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Sobriety Under the Sun - Alcoholics Anonymous 9th Annual English Speaking Convention in Puerto Vallarta
email this pageprint this pageemail usBob Cohen - PVNN
December 02, 2010



The website for information and registration is www.aapvconvention.com.
The local Puerto Vallarta English speaking Alcoholics Anonymous Serenity Group combined with Al-Anon participation will be hosting their 9th annual "Sobriety Under the Sun" AA convention at the Krystal Resort on January 28-30, 2011. This year's theme will be "Sunlight of the 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 four main speakers, three from the AA program and one from the Al-Anon program. At the door registration and the convention begins at 2 PM Friday with hourly AA and Al-Anon marathon meetings. On the opening evening there will be a welcome reception with hors d'oeuvres at 5:00 PM, followed with the opening night AA speaker, Shannon F. from Los Angeles, California at 7.00 PM. At 9:00 PM entertainment will follow with a dance with a DJ. At 10 PM there will be an open AA beach meeting and marathon meetings will also continue until midnight.

On Saturday the day will start with a sunrise open AA beach meeting at 7:00 AM and there will be ongoing marathon meetings and workshops (both AA and Al-Anon) from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM. The Al-Alanon opening speaker will be Jack C. from Sylmar, California from 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM. After the speaker Al-Anon will conduct their countdown for those with the least and most time in the Al-Anon program. The sunset banquet and dinner will be at the Seven Columns Restaurant (tickets are required) with the main speaker at 8:00 PM. The main speaker will be Leslie C from Sylmar, California. Register early, as the dinner always sells out. At 9:30 entertainment will be provided by a popular Mariachi band. For those that wish there will also be an open AA beach meeting at 10:00 PM.

Saturday is the day that most workshops will be held. They include topics and facilitators. Topics will include "Sunlight of the Spirit", "Courage to Change" which is a "Double Winner" workshop for those both in AA and/or Al-Anon; both at 1:00 PM. "Pioneers in AA", A Daily Reprieve", Honesty & Recovery" are all at 2:30 PM. At 4:00 PM the workshops will include a GLBT meeting as well as a women's and men's meeting. Be sure to select which workshops you want to attend as there is something for everyone.

Sunday morning concludes the convention with another open AA beach meeting at 7:00 AM, followed by a spirituality complementary continental breakfast for all attendees at 8:00 AM. The Sunday morning AA Spiritual meeting will be at 10:00 AM, with Matt M. from Long Beach, California speaking followed by the traditional countdown of years in recovery. The convention will come to a close at noon.

For those lucky enough to be staying longer there is a "Sober 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 a stop at one of Banderas Bay's most beautiful beaches, unreachable by land, for an AA meeting on the beach. Breakfast and lunch are included. The cruise will be on Monday, January 31st and will depart the cruise ship terminal at 9:00 AM 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.

The cost for registration is $65 USD at the door, with a $10 discount if received before December 30th or a $5 discount if received before January 22nd. Registration includes full access to all meetings and workshops but not the Saturday night buffet which has an extra cost of $30 USD.

Eight 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 supported by members of the Serenity Group of Alcoholics Anonymous in Puerto Vallarta. We are now celebrating Sobriety Under the Sun for the 9th 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 was celebrated in San Antonio, Texas at its international convention was held on July 1st - 4th, 2010, with the theme being "A Vision for You". Upwards of 60,000 attended and flooded the city. Hotel rooms in the San Antonio area close to the convention site were sold out far in advance and rooms in the surrounding area also sold out. Many attending had to go as far as Austin for hotel accommodations. 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, named the "Serenity Group" sprung up in 1966 in Gringo Gulch and met in rotating homes. Twenty years later in October of 1986, The "Serenity Group" opened its doors on the second floor at the Cine Bahia on Insurgentes Avenue and became home to the Puerto Vallarta Alano Club in 1994. The AA Serenity Group met twice daily (9am and 6:30 pm) and then included other 12th step support groups.

In the middle of 2009, the Puerto Vallarta Alano Club after 23 years moved to its new and current location. The new facility is located at Basilio Badillo 329, just a few blocks south of the original Cine Bahia location. It is on the ground floor on the north side of Basilio Badillo and across the street from Johnny's Diner.

With the help from members of the club, which is independent of the 12 step meetings, a major reconstruction of the "New Alano Club" is proving to be 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 have been made and most comments are that folks are very pleased. 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. 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 high 70s to low 80's and sunny in January and dips to a frigid 62 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.



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