The Old Clubhouse
A few fellow Alcoholics wanted a local place (Ofallon) where meetings could be held day and night. In May of 1992 they pulled together some $$ for rent at 212 Sonderan st and thus the 212 Club was born. Many people think that our name came from the address but that is incorrect (just a God thing). Our name derives from 2 x 12 for twelve steps and twelve traditions.
The 1st place consisted of two units. One was used for the club area and the other for meetings. They had full glass fronts with doors for each and a second hand shop next to it. Thanks to people dropping off furniture in front of the second hand shop at night, we could upgrade our couches from time to time (lol). Each unit came with a bathroom so we did have one just for the ladies, but both were single stall bathrooms and there was often a line to use them.
The club side had a pool table, two pinball machines, two couches, a large round table with chairs, and a little 19″ TV with no remote or cable. The carpet was nearly brown from all the coffee spilled on it and it smelled like an ash tray. There was a few recovery themed license plates hanging over the front glass on the inside and a little cigarette vending machine near the pinball machines. A closet near the bathroom with a window hole and tiny counter served as the “Snack shack”. A few refrigerators were stocked with drinks and a shelf in the shack had a few AA books and gum and maybe two candy bars and yes, a two pot coffee maker. 1 tiny office that barely fit a desk for the manager and the shack was manned by anybody around that new how.
The meeting room side had a home made divider that could split the room to accommodate two small meetings (15 chairs each) or one large meeting room with 30-40 people crammed in. It had a shelf with a literature rack that was sparsely populated and the AA twelve step and twelve tradition signs hung on the back wall. Smoking was allowed and in most meetings, you could cut the smoke with a knife, it was so thick. A smoke eater hung in the back ceiling but if turned on you couldn’t hear anyone speak. A tiny kitchen and storage area was behind the meeting room and that also had the ladies rest room in it.
The New Clubhouse
Many of us thought our recovery was over when we showed up in the morning in October of 2006 for a meeting only to find the club had burnt down. The fire consumed the back of both units and most everything else was too smoke or water damaged to reuse. The fire department said the fire started in the back of the meeting room. Most people figure it was caused from somebody emptying an ash tray that still had a smoldering cigarette in it, but we also had some crazy wiring near the smoke eater that may have had something to do with it. Either way the next day we got a call telling us the owner of our new location had this space available and for us to move in, and we could figure out the rent later (another God thing). We had a meeting in it one day after losing the old location to fire. Amazing!!
Our new club has had a few challenges as well. There wasn’t enough room for us to have our large meetings so a few walls needed to come down (total of 5). We were able to reuse the old pool table and there are some pictures on our walls with some smoke damage behind them, but we like to think they add character. We had a flood in June of 2014 and had to temperately move upstairs in the strip mall while we got some new doors, paint, carpet and cabinets in the shack (another God thing). If you want to see our old colors and carpet, Both of the smaller meeting rooms haven’t changed We opened back up in August to enjoy our fresh new place.
Over the years there have been many faces and many great times. We get people from all over the world. A world map on the wall in our large meeting room was only put up in 2016 and it already has pins from near and far.
Where To Go From Here
Our story isn’t over, no not at all, we are looking forward to seeing what you will add next, as we all trudge the road to happy destiny!!