Arid Club

Akron’s Arid Club Shuts Down

A sobriety club that dates back 60 years and hosts about 20 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week closed its doors Friday because of “poor economic performance.”


Changing ways of socializing might have contributed to the decline of the club, which was a destination point every year during Founders Day weekend in June, when thousands of people converge on Akron to remember the founding of A.A. here in 1935.

Because of social media like Facebook, Wagoner said, and easy access to people via cell phones, there is simply not as great a need for groups of people to gather in large settings anymore, he said.


According to 2010 data from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, which regulates charitable bingo in the state, the Akron Arid Club bingo game had gross receipts of $1,231,650 and expenses of $1,105,708 for its 2010 reporting period for a profit of $125,942. Net profits from bingo are expected to be lower this year, Wagoner said.


The business model was no longer working, Wagoner said. For example, when people attending the A.A. meetings held at the club leave $5 to $10 total per meeting to help operate the club, the donations were not enough to pay mounting utility bills.

And while membership “was in the hundreds,” lately there were only about 35 dues-paying members, he said.

Last September, the Today Club II in North Akron, also a sobriety club, closed because of financial problems.

Read the whole thing.

Related: AA’s Own Stats Show Slow Demise


  • SoberPJ

    Karma’s gonna get you …

  • It doesn’t sound like they were doing a whole lot to attract the Replacement Alcoholics. Maybe they should have a cake walk, or open an AA version of Hell House for Halloween.

  • The story about the “other” AA club in the Birth Place of AA that closed down in September 2010……….

    It’s last call at sobriety cafe in North Akron. By Jim Carney

    “There is no tomorrow for the Today Club II.

    The sobriety cafe in North Akron will close its doors Saturday and mark the occasion with one final party.

    The club at 704 N. Main St., which is run by a nonprofit group called Sobriety Checkpoint Inc., has run into financial problems since buying the building a few years ago for more than a quarter-million dollars.

    Now, Sobriety Checkpoint board President Dan Scolaro said the club needs to shut down and all equipment in the club including tables and chairs and more is being sold at an online auction that will be held through 8 p.m. Sunday. The auction is at”

  • Wow…. ST did cover the closing of the Club II on September 25, 2010:

  • DeConstructor

    An AA Hellhouse. There is a great idea.

    Bill upstairs talking to dead mistresses, Robert Smith drunkingly operating on guys butts. Danny Bennison greeting people at the door. Alfie answering questions coherently, and DickB historically documenting it all for Jesus.

    Perhaps Randall Marrs Freedom House in Kalispell Montana could lease them their facilities.

    Keep comin back…It works if you work it.

  • OMG, who’s going to be there for the next suffering alcoholic? Who will Be Responsible?

  • causeandeffect

    Oh, let’s not forget about dead monks, seances, ouija boards, a self flagellation room, a room with unlevel floors and funhouse mirrors to mimic an acid trip, and an overbearing sponsor telling you which room to enter next.

  • Praise the Lord!

  • causeandeffect

    Or the rocketed into the 4th dimension room where they put you in a catapult but instead of flying through the open window, you go splat into the wall and just slide down. Or the bait and switch room where they offer you a tin of candies but when you open it, snakes fly out. Or the zombie room where people chant the 12 steps eternally. This could go on and on and on.

  • The Official Statement for the Arid Club on their website:

    “Akron Arid Club September 30, 2011 Members and Guests of the Akron Aird Club, Inc. Due to the poor economic performance of The Arid Club – we are suspending all business operations. This suspension of club business and services is in an effort to reorganize and relocated to a more manageable facility. In addition to daily club operations – all bingo operations are suspended immediately. With regards to the “Mega-Game” – this is being postponed to a later date; we will make every effort to coordinate with another “hall” to facilitate this game. If you have paid for your “seat” we will be making arrangements to refund those entry monies. Please keep in mind that the Akron Arid Club is no different than any other “business” and that the poor economic conditions of the community have brought us to this point. We are saddened to be at this point; however, in an effort to restructure and survive as a community organization, these decisions were necessary. ”

  • Well, I hope everyone purchased their Bill W Bobble Heads, The very first Intergroup, the AA Akron Intergroup at the Birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous founded in 1935, does not appear to be selling them anymore. They do however, still sell non-conference approved literature (which they have cleverly named as “Pre-Conference literature” or Historical Pamphlets”) at their online store:

  • AnnaZed

    Somehow I just don’t think that it is the emergence of Facebook that caused the closing of two Alano clubs in Akron. Couldn’t he come up with anything better than that?

