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The Way Out
Big Book Study Group

7:30 PM Every Monday Night
First Friends Meeting
2100 Friendly Ave., Greensboro, NC

Group History Summary

No Frills Big Book Study Group History

During the spring and summer of 1984 Fred T. and Sandy H. spent time listening to and sharing experience with Wesley P. (a long time sober AA member) from Pompano Beach, Florida. Wesley was in Greensboro visiting Sue P. (widow of Willard P. - long time sober AA member) and other friends of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Fred and Sandy expressed a desire to start a Big Book Study meeting in Greensboro similar to a Group meeting Wesley attended in Pompano. After many talks and much prayer, Wesley sent us 25 copies of the study guide his group uses - The Inside Job. This study guide is a series of questions to stimulate discussion about experience with the Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous as presented in the Big Book.

It was arranged to hold a meeting to see if this idea of studying the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous would fly. On September 17, 1984 (Monday) at 8:00 pm the group met for their first meeting at the Unity Club - 918 Glenwood Avenue - Greensboro, N.C. Those in attendance at the first meeting decided to meet informally for a few months to see if the idea of a continuing study of the Big Book at a regular meeting would gain support. Somewhere along the way - when asked what the name of this meeting was - no one knew - someone said "we just want to study the Book - we don't get into any fluff"-a guy who attended often but was not a member of the group said "I guess you could call it "The No Frills Group". Even though it had been said in jest, the name stuck. When the group registered with the General Service Office and Area 51 - the name was listed as: No Frills Big Book Study Group #034-00521.

Most of those who were strong supporters of the No Frills were also members of another group (Happy Hour Group). It was decided in December, 1985 since you can really only have one Home Group - to ask the Happy Hour Group to let No Frills merge with that Group. On March 3, 1986, the Happy Hour Group voted to allow No Frills to join the Group as a meeting they would support. This relationship continued until January 1989 when those supporting the No Frills meeting decided due to so much growth and change in the Happy Hour Group to once again become a separate Group.

There were 5 members at the first meeting of the rebirth of the No Frills Big Book Study Group on January 16, 1989. The group in attendance agreed to support the No Frills Group for a period of at least one year both with financial commitment and commitment of time. This was done so that if no one else contributed financially or if no other members joined - the group would meet our responsibilities to our land-lord as well as to the AA community.

The Group conscience decided:

  1. We would meet on Monday nights from 8-9 pm at the Unity Club - 918 Glenwood Ave. Greensboro," NC. (The Club charges $10.00 per meeting rent for AA groups that choose to meet - this included coffee, which is provided.)
  2. We would be a Closed Meeting - for alcoholics only.
  3. That our Group Conscience would adhere to AA principles found in the Steps, Traditions and Concepts.
  4. The format would be a continuing study of the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous). This would start with the Preface and study through page 164 plus the appendices. Dr. Bob's Nightmare was included at a later date by Group Conscience - the other stories are used at times as references but not included in regular study.
  5. Our meetings would stick to the subject at hand. If someone has a problem they need to discuss, No Frills Members would stay after the meeting and discuss with individuals. Our meetings are for solutions as found in the Big Book and sharing our experience with those solutions.
  6. The meeting will be started with the Serenity Prayer followed by reading of format (a copy of the format is enclosed). Note we introduce ourselves at the beginning of each meeting and then do not re-introduce ourselves each time we comment.
  7. Those chairing No Frills regular Monday meeting must have 6 months continuous sobriety and must also have been a regular member of No Frills Group for 6 months before chairing the meeting. It was also decided that those asked to participate in regular chores such as making coffee, Intergroup Rep., GSR, giving out Chips, cleaning up the meeting area should also be Home Group Members - to insure that the conscience of No Frills would be continued in all activities and that as a Group we were meeting our responsibilities.

The No Frills Big Book Study Group was formed in an effort to stick to the basics. We do not wish to be controversial. We simply wish to be helpful to those who like us want to study the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous to learn how the first one hundred men and women "recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body" (forward to first edition - Big Book) and to share with other alcoholics "precisely how we have recovered."

This information was provided by Sandy H. in June of 1991.

The Way Out Big Book Study Group History

In 2002, we moved temporarily to the Congregational Church of Christ on Radiance Drive in Greensboro. After a group inventory, it was decided to change the name to In The Book and, in an effort to make the meeting friendlier to visitors, we dropped the unique custom of not introducing ourselves before we speak. We remain a closed meeting, but we allow a first-time visitor to stay, if they wish, and help them to find an open meeting for the future.

In 2003 we moved to First Friends Meeting on Friendly Ave. The name was changed to The Way Out Big Book Study , usually shortened to The Way Out. "The Way Out" is one of the names originally considered as a title for the book Alcoholics Anonymous.

In 2003 we reformatted the Study Guide. Grammar and typographical errors were corrected. Great care was taken not to change, but to clarify, the meaning of each question.

We do not spend group money on cake for anniversaries, but individual members are encouraged to do so. We also maintain a tradition for members to put one dollar in the basket for every year sober on their anniversary.

The study guide is the format of the meeting. It focuses discussion on a paragraph or two of the book allowing the group to study the text in detail. We do not move from the question until everyone who has something to share has contributed. Often we will spend weeks on a few paragraphs. This format is not for everyone; we have heard complaints that we move too slowly. But what is the hurry? When we get to the end, we just start over at the beginning. For those who enjoy it, this format allows us to find more meaning in “the Big Book”. We feel better prepared to help the still suffering alcoholic, and to apply the program in our lives.

This information was provided by Don M. in May, 2007

History of the name "The Way Out"

"In the years before the publication of the book, "Alcoholics Anonymous," we had no name ... By a narrow majority the verdict was for naming our book "The Way Out." ... One of our early lone members ... found exactly twelve books already titled "The Way Out" ... So "Alcoholics Anonymous" became first choice. That's how we got a name for our book of experience, a name for our movement and, as we are now beginning to see, a tradition of the greatest spiritual import."