SOAAR: Secular Ontario AA Roundup

I am writing today about a very important event. It’s the Secular Ontario AA Roundup (SOAAR) that will be held on Saturday, September 7 at the First Unitarian Church in Hamilton.

And why is it important? Well, first it is the only secular AA roundup/conference that will be held this year in all of Canada. So, our effort is to encourage the growth of the secular movement within AA. We want to encourage and support the birth of more agnostic and atheist AA groups and meetings in all of our provinces. Second, our roundup theme is “Widening the Gateway” so we want traditional AA to better understand – and accept – our secular groups. To that end we have invited well established traditional AA members – a former Area Delegate with 31 years of sobriety, the current delegate for Area 86 (Western Ontario), a District Chairperson and a former member of the New York based General Service Board (from Montreal) – to be members of a panel on “Service in AA”.

Indeed we have a superb agenda. One of our speakers will be Joe C, one of the founders of the first still active secular AA group in Canada in 2009 in Toronto. He is also the author of a book with the same name as his group, Beyond Belief, and his topic will be the growth of our movement within AA, which includes subjects such as our first international conference held in Santa Monica in 2014. We will also have a great panel on the secular 12 Steps, with a professor from Louisiana Tech University talking about how he came to create his book, Twelve Secular Steps: An Addiction Recovery Guide.

And there is so much more! We believe connection is an important part of recovery and so we have a session where each and every one present can introduce themselves. It would be silly to attend the roundup and not have the opportunity to do that. We also have a panel where groups – and not just Ontario groups – can share their histories. What inspired the creation of your group? We want to know. And there is more, so much more.

Now, I would like to make several requests.

First, we would like you to share the information about SOAAR with the members of your group. That can be done several ways. You can print copies of the SOAAR brochure. However that can be a tad expensive. So, we would be happy to send you copies of the brochure. Just send an email to, and tell us how many copies you would like, and provide your mailing address. You may also share the brochure with the members of your group, or anyone else for that matter. The important thing: let as many people as possible know about our SOAAR.

Second, please consider attending the roundup! Encourage others to attend. And, if you are coming to SOAAR, don’t forget to register. You can register via our website right here: Just fill in the form and then you will be taken to PayPal where you can also pay via MasterCard or Visa. The fee for attending SOAAR is a very modest $20. And, if you prefer, you can also register and then pay with a cheque. You can email us at for a few necessary details (our mailing address, etc.).

Third, and finally, please consider making an individual – or group – contribution to SOAAR. The Roundup costs money. The rental of the entire First Unitarian Church is roughly $1,200. Coffee and snacks and lunch for those in attendance will be a minimum of $1,000. We will be professionally recording the talks and panels and that will cost $250. And we will be helping some of the panelists with their transportation costs. Your financial support – if that is possible for you or your group – would be much appreciated. Contributions can be made via PayPal or via a cheque (again, contact us at for cheque and mailing details).

SOAAR 2019 is a very important and super event. It is designed to grow secular AA and to have it better recognized within traditional Alcoholics Anonymous. And it is wonderful for those in attendance! Great speakers and panels where we can learn a bit more about the secular 12 Steps, spirituality, meditation, service in AA, and about other groups in Ontario and across Canada.

Please: come and soar with us at SOAAR!


On behalf of all of the members of the SOAAR 2019 Committee.

Download the SOAAR Brochure


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1 year ago

Wondering if the delegates stayed long enough to catch the drift….
I sat with JimW at lunch and from what I gathered, he doesn’t see the point of …secular/ our special interest focus.
Almost felt like I was speaking to a politician and they Pooh poohed my concern (its not necessary/you are imagining things)

or am I mistaken?