Hurricane Michael~Storm Stories

Do you have a Recovery Story about Hurricane Michael that you would like to share? We would love to hear it! Many of us were caught by surprise on October 10th and the following days were amazing in many, many ways. We witnessed amazing compassion and sharing. We were tested with destruction and hardship that most people are fortunate enough not to have to endure but endure we did, and along the way we were shown that we were not alone. Many of us leaned on our Higher Power and were provided the power and the means to recover. Little by little our Fellowship came back. We are sharing those stories here and if you would like to contribute send your story to: and we will post it on our Storm Story page. Read the stories HERE



A History of AA in Panama City, from 1940 until ~


This brief history is for AA members, their families, and their friends. It is for all who are interested to know the history of how AA started in District 15 of the Alabama/NW Florida Area of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Most members of AA will agree that the alcoholic's memory has somewhat, if not to a large degree, suffered irreparable damage from alcohol. Therefore, there are bound to be some inconsistencies, omissions, and errors in the compilation of any history pertaining to AA Some dates, times, places, and events simply could not be remembered with any degree of accuracy. It is with this in mind that the preparer of this history apologizes for mistakes which may be found.

A friend, March, 1990
(C) 1990 District 15
Alabama/NW Florida Area
Alcoholics Anonymous


Before beginning a history of local importance, one should look at a brief history of its parents. The following paragraphs describe, in a very general nature, the beginnings and purposes of Alcoholics Anonymous as we understand them today.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a world-wide fellowship of alcoholic men and women who are banded together to solve their common problems and help fellow sufferers in recovery from that age-old baffling malady, alcoholism.
What was later to become known as the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous came into being in Akron, Ohio, in 1935. It was founded by two men publicly identified only as Bill W., a former New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob S., an Akron surgeon. Both had long histories of irresponsible drinking and had been regarded as "hopeless" alcoholics.
In the fall of 1934, Bill W., hospitalized for alcoholism, experienced a sudden spiritual "awakening" that seemed to free him of the desire to drink. He tried to persuade other alcoholics that they could experience the same transformation, but none recovered.
The following spring, in Akron, after the collapse of a business venture, Bill was seriously tempted to drink again. Fearful of the inevitable consequences of taking "the first drink," Bill recalled that he had had no desire for liquor during the preceding months while he had been working with alcoholics in New York. In desperation, he sought a similar contact in Akron. A series of telephone calls, of which the first was to an understanding and cooperative clergyman, led to Dr. Bob. The latter, impressed by Bill's recovery story and by the opportunity to share his own problem with an admitted alcoholic, achieved sobriety shortly thereafter.
More important, the two men discovered that their own sobriety was strengthened when they offered to share it with others, stressing their own practical experience as recovered alcoholics. By the fall of 1935, a small group of sober alcoholics was meeting regularly in Akron.
Bill returned to the East, where a number of other groups soon were formed. Dr. Bob, remaining in Akron, continued to be a bulwark of the new movement until his death in 1950.
The young society remained nameless until 1939, when the book, "Alcoholics Anonymous" recorded the recovery experience of about 100 members, most of them in Akron, Cleveland, New York and Philadelphia. Rapid growth began in the 1940's, when the recovery program first attracted widespread attention in the United states and Canada and in a few countries overseas.
The movement has continued to grow and today, after 50 years of growth, has more than two million members affiliated with over 76,000 groups located in over 114 countries around the world, including Russia. Men, women, and teenagers make up this membership of recovering alcoholics.

Alabama/NW Florida Area 1

On February 8, 1973, the 12th District Intergroup of the Alabama/NW Florida Area, was recorded by the General Service Office in New York. Jim W., of Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, was the delegate to the Alabama/NW Florida Area Assembly at this time and had a big part in getting District 12 established as an intergroup of AA The first DCM of this new intergroup was Ivan S., who served in 1973-74.
On May 13, 1974, following the establishment of Districts 13 and 14, District 12 was to become officially known as District 15of the Alabama/NW Florida Area of AA This new District was called "The Greater Panama City Intergroup Committee."
A District Committee was formed in October of 1974. Jack H. of Panama City, Florida, was elected DCM The new District Committee functioned separately from the Greater Panama City Intergroup Committee for the next five years with the Intergroup meeting bi-monthly and the District Committee meeting monthly. In 1976, Stan S. of Panama City, Florida, was elected DCM.
In November of 1977, the word "Greater" was deleted from its title and the intergroup was called the "Panama City Intergroup Committee". Chuck G. was elected DCM in January of 1979.
In November of 1979, the "Panama City Intergroup Committee" and the "District Committee" were combined into one function. This combination was known as the "Panama City Intergroup Committee".
On January 1, 1980, Jimmie C. was elected DCM and became Chairman of the Panama City Intergroup Committee.
On December 10, 1981, the name of the Panama City Intergroup Committee was changed to the "District 15 Intergroup" and  remains such.
A 'first ever' occurred on January 1, 1983, when 'Shaky Jake' B. took office as DCM -the first black man so elected
in District 15.
Another 'first' occurred on January 1, 1985, when Jane G. took office as DCM -the first woman so elected in District 15.


"So long as its founding members -especially the charismatic Bill W. -lived, Alcoholics Anonymous was in the process of formation. Even after their deaths, development as well as growth continued. Sheer time and proven effectiveness have enshrined AA's Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, but the essentially unorganized nature of the fellowship works against any absolute rigidities. However dogmatic or inclined to absolutism any AA group may become, any two or three alcoholics who disagree with such a turn may depart and by meeting for the purpose of sobriety form their own, new, AA group. So Alcoholics Anonymous grew and so it will continue. . . ."

-Extract from "NOT-GOD",
A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, written by Ernest Kurtz

The above quotation lends itself to explain some of the reasons for growth within District 15 of the Alabama/NW Florida Area of Alcoholics Anonymous. Other reasons, absolute ones, arose because of inadequate meeting space, increased membership, disenchantment by host meeting facility owners, and meeting location distances.
For whatever reason given, the growth of Alcoholics Anonymous in District 15 has been positive, sound, and beneficial for the recovering alcoholic and for concerned communities. Indications are that this growth will continue to do so.


District 15 of the Alabama/NW Florida Area of Alcoholics Anonymous encompasses the following Florida cities: Panama City, Panama City Beach, Lynn Haven, Fountain, Wewahitchka, Bayou George, Mexico Beach, and Port St. Joe. The following pages relate, in brief form, a history of groups within those cities. These histories are presented in order of activation date.
Once again, the reader is reminded that accuracy of dates, times, places, and events of historical importance cannot be guaranteed. They are true and accurate to the preparer's best knowledge and to the best knowledge of persons interviewed for this history.

