Volume 1, Issue 2
The Southern Area West Virginia Newsletter
A History of NA In West Virginia
The first active NA group in West Virginia was the Charleston Central Group. It was founded by a small band of members from another twelve-step fellowship who wanted to reach other addicts with the recovery they had found. The first meeting was held in a small room at St. John’s Episcopal Church. It is said only three attended that first meeting on a Thursday night in April 1979, and that in the early months an attendance of ten was considered to be quite a crowd.
By October of 1980, the demand for meetings had increased, and two meetings had been added. At this point the NA community in Charleston had received its first influx of members who depended on NA for most of their recovery. In April of 1981 CCHNA added its fourth meeting, by now meeting on Thursday, Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday.
The controversy was mild on these points however and almost from the start attendance at FNRGNA was equal to its older counterpoint: Charleston now had five meetings a week.
In 1982 the Live Clean of Die Group was born in Morgantown. Members in Charleston head only of this group through rumors out of Pittsburgh, LCODGNA was supported by a couple of locals and attended by members for Southeastern Pennsylvania.
In may be interesting to note that the first NA meetings in Wheeling, West Virginia and Columbus, Ohio were started by CCGNA members who left Charleston and found groups in their hometowns.
Another small group of members who felt a need for more NA meetings and more variety of atmosphere formed the Friday Nite Recovery Group in an empty white house across the street from the local treatment center. Among the things that were considered really different about this meeting (and by some even controversial) was they read the Twelve Traditions at each meeting and stood in the close circle hugging instead of holding hands.
During a late Saturday night rap-session at a member’s home on Cheat Lake in Morgantown, the subject of a State Convention arose. It was more or less a “wouldn’t it be nice” or “someday, somehow” discussion, but by Monday afternoon the reservations were made at Jackson’s Mill 4-H Camp and fingers were crossed that the NA members in West Virginia would embrace the idea. This was the case, and the West Virginia Convention Committee of NA (WVCCNA) was born. The committee was to be the basis for the first efforts of statewide NA services.
The following year it was decided to hold the convention at Cedar Lakes Camp near Ripley. Following the lead of the previous convention, it was decided that we should attempt to break even financially on WVCNA 2, but guess what, a surplus of $1600 was left, we didn’t know where the money was to go. . .
We soon found out. Since we already had a committee of sorts, and a treasury, and had we had been represented at the World Service Conference by a state representative for the two previous years, we began, in the summer of 1985, at the same home on Cheat Lake, what we now know as the Mountaineer Regional Service Committee.
At this point there existed the following known meetings: five in Charleston, one in Morgantown, approximately two in Parkersburg. Wheeling had grown independently of the other West Virginia fellowships and became part of the Tri-State Pennsylvania Regional Service Committee.
Things remained rather static around the state until mid-1983; Charleston had grown to six meetings with the start of the Here and Now Group in Dunbar, and Morgantown had experienced a renewed commitment through a request from a local Federal Penal Institution for a meeting. However, there was little cohesion or communication between these isolated groups.
H.P. seemed to step in at this point by shifting a few members geographically around the state. Groups appeared in Weston, Fairmont, and Clarksburg. Charleston had formed the Kanawha Valley Area Service Committee and in the North, the Tygart Valley ASC began to unite groups in Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Weston, and Parkersburg.
Suddenly, members were traveling to other communities to participate in meetings and sharing their service experiences on the phone. A whole new speaking circuit developed around the once-isolated fellowship. In short, 1983 was the year of commination.
Much has happened fast in the Mountaineer Region since that time. With new groups in Point Pleasant, Huntington, Logan, Bluefield, Beckley, and more, there are over sixty meetings with the boundaries of our region.
We remain challenged by the geography of our state,, Mountain roads instead of freeways,, villages instead of towns, recession and abject poverty – we in the Mountaineer Region seen to need to work a little harder to reach the addict who suffers in our community, But today, more than ever before the old lie will not be tolerated in West Virginia.