Wellington Scoop

Alcoholics celebrating with convention at Te Papa

Press Release – Alcoholics Anonymous
January can be a cold and dark place for a person with a drinking problem. But alcoholics from across New Zealand will be sharing in the light of recovery this weekend.

Three days of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and workshops will be held at Te Papa over Wellington Anniversary weekend, including an open invite Public Meeting on Saturday night.

The organisation is celebrating at its 55th National Convention. Public Information Co-ordinator Lucy D (who in accordance with AA tradition does not use her surname in public) says about 400 people will attend the three-day event. Most of them are alcoholics, although Al-Anon Family Groups, the organisation for spouses, children, and other people affected by alcoholism, will run a parallel convention.

This year’s convention is all about celebrating recovery from alcoholism.

“When you get someone up on stage that’s been sober for more than 40 years, it’s rather impressive!,” says Lucy. “If you can get ten of them, which is what happens, there’s a lot of wisdom, a lot of experience. It’s good for some of our younger people to connect with that.”

Lucy says stereotypes around alcoholism are really common, and can stop people seeking the help they need. Alcoholism can affect people from all walks of life – all ages, any gender, any professional or cultural identity.

“Everyone is welcome to come to Saturday’s public meeting and listen to others share their stories of what it was like drinking, how they got sober, and what life is like now.

“The AA programme works when an active alcoholic wants help, and an AA member is on hand to give that help. But, somewhere in the background, there has probably been help from someone who knew about AA and how to find us. We welcome you to join with us at our public meeting to find out more about us.”

The meeting will be held at Te Papa on Saturday. This is a combined public meeting with Al-Anon Family Groups It will start promptly at 7:30pm and end at 9pm.

We in AA can help
• AA Aotearoa is an organisation with approximately 4,500 members who meet in weekly groups in all parts of the country. Many old-timers in New Zealand have more than 45 years of continuous sobriety. Worldwide, AA has transformed the lives of over millions of people during the 82 years since it started.
• The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.
• There are no dues or fees, or people in authority telling you what to do.
• The AA fellowship consists of meetings where members get together and tell what life was like when they were drinking, how they stopped with the aid of AA and, what life is like now.
• AA is non-religious. When the word “God” is used, it is thought of as the individuals’ own “higher power” – this can be the group itself, or whatever works.

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