  • AnnaZed

    It is really hard to underestimate just how cheap those old timer AA bastards are.

  • Mona Lisa

    Like I keep saying, AA is shrinking and shrinking fast. Their business model is old and tired; and the gig is up in terms of their claims to be the Only Way. There are still enough True Believers in the world to make a big fuss, but they are losing their monopoly and they don’t like it.

  • MikeAugustine

    Heh…it’s the Internet, stupid.

  • AA is free, and it is everywhere, right?

  • Border Collie Mix

    Clubs are seedy, AAs with a dollar to put in the basket don’t go there much unless they want to put the dollars they have left at risk, or just be hounded to death for money for the club.

  • WatchSurvivingStraightInc

    ‘AA worked for me’. Please advise me how to deal with that statement. To my doctor. It makes me wince when I think about the suicides and the 13 stepping but I want to know how to counter that statement. It ‘works’ for the 5% who were probably going to give up anyway.

  • WatchSurvivingStraightInc

    I did try, and I agree with JRH that the middle class ladies are worse than the fundamentalists, but my powers of persuasion failed me.

  • SoberPJ

    Jehova’s Witness “works” for people too. Drinking urine “works” for people too. Laying on a bed of nails “works” for people too. Handling dangerous snakes “works” for people too. None of them work for me.

  • SoberPJ

    Facebook and social networking are not the scourge of AA. AA members and AA itself are the scourge of AA. For the first time in the history of AA, people can congregate electronically and talk about how AA is simply bullshit without fear of social exclusion, censorship or other retribution from group members. In the final analysis, those methods are really the only things that keep people in AA whether they want to acknowledge it or not. Intelligent, self-respecting people simply refuse to allow themselves to be treated that way – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

  • AA, much like the organization whose dogma and rhetoric it was likely structured after, the Freemasons, is experiencing a similar fate–an aging cadre of old-timers whose ranks are gradually dwindling as recruitment fails to keep pace with attrition. The Masonic ranks in my home state are about half of what they were when I joined in 1978. Similarly, AA meetings in my area have gone from about 30 mostly-well-attended ones per week it had in 1994, to about twenty per week now, with much lower attendance.

  • I have a question about the “bingo” being held at the Arid club. Do they have Gamblers Anonymous meetings at that site? The Paradise Club split off from the Arid Club after a fire in 1966 and relocated to 1710 Front Street, Cuyahoga Falls, OH and doesn’t play Bingo, it plays Euchre, a type of card game:

    The Paradise Club also hosts Gamblers Anonymous meetings:

    I don’t know much about Gamblers Anonymous, but I am sure that they demand complete abstinence from Gambling. The Arid Club made $1,231,650 in 2010 from Bingo. Isn’t Bingo a form of Gambling? Did the Arid Club host Gamblers Anonymous?

    • Ann Maria

      Paridise Club Cuyahoga Falls on Front st does have bingo on Monday
      and Friday nights. They sell instant bingo tickets 7 days a week at counter, and even nights on Gamblers anonymous meetings.

    • Ann Maria

      Paridise Club Cuyahoga Falls Ohio 1710 Front St
      Embraces active Sexual predatorial behavior. WELCOMES Rapists,
      Child molesters, and womanizers. Their acting president Vincent HUDAK , aka as Vince HUDAK openly admitted that he was a sexual predator , and only took the job as president so he could prey on young new comers,minor children of the members. He admitted that he raped a 12& 8 yr. old girls …AND the board allowed him to still stay there.

      • Ann Maria

        QUESS that’s there SEX Anonymous meeting there at their lil’ non-profit Organization … Yet these predators Profit!


