Episode 60: Secular Ontario AA Roundup

This week’s podcast features a conversation with Jack V., one of the organizers of the Secular Ontario AA Roundup or SOAAR. The event will take place on September 16, 2017 at the United Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T1N1.  

Previous to this podcast, Steven V. wrote an article that was posted at AA Agnostica on May 8, 2017, which we are posting here with permission. 


By Steve V. 

Secular Ontario Alcoholics Anonymous Roundup (SOAAR) was the “brainchild” of a few AA agnostic members last spring. They sent out a message to the local groups asking if they wanted to submit a bid for the 2018 International Conference of Secular AA (ICSAA) – which was ultimately granted to Toronto – or a one day regional roundup. The response was basically that people wanted to have both! A Bid Committee was formed for ICSAA and at the same time the idea for a one day roundup was worked on too.

That’s how SOAAR came into being.

The SOAAR Committee held its first meeting in Toronto at the beginning of 2017 where most of the committee members were selected for the various positions. Lots of different AA Agnostic/Atheist/Freethinker members helped come up with the event location at the United Steel Workers Hall at 25 Cecil St. in the College/Spadina area close to Kensington Market. Other members contacted and secured a caterer so, in fact, many members (committee and non-committee) have participated in the development of this event thus far.

The Committee came up with a Mission statement that states:

The mission of SOAAR (Secular Ontario Alcoholics Anonymous Roundup) is to bring people together to share and celebrate sobriety with friends, family and other AA members. It’s a casual recovery-based event where we can all gather to share our experience, strength and hope in a fun, friendly and inclusive environment.

The event will take place on Saturday September 16, 2017 from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm and will include a variety of speakers, workshops, three meals, and a Talent and Art show. There will be lots of fun and fellowship and it will be a day where all AA members and secular AA members in particular can gather and celebrate sobriety and the diversity of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Registration is currently $35.00 and that covers all three meals and the day’s events. It is helpful to register now as the committee has incurred some expenses such as hefty deposits for both the Hall and caterer so registering now not only saves yourself $10, it also helps the committee. All information and how to register can be viewed at the event website: SOAAR.

Although the program has yet to be finalized, here’s some of the amazing events and activities we have planned for the day. Joe C., a well known agnostic AA member and author will be your Master of Ceremonies for the day. Dave J. and Bill K., two members of Windsor, Ontario AA since the 1970s will be speaking and sharing their experience within AA, and how much it’s changed and how much they have enjoyed seeing the birth of secular AA in Canada.

Kevin H. and Evonne S. will be part of a panel discussing “Many paths to Serenity” and there will be a couple of fascinating workshops, one on How to start an Agnostic AA meeting and the other on Tools of Recovery. We know many AA members who have tried and/or want to know how to start a meeting and get through the hurdles that present themselves so this is a “must see” workshop! Tools of Recovery, especially without a God or Higher Power in one’s sobriety, will be powerful for all we’re sure.

An Art Show/Sale and Talent Show by the many talented members of AA will be something to look forward to and we’re told that a Red Seal Certified Chef is in charge of catering this event so you know that food will be awesome and for $35, how can you possibly go wrong?

Lots of highly acclaimed authors will be in attendance selling their books and literature. Authors like Joe C. (Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life and host of Rebellion Dogs Radio), Roger C. (A History of Agnostics in AA and Do Tell! Stories by Atheists and Agnostics in AA) and Bob K. (Key Players in AA History) just to name a few.

It’s time to soar!
We, the 2017 SOAAR Committee, believe we have come up with a terrific day for all of you to enjoy with your friends and family. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday September 16 in Toronto and we anticipate it will be a tremendous day for all!