Thursday (Day 1) – WCNA 35 (con’t)

One of the group members said to me, “Narcotics Anonymous World Convention is not for pussies.” Well he wasn’t kidding. The first day was twelve hours of  wonderful as well as exhausting hard core recovery conference content.

In the afternoon of day one, I attended one more workshop. At the workshop titled, Why We Stay, I heard Erica T. from West Virginia talk about her experience going to bars with her co-workers and being tempted to drink and the head games that sometimes happens in the thoughts of a recovery addicts. I sure could relate. It was interesting her invitation to speak at World came at a perfect time… While she was at the bar with these obnoxious co-workers. Sometimes our higher power knows what we need.

The next speaker at the workshop was Chuck G. from California. Chuck was hilarious. By far the funniest speaker I have seen. However, Chuck had a great message. He had obviously been active in NA a long time. I took from him that the relationships with the fellowship and service commitments kept him coming back.

Overall, I really enjoyed the two workshops on Thursday. They where informative but most of all they were inspiring.

After dinner was the daily “Main Event” meeting. I had no idea what to expect, but the line into the main hall of the convention center spanned across the entire convention center. It had to be (no exaggeration) a half-mile long covering a full city block. Then as we moved into the Main Hall, I was blown away by the atmosphere. There was a rock concert feel to the beginning of the event.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael NutterThe first speaker was… believe it or not… the Mayor of Philadelphia, Micheal Nutter. Mayor Nutter gave about a 15 minute speech. I was very surprised at his honesty and how heart felt his words came across. He told about his dealings with the disease of addiction with his father when he was a kid. I could sense the empathy and understanding he has for the recovery process. He is a politician, so he was a phenomenal public speaker. I really appreciated him speaking at the Narcotics Anonymous World Conference.

The next speaker was a member of our fellowship. Her name was Marilyn T. from Ohio. Marilyn was very animated and emotional in her delivery. She was very good and keeping your attention as she gave her story about being in additive behavior before actually using drugs. Then how the drugs had magnified her addictive behavior greatly and within a few years found NA.

The final speaker of the evening was Bobby B. from Philadelphia. Bobby was very entertaining. It is obvious how important family is to him and how grateful he was for NA allowing him to the father/husband he is today. Also, it Bobby gave some history of NA in the Philadelphia area that I found interesting. Bobby’s experience, strength and hope was awesome and he really moved the crowd.

By the end of this event, it was 10pm. I debated whether to go to the last session I had picked to go. It was titled NA History: The Early Days. However, the meeting leader of the Main Event session spoke to the quality of this presentation, so I went ahead and attended.All I can say, is that was the best decision of the day. This was by far the most informative “training” type session I have ever attended at an NA event.

Title Slide NA History PresentaionThe two presenters gave a very well organized, logically constructed and highly professional presentation. The presentation covered the early history of addiction and the treatment of addicts in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I did not know that the federal government started the first Institution for treating drug addicts in Lexington, KY which lead to the start of Addicts Anonymous out of Alcoholics Anonymous. There was an offshoot of this Addicts Anonymous that went to New York City for some years and was actually called Narcotics Anonymous.  However, the NA we know today finally the separated from AA at the time when Jimmy K. put NA on the path to its development of the worldwide recovery fellowship it is today. This convention often announced the fact that this was 60th anniversary of NA inception.

This presentation included correspondence from Jimmy K. writing about how the traditions were a necessary part of success of NA. I had heard about Jimmy K. before, but I did not know the details of his importance for the beginnings of Narcotics Anonymous. THANK GOD for JIMMY K.!!!

I was completely blown away and overwhelmed by my first day at the conference. I can tell this is going to be an important four days in my recovery.

-Jeffry L.
Lawrence, KS

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Thursday (Day 1) – WCNA 35

I realize this blog has become about my personal journey at the Narcotics Anonymous World Convention in Philadelphia, PA. Fitting because the tag line for this year’s even is The Journey Continues…

It makes sense these articles are focused on myself. Obviously, I am going to have my perspective on the conference. I arrived here with ten others and we do see each other often, but the scope of this event is absolutely huge and we simply go our separate ways. Most of the time, not even meaning too.

Anyhow, first thing this morning was about Merchandise. I arrived late and the line was long, but I started talking to the group members and just followed them in. Probably not the most spiritual but I am sure I have done much worse.  The selection was huge. My focus was on T-Shirts and I found a few that I liked. I even bought a t-shirt for my sponsor Dave O. from Overland Park, KS.

WCNA 35 T-shirt design 1      WCNA T-shirt design 3   WCNA 35 T-shirt design 2

My friend John S. from Baldwin, KS asked me to get him a lapel pin. John is awesome and this is my gift to him.

