On the ground in New Orleans, headed to Detroit!

AA members in New Orleans have started building enthusiasm for the July 1-3 conference there, which will serve as the first step in increasing awareness and attendance for the 2020 world conference in Detroit. Now, it’s crucial for people to keep spreading the word about the Road to Detroit and keep the momentum going. (Visit www.roadtodetroit.org to learn more, register for the conference, and find out how you can help.)

   A few of us traveled March 16-21 to New Orleans, where we went to numerous fellowships and central offices to encourage people to get involved. Along the way, we developed friendships with people who eagerly volunteered to help bring others on this journey.

   Vann D., one of the members we met in New Orleans, said he hopes the July conference and the Road to Detroit help people realize “that AA is so much bigger than their local meeting,” and he hopes people “get involved in that wave of enthusiasm and change their lives, just like I did.”

   You don’t always see the wave coming.

   We met Vann at the Wednesday Gambit meeting on our first night in New Orleans – a meeting that Vann almost didn’t attend.

“I was 10 minutes away from not going to that meeting,” Vann said.

But he came, and at that gathering, we started to get to know many people through sharing our experiences in AA at the meeting and at fellowship afterward.

   Reflecting on the experience a few days later, Vann said, “We made lifelong friends that could probably change us. … That was totally a God thing.”

It would have been hard to predict exactly what was going to happen on this trip. There was no set agenda in the beginning – it largely came together as AA members at each group recommended other meetings we should check out.

We went to meetings all over New Orleans, ranging from clubs with frequent meetings like the Boulevard Club and the Lambda Center, to the Friday night Avenue Group and the Sunday night “There is a Solution” meeting. Of course, we also paid a visit to the city’s central office to let people there know about the Road to Detroit.

   People also greeted us with enthusiasm at meetings and central offices in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama.

We encountered many of the same people several times as we traveled, and as people learned of the Road to Detroit, they approached us, offering to help by announcing the July conference, sharing our fliers and cards with others, bringing food, and even helping to provide transportation. Dozens of people have joined the list for this newsletter so they can get regular updates on how plans for the conference are coming.

   Our experiences on this trip embody what we anticipate happening on the Road to Detroit: AA members new and not-so-new joining together and traveling from one place to the next to share their experiences and carry the message to other alcoholics.

   Melissa G., one of the people we met during our travels, said, “I hope people attending the conference in New Orleans in July will feel like they are not in this alone, and there is a fellowship bigger than the people they see in their routine meetings. We are all in this together, and hopefully this idea will bring them closer to their higher power by realizing that the force of this program is bigger than themselves and bigger than all of us.”

   Vann, who we met on our first night in New Orleans, said that when you have faith and do something “inconvenient or uncomfortable, a spiritual experience is possible,” which is what happened at the meeting where he met us.

When we saw Vann at one of the last meetings we attended during our visit, he said, “There’s something special that happens here that we don’t have the words to describe.”

   As another member has said, “How does God do this shit?”

What’s next

   The July conference is set for Knights of Columbus, 6254 Vicksburg Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70124 in the Christopher Room.

We’re putting together the schedule of speakers, meetings, and other activities for the conference. Stay tuned for updates!

For more information, or to make suggestions, you can call Alex at (650) 787-0828 or email roadtodetroit2020@gmail.com.

You can also join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/112114695841326/.

About the Road to Detroit

   The Road to Detroit is a series of conferences where a group of alcoholics are carrying AA’s message, for fun and for free, one city at a time to build enthusiasm and attendance for the 2020 world convention in Detroit, Michigan.

The annual conferences will feature speakers, meetings, 4th step workshops, and other activities designed to get everyone excited for the world conference, where at least 60,000 alcoholics from around the globe will be gathering.

After New Orleans, we’ll head to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in July 2017; St. Louis, Missouri in July 2018; Akron, Ohio in July 2019; and, finally, Detroit in July 2020!

   Find out more and encourage others to sign up for this newsletter at www.roadtodetroit.org!