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Delegate's Bulletin Board

26 April 2020 PRAASA Paraíso

Personal Mission Statement: “I’m committed to being totally available and responsible to Mid-Southern California Area 09 members, to help provide a healthy infrastructure to communicate among individuals, Groups, Districts, Area, and the General Service Office, while using as few acronyms as possible!”


I was blessed to have attended the last two A.A. International Conventions, and have referred to these events as “once in a lifetime experiences,” which I’ve now experienced twice! What I learned in San Antonio in 2010 and repeated again in Atlanta in 2015 is that the value of my experience is commensurate with my openness and availability.


I would like to share with you a personal prayer, which came to me in September 2014 in Merced, California, and to which I refer to as the “Gathering Prayer:”


God, let me meet those people you would have me meet

Hear those things you would have me hear, and

Share those things you would have me share

And change me for the better by

Those whom I meet

That which I hear, and

That which I share



This prayer may be the reason Pacific Region Alcoholics Anonymous Service Assembly (PRAASA) 2020 was a paradise experience for me. Like at the two Internationals, I left my room each morning for the Early Bird meetings, like a slow-motion bumper car, bouncing from alcoholic to alcoholic, fueled by this prayer. And, the following three indelible memories will follow me to my (hopefully) sober grave:


I’ve often shared that my habit is to enter A.A. banquet halls five minutes before the meal, and choose a table for dinner with people whom I’ve never met. That Saturday night, I sat between two people, and the guy to my right turned out to be a past delegate from Alaska. A fellow a few years my senior, he was a general contractor who had worked for many years on Kodiak, which is a small island southeast of the Alaskan mainland. Our hour together was charmed by his many shared insights, helping demystify aspects of my two-year tenure as delegate, barely three months into my term.


On Sunday morning, I rounded the building to find a man sitting by himself at a table near the front doors of the Westin Resort, there in Tucson, Arizona. On a whim, I invited myself to sit with him and began a 30-minute visit with a past delegate, from Washington State, named Ed … go figure! At some point, God just likes to show off! He also shared insights and philosophies that will ultimately keep me right-sized and functional in this virtual, Panel 70 Conference, which is due to happen in three weeks.

Later that morning, I left through the backdoors from a panel where I initiated a conversation with a tall, young Hispanic man in a white cowboy hat. I soon learned that he was from Hesperia, California, and not only that, but a secretary in what had been my very first A.A. meeting out of rehab: El Groupo Estrella del Desierto. After a few minutes, I shared with him that a very distinguished member of Area 09, named Paco G, had suggested I return to this group and thank them for my sobriety. That’s when he pointed to his nametag, which read “Paco!”


An hour after I met him, Paco passed me a white envelope with a blue sheet of paper inviting me to speak at Estrella del Desierto. In August 2005, when I first attended, I was with my wife headed for movie (with an A.A. meeting along the way). It was a speaker meeting with six of us, including an elder statesman leaning on a cane who had gotten sober in the mid-1970’s, who shared in Spanish, then repeated himself in English. I was not asked to leave, made to feel welcome, and experienced A.A. compassion in el lenguaje del corazón. In a full circle of love, on 15 March 2020 nearly 15 years after my first visit, in what would be among my last face-to-face A.A. meetings before going virtual in response to the virus, I shared for an hour my appreciation for their group, love for A.A., and how much larger my small world has gotten!

Ed L, Panel 70 MSCA delegate,
(760) 964-0012