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1990 – 2006

In 1991, AA’s internal survey showed that the number of groups and membership numbers had doubled, with female members now making up a third of the British Fellowship. In the early part of the decade, AA adopted new techniques and technology to attract new members. An AA film aimed at younger alcoholics titled ‘Message to Young People’ was released in 1992. The following year, the first online AA group was founded by forward-thinking members of the Glasgow group. In 1994, steps started to be made towards consolidating the local AA helpline numbers into one national 0845 number.

Artwork from the cover of a ‘Message to Young People’.

Artwork from the cover of a ‘Message to Young People’. The first British Alcoholics Anonymous video aimed at spreading the message to younger people suffering from alcoholism (1991)
Archive reference: AA/11/2/2/2

In 1996, the General Service Conference adapted the Twelve Concepts for World Service for use in Great Britain. AA GB’s Twelve Concepts for World Service includes elements which apply specifically to Alcoholics Anonymous (GB) Ltd as a registered British charity. A new Conference Charter was created to outline how the Conference’s collective conscience would act as the primary tool of governance over group, intergroups, and regional activity.

In June 1997, AA in England and Wales celebrated its 50th year, with a national celebration taking place in Blackpool. The weekend events included a convention at the Winter Gardens, and a ceremony at the Boating Pool. Additionally, SHARE produced a special anniversary edition which included several comprehensive articles about the history of the Fellowship and various service disciplines. The following year, AA in Scotland celebrated its 50th year at the 42nd Annual Scottish Convention in Glasgow.

Stage of an event held at the Blackpool boating pool for the 50th Anniversary Convention for Alcoholics Anonymous in England and Wales (1997)
Archive reference: AA/13/3/2/1

AA GB made its initial venture into the online public sphere with its website going live in 1998. In the beginning, the website was primarily an information resource, rather than the community hub and primary access point that it has since become.

Screenshots of the AA GB website [https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/] (1998, 2006,2008 respectively)

In 1999, the GSB assumed responsibility for the Southern Service Office, and it was moved to Cynthia Street from Redcliffe Gardens. Concurrently, the General Service Board took over management of the Northern Service Office at Baltic Chambers, Glasgow. Both offices took on various administrative duties giving relief to the GSO in York. Over the course of Christmas and New Year 2001, the Alcoholics Anonymous Great Britain’s first national television advertising campaign took place. The adverts, intentionally broadcast at Christmas when problems caused by excessive drinking increase dramatically, led to a 100% increase in calls to the helpline.

Ethnic communities

In 2003, the GSB introduced further initiatives to reach out to suffering alcoholics in Black and ethnic minority communities, which they felt were underrepresented in the British Fellowship. Their campaign involved advertising in ethnically diverse areas, as well as publishing literature in other languages, such Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, and Tamil. That year saw the first Sub-Saharan African Conference, which was promoted and supported by GSB in South Africa, Great Britain, and the United States.

The first annual event raising awareness about AA and its programme of recovery among Members of Parliament and the House of Lords took place at the House of Commons in March 2005. The gathering was sponsored by Labour MP for Putney Tony Colman and Liberal Democrat MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey Simon Hughes. It proved a successful event in bringing awareness of AA into the centre of British government, and has since become a permanent fixture in the AA calendar.

AA Problems Poster

Stills from one from the first Alcoholics Anonymous television advertisements broadcast nationally in Great Britain. The campaign increased calls to the AA GB helpline by 100% (2001)
Archive reference code: AA/11/2/2/3

Welsh version of poster

‘Who me?’ Welsh language Alcoholics Anonymous literature (1998)
Archive reference: AA/9/5

10 Toft Green

The General Service Office relocated to 10 Toft Green in 2007. In 2020-22, it underwent a significant renovation.