5th Tradition Group History
AArchives Prepared by: Mark C.
Mid-Southern Calif. Area 09
Date: Sunday, July 6, 2021
District No.: 9 Group Service No.: 610716
Name of Group: Fifth Tradition Group
Also known as: Sunny Dunes
Date Formed: Summer 1992 with number of members: 20 (estimate)
Founders: Shari K., Toby, John H., Carol H.
Names of Early Members: Bill L., Bill C., Gus M., Mark C., Thom M., Willie R.,
Todd K., Bud S.,
Location of First Meeting: 650 E Sunny Dunes Road, Ste 2, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Time of First Meeting: 7 AM
Type of First Meeting: Attitude Adjustment – As Bill Sees It
5–10-minute lead then sharing
Dates at First Location: Summer 1992 to Spring 2000
Second Location: 1555 S Palm Canyon Drive, Ste D-103, PS, CA 92264
4 to 6 meetings per day; 7 AM to 8 PM
Dates at Second Location: Spring 2000 to May 31, 2013
Current Location: 4711 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Dates at Current Location: May 31, 2013 to present
Approx. No. of Members: 300
The start of the Sunny Dunes/Fifth Tradition Group occurred in the summer of 1992.
The Fifth Tradition Group, like most new groups, started with a resentment and a coffee pot.
The group from which the resentment manifested was the group at 454 N Indian Canyon Avenue in Palm Springs on the second floor. At that location, there was a meeting room and the area Central Office.
There were meetings at 4:55 AM, 6 AM, and 7 AM, along with evening meetings.
The 7 AM Attitude Adjustment meeting at 454 was the meeting where the resentment flourished. The main issue was the singleness of purpose. Members of the 7 AM had varying views regarding talking about alcohol/alcoholism versus speaking about drugs. It was the perfect storm of challenges to the group.
At one 7 AM meeting, a member got up from the table with fists clenched in a fighting position. Members were able to talk him down without incident. This type of threatening demonstrates intense feelings over the subject, thus putting Tradition One to the test. The “loving” part of Tradition Two also became hard to find.
Six challenges came together to create animosity among the 7 AM members. These are in no order of importance.
Challenge 1: A women’s recovery home in Palm Springs called Choices came daily to the 7 AM meeting at 454 N Indian. Recovery centers deal with all kinds of issues beyond alcohol. These women shared about many topics unrelated to AA’s Tradition Five of singleness of purpose.
Challenge 2: A portion of the 454 group wanted the meeting room to be non-smoking (this was before it was a state law). This part of the 454 group formed the Fifth Tradition Group at the original Sunny Dunes location.
Challenge 3: There was some 13th stepping of newcomer women by a few of the heterosexual men of the group.
This unfortunate behavior led to some significant hurt feelings, tensions in the room, a lack of trust in the group, and ultimately some divorces.
Challenge 4: In the late 80s and early 90s, more and more gay AA members moved to the Desert. In that era, there were six gay meetings a week in the entire Coachella Valley. An increasing number of gay people attended the 7 AM meeting at 454 N Indian, causing strife among some members putting Tradition Three to the test.
Challenge 5: During this whole argument of singleness of purpose, the Palm Springs AA fellowship as a whole had strife going on between alcohol and other substances.
At the end of singing “Happy Birthday,” it was the tradition for the members to add, “Keep coming back without a drink, pill, or fix.” The group was arguing for singleness of purpose; yet, at the same time, the group was including a specific reference to drugs in the group’s AA anniversary celebrations.
This refrain at the end of singing “Happy Birthday” remained a tradition in the greater Palm Springs fellowship into the 2000s. At some point, and relatively quickly, and with little discussion or objection, the chorus changed. The new and still current ending to “Happy Birthday” is “Keep Coming Bank – SOBER!”
Challenge 6: Part of the 454 N Indian group membership was Canadians. These Canadians who wintered in Palm Springs brought their thoughts about how AA and AA meetings should run. There was little regard or appreciation for how the local Palm Springs year-round fellowship designed and operated the meetings.
