Pacific Northwest Secular AA Conference
By Ralph B
We are excited about hosting a regional Secular AA conference on May 16, 2020 in Langley, British Columbia.
We are actively working on an agenda for our conference. So far, we have Roger C. giving an opening talk on the history and struggles of secular AA and Dr. Ray Baker giving an afternoon talk on Recovery Capital. We have many quality panelists to make the day interesting and enjoyable. We will post the agenda on our Pacific Northwest Secular AA Conference website as soon as we get it worked out.
We are building on the work done by others in North America to spread the message of staying sober with a non-traditional belief system. The theme, One Big Tent, was chosen in recognition of AA Grapevine’s book to make AA an inclusive organization.
Some of our members have attended regional secular conferences in Austin, Texas (2016), Olympia (2016) and Tacoma (2018), Washington and Phoenix, Arizona (2019), which inspired us to take the plunge. Several members also attended the International Conference of Secular AA (ICSAA) in Toronto, Ontario (2018) and returned enthusiastic and inspired. As soon as we began planning this conference, we received encouragement from many others in all parts of the secular community.
This conference should build fellowship locally and regionally bringing about awareness that we are not against traditional AA but provide alternative meetings for atheists and agnostics.
Our meeting was founded in response to resentments of long-term members who were criticized for not conforming to historical AA beliefs or worse, feeling they did not belong in AA at all. Secular meetings provide a place for those having difficulty with the religious talk in AA.
Secular AA has provided a haven for atheist and agnostic members who felt their journeys of recovery clashed with traditional AA beliefs, thus creating a divide between members of AA. It also allows new members to identify with people with similar beliefs or lack of belief.
In writing this article, I have found it difficult to express the extreme comfort and feeling of belonging that a secular group has brought to our members. We would like every newcomer in AA to have the option of traditional meetings or secular meetings. This serves as a way of saving lives of those who do not want to be overwhelmed by religion but who wish to stay sober and feel like they fit in.
We will provide time for socializing and fun is encouraged at all times. One of the best AA quotes is “Don’t take yourself too damn seriously”!
For details and to register please go to our website, which is all about our conference, AA and: One BIG Tent.