Panama City, Florida

The oldest of Panama City's AA groups, the "Panama City Group," was formed in 1941. Two AA members from Akron, Ohio, were then working at the Wainwright Shipyard, an area presently known as Port Panama City. A desire and need to continue in their sobriety led these men to form the first AA group in Panama City. AA was then only six years old and the first publication of the Big Book had come out a mere two years earlier.
Although it is generally discouraged, the meeting place of this new group was to be found in the private homes of its members. The first meeting outside of a home was held in 1958 at Carpenters Hall on 4th Street. Story has it that the members of AA complained about beer being left in the hall by others. This complaint resulted in AA being asked to leave. The group then moved to the old City Hall. Membership was growing.
The next meeting place for the Panama City Group was at the Presbyterian Church Sunday School room at 7th and Magnolia Streets with about nine members.
About 1964, the group moved to 39 East Beach Drive and had grown to about 15 members. This location was a vacant, very old and a very "Gulf Coast" type large home which has fondly remained in the memory of many "sobered-up" alcoholics. The group was to use this meeting place for about nine years.
In the fall of 1973, the meeting place of the Panama City Group changed from 39 East Beach Drive to the Fellowship Hall of the First United Methodist Church on 4th Street. This location was utilized for about a year, after which the group moved to the Trinity Lutheran Church at 11th and Balboa streets where it continued to meet for the next ten years.
On May 10, 1979, the Panama City Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
Late in 1983, the group moved its meeting place from the Trinity Lutheran Church to the Oakland Terrace Club House and continued to meet there until 1986. It was at this time that other users of the club house complained about smoking. Since state smoking laws had just been changed, the group was told that the meetings had to be non-smoking meetings or else the group would have to change its meeting place. The group elected to move.
Since 1986, meetings of the Panama city Group have been held at the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church at 14th street and Beck Avenue. There are three meetings held each week at this location, all of which begin at 8:00 p.m.
TUESDAY meetings consist of a closed discussion meeting; a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Step meeting in the kitchen; a non-
smoking meeting in another room; an Al-Anon meeting; an Al-Ateen, and an Al-Atots meeting.
THURSDAY meetings are always Open Speaker meetings.
SATURDAY meetings are Open Discussion Candlelight meetings (Saturday Night Alive meeting). This meeting can be
open-ended if the chairman is so inclined and others wish to continue.

Port St. Joe, Florida

As was the case in most outlying areas of District 15, AA members in the Pt. St. Joe vicinity found it more and more difficult to travel long distances for their "AA".
The exact month cannot be determined, but in the year of 1962 John W. and Doris s. decided that Port St. Joe needed its own AA group to better help members maintain their sobriety. And so it was that the Port St. Joe Serenity Group was formed by John and Doris. The first meetings were held in the Port St. Joe High School. Early members of this group were John W., Doris S., Luther C., Minnie, and Jason.
The Port St. Joe serenity Group had several meeting location changes since its beginning. In 1965 the group moved from the Port St. Joe High School to St. James Episcopal Church on 6th Street in Port St. Joe. Between 1974-75, the group moved to St. Joseph's Catholic Church at 20th and Monument Streets. The group later moved back to St. James Episcopal Church where it continues to meet.
On November 22, 1974, the Port St. Joe serenity Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
The Port St. Joe Serenity Group experienced growing pains during the first few years of its formation. Attendance was up and down periodically and the group almost ceased, but then some good AA's would arrive on the scene and attendance would pick up. In 1981, Chester and Mary G. were highly instrumental in putting life back into the group and membership grew quite well. Current membership now totals 20 active members.
On July 1, 1987, the Port St. Joe Serenity Group instituted an AA meeting to be held each Tuesday in the Gulf County Jail. The meeting time was later changed to Thursdays and then in 1989 the location was changed to the Howard's Creek Work Camp. The work camp meeting is now held on Fridays at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
Noteworthy in 1989 was the passing away of one of the original founders of the Port St. Joe Serenity Group -John W. -who could lay claim to 29 years of sobriety.
Current meeting times of the Port St. Joe Serenity Group follow:
SUNDAY, 4:00 p.m. (Eastern) -Open Discussion & Al-Anon
TUESDAY, 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) -Open Discussion & Al-Anon
THURSDAY, 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) -Closed step

Panama City, Florida

Sometime in the mid-1960s (the exact date is unknown), it was recognized that there was a group of alcoholics in dire need of an introduction to a better, sober way of life if they were to become useful assets to their community in the future.
This group was the incarcerated population of the Community Correctional Center on Highway 390 in Panama City, Florida. A well-known Panama City lawyer, by the name of E. Ward H., received permission from the Florida Department of Corrections to form an AA group for the Community Correctional Center. Paul A. soon became the guiding force of this fledgling group.
For the first several years, inmates attended weekly outside AA meetings in the Panama Area. These meeting locations were later changed to inside meetings in the Community Correctional Center itself.
The concept behind these meetings was to get inmates introduced to the AA way of life and to the outside world of
freedom. Many former inmates remain sober today and are active in the AA way of life.
On January 24, 1978, the Freedom Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA
Current meetings of the Freedom Group follow:
MONDAY, 8:00 p.m--Closed Meeting (Meets at the Community Corrections Center)
WEDNESDAY, 8:00 p.m. -Open Speaker Meeting (Meets outside at the Serenity House, 1008 East 24th Plaza, Panama City, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida

The fourth oldest AA group in the Panama City area, the "Frantic Serenity Group," was formed in February, 1971, by Jim R., Mike R. and Bill K. A native Canadian "snowbird" and an old time AA member, Bill K. spent the winter months here in the area. The "Frantic Serenity Group" was born out of a necessity to expand AA from Panama City to Panama City Beach.
The first meeting of this expansion group was held at the home of Jim R. in Laguna Beach, which is a part of Panama City Beach. Meeting time was 8:00 p.m.
During a meeting at the home of Jim & Mike R. in early 1972, a discussion revealed the need for a larger meeting place for the Frantic Serenity Group if AA was indeed to expand from Panama City to Panama City Beach. The Gulf Beach Presbyterian Church on Highway 79 in Panama City Beach was contacted and shortly thereafter, approval was given for the use of a large meeting room in the church building. The group was to meet at 8:00 p.m. every Monday and Friday. An appropriate rental was mutually agreed upon. After 18 years, the group still meets at this location.
The Frantic Serenity Group was successful from the start. This was in no small part due to attendance by Canadian AA members on winter vacation and by vacationers from surrounding Southern states. By November and December, 1973, attendance and membership had reached to 35-40 AA members.
On May 10, 1979, the Frantic Serenity Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
In February, 1983, Jane and Joe G., members of the Frantic Serenity Group, formed a study group within the framework of the Frantic Serenity Group. The purpose of this group was to offer a forum of AA members who could establish a study group on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of AA This group would furnish fresh ideas and interpretations to the meanings of the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. This group was open to any member who wished to participate.
Jane and Joe G. contacted the pastor of St. Bernadette's Catholic Church, located on West Hwy 98 in Panama City Beach, and received permission to use the church's recreational hall as a meeting place for this new study group. Meetings were to be held onWednesdayeveningsfrom8:00 -9:00p.m. The recreational hall subsequently became the property of the St. Thomas East Episcopal Church in Panama City Beach. "12 & 12" study meetings are still being held at this location. Initial membership in this study group was 10 members of the Frantic Serenity Group. The group presently flourishes with a membership of 25.
Group members who have served as General Service Representatives (GSRs) are:

1988 -Present   Mike D.

1977 -1978   Katherine F.

1987 -1988   Anne P.

1975 -1976   Joe W.

1985 -1986   Joe H.

1973 -1974   Paul L.

1983 -1984   George B.  

1972 -1973   Jack H.

1981 -1982   Jane G.

1971 -1972   Jim R.

1979 -1980   Charles W.


Current meetings of the Frantic serenity Group follow:
MONDAY, 8:00 p.m. -Open Speaker (Meets at Gulf Beach Presbyterian Church)
WEDNESDAY, 8:00 p.m. -Closed Step Discussion (Meets at St. Thomas East Episcopal Church)
FRIDAY, 8:00 p.m. -Closed Discussion (Meets at Gulf Beach Presbyterian Church)

UPDATE as of February 2007:

Frantic Serenity GSRs, 1988-2006


Mike D


Dan P


Ted N


Steve K


Doug D


Hugh S


Ted N


Nancy/Wendy D


Current meetings: All at Gulf Beach Presbyterian Church
Monday 7 PM Big Book  
Wednesday 7 PM 12 & 12
Friday 7 PM Closed Discussion
(all meetings are closed except for 3rd Monday-- Birthdays---Open speaker meeting.) 

