Going Home

Series of Lasts

The last few days have been a series of “lasts”: the last state border (before home), the last new city, the last dinner with friends on this trip, the last night sleeping in a foreign bed; and this morning will be the last 7 hour drive to get somewhere.

5,000 Miles

I don’t know why I’m awake at 4am writing this, either my internal clock is still skewing from the gradual time shift into the future or I’m excited to get started or both. This whole trip is more than I can put into words at the moment and once I get back to Reno I’ve got jobs that I have to dive right into so I don’t know how quickly the magnitude will sink in; but in thinking of the some 5,000 miles that we’ve driven over 17 days so far it’s humbling. The number of people that we met and the number of people that I *liked* along the way is astonishing. The flyers are physically in the hands of people that might not have seen them otherwise and that is a success for me.

Under Budget

We did it under budget and will get to donate a few hundred extra dollars back into the convention fund (budget report available soon), thankfully gas was $2.50 per gallon for the entire trip (until today!) and I budgeted for $3.50 a gallon with a 10% overage. That extra savings though, also let us detour to Charlotte, NC and attend one of the rowdiest and most intelligent young groups I’ve ever been to called the Zero Hour, and I’m looking forward to seeing them and all of my new friends at the convention in 2016.

Incredible Experience

Ultimately, I think we succeeded in the mission that you all sent us on and I’m tickled silly that it came to fruition and yellow apples were represented at the largest gathering of alcoholics that certainly I’ve ever been to. I wonder off the top of my head how the city of Atlanta feels that we were as a group; we were all exceedingly polite and orderly as far as I could tell, and everyone that I saw had a smile on their face. It’s just been an incredible experience and I guess these are the words that I can put it into at the moment. Now I just have to wait for everyone else to wake up so that we can get back home.

Spreading The Word

Hitting The Road

“We will be spreading the word about the 2016 WAAFT-IAAC at the 2015 International AA Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.” by Jesse S.

Dorothy H. and myself (Jesse S.) are on the board of WAAFT-IAAC and a few months ago we were speaking about ways to outreach the convention to the general AA population and she mentioned that the International AA Convention was happening this year in Atlanta, GA. Not seeing any better way to inform our fellow AAs than to travel to the largest gathering of AA members from the worldwide community, which happens to meet only once every 5 years, we agreed that we would travel there this summer and give flyers to everyone that we meet and maybe pick a few cities to stop in to hang posters at Central Offices and Alano clubs that we come across. Maybe even meet with some of our friends that we wouldn’t get to see again otherwise until Austin.

Connecting

The plans have expanded beyond the original idea of just getting there with a few stops along the way however, as we now will be stopping in each state that we go through that has a WAAFT meeting that we know of to meet with everyone that we can; officially to give out fliers, but really to make friends and to foster the community that we all crave by connecting members of the groups with each other and letting those that haven‘t heard of what is happening know that they aren’t alone.

I personally hope to find people that were as discouraged as I was before I knew that there were others like me; on the road, in the meetings or that will just hopefully see our fliers in the clubs; to let them know that they aren’t weird or beyond hope and that they don‘t ever need to feel excluded from a group that purports to have the solution to the alcohol problem that is available to all. We are a minority within a minority as secular people seeking recovery, but none of us should be denied the chance at sobriety simply because we don’t subscribe to another person’s set of beliefs. Our program’s methods help us learn to live without fear, and no one should fear coming to a group or starting their own because of the opinions of others.

Please Donate

We have funded our gas, lodging and food with 7th tradition donations from AA members and are looking to collect the last round of donations for the posters and fliers that we will be distributing. We will be using generic stock for the fliers in an effort to get as many out as possible and will make some tasteful and nice looking card stock posters to hang in the Central Offices and clubs. We will be taking a different way back than the way that we will go to Atlanta so that we can put up as many fliers as possible and make as many contacts as we can.

If you would like to donate to the creation of the fliers, it can be done through PayPal by sending a payment to waafts.at.the.international@gmail.com (click send at the top of the page and use that email) or by mail if you’d like to: WAFT IAAC INC., P.O. Box 284, Hollywood, CA 90078. We will be keeping a running blog of our journey here on this website, please also write to us on this page or through email at weagconvention@gmail.com so that we know that you all are out there, and please let us know if you would like to meet with us while we’re on the road. We will give you fliers to spread to your local area and we will be incredibly happy to meet with our people as we traverse the country.

Thanks!

Jesse S.

