Secular AA at the 2020 International AA Convention in Detroit

Detroit Skyline

By John S.
AA Beyond Belief

Since 1945, the International AA Convention has been held every five years, and the next convention will be held in Detroit, Michigan from July 2nd through July 5th, 2020. AA members from around the world will gather in great numbers to celebrate the 85th anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous. The 2015 Convention in Atlanta Georgia was attended by approximately 57,000 people – including agnostics, atheists and freethinkers. In fact, ever since 1990, agnostics and atheists have held a We Agnostics panel at the International Convention.

We secularists in AA have come a long way since the Fellowship’s founding in 1935, and we have made our voices heard as never before. Since the first AA meeting for atheists and agnostics in 1975, we have held two international secular AA conferences, and there have been five regional secular AA conferences, two in Washington State, two in Arizona and one in Toronto.

There is also tremendous interest in AA meetings with a secular format as evidenced by the growing number of secular AA meetings. There were just 99 secular AA meetings in 2012, and according to the Secular AA website there are 440 meetings today. (“A Growing Secular Movement”, AA Agnostica, Dec. 2017)

Through our active involvement in general service, we have forged friendships and partnerships within the Fellowship that have produced real and tangible results. In 2015, the AA Grapevine published an issue dedicated to the experiences of agnostics and atheists, and in 2016 the General Service Conference requested the AA Grapevine to publish a book of stories from agnostics and atheists. Then at this year’s  Conference The God Word pamphlet originally published by the General Service Office of Great Britain was approved for use in North America.

The International AA Convention in Detroit presents an opportunity for secular AA members from around the world to gather together to celebrate our place in AA and our role with helping to build our Fellowship.

With this in mind,  AA Agnostica and AA Beyond Belief are polling their readers to gauge the level of interest in participating at the International Convention. Are you going? What would pique your interest and make it more likely for you to attend? Please complete this survey to let us know your thoughts, and we will pass this information on to the Board of Directors for the International Conference of Secular AA. Your contact information is purely optional and will be provided to the Board of Secular AA.

Please answer the questions in this survey and provide as much detail as you care in the text box at the bottom and in comments section of this post.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 International AA Conference in Detroit was CANCELLED and the survey thus removed.

5 Responses

  1. Jack B. says:

    BRING EXTRA AMMO most definitely should have been the name!!

    The neat and tidy people obviously have no sense of both humour or irony.


  2. Mike M says:

    I live in Detroit, you dickweed. You don’t know what you’re talking about! Just because you’re an atheist, as I am, doesn’t mean you have to be an ass.

  3. Piya says:

    Bob k. And J-life. Hello atheist friends, I also share your DNA. Just for the fact of knowing you is worth it. I am 49 years old and 8 and a half years of continuous sobriety. I am very interested in the history of AA, especially that of the secular part. From my beginnings in AA I did not have problems or prejudices with the religious and that moved me away from the controversy. I have read almost all the literature. At first it was very difficult for me to accept the enormous amounts of reference to God. But that did not stop me and I followed and fell in love to see how they created the structure. Now you who write and share your knowledge have inspired me even more to go forward against the current salmon. When I write these words I do it in Spanish and then I pass it through a translator. It’s the only way I have to communicate with you
    I appreciate them and I love them very much. I will be in Toronto in August and in 2020 at the World Convention.

  4. life-j says:

    I go to 2-3 regular AA meetings every week, and I speak up, and I keep speaking up. I’m tired of doing it. Everyone around me is tired of hearing it, but so long as the meetings keep reading how it works and daily reflections, I need to keep doing it. And it IS bringing results, little by little.

    I imagine that we won’t have much opportunity to voice our opinions at the big convention, but even having a presence, even for some of these religious types to have to walk past our booth, and see that indeed, it has a right to be there, is a big start.

    I’m sure if I were able to go I’d qualify for a “most bored” medal, just like Bob K, but sometimes that’s ok.

    Anyway, John, thanks for bringing up this important issue. We need to be there.

  5. bob k says:

    I’ve attended only one International, and I didn’t much care for it. FULL ROOM signs went up on speaker meetings 40 minutes before the start. It’s an absolute sea of humanity.

    There were loads of panels with very poor speakers. I figured out later that local service mavens were put on panels and provided a free trip as the reward for committee work, or whatever. The weak presentation skills of many of the panelists were surprising.

    If that isn’t enough in the way of negativity, the host city is F%$#ing DETROIT, FFS!!!!!!!!

    Perhaps I’m just bitter that my proposed conference theme “BRING EXTRA AMMO” was rejected.

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