6th International Seniors in Sobriety
Conference 2011

Book MarkerOn May 12 to May 15th, the 6th International Conference was held at the Holiday Inn, Ronkonkoma. This Conference was specifically designed for seniors in AA, whether they are new in AA or have been here for a long time. The entire SIS movement has been active in Western USA for many years, and there are several "Seniors in Sobriety" meeting groups formed in that area. Their purpose is to reach out the senior citizens who have began drinking at a later age and show them the way to a happier, sober life.

In 2007, I went to my first SIS Conference in Sedona, Arizona. I had never heard of SIS, but the fact that it was in Sedona beckoned to me. To my delight, I met wonderful seniors in AA, hard at work carrying the message to the elder population. The topics during the weekend were of great interest. The entertainment, speakers, events and trips filled the weekend with pure pleasure.

I was unable to return to another Conference until 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. Again, I experience a wonderful time. I certainly had no idea of bidding for the Conference to be held here in Long Island. However, over the weekend there was a lot of hinting that it would be wonderful to have a Conference in Eastern USA, where Alcoholics Anonymous got its start.

At the end of the weekend a business meeting is held to take bids for the next conference site. I was under the impression that a couple from New Jersey was going to bid for it. But, when I attended the meeting, they were not there. Ultimately, I accepted the job on the stipulation that I would return home and see what support I could expect to plan a Conference in Long Island.

Obviously, the support was here. I gathered a team with myself, Coni M. Chairperson, Brookhaven Women's group; Co-Chairperson, Nancy O, Sayville Group; Treasurer – Debbie P., Brookhaven Women's group; Registrar, Pat L., Bluepoint group; and Asst. Registrar Joan K, Smithtown Serenity group. Together these five ladies worked very hard and diligently, and ultimately presented the 6th Annual Seniors in Sobriety Conference in Long Island, NY, particularly in Suffolk County.

The attendance included people from California, Arizona, Washington State, Vancouver Canada, Main, New Jersey and of course Long Island.

The Conference started on Thursday at 6:30 pm with a Welcome talk by Coni M, Chairperson, Following the welcome, Wayne G., Chairman of SIS, spoke on the works of the movement and the importance of starting SIS meetings for the particular issues of Seniors in Sobriety. Our keynote speaker of the evening was Louella M. a member of the Smithtown Serenity Group. Louella has been sober for 52 years. Her message was powerful. We ended the night by everyone sharing on the Topic "What brought you to this SIS Conference?". Friday Morning started with a Continental Breakfast in the Island Ballroom. Soon after, at 9:30 a busload of people took off to Stepping Stones, the home of Lois and Bill W in Katona NY . The weather was beautiful, the flowers surrounding the house were in full bloom. The day was filled with tours around the house and grounds, and Bill W's office where he wrote the Big Book. There was a box lunch provided and we ended the tour with an AA meeting.

Flier Cover On Friday evenin, we held an Ice Cream Social for everyone returning from the trip. The evening was filled with fellowship and socializing. Annette and Gail from California sang the song "Its Never Too Late". Which was composed and written by Annette. After the entertainment and the ice cream were finished, we showed the film "My Name is Bill W", which ended the evening on a wonderfully serene note.

Saturday morning started with another Continental Breakfast in the Island Ballroom, followed by a full day of workshops. We had AA books and literature displayed. The Archihves Committee, had an electonic array of Suffolk Intergroup's Histories and Artifacts, which were of great interest to all who attended. Some of the workshop topics were: "Getting started in AA, after relocating", "Asking for Help, Physical changes and challenges for seniors", "Over 60, retired, now what?", "Alone Again, Staying Connected". We had a talk by Lori B, CAC, on the value of counseling in later years, and an Alanon/AA presentation by Barbara and Bruce B., both double-winners in AA and Alanon.

On Saturday evening we had a sumptuous buffet dinner in the Islip Room, followed with an open meeting with a leader and two speakers. The speakers were Annette S., California and Dewey B., Arizona. Nancy O. presented "Pass it on" plants to the Committee, and our keynote speakers. The plants were started by Lois Wilson and passed on to friends who have passed it on until there are plants all over the United States. Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate cake and coffee or tea ended our evening with a lot of people very satisfied and very full.

Sunday morning in the Islip Room we presented a Spiritual Breakfast. Sister James said a beautiful Grace to start the meal. After Breakfast our Spiritual speaker was Sister Bonnie Kelly, who graced us with a wonderful talk filled with humor and true spirituality.

Immediately following breakfast we had a business meeting and bids were presented for 2013 SIS Conference. The bid was given to Mickey W of Yuma, Az., and promises to be another wonderful experience for Seniors In Sobriety.

Coni M.

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A song dedicated to the age old journey of recovery sung by Annette and Gayle to the tune of One Singular Sensation.