2018 ICSAA Toronto Conference

ICSAA Toronto

 By Thomas B.

The third biennial conference of Secular AA (ICSAA 2018), with a theme of Inclusion and Diversity, will take place in Toronto, ON from August 24th through August 26th. The Conference will take place at the Marriott Downtown Toronto Eaton Centre Hotel at Bay and Dundas Street. During the Conference we will be fellowshipping, discussing recovery and work-shopping on carrying our message that “enduring recovery from alcoholism can be found by agnostic, atheist, and non-religious people, within AA”.

The first gathering of secular AA members was in Santa Monica California in November of 2014 with some 300 folks in attendance. All were welcome to participate in the business meeting, where we discussed how we would organize ourselves going forward. At that meeting Austin Texas was chosen for the second conference, held in November of 2016, which was attended by over 400 persons. Toronto was selected at the Austin business meeting to host this year’s conference.

The location of the 2020 International Conference of Secular AA will be determined by those in attending in the Sunday morning Business Meeting in Toronto. AA members of any community that can accommodate attendance of up to 500 persons can bid to host a biennial conference. Those interested in bidding for the 2020 conference can get more information by emailing Vice Chair Martin.

Joe C. recently published this article on AA Agnostica about the Conference, which includes a treasure trove of information about visiting Toronto.

The conference theme of Inclusion and Diversity will feature numerous workshops and panels that will demonstrate how secular AA members (mostly agnostics, atheists and freethinkers, but which also includes some believers) experience enduring, quality recovery from alcoholism within traditional AA. The current Conference program can be found here. All members of AA are welcome to attend the conference.

The three keynote speakers, each one who is a secular member of AA, are below with the title of their talks:

  • Vera T., Lunch Speaker on August 25th, will talk on “More was my Higher Power.”

  • Deirdre S., 5 pm on August 25th, will talk on “The Cross-Addicted Mind: How Obsessive Use of Substances and Behaviors Fuels Alcoholism.”

  • Ray B., 11:00 am on August 26th, will talk on “Recovery in AA: do we need God to make it work? A medical-scientific analysis.”

At the Sunday morning Business Breakfast Meeting, the Secular AA fellowship will elect new members of the Board of Directors and determine the location for the 2020 Conference. New Bylaws have recently been approved by the Board and according to the previous bylaws are subject to ratification by the Secular AA membership. A workshop on these ByLaws, entitled “About the ByLaws,” has been scheduled for 11:00 am on Saturday morning of the Conference.

In addition, the Secular AA fellowship will approve both the new:

Mission Statement:

Our mission is to assure suffering alcoholics that they can find sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous without having to accept anyone else’s beliefs or deny their own. Secular AA does not endorse or oppose any particular form of religion or belief system and operates in accordance with the Third Tradition of the Alcoholics Anonymous Program: “The Only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

Vision Statement:

Secular AA recognizes and honors the immeasurable contributions that Alcoholics Anonymous has made to assist individuals to recover from alcoholism. We seek to ensure that A.A. remains an effective, relevant and inclusive program of recovery in an increasingly secular society. The foundation of Secular AA is grounded in the belief that anyone – regardless of their spiritual beliefs or lack thereof – can recover in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Secular AA exists to serve the community of secularly-minded alcoholics by supporting worldwide access to secularly formatted A.A. meetings and fostering mutual support within a growing population of secularly-minded alcoholics.

Those who have not registered should do so prior to July 24th to take advantage of a reduced registration price of $125 CAD. As of July 25th, registration will cost $150 CAD. Included in both registration prices is lunch on Saturday and breakfast for the Sunday morning business meeting.

Further information can be requested from Thomas B., Outreach Chair.


1 Response

  1. Wes L says:

    I’m not so sure I like the notion of “enduring recovery”. I understand the difference between the two, but I suspect many will think of the misery they must “endure” to be sober.
    We use the phrase “comfortable and lasting” in our groups here.