Panama City, Florida

The fifth oldest AA group in the Panama City area, the "Eastside Group," was founded in Sept~mber, 1971, by Cliff S. and George W.
The Eastside Group was created out of a necessity to expand due to an increase in AA membership. Facilities at the other AA groups were becoming crowded as more and more alcoholics sought relief from their malady.
Early members of the Eastside Group included Alfred B., Robbie R., Roy B., Paul A., Cliff C., Cliff S., George W., and June W.
George W. had arranged a meeting with the pastor of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, located on South Tyndall Parkway. In order to request a meeting place for this new group. With enthusiasm, the pastor granted permission to use the ground floor facilities of this church. The first meetings of the Eastside Group were held each Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m.
On December 27, 1971, the Eastside Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
What has become a tradition in the Eastside Group -a once a month Saturday night open "eatin'-meetin'" -was established early on. This get-together proved to be immensely popular and has lived a long life.
As many of the District 15 AA groups did, the Eastside Group encountered smoking problems at its meeting place. Wishing to maintain harmonious relationships, the Eastside Group elected to move.
On August 15, 1985, fourteen years after its founding, the Eastside Group moved to new meeting facilities at the Parkway Presbyterian Church on the corner of South Tyndall Parkway and Hickory street. With a current membership of 34, this group continues to meet at this location.
Current meetings of the Eastside Group follow:


8:00 p.m.

Closed Discussion


8:00 p.m.

Closed Discussion & AI-Anon


8:00 p.m.

Open Speaker Meeting

Wewahitchka, Florida

As previously mentioned, meeting location distances presented a major problem for the recovering alcoholic in the
District 15 area. People living on the outer fringes of the area needed, and deserved, a meeting place close to their home and work. Being about thirty miles from the nearest AA meeting was indeed difficult, and expensive, for those wanting to maintain their sobriety. In addition, there were "active" alcoholics in these outlying areas who could benefit from a nearby AA meeting.
Thus it was, in the spring of 1973, that Red B. and his wife, Hazel B. decided to form an AA group in Wewahitchka,
which is located in Gulf County, Florida. Red and Hazel obtained permission from the pastor of the First United Methodist Church, located on Highway 71 in Wewahitchka, to hold AA meetings in the church facilities. Early members included Red & Hazel B., Luther C. and E-C H. Meetings were held each Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The original group in Wewahitchka was known as the "WEWA Group" of AA Even though a dire need of an AA group existed in that locality, the Wewa Group did not attract a large number of members. What few members the group had, after two years, started moving out of town and by early 1975 the group ceased being active.
In April, 1986, Mary P. of Wewahitchka, took steps to reactivate the Wewa Group. Its name was changed to the "Wewa Serenity Group." This new group held its first meeting at the Wewa Medical Center and continued meeting there for the next nine months.
Mary P. assumed the duties of General Service Representative (GSR), Secretary, and Treasurer of the new Wewa Serenity Group until others could be found and elected.
On September 2, 1986, the Wewa Serenity Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
On January 21, 1987, the Wewa Serenity Group moved back to the First United Methodist Church located on Highway 71 in Wewa, where the group continues to meet.
While small in membership, the Wewa Serenity Group actively sought ways to develop itself into a worthy example of a solid AA group. Among these ways was the procurement of its own post office box (P.O. Box 1113, Wewahitchka, FL 32465), and the  establishment of its own AA and Al-Anon library. Donations of AA books and AA literature were made by Mary P., Joel J., Jerry P., an Al-Anon named Marge P., and anonymous other donors.
The Wewa Serenity Group currently meets on THURSDAY evenings at 7:00 p.m. with an open discussion meeting.

Panama City, Florida

In the Fall of 1973, several AA members in the Panama City, Florida area demonstrated their natural uneasy, uncomfortable, itchy selves by deciding to take the "geographical cure" and move out to new stomping grounds for their "AA" Due to over crowding and lack of space, there had been much talk about the need for starting another AA group in Panama City.
Having heard all this talk, with little or no action, prompted Orville L. (formerly of Maryland) to take his own action. On the afternoon of Saturday, October 6, 1973, while he and several other AA members were visiting a fellow AA member in the hospital, Orville suddenly announced that there would be a meeting of a brand-new AA group on Monday, October 8, 1973, at 8 p.m. He further announced that he had already made all of the necessary arrangements for a location, which was to be at the First Assembly of God Church, on 3rd Street in the Millville area of Panama City.
Much to the pleasant surprise of everyone, Orville L. had, indeed, made all the necessary arrangements, and the first
meeting of this new group was held at 8 p.m., October 8, 1973. While Orville claimed there was no connection, it is interesting to note that the Oct 8th "Thought for the Day" contains the statement, "AA grows by the starting of new groups all the time."
It was at this meeting, attended by some seventeen people, that the new group's name was voted upon -it was to be known as the "Hopeful Serenity Group" of AA That name still remains.
The first members of the Hopeful Serenity Group included Orville L., Jimmie C., Bill J., David H., Bill S., Eunice S.,
Bill M., and Mary X. From the very start, AI-Anon members were extremely active and membership in that group flourished. The times of the first meetings were, and still are, Mondays and Fridays at 8 p.m.
As was the case with so many other AA groups, attitudes toward smoking began making its mark on this new group from the beginning. The use of its first meeting place was short-lived, and within two months David H. had made arrangements with the pastor of the Trinity United Methodist Church to utilize its facilities at 2322 East 3rd Street, Panama City (Millville).
On January 30, 1974, the Hopeful Serenity Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
The Hopeful Serenity Group continued to meet at the Trinity Methodist Church until January of 1975 when it had to move to a temporary location at the Serenity Junction Club which was then located at 515 East 6th street, Panama City. The group met at this location for only a few months.
In the Spring of 1975, the Hopeful Serenity Group made arrangements with the pastor of St. Dominic's Catholic Church on East 15th Street, Panama City, to use its Parish Hall for meetings. The group remained there for about a year-and-a-half.
In the Fall of 1976, the Hopeful Serenity Group moved its meetings to the Highland Park United Methodist Church on Baldwin Road, Panama City (Highland Park).
After six years, smoking once again became an issue, along with the stigma of the alcoholic, and the Hopeful Serenity Group was looking for a new meeting place. New facilities were found in a vacant service station on Ohio Avenue in Lynn Haven, Florida.
Following considerable work and clean-up, the Hopeful Serenity Group continued to meet at this service station until
the Fall of 1985 when it moved to the school annex of the First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and East 7th Street, Panama City. The group continues to meet at this school annex with a present membership of 34.
Current meetings of the Hopeful Serenity Group follow:

MONDAY, 8:00 p.m.

Closed Meeting & Al-Anon Meeting

FRIDAY, 8:00 p.m.

Open Discussion Meeting

 NOTE: The District Public Information Committee meets on the FIRST TUESDAY of every month at 5:30 p.m. at
the Hopeful Serenity Group.

