Sobriety Under The Sun AA Convention

Bob Cohen - Alano Club
January 20, 2012


The local Puerto Vallarta English-speaking Alcoholics Anonymous Serenity Group, combined with Al-Anon participation, will be hosting their 10th annual "Sobriety Under the Sun" AA convention at the luxurious Casa Magna Marriott Resort in Marina Vallarta from January 20-22, 2012.

This year's theme will be "Attitude of Gratitude". Packages for those who wish to stay at the resort are available. Prices for rooms have been set at the lowest price available anywhere.

Expected to attend are close to 400 recovering alcoholics and Al-Anon members, most coming from the United States and Canada, along with seasonal visitors and full-time Puerto Vallarta residents. Large speaker meetings, discussion groups, workshops, dinners and social events are all planned for the event.

An all-volunteer committee has been meeting weekly for the last few months in order to present the best possible conference for attendees. There will be registration tables, merchandise tables, literature tables and a "Leave a Tile" table; all open except during the main speaker meetings.

There will be four main speakers, three from the AA program and one from the Al-Anon program. At the door registration and the convention begin at 2:00 pm on Friday, January 20, and will be open until late Saturday with hourly AA and Al-Anon marathon meetings.

The conference opens at 2:00 pm on Friday with ongoing marathon meetings, followed with a "Meet and Greet" at 7 pm. The opening night speaker is Bob Z. from Thousand Oaks, California, at 8:00 pm. An open AA beach meeting begins at 10:00 pm, and marathon meetings continue until midnight.

On Saturday, the day will start with a sunrise open AA beach meeting at 7:00 am and there will be ongoing marathon meetings and workshops, both AA and Al-Anon from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm. From 9:30-11:30 am, all four speakers will hold a speaker panel on the 12 Steps.

The Al-Alanon opening speaker will be Betty Ann Z. from Thousand Oaks, California, from 1:00-2:30 pm. After the speaker, Al-Anon will conduct their countdown for those with the least and most amount of time in the Al-Anon program.

The Sunset Banquet and dinner will be just outside on the Marriott lawn with an ocean view starting at 6:00 pm (tickets are required) with the speaker at 8:00 pm. The speaker will be Steve L. from Brentwood, Tennessee. Register early, as the dinner always sells out. At 9:30 pm, we will have an Ice Cream Social, followed by an open AA beach meeting at 10:00 pm.

On Saturday, topic and facilitator workshops will be held from 3:00-4:30 pm. Be sure to select which workshops you want to attend as there is something for everyone. Topics will include "A Sense of Belonging", "Healing Through Laughter" (an Al-Anon workshop,) and a "Double Winners" workshop for both AA and Al-Anon. The topic will be "Gratitude in Your Attitude." There will also be GLBT meetings, and marathon meetings will reopen at 5:00 pm and continue through 7:00 pm.

Sunday morning concludes the convention with another open AA beach meeting at 7:00 am, followed by a spirituality complimentary continental breakfast for all attendees at 8:00 am. The Sunday morning AA Spiritual meeting will be at 9:00  am, followed by the final speaker, Debbie D. from Concord California, at 10:00 am.

Following that will be the traditional countdown of years in recovery. The member with the most years of sobriety will present a signed "Big Book" to the individual with the least time of sobriety. This is a favorite of all conference attendees. The conference will then come to a close at noon.

For those lucky enough to be staying longer, there is a "Sober Cruise" which was introduced four years ago and has become a favorite among members. This is an opportunity to spend the day at sea cruising and whale watching, then stopping at one of Banderas Bay's most beautiful beaches for an AA meeting on the beach. Breakfast and lunch are included. The cruise will be on Monday, January 23rd and will depart the cruiseship terminal at 9:30 am and return at 6:00 pm. The cost is $45 USD at the conference registration table or $50 USD at the dock. Seating is limited to 150, so be sure to register early and not be left ashore.

