Interview: Recovery Begins with One Step

Apr 25, 2019

We talked to Sandra R., this year’s Convention Chairperson, about the Convention and some of her personal perspectives on the theme and the workshops. We found her stories interesting and we wanted to share a few of them with you.

Al-A-Gram: This year’s theme: Recovery Begins with One Step. How did that theme come up and what does it mean for you?

Sandra: Well, it’s really interesting that you brought up the theme because I was panicked about that for a while. When I arrived at the Pennsylvania Assembly as the incoming Chair I didn’t have a theme in mind and I was worried that it wasn’t going to come to me.

It was actually on the ride home from the Pennsylvania Assembly that I started thinking about different ideas. And I don’t know why, but “Recovery Begins with One Step” popped into my head. It was really about just taking one thing at a time.

Everything in recovery has been baby-steps for me. For example, my first step going to a meeting and then returning to that meeting. The next thing was learning to share, finding a sponsor. Each thing has been incremental steps for me. And then just also thinking about the twelve steps and working them and what that’s doing in my life.

So I thought of it more in a broader context as well as this — like “recovery begins with — starting with step one — admitting that I’m powerless.” And that’s kind of where it went.

I pitched it to the committee at our next meeting and they ran with it. And it’s so incredible. With the ideas — the things they came up with, the logo they came up with — it’s been beyond my wildest dreams. Like when I brought the theme up with them, “Guys, this might be kind of stupid, but I think ‘Recovery begins with one step’ might be a good theme. What do you guys think, or do you have something else you want to toss around?” And they loved it and so we went with it.

Al-A-Gram: I get that the theme runs through the workshops too, but is there anything in the workshops that really sticks out for you? That personally stands out for you, that says, “I really wish I could take that session,” even though you probably won’t be able to.

Sandra: I know. Well, it’s so interesting. There’s this movement workshop — Moving Through the Steps — and most people are probably thinking they’re just going to talk about how to work the steps, but it’s actually going to get people up and moving. It’s an active workshop. I really want to go to that because I have never been to anything like that before. And it’s really creative.

Al-A-Gram: It’s a whole body thing then?

Sandra: Yeah, yeah! So I wish I could go to that one. So if I only get to one, I think that will be the one that I try to get to.

For all the workshops, we tried to stay in the theme of “beginning” something.

Al-A-Gram: Any others?

Sandra: “How to Start Writing” sounds really interesting, too. For all the workshops, we tried to stay in the theme of “beginning” something.

I’ve always been a fan of the writing workshops. It reminds me of how I felt when my sponsor said, “I want you to write your responses to the questions in the book.” I responded, “Can’t we just talk about it?” And then she explained that she thought that writing was so important and that it causes a stream of consciousness.

It was a big hurdle for me. It’s committing. It’s overwhelming. How do I find time to do it? I had this huge aversion to it. But once I realized that I’m not writing for an audience, that this is just for me, it became a really therapeutic thing.

Al-A-Gram: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Any last thoughts?

Sandra: I just hope the people who come to the Convention have an amazing time and really enjoy the experience and get as much out of it as I have every year that I’ve gone.