May 15, 2010
(San Antonio, TX) From two men meeting in 1935 to over two million members estimated worldwide today, Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) celebrates 75 years of “one alcoholic talking to another” as over 40,000 A.A. members from around the world gather in San Antonio this summer for the 2010 International Convention, July 1-4, 2010.
For the first time in the history of A.A.’s quinquennial anniversary celebration of the Fellowship, members from the Republic of Palau, is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean will be participating in the opening flag ceremonies. In addition, over 75 other countries will be represented at the four day event, including the United States, Mexico, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Spain, to name a few.
Traditionally, A.A. has held an International Convention every five years, beginning with the first one in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1950, through the 12th one in Toronto, Canada, in 2005. The site of the Convention is either in the United States or in Canada. This is the first time the Convention will be hosted in San Antonio. The theme of this year’s International Convention – “A Vision for You” – comes from the last chapter of the first 164 pages of the volume Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as the Big Book. The Big Book is the basic text of the Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery worldwide and has also been adopted by countless other Twelve-Step Fellowships.
International Conventions today are primarily occasions for celebration of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous and seeing the wide-spread results of “carrying the message” one alcoholic to another. However, the early ones marked events of great significance in A.A. history. At the 15th Anniversary in Cleveland, Ohio in 1950, the A.A. Fellowship adopted its Twelve Traditions and heard one if its co-founders, Dr. Bob, speak for the last time in public. Five years later, in St. Louis, Missouri, the future of A.A. was turned over to the Fellowship through the service structure and A.A.’s annual General Service Conference. Three “big” meetings are scheduled where A.A. members are expected to fill the Alamodome Stadium. Festivities begin on Thursday evening July 1, with a “Party in the Park” in the Hemisphere Park. The opening meeting Friday night July 2 features the flag ceremony, during which members chosen by lot from each participating country will carry their national flags past a cheering crowd. In San Diego in 1995, attendance at this opening meeting was estimated at 54,000, giving it claim to the “biggest A.A. meeting ever.”
Saturday night convention-goers can attend the Saturday Old-timers Meeting, featuring members with 40 years or more of sober living. Sunday morning, July 4, they will gather once more in the Alamo Dome for the Closing Meeting where they will say farewell until they meet again in 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. These meetings will be simultaneously translated into other languages including French, Spanish and American Sign Language. The Friday and Saturday night meetings will be followed by dancing at the Convention Center.
Over the course of the weekend, dozens of other smaller meetings will be held, some in a variety of languages including French, German, Italian, Farsi, Japanese and Korean. Al-Anon Family Groups, a fellowship for friends and relatives of alcoholics, and Alateen have scheduled a variety of daytime activities, including meetings and workshops at the Marriott Rivercenter. Regardless of language or venue, much will be heard over the weekend about holding out the hand of A.A. – from one alcoholic to another.
For general information on the International Convention “A Vision for You,” check out A.A.’s Website at www.aa.org or call (212) 870-2990. For media information, contact the Public Information Coordinator at (212) 870-3119, or email@example.com.
Public Information Coordinator