Panama City, Florida 

By December of 1973, several AA members in the Panama City, Florida area found themselves unable to regularly attend an evening AA meeting. This problem was caused by a number of reasons, the most prevailing being work commitments.
In order to provide everyone with an opportunity to meet, two members of other AA groups in the area came up with an idea to form an AA group which would meet at 12:00 noon instead of the normal evening time. It was from this idea that the name  "Nooners" came.
And so it was that Jack H. and Joe W. founded The Nooners Group of AA This new group held its first meeting on the 5th of December, 1973, in the facilities of the Forest Park United Methodist Church at the corner of 23rd street and Lisenby Avenue in Panama City, Florida. The Nooners Group continues to meet at this location.
The first meetings of The Nooners Group were held every Wednesday at 12:00 noon. Membership in this group grew and eventually, meeting days were expanded to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The need for a closed discussion meeting for women AA members was recognized, and Monday noon meetings were later set aside for them.
On February 5, 1974, The Nooners Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
The first General Service Representative of The Nooners Group was Jack H. Others who served as GSR for this group included Ray B., Nell W., Bo S., and Tom B.

Current meetings of The Nooners Group follow:

MONDAY, 12:00 Noon

Closed Discussion Meeting (Women Only)

WEDNESDAY, 12:00 Noon

Closed Discussion Meeting

FRIDAY, 12:00 Noon

Closed Discussion Meeting

UPDATE-as of February 2007:

Since the first history book came out the attendance has changed somewhat. As with all groups, it fluctuates. I understand from talking to some of the old timers that at one time there were 100 in attendance.  In 2000, when I started to attend the group, if there were 8 people in attendance that was considered a good crowd. It did make for more intimate meetings. That number has changed as of today with a normal attendance of 20-30 per meeting. Sometimes we have as many as 50, which is kind of hard to seat around our table set up. It still makes for an intimate atmosphere.
This group is about living in the solution. It is a very spiritual group and has positive meetings of recovery. There is a lot of good solid sobriety and is very friendly to newcomers.  
Some of the General Service Representatives since the last publication are Tom B., Barbara B., Kay S., Wilma S. and Edwina D.
Our current meeting schedule is:



Closed Discussion



Step Study



Open Discussion

Panama City, Florida

In January, 1974, Cliff C., Paul L., and "E.C." H. put their thoughts and ideas into action and started a Sunday meeting to be held at the Halfway House in Fountain, Florida. The purpose of this meeting was to share the experiences, strengths and hopes of AA members in District 15 with residents of that halfway house. This gathering was known as the "Halfway House Meeting," and held its first meetings on Sundays. Early members of this group included Cliff C., Paul L., "E.C." H., and Joe E.
After a few months, the meeting location was changed to Selma Avenue in Highland Park, Florida, where it stayed until October, 1974, when it moved to its present location at 618 North Cove Blvd., Panama City, Florida.
The Halfway House Meeting evolved into an official AA group now known as the "Friendly Serenity Group." On April 12, 1988, the Friendly Serenity Group was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
The Friendly Serenity Group presently meets every Wednesday evening at 8:00 p.m. for an open discussion meeting.

Panama City, Florida 

It is well documented that any two or three alcoholics may, for the purposes of sobriety, form their own new AA group. So it was in the Fall of 1974 that a new AA group emerged in Panama City, Florida.
Alfred D., Jack H., Paul L., and Charles R. were the first members of this new group and they chose to name it the "Central Group" of Panama City. This new group held its first meeting in the facilities of a newly-formed AA club at 523 East 6th Street in Panama City.
From the very start, the Central Group ambitiously held three meetings a week -at 8:00 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Membership continued to grow throughout this group's history.
The Central Group experienced many "moving" woes, having to relocate its meeting place several times. Some of its previous locations were: East 6th Street, East 9th Street, Jenks Avenue, West15th street, Grace Avenue, and 24th Plaza -all in Panama City. Since April 15, 1988, the Central Group has been meeting at 922 Jenks Avenue in Panama City.
On February 6, 1976, the Central Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
In 1986, the Central Group formed a non-registered noon meeting group known as the "Nooner's Lunch Bunch." The purpose of this meeting was to provide some good and solid AA for those members who could break away and bring their lunch with them. In February of 1989, the Nooner's Lunch Bunch was formally incorporated into the Central Group and became known as the "Central Lunch Bunch."
Current meetings of the Central Group follow:

DAILY, 12:00 noon

Central Lunch Bunch Open Discussion Meeting (Except Sun)

SUNDAY, 9:30 a.m.

Big Book Open Meeting

SUNDAY, 8:00 p.m.

Open Step Discussion

TUESDAY, 8:00 p.m.

Open Speaker Meeting

THURSDAY, 8:00 p.m.

Closed Discussion Meeting and Al-Anon Meeting

Panama City Beach, Florida

During the period of late 1974 to January, 1983, no new AA groups were formed in District 15. However, Jack H., who in 1981 had moved to Panama City Beach from Frankfort, Kentucky, felt there were enough AA members living in the East end of Panama City Beach to warrant forming a new group to meet on Sunday afternoons. Jack made numerous inquiries which resulted in a positive consensus. Jack then presented a meeting plan to the pastor of the Woodlawn United Methodist Church on Carolyn Avenue, Panama City Beach. The pastor, in turn, presented the proposal to the Church Board which resulted in an immediate approval. Thus, on January 8, 1983, the "Woodlawn Group" of AA was born.
First members of the new Woodlawn Group included Jack M., Jane G., Harry P., Chuck B., Charlie W., Ray Henry S., Paul A., Wayne S., and Harry S. The first GSR elected for the Woodlawn Group was Jack M.
The Woodlawn Group approved an intimate approach to their meetings with an emphasis on the personalized needs of its members. No limitation was placed on discussion topics.
On March 19, 1984, the Woodlawn Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
Membership in the Woodlawn Group is currently holding at eight members with numerous visitors in attendance. Open discussion meetings are still being held at the Woodlawn United Methodist Church every Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.

Panama City, Florida

Alcoholism is by no means, a disease experienced solely by the male gender. Women share many of the same afflictions and problems which men experience. Little in the past had been done with women in mind.
So it was in April, 1984, that a woman alcoholic named Juanita S., decided it was time to do something for her female alcoholic friends. A building was located at 3407 North East Ave., Panama City, Florida, and became the first "halfway house" in the Panama City area. Since this new activity of C.A.R.E. was not to be considered an AA group per se, it was named an A.W.A.R.E. Meeting.
Initially, open A.W.A.R.E. meetings were held each Sunday at 7:00 p.m. at this location. these meetings continued until early 1987 when, due to conflict with the male population, all meetings became closed meetings for women only. This approach has proven very effective since women are much more willing to discuss their own private problems with other women.
Currently, closed A.W.A.R.E. meetings are held every Sunday evening at 3407 North East Ave., Panama City, Fl. These meetings are for women only.

Lynn Haven, Florida 

As membership in Alcoholics Anonymous grew within District 15, meeting facilities became overcrowded. AA members in the outlying areas of central Panama City and Panama City Beach were still finding it difficult to get to a meeting. They certainly did not want to give up their much needed meetings in order to maintain their sobriety.
With this in mind, Pat C. and Linda C. decided it was time to form another AA group in Lynn Haven, Florida. The first meeting of this new group, called the "Lynn Haven Group" of Alcoholics Anonymous, was held in the old Coaches Corner building in April, 1985. Early members included Pat C., Linda C., Judy, Albert, and Brinda N.
The Lynn Haven Group made an early move from the old Coaches Corner building to the Lynn Haven City Commission Room. The group continued to meet at this new location for some time with rather unique meetings held every Thursday night -unique in that the group held a 45 minute speaker meeting followed by a 45 minute discussion meeting.
As membership in this new group grew, it became evident that additional meetings were needed. Thus it was that George and Barbara B. formed a Sunday night open discussion meeting. The regular Thursday night meeting continued.
On June 13, 1985, The Lynn Haven Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
In January, 1989, the City of Lynn Haven renovated its City Commission rooms. This action made it necessary for the Lynn Haven Group to move to other meeting facilities. The group obtained permission to meet at the First Presbyterian Church at the corner of 9th Street and Georgia Avenue in Lynn Haven. The group continues to meet at this location.
Current Meetings of the Lynn Haven Group follow:

