The first OA Retreat I attended was the 2013 Rosemary heights retreat. It was two weeks after I had broken up with my boyfriend and two weeks since I had hit my true bottom and gotten steps 1,2, and 3. My higher power fated it so that the retreat just happened to be on the same weekend that I had planned to travel down to Vancouver to see a ballet months earlier. I already had the plane tickets and everything. I knew I had to go!
I was so new and I was going through withdrawals from food and the pain of my recent breakup so I was really nervous. Honestly I don’t remember much about the actual workshop two years later but what I do remember is that I had flown 3000 kilometers and here were 40 other people from drastically different backgrounds but somehow we had a bond. I wasn’t alone.
I also got to practice eating with other people in a normal matter. I was amazed that everyone’s abstinent meals looked different. I had my first meals in a long time where the focus wasn’t on the food; it was on the company.
The second retreat I attended was in my hometown of Whitehorse and was much smaller. We have a small group here and when the idea of putting on a retreat came up it seemed like a pipe dream. Through the higher power of the group things just fell into place and it all worked out. The best part of it for me was that it really brought me closer to the members of my group. People who I used to see for an hour once a week became people I’d text regularly and go for tea with. People I could really honestly share how I was feeling with and know that I wouldn’t be judged.
Most recently I attended the Anchorage Intergroup’s Embracing the 12 Steps & Traditions Retreat over Thanksgiving weekend. We went through the 12 steps and 12 traditions and how they relate to one another. I learned a lot about the traditions and how to apply them to my relationships. The speaker asserted that the 12 steps are how we relate to ourselves and the 12 traditions are how we relate to each other. As we learn how to relate to each other in the fellowship we are learning how to relate to others outside of the fellowship as well.
However, the overall message I took away from the retreat was that when you boil the OA program down to its most basic form its one compulsive overeater helping another. I experienced this by the warm-hearted welcome I received from the members. Someone picked me up and dropped me off at the airport. When asked where I could buy lunch I was driven to a great grocery store/café. I truly did not have to worry about one thing and was able to focus fully on recovery thanks to members of the Anchorage OA fellowship.
So why go to a retreat? You may learn something about the OA program but in my experience you will get a huge dose of fellowship “and find love and understand beyond [your] wildest dreams”.
Sea to Sky Intergroup is once again hosting the annual Rosemary Heights Retreat from Friday November 20th through Sunday November 22, 2015. This year, our theme is The Allergy of the Body & the Obsession of the Mind.
This year we are planning to have a slightly different format. Rather than having one speaker for the entire weekend we are inviting different individual speakers to talk on the steps. We will also be encouraging members to move around so that the participants will be able to enter the discussions on the various steps.
As usual there will be opportunities to rest, share and interact with members that you may not have met before. And, we will be having a clothing exchange so bring clean clothes in good condition to share.
All are welcome!!!