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A Bit of History on the Responsibility Pledge

July 2-4
1965: More than 10,000 from 32 countries attend the 4
International Convention and celebrate A.A.’s 30
Anniversary in Toronto, ON. So packed were the local hotels and motels that, for the first time, free busing was provided. Bernard Smith, nonalcoholic Trustee, was one among many speakers. He said, in part, You have something great and awesome going for you. Treat it tenderly, respect what it has done for you and what it can do for others As long as one man dwells in the darkness you once knew, you cannot rest you must try to find him and help him become one of you By the grace of God, may AA. last for all time The pocket-sized gift edition of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions was introduced at the Convention. The film, Bills Own Story was shown for the first time to overflow audiences throughout the weekend. And an historic precedent of another kind occurred when Bill suggested, for the first time, that the crowd join hands as they said the Lord’s Prayer to close the Big Meeting in Maple Leaf
{} Nonalcoholic Trustee Harrison Trice asks fora beer in the Royal York bar and is sternly told by the bartender, No slips inhere, brother
{Box 4-5-9, Aug-Sep 1965, p 3}
July 3
1965: At 10:25 pm, at the 4
International Convention in Toronto, ON, our Responsibility Declaration is accepted. Ninety Delegates and members from allover the world came out from behind an immense banner at the rear of the stage, depicting the AA. triangle within a circle representing the globe, to join the Trustees already seated there. The audience of 10,000 rose, clasped hands, and led by Bill and Lois, accepted the Responsibility Declaration in unison, thunderously:
I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA. always to be there. And for that I am responsible.
The Declaration had been written for this occasion by Class B alcoholic Trustee Howard Alfred Al
Steckman. It has been printed, quoted, and recited innumerable times. At least twice attempts have been made at General Service Conferences to change the wording to make it more specific to alcoholics and less inclusive, but the attempts have failed—largely because of the absurdity of trying to alter, retroactively, the historical event which transpired in Toronto on this day.

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