“Our Fellowship United”

The AA Big Book says, “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.” (AA 83) Of course I see how many promises came true during the online inter-regional convention hosted by the Europe and Middle East Region (EMER) and the Persian-Speaking Region (PSR) on April 8 and 9, 2022.

We had already been witnessing the expansion of online meetings in response to the pandemic that prevented us from meeting face to face. The miraculous part of this was that these new online meetings were bringing together members from different continents, time zones, and cultures whom we might otherwise never have met.

When I was still a newcomer, I had no idea about the huge size of our Fellowship and I could never have guessed how many individuals struggled with the same problem I did. They were finding a solution for it, now even throughout Asia and Africa—living one day at a time. Technology was uniting our fellowship like never before.

So when EMER and PSR agreed last fall to undertake hosting a joint inter-regional online convention, we both sensed that technology was again going to play a key role in uniting our fellowship like never before. Without traveling hundreds or miles and spending a good deal of money, we pursued the vision of seeing the images and hearing the voices of one another, and sharing camaraderie and experience with our sisters and brothers in recovery.

Close to 400 people came together over two days to listen to 16 speakers—8 from PSR and 8 from EMER—talk about how our fellowship stays united by working the Steps together, upholding the Sobriety Definition, placing principles before personalities, and standing together in pursuing recovery. And because of the Zoom platform, we were able to interpret the Farsi and English speakers through separate additional channels into Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Slovak, and Spanish.

We felt the unity of being part of a spiritual community, no longer isolated and apart from the human race. All of the over 60 trusted servants who served on this convention had their own daily affairs to keep up with. I admire their hard work that was the expression of unconditional love coming from their compassionate hearts. I saw that the measure of the commitment of our fellow members reflected the measure of their recovery. Newcomers were greeted in breakout rooms between sessions and they were able to receive the contact numbers of others. Members who spoke no English were able to connect with each other from all over Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, North and South America, and beyond. This was a real achievement in carrying the message to many unreached corners of the earth.

Many of us learned for the first time about the work of the Correctional Facilities Committee and the “Year of CFC” in 2022. How amazing it is that we can connect with prisoners via letters or email and help them with sponsorship and working the Steps. It’s by God’s grace only that so many of us were spared being imprisoned as a consequence of lusting.

One attendee shared her excitement that she found that the method of working the Steps is the same in other countries. Using similar books and taking Inventories for all members encouraged her to seriously apply universal principles of the SA program in her life. It made her happy to see that men and women speakers were chosen equally for the event from both EMER and PSR, alongside one another.

We learned that nothing can separate us in our recovery, and our common language is surrender in the face of cunning baffling lust.

The overall result of this event was finding similarities among us more than ever before. We can be united and be comfortable with our friends in SA and place principles before personalities. Foreigners are no longer aliens. We identify and have true Union with others on the basis of our revealed weaknesses.

The honest shares of the speakers gave us the ability to connect with the vulnerability inside of others who are like us. We can see the “I” in each of us become the “we” among all of us.

I’m delighted to feel the nearness of our Fellows. SA really is a proper substitute for lust and my destructive behaviors. To organize such an event without a spirit of cooperation and God’s grace and protection would have been impossible. I pray for His guidance to continue walking in His way. His will not ours be done.

Mona M., Khuzestan, Iran

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