“Witch City” AA Meeting Welcomes All

By Kristin Danielson
 Salem, Mass., March 23, 2017 — On a recent Sunday morning, Janice (her full name is withheld), who has 36 years sober, led the one Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting at Salem State University, known as the “Witch City meeting.” It takes place on Sundays from 10–11 am in the cafeteria at South Campus.

Rearranging the liquor cabinet. Photo by Rex Roof, Creative Commons 2.0.

Very few of the 18–23 demographic were present. According to Janice, there are “nursing students that come for schoolwork.” She also said the meeting gets a lot of newcomers.

On a Sunday in March, there were four speakers who have been sober for between ten months and fourteen years. They told typical AA stories about how their lives became out of control because of alcohol. They functioned and hid it, then started losing their ability to function in society, and finally made fools out of themselves in public.

The woman with ten months was part of a human trafficking ring when she was using. She now is in a sober house with a job at Dunkin’ Donuts and has partial custody of her child, she said. She added that she wants “to learn how to live life again.” This is not an unusual case at AA.

Another speaker talked about “GOD” and how it can mean “Group Of Drunks,” as a positive force for sobriety.

Someone at the meeting smelled like alcohol. That is also not unusual.

One member said that the most important thing about the meeting is: “Fellowship… Everybody gets a little piece of the experience.”

As stated in Tradition Three: “membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism.”

AA got its start when the Central Service Committee began with 13 informal luncheon meetings around Greater Boston in 1945. Today the Eastern Massachusetts area has over 2,200 meetings a week.

At the meeting, Janice announced that Central Service is looking for phone volunteers to field calls from people in crisis or just needing information. Central Service needs people in its Boston office from four to five hours once a week, she said.

Witch City is an “open” meeting, the most important kind because any and all are allowed to attend. Newcomers are encouraged to bring their loved ones to help familiarize themselves to the program.

Students who find themselves partying more than doing their homework may want to take advantage of this resource. Aaboston.org has a meeting index and lots of relevant information.