    I never had the urge to hang out at one of these clubs, much less join. The clubs that I saw were seedy, with a core of seedy people, including the so called old-timers. I imagine for someone newly sober, with a huge amount of time on their hands, they might be of some help, but they just seemed liked a bunch of boring people, talking in clichés. Come to think of it, just like conventions. Or for that matter, most of the meetings. As others have suggested, I think the demise of Akron’s Arid Club is part of the natural dying out process that AA is experiencing. Another 75 years for AA? We think not!

  • Mona Lisa

    My response to “AA worked for me” is usually. “Well, that’s nice, but why should the fact that it works for you mean that it will work for me? I mean, my dress fits me fine, but I bet it wouldn’t fit too many other people….should they all walk around naked?”

  • KellyRyan

    One can only hope the lobbyists in Washington are not able to raise the public funding they need to keep their doors open. Rehabs are the last bastion of AA.

    And the internet with it’s information and support group alternatives to AA have helped to push this pseudo religious recovery scam to the bottom.

  • Mona Lisa.

    The gig is up. So true. All the predators go to AA clubhouses.

  • Does it seem strange to anyone else that there haven’t been any “Save the Arid Club” in Akron Ohio fellowship posts anywhere? The Grapevine has numerous posts about trying to save it on many Intergroup and District Alcoholics Anonymous sites. Is it the powerlessness of the many thousands of the fellowship that congregated their on a daily basis? Where are all of the fellowship that made the pilgrimage to the Arid Club as part of the Akron Birth Place of Alcoholics Anonymous Founders Day Celebration?

    As a side note, the Today Club II in Akron which closed down in September 2010 has nearly disappeared off the web and the history of that club is gone, except for its eulogy.

  • Sally

    JR, hopefully like Massive said “The gig is up”.

  • But with the Arid Club in Akron Ohio gone, where will the thousands of grateful recovering Alcoholics go on founders day after they make a spectacle out of them selves at Dr. Bob’s grave at Mount Peace Cemetery on Aqueduct Street?

    “This is the picture of gratitude at a cemetery on a Sunday morning in Akron.

    It is a scene where thousands of men and women gather around the grave of the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and his wife, Dr. Robert and Anne Smith.

    There are hundreds — perhaps 2,000 — motorcycles with their engines blaring, converging on Mount Peace Cemetery on Aqueduct Street before most people are out of bed.

    Every year on Founders’ Day weekend, when 12,000 or more recovering alcoholics make their pilgrimage to Akron to remember the date in June 1935 when AA was founded in the city, the bikers drive into the normally quiet cemetery.

    So do tour buses. And cars from dozens of states and countries.

    People visit the grave all weekend. On Saturday night about 10:30, cars were driving into the cemetery for evening visits to the grave.

    Yesterday, when a bagpiper first played, the crowd understood it was nearly time for the annual memorial service held at the grave of the man known as Dr. Bob.”

  • sobriety watchdog

    Try this place
    The pictures will make you cringe.
    This is a low bottom place that is suported by a realtors son with a trust fund.
    A while back one of the members hung himself with a chain in the parking lot.
    Be sure to look at the pictures of the sobriety plaques on the back wall.
    I used to go there but stopped when I saw the benefactor beating a member with a pool que!

  • SoberPJ

    Looks a little nicer than most. One of the things that always gets me is how they can say with a straight face that they are not associated with AA or other 12 Step programs and then they host one every every couple of hours all day long. Who do they think they are kidding? They host the meetings, sell the literature and give 12 Step members a place to hang out… by the way, the people that sit in those chairs are special. They have been rocketed into the 4 th dimension of existence where they walk hand in hand with the spirit of the universe. Those chairs will never know about the wondrous, spiritual and special asses that are gracing their cushions.

  • AnnaZed

    Ohhh watchdog, I have been to the 202; not that many times though because (seriously) that place is felons r’ us central.

    I remember when the guy killed himself at the 202. An interesting side-bar to that story is that the news of that event became twisted somehow as it made its way over to the 9414 AA Group in Arcadia and it was another person entirely reported to be suicided.

    This person (the one reported, not the actual suicide) was (probably still is) a floridly mentally ill homeless meth addict mostly known for rifling ladies purses** in meetings and was appropriately mourned by the locals with the some must die so that others can live mantra. Naturally, the tut-tutting and the he just couldn’t get honest with himself went on, but one older guy was deeply upset and grieving over this person’s death (the one reported that is) felling that he should have been able to reach him. Then the guy who was reported dead but wasn’t walked into a meeting and the older guy nearly stroked out. It was rather amusing actually.

