If you are new in recovery, you may be looking for events and activities to fill up your weekends. You may even wonder if you’ll ever find something that’s fun to do without having alcohol or drugs involved. If you already go to 12-step fellowship meetings, you may or may not know that there are plenty of events besides meetings that people can attend for fun and fellowship. One of the vital components to 12-step programs is that they operate under the premise that addicts and alcoholics should never do recovery alone.
If you’re already a part of the program, or even if not, (there are no requirements for membership other than you must have the desire to stop using or to continue to not use drugs and alcohol), you should try spending a weekend at a 12-step convention. The importance of being social and stepping out of your comfort zone to be a part of the recovery community is essential to your recovery and the benefits cannot be underestimated.
12-step conventions are a place to soak-in everything recovery related, connect with new people in the recovery community, and hear the experience, strength, and hope of addicts and alcoholics that can encourage, motivate, and inspire you to keep going.
What are 12-Step Conventions?
Many 12-step fellowship programs host annual conventions. Conventions are a place where you can attend marathon meetings, workshops, dances, and more – all related to the specific 12-step fellowship like Alcoholics Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, and more. Almost every type of 12-step fellowship has an annual convention.
Most of the time the conventions are held in venues such as hotels that will usually have a pool and local restaurants nearby. Each convention has a giant speaker meeting where everyone does a sober/clean time countdown – you will be able to stand up when you hear your clean/sober time called with the rest of those who share similar recovery lengths and celebrate your success. This meeting will have at least one speaker who will often be from another part of the world to share their experience, strength and hope with everyone at the convention.
Often times there are other events too, such as stand-up comedy hours. During the convention, you can enter in raffles to win prizes, or you can go to one of the several booths that sell 12-step literature that can help you in your recovery or memorabilia, like a convention t-shirt. Conventions are a fun affair for everyone involved and a great way to recharge your recovery batteries.
Why should I go to a convention?
There are many reasons why those in recovery see conventions as important parts of their recovery. For many, going to a 12-step convention is a way for them to recharge their batteries and get back in touch with the spiritual program that saved their lives. For others, it’s a way to reconnect with people they haven’t seen in a long time in the recovery community, people they may not see on a regular basis. It’s also a great chance to meet new people and make connections.
It’s important to know that you can choose the types of meetings and workshops that you would like to attend during the convention to ensure that you are hearing messages that are suitable for where you are in your own personal recovery. For example, if you have been in recovery for 10 years, you may not want to go to a newcomer meeting but you can take advantage of others that are more suited to you.
You can also take the convention as an opportunity to be of service to others; there are always tons of volunteer positions that need to be filled for these events which can attract hundreds, potentially thousands of people depending on which fellowship the convention is for.
How do I find Conventions? How Do I prepare?
You can find out what conventions are coming to your town, or in any surrounding areas, by visiting the specific 12-step fellowship websites or by simply asking someone at the regular fellowship meetings which you attend. Often, there are bulletin boards that you can find in fellowship halls and meeting spaces that have information about all of the upcoming conventions in your area.
Once you have chosen a convention that you would like to attend, you can usually go to the convention’s website (which you can find on the flyer) and pre-register. If you want to make an entire weekend out of the convention and stay from Friday-Sunday, you should look into hotel room reservations where the convention will be held. Usually, there are discounts especially available for those attending the convention, and you can always check the website or call the hotel for more details.
Another possibility is to bring along a friend for the weekend to spend time together and recharge your recovery batteries- you could even share a hotel room to make it more economical by splitting the costs. 12-step Fellowship conventions are always a great way to be reminded of the miracle that is recovery and the importance of sharing your recovery with others.