Our History

Established in 1976, WRLS is the oldest and longest continuously held LGBTQ Alcoholics Anonymous conference in the world.

The first Western Roundup Living Sober (WRLS) was held June 25-27 at the Student Union Building, San Francisco State University. 198 people attended that year. The conference has been held every year since.

The 1976 Western Roundup was founded by a core group of five people: Don H., Bob H., Moss, Jim P. and Louis D.  The idea for the conference was inspired by a one-day AA conference in Sacramento, CA that was attended by several of the founding core members.  An interview was held in 1995 with co-founder Bob H. and can be found on the Featured Selections page of this archive.

The conference has grown into a three-day event, and at its height, attendance exceeded 5,000 people.  Living Sober has inspired the founding of over fifteen LGBT Roundups in the US and Canada, and others around the world.

We invite you to view the Living Sober Banners & Living Sober Programs on the respective pages in the web archive.

For more information on the Living Sober Archives and Web Archives activities, please visit our About the Archives page.

If you attended past years’ Western Roundup/Living Sober conferences and have archival material that you would like to donate to the archive (especially from 1976-1982 and 2000-2005), or to share experiences you had at one or more of the Living Sober conferences, please click here to send email to the Archives Committee. We would be pleased to receive these materials and help make you part of the archive project.

Mission Statement

In the height of its attendance, Downtown SF’s Parc 55 was the perfect venue for WRLS.

The purpose and intent of Living Sober is to celebrate our sobriety at an annual conference to be held in San Francisco, California, and known as Western Roundup Living Sober of San Francisco.

Living Sober will provide a sober environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members within the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous; our purpose is to support individual sobriety and maintain unity.

Living Sober will structure its activities within the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and the AA Guidelines for Conferences and Conventions. To this end, the Living Sober General Planning Committee will each year approve a conference budget with an affordable registration fee.

It is our intent to establish a scholarship fund for conference registration fees, fully provided by member donations; it is our hope to adequately address the needs for those with a lack of funds.

To read more about our Purpose & Intent Resolution, please click on the button below.

In recent years, Marine’s Memorial Club & Hotel was gracious to host a thriving sober conference.
Organizational Structure

Living Sober is structured into three organizational elements:

  • General Planning Committee
  • Advisory Board
  • Steering Committee

These three groups operate as a system of checks and balances so that no one element will attain an ascendancy over the others. The spiritual principles of the Twelve Traditions, the Twelve Concepts and the Six General Warranties of Alcoholics Anonymous are the over-riding guidelines for Living Sober and assure that our leaders are trusted servants; they do not govern.

General Planning Committee consists of all Living Sober volunteers, Subcommittee Co-Chairs and Subcommittee members, is our basic decision-making body, and will act as the group conscience of Living Sober. The General Planning Committee will meet at least monthly during the planning year, and as needed. Guidance for actions of the Steering Committee and the Advisory Board may be initiated by the General Planning Committee. For more complete descriptions of committee duties, click here.

Advisory Board acts as the Board of Directors for all legal purposes. It is responsible for all legal and fiduciary matters, has final approval over the yearly budget of the Living Sober Conference and has specific authority to protect the Purpose and Intent of Western Roundup / Living Sober of San Francisco, Inc as spelled out in this document.

Steering Committee has responsibility to oversee daily operations during the planning year, conducts General Planning Committee meetings, assembles the yearly budget for the Conference, and acts as liaison to all subcommittees.

General Planning Committee: Join Team WRLS 2018!

In accordance with our purpose and intent, the following committees report to the Steering Committee through monthly general planning meetings and are responsible for the content and operation of the annual conference. For the official, detailed roster of duties for each committee, please refer to the Purpose and Intent Resolution.

AL-ANON FAMILY GROUP participates in the Living Sober Conference as an invited guest, creates Al-Anon conference workshops, obtains gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Al-Anon speakers and workshop leaders and provides Al-Anon outreach and publicity. Contact by email at alanon@livingsober.org

ARCHIVES provides a means of documenting the conference by collecting and storing all pertinent information, producing and annual historical display, maintaining a reference library, and assuring that collection, storage and usage of all information is performed in an anonymous manner in accordance with the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Contact this committee at archives@livingsober.org.

