There are a lot of people here, aren’t there? Many of us have felt a little lost or uneasy at our first convention. Therefore, we have written a few tips on how to survive your first one. Of course, you are under no obligation whatsoever to do any of these things: we have simply provided tips that helped each of us at our first convention.
Again, welcome and we hope you enjoy.
— The Convention Committee
Just don’t drink alcohol for today.
Eat something when you get hungry.
Getting enough rest and sleep is important. Allow yourself some quiet time and rest.
Go to meetings, workshops and speaker events. Put a program together for yourself with the things that you like best. It is best to make a plan and try to stick to it. This helps offset feelings of loneliness, not being “a part of” or even “My God what am I doing here?” Try to share once … even better, often … that helps us feel “a part of.”
Be of service
The convention is a team effort. There is a lot to be done and we are always looking for an extra hand. Ask at the registration desk if you can help. It’s a great way to meet people and take an active part in the success of the event.
Not feeling well?
Grab someone to talk to. You can always take someone aside and tell him you are not feeling too well: we are here to help. Don’t be afraid; just tell him or her that this is your first convention. Anyone will know exactly how you feel.
You’ll quickly see that we like to hug. You need not feel obliged … there are no “musts” here.
Conventions are a very good place to find a sponsor. Listen carefully. Maybe there is someone who has something you want. Don’t be shy: just walk up and introduce yourself. You can always ask a general question about sponsorship and let the conversation develop.
A gentle reminder
Everybody in AA is in recovery from actions that harm ourselves and others. Some are further along in that recovery than others. Conventions are a very good place to meet people in recovery and have loads of fun to boot. However, be mindful that there is the odd chance of meeting someone who’s primary focus may not be fellowship and recovery.
Taking part in the sobriety countdown is optional. Again, there are no “musts.”
Conventions often leave you a little euphoric. Here are two important tips against convention hangover (the day after): go as quickly as possible to a regular meeting when you return home. Going to regular meetings helps to get everything in the right proportion again and prevents you from getting an emotional hangover. Call your sponsor, another sober person or someone you met at the convention.
Make a list of new friends, and of course their phone numbers.