history-of-alkathonsAlkathon’s during the holidays have been part of the AA experience for many years. Alkathons serve to  provide a safe, sober environment for thousands of recovering people at this emotionally difficult time of year. I searched for something about their origin and came up with the origin of one in Ottowa, Canada that captures the spirit of  these great events.

A Brief History of Alkathons

Once upon a time, a long time ago, during the late ‘60s, two sober AAs, Toby Craig and Jack W. who made their living feeding Parliamentarians and the like people on The Hill Restaurants and Cafeterias, banded together with some other sober AA guys to do a very Christian thing for less fortunate people than themselves – the Skid-row and homeless alcoholics. These two men went out and invited every one that they considered less fortunate to a Christmas Eve  Dinner at St. Giles Church, corner of Bank St. & First Ave.

This was an unparalleled gesture to serve a first-class dinner to the Street-people of Ottawa infected with Alcoholism. It was a 2hr. affair that was followed by an A.A. meeting. Some of these hardened street-people didn’t show, they did not want to pay the price of attending an A.A. meeting. It was nonetheless successful and repeated the following year with an increased attendance. This Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve has grown and grown and grown to what has become known as the Alkathon.

It wants to be remembered why we have an Alkathon, that essentially the Alkathon is intended for the less fortunate in our great fellowship. This includes the individuals on the skids and the homeless. It gives us super fortunate sober A.A.s the opportunity to continue what Toby and Jack started, an opportunity to honor these two guys who put into action what Tradition 5 teaches “– when anyone anywhere reaches out, let A.A. always be there”. We often hear the proverb “You can’t lead a horse to water”. True, but, you can keep it there long enough ‘till it gets thirsty. In other words, the double AA also stands for “Assertive Attraction” and that is in the spirit of what Toby and Jack had thought of doing and
put into action. It is our responsibility to continue in this spirit. Outside Enterprises engage in Outreach programs. Let the Alkathon be an “Outreach”. Invite the less fortunate from around town, like Toby and Jack did, not caring whether they had a bath or clean cloth for a while.

This Holiday Season, let’s all practice the greater good, and not just think of the Alkathon as a closed party for sober alcoholics. Toby & Jack would remind us very quickly of our primary purpose.