Report of the Asia Pacific Online Unity Conference

The third Asia-Pacific Unity conference took place on Sunday April 25, 2021. The real purpose of this one-day conference is carrying the message and strengthening small groups through unity with others. The event was begun by Jason C. of Australia in 2019 as part of an effort to create unity in the Asia Pacific region, where there are small meetings and little intergroup action. Australia and now India are currently the strongest fellowships in the region.

This year’s event had 211 people registered, and more attended because, on the day of the event, the organizing committee distributed the meeting link via WhatsApp to non-registrants. In our introductory email to registrants, we stated our purpose thus:

The purpose of our conference is to carry the message (Step 12, Tradition 5) to suffering sexaholics in our region and to promote unity (Tradition 1) between the loners and the various groups in the Asia-Pacific region. When reaching for the hand of recovery, there are numerous obstacles Asians and others in the region face, not the least of which is language and the lack of local members. The conference is designed to bring the hand of recovery to them.

The conference began and ended with old-timers. In the middle, we featured a relapse prevention meeting with three old-timers. Some of our committee members, all familiar with life in Asia, conducted a panel discussion with audience questions on overcoming shame, a topic particularly relevant to Confucian-influenced cultures, where “face” is important. Our conference ended with the Serenity Prayer spoken in Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay, and Hindi.

SA meetings in Taiwan, Thailand, and some other Asian countries have catered mostly to the expat community or those local people whose fluency in English and Western cultures makes sobriety in SA possible. Such fluency often correlates with access to education. Yet sexaholics are suffering in every Asian country with no knowledge of a solution. The current state of SA in such places is comparable to AA in its infancy. As Bill wrote in 1935, “Near you, alcoholics are dying helplessly like people in a sinking ship. If you live in a large place, there are hundreds.” (AA 153) These are the hopeless suffering in Asia who need our message of hope. Every group is only as strong as its connection to other groups. Groups are cells in a single organism of recovery. We want to bring the light of sobriety and hope to our brothers and sisters whose first language is Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, etc.

The best part of the meeting for me was how many reached out to the newcomers who chanced into the conference, newcomers who don’t know what a sponsor is, who don’t how to work the Steps, and don’t know where to find books. I saw this happen in real time in the meeting chat. Another bit unity: I am in Taipei, and it has been a privilege to forge relationships with committee members in Australia, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand. God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Mike M., Taipei, Taiwan

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