I spent this past weekend on the Mountain and a spiritual recovery retreat with 53 other LGBTQ+ and ally individuals in various stages of recovery and in different recovery programs. Last year, I attended this same retreat and had an experience focused on deep realizations about myself. This year was different – my experience was much deeper and wasn’t entirely about me.
I was a part of the organizing committee this year and arrived a day prior than most of the others – during this period I got to learn about some of background and behind the scenes things. It also provided me the opportunity to meet and speak to everyone as they arrived, starting a connection.
At the start of the retreat, we are asked to set an intention for the weekend. Mine was about finding the joy in recovery – something I have lost recently. I expected to find this through reflections and connecting with my higher power throughout the weekend. I was not expecting to find the joy I had lost in other people.
Last year, I only talked to people I knew from home and didn’t branch out. This year I made an intentional effort to sit with people from other cities and get to know them better. I met individuals with 4 days to 32 years of sobriety and in each one of them I saw the joy I was looking for. It showed up in how they connected with each other and how they shared their experience, strength, and hope.
I realized that what I was missed was fellowship with other individuals in recovery – those who understand what I’ve been through and what I’m going through now. Through my experience this weekend, I’ve made new friends and strengthened existing relationships. Joy is slowly returning to my recovery and life.