A true sense of belonging
Chris (Kilika), Hawaii
75th International Convention was an adventure from start to finish.
husband (who is also in Alcoholics Anonymous) and I landed
in Las Vegas, NV at 7:30 a.m. on the 28th of June
after catching a “red eye” from Oahu the night before. We rented
a car, went to our hotel for some much needed rest, and then headed
out to San Antonio TX, on the morning of the July 29th. We
were on our way and drove though some beautiful country in Arizona,
New Mexico and Texas, and arrived on the 1st of July
in San Antonio just in time for the festivities to begin.
settled in our motel, which was on Randolph Air Force based in
Universal, Texas, about a 15 mile drive into downtown San Antonio and
the Convention Center. On that first trek into the downtown area we
observed people wandering around in groups, or individually wearing
green and white badge holders that hung from their necks, and we knew
we had arrived.
closer we came to the Convention Center, the bigger the crowd got.
Hundreds upon hundreds of people were walking down the streets of
down town San Antonio with those green and white badge holders.
took us a while to find a parking garage and on our way through
bumper to bumper traffic we noticed some one carrying a Hawaiian Flag
and we felt right at home in the middle of the mainland. We waved at
our friends saying that we will see them later, found a parking place
and proceeded to register and get our very own badges.
woman volunteer at the registration counter welcomed us by saying
aloha. I returned the gesture by giving her a touch of the Aloha
Spirit, with a hug and kiss on the cheek. Then the three day journey
began for us.
sense of belonging was never quite complete when I was out there
practicing active alcoholism. Once in a while, for a brief moment in
time, I did feel a sense of belonging in God’s universe and at
peace. As my disease progressed, the alcohol created more fear and
disconnection and at the end of my drinking, those moments of feeling
that I belonged anywhere were gone.
was within the fellowship (of the spirit) that I first started
feeling and knowing a true sense of belonging. At the beginning that
gave me hope for more. As I sat in meetings I started listening to
people and I began to identify as they shared their pain and then the
subsequent joys of sobriety. I desperately wanted what they had.
needless to say, the most significant moments of his trek to the
75th International Convention were reinforced with
this sense of belonging and connectedness. These experiences of being
among (and a part of) throngs of other alcoholics, milling around
from mostly every nation in the world, brought about such true
happiness and peace that standing in line for the bathroom was an
awesome event, as I was able to have a few conversations with people
as if I knew them all my life. The waiting in line did not seem long
momentous experience was when I was standing in front of a restaurant
on the River Walk area downtown and woman came up to me and handed me
a pickle pin and stated “You can never be a cucumber again.”
sense of belonging continued as I sat in the Alamo Dome and gazed
around me in awe at so many alcoholics that were gathered together in
one huge, gigantic meeting. I loved sitting with my fellows from
Hawaii at the Big Meeting on Saturday night (approximately 63,000
people) and again feeling a part of the big whole.
guess you can say that the significant events in my life always occur
when I remember where I came from and where I am today as a member of
Alcoholics Anonymous. One day at a time I give thanks to God for
giving me a life free from alcohol.