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.
The 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.
The 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.