Sunday, 8 pm

Open Discussion Meeting (No Smoking)

Thursday, 8 pm

Closed Discussion Meeting (No Smoking)

Panama City, Florida

Beginning as a meeting only, the Fireside Group of AA was founded by Linda C. in May, 1986, at the Crossroads Recovery Center, 2121 Lisenby Ave., Panama City, Florida.
Initially, meetings were held every Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Early members included Frank H. Tom H., Don N., Bob H., Ferris W. and Annette B.
In June, 1986, this meeting became an AA group and was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA on June 13, 1986.
One month later, in July, 1986, George and Barbara formed an open Big Book meeting to be held on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m.
This was followed by the initiation of a Sunday night open speaker meeting to be held at 8:00 p.m. The first speaker at this newly formed group was W. H. from Albany, Georgia.
Many clients of the Crossroads Recovery Center, as well as members of local AA groups, have attended and supported all meetings of the Fireside Group.
Current meeting of the Fireside Group follow:

SUNDAY, 9:00 a.m.

Open Big Book Meeting

SUNDAY, 8:00 p.m.

Open Speaker Meeting


Closed Meeting

The Fireside Group continues to meet at the Crossroads Recovery Center, 2121 Lisenby Ave., Panama City, Florida.

Panama City, Florida 

On April 9, 1987, a group for young AA members was founded by Teri C. and Donny. Aimed at providing the young alcoholic with a solid AA foundation, this new group first held its meetings every Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Meeting location was and still is at the Serenity House, 1008 East 24th Plaza, Panama City, Florida.
Early membership was limited but has now expanded to twelve members. Meeting times were expanded to include Fridays at 8:00 p.m.
On November 9, 1987, the Young and Free Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
Current meetings of the Young and Free Group follow:

Wednesday, 8:00 p.m.

Open Discussion

Friday, 8:00 p.m.

Open Discussion

Panama City, Florida 

In an effort to replace the alcoholic's usual time for "happy hour," a new concept for an AA meeting time arose. On April 15, 1987, the "Serenity Happy Hour Group" was founded by Ray H. This new group was to meet seven days a week at 5:30 p.m. (the usual happy hour time). Location for the new group was at the Serenity House, 1008 East 24th Plaza, Panama City, Florida. Early members included Ray H., and Homer D.
On November 15, 1989, the serenity Happy Hour Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
Current membership in the serenity Happy Hour Group totals eight members who have maintained an excellent attendance record.
The Serenity Happy Hour Group continues to meet seven days a week at 5:30 p.m. at the same location with group discussion meetings followed by fellowship.

Panama City, Florida

At the same time the Serenity Happy Hour Group was founded in Panama City, Ray H. also found a need to further expand noontime meeting opportunities for AA members. These meetings were to be aimed at AA members who could not easily attend evening meetings throughout District 15.
The new group was to meet seven days a week at 12;00 noon. Location for this new group was at the Serenity House, 1008 East 24th Plaza, Panama City, Florida. Early members included Ray H., and Homer D.
On November 15, 1989, the Serenity Nooners Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
Current membership in the Serenity Nooners Group totals eight members who have maintained an excellent attendance record.
The Serenity Nooners Group continues to meet seven days a week at 12:00 noon at the same location with group discussion meetings followed by fellowship.

Fountain, Florida

Initially called the Starting Over Straight Meeting, the Stones of Life Group of AA was formed in June, 1987, by Hollie H. and Mike B. Early members of the stones of Life Group were Hollie H., Mike B., and teenage clients of the Starting Over Straight (SOS) treatment center.
The main purpose of this group was to provide teenage clients and their families with an opportunity to share their experiences and to find a better way of life in a sound AA atmosphere.
Early meeting times and activities have not changed and although membership varies with the number of clients in treatment, the group continues to sustain itself and provides a much needed wholesome service.
The stones of Life group has been formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
Current meetings of the Stones of Life Group of AA follow:

SATURDAY, 6:00 p.m.

Dinner Meeting

SATURDAY, 7:30 p.m.

Open Discussion Meeting

Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida

Following the establishment of a minimum security federal prison on the grounds of Tyndall Air Force, Florida, Bill Altman, a staff counselor, and Jim G. formed an AA group in an effort to bring AA to the prison.
This new group was called the "Tyndall Federal Prison Group" of AA and held its first meeting in May, 1988, in the prison. Early members of this group were Jim G., Tommy S., Delmer A., Ron H., and Bob. Jim G. Was elected GSR for this new group.
Due to lack of space in the prison, the Tyndall Federal Prison Group moved its meeting facilities to the Chapel annex where the group continues to meet.
Current meetings of the Tyndall Federal Prison Group follow:
THURSDAY, 8:00 p.m. Institution Meeting

Fountain, Florida

With people moving in an out of the Panama City area, AA in District 15 continued to flourish along with the population increase. Two former members of the Hopeful Serenity Group in Panama City discovered a need for a new AA group in Fountain, Florida.
The "Fountain of Hope Group" was founded by Jacqueline L., and Al L., in October, 1988. The first meetings were held on Tuesdays in the Greenhills Community Center. Early members included Jacqueline L., Al L., and Patricia T.
In June 1989, the Fountain of Hope Group moved its meeting location to the Greenhills Garden Club where it still meets.
Membership in this group stands at three, however, ten to twelve AAs are usually in attendance.
The Fountain of Hope Group presently meets every Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m.


Bayou George, Florida

AA growth in District 15 continued to flourish with yet another new group being formed in October, 1988. Founded by Cherie H., and John (Andy) A. the "Bayou George Group" of AA held its first meeting on October 29, 1988, in the Bayou George Volunteer Fire Department Association building.
Early members of the Bayou George Group included Cherie H., John (Andy) A., AnneG., DanS., and GerryB. Meetings were held every Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
Initially, the Bayou George Group's meeting place presented some hardships since there was no bathroom facility nor running water available. However, the new group was able to cope with this situation pending remodeling.
The first birthday to be celebrated in the Bayou George Group was held in February 1989 when Gerry B. racked up five years of continuous sobriety. Other birthdays celebrated in 1989 included Cherie B., with nine years and John (Andy) A., with six years.
In February, 1989, the Bayou George Group of AA was formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
Current membership in the Bayou George Group totals six members who have been in regular attendance.
The Bayou George Group continues to meet every Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. at the same location. This meeting is an open discussion meeting.

