History of AA in Spain
According to information from the Alcoholics Anonymous General Service Office in Spain, in 1955 a non-alcoholic doctor from Madrid requested information on the programme of recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous from the General Service Office in New York. He was interested in starting a group in the hospital Residencia Sanitaria de la Paz in Madrid. The New York office sent him all the information they had in Spanish (leaflets), and they put him in contact with Ray C., a US member of AA that lived in Madrid. That same year Ray C. met another member, and they informed the New York office that they had opened the first group of Alcoholics Anonymous in Spain (in Spanish), which they called Grupo Madrid, consisting of two members. By August they had two new members, and they began contacting doctors and priests. In December of the same year, another American alcoholic, Dan C., wrote to New York to inform them of the opening of another Group in Dr Peláez’s Residencia.
In 1959 a group was formed in Valladolid; in 1960 another in Málaga, and in 1962 several groups were formed in Barcelona, Las Palmas, Rentería, and Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The Groups developed, and in 1974 the first Spanish General Services National Office (OSG) was opened in Málaga. Amongst the existing groups, a “Collective Conscience” began taking form.
In 1976 the General Service Representatives (GSRs) of the groups met in Madrid. This meeting was to be historic in the life of Alcoholics Anonymous in Spain. It was then and there that the destiny of AA in the country passed to the hands of the “Conscience of the Groups”.
In 1977, due to various circumstances, a new meeting of Delegates was summoned, and all the existing deficiencies were analysed in depth, making the decision to locate the GSO in Avilés in the Region of Asturias.
On 10 June 1978 another meeting of the GSRs was held in Avilés and a decision was made to appoint a Provisional Board of General Services with the compromise of elaborating a draft of the Statutes for General Services. On the 25th of October 1979, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, by means of the Service of Associations, legalised the Statutes of the “General Services of Alcoholics Anonymous in Spain”, and in 1980 the first Conference of the General Service of AA in Spain took place in Oviedo 3-5 April with the theme and title of “SERVING UNITED TO GROW”. Around that time, the Fellowship in Spain consisted of 12 Areas with 114 groups and approximately 2,500 members. Since that time, the General Service Conference continued to be held yearly. The last one took place in Avilés on 1-3 April 1999 with the theme and title “THE COMPROMISE OF AA WITH SOCIETY”. At present, the Fellowship consists of 23 Areas with a total of 486 Groups with approximately 10,000 members (as of 2000).
(Translated from Spanish to English by Alfonso F., Alicante, Spain)
There are now 1,500 Spanish-speaking groups and over 30,000
Spanish-speaking AA members in the United States and Canada. (AA WSO)