This is from the original CrystalLakeAlano.org webmaster. We are grateful for his service to ACCL.
When I first started, the couple meetings I went to were in the basements of churches. I really did not get much out of them. I would come and sit for an hour and then we would leave. They were too short. I did not feel comfortable. It might have been because the meeting was in a church.
You see, I was a bar room drinker. I liked to go to a place where everyone new your name. I knew everyone in the room. I felt comfortable there. I had my own seat. It felt like home. That is the same feeling I got when I came into the Alano club. I immediately felt at home.
The most important part of the club is the people. You can always spot the newcomer when he walks through the door. The first look they have is surprise of how the place looks from the inside because we all know that you can’t really tell what’s going on from the outside. They usually are also confused by all the happy faces and all the laughing and joking going on. They look around the building and are also surprised at how nice the place is. They think there must be people here who care about their house. They must be taking this AA thing pretty seriously. There is hope. These are the same feelings I had when I first walked through the front door.
When someone asked me if I would like to become a member, I asked “What’s in it for me?” They told me I would get a key and I thought “Big Deal”. What do I need a key for? Today I realize it is more than just a key to open the front door. Today that key is a symbol to me that I belong, that I am a part of something great, and that I am doing my share to support the club.
Once I started to get more involved I began to realize that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to keep this place running. There are a lot of volunteers. The people who make the coffee, vacuum the floors, wipe the tables, stock the vending machines, plan the parties, chair the meetings, welcome the newcomer, pay the bills, and so on and so on. We all have our part in the club as we do in our own personal families.
We are self supporting through our own contributions. What you might not know is that the club is supported through two primary revenue streams: meeting rent and membership dues. We could not keep this place running on meeting rent alone. When you put your money in the basket, you are contributing to the meeting’s rent. All meetings have to pay rent, whether you are at a church, VFW, Salvation Army, or the Alano Club. The meeting rent should not be confused with the membership income. The club relies heavily on membership dues and could not go on without them.
The Alano Club is very important to me. It is an integral part of my recovery. I honestly don’t know if I would be sober today if this place was not here. I am sure that many of you feel the same way. That is why I am willing to go to any lengths to make sure that this gift is here for every newcomer for years to come. It takes all of us to make this work. We cannot do it alone. We are responsible to freely give back what was so freely given to us.
If you are not a member, please consider becoming one. There are membership applications and payment envelopes on the safe at the front door. Just fill one out and drop it in the safe. That is all it takes to become part of the support network that this club requires. If you are already a member, please try to stay current with your membership dues. If you think you can’t afford the dues, just think about how much you paid for alcohol.
Yours in Sobriety,