Our Annual Gathering
In early August there was a gathering of some 58 women at the Lake Huron Retreat Center on the shore of The Great Lake, Huron, in Burtchville, Michigan.
As the early arrivals came, laughing, assembling, setting up welcome tables, cookies, coffee, road signs to show the way, in cheerful service to the group of gathering retreat participants, they were met by warm hospitality of the center’s staff, and something else… The lake itself had rolled out a glorious welcome. As the participants arrived, the mid-summer sun danced across the azure hues of blues and greens of Lake Huron, like a sparkling turquoise gem. Only a thin line of white waves, ruffled her dancing blue skirts along the smooth, stone strewn shore. The sky was so clear, that if you looked closely you could just barely see the opposite shore.
The women, not ordinary women, but women in recovery. Not sad, bedraggled, worn and beaten down by addiction any longer, but happy, joyous, and free. They were women, dedicated to changing their lives through abstinence from drugs, alcohol, in some cases food, over shopping or gambling. All of them, whether dedicated to sobriety – 30 plus years or new to this way of life – were here to have an experience together. That experience of Dropping the Rock, the rock of whatever was holding them back from more happiness, health, and productivity in life.
They were here to share their life experiences, good and bad, their strength and hope with each other, and to strengthen their ability and willingness to do so in the rest of their own daily lives. Each woman came with her own strengths and challenges, but ready to enjoy a transformation together at this retreat.
Drop the Rock
The subject for the weekend was Drop the Rock, a book by Bill P, Todd W, Sara S. This book, as many others, is one of thousands or more books that helps sober people move and change their lives from misery and addiction, loss an isolation to joy, freedom, abundance, belonging, and health. The movement and the change that can await the ready and willing addict, not only to stop addictive behavior, but can bring fabulous, happy and productive lives. Lives, full, happy, joyous and free.
For those initiated in sober communities, sober people and their activities, this might seem impossible at best and boring, dull, uninspired and listless at worst. Nothing could be further from the truth. As 58 women gathered… laughter and chatter, accompanied finding rooms, settling in, walking on the beach and sharing coffee, conversation and cookies.
From Yale to Jail
Women of all ages and demographics were in attendance at the 2015 Drop the Rock retreat of the Ann Arbor Women’s Group. Women with professional degrees, high powered jobs and businesses or no education, money or position were in attendance. Young mothers, retired grandmothers, single, married, former deadbeats, drug addicts and alcoholics and former slaves to addiction. They arrived clean, relaxed and sober.
They came from all over Michigan to celebrate recovery and participate in a pilgrim’s journey, a spiritual transformation. They came to free old held beliefs about themselves, other, life or their Higher Power (who some called God, and for whom others had no name at all). They came to clean out the closest and the cupboards of the mind and soul.
In this process they would also create, embrace and take into their hearts a new set of beliefs, of their own creation, to further a loving, free and happy lives. Addiction free lives, that any “normie” (non-addict/alcoholic) would think unremarkable. But they were and are remarkable. Remarkable in the fact that they had and are changing and rededicating themselves to the sober way of life of service, strength and sobriety every single day of their lives.
Our presenter, Gigi, Mrs. Langer with 29 years of experience as a sober woman was there to guide us. Having practiced her own process over time, and daily of dropping the rocks of limitation and criticizing self-talk, to create a fabulous, full life, she was an excellent presenter and an excellent guide. The result? Out of ashes and disaster came success, hope, health and a new way of life as a possibility for each and every one of us.
All of these changes took place amidst a beautiful, picturesque setting, a quiet, comfortable venue, with women with good senses of humor and flexibility at play, made an this awesome event.
As with any event, thousands of secret hours of love, labor, and service, make it all happen over the twelve full months between one annual retreat event and the following year’s event. The retreat of 2015 was no different.
Over 40 people volunteered hours and hours of their time. 17 Scholarships where raised totaling $2500 through the fund raising efforts of the Ann Arbor Women’s Recovery community and the greater sober community in Washtenaw and surrounding counties in Michigan, all by donation of time, money and services for free.
Mundane chores, bake sales, business meetings, phone calls, marketing, advertising, operations and logistics. Room shares assignments, ride shares schedules, meal preferences, no-talent talent show, crafting, music play list creations, seminar gift bag stuffing, paper flower making, craft room materials buying, seminar schedule creating, cat herders, photographers, greeters, snack making and management, all this and more, so much more, done for free and greased the wheels on which the Women’s Recovery Retreat rolls.
What was the result? See for your self!
What was your favorite part of the retreat? If you didn’t make it this year, we’ll see you in 2016! 🙂