From the September 2013 magazine.

September 2013: Bright Spot in Tokyo

AA buddies start a young peoples' convention in Asia and watch the fellowship erupt

The first time I heard about Young People in AA (YPAA) conferences, I was about a week sober. I still remember the guy who described it to me. He said, “It’s awesome. Thousands of young people on the streets of New Orleans—sober!” His eyes were glowing, and he looked so full of energy and pride when he said it. But I also remember the first thought that flew through my head: Party sober? That sounds so corny.

So I started going to YPAA events in my area near Florida. And when I attended my first International Conference of Young People in AA (ICYPAA) in the summer of 2007 in Los Angeles, I had the time of my life. It was everything he had said it was—and then some. I’d never been to a bigger party, drunk or sober! I went with a bunch of people from my home group and we formed great bonds. Most importantly, I learned a lesson that sustains my passion in AA to this day: I can enjoy myself sober. I can party sober. I can sing karaoke sober. I can laugh and love and live life sober. This is the message that YPAA gave me. And it’s the message I want to carry to the next alcoholic who’s thinking, I won’t ever have a good time again if I can’t get drunk.

-- Rich H.

Tokyo, Japan

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