I am back from San Antonio and the 2010 International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous. I went prepared for masses of people and extreme heat and good AA, and I got good AA, very decent weather—high’s in the 80s thanks to hurricane Alex which cooled things down and masses of wonderful sober people. The convention was so extraordinarily well planned, managed and produced that I am now a San Antonio fan!
The unofficial count of participants at the convention was 52,000 to 54,000 people. Fifty countries were represented. The count is unofficial because it includes AA members, Al-Anon and Alateen members, and family and friends of 12-step folks. Still this is under the all time high of 55,000 people who came together in Toronto in 2005.
So, yes, AA people everywhere. Hotels, restaurants, tourist sites, on the River Walk, at plays and concerts and uh huh, in meetings. And on buses. The transportation alone was a stunning achievement. We never waited more than three minutes for a ride. And San Antonio is such a great walking city that we walked to and from the convention center, Alamodome, restaurants, museums and markets.
I heard great things in the marathon meetings and in the special topic conferences and wonderful things on the bus, at dinner and just eavesdropping—one of my favorite hobbies. With 50,000 sober people around you just hear amazing things all day long and I noted how many of them included, “And then my sponsor told me…”
In the next few days I’ll include some of my highlights here but let me offer you this right now. If you have never been to an AA International Convention do consider attending one. They are every five years so there is plenty of time to plan and to save up. It is not expensive: there are great hotel and airfare deals and AA makes sure there are options for every budget. When a host city agrees to entertain upwards of 50,000 people there are great prices and services.
The next convention is 2015 and it will be in Atlanta Georgia. June 30 to July 4. Mark your calendar and make a plan with your AA friends. Yeah, we do this thing one day at a time but on the side?-- I’m planning to be sober and in Atlanta in 2015.