Before there was a “Big Book”, Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, the “AA Grapevine” or General Service — before there were meetings, clubs, conventions or any AA literature — before there was an H&I committee, there was a visit to an Akron hospital where “one drunk talked to another.” Actually there were two drunks, Dr. Bob and Bill W., talking to Bill D. on June 26, 1935 (Big Book, “Anonymous Number Three”, pg. 184). That was the first H&I panel some 85 years ago.
In 1965 the Hospital and Instituions Committee was formed. The first two hospitals were Rancho Los Amigos and El Cerritos.
The H&I torch continues to burn on — about 200 times a month at H&I panels in the greater Long Beach area. That requires an organization — the Harbor Area Hospital and Institutions Committee. *
There are a dozen officers and many volunteers doing a variety of H&I tasks: raising money, purchasing and distributing literature and administering and putting on all those H&I panels. H&I didn’t start out this way but to bring meetings to over 40 Hospitals and Institutions in the greater Long Beach area requires three things:
Volunteers — an eager volunteer for each of 200 H&I panels each month and THAT MEANS YOU!
H&I carries the message to the alcoholic who is not able to get to a meeting perhaps an older woman in a board and care facility; a teenager in a hospital; a young man in rehabilitation; patients in a locked psychiatric ward or even inmates in jail or prison.
* (A standing sub-committee of the Harbor Area Service Committee)