The future is bright, we’ll have to wear shades in Austin, Texas

Attendance began at a little under 200 0n Thursday afternoon and by Saturday night we had reached nearly 300 AAers packed in the sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist church to hear the Very Reverend Ward Ewing speak.  A former GSO trustee, many were curious to hear what a reverend would have to say at a convention for agnostics, freethinkers, atheists and others.  He reminded us that the impossible was possible.  It had become clear throughout the event.  Fellowship abounded above all.  There were some bumps in the road, but as first conventions go, despite the painful loss of one of our steering committee, Jonathon G., Dorothy and I, found ourselves surrounded and supported by many who stepped up without reservation to assist in putting the finishing touches on the days of details.  We are eternally grateful, for it is in love and service that we put this convention together and it is with love and service of the fellowship that it was a success.

There is hope and a certain future for the inclusiveness we envisioned.  There is a newly elected (and larger) board of directors which includes Dorothy and myself, Chairwoman and Secretary, respectively, along with Alex K., Berkeley, CA (VP), Dianne P., Toronto, Canada(Treas), and Board Members at Large: Jesse S. (Reno, Nevada), Nik H. (Austin, Texas), Michelle B. (Alta Loma, Calif.), Stuart S. (Atlanta, Georgia), Don F. (Vermont/Florida), Ken S. (Melbourne, Australia) and Jayne J. (New York, New York).  This is an amazingly wonderful and unique group of individuals who are committed to the success of our conventions going forward.

So, onward we go to 2016 in Austin, Texas.  Hope to see you there.

In love and service,

Pam W.

 

By Scott A. ~ Thoughts on attending the convention

This is just a babble about deciding to attend the WAFT convention….
your choices are, of course, your own.
Perhaps I should have titled the thread “one alcoholic talking with another,”
but I can’t resist a good joke…nor even a bad pun.
Tis approaching the season to play with our merriment,
even though I don’t think of my fellow heathens as “faithless” since
I consider myself to have put my “faith” in AA to help me stay sober,
and it has been a faith that has worked for me… so far…
After months of hemming and hawing,
two days ago I finally “pulled the trigger” and decided to strive
to make my attendance at the WAFT IAAC November 6, 7, & 8.
For me the journey there will be arduous, expensive, and ill-timed with work projects.
Though I grew up atheist and long resisted AA in part because of the gawdstoof,
I have, for a while, managed to endure “in” AA.
It has only been in the past year+ that I have found any atheist/WAFT AA connections online.
I’ve known many an open minded AAer with perhaps an equally vague or semantic “HP” as me and mine,
sober with a wink and a nod, but not with the clear and precise declaration
“sober without a god, because there isn’t one” as this site says.
Gravity… “a force I can not see, but cannot deny, that connects me to every part of the universe”
had long been my paganized version of an “HP”
(though I don’t especially find it “loving” as the big book urges of an HP)
For me, AA has long and patiently invited me to join my universe,
to be “a part of…not apart from”
while my dis-ease (whether actual drinking or just my “character defects”)
is very much about isolating me from my universe.
When I learned of the convention, I registered for it,
partly in the hope I might actually get to it, partly figuring even if I didn’t,
at least my registration would “contribute” to the worthwhile cause.
Two days ago, as the clock ticked on…
in the middle of my work day I took a short walk around the back way.
The walk began with the jumble of thoughts competing to tell me
“too expensive, bad timing, I don’t like crowds anyways…”
and as I turned the corner, the thought bubbled up,
the line I am so fond of repeating, what has always been for me the CORE of AA,
“one (sober minded) alcoholic sharing with another.”
… I have to go!
I’ve long said “I am NOT a ‘people person,’… I’m a person person.”
I could spend all day talking with one individual at a time,
and carry on with my life quite comfortably, but a couple hours with a group or a crowd
and my “social energy reserves” begin to rapidly deplete.
I don’t expect to have life altering experiences because of some magnanimous speech from the podium.
But perhaps I’ll long remember some off handed comment shared in the chow line
by a newcomer or a curmudgeonly centuries long sober soul.
I have expressed my fears that I may be activating my own AA indignations by hanging out (online)
with righteously put-off fellow atheist/WAFT AAers,
but I am glad the conference is aimed at “fitting in” within AA WHILE being true to ourselves,
and perhaps even more importantly broadening the gateway for those who have yet to peer in.
Thanks for your help in keeping me sober.
…Hope to see you there.