One of the first time I went to my new home group my sponsor invited me to participate in the Any Lengths Retreat committee meeting – what the hell, I thought, I enjoy AA business meetings and the like. At that meeting I started to hear about this retreat they’ve been putting on for 12 years now, and you could hear it in their voices and stories how much they loved this thing and were looking forward to it again this year. Honestly I was reluctant to go at first, I hadn’t even made it my home group yet, these were probably some flaky guys with screwy ideas of recovery and the first few meetings I was at were flukes… Thankfully, I was mistaken. My home groups meetings are consistently on message – step, book, hope based recovery. So I started to believe maybe this retreat was going to be a good thing.
That was months ago now, I attended many of those committee meetings and having never been was unsure at times what they were talking about – the candle ceremony, the pins, the format… and golf, I guess some of them golfed. That retreat was this weekend.
The retreat was broken down like so – golf, apparently people like that Friday, then a speaker on Step 1 Friday night. We did a sobriety countdown and the person with the most sobriety lit a candle that the person with the least amount carried to every meeting/event at the retreat – was pretty cool to see that candle there.
Saturday speakers were broken down as follows, one guy did 2 & 3, another 4 & 5, another 6 & 7 and the last 8 & 9. After each session we counted off and broke into small groups to share our own experience strength and hope. It was pretty cool – at each session you’d get to hear a different person’s experience and groups were different each time – you might get one or two guys you’d been in a group with before but that was nothing. It was an amazing way for everyone to get to know everyone else a little bit more and to learn… omg did I learn some incredibly useful tools Saturday that’ll help me. The guy for 6 & 7 had a handout and internally I groaned, but it was the best damn handout – it actually really took a good look at those steps and showed them in a little different light.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner were part of the registration – after the steps 8 & 9 session we broke for dinner, more opportunity to get to know more folks.
Then it was back to more sharing, we had two guys talk about fellowship and they were good – lots of laughs and there’s just a great group of guys that are core to this group. Afterward we had a guy share his ESH and he knocked it out of the park, great share with a balance of laughter, seriousness, hope and he showed us how he got here. Good stuff.
Then, an ice-cream social before the poker games – I played in the poker games along with about 12 other guys. It was fun – getting a bunch of sober “honest” guys together bluffing, that’s entertaining lol. I actually came out a winner, not just the money I took from guys, but getting to spend time with a great group. (I’m keeping their money)
Then this morning after breakfast we did sessions for 10 and then 11, each separately and broke into groups again. I had folks I hadn’t had yet again.. and it was good. We closed the retreat with a wonderful share on the 12th step by a guy I’ve been getting to know for a few months, really wonderful share about helping others and “all our affairs”
There was one thing that I didn’t like about the retreat – it went by too quickly.