Cleveland’s Oldest AA Meeting Turns 75

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Happy Anniversary

The Borton group is Cleveland’s oldest AA meeting and is now celebrating its 75th anniversary (as of 2014)! Learn more about the group history and its humble beginnings below:

In May 1939 Clarence S., a Cleveland A.A. member, placed patent attorney Al “Abby” G. into rehab in Akron under the care of Dr. Bob S. He then approached Abby’s wife about starting a group in their Cleveland Heights home. How could she refuse?

That fall Clarence smuggled freelance reporter Elrick Davis into meetings of that first Greater Cleveland group and Mr. Davis wrote a series of articles on A.A. which were published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. This resulted in over 500 calls for help to be tended by the only 13 active members.

Borton GroupShortly thereafter Clarence’s minister, Rev. Dilworth Lipton of the First Unitarian Church, wrote and delivered a widely publicized sermon titled “Mr. X and Alcoholics Anonymous.” Clarence was Mr. X. The sermon detailed the principles of A.A., pointing out that they have much in common with all religions, not just the Christian Oxford Group of our roots.

Many members were upset by this workload and by the surreptitious manner in which it was done. So they voted Clarence out of A.A. (which was something that could be done at the time). A nonalcoholic named Tom Borton had an alcoholic employee helped by A.A. and Mr. Borton was so impressed he offered his home for their meetings. The Borton Group first met on Nov. 16, 1939 and has moved several times before settling down at Forest Hill Church in Cleveland Heights, across the street from the Rockefeller’s summer estate. This year it celebrates its 75th anniversary.

Forest Hills Presbyterian Church
3031 Monticello Blvd. Cleveland Hts. OH, 44118
Monday at 7:30pm
Type: Open

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.