Even so, the Canadians did have a following of local fellowship members.
And these combined members were the first to split from the 454 Group. These members started a group called the “How It Works Group,” which now meets at 559 S Palm Canyon Dr Ste B103 in Palm Springs.
Side Note: Over the years, people arriving in the Desert to relocate/retire have influenced how AA works here in the Coachella Valley. This influence occurs less now that the AA population is more entrenched than in the 1980s. An example is the Canadian dominance, which created the “How It Works Group.” There are many more instances.
Here is a case showing the maturation of the Desert AA fellowship.
This illustration shows AA members from other areas attempting to change how we do things here no longer easily sways the local fellowship.
In 2010, a member relocated to the Desert. This member asked at each meeting that did not read “Chapter Five” to change the format to include “Chapter Five – How It Work.” The significant majority of each meeting’s members defeated the request for the addition of Chapter Five. The local fellowship was entrenched now. We are firm in our bonds of tradition to how we do it here. This illustration shows Tradition One and Tradition Two at work.
The Formation of the Fifth Tradition Group
Shari K., Toby, John H., Carol H., Bill L., Willie T., Bill F., and Gene W. were the prominent people involved in getting the Fifth Tradition Group started. They represented the part of the 454 group that wanted singleness of purpose, as well as non-smoking.
The Fifth Tradition states, “Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who stills suffers.”
The naming of the Fifth Tradition Group comes from the controversy over the singleness of purpose. The original member wanted to bring home the point that the group’s focus is alcohol and the alcoholic.
In the 7 AM meeting format, there is a notation of singleness of purpose stated before attendees introduce themselves. The statement is, “We ask that people with other addictions confine their sharing to alcoholism. No other identification is necessary.” Some other autonomous meetings within the Fifth Tradition Group also put in this request. Each meeting is autonomous; therefore, not all meetings do this.
Since the 7 AM started from this controversy and was the first set of meetings at the Fifth Tradition Group, these two sentences hold great value to the meeting.
The Fifth Tradition Group originally started in a restaurant (possibly Rick’s on North Palm Canyon) before renting the original Sunny Dunes meeting room.
The original Sunny Dunes Road meeting room was leased in the summer of 1992. The timing was not the best because there was a significant rent of approximately $600. The electric bill was high because of an old HVAC, plus it was the middle of summer. Only eight meetings supported this large outlay, and, of course, they were small because of the split.
The 7 AM Attitude Adjustment meeting was a new creation based on the 7 AM from 454 North Indian. The 7 AM at the new Sunny Dunes Room was not the 454-meeting brought over to Sunny Dunes.
The 454 North Indian 7 AM meeting continued for a time after the “Canadian/How It Works” and the “Fifth Tradition/non-smoking” split. The eighth meeting at the new Sunny Dunes room was a Sunday 5:30 PM Discussion meeting. This meeting disbanded. Eventually, its replacement became the current Sunday, 5:30 PM Big Book Study.
The Fifth Tradition Group originally started to be a corporation. The corporation never got off the ground because there were not enough members to support it.
After the corporation plan did not pan out, a steering committee created Shari K as chair, and Bill L. as co-chair sometime in 1993. The steering committee decided to design The Fifth Tradition Group by the AA Group pamphlet and the Twelve Traditions. This decision came about from the suggestions and guidance of Gay members of the Fifth Tradition Group with experience from forming the AT Center (Alcoholics Together) in Los Angeles in the 1970s.
The Fifth Tradition Group steering committee is the body that operates the room, with each meeting being autonomous. This is important for two reasons:
- That the autonomous meetings of the group pool their money in order to be a self-supporting group
- This led to the ability to have small meetings that would not survive if they had to pay rent, for example, to a church.
As a result, the Fifth Tradition Group has over 40 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings per week.
Side note: Stan of Empire Heating and AC put in a new a/c unit for the room at Sunny Dunes, and the bill lowered tremendously. This contribution helped the fledgling group survive until the membership could grow enough for the Fifth Tradition Group to be self-supporting through its own contributions. He has assisted with several a/c units for the Group over the years.
