Our desire here is to share a little about our No Name Yet Group’s “A.A. Ancestry”, so to speak, and for the purpose of recognizing and passing along the idea of continuing and building upon specific efforts of those who came before us. Dr. Bob used to say something along the order of our Big Book having been published “to keep our message from becoming garbled and twisted beyond recognition” (“A.A. Comes of Age“, page 144), and we have since come to see how even that type of challenge or responsibility has been passed along to us.
To begin here, and as published in The Elkhart Truth on April 22, 1980:
“Gerald Bough … (had) created Boos Driars Inc., a rehabilitation center for alcoholics …
“Bough today (April 22, 1980) said he believed (his dismissal from Boos Driars) was in response to his opposition to a detoxification facility Elkhart General Hospital (had) attempted to establish (the previous) year …
“Charles Lewis, chairman of the board … explained the (board’s) action by saying, ‘… a change was needed to be done for the best interests of the board, the Twelfth-Step House (Boos Driars), and the community.’”
Boos Driars, Inc.
803 W. Wolf Avenue
Dir: Gerald Bough
Age Served: 13-75
Sex served: Coed
scan of partial page from following document listing Boos Driars
National Criminal Justice Reference Service Document 47437NCJRS
“…the 12 Golden Steps at Boo’s Driars. [Sal H.] remembers how back in those days the police would give drunks an option, they would take you to jail or drop you off at Boos Driars for detox. ‘Some would lay on the floor shaking for days; then we would help them get a shave and a hair cut.'” −Elkhart County A.A. Shareguide − Spring 2013−
While we do know “a shave and a haircut” were required for men wishing to remain at Boos Driars, we do not know all the issues and details leading up to Bough being fired from the “rehabilitation center for alcoholics” or “Twelfth-Step House” he had started several years earlier…and yet we do know our opportunities and responsibilities along the lines of Twelfth-Step work and helping still others like ourselves were thereby being compromised and taken away from even those of us yet to find A.A. and recovery there in that community. So, we mention the above as evidence of certain conflicts or challenges commonly faced by so-called “grass roots” types of efforts such as our own either when or where people with an overall lack of A.A. knowledge, understanding, experience and/or with distracting concerns or goals either have or attain the authority or power to affect, effect or even dictate how things are done. Some people would be critical of Gerald for having solicited and accepted any “outside support” (money) for starting a halfway house and/or presuming to become its director in the first place, yet his goal was nothing other than to help provide a place where alcoholics with a desire to stop drinking could be detoxified (including professional attention when medically necessary), Twelfth-Stepped and sponsored into permanent recovery free-of-charge…and with all of that being done by recovered alcoholics.
According to Dave and Bonnie (husband and wife) who had sobered and recovered together there at Boos Driars and who later sponsored two of our members for a time, Gerald had moved away not long after his dismissal and had later died in an automobile accident.
Along with Bonnie and Dave, Betty O. had also been among the many alcoholics first helped at Boos Driars…and our No Name Yet Group’s weekly meeting slot at Serenity Hall years later had become available to us not long after Betty had died (still recovered, of course) and we had begun “calling ourselves an A.A. group” (Tradition Three). Betty had been conducting a weekly old-school-style A.A. meeting for a number of years, and Dave and Bonnie had also been leading meetings (nightly for two hours each) at one of Serenity Hall’s earlier locations (5th Street) between the time of Gerald’s dismissal and their own move to another state at some point during the early 1980s.
Overall, we actually know very little about Gerald and “recovery at Boos Driars”, so to speak, but Dave and Bonnie always spoke of him lovingly and respectfully whenever they did occasionally mention him. Once while speaking at an out-of-town meeting, Dave shared a recollection of the sound of Gerald’s heavy shoes hitting the steps of the stairway as he (Bough) would be coming down into the basement meeting room at Boos Driars “with an armload of books, a pot of coffee and two packs of cigarettes…and you knew you were in for an A.A. meeting!” According to Dave, Gerald had our Big Book, 12 & 12 and several other A.A. books “all cross-indexed and annotated”, and that description of Gerald and the apparent depth of his efforts to “get your information straight from the source” and to then also share it that way later stuck with and greatly inspired more than one of our own group’s members. So as Dave had first suggested to two of us in ’81…
“Read the book to know who and what to listen to in an A.A. meeting!”