The title of today’s post is just a wee bit misleading. In truth the Conference ended yesterday when we closed at the end of business. Today is not a business day, instead it’s out time to say so long, have a final meal together, and hele on.
I was mostly packed as I did a lot of that last night. I’d also asked the front desk how late they’d let me keep the room without incurring a charge. I had a couple of extra hours and that was great…I didn’t have to hurry. That’s never been a favorite pastime I do not recommend it.
At 8:30 AM we gathered together for a final brunch together. We’d been encouraged to sit with people we didn’t know when we’d first arrived but by now, we all knew each other. So really, we just sat with friends because that’s what we’d become.
The only thing that could be called business today were the farewell talks by five out-going trustees. Unfortunately only four were present as Terry Bedient, our out-going Class A (non-alcoholic) Trustee and chairman of the GSB could not attend. I wish him the best and will miss him. We’d first become acquainted at the Pacific Regional Forum and he’s tremendous servant of A.A., all the more so as he’s a non-alcoholic.
We did hear from four Class B (alcoholic) trustees who are rotating out and they gave wonderful talks about their journey. They are all happy to become just alcoholics again, members of home group, and as they said, try to avoid becoming bleeding deacons. In my estimation they are all elder statesman, though that does not having anything to do with their actual again.
And that was it. The 67th General Service Conference was really and truly over. We hugged, we laughed, we cried. We told the other Panel 67 delegates we’d see them next year and thanked the 68’s from the bottom of our heart’s for showing us the way.
I finished packing and, rested in my room a bit, then headed to the lobby to see if anyone was still around. Some of us were waiting for shuttles, other’s staying till tomorrow were just chatting, but many had already gone. Through a chance encounter I ended up having lunch with Lynda B., our AA Grapevine director. She’d been to our Pacific Regional Forum and really loved it. She’s from Canada and brings a great perspective to her long service in A.A. She is also very charming and wonderful dining companion. Of course we have a lot in common. As she points out, she’s just a drunk too. Just like you and me.
And you know, that’s one thing that really came home to me this past week. Everyone here is just a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, doing the best they can carry out the Conscience of our Fellowship, just like we do in our Groups.
It was time to go. I did.
As you may know, I’m staying around a bit so I headed to Manhattan and checked into my hotel. Then I headed out into the city. Not being quite ready to let go I hooked up with my friends Barry S. and Thad N., the delegate and alternate delegate from Idaho. I’ve become their friend in the years we’ve served together at PRAASA and at Forums. We wandered around a bit and made our way back to the same restaurant we’d had lunch at over a week ago when we’d arrived. Yes, we talked A.A., but not as delegates or alternate delegates, but as three friends sharing aloha and talking story.
And then we did let go. They headed back to Rye Brook and I walked back to my hotel. on the way I checked the online A.A. schedule for the area and realized I could catch a meeting. And that’s what I did. I went to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I went because I’m an alcoholic. The room was much like my home group was when I first walked through the doors, a little cramped, a little dinghy, well used, with uncomfortable chairs that wobbled, and filled with the most wonderful folks in the world. You. I may not be back in Hawaii yet, but I am definitely home, not New York, but A.A.
That’s what this past week was about. That’s what all the hard work you did leading up to our Inform the Delegate Assembly was about. That’s what we do everyday, keep the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous open for the drunk just walking through the doors. I hope you never stop remembering that and we can continue together, trudging the road to happy destiny, drinking lukewarm coffee, and always, always, always, holding out our hand in love to the still suffering alcoholic. Thank you for your service. Thank you for letting me help.
Yours in loving fellowship and service,
Hawaii Area 17
Panel 67 Delegate