Side note: Toby was an artisan and a carpenter. He made the tables, the glass-encased announcement boards, the little tools that hang on the wall, the coffee cup holders, the Fifth Tradition Group logo sign, and the frames for the Steps and Traditions scrolls.
The Following Evolved from the Original Resentment and a Coffee Pot
Subtitle: God doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Out of all the turmoil came some very significant improvements to the AA Fellowship of Palm Springs.
- In the late 1980s, there were two main meeting rooms. There was the Alano Club and the 454 North Indian Canyon room. Three main meeting rooms help create approximately 135 meetings per week in Palm Springs – The Alano Club, The How It Works/Attitude Adjustment Group (a merger occurred at some point), and the Fifth Tradition Group.
- Although not starting as a Gay group, the Fifth Tradition Group became the Gay fellowship group. This development allowed the Gay AA community to have over 40 meetings per week in Palm Springs. This type of abundance is something that no other small town with a sizeable Gay population has in the United States or Canada. Many large cities with large Gay populations do not have this kind of access to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on this scale. People worldwide come to our Fifth Tradition Group and consistently say how blessed we are to have such a phenomenon.
The influx of Gay men and women to the Desert in the past 30 years has been significant. There are estimates that over 50% of the population of Palm Springs is gay. It was vital for this populace to have a dedicated AA group. God had a plan for us in the Gay fellowship and the general fellowship to provide enough support for all members.
- Although not apparent at the time of the controversies, splits, and hard feelings, Tradition Two prevailed with the “loving” part of all concerned intact.
- The group at 454 North Indian became the “Attitude Adjustment Group,” with a similar number of meetings per week. They now, ironically, merged with the “How It Works Group.” God does have a sense of humor.
- The “How It Works Group” formed based on how some meetings work in Canada, which created a different approach to sobriety and one that works for some people.
- The Alano Club still exists going strong with AA and other 12-Step offerings. The Alano Club provides additional service to the Palm Springs community by being a clubhouse instead of a group. The Fifth Tradition, How It Works, and Attitude Adjustment do not do because these three groups are Alcoholics Anonymous groups based on the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.
It is important to note that the Gay members of Palm Springs AA did not start the Fifth Tradition Group originally. After the corporation plan did not work out, Gay members were responsible for suggesting to design the Group around the AA Group Pamphlet and the Twelve Traditions.
These Gay members had experience from Los Angeles and Milwaukee.
In the 1970s, Los Angeles Central Office would not list or acknowledge Gay AA meetings. As a result, Alcoholics Together (known as AT) was created to serve the Gay alcoholic community. When Gay members who were part of AT moved to the Desert, that experience of AT helped the members of the Fifth Tradition Group understand how to form the Fifth Tradition Group as it stands today.
There should be an acknowledgment that the non-Gay members of the Palm Springs fellowship were the first in charge of Sunny Dunes. We oblige a lot to their original tenacity under extraordinary circumstances with great appreciation. It was not an easy time. They kept the lights on when there was no enough income for the Fifth Tradition Group to support itself entirely from the Seventh Tradition.
We also owe the Gay members who stepped up to design the Fifth Tradition Group as it stands today.
The Seventh Tradition of an individual meeting goes completely to the operation of the room, and support to Central Intergroup of the Desert, General Services – District 9, Mid-Southern California Area 9, GSO, and H&I. No Fifth Tradition Group meeting pays rent to the room. Therefore, while autonomous, each meeting is part of the Fifth Tradition Group and not its own group.
Most meetings celebrate yearly milestones with cake.
Individual members of the fellowship pay for the cake, usually the person giving the cake to the celebrator. The Fifth Tradition Group does not pay for cakes.
The Fifth Tradition Group provides chips from 24-hours to multiple years of sobriety. We have chips for up to 50 years because so many old-timers are members of the fellowship.
Controversy over Singleness of Purpose
The controversy over singleness of purpose continued on many occasions over the period between 1992 when the group formed and 2006.
In 2006, a portion of the Fifth Tradition fellowship decided to take a group inventory, which led to the most significant challenge regarding singleness of purpose ever.