UPDATE!  as of February 2007:

Panama City, Florida

In an effort to bring the fellowship and values of AA to the Black community of Panama City, Ferris W. and Andre' W. founded a Big Book study group. This group was founded on February 28, 1989. Early members included Ferris W., Andre' W., Dennis R., and Janice M.
Initial meetings were held on Sunday afternoons in a garage belonging to one of the members. This was necessary until firm arrangements could be made in December, 1989, to use the Serenity House located at 1008 W. 24th Plaza, Panama City, Fl. The group continues to meet at the Serenity House with a small membership.
The Big Book Group of Panama City is formally registered by the General Service Office of AA.
While primarily a Black group, members of the Big Book Group of Panama City are quick to let it be known that the group is open to all, regardless of race or ethnic background.
Current meetings of the Big Book Group of Panama City follow:
TUESDAY, 8:00 p.m.     Open Discussion Meeting


Beach Unity Group
Panama City Beach, Florida

The Beach Unity Group began with a small cadre of alcoholics on the East End of Panama City Beach, interested in having daily meetings for anyone with a desire to stay sober. The group became official within District 15, holding their first meeting in the small lobby area of the Beach YANA Club in January 1991. Memo reports have the first meeting with only 5 attendees: Ray S and Joann S (the founders of the Beach YANA Club, Inc.), Frank M, Mike D, Janelle S, and Beth L (with her young daughters Kelly and Katie). During the first year, some of these recovering alcoholics were the beginning members: Ray S and Joann S, Charlie W, Bob W, Jack M, Warren G and Eloise G, Mike D, Jan and Larry S, Frank S, Frank M, Fred B, Janelle S, Robert H, Bill F, Darrel D, Rusty, Miss Ruby, Joe W and Jackie W, Joe G and Jane G, Mike D, Andy T, Dan P, Hank M, Joy G, Beth L, Laura R, Brian G, Kerry E, Bridget, Jimmy C (Wormy), Vince M and Barbara, Barb K, Hilary J, Jimmie A, Missy J, Nancy, Chuck P, and Mike (fisherman). There were many others whose names cannot be recalled but these early members met often to encourage each other and help newcomers. One important story is that Janelle S came in January 1991 and picked up the first White Chip given out by the group. She is the one-chip wonder of this group and stayed sober until she died in a work-related accident sometime in 1998 (I think). She was a great inspiration to many men and women in the group.
As of this writing, in March 2006, the group has grown from the few original members to over 30 regular attendees. At one time, in the mid-1990’s the group attendance was often around 50 people, but the nature of AA on the beach has always been seasonal and fluctuating. Over the years, we have had active Group Service Representatives (GSRs) and other members who are vital in District 15 affairs, service work in the community, and Area One volunteer work. The Beach Unity Group contributes monthly to help support the District, Area, and AA General Service Office (GSO) in New York as a consistent member in good standing. The group is self-supporting and pays rents each month for space to meet at the Beach YANA Club, Inc. Location of the Beach YANA Club is 8715 Laird Street Panama City Beach, FL 32408. The phone in the lobby can be called (850) 230-1821, any time to ask directions or talk to an alcoholic.
The group meets every day from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in hopes of attracting the after-work Happy Hour crowd and other wayward travelers off the beach (and off the barstool) after the sun goes down! The timeframe works well for many people, making it easy to keep a reasonable schedule for supper, or planning a nice evening at home. It also feels good to sit down after a busy day, sometimes stressful, and hear the message of hope the group offers. There are many new members and many transient visitors to our area that grace the meetings every day, which gives this group a perpetual freshness and a sincere desire to share recovery experience, strength, and hope with all who enter the doors of AA. We have a mix of young and old, men and women, short-term to long-term sobriety, and lots of newcomers that come back again and get sober, as they become more willing to admit their disease and seek the solution that the AA program gives alcoholics. Most of our meetings are open and there is a Speaker meeting on Sunday afternoon. We have a real good time poking fun at each her, laughing at ourselves, and sharing honestly with each other. We encourage people who are court-ordered, out of Detox, out of jail, and out of answers to Keep Coming Back! One day at a Time is another favorite motto of our group.
Some features of the group: We have a chip system to gauge the first year in sobriety since it seems to help track our progress. We celebrate Birthdays of members on the last Sunday of each month at the 5:30 Speaker meeting in order to show the program works! We welcome newcomers by giving them a Where and When schedule with people's phone numbers (guys # for the guys, ladies # for the ladies) and talk after the meeting. We have a Visitor's Book for our many visitors to write in after the meeting. Currently, the group has a team that takes a meeting into Detox every Thursday evening at 7 p.m. During the mid-90s, we had a team to take meetings into the Hwy. 390 Workcamp. We look forward to carrying the message of recovery to many more alcoholics in our area!

Surfside Serenity Group
Mexico Beach, Florida

This information was provided by Steve M. and Ed M.   
The Surfside Serenity Group was founded by Jim M. in October 1987 and meetings were first held at the Rustic Sands Campground, which Jim owned. Other early members included Ralph K., Steve M., Frank T. and Ed and Carolyn M.
The group got permission, through Charlie Parker,  to hold meetings at the First United Methodist Church on 22nd St., Mexico Beach and they met there until April 2005 when they moved to the Mexico Beach Community Center behind the Fish House Restaurant.  
Apparently the first meetings were held on Wednesday at 7:30 P.M., Central Time (CT).  Later, Monday, Thursday and Friday meetings were added.  The Thursday evening meeting was dropped although a Thursday noon Women's meeting was held for many years.  The Monday and Wednesday meetings were dropped in the late 1990's due to non-attendance.  The Sunday meeting was added in April 2005.  
Current meetings (at the Community Center) are Sunday, 6:00 P.M., (CT) CD Big Book, Steps & Traditions; and Friday, 7:30 P.M. (CT) closed discussion.  The last Friday of each month is birthday night and is an open meeting.  
Membership has fluctuated over the years.  It reached a high point of 26 around 2002 but currently is 14.

New Way of Life Group
Bay County Correctional Facility, Florida

This group was founded and received its group number on Feb 19, 1998. Alan L., an inmate, was the driving force behind this group being organized. It meets in the Bay County Correctional Facility every Wednesday night at 7 PM and Friday nights at 6 PM. The original meeting schedule was Wednesday night and Sunday night for a Big Book study. Walt L was a long time outside sponsor who attended on Wednesday nights. When Walt moved away, there was a 2 year period where this group had no outside sponsor and was supported by the in house treatment program, Addictions Treatment Unit. In Jan 2003, the Big Book study was moved from Sunday night to Friday night. Current sponsors are Hugh S and Doug D. 
Non inmates must go through a screening process by CCA to obtain entrance to the prison. DOC credentials are not sufficient.
 The group has an excellent library of AA literature which members may check out at will.

Sunday Morning Big Book Study Group
Panama City Beach, Florida

The Group started in May 1988 in a rehab center called Crossroads. George and Jean Rash started the meeting in which they provided coffee and donuts and the patients were invited to attend a real A.A. meeting.
As the name of the group indicates it was a study of the book Alcoholics Anonymous.
Jean was still working for the airlines and was gone for weeks at a time so George traveled from Vernon to Panama City every Sunday to make the coffee. George would grab someone coming in the meeting and ask them to chair the meeting and everyone read a paragraph or two just as we do today.
In December 1997 Crossroads closed their doors and the group moved to the CAYA Club in January 1998. The first meeting was on January 11, 1998 in unit 35 of the Promenade Mall.
I started chairing the meetings at that time as I had a key to the place and knew how the format had been:
A simple start With a Quiet Time
Serenity Prayer
Welcome visitors
Start the reading where we left off the Sunday before.  
There were no chips or other reading and we have kept to that format.
When the CAYA Club moved in 2002 the meeting went with them.
The group pays the CAYA Club 75% of the basket each month for rent and coffee. Donuts are furnished by the group. The group sends $30.00 or $40.00 each month to the Intergroup in Panama City and $40.00 when we accumulate it to New York.
I am looking for someone who would like to chair the meeting on a weekly basis. Or if not chair open up the club and get the donuts and see that someone chairs the meeting. This also entails keeping the books of the group and making out the checks to mail to Inter Group and New York.

