gave up their bedrooms, when necessary, and slept in the attic.. This is how the Family and Fiends groups started... The Family Groups existed since 1935, when the wives and family members of "drunks" (later, in 1938 called alcoholics) in Akron and New York started to meet together - sometimes in separate room, sometimes with the alcoholics. Some of the groups were very active for many years prior - for example a Family Group in Toronto gave a powerful presentation at the Cleveland's AA Convention in 1950 - before "pre-Al-Anon" was organized and named Al-Anon. I was very happy to notice that at the Founders Gallery at WSO AFG in Virginia Beach, Virginia, picture of Anne S. (from Akron) is first in line. Till 1949, Anne S - a wife of the AA co-founder, was named a Mother of AA and was regarded and honored as a great supporter of AAs and the family members of alcoholics in Akron and Cleveland and early AA movement.