The members of the fellowship that attended the group inventory created a statement regarding singleness of purpose. Those members proposed that this statement be read at the beginning of each AA meeting of the Fifth Tradition Group.
The proposal was directed through the steering committee, which has no authority over an individual meeting at the Fifth Tradition Group.
Regardless, the steering committee asked that each meeting vote on the proposed singleness of purpose statement causing a major uproar. Each meeting did vote on the statement, and each meeting declined to have it read. The steering committee overstepped its authority, which is none, towards the individual meetings. This process was Tradition Two and Tradition Four in action.
Another aspect revealed in all this challenge was the “loving” part of Tradition Two. The proposed singleness of purpose reading was offensive to even the most ardent singleness of purpose advocates among the fellowship. By voting no on the statement, the “one ultimate authority – a loving God as he may express Himself in our group conscious” came through. It was not a loving statement; therefore, it failed.
The beauty of this entire experience was the validation of Traditions One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.
The residual fallout was evident.
- Attendance at the Fifth Tradition Group meetings declined for a time, particularly at 7 AM and 8:30 AM. After a breather from it all, attendance came back to pre-controversy levels.
- The underlying motive of the singleness of purpose statement was toward AA members with an addiction to crystal meth. The result was Crystal Meth Anonymous meeting flourished in Palm Springs, addressing a much-needed service to the recovery community.
- Like in most controversies, God had a bigger plan for us.
The Fifth Tradition Group is an Alcoholics Anonymous Group. Therefore, providing an individual meeting at the Fifth Tradition Group is an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting; Tradition Four prevails as long as a meeting does not affect “AA as a whole.”
The steering committee got itself defined clearer for all members. In the minutes of the steering committee meetings of the time, note this more precise definition of the committee purpose.
The steering committee operates the room, period. It does not influence the autonomous meetings unless a particular meeting affects the group or AA as a whole adversely (Tradition One and Four).
When this problem was complete, the greater committee represented by the individual secretaries of each meeting voted that the singleness of purpose was never brought up again by the steering committee. This decision does not mean that an individual meeting of the Fifth Tradition Group can bring the subject up again. It is that the steering committee cannot.
Side note: During this singleness of purpose hullabaloo, some attendees of meetings that started before moving into the Fifth Tradition Group felt that those meetings were individual groups. This attitude was present at Mon 8 PM, Wed 8 PM, Thu 8 PM, Fri 8 PM, and Sun 7 PM. Individual meetings do not pay rent to the group.
This idea would be correct if those individual meetings paid rent to the Fifth Tradition Group. They do not.
No individual meeting pays rent to the Fifth Tradition Group.
Each meeting collects the Seventh Tradition. The Fifth Tradition Group pools the money to pay for rent and all other expenses in operating the Fifth Tradition Group. After that and a prudent reserve, the balance goes to Central Intergroup of the Desert, General Service – District 9, Mid-Southern California Area 9, General Service Office in New York, and H&I.
History of Most Meetings of the Fifth Tradition Group
Note: The meetings are first listed by hour of the day, and second by the day of the week.
7 AM Daily – Attitude Adjustment Meeting
This is a daily, one-hour meeting. This original set of meetings was set up when the Fifth Tradition Group formed. The 7 AM meeting had no special-interest designation for many years stemming from it being formed by the general fellowship. The Gay meeting designation occurred sometime in the later 2000s.
The meeting is a well-attended meeting and a meeting that celebrates anniversaries and lengths of sobriety. On most days, it is a large (80-100 person) meeting. On Saturday, the reading is Chapter 3, “More About Alcoholism,” while the rest of the week, the reading is Chapter 5. The topic of the meeting often stems from a page from “As Bill Sees It.”
8:30 AM Daily – Literature Meetings
Sunday Big Book Stories
Monday Step Study from the 12 and 12
Tuesday Tradition from the 12 and 12
Wednesday Big Book – first 164
Thursday Came to Believe
Friday Daily Reflections
Saturday Big Book – first 164
Some Fifth Tradition members felt that the Group needed more literature meetings, and the meeting design helped individual shares stay on the topic of the reading. The meetings are “round-robin,” starting with the leader and moving around the room until the reading is complete. After the end of the reading, the next person starts the discussion and continues around the room until closing. There is no applause at these meetings.