UPDATE!  as of October 2007:

Sunrise Serenity Group
Panama City, Florida

In the spring of 2005, two AA members within the Panama City area determined that there was a need for a morning meeting as none existed at that time.
Hulda L. and Brenda M. obtained approval from Serenity Junction, Inc. to hold a 07:45-08:45 am meeting each weekday at 922 Jenks Ave., Panama City.
This 07:45 am meeting was well received and within a short time was expanded to include Saturdays as well.
The meeting became a group with the name "SUNRISE SERENITY" on the 10th of December, 2005 with 12 active members.
The first Group Officers were elected June 2006. GSR: Pam S.; Alt GSR: Scott G.; Secretary: Mike C.; Treasurer: Nathan L.
Sunrise Serenity currently holds 6 daily "Open Discussion" meetings averaging between 8 and 21 in attendance.
On December 21, 2006, the group started 5:30 pm, "Closed Discussion" meetings, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday evenings.
In March 2007, the group started a Step Study meeting on Thursday mornings.
By June 1st, 2007 the parking at 922 Jenks had become insufficient, due to the growing attendance, and the group moved to a new location: Trinity Lutheran Church on 11th St. and Balboa.
July 17th, 2007 the group had their first Adaptive Big Book Study on Tuesdays at the 07:45 am meeting.
October 11th, 2007 the group had their first Traditional Big Book Study at the Thursday 5:30 pm meeting.
The group's attendance, as of October 2007, now ranges from 15-20 for the morning meetings and 12-15 for the 5:30 meetings. The Birthday meeting attendance, however, is usually about 40 -44 people.


This section describes club activities in the area which are not affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous, but which provide meeting room facilities and fellowship for the recovering alcoholic.
Clubs and other fellowship-type activities have long been recognized as valuable supplements to the recovery process. In addition, these activities provide for the ownership of necessary property not normally purchased by AA groups.


Panama City, Florida

In October, 1974, a group of some twenty-four local AA members began meeting in an effort to establish a club for the recovering alcoholic.
This club was to be called "Serenity Junction," and was not to be affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous in any way, however, it was to abide by AA Guidelines for Clubs and AA Traditions.
On December 23, 1974, "Serenity Junction" became a reality when it was incorporated under the laws of the State of Florida as a non-profit organization.
The primary purpose of "Serenity Junction" is twofold. First, it provides meeting room facilities for AA groups. There is no fixed rental fee, however, a percentage of meeting contributions is donated by these groups to help defray costs, including coffee, sugar, cream, coffee maker, etc.
Second, "Serenity Junction" provides a point of contact in downtown Panama City for the alcoholic who is looking for help, as well as providing an 'understanding' gathering place for the AA member who finds it hard to survive long hours between meetings.
Like many other recovering alcoholic activities, "Serenity Junction" had to relocate many times for many reasons. Some of its previous locations were: East 6th.Street. East 9th Street, Jenks Avenue, West 15th Street, Grace Avenue, and East 24th Plaza. Since April 15, 1988, "Serenity Junction" has been located at 922 Jenks Avenue in Panama City.
Average active membership on the rolls of "Serenity Junction" totals thirty-five.
Currently, there are some ten regularly-scheduled AA meetings held each week at "Serenity Junction."


Panama City, Florida

With an eye toward helping newly sobered-up alcoholics to attain and maintain a healthy sobriety, a second club in District 15 was formed on April 15, 1987. Named the "Serenity House" and located at 1008 East 24th Plaza, Panama City, this new club was founded by Ray H.
Like the other Panama City club, the Serenity House is not affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous in any way. It operates by AA Guidelines for Clubs and AA Traditions.
Early active members of the Serenity House included Ray H.., George B., Don N., Al A., and Homer D.
A main objective of the Serenity House is the taking in of people from jails, the Detox center, and the halfway house, and giving them a start in the recovery program of AA. Providing temporary shelter and lodging, the Serenity House offers the newly-recovered alcoholic an opportunity to help himself become a valuable asset in the community.
In addition, the Serenity House offers a hospitable gathering place for the recovering alcoholic to share fellowship at all times.
The Serenity House is open seven days a week and provides meeting facilities for several Panama City AA groups. There are three AA meetings each day: 12:00 noon, 5:30 p.m., and again at 8:00 p.m.

UPDATE!  as of February 2007:

Beach YANA Club
Panama City Beach, FL

The Beach YANA Club, Inc. was a vision in Ray S’s mind when he had a notion that the alcoholics on Panama City Beach would benefit from a recovery club. YANA stands for You Are Not Alone. Ray S saw through the musty facade of an old welding shop on Laird Street to see its potential. Before that, there were horses kept in the building (it was almost called The Barn). A small group of alcoholics that Ray and his wife Joann S knew as friends, would meet and talk about the possibility of a Clubhouse. Many folks thought the idea was nice but thought Ray S was indulging in delusional thinking. A few thought how will we afford such an undertaking? However, he persisted and soon bought the property from a well-known local couple (the Pepmillers) in late 1990. From memory accounts, Ray S and Joann S (the founders of the Beach YANA Club), got some financial backing from hopeful members who believed in the project (including Charlie W, Joe G, and others). Another friend, Brian H from New York came down on a visit and helped Ray S draft the official paperwork to incorporate.
The premises include a Club on Laird Street and a small House on Dorothy Avenue. Location for the Beach YANA Club is 8715 Laird Street, Panama City Beach, FL 32408. The House on Dorothy Avenue is for the caretaker of the property to live in while maintaining the grounds and opening the Club each day. The phone in the Club lobby can be called (850) 230-1821, any time to ask directions or talk to an alcoholic. There was a lot of work to be done before the Club could be used as a meeting place. In the very beginning, the concrete floor was covered with oil and dirt and it was a damp shell of a building. A core group of hard working volunteers cleaned up the dirt, painted, repaired, and applied stucco to the outside of the Club. During the 1990s, members volunteered their labor and built on the Kitchen and Back Room. A team also revamped the house by putting up sheetrock and painting. Early on, it was determined that a caretaker should be on the premises to open the Club and watch over things. (Hank M and Jerry B are the most noteworthy). Some notable characters that helped in the original preparations are as follows: Ray S and Joann S, Joe G and Jane G, Charlie W, Brian H, Mike D, Bob W, Janelle S, Fred B, Robert H, Dan P, Hank M, Bo S and Juanita S, Brian G, Jimmie C (Wormy), Andy T, Kerry E, Beth L, and Frank M! Many people who were members of the Frantic Serenity Group (at the time) were supportive of this new Club. 
As of this writing, February 18, 2006, the Club is managed by a Board of Directors that are volunteer AA members who share a keen interest in keeping the Club open and in good condition. The Club also has a Board of Trustees to guide the decision process whenever requested by the Board of Directors. The year of 2005 was an exciting time for the Club with renovation of the grounds and sprucing up the place to attract more members and be ready to host more activities. The Board of Directors and some of the Trustees coordinated to have the old septic tank condemned and filled in. A local plumber ran the sewer lines and installed a pump to hook into city sewer services. We created a better gravel driveway with ample parking in the back lot area. Painting was done inside the Club and a beautiful underwater mural was donated by one of our AA members. The mural is framed nicely (by a member) which makes the whole wall stand out to all who enter the meeting room. After all the work, we have a nice Club to do what we want to do and have fun in sobriety! The year of 2006 will be a time of growth and more renovation, mainly to get the House on Dorothy Avenue in better shape and maintain the integrity of the structure and consider internal renovations.
The YANA Club was the last building that we know of to allow smoking meetings (since Florida Statute has banned smoking in public buildings). With a tie-breaker vote, the Club became Non-Smoking on 15 January 2006 and is now even more inviting to the general population. It feels good to know that our hard work to clean up the inside of the Club will last longer and attract people back that cannot tolerate the smoky atmosphere that once was commonplace here. There are many new members and hope for the future of this Club. With many developers buying real estate all over the Beach, it is in our best interest as recovering alcoholics to keep the property as long as possible. God willing, we will have a Beach YANA Club for many more years! Our membership has grown over the years and we hope to welcome many more people looking for a place to recover and enjoy the fellowship that goes along with having a nice Club.  
The YANA Club has AA Big Books for sale and many related recovery books, plus pamphlets and AA meeting schedules in the lobby. The Beach Unity Group holds their meetings every day at 5:30 p.m. and other meetings are held at various times. The Club hosts activities like Bingo, Holiday Dances, Saturday night dinners, recovery workshops, yard sales, work parties, and cookouts to encourage members to have fun and Keep Coming Back!


