Sobriety Under the Sun: Alcoholics Anonymous 8th Annual English Speaking Convention in Puerto Vallarta January 29th-31st, 2010
by Bob Cohen
The local English speaking Alcoholics Anonymous Serenity Group will be hosting their 8th annual “Sobriety Under the Sun” AA convention at the NH Krystal Resort on January 29-31, 2010. This year’s theme will be “Mind, Body, Spirit”. The venue was so popular last year that it was unanimously decided to hold the convention at the Krystal again. Packages for those that wish to stay at the resort are available. Expected to attend are close to 400 recovering alcoholics and Al-Anon members, most coming from the United States and Canada, along with seasonal visitors and full time local Puerto Vallarta residents. Large speaker meetings, discussion groups, workshops, dinners and social events are all planned for the event.
There will be three main AA speakers and two from the Al-Anon program. The convention begins at 2 PM Friday with hourly AA and Al-Anon marathon meetings. On the opening night there will be a welcome reception with Hor d’Oeurvres, along with the opening night speakers, one from Al-Anon (Ellen C. from Dallas) at 7:15 PM and one from AA (Dayle P. from New York City) that will follow at 8:30 PM after a 15 minute break. At 10 PM there will be an Open AA Beach meeting.
On Saturday the day will start with a sunrise Open AA beach meeting at 8:00 AM and there will be ongoing marathon meetings and workshops (both AA and Al-Anon) from 10 AM until 5:00 PM. The sunset banquet and dinner will be at the Seven Columns Restaurant (tickets are required) with the main speaker and music following at 8:00 PM. The main speaker will be Tom W. from Oakland, CA. Register early, as the dinner always sells out early. At 10:00 PM entertainment will follow.
Sunday morning concludes the convention with another Open AA Beach meeting at 7:00 AM, followed by a continental breakfast at 8:00 AM. The Sunday morning spiritual meeting will be at 9:00 AM, followed by the traditional countdown of years in recovery. The Sunday morning speaker meeting will be a combination of the AA and Al-Anon programs at 10:00 AM. The AA speaker will be Lynn H. and the Al-Anon speaker will be Saraleah H., both from Mercer Island, Washington. The convention will come to a close at noon.
For those lucky enough to be staying longer there is a “Non-Booze Cruise” which was introduced three years ago and has become a favorite among members. This is an opportunity to spend the day at sea cruising and whale watching, then on to the small seaside village of Quimixto, unreachable by land, for an AA meeting on the beach. Breakfast and lunch are included. The cruise will be on Monday, February 1st and will depart the cruise ship terminal at 9:00AM and return at 6:00 PM. The cost will be $40 USD at the conference registration table or $45 USD at the dock. Seating will be limited to 150, so be sure to register early and not be left ashore.
For more information and registration forms as well as a detailed schedule of events visit the convention website as well at www.aapvconvention.com and navigate easily through the site to set up your conference itinerary. With the addition of Pay Pal last year it was easier to register for the conference, the banquets, and other related convention events and to book reservations at the NH Krystal Resort.
Seven years ago, a small group of local AA members formed a convention to celebrate their sobriety and invite the rest of the world to join in the celebration. Conventions are common all over the world and the group felt that Puerto Vallarta would be an ideal destination to host a convention. The first in 2002 was actually named “Soberfest 2002” and the name was changed to “Sobriety Under the Sun” the following year and was then sponsored by members of the Serenity Group of Alcoholics Anonymous in Puerto Vallarta. We are now celebrating Sobriety Under the Sun for the 8th year and each year attendance has increased.
Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 by two alcoholics that found that one alcoholic can best help another after repeated trips to hospitals, jails and churches all failed in efforts to help hopeless alcoholics to stop drinking. In 1939, four years later the book Alcoholics Anonymous or the “Big Book”, as it is fondly called was released in print. Only 100 recovering alcoholics were members at the time and the first 164 pages of the book have remained unchanged. Currently, millions of once suffering alcoholics worldwide are now members and enjoy freedom without alcohol, and leading productive lives. Alcoholics Anonymous is known as perhaps the greatest movement of the 20th century that helps individuals at no cost. All groups are self supporting through meeting contributions.
The 75th anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous will be celebrated in San Antonio, Texas at its international convention to be held on July 1st – 4th, 2010, with the theme being “A Vision for You”. Upwards of 80,000 attendees are expected to flood the city. Hotel rooms in the San Antonio area close to the convention site have been booked for quite awhile and rooms in the area are selling out quickly. AA is currently found in almost every country in the world and the “Big Book” has been translated in almost every language.
Strange, but true, in Mexico the first group was an English speaking group formed by ex-pats in 1946, and it took ten more years before a Spanish speaking group surfaced. The success and growth in Mexico was phenomenal, currently with close to 20,000 groups in existence. According to a local AA member in Puerto Vallarta, who is anonymous in accordance with the spiritual principles of the program, the first group sprung up in 1966 in Gringo Gulch and met in rotating homes. Twenty years later in October of 1986, The Puerto Vallarta Alano Club opened its doors and became home to the AA Serenity Group which meets twice daily (9am and 6:30 pm) as well as other 12th step support groups.
In the middle of this year (2009), the Puerto Vallarta Alano Club after 23 years moved to its new and current location due to circumstances beyond control. The new facility is located at Basilio Badillo 329, just a few blocks south of the original Cine Bahia location. It is behind and under Mahajuitas Restaurant on the north side of Basilio Badillo and across the street from Johnny’s Diner. With the help of members of the club, which is independent of the 12 step meetings, the new facility is proving to one that all are enjoying. The club is independent of other businesses and has one large meeting room and two smaller comfortable meeting rooms. Improvements and upgrades are being made on a regular basis. For those coming to the convention, stop by and catch a meeting at the new club. There is also a website for the Puerto Vallarta Alano Club and information for the surrounding area for 12 step meetings in English. The new website is www.recoverpv.com.
The website for information and registration is www.aapvconvention.com. From this site one can register online and choose from different packages or email for more information. Registration this year can be made easily with Pay Pal. For additional information, one can call Registration Coordinator Cal F. in Mexico at 011-52-322-223-9775. The most important thing is that nobody makes any profits or gets paid as AA service is a major component in staying sober. Any extra monies are forwarded to AA service groups to further assist others in their recovery efforts.
The weather is generally in the low 80’s and sunny in January and dips to a frigid 65 degrees at night, thus the origination of the convention name. Most people extend their visit to a week or more to enjoy the paradise and charm of Puerto Vallarta. Come join the international group of wonderful people that have one common purpose; to get sober, stay sober and enjoy life without the use of alcohol.