Queens Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous Newsletter
105-29A Metropolitan Ave. Forest Hills, NY, 11375
Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 7pm to 9pm, Saturdays 10am to 2pm
Office Telephone: (718) 520-5024
Queens Intergroup Mail: qiaa, p.o. box 754088, forest hills station, ny, 11375-9088
30th Anniversary of QIAA
Queens Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous celebrated its 30th Anniversary on September 18, 2021 at Our Lady of Mercy RC Church, 70-01 Kessel Street, Forest Hills, NY. The doors opened at 6:30 pm and the Anniversary Meeting started at 7:30 pm. It was a tremendous success. In the words of our QIAA Chair, Stephanie P., “Oh what a great night, great speakers, great messages, great fun and great food.” It was reminiscent of the old days prior to this pandemic. I would like to thank all the speakers, some of whom were QIAA co-founders while others were active members. To recognize this event, I thought it would be fitting to ask John Francis, QIAA Jr. Advisor, to write an article to commemorate the event.
John Francis’ Reflection on QIAA’s Milestone Anniversary
On Saturday, September 18th Queens Intergroup celebrated its 30th Anniversary. The event had presentations by “Old Timers” who were part of the formation of Queens Intergroup in 1991. Current members of the Steering Committee also talked briefly about the various services Queens Intergroup provides to AA members, both to the sick and suffering alcoholics and AA members with a strong foundation. There were also refreshments and music/dancing as well. The event was very informative, but it also acknowledged 30 years of QIAA in a festive way.
This event was a great way for AA members who have not done service beyond the group level to learn about various commitments that they could participate in by doing service at QIAA. Presentations by each committee chair were short, yet informative. We also had a 50/50 raffle.
Time flies, a day at a time. I can remember clearly in 2011 when we celebrated 20 years of QIAA. Our founder, Frank R., was in the hospital with a serious illness. We filmed Frank discussing the origins of Queens Intergroup, and it was projected on a big screen. Later in the evening, Frank was able to be brought to the event. I know he was pleased to see the enthusiasm in both QIAA presenters as well as the members in attendance. I personally know members who joined the QIAA service structure following that 20-year celebration. Frank R. passed away 3 months later and told me in early December that he had confidence that QIAA would strive and move forward.
Five years later, in 2016, was the 25th Anniversary celebration. At that event, many founders of QIAA, including our first Steering Committee chair, came from Nevada, North Carolina and Maryland to give their insights on the early QIAA days. Once again, the event was both informative and festive. As was the case in 2011, I was personally approached by AA members wanting to do service at Queens Intergroup.
Since early 2020, there have been many challenges for Queens Intergroup, AA and the world in general. COVID-19 has caused AA on the group level, the intergroup level, and at Queens General Service to use Zoom for meetings, events, and committees. While AA has adjusted to this new reality, it is also nice to see in-person meetings again. In the case of Queens Intergroup, the groups have been generous in their donations to keep QIAA running. Any Intergroup has three primary functions: meeting lists, phone lines for members and potential members to call, and institutions work. In addition, we have a quarterly newsletter which keeps AA members informed of what’s going on at Queens Intergroup. The groups have made Queens Intergroup able to fulfill its mission to AA members and to the still sick and suffering alcoholics.
That is why the 30th Anniversary event could not have come at a better time. It presented AA members the chance to see each other in person. As stated earlier, it also gave AA members a chance to learn about Queens Intergroup and how to get involved in QIAA service. In the last five years, several involved QIAA members have passed away. In my heart, I know that they would be happy to see new people join Queens Intergroup in any capacity, thus continuing the spirit of rotation. I hope to see you at the event, and please ask me how you can get involved. If you are not sure, God bless you, and of course easy does it.
John Francis, QIAA Jr. Advisor
Eddie’s Experience with Being the Newsletter Chair of QIAA
I have been the newsletter chair since 2019. I was nominated by the then-Institutions Chair- Richie P. at a Quarterly Reps and Exchange Meeting. After looking around the room and a hundred people staring at me for my decision, I succumbed to the peer pressure and said, “Yes!” It was one of the best decisions I have ever made, even though I had my misgivings. Besides writing a quarterly newsletter, I have had the honor and privilege to attend steering meetings as an officer. This has enabled me to vote on matters affecting AA groups in Queens as well as matters regarding the operation of QIAA. I have also met some wonderful fellow AA’s who truly embody the phrase “Love & Service”. Their dedication and commitment to their respective positions is inspiring to say the least, and who couldn’t use some inspiration? Under the auspices of our QIAA Advisor, John Francis, the meetings are run rather efficiently without many hitches.
The Keys Of The Kingdom
Every Thursday night, on my homegroup Elm Heights Zoom meeting, we read a story from the Big Book. A couple of weeks ago, we read the story titled “The Keys Of The Kingdom”. Now, I have read this story several times in my sobriety, but this time, the words really popped out at me. Here is an excerpt of the story that jumped out at me:
“I had a tough pull back to normal good health. It had been so many years since I had not relied on some artificial crutch, either alcohol or sedatives. Letting go of everything at once was both painful and terrifying. I could never have accomplished this alone. It took the help, understanding, and wonderful companionship that was given so freely to me by my ex-alkie friends – this and the program of recovery embodied in the Twelve Steps. In learning to practice these steps in my daily living, I began to acquire faith and a philosophy to live by. Whole new vistas were opened up for me, new avenues of experience to be explored, and life began to take on color and interest. In time, I found myself looking forward to each new day with pleasurable anticipation.”