Whenever AA members gather, sobriety is always uppermost in everyone's mind. It is the main topic of discussion at any gathering, whether between two or two hundred members. Sharing experiences, strengths and hopes has, and still is, the backbone of every AA member's continued and successful recovery program.
Yet, seldom does an AA get-together result without talk of food, and fellowship. Somehow, AAs do not seem to be able to function without these things. Like the ideal family gathering for a meal with fellowship at the dinner table, recovering alcoholics derive tremendous support and a sense of well being when gathering together for food and fellowship.
Listening to the experiences of recovering alcoholics from other cities and groups provides keen insights to one's own problems. Identification always results in a positive push in the right direction for each other. It is this kind of human closeness; this kind of sharing; this awareness, that has made Alcoholics Anonymous so successful.
With these things in mind, two separate activities were founded in District15: the "Alkathon" and the "Gulf Coast Roundup." Each has become a tradition in its own right and each continues to serve the AA community in a most beneficial manner. Their histories follow on the next two pages.


In December, 1967, when District 15 was formerly included in District 12 of the Alabama/NW Florida Area, Jim W. and Henry B. of Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, formed an "eatin' meetin'" function which was to become known as the Alkathon. Early member groups were the Ocean City Group of Ft. Walton Beach and the
Panama City Group.
The idea behind the Alkathon was to have a monthly AA gathering (on the 4th Saturday of each month) with food, speakers, and fellowship. The first Alkathon was held in December 1967, at the St. Simon By The Sea Episcopal Church in Ft. Walton Beach. The first speakers were Warren K., and Nancy K., from Mobile, Alabama.
Format for the Alkathon included Setup at 4:30 p.m., Fellowship at 6:00 p.m., Eating at 7:00 p.m., and Speakers at 8:00 p.m. Financing for the Alkathon was to be made by donations at each Alkathon. Food was to be brought by individual members.
By May, 1973, after the establishment of District 15, attendance at the Alkathon had grown considerably and other groups became involved. Visiting groups were no longer expected to bring food.
Expanding to a rotational approach, the first Alkathon held in Panama City Beach was on Saturday, December 25, 1973. Jack H. had contacted the Panama City Beach Civic Center and obtained
permission to use its facilities. Jim R., and Mike R., of Ft. Walton Beach were highly instrumental in setting up this first meeting in Panama City Beach. The Civic Center continues to be the site for Alkathons held in the Panama City area.
By May 1981, as the number of AA groups grew and monies became more difficult to account for, the District 15 Intergroup assumed accounting responsibilities.
Alkathon meeting dates sometimes interfered with the Gulf Coast Roundup dates and with holidays throughout the year. 1989 found the Alkathon changing its meeting date to the 2nd Saturday of each month. An Alkathon Committee was also formed in an effort to help new groups, as well as old ones, in hosting future Alkathons.
Alkathons currently rotate meeting places between Panama City Beach, Ft. Walton Beach, and Pensacola, Florida.



The Gulf Coast Roundup was born as the result of a group of AAs joining together in the interest of sobriety.
In 1968, at the AA Club in Montgomery, Alabama, Joe D., and Warren K., from Mobile, Alabama; Jack C., from Montgomery, Alabama; Bill A., from Ocean Springs, Mississippi; and Henry B., and Jim W., from Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, gathered together as a group of AAs (not an AA group) and planned the first Gulf Coast Roundup.
Originally planned to be held in Mobile, Alabama, the actual location for this first Gulf Coast Roundup was at a "Dude Ranch" in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The year was 1969, and there were some ninety-five people in attendance. The second Gulf Coast Roundup was also held in Ocean Springs in 1970.
At an Alkathon in 1971, Bill A., asked that the Roundup be moved to the Ft. Walton Beach area. Unfortunately in 1971, there was no facility in Ft. Walton Beach that was large enough to host the Roundup.
Jim R. agreed to work with the board and helped make arrangements to hold the third Roundup at the Sands Inn in Panama City Beach.
The Gulf Coast Roundup location, in Panama City Beach, was later moved to the Barefoot Motel, and then again to the Howard Johnson Motel (later renamed the Gulfside Inn.)
During many pleasant years in Panama City Beach, the Roundup continued to grow, and the Gulfside Inn facility continued to age. In response to attendee requests, the board evaluated alternate locations and considered the pros and cons of each.
Following the 1988 Gulf Coast Roundup, the majority of the Board voted to move the Roundup to the Ramada Beach Resort in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. This is the current location.
Beginning on a Thursday evening at 8:00 p.m., and lasting until noon on the following Sunday, each Roundup features some eight main speakers (along with their chairmen); and a "Love In," all of which is solid AA.



Presented below are some noteworthy items about District 15 of the Alabama/NW Florida Area:
On March 6, 1971, June W. became the first woman on record to enter AA in this area.
On November 20, 1974, Joe E. was the first man to recover in the local detox center and then enter AA and then stay sober. .
In September, 1978, Vivian C. was the first black woman to recover in the local detox center and then enter AA and then stay sober.
In August, 1978, Eddie C. was the first black man to recover in the local detox center and then enter AA and then stay sober.
The first woman to be elected DCM for District 15 was Jane G., who was elected in September, 1984 and served from January 1, 1985 to December 31, 1986.
Past DCMs for District 15 include: Ivan S., Jack H., Bill J., Stan S., Chuck G., Jimmie C., "Shakey" Jake B.,
Jane G., Peter R., and Al L.
Present DCM (1989-90) for District 15 is "T.J." C. She is the second woman to ever be elected as DCM
in District 15.
A 24-hour telephone answering service for Bay County and for Gulf County has long been provided by the District 15 Intergroup for alcoholics seeking help and for transient AAs seeking meeting times and other information.

Telephone numbers for this service follow:
BAY COUNTY (904) 784-7431
GULF COUNTY (904) 648-8121
The introduction of AA Big Books and AA literature into both Bay and Gulf County public schools in 1984, was accomplished through the commendable efforts of a member of District15, namely, Juanita S. In March, 1985, Juanita was also responsible for the placement of AA literature in all of the Bay Medical Center waiting rooms. Juanita helped Canadian snowbirds to get Big Books into Canadian schools. She has held District 15 PI-CPC and secretary offices since October, 1983.
Appointed as the first Alabama/NW Florida Area Archives Chairman on January 1, 1986, and then elected to that same office on January 1, 1988, Bo S. established the largest portable archive display in AA history. Through his efforts, the self-supporting Archives Committee will be the first area committee in AA history to put on an archives display at a regional forum outside of, and independent from the GSO. Archives in New York. This forum will be held December 7-8-9, 1990 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Bo S. has held DCM, GSR, and PI offices since December, 1983.
The following is a listing of AA meetings which are held in various hospitals, treatment centers and institutions within District 15:






 Bay Medical Center



 Rivendell Family Center





Bay County Jail

CCA Work Camp, Men's and Women's Program

Panama City Community Correctional Center

Gulf county Work Camp, Howard's Creek

Tyndall Federal Prison

NOTE: Consult schedule for meeting times and locations