    **In fairness, this guy could also quote Big Book chapter and verse with astonishingly convincing sincerity. In fact it was the remarkably credible façade that this man was able to present while living in tent on park land and stealing everything that wasn’t kept under strict vigilance that first lead me to really question what the fuck I was doing in AA.

  • Amy


    I could barely type this because I am laughing so hard that tears are running down my cheeks. Thankyou ! OMG, toooooo much !!

  • Amy

    Please forgive me for not acknowledging the tragedy of the poor man that committed suicide. I lost my head.

  • The grateful Alcoholics of Akron Ohio are rallying to save one shrine to the memory of the founding fathers of Alcoholics Anonymous. It would appear that Dr. Bob’s house on 855 Ardmore Ave had $80,000 of structural, wiring problems, etc…that needed to be renovated because of borderline hazards.

    Dr. Bob’s house repaired – West Akron home is shrine for recovering – By Jim Carney, March 6, 2011

    “Harmon Velie stood in the basement of the home of Alcoholic Anonymous co-founder Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith and spoke of why the place must be preserved.

    ”You can’t know where you’re at unless you know where you’ve been, and you can’t know where you are going unless you know where you are at,” said Velie, chairman of the board of the nonprofit group Dr. Bob’s Home.

    The Akron home, which is a destination point for recovering people around the world, has been a Highland Square museum since the mid-1980s, when the nonprofit group bought it.

    An $80,000 renovation of the home began Jan. 10 and is expected to be finished by late May in time for Founders Day Weekend June 10-12 at the University of Akron.”


    “When workers investigated the wiring and other problems with the building, ”we found a borderline hazard,” Velie said.

    He said construction experts told him ”over the years, the house has had a face lift but it needed a heart transplant.”

    “The home was built as a family residence and not as a museum where thousands of people visit each year, Velie said, which is why the ongoing work is so important.

    ”The house wasn’t designed for that type of traffic,” he said.

    New wooden flooring is being added in spots in the house, along with new linoleum in some rooms that Velie hopes will be in line with the type of linoleum used during the time the Smiths lived in the house with their two children, Sue Smith Windows and Robert Ripley Smith Jr., known as Smitty.”


    “Funds sought

    Velie said the nonprofit is seeking funding from area foundations and public entities as well as from private donors.

    The reason the renovation is essential, he said, is because it will not only preserve the past, but also will help the public better understand the present and even predict what lies ahead.

    ”This is our heritage,” he said. ”This is our roots.”

    An office, some historical records and a Dr. Bob’s Home gift shop are located next door at 859 Ardmore Ave. The gift store is open from noon to 3 p.m. every day except Christmas.”

    Read entire story:

  • AnnaZed

    ”You can’t know where you’re at unless you know where you’ve been, and you can’t know where you are going unless you know where you are at,” said Velie, chairman of the board of the nonprofit group Dr. Bob’s Home.

    What a typical AA old-timer completely pointless and not incidentally patently false bromide that is. In point of fact the brain trust of the AA archives will do anything and everything that they can to sanitize the uncomfortable truths about the AA founders, anything.

  • SoberPJ

    Dr Bob’s home gift shop … open 3 hours a day … interesting .. The Dr Bob bobblehead was popular. I understand it featured white knuckles. The book, “How to slap your kids without leaving marks”, is also hot. But the biggest seller of all is the bronze Dr Bob digital examination finger pendant. An androgenous keepsake that can be worn with pride in honor and remembrance of one of the worlds great alcoholic proctologists.

  • disclosure

    PJ- that is awful.
    p.s. I bought the finger pendant (dark brown patina).

  • SoberPJ

    I was gonna say scratch and sniff digital examination finger pendant, but I thought the better of it …. oops 🙂

    Just went to hell in a handbasket here on

  • causeandeffect

    AnnaZed, ditto with this:

    “The reason the renovation is essential, he said, is because it will not only preserve the past, but also will help the public better understand the present and even predict what lies ahead.”

    Cue in obligatory head nods from the bobble heads. Then lets all get out our ouija board so we can predict the future.