History and Background
In April of 1986, four men discussed having a National AA Men’s Conference after hearing some AA women talking about how good their Women’s Conference was every year. Ted H. was contacted by Sam L., Demers, Sam W., and Mike F. The men met at Ted’s home in Cleveland, Ohio to formulate a plan of action.
Letters were sent out to the entire Cleveland AA community, inviting participation in the planning of the conference. In response to the letters a meeting was held, and a committee was formed to do fundraising. The men established a goal to raise $1,500. Having raffles, picnics, dances and out of pocket donations they raised the original seed money to hold the conference.
The initial committee members were: Al J., Calvin B., Carlon G., Herbert T., James P., Larry Van D., Michael F., Mike H., Ron K., Ronnie S., Sam K., Sam L., Sam R., Ted H., Tom N., Tony B. and Waithen M. Numerous other alcoholics donated their time and willingness to serve on Sub-Committees.
The first conference was held in March 1988 at the Holiday Inn in Middleburg Heights, Ohio with the following committee structure:
The Theme: “A New Era”
Ted H.: Chairperson
Michael F.: Co-Chairperson
Al J.: Treasurer
Sam W.: Secretary
Calvin B.: Program Director
Various AA Groups and individuals from the Greater Cleveland area donated all coffee and hospitality room pastries during the first National AA Men’s Conference (NAAMC). The first Conference was successful enough to prepare for a second Conference. During the second NAAMC Conference an Advisory Board was established to ensure that the Conference would be able to continue from year to year. The second and third conference themes were “Living Through Sobriety” and “Pass It On” respectively.
The Conference was passed on to:
- Detroit, Michigan; 1991 and 1992
- Scranton, Pennsylvania; 1993 and 1994
- Cleveland, Ohio; 1995
- Chicago, Illinois; 1996 and 1997
- St. Louis, Missouri; 1998
- Detroit, Michigan; 1999
- The Conference brought in the millennium (year 2000) in Cleveland, then returned to St. Louis, Missouri in 2001.
The original Conference Committee decided to restructure the Conference Committee. The original Conference Committee hosted the first three conferences, which were held in Cleveland, Ohio, and the subsequent 1995 Cleveland conference. As of 1999, the original Conference Committee became the Advisory Board with each Board person having the responsibility of advising one or more sub-committees. Each host city will have its own overall conference committee with sub-committees.
What started as a simple idea and a dream, is now a reality. We are thankful that we are allowed to continue sharing our strength, hope and experience.