Clean Air History

History of the Clean Air Group

There’s an old saying in AA that anyone with a resentment, a Big Book and a coffee pot can start their own AA group; some of us had literally been “smoked out” of a large group in North Dallas and had all three of the above. There were rumblings among those who found it impossible to any longer attend meetings in the thick smoke (at that time not even a non smoking meeting in a small room once a week was acceptable to the majority of the old group) and a few of us decided to look for a place where we could have meetings without aggravating our allergies, asthma, or fellow AA members.

On October 2, 1985, 25 persons met in the home of Sue and Chandler to discuss their options. One of the “grumblers” had been checking for available space and presented three options: 1) a room two evenings a week at a recreation center on Royal Lane, 2) high-rent office space on the second floor of a Central Expressway office building, and 3) a large first-floor space on Manderville Lane which had formerly been used as an assay lab with quite reasonable lease terms available. The group chose the latter, having all come out of a club where meetings were by then available at all times of day. Enough money was contributed by the small group to sign a lease.

We also discussed a name for our new group and several ideas were submitted, one of which was “Ozone Group”. This catchy name almost made it until we checked the dictionary (ozone was not a common term then) and found it meant “bad air.” As we had just been delivered from bad air, we decided to make clear our intent and simply name the group “Clean Air”.

An additional contact was made with the prospective landlord to arrange to sign a lease, and we were told that inasmuch as they planned to abolish the complex, possibly within eighteen months, they would lease to us on a month-to-month basis; furthermore, they had talked with their management who said that AAs were just like firemen — we saved lives — and they had decided to cut the already reasonable rent by half! So Clean Air began “in the black” with enough money to pay the first and last month’s rent and turn all the utilities on.

There was practically no finish out required for the space, as the large laboratory in back made a fine meeting room, the larger of the front offices was perfect for Al-Anon, and the smaller offices were designated as our office and coffee room. On the first weekend we had a GI party and scrubbed the walls, windows and floors, replaced a few ceiling tiles, and were ready to start meetings immediately. We all brought our folding lawn chairs in for seating, fired up a 30-cup percolator, bought the steps, pamphlets and minimal literature from Central Office and we were in business. In time we purchased some used chairs from a burned out restaurant and later additional chairs from Sam’s Club.

From the beginning Clean Air has been a very “solution oriented” group and the chairmen have been tutored to always come prepared with a topic based on the literature focused on recovery rather than the problem. This is still our primary goal and these rules are strictly adhered to.

The Group remained at the Manderville address for more than seven years before the old complex was abolished. We then moved to a second-story space between Steppington and Central near the Meadow Road intersection and originally had a rather large space here. The construction of Central Expressway, plus the fact that there were suddenly many non-smoking AA groups in the Dallas area (we had started a trend!) took its toll on our group and we found we needed less space. However, we survived in this location until January 2005 at which time we relocated to our current space at the northeast quadrant of Central Expressway and Walnut Hill Lane.

Our present quarters are clean, light, and ideally located on the DART Bus line on Central Expressway as well as the DART Rail station at Presbyterian Hospital. There is sufficient parking space for all. We still have meetings morning, noon and evening five days a week, a very large men’s group on Saturday morning, a noon discussion group, and a newly formed women’s group Saturday afternoons, Sunday morning 9:30 meeting and a Big Book Study Sunday evening.

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Dallas AA Central Office
Dallas Intergroup Association
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This page last updated: 6/7/11