“Iggy Pop”?! — No, ICYPAA! My First YPAA Experience

My first experience with YPAA was in 2010 in New York City. I was 25 years old and only about four months sober. In early summer of that year I traveled to NYC to visit a friend. Before that trip, I had only attended small meetings in Southeastern and Central Ohio where I grew up and got sober. NYC offered a first glimpse of the wider world of AA; the weekly meeting list was like a small phone book, and I went to two or three meetings every day in different areas of the city. I found myself in my first-ever YPAA meeting, and heard people talking about what I thought was “Iggy Pop” but later found out was something called ICYPAA. The young people in those meetings insisted that I return to NYC for this event that they were hosting later that summer. They put me in touch with a group of young sober alcoholics back in Ohio, and a month later I found myself stuffed in a car on my way back to New York City for the 52nd ICYPAA.
At ICYPAA, I saw young people having fun in sobriety, being active in service, and sharing their experience, strength and hope with confidence and grace. I saw young people who were not only sober, but were able to have real jobs and healthy relationships. Up until this point in my sobriety, I hadn’t truly wanted what anyone had, but I found that at ICYPAA. I definitely wanted what these young, happy, joyous and free people were showing me was possible. Nine years later, YPAA still reminds me of how exciting it is to be part of this program; it has kept me young at heart and “green and growing” in my sobriety.
After my experience at the 52nd ICYPAA, I spent a year and half in the US before moving to Prague. When a Czech friend proposed bidding to host EURYPAA, the European Conference of Young People in AA, I was excited to get involved. We ended up winning the bid in Malta in 2013, and hosted the 5th EURYPAA in Prague in 2014. After hosting the convention, I had the honor to serve on the EURYPAA Advisory Board for five years. Through that service, I deepened my understanding of the traditions and concepts and grew immensely in my sobriety. In the meantime, I furthered my education, developed my career, married a wonderful man, lived in three different countries and traveled to many more. I made lifelong friends in the program from all over the world. The international YPAA community showed me it was possible to have the kind of life I never thought was an option for an alcoholic like me. Today I feel blessed to be of service, to be a small part of a greater whole that keeps bringing this message of hope to the still sick and suffering alcoholic.
Angela L.