Besides keeping members on the reading topic, it encourages members who normally wouldn’t share to participate. There is no requirement to read or share. One can simply say, “Pass.”
Gail started the first 8:30 meeting on Monday. Sylvia and Trish were also responsible for setting up the 8:30 meetings.
10 AM Saturday
This is a one-hour meeting with a 10-minute speaker/share, and cake. There is no information on who started it.
10 AM Sunday
Gene K. started this one-hour meeting with a 10-minute speaker/share, and cake. This meeting is a well-attended standing room only meeting.
Noon Daily except Sunday at 11:30 AM
This series of meetings started in February 1993. Originally Wednesday (12 Steps in Action) started by Gene K. Friday (Acceptance is the Answer) started by Bill L. Shortly after that, Willie R. started Tuesday (Principles). Dan and Gene began Thursday (Living Sober).
Lee R. started Monday (Back to Basics). Lee started the Monday meeting after getting a resentment that the Monday Living Sober Book Study at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church would not move to the Fifth Tradition Group.
Side note: Both Gay Monday noon meetings thrive to this day and the Monday Living Sober Book Study at St. Paul’s is the oldest Gay meeting in the Coachella Valley.
Joe H. started Sunday Noon (As Bill Sees It). At some point, it became Sunday at 12:30 PM after moving to the second room at 1555 S Palm Canyon.
In approximately 2014, the Sunday 10 AM meeting became too big. A new meeting started at 11:30 AM entitled “Luck of the Draw.” The original 12:30 PM meeting dissolved because there was a need to create a timeslot for the weekly deep cleaning of the room, which started directly after the 11:30 AM with pizza and salad afterward.
Saturday Noon – Sex in Sobriety
This is a closed meeting, and in the Spring of 2020, there was a group conscious to make it a men’s stag meeting. There is no information on the start of this meeting.
Side note: Initially, the nooners were non-birthday/chip meetings. After moving to the second room (1555 S Palm Canyon), Don T. felt that all noon meetings should be chip and cake meetings. A vote occurred at each autonomous individual meeting, and each meeting started to have chips and cakes in their format.
The argument, and Don T.’s point, was that the noon meetings were sometimes the only daily meeting some members could attend. Therefore, noon could be the single opportunity to acknowledge their sobriety milestone.
5:00 PM Thursday – Illness in Sobriety
This is a non-gay designated meeting at the Fifth Tradition Group.
This AA meeting’s purpose is to assist members of the fellowship that has an illness, particularly a diagnosed mental illness, and how they cope with “life on life’s terms” sober. This meeting started on June 3, 2010.
Firstly, the meeting title was “Dual Diagnosis.” Central Office would not list the meeting because it didn’t comply with Tradition Five. Tom H., with assistance from Joanne B., started the original meeting to help his son, who had trouble staying sober because of mental illness.
The meeting gained listing approval with Central Office due to the change in title and rewriting the format. Bob G. was responsible for the title. Mark C. wrote the new format from Bob G.’s input.
5:30 PM Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Around 2000, after the Group moved to 1555 S Palm Canyon, some people decided it would be nice to have a meeting right after work.
Two meetings started at first – Wed/Fri. There was a conflict with starting a meeting on Monday because of the monthly steering committee meetings at 6:30 PM on the second Monday of the month. The Monday meeting started after deciding to stop the meeting 15 minutes early on that particular Monday night each month.
Side note: Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday early evening meetings started some years before these meetings starting.
5:30 PM Sunday – Big Book Study
There is no information on this meeting other than it started in the original Sunny Dunes room.
6:00 PM Saturday – Alone No More
The Alone No More meeting started entitled “The Saturday Afternoon Fine Arts League” meeting. The name came from the “I Love Lucy” show, in which Lucy Ricardo had a group called “The Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League.” Bob B. was the founder. The focus of the meeting was on artists in sobriety.
