History of Common Peril

Started 3/16/2020

First Year

As written by Carol Ann on the first year anniversary

Despite the early precautions taken at BPW to protect against COVID 19 such as using bleach on hard surfaces, offering hand sanitizer, and not holding hands during the serenity prayer, only about half of BPW’s usual Saturday 7AM crowd attended the March 14th, 2020 meeting. School closings and the impending lockdown were topics discussed as people lingered inside. The conversation between Casey, Mark K., and Carol Ann turned to the possibility of streaming the BPW meetings for at risk members or those uncomfortable attending meetings. As various concerns such as anonymity in live streaming, keeping BPW meetings open, technical concerns, such as whether to use Google Meet versus Zoom, possibly holding a 6AM online meeting that wouldn’t conflict with people also attending the 7AM, the cost to go online, and money collection were being discussed in rapid succession, the group moved outside and exchanged numbers. Before leaving, Carol Ann referenced “There is a Solution'' and suggested naming these meetings Common Peril.

Quickly, Mark K. said he would create a Google account for the meetings, Carol Ann volunteered to assemble all of the readings and information needed for online meetings including instructions and a volunteer form, and Casey waved goodbye. By 10:30AM on the 14th, Mark K. created the Google account for Common Peril, email addresses, claimed the domain name www.commonperil.com and created the website and Carol Ann collected all PDF documents on the Common Peril website including The Big Book, Daily Reflections, and The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, which was accidentally listed as the 12 by 12 through early May on the website. Simultaneously, word spread that Jon R and Joanne were also discussing ways to get an online meeting going and a small group including Joanne, Leah K., Mark K, Carol Ann, and Casey held a test meeting using Zoom on Sunday night .

On Mar 16 @ 6am the first meeting was held, and there were twelve participants in attendance. Joanne F. led the meeting. Word spread and the noon meeting was held later that day with ten participants. By the next day there were 3 set meeting times - 6AM, noon, and 3PM (which moved to 7PM in May)- and between 16 and 25 participants in these meetings. Carol Ann and Joanne put together the first script and revised it several times the first few weeks. Attendance grew rapidly, mostly word of mouth, although the Zoom links appeared on the District 33 website and the Meetings app. Dedicated chairs and hosts/facilitators, many of them technologically fragile, continued to sign-up and even began a Zoom training session once a month to support users. Changes to format and support were introduced when Sobriety Celebration Saturday and the chipmunk service began in June.

Although mute buttons, raised hands, changing profile pics, unsightly camera shots, painful silences, non-functioning microphones, the occasional snorer, faulty PayPal instructions, and even Zoom bombers plagued Common Peril, the meetings continued. The daily attendance hovers around 108 people a day. A total of 1086 meetings were held the first year and $9,165 dollars was collected by the end of 2020 of which $7,500 was sent to keep up with the rent and costs of maintaining the BPW building..


The notes from Common Peril’s group conscience meetings show how the meetings have evolved over the past year:

  • March 2020: Decided to implement a monthly group conscience

  • April: Changed the original meeting schedule--6am, Noon, 3pm--to 6am, Noon, and 7pm. Turned off the “ding dong” sound whenever anyone entered the meeting. Created an ad hoc steering committee.

  • May: Created Sobriety Celebration Saturday

  • June: Started our chipmunk service

  • July: Made the Wednesday 6am a literature meeting

  • August: Added How It Works and the Traditions to the meeting format

  • In early October we were visited with zoom bombers, by the 6th we went from anyone can walk in meetings, to waiting room meetings.

Other items of note

  • April, started accepting paypal payments

  • Avg Participants Daily: 108

  • December: Submitted paperwork forming non-profit organization

  • It was decided early on that any money collected would go to the common peril prudent reserve (3 months of costs) and the rest would be sent to the live chapel hill carrboro group to help keep the building open and expenses paid. at the end of 2020 $9,165 was collected and 7500 was sent to BPW