Letters to the Editor

Oak Harbor Alcoholics Anonymous needs intervention

This letter is to all the citizens of Oak Harbor.

I am asking for your help in a very important manner. I do not seek money, but instead, something a lot more valuable - I need your support! We need your help in keeping Alcoholics Anonymous alive and strong in Island County.

AA has been active in Oak Harbor since Feb. 15, 1952, when records indicate we first met. We held meetings for over 30 years in the basement of Windhaven Chalet on Oak Harbor Road. Early in 2008 a house was purchased on Seventh Avenue and converted to a meeting hall. We now hold 21 meetings a week, allowing for all types of personal schedules.

We help those referred by Oak Harbor or Island County jail programs, as well as those from NAS Whidbey. We have just been approached by Island County to put on a juveniles-only meeting.

I doubt there is anyone who has not been touched by alcoholism. Our members are mothers, fathers, children, co-workers, neighbors and friends. We are represented by every race and religion. We welcome anyone into our fellowship. Please help us to continue to provide a place where alcoholics can find hope and help.

On Friday, Feb. 6, I go before our Oak Harbor Hearing Examiner to see if we can continue to exist. To do so, I understand that they need to grant us a variance on parking. I have put in a double driveway, but that is not enough. The planning director says we need more parking than our land can provide.

From 1978 to 2008 we had two assigned parking spaces for AA and the rest we found in public parking along Oak Harbor Road. The City of Oak Harbor never questioned this or found fault with it. We are presently using public parking along NE Seventh Ave., but our city planner says that this is not allowed as a way for our assembly hall to continue.

I would really appreciate your intervention on our behalf.

1. You could come to the public hearing on Feb. 6 at 10 a.m. in the City Council Chambers, 865 SE Barrington Dr., Oak Harbor.

2. You could contact people who might have influence in this matter.

3. You could write in support of our AA Assembly Hall to the Hearing Examiner, I would also appreciate a copy.

4. You may have an idea of another building we could meet at. We chose a home because our meetings are two or three times a day. Do you know of a vacant building in town that we could meet at long term?

Alcoholics Anonymous is not strong because of the building that houses us. AA is alive and well because of every one of our members. Our slogan is recovery, unity and service. We find recovery in halls of AA, unity (understanding) in the fellowship, and then we try to give back through service to those who come after us.

Thank you for your time, I hope all who read this will offer their support.

Colleen Johnson

Oak Harbor

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