|Founder’s Letter – October 1997
In early 1995 in my travels for my job, I kept visiting various AA meetings, primarily in the Eastern US, and found that where I would go there sometimes would be members who were attending meetings, wearing “colors” or patches with sayings on their denim or leathers. In conversations with these various fellow friends of Bill W., I found that they were members of motorcycle groups, fellowships, clubs, which had the sole purpose of riding clean and sober. I thought of course what a neat idea and why wasn’t there one of these in my area.
After researching through conversations with these various individuals, I found that there used to be a group locally but it had disbanded or folded. However, I also found that there were many other groups, all of which were independent and had no other affiliated chapters such as the those motorcycle fellowships in Florida. I kept the contact with these various clubs, fellowships, and groups, and contacted them by phone on occasion, finding out all that I could about how they operated, what the problems were, how they got organized, who they contacted and what it took to become a local group, and all the “ins and outs” associated with this.
I then visited the Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach , Florida, in 1996 where I met up with other groups and fellowships. A group of wonderful individuals, both men and women whose sole purpose was to ride clean and sober. This was emblazoned on their “colors” and they flew them proudly. After visiting with these group and spending the better part of three days with them I began to formulate a plan to organize locally the same type of group for the Charlotte area.
Initially there were only a handful of people involved and to be honest only 2 or 3 initially. After many long distance calls to these various clubs, the difficulties were apparent and the plan of action was clear. If God were to allow this to happen. He would have to be consulted.
After many prayerful hours, and the help of few others, the right people to contact, the way to go about doing it became clear. In approximately September of 1996 the first meeting was held and from there we got our start. It became clear from the beginning, that my only purpose was to contact a few people and the many talents needed to accomplish this would be in place. This initial group was only about 4 to 5 people, who took on the responsibilities as were needed at the time.
After many small meetings, and a lot of agonizing hours the by-laws were hammered out and the rules were set into place and we began this wonderful and exciting journey.
From the outset, I knew that if I got involved and stayed involved it would not be what God had originally intended nor the right thing. I cannot take responsibility for forming this group of wonderful people; I give the credit to my Higher Power. The name of the group was the most difficult part, and getting the word out to those in the biker community was also difficult at first, but HP was hard at work making this path much easier than I originally thought it would be. From the very beginning, it was apparent that He was doing for us what I could not do for ourselves.
Today, we have new leadership, sound and capable, committed and dedicated to providing the group with the place to ride clean and sober and we have the respect and acceptance of the entire biker community of our purpose and mission. I am most proud of each and every member of this group and the various roles and parts they have played. There is not one member of the group who has not played a part and a vital one in the formation, growth, and continued success of this organization. It is not my place to name them all, that is for someone else but suffice to say without my Brothers and Sisters , it could not have been done. Each played a vital role and lent their support, prayers, and a lot of hard work to make the group what it is today.
I take no credit for this group nor the amount of wonderful things, which have already been accomplished and will be accomplished in the future. I do however, take delight in all the new people who show up and hang out and go to the meetings on Saturdays of the “In the Wind” group, which will be the future of the group. If, and this is a big one, the group continues to thrive it will only be with each and everyone playing their part, with no thought of what they can receive from the group but what they can put into it, and total unselfish service to the group and each and every member or potential member.
I only hope that it will continue to be a group of dedicated and determined people who have only one thing in common, to provide a place where others who are in recovery can simply ride clean and sober. I also hope that it can continue to be a place where service means continued effort to put back and give away what was so freely given to them, a faith in a Higher Power, and a haven from the world where fellow bikers can have a fellowship to ride, laugh, love, and continue along the journey of happy destiny.
I have probably rambled on a little too much here so I’ll stop at this point. But, to those who were not mentioned, and to those to come who cant be mentioned, I salute you and apologize for not mentioning you by name. Ego’s have been a problem in the past and probably will continue to be a problem in the future, but remember we are all God’s children, no one any more important than the other and we all have a common mission . That mission should hopefully be to remain clean and sober, keep coming back, and remember that your hand might be the only hand that is available to reach out to the still suffering person in and out of our group. I salute you one and all. I Love you one and all. I hope I’ll be able to continue to be a part of this group for the rest of my life. Please forgive me the editorials, suggestions and admonitions, but do know this I Love You each and every one, and their isn’t a single one of you members or not who I do not admire, respect, Love, and will cherish in my memories for the remainder of what God gives me to live.
Respectfully and with Love