From the AA Grapevine Digital Archive:
ONE THURSDAY evening, April 2, 1840, nearly 100 years before the advent of Alcoholics Anonymous, six good drinking buddies were gathered at Chase’s Tavern on Liberty Street in Baltimore, Md.
The more they drank, the more their discussion centered on temperance, which was one of the most popular topics of the day. This meeting and subsequent discussions led to the formation and brief, spectacular life of the Washingtonian movement, which grew in membership to over 400,000 “reformed drunkards” and then destroyed itself overnight and dropped out of sight.
The story of the Washingtonian movement brings sharply into focus the importance of the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous as guidelines of group behavior designed to protect us against a similar fate. To take our Traditions for granted or to ignore them should at least justify a check mark on the debit side of our inventory charts. AA Grapevine