My First SA Retreat

My First SA Retreat

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Our intergroup had their first spring retreat this year, after 3 years of COVID restrictions. Since I joined SA 3 ½ years ago this was the first time I was able to go and I jumped at the chance. My home group is a two-hour drive away so I have not been to a face-to-face meeting with them in 3 years though two other members live close by and the three of us do meet every 1 or 2 weeks. I have been waiting to see the bigger world of SA for some time. This retreat was my chance.

I registered early and waited for the details to arrive. The week of the event they finally sent them out. When I saw that we were sleeping four to a room I did not like that but thought that I should be able to do it. That night I woke up at 2 a.m. in a panic. There was no way I could sleep in a room with three strangers. I decided not to go, with that I was able to get back to sleep. In the morning I was still set on not going though after my prayer and meditation it was clear that my God wanted me to go so I decided to go again.

Later that morning I was driving to a store some 20 minutes away and by the time I got there I was in a full blown panic. There was just no way I was going to share a room with three strangers. When I parked the car I knew I had to make some phone calls to settle myself down. 

On my second call someone answered and I quickly stated that I was in a panic about the retreat and the sleeping arrangements and needed to surrender this fear. Out of the blue the member I was talking to said “Peter, would you like to share a room with me?” It was like he threw a life ring to a drowning man. I didn’t even know that he was going to the retreat. Almost instantly the panic left and I remembered what my Higher Power said to me a few weeks earlier, “I will help you through others but you need to let them know your need.” Here He was helping me in a way that I did not expect when I called out for help. As Jesse L. would say I found a God with flesh on.

That was just the beginning. There was so much more in store for me over the weekend. On Sunday morning as I was sitting in a large common room trying to pray and meditate, while 20 other men were doing the same or visiting with one another, I heard in my heart “Why are you afraid of these men?” Suddenly it was like a curtain was drawn back and I saw the truth in that question. What I had always taken for shyness or a need to be alone was actually fear. I was able to sit with that, accepting it for what it was. 

In the first session that morning I was able to share with a group of about 10 men that fear as well as the story of my panic of a few days before. Talking about how God was using it all for my healing and how He was doing for me what I could not do for myself. The affirmation that I got back from the group was well worth every thing that it cost me to get to that point whether financial or emotional. I’m looking forward to the next chance to go to a SA event.

Peter G., USA

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