At our first committee meeting for the 2015 rally, we decided that the fun, enjoyable and exciting aspects of being in AA should be emphasized. This resulted in the statement: Fun, Fellowship & Freedom. In order to tie this title to the program, we referred to Alcoholics Anonymous p. 132, which reads, “We have been speaking to you of serious, sometimes tragic things. We have been dealing with alcohol in its worst aspect. But we aren’t a glum lot.” The full title we decided on is:
Fun, Fellowship & Freedom:
we are not a glum lot!
This title represents a break from the often traditional and serious rally themes. This year’s rally committee was looking for something different, new, upbeat, and, well… fun!
The choice of colours came first. First we decided on orange (represents warmth and happiness – orange offers emotional strength in difficult times. It helps us to bounce back from disappointments and despair, assisting in recovery from grief.) We chose blue, which represents spirituality, truth and peace, to complement the orange.
Next we considered the images or symbols that would represent our theme. We wanted to stick with something that was already connected with AA.
Victor E, a comic character from the A.A. Grapevine, gives inspiration. Victor E. first appeared in the July 1962 Grapevine. He had wanted to drink in almost every issue of the A.A. Grapevine–and every time has changed his mind. From an article in the July 1995 edition of the A.A. Grapevine, an AA member offers his perspective on Victor’s continuing dilemma in front of the tavern doors:
“Why would I drink again–even think about drinking–when I’ve gained so much from sobriety? Yet I’ve been there–that moment when my thirst for escape has blotted out my sober perspective. Usually these times are only brief flares, but they remind me that my reprieve is daily; I am not cured.
That’s why I’m fond of Victor E.–he keeps getting reprieved. Some people wonder about Victor E. When is this guy going to get the program? What’s his problem? Why is he always hanging around a tavern? I think the key to Victor E. lies in the fact that he is an AA Everyman or Everywoman who represents all of us sober alcoholics at a critical moment of decision: to drink or not to drink. His yearning represents that part of me that remembers only the good times when I pass a cozy ginmill in the winter twilight, that longs for a shimmering green martini on a billboard, that can feel nostalgic for bourbon. So I too sometimes stand, at least symbolically, in front of those tavern doors.
Victor E.’s triumph is that he always turns away–he always allows himself to be distracted from the thought of a drink. That symbolic moment when he peers into the tavern, when he longs for his old way of life, when the tension between his desire to drink and his sober life results in sprouting perspiration–that moment is always followed by the frame in which he is “enlightened” by some surprising event and becomes willing to abandon the tavern doors. I don’t expect to laugh aloud at Victor E., but I can count on applauding him. That’s how he gets his name.”*
To those who are familiar with Victor E., he represents
- the fellowship of AA;
- the seriousness of the disease of alcoholism,
- but the light-heartedness of our theme of fun;
- someone who we can all identify with; and
- a reminder to us all that when we feel the tension between the desire to drink and the need to live a sober life, we can turn away (or be distracted) from our old lives and become willing to stay sober – one day at a time.
*Originally printed in the July 1995 AA Grapevine. Reprinted with permission, AA Grapevine Magazine, online.