The convention offered attendees access to professionally-led workshops, around-the-clock meetings, sightseeing activities, and more.
This past weekend, more than 1,000 people in recovery gathered in Montreal for the World Convention of Cocaine Anonymous (CAWS).
The event, hosted by CA World Services and in its 34th year, is a celebration of recovery and fellowship. “The convention is to promote enthusiasm within the fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous, and to show there is a solution to addiction,” said Robert F., chairman of this year’s world convention.
For five days—June 28 to July 2—attendees had access to professionally-led workshops, around-the-clock meetings, sightseeing activities, and more.
The annual event is open to anybody who is affected by drug or alcohol use—whether they use themselves or know someone who does. The Cocaine Anonymous fellowship itself is open to any person with the desire to stop using cocaine, alcohol, or another drug.
CA is modeled after the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, embracing the original principles such as admitting powerlessness over drugs or alcohol, submitting to a high power, and making amends.
Cocaine Anonymous holds 3,000 weekly meetings around the world, with 80 such meetings taking place in Montreal alone. CA came to Montreal in 1986 after originating in California in 1982, according to the Montreal Gazette.
For next year’s event, CAWS will travel to Stockholm, Sweden.
In 2015, the world event made its mark in Las Vegas, Nevada. While it seemed counterintuitive to hold a celebration of abstinence in Sin City, at the time organizers explained that the choice of location was intended to raise awareness and showcase the power of recovery.
“We hope that you will find this an excellent opportunity to find out how a large (and growing) number of people have learned to help each other to recover from drug addiction, and to live a more spiritual, happy and fulfilling life ‘one day at a time,’” read a press release for that year’s event.
Robert F. emphasized that the annual gathering is a celebration more than anything. “We are high on life,” he said, according to the Gazette. “You have to understand that we were all dead people. We were walking corpses. Personally bankrupt, families left them, they had nothing. Everyone tried to stop a million times and couldn’t. Now they are coming to a party that is a celebration of sobriety.”