Celebrating One Day at a Time—that’s what 4,029 Al‑Anon, Alateen, A.A. members, and their guests were doing in Baltimore, Maryland this past July. Al‑Anon’s 2018 International Convention was spectacular because of all of us. Thank you!
Many thanks to the fabulous members of the Host Committee who welcomed attendees from all over the U.S. and Canada, as well as those who traveled from Australia, France, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom just to name a few. Thanks to those who gave warm smiles and hugs and provided helpful directions to meeting rooms, food venues, book sales, and other events.
The fun began in June prior to the International Convention with an invitation for registered attendees to join a mobile app. This app gave members the ability to connect with other attendees, share their excitement, and preview the Convention schedule. The fun continued on Thursday, July 5 with the Day of Connecting hosted by the Board of Trustees. More than a thousand people registered for this event that offered various sessions including presentations, roundtable discussions, leadership talks, and panels all led by members of the Board and World Service Office Staff. On Thursday night, the Host Committee hosted fun and fellowship in the Hospitality Room.
On Friday, attendees could choose from a number of events during the day, including book studies and writing workshops, as well as speaker, panel, and next pick meetings. In addition, there was one open Alateen meeting and numerous open A.A. meetings. The Language of Love Parade kicked off Friday evening with 500 participants representing their Areas, states, provinces, or countries by marching in festive costumes.
The first of three Big Meetings—The International Meeting—followed the parade, where members from the Netherlands, South Africa, and New Zealand shared their stories. The Big Meetings offered video projections, closed captioning, and simultaneous translation in French and Spanish.
On Saturday, attendees could again attend panels and events with different speakers, presenters, and moderators. The Pioneer Luncheon also took place on Saturday. More than 1,400 people attended the luncheon that featured two longtime members who shared their stories, as well as seven longtime members who spoke for a couple of minutes on the topic “How has Al‑Anon evolved since you started attending meetings?” The second Big Meeting—The Family Meeting—featured an Al‑Anon, an Alateen, and an A.A. member. Afterward we celebrated by dancing the night away. The third Big Meeting— The Spiritual Meeting—closed the International Convention on Sunday morning. Members from Maryland, Denmark, Texas, and Arizona shared their stories.
International Conventions offer opportunities for attendees to meet with old friends and make new ones while attending meetings, chatting in hotel lobbies, eating out, or trying one’s luck with a hula hoop in the Hospitality Room.
One of my favorite memories of the 1998 International Convention was riding in a horse-drawn carriage on the streets of Salt Lake City while going back to my hotel one night. Ten years later at the 2008 International Convention in Pittsburgh, I experienced a similar thrill atop the Convention Center watching fireworks on the Fourth of July. Prior to the beginning of the International Convention in Vancouver, I saw the lighted Olympic cauldron just outside the Vancouver Convention Centre on Canada Day 2013. This year in Baltimore, I had the incredible good fortune of bumping into my Alateen Group Sponsor almost everywhere I went!
For me, attending an International Convention is a wonderful celebration of family recovery, and I’m going to “Keep Coming Back.” I look forward to seeing you in Albuquerque from June 29 through July 2, 2023.
By Suzanne M., 2018 International Convention Co-Coordinator
The Forum, December 2018