Monday, 28 March 2016


On Thursday July the 16th of this past year 2015 my life was about to make another of my 'forever' changes.

I flew North from Hong Kong to Ulaanbaatar the capital city of the nation of Mongolia. 

I joined a group of six other members of the fellowship from several countries (Australia/Hong Kong/China/The UK/Fiji) to participate in a two day workshop (Saturday and Sunday the 18th and 19th) that was devoted to discussing the 12-steps and the 12-traditions with some 120 or so members of the Mongolian fellowship.

The others left Ulaanbaatar on Monday the 20th of July 2015. I rented an apartment and remained until mid-November. I returned this past March the 1st and will remain until May the 19th at which time I will fly to Hong Kong and then back to the U.S.

This post will show what is rapidly becoming one of the more important meeting rooms of my entire tenure in the fellowship. Because there are so many of you who are supporting and encouraging and rooting-for-me I wanted to share this special room with you.

Below is 'just-another' high-rise apartment building here in Ullanbaatar. 

You can see the above building on the right of the below photo. I am just showing you this photo and the several that follow so you can see the general area. We are in the Sukhbaatar District also known as District Number 11 located in the Northeast section of Ulaanbaatar.

 A closer look at the building you see on the left edge of the two above photos.

In the below photo focus on the small reddish-brown entry structure at the end of the fence on the bottom left of the photo.

You are looking at the entry door into the basement of the above building.

Come on inside with me. Looking at the photo above, at the bottom of the stairs you can see the below door. SMOKING is not permitted in most .. if not all .. Mongolian buildings.

Below we have walked down the stairs, have opened the above door and stepped inside.
The Ulaanbaatar 'Central Office' is through the door on the left above.

Let's open it up and take a look-see.
Very nice. As in .. VERY VERY NICE

Now walk through the open door on the right of the above photo and you see an amazing-to-me 'sitting room'.
By the numbers. 

1. Russia is Mongolia's Northern neighbor. 2. Russia has had a very great cultural influence on Mongolia beginning with the implementation of the Cyrillic Alphabet in Mongolia. 3. Chess IS big in Russia.

I idly asked them .. "How is Boris Spassky doing?" .. Stunned they snapped their heads up and looked at me in utter amazement. 

Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union and Bobby Fischer of the USA played for the World Chess Championship in 1972. Bobby Fischer's ultimate victory turned the Chess world upside-down and ended 24 years of absolute Soviet domination in Chess.

I mention this because when I stand before them to carry-the-message of recovery it is so important and critical for the local members to feel that I am indeed an all-right person .. one of them.
We say that resentment is the number one offender. I hope that neither member of the below match 'copped a resentment' at losing and 'went-out'! I see chess being played often in many places.
Back to business. Speaking of 'business' .. 
Directly ahead is the fully equipped 'necessary room'. 
As you can see in the below photo .. not all restrooms are fully equipped. Here in Mongolia not all 'sitters' have seats.

And .. Last but certainly NOT least ..

To the right is 'our' meeting room. We are now going to open this door and walk inside.

As you look-the-room over .. Notice 'our' yellow circle/triangle symbol on the ceiling.

Do you want passion in recovery? You are looking at life-and/or-death passion in this wonderful room. The effort to put the symbol on the ceiling 'speaks volumes' about the passion the local members have for their very special fellowship!
Notice the wooden benches. No backs.
The member who 'chairs' the meeting sits in the black chair at the head of the table. A U.S. fire marshal would faint if they were to see 40-or-so members at a meeting in this small room. Luckily he would not fall down. He could NOT fall down.

Do any of you recognize the two gentlemen in the photo to the left above?
When I give a talk I often turn to the photo and place my index finger on either Bill W. or Doctor Bob for emphasis.

In most of these photos the table is placed parallel to the main North-South axis of the meeting room.

Sometimes when I speak the table is turned 90 Degrees from normal as you see below. Further down in this Post I will show close-up photos of the items on the walls and explain what they are. 

Now I will walk to the front of the room .. turn around .. and photograph the rear of the room.

 Notice the blue stools above. No backs.

Have a seat on a stool! Your name is on one. You have paid quite a price for a seat in this wonderful room! 

The glass mugs are primarily for drinking hot water and tea but many also drink instant coffee. They do not go to the enormous trouble and expense and waste of money making and discarding unused coffee. Life and money are earnest and life and money are intense here in Mongolia. 


AA is so intense here it will turn you upside down!
The ever present yellow symbol above on the ceiling.

Now to the items on the walls. We will start out looking at the West wall and The Serenity Prayer and the Preamble.

On the left above and below you see the Serenity Prayer complete with Camels!
On the right above and below you see The Preamble.

Time to turn our attention to the East wall.
To the left above and in the photo below are the 12-steps.

To the right above and below are the 12-Traditions.

Let me tell you all .. When you work with a translator you learn what it means to be a Part-Of-A-TEAM ! You and your translator are joined-at-the-hip !

I have exactly three (3-count-them) local Mongolians who speak English well enough to translate for me.

The meetings are two hours (2-count-them-hours!) in length. In each and in every single meeting I say to the assembled multitude that:

"In the rest of the world the meetings are one hour long." I am greeted with silence and impassive inscrutable eyes.

They take a short break (and I mean short .. 5 / 10 minutes maximum) at the top of the hour.

Last week at about 4-minutes before the top of the hour needed a break. Turning to my translator I said .. "Let's take a break." .. 

He looked me directly in the eyes and was dead serious as he said .. "We break at the top of the hour."

When I said that AA here in Mongolia was intense .. I mean AA here in Mongolia IS INTENSE!

I called on a newcomer to share. I was right-on. He was brief and gracefully used up the remaining three minutes.

There are a respectable number of ladies in the fellowship. Maybe 1 in 5 will be ladies.

At the end of a meeting .. each and every single member hugs another member. They go around in a rotating circle of hugs and no one gets missed.

To quote the late and the great Lou Gehrig .. 

"I AM .. the Luckiest Man Alive."

For those of you who are not familiar with my web site you can click onto the below link and see a post I published about another very special meeting room in Sukhbaatar Mongolia.

Just for today let's not pick up a drink.