México City to Host World Service Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous

To Newspapers/Wire Services

August 25, 2010



            Delegates representing Alcoholics Anonymous  (A.A.) the world over will gather for the Fellowship’s 21st World Service Meeting (W.S.M.) at the Hotel Camino Real, México City.  The event will take place October 17-21, 2010 and is being hosted by the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous in the United States and Canada.

            Since its beginnings in 1969 the W.S.M. has served as a forum for the worldwide sharing of experience and ideas on ways to carry the A.A. message of recovery from alcoholism.  The event alternates biennially between New York City and other locations around the globe, and has convened in such diverse cities as Auckland, New Zealand; Cartagena, Colombia; Malahide, Ireland, and Helsinki, Finland.

            The W.S.M.’s success in bringing together A.A. worldwide service centers for biennial meetings during the past three decades reflects a final vision of A.A. co-founder Bi ll W., who believed there could be “one world of A.A.”  to assure that help will always be available for sick alcoholics wherever they are or whatever language they speak.  A 1950 visit to A.A. groups in Britain and Europe convinced him that A.A. could cross all of the barriers that had “divided and shattered the world of our time.”  The first W.S.M.  gathering was slightly more than a year before Bill W.’s death.

            Much discussion at the 2010 W.S.M. will center on the theme “Sponsorship: Our Responsibility.” Some topics under discussion will include Women in A.A., A.A. and the Internet, and the Seventh Tradition.  There also will be workshops on a variety of subjects.  The main sessions will be conducted in English and Spanish, with simultaneous translations.  Attendance is limited to elected delegates from the participating countries.

            ; A.A., as spelled out in its Preamble, . . . “is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.  There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. . . .”  

            Today A.A. has a presence in between 150 and 180 countries, with an estimated total of 115,773 groups and more than 2 million members worldwide.  Said A.A. co-founder Bill W. in 1960, nine years before he initiated the first W.S.M.:  “From the beginning, communication in A.A. has been no ordinary transmission of helpful ideas and attitudes.  Because of our kinship in suffering, and because our common means of deliverance are effective for ourselves only when constantly carried to others, our channels of contact have always been charged with the language of the heart.”

            A.A. traces its beginnings back to Bill W.’s 1935 meeting with cofounder Dr. Bob S., an Akron, Ohio, physician who also suffered from alcoholism.  After Dr. Bob took his last drink on June 10 of that year, the two men set about to aid other alcoholics.  The Fellowship had about 100 members by 1939, when they published Alcoholics Anonymous, the society’s basic text, which is now in its fourth edition and has been published in 59 languages.  By 1950, the year of Dr. Bob’s passing, A.A. had 100,000 members and was reaching out to many countries. 

            Though Bill W. worked in New York, his belief was that A.A. membership on other continents would someday exceed that of the U.S. and Canada.  While A.A.’s General Service Office in New York continues to serve A.A. groups and members in these two countries, Bill W. insisted that A.A. service centers in other countries should be independent.  There are currently 60 autonomous A.A. service offices worldwide, including the New York office.

            For more information, contact the International desk at the General Service Office at international@aa.org or (212) 870-3021.

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