For more Sobriety Under the Sun AA Convention information and registration forms, as well as a detailed schedule of events, visit and navigate easily through the site to set up your conference itinerary. With the addition of PayPal last year, it is easier to register for the conference, the banquets, and other related convention events and to book reservations at the Casa Magna Marriott Resort.

The cost for registration is $75 USD at the door. Registration includes full access to all meetings and workshops but not the Saturday night buffet which has an extra cost of $40 USD.

Nine years ago, a small group of local AA members formed a convention to celebrate their sobriety and invite the rest of the world to join in the celebration. Conventions are common all over the world and the group felt that Puerto Vallarta would be an ideal destination to host a convention. The first, in 2002, was actually named "Soberfest 2002".

The name was changed to "Sobriety Under the Sun" the following year and was then supported by members of the Serenity Group of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Al-Anon groups in Puerto Vallarta. We are now celebrating Sobriety Under the Sun for the 10th year, and each year attendance has increased.

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 by two alcoholics who found that one alcoholic can best help another after repeated trips to hospitals, jails and churches all failed in efforts to help hopeless alcoholics to stop drinking. In 1939, four years later, the Alcoholics Anonymous book, or the "Big Book" as it is fondly called, was released in print. Only 100 recovering alcoholics were members at the time and the first 164 pages of the book have remained unchanged.

Currently, millions of once-suffering alcoholics worldwide are now members and enjoy freedom without alcohol, and leading productive lives. Alcoholics Anonymous is known as perhaps the greatest movement of the 20th Century that helps individuals at no cost. All groups are self supporting through meeting contributions.

Strange, but true, in Mexico the first group was an English speaking group formed by ex-pats in 1946, and it took ten more years before a Spanish speaking group surfaced. The success and growth in Mexico was phenomenal, currently with close to 20,000 Spanish speaking groups in existence. According to a local AA member in Puerto Vallarta, who is anonymous in accordance with the spiritual principles of the program, the first group, named the "Serenity Group" sprung up in 1966 in Gringo Gulch and met in rotating homes.

Twenty years later in October of 1986, The "Serenity Group" opened its doors on the second floor at the Cine Bahia on Avenida Insurgentes and became home to the Puerto Vallarta Alano Club in 1994. The AA Serenity Group met twice daily (9:00 am and 6:30 pm) and then included other 12 step support groups. Al-Anon increased their meeting to three times a week. In the high season more meetings are on the schedule.

After 23 years, in the middle of 2009, the Puerto Vallarta Alano Club moved to its new and current location. The new facility is located at Basilio Badillo 329, just a few blocks south of the original Cine Bahia location. It is on the ground floor on the north side of Basilio Badillo and across the street from Johnny's Diner.

With help from members of the club, which is independent of the 12 step meetings, a major reconstruction of the "New Alano Club" has proved to be one that all are enjoying. The club is independent of other businesses and has one large meeting room and two smaller comfortable meeting rooms. Improvements and upgrades have been made and are still continuing to be made. A Beautification committee has recently started and contributions are gladly accepted. Most comments are that folks are very pleased with the new club. For those coming to the convention, stop by and catch a meeting at the new club. There is also a website for the Puerto Vallarta Alano Club and information for the surrounding area for 12 step meetings in English. The new website is

The website for convention information and registration is From this site one can register online and choose from different packages or email for more information. Registration this year can be made easily with Pay Pal. The most important thing is that nobody makes any profits or gets paid as AA service is a major component in staying sober. Any extra monies are forwarded to AA service groups to further assist others in their recovery efforts. Registrations can be made at the Marriott from the start of the conference until Saturday before the speaker's meeting.

Weather in the Banderas Bay region is generally in the high 70's to low 80's and sunny in January and dips to a frigid 62 degrees at night, thus the origination of the convention name. Most people extend their visit to a week or more to enjoy the paradise and charm of Puerto Vallarta. Come join the international group of wonderful people that have one common purpose: to get sober, stay sober and enjoy life without the use of alcohol.

  Learn about Alano Club of Puerto Vallarta

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