Bob B. left the Desert. Roger P. became the secretary. The artist theme was not working well for attendance, so Roger suggested changing the meeting to “Alone No More.” This title is from a section in the 12 and 12, and also from As Bill Sees It. The focus is on understanding the aloneness of the alcoholic and how the fellowship and meetings overcome that feeling of being alone.
6:30 PM Tuesday – Women’s Meeting
In order to explain the history of the Tuesday Women’s meeting, it is valuable to write about the original Women’s meeting.
The first Women’s meeting started in approximately 1996. This meeting was at Deb S. and Nickie N.’s home in Cathedral City. Nickie and Deb were partners at that time.
A lesbian AA member named Sharon, with 26-years of sobriety, moved from Los Angeles to Palm Springs for her health as she was quite ill. Sharon died in her home, and the discovery of her body didn’t occur until over three days later.
Nickie was distraught by this happening. It demonstrated a lack of connectedness in the sober lesbian fellowship of AA here in the Desert. Nickie felt that no member of AA should have to die alone.
Nickie and Deb discussed what to do to change this problem. They decided to have a women’s AA meeting in their home. Central Office listed this meeting; therefore, regardless of Nickie and Deb being home, the meeting went on weekly. This meeting was on Friday night and lasted one hour. In the first meeting, 26 women members of AA showed up. Deb and Nickie did not charge rent for the meeting; however, the group gave a yearly donation for coffee and toilet paper. The meeting closed roughly in 2003.
This meeting achieved its goal of creating cohesiveness within the lesbian AA fellowship that did not exist prior. Women were able to connect in a way previously unavailable. Women found their sponsors. The meeting helped in bringing newcomers to a safe place for them to bond with the AA fellowship. People still thank Nickie and Deb for the impact that meeting had on their sobriety.
The Tuesday Women’s Meeting started at the Fifth Tradition Group because Deborah H. felt a meeting needed to be in a public space, not in someone’s home, regardless of it being a listed AA meeting. Therefore, the Tuesday meeting started in approximately 1999 at the original Sunny Dunes location. The intent was not to replace the Women’s meeting at Deb and Nickie’s. It was to be an additional meeting for women.
The Sunny Dunes Women’s meeting is a step and tradition meeting except for the last Tuesday of the month. The last Tuesday, it is a 30-minute speaker followed by sharing. A name is drawn from a hat during that meeting to designate the speaker for the following month.
6:30 PM Thursday – Beginner’s Q&A
Jon R. from Milwaukee and Jimmy T. from Palm Desert started the Beginners’ meeting. The Milwaukee fellowship created a pamphlet (non-conference approved) for beginners with the meeting designed around this pamphlet.
The meeting used the Milwaukee pamphlet until December 2007. The format changed to a 5 to 10-minute speaker, followed by question and answer. There was basket to write questions to discuss anonymously. The group reads Chapter 3 because it is a first-step meeting.
Sometime in the mid-2010s, the meeting format changed once again. The meeting format is for anyone to ask a question about sobriety followed by feedback from 3 to 5 members. Once there is a feeling of the question being complete, a new question comes from someone followed by feedback.
7:00 PM Sunday – Relationships
Randal G. and Gary D. (a couple) started this meeting in their home in the northern part of Palm Springs designed originally for couples only, and started in the late 1980s. This is probably the second oldest continuous AA meeting in the Desert. The meeting became open to all moving first to 454 N Indian Avenue. This did create some controversy among the non-gay fellowship of Palm Springs; however, it was a meeting, the timeslot was open, and it did help support the meeting room. When the 454 N. Indian meeting room closed, the meeting needed a new place. The meeting moved to the new Sunny Dunes room helping support the fledgling new Fifth Tradition Group. Most likely it is the first gay meeting in the Sunny Dunes room.