Merchandise WCNA 35

At 11:30, I attended a workshop with two AMAZING speakers. The workshop was titled “Growing Pains” and featured Rick H, from Connecticut and Vickery H, from Maryland. The workshop was held in the Philadelphia Convention Center in Room 201.

Here are some quotes from these two:

“My needs are fine… I can handle those. It’s my wants that get me into trouble.”

“Concerning Emotions; The only way to grow ourselves is to plow through them.”

“Empathy is not a behavior it is a lifestyle.”

“Acceptance is not an event. It is a process that goes on and on…”

“Misery is an option.”

Here is a pic of them setting up the room:

meeting_room_workshop

More to come…

-Jeffry L.
Lawrence, KS

Meetings Begin…

I feel like a young boy in the 1920s visiting the city for the first time. The sense of wonder and awe as I enter my first speaker meeting at the Narcotics Anonymous World Convention in Philadelphia, PA.

People exiting the convention center after speaker meeting

I was blown away as I saw the size of the room and then I noticed the sheer numbers in the room. There had to be over a thousand people in attendance. To think, this was the Pre-conference meeting the evening before the official start day of the meeting.

The speaker was Yolanda from Aruba. She talked about how she started meetings in Aruba. I could tell she worked very hard to get NA in her island/city. I was humbled by the fact I found a meeting in my hometown that had five Noon meetings a week. Anyhow, she had an inspiring story and I really enjoyed it.

Directly after the speaker meeting, the Marathon meeting began. I would estimate there was over 200 addicts at this meeting. There was a ton of enthusiasm in the sharing that I heard. The message was almost exclusively speaking to the solution. I was so taken by these meetings, I stayed for two and a half hours. I met a guy from New Jersey. Ex-cop that found his way to the program. I also met a woman from Philly. Lots of personality. Frankly, what you would expect from a large city like Philly.

I took down a couple quotes that grabbed my attention. Yes, i got a few looks because I was typing quotes on my phone so I wouldn’t forget. I think members thought I was texting. Ohh well, cannot control others no matter how hard I try.

Quotes:

“I found NA and I was rescued from myself.”

“I thought I was cool, but I was playing a mirror’s game. I was really functioning over here, but I was using a mirror to think I was actually over there.”

“Thoughts are not real and emotions don’t last.”

Okay, off to the first official start day of the 35th World Conference of Narcotics Anonymous!

-Jeffry L.
Lawrence, KS

Day 2 – Registration Day or New York City

Today, most of the group took a day long tour of New York City.

Myself, I was in New York a month ago. So, I opted to stay behind and register for the conference and mingle with the addicts that arrived early.

I arrived at the Philadelphia Convention center 15 minutes after registration opened. I am surprised by the number of participants already there and ready to go!

Registration Day - Inside Convention Center    Registration Day - Conference Center Entrance

The Narcotics Anonymous World Convention committee provides free registration for those with less than 30 days clean. Check out the line.

Registration Day - Newcomer Line

I got my badge. It is official!

NAWC 2013 Offical Badge

Looking forward to the start of activities. They begin this evening with two speakers and a dance. If you are curious… here is the online version of the online Program Guide: WCNA35_ProgramDraft_Webposting

Addicts on Air arrive in Philadelphia

We are a two blocks away from the Philadelphia Convention Center. Most of the group wanted to check out the location.

NA World Convention Street Flags

The street flags grabbed our attention.

After a visit to the convention center we were off to lunch. Right across the street from the Convention Center is the Reading Terminal Market. Awesome place. Incredible amount of choices. There is an incredible amount of diversity in the restaurants and grocery stores.

philly_cheesesteak  IMG00042-20130827-1441

Most of the group had… well… what else? A Philly Cheese steak.

Much of the group was off to see the sites.

China Town  steve_libertybell

A group of (mostly) Kansans heads to Philly

Group of NA Members headed to Philly

My name is Jeffry. I am spending the next six days with a group of Addicts on an adventure to attend the Narcotics Anonymous (NA) World Convention in Philadelphia, PA. We call ourselves Addicts on Air. I will attempt to chronicle our journey on this site.

There are eleven of us. Our journey begins the night before our flight on Monday, August 26th near the airport in Kansas City, Missouri. The group is diverse just like our Fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous.

One of our members drove 600 miles to meet in Kansas City. Most everyone is from Kansas except one Nebraska transplant and we try not to hold that against him.

We had a 6:30am flight on Tuesday, August 27th. Most of the group opted to stay at a hotel near the Kansas City Airport.

Most of the group has attended the NA World Convention before. However, this is my first World Conference and I am very excited.

Pretty typical dinner conversation. There was some discussion about the plans for the trip. Room sharing arrangements and the like… There was also some emphasis on Muffins as the restaurant we shared a meal offered free muffins.

One notable quote from the evening, “The NA World Convention is not for (I will paraphrase) the faint of heart.”