From a recent Bill White speech:

Today, I received an email that 200 recovering people and their families marched the streets of Tokyo this week in Japan’s first ever recovery march. Today, we stand, here and abroad, reaching across geographical, political, racial, and cultural barriers, to mobilize our growing numbers and influence. Today, we stand to reach our goal of engaging those who still suffer and creating a world in which recovery is supported and celebrated. Today, we stand to remind ourselves and to send a message to those still wounded: Recovery is contagious.

This anecdote about Japan is really impressive. Here’s a little context:

  • Japan has a lot of people–127,000,000. About 40% of the U.S. population.
  • AA has been around for decades and membership estimates range from 4000 to 5000.
  • Danshukai is the largest mutual aid group. It’s membership consists of alcoholics and their families and is estimated to be around 10,000.
  • AA membership in the U.S. is estimated to be around 1,000,000 people.

The recovering community in Japan is tiny and stigmatized. For them to bring together 200 members to march in public is quite an accomplishment.