Cocaine Anonymous World Convention: Good for Recovery, the Arizona Economy and International Exposure
By Donovan Wilson
(Phoenix, Arizona) – The Arizona area of Cocaine Anonymous hosts the 27th Annual Cocaine Anonymous World Convention at the Biltmore Resort and Spa in downtown Phoenix this Memorial Day weekend – May 26 to May 30.
More than 2,000 men and women from across the United States and around the world will participate in a series of social activities, workshops, lectures, and group meetings on substance abuse and staying sober.
Without a doubt, Arizona gets to showcase itself on an international platform as visitors flock from England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, and Africa for a taste of the strong recovery that exists in the Valley.
According to Scott Dunn, Associate Director of Communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), the Cocaine Anonymous World Convention is good for the Arizona economy in many ways. First, he explained that the anticipated turnout is expected to yield about $3.5 million in direct spending statewide – a figure derived from the CVB’s industry multiplier standard for measuring dollars gained by the community from spending at similar events.
The direct spending will most likely occur prior to, during, and after the convention as many attendees have planned vacation time around the event. For example, Russell from London, England came two weeks early in order to vacation before the conference. “I opted to come May 18th, and I plan to stay with friends and see some sights,” he said.
The Englishman, who went to Sedona a few days ago, is visiting Arizona for the first time. “I am fortunate that through the fellowship of recovery I met many people from Arizona who visited London in prior years for recovery events… and now that I have come to their state they have been super hosts. The hospitality is incredible. My Europeans brothers who came early have received local personal tours to some of the great sites in Arizona. I am truly grateful for this experience – having just emerged from a bleak, wet and cold English winter.”
Dunn said the cocaine anonymous convention works similar to major conferences and events that come to Arizona each year, because it has the potential to get the state vast exposure. “When you can showcase your community through an international platform it creates a ton of possibilities for more international events to come our way,” he said. “We anticipate some of these foreign representatives returning to their home land and possibly giving Arizona some international publicity by talking up our state.”
That one of the world’s largest conventions for recovering cocaine and substance abuse addicts should be held in the Valley is not surprising – as Arizona is one of the top areas for the cocaine anonymous fellowship in the United States. Overall, more than 150 cocaine anonymous meetings are held across the state each week and worldwide the cocaine anonymous fellowship of recovery includes an estimated 50,000 men and women.
Gilbert resident Evan, who is the chairperson for the World Services Convention Committee, said the Arizona Fellowship of Recovery has been planning the event for four years and is poised to put its best foot forward for the state and the fellowship. “Since we won the bid in 2007 to host this year’s event our volunteer committee has spent countless hours carefully planning this convention,” said the recovering addict who has 20 years of continuous sobriety. “We approach this privilege to have the conference on our home turf with pride. We want our visitors to have a positive experience with all the recreational amenities our great state has to offer.”
In addition to the workshops and speaker events that are planned the agenda for the holiday weekend include, among other things, horseback riding, hiking, and group outings to Tombstone. Beyond the conference, according to Evan, a myriad of his foreign brothers have already planned post conference vacations to visit the rest of the state, including the Grand Canyon.