Gopher State Roundup Recap

Gopher State was a lot of fun. I had a hard time getting going during the day. I think I was hesitant to get there too early because last year I was on time and the lines for registration were outta control. I didn’t arrive there until around 6:30pm after working at the coffee house and going to the gym.

Upon arrival I ran into friends Andrew W and Isabella B within 2 minutes. We watched the 7:30 speaker together from the back of a packed banquet room. It was Peter M from Union, New Jersey. He definately had speaking skills – sounded very much like a TV Evangelist, actually. “The power of God, such and such.” Now AA is a spiritual program, but not everybody chooses to call their higher power “God.” I happen to refer to my higher power as “God,” but not everybody does. I was a little put off by the fact that not everyone in the room might be able to relate with him. It was almost as if he was saying, “Turn your life over to God (in a Christian sense), or you won’t be able to live sober.”

Peter did have good things to say outside of the God realm, I just hope he didn’t push anyone away as I noticed quite a few people leaving the room before he was done.

The 10:00pm speaker was Tammy F from Alabama. Now she was a speaker. It’s not my place to tell her story, but I will say that nearly the entire hotel was in tears by the time she finished.

Life truly can be amazing. For the alcoholic, simple things can be unattainable – like having a relationship with family, holding down a job, paying bills – those types of things. She made me want to make a gratitude list for all of the things I am given, experience, have the opportunity to do, etc. Thank you, Tammy F.

Earlier in the day I was at Spyhouse for my weekend ritual of “Coffee and crosswords.” A friend from the program called and said he was going to meet me here if I waited for him. I suspected he had been drinking by his speech.

Sure enough, he showed up a few minutes later, being dropped off by a cab. He stumbled over to my table, and instead of sitting across from me in the open seat, pushed my bag aside and fell into the booth alongside me. He was permeating booze. It was 11:00am on a Saturday morning.

I feel terribly bad for this guy. He’s a guy that has tried to stay sober for years. He’s gone to treatment three times. I think the longest he’s managed to stay sober, though, is only 3 months. He’s beyond the point of thinking that he can “drink like other people.” He knows he’s an alcoholic.

He began telling me about his night. I just looked at him and listened, letting him glamorize the previous evening’s ongoings. After a few minutes he stopped talking and said, “you don’t want to hear about last night?”

I told him no. I didn’t want to be around him when he was drunk. I asked him if I could take him to detox, or treatment, or a meeting. He said, “No. Treatment is just an indoctrination to AA.”

Then he asked me how I stayed sober. I told him he knew exactly how I stayed sober – I went to meetings, had a sponsor, read the big book, and did the steps.

“How come I can’t do it, then?” he asked.

“You know exactly what you have to do to stay sober.”

This is when I left. I packed up my bag and told him to call me if I could help him.

This guy is one of the folks who will not give AA a chance. He’s been to a ton of meetings, but he will not partake in them. I relate it to going to the gym, but just using the tanning bed, and then wondering why you’re not getting in any better shape.

I guess all I can do is pray for him.

8 thoughts on “Gopher State Roundup Recap

  1. You mentioned that the entire hotel was in tears after hearing Tammy F. How about that couple in room 623? Remember them? Oh, they may have been in tears after all. Sorry.


  2. Sorry to hear about your friend. I have a friend like that who is always tweaked out and has gone to a shitload of meetings and treatment centers. You can pray and you can be a friend, but unfortunately there’s not a lot more that you can do.

    I think I may have seen you at Gopher State, but Paul (who used to go to gay meetings with me in Sioux Falls) grabbed me and talked for a while. When I turned around, you (or someone who may look like you) were gone.

    I’m glad you had a good time. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’ve been to 7 Gopher States, but this is the only one where I listened to all the speakers (except one of the Al-Anons…I fell asleep for about half of her talk). They were all amazing!

    Brad 🙂

  3. Hey. I went to the Bid D Round Up and had a great time. I love these conventions. I was not sure if there was one in Minneapolis. Good to know there is. Maybe I can make it next year. I’ve always wanted to visit Minneapolis. This woudl certainly be a good reason to go 🙂

  4. You did all you can do for your friend. You spoke the truth to him. There is not much we can do for some people except pray for them.

    We have a huge gay AA roundup here in Houston every Thanksgiving weekend. You should come, it’s great fun and lots of good sobriety.

  5. sounds like gopher state was a good time. sorry to hear about your friend, glad you’re still sober and able to help him get sober, if not now necessarily, but eventually.

  6. Dan, I don’t know you much beside my regular visit to your site and reading your rants once in a while. This particular weekend recap got my attention and is an inspiration for me. I have lots of respect for people that succeed were other don’t. Keep smiling it suits you well.



  7. I just finished listening to the CD of Tammy F’s talk. She *was* amazing, wasn’t she?

    Glad to see another sober blogger from my neck of the woods.

    One day at a time, my friend!

    Sincerely, Princess Powerless

  8. i am thinking of revisiting the roundup after a 15 year hiatus in 2006. any suggestions on cheap places to stay? I have only found the sherraton for 139 a night an as a single mom of a 2 yr old that is a bit much. I am in AZ at the moment mulling over prizes for airlines and such before i make my decision. Thinking May 25th to the 29th.

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