Side note: For many years the meeting focused on primary, intimate relationship, or lack-thereof, with another person. In 1998, the meeting adjusted the format to read, “The focus of this meeting is how we deal with relationships today in sobriety. We found that our drinking was but a symptom. We had to get down to causes and conditions. This had to do with our relationships with our partners, our families, the world, our God and ourselves.” The fine-tuning of the format immediately helped create a meeting with a discussion focused on all relationships of an alcoholic.
8:00 PM Monday – Manic Monday Men’s Stag
Manic Monday started in 1990 in an apartment on the southwest corner of Warm Sands Drive and Parocela Place by Don T. and his partner (name unknown). They were contractors from San Diego, and eventually moved back there. This meeting was the first Gay men’s stag in the Valley, and the first Monday night gay meeting.
8:00 PM Tuesday – Speaker
Tom B. started this meeting at Sunny Dunes originally called “Keep Your Memory Green.” This night meeting did not move from somewhere else. Like all evening meetings, it was originally 1 ½-hours. Tom felt there was a need for a half-hour speaker followed by sharing mid-week. It was also an alternative to the large Saturday night meeting at Palm Springs City Hall Council Chambers.
8:00 PM Wednesday – Candlelight
Central Office moved to 32150 Candlewood in Cathedral City when the 454 N Indian meeting room closed. A couple of lesbians opened a recovery bookstore (Sober Age Bookstore) in the north suite of this building with a meeting hall in the back. There was a separate entrance without going through the bookstore.
One of the first new meetings to start at the hall was the Wednesday Night Candlelight meeting. With the start of this meeting, there was now a gay meeting every day of the week in the Desert. When the bookstore and meeting space closed, the meeting moved to the Fifth Tradition Group.
8:00 PM Thursday – 12×12
This meeting was originally a Big Book study that was first at the Nancy Sinatra Conference Room at Desert Hospital. It moved to Candlewood, then moved to the Fifth Tradition Group. Later, the meeting became a 12×12, instead of a Big Book study.
8:00 PM Friday – “Here and Now”
Al H. (he started the Saturday Night Council Chambers meeting) felt there was a need for a Friday night meeting at the west end of the Coachella Valley in Palm Springs. The Friday night Gay meeting (Serenity Seekers) was in Palm Desert at a bank (now BoA) on El Paseo.
The “Here and Now” meeting started at the bank at Ramon and Palm Canyon (now Chase Bank). Originally a 1 ½-hour format, it is now one-hour with 10–25-minute speaker followed by sharing. The meeting moved to the Fifth Tradition Group when the bank said they couldn’t have the meeting there anymore. It later became a 1-hour meeting.
8:00 PM Saturday – 1, 2, 3 – (no longer exists)
Formed at the original room, the idea was to serve as an alternate to the big meeting at Council Chambers for member who didn’t feel comfortable or safe at a large meeting. The meeting disbanded shortly after moving to the 4711 E Palm Canyon location sometime around 2014. As of this writing, there is no replacement for this meeting.
10:00 PM Saturday – Candlelight
This meeting is a candlelight meeting started by Gene K. It was originally at 11 PM, and modeled after the Fri/Sat late meetings at the AT Center in Los Angeles. There was also a Friday night version that was short-lived.
Meetings from Other Locations Come to the Fifth Tradition Group
As noted, some meetings came from other places to be part of the Fifth Tradition Group. There are a couple of significant points to make about this.
- It is interesting how the Fifth Tradition Group needed more support and some already established meetings needed space. Some meetings were from meeting places that folded. Some meetings were from banks that ultimately decided it was too much liability. Many churches have the similar liability issues and could no longer be generous.
The beauty of how the Fifth Tradition Group developed allowed for these meetings to have a place to permanently land. With these meetings becoming part of the Fifth Tradition Group, they gave up their status as a group; however, did not give up their status as being autonomous.
Once again, it also provided and further helped support meetings of smaller size servicing various needs of the gay fellowship to thrive under the Fifth Tradition Group umbrella.
- Meetings held in banks were not self-supporting through their own contributions. Banks had no way of accounting for rent of their conference rooms, so the meeting did not pay rent. This meant that the bank was partially supporting an AA meeting, which is not part of Tradition Seven.