Oh, What A Retreat!

Mary Ann F. gives her reflections on the most recent retreat from January 22-24, 2016.

We took off from West 58th Street right on time and arrived at the Guesthouse in Chester, Connecticut 3 1/2 hours later. It was the start of a big weekend with speakers, shares, writing and even a talent show. The title of the retreat was The Gift of Recovery, Give It Away to Keep It. Friday night we had an opening meeting, an orientation so to speak.

But things began in earnest on Saturday. After breakfast began the speakers with breakout groups. Something new was added this year: there were questions to write on after the speakers and before the breakout groups. There were also panels of three speakers, each of whom spoke on a topic like Recovery and Rediscovery. There was some free time on Saturday and if you couldn’t go out due to the blizzard, you could talk, workout in the fitness room, play ping pong or a board game. You could also be quiet and read and/or write. It also gave the people who would perform in the talent show time to rehearse. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were buffet style with a variety of food, all fresh, both cooked and raw, which enabled everyone to keep to their own food plan. The talent show was loads of fun as fellow attendees sang, danced, read poetry and performed.

The following day there were more speakers and sharing. For the entire weekend, there were craft tables where you were encouraged to make a card that would be put into a bag and later on each person would pick out a card to take home. I still have my card from the last retreat. I sometimes look at it when I need some support. In the last breakout group meeting, everyone wrote his or her phone number down on a piece of paper that went into a bag and then that bag went around the circle as each person picked a phone number. You would call that person after you got home to help ease their entry back into reality and someone would call you as well.

The blizzard travel ban was lifted on Sunday and the bus arrived early. We packed up, checked out and boarded that bus and it was an uneventful trip back to New York as the roads were clear.

What the retreat does for you is give you a big shot of program in a concentrated way. You hear a lot of different speakers, meet and make friends with a number of people, and hear experience, strength and hope from all sides. It’s also a lot of fun.

Next retreat is July 8th through 10th, 2016, at the Guesthouse. The setting is peaceful, and there is a walk as well as a meditation both Saturday morning and Sunday morning. Try it! You’ll like it!