“AA is not a plan for recovery that can be finished and done with. It is a way of life, and the challenge contained in its principles is great enough to keep any human being striving for as long as he lives. We do not, cannot, outgrow this plan. As arrested alcoholics we must have a program for living that allows for limitless expansion. Keeping one foot in front of the other is essential for maintaining our arrestment. Others may idle in a retrogressive groove without too much danger, but retrogression can spell death for us. However, this isn’t as rough as it sounds, as we do become grateful for the necessity that makes us toe the line, and we find that we are compensated for a consistent effort by the countless dividends that we receive.”
“A complete change takes place in our approach to life. Where we used to run from responsibility, we find ourselves accepting it with gratitude that we can successfully shoulder it. Instead of wanting to escape some perplexing problem, we experience the thrill of challenge in the opportunity it affords for another application of A.A. techniques, and we find ourselves tackling it with surprising vigor.”
One of the wonderful things about chairing Big Book meetings and continuing to read the Big Book is that, depending on where I am in my sobriety, I discover new insights about life and sobriety. And like an alcoholic I heard share at a retreat I recently attended, “I haven’t always been consistent, but I have always been persistent in my sobriety.” And to borrow a baseball term, I would categorize myself as a “streak hitter”, consistently inconsistent. But we must not forget that sobriety is not a 100-meter dash but a marathon!
The following is an article submitted by my sponsee Daniel. After hearing his story I thought it would be great if it was retold by him. After speaking to him, he graciously agreed to write out his story and submitted it for the newsletter.
Growing up, I was always intrigued with alcohol. I used to sneak sips of drinks from my dad’s alcoholic beverage; even as a young teen I used to sneak a drink, but I never thought that I had no problem with alcohol until September 11, 2001. In the tradition of Alcoholic Anonymous, I will keep everything anonymous. Let's say that on that day, I found myself on the 48th floor with my partner searching for people when I came across an elderly woman in a wheelchair who was stuck due to the elevators that were out of order. So I used the fireman's carry and carried her until I brought her to the sub-level and gave her over to the EMS personnel. By the time I walked up to the 1st floor of the building tower 2 shook, and a gut feeling that I had told me to get out. I ran outside between both buildings when tower 2 was coming down. I remember seeing people standing around as I raced across the street into Brooks Brothers. I lost a lot of friends and colleagues that day. I was down there for three more months working until they had a permanent crew. I worked from 7 pm to 7 am and some days until 11 in the morning. When we got off work, we would find a bar to relax. It was easy in the city to find a bar opening at noon. My friends and I would drink with our lost colleagues and friends. We would remember and honor their memories. We would keep going to the same bar until I was sent back to my command permanently. I kept my drinking quiet for the next 12 years until I had given up the fight to drink. My last act as a desperate drunk was to admit that I had a very serious problem, not only to myself but to God, as I understood God to be. Crying out loud in my bathroom for God’s help off a fifth of whatever I was drinking at the time, not realizing that I had completed the first three steps of Alcoholic Anonymous. I checked myself into a rehabilitation center because by this point, I could not stop myself from the shakes and madness of drinking and I was throwing up and repeating it all over again.
After the rehab, I went and successfully did 90 meetings in 90 days and met my sponsor who helped me achieve the one thing I could not have done by myself: sobriety through the 12 steps. I remember doing the 4th step, writing down all the people I had harmed. The worst part of all was the 8th step. I had to make amends to my ex-wife. I told my sponsor that she should apologize to me. This woman took everything from me including 32 mint to near-mint Michael Jordan Rookie cards, not to mention a huge gold coin collection. I realized that one of my character defects was pride but I pushed on, made all the amends to those I harmed, including to my ex-wife and felt for the first time liberated. It was as if a ton of weight was lifted off of me. Even today, I am grateful to God, my sponsor and AA!
I would like to end this newsletter with the following anecdote which I feel describes what we do in Alcoholics Anonymous.
An alcoholic fell in a hole and couldn’t get out. A businessman went by. The alcoholic called out for help. The businessman threw him some money and told him to buy a ladder. But the alcoholic could not find a ladder in this hole he was in. A doctor walked by and the alcoholic said, “Help, I can’t get out.” The doctor gave him some drugs and said, “Take this, it will relieve the pain.” The alcoholic said thanks, but when the pills ran out, he was still in the hole. A renowned psychiatrist rode by and heard the alcoholic’s cries for help. He stopped and said, “How did you get in there? Were you born there? Did your parents put you here? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness.” So the alcoholic talked with him for an hour, then the psychiatrist had to leave, but he said he’d be back next week. The alcoholic thanked him but was still in his hole. A priest came by and heard the alcoholic’s cries for help. The priest gave him a Bible and said, “I’ll pray for you.” The priest got down on his knees and prayed for the alcoholic, then left. The alcoholic was very grateful and he read the whole Bible, but he was still stuck in that hole. A recovering alcoholic happened to pass by. The alcoholic cried out, “Hey, help me, I’m stuck in this hole.” Right away, the recovering alcoholic jumped in that hole with him. The alcoholic said, “What are you doing? Now we’re both stuck here.” The recovering alcoholic said, “It’s okay, I’ve been here before, I know the way out!”
Special thanks to Chelsea M., John Francis B., my sponsee Atif C., and the entire QIAA Steering Committee. If you have any articles that you would like to submit, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please limit to 1-2 pages and maximum of 2,000 words.