AA Chairperson's Message

Dear Family of Understanding, Friends and Guests, and the Online World,

On behalf of the 2021 San Fernando Valley AA Convention Planning Committee, it is my extreme pleasure to welcome you to our very first ever San Fernando Valley AA UNCONVENTIONAL.

After a forty-five-year legacy of annual conventions, this committee was excited to begin our usual undertaking of planning number forty-six. Our planning was set to begin in April of 2020, but when that date had rolled around, the city, the state, our country, and our world had begun a systematic shutdown to compensate for a world health crisis that quickly took all of us by surprise. Little did we know at that time how a strange new normal was about to seep long-lastingly into every crevice of our lives, and how we, as a group, were about to be tested on all accounts of service, unity, and recovery. The familiar patterns of how we did things, and what the plans are, were soon scrapped for another plan that was undoubtedly out of our control.

The theme, NOT OUR PLAN, seemed to be a natural choice for of this year’s convention as the idea fits between the lines of what we thought should happen and what our Higher Power has mysteriously put in front of us. Letting go of how we thought our world should be became a true test for every member of Alcoholics Anonymous who had grown comfortable attending their regular meetings, assembling with their supportive fellowship, and giving of themselves in their usual avenues of AA service. Our customary plan to stay sober felt dangerously threatened as what was now available for us to work our daily recovery muscle became something mostly unrecognizable. Yet, if we had just leaned on our faith and got out of our own way, we could quickly realize that it was only seemingly threatened.

On page 100 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it states: “When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.” It goes on to advise us, “Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!” If we can truly embrace the idea of Thy Will Be Done, we will know that it was never our plan. And if we pray for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out, then whatever that plan is (the one that isn’t ours) will be rich with the most remarkable gifts of contentment and serenity. First and foremost we keep the sustained ability to stay sober, and going further, we keep the capacity to continue to help our brothers and sisters in ways we were never able to before recovery, no matter what calamity goes swirling on around us.

Although we are all about to participate in an Unconventional Convention from thousands of separate locations, we are not divided. The greater plan forced us to throw out our old ideas once again and directed most of us to this new world of online meetings. The strength of the fellowship we crave reaches right through our computer screens offering all who are willing to try something new another welcome invitation to join us.

The members of our planning committee have supported the idea of Not Our Plan throughout a very uncertain year. With incredible energy and fierce resolution, we have put together an unconventional program that has all the flavor of our past conventions. It has been my honor and delight to work with this year’s exceptional team to bring to you three days of speaker meetings, marathon meetings and worldwide AA fellowship. I’d like to thank my AA Co-Chairperson Jani B, our Al-anon Chairperson Keith K, our Alateen Chairperson Julia B along with her sponsor Selena, together with all of our respective committee members, for their creative and tireless work in planning this very exciting weekend.

To serve as the 2021 SFV AA UnConventional Chairperson has been one wild dream that I never imagined I could be part of. Recovery has given me everything I could never have planned for myself. With great gratitude I acknowledge the reliance I have in a Higher Power who will put our lives in right size and good order when we allow ourselves to step aside and perform the work He would have us do. When it is Not OUR Plan, the possibilities are endless.

Have a fantastic weekend and thank you for thinking UNCONVENTIONALLY.

In Love and Service,
Todd G.,
2021 SFVAA UNCONVENTIONAL CHAIRPERSON