This special event celebrated a significant milestone of A.A. It was the largest gathering of A.A. members before our international conventions began. Members came to celebrate from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Largest Crowd of A.A.’s Gathered to Date
In June 1945, a historic gathering took place in Cleveland, Ohio. It commemorated A.A.’s tenth anniversary.
Over 2,500 members of Alcoholics Anonymous attended the two-day event. Members came from 36 states, two Canadian provinces, and Mexico.
Celebrations kicked off on Saturday, June 9th. Two regular A.A. meetings and two “open house” meetings held in different parts of Cleveland. On June 10th, co-founders Bill W. and Dr. Bob spoke to a crowd of 1,000 at the Music Hall in downtown Cleveland.
In his talk, Bill spoke about the growth of A.A., briefly retelling his own story and about the writing of the Big Book. Bill concluded his talk by stating that “A.A. is much bigger than any of us.” He joked that Dr. Bob and himself were “a couple of old, cracked antiques who have had a little more experience than others.”
Following Bill, Dr. Bob spoke briefly about the development of A.A. in Akron, Ohio. He concluded by saying, “Our program must be followed by each individual. And each individual is the only one who can do it for himself.”
Bill stated that June 10th was “a day for congratulations, for thanksgiving and for celebration,” and that A.A. “could not have been but for others.”
Dr. Bob thanked all that “were a source of help and inspiration in [his] trouble.” This included his wife, Anne, A.A. members of Cleveland, the members of the Alcoholic Foundation, and everyone in attendance at the Music Hall.
Also on the evening of June 10th, 400 A.A. members attended a Founders Day dinner in Akron, Ohio. Bill and Dr. Bob attended the dinner after they spoke in Cleveland. Speaking about Akron, Bill said “It was here that the miracle really happened. This is the hill where the A.A. beacon was lit 10 years ago.”
Five years after this special event, A.A. held its first international convention in June 1950.