Now that I have gotten sleep and can think clearly, I want to give some impressions from the roundup and summarize some of the thoughts from the speakers on Saturday. This was my first roundup so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. What a great experience it was. I met new people, heard so many people speak of their recovery, and saw so many people who were at peace with themselves. I can't wait until the next one happens and am looking into traveling to go to other such events in other areas. I am a sponge now and want to absorb and get as much of this into my head as I can.
So, yesterday morning the Al-Anon speaker Larcine G. from CA really spoke from her heart. She talked about her father who was an alcoholic and how the family disease of alcoholism affected her. Her focus was on forgiveness of her father. Eventually she was able to let go of the past. Because she was very much into rules and order, everything in her life had to be in order. She established the rules and regulations in her marriage. When she found that the alcoholic didn't respond to the imposed regimen on his life, she went to Al-Anon to figure out how to fix him. Basically, she thought that if her husband were "fixed" then she would be okay. She tried to force solutions on the alcoholic and they didn't work. She didn't understand why she felt so awful after her husband got sober. It took her two years to finally get back into Al-Anon and begin to look at herself and how she had been affected by the disease of alcoholism. Her message was that you have to be willing and that you are as unhappy as you want to be. She talked a lot about how there would be "information from nowhere" landing in her head. Her projections and the fear caused her insanity.
As I listened I thought, this lady is telling some of my story. The same rules and criticism that I heard as a child were the very same things that I reacted to and spewed out as an adult. Interesting how we get programmed to do the very things that we rebelled against and disliked at an early age.
At the first mini-meeting, there was a good discussion on turning negative thoughts into something positive. Although it was led by Larcine from Al-Anon, there were many AA's in attendance. They shared how the program had helped them to shed the fear and worry through working the steps, turning their lives over to their HP, and living the steps on a daily basis. There were many good thoughts shared at this meeting.
The next mini-meeting there was a discussion of being the Guardian of AA. Some expressed concern that AA should only be for alcoholics in a strict interpretation of the AA pamplet Problems Other Than Alcohol. Others were much more liberal in their view expressing that AA was the umbrella for helping those with other problems as well as alcoholism. It was interesting to listen to the GSRs talk about the "politics" of AA.
Before the final speaker, there was a give away of two Big Books that had been signed by all the people at the Roundup. Maybe this is done at every conference but I thought that it was moving. There was a count up for the person with the most years of sobriety and there was a countdown for the person who had the least. The person who had the most years was an elderly lady with nearly 56 years of sobriety. The person who had the least was a young woman with 2 days. When they both stood in front of everyone, the applause was thunderous. For the newcomer, it was stated that she was the most important person in the room. And the lady with the 56 years, gave her the autographed Big Book. What a moving thing.
The final speaker was Tim T. of