ART organizes the art exhibition, arts & crafts room and Def Sobriety Jam, as well as conducts the annual logo contest and coordinates the selection of the logo colors. The Art Committee works in cooperation with other subcommittees regarding appearance of all items bearing that year’s logo. Contact this committee at art@livingsober.org

COMMEMORATIVES develops and implements the production and sale of commemorative items and staffs the Commemoratives Booth at the conference as well as the sales of surplus commemorative items from previous years at fundraising events and the conference. Contact members of this committee by email at commemoratives@livingsober.org

FUNDRAISING plans, prepares and presents all fundraising events for the year, as well as runs the raffle at the conference. The committee works with General Planning, Operations and the Steering Committee to ensure all permits, insurances, security, rentals, and logistics are in place and interfaces with all other relevant committees to ensure maximum participation in and promotion of the events. Contact members of this committee by email at fundraising@livingsober.org.

INFORMATION coordinates information from all relevant subcommittees, produces newsletters and press releases, and maintains the mailing list, the Yahoo Group and the website. In addition, the committee produces and distributes fliers for events (and other information as requested) and staffs the information booth during the conference, ensuring AA literature is available, as well as visitor information. Contact this committee at information@livingsober.org

MUSICAL produces a one-hour musical based on the Steps, Traditions and principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon and is open to participation by all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members of AA and Al-Anon. Contact this committee at musical@livingsober.org

OPERATIONS coordinates the space, equipment and personnel required to run the conference, as well as all fundraising events prior to the conference. Operations contracts for security, lighting, sound, furnishings, equipment, banners, vendors, communications, and all related logistics required to mount the conference. Operations coordinates move in and move at the conference site, as well as volunteer night prior to opening day. Contact this committee at operations@livingsober.org.

PROGRAM plans the program, develops the overall conference schedule, and proposes the conference workshop roster, as well as determines the need for professional resources and professional resource workshops. Program coordinates printing the program booklet, and works with Operations on scheduling, room assignments, equipment needs, meeting logistics, workshop logistics, and all the other activitties happening during the conference (dances, karaoke, socials, etc.). Contact members of this committee at program@livingsober.org.

REGISTRATION is responsible conference participant registration, including all materials and processes required to register and acknowledge participant registration (i.e., forms, on-line registration, buttons, badges, receipt of funds, etc.). Contact this commitee at registration@livingsober.org

SPEAKER establishes protocols for main stage speaker selection and presents a roster of speakers to Steering and General Planning for approval (in that order). Steering also coordinates travel and accommodation for speakers and works with Operations to stage the main meetings at the conference. Speaker writes the script for the main stage meetings and hosts the Speaker’s Luncheon. Contact this committee at speaker@livingsober.org.

Policy of Mutual Respect

Western Roundup Living Sober of San Francisco, Inc. (WRLS) is committed to creating and maintaining a community in which gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered & queer persons can work together in an atmosphere free of all forms of harassment, exploitation or intimidation. WRLS believes that the dignity of the individual and mutual respect are inherent parts of membership. All Advisory Board, Committee and Planning members are therefore required to adhere to the following Policy of Mutual Respect:

  • To promote positive public relations and public image of the organization.
  • To embody respect for truth, honesty, politeness and fairness in dealing with each other and the general public.
  • To respect diversity including equal regard for ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, class and disabled differences.
  • To comply with the policies and procedures of the organization.
  • To refrain from any action, word or deed which may be construed as harassment towards any other person.
  • To refrain from sexual harassment as defined by the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
  • At all times to behave in a polite and professional manner, both in meetings and outside of meetings, when representing the organization, respecting the views of others.

Every member of the WRLS community should be aware that the organization is strongly opposed to any form of harassment and that such behavior is prohibited both by the law and the policies of WRLS. It is the intention of the organization to take whatever action may be needed to prevent and/or correct behavior which violates this policy. All members of the organization including, but not limited to, the Advisory Board, Steering Committee, Sub-Committee Co-Chairs and members of the General Planning Committee have the responsibility for participation in the creation of a conference, committee meetings and Living Sober events that are free from harassment.