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Retreats Revitalize

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Renewal, revival, resurgence: these are all emotions I experienced this weekend at the annual retreat sponsored by my intergroup.

It was held at the foot of Mount Beacon, a tranquil place of beauty in the Hudson Valley of Upstate New York. The bright, sunny facility had numerous comfortable rooms where we met for breakout sessions and meditations. The beautiful grounds and surrounding area provided opportunities for hiking, walking, and running, and I was able to walk right down to the riverbank of the Hudson about a mile away. The carefully prepared meals offered enough variety that everyone found healthy, delicious choices that suited their food plan. As a vegan, I’d brought my own food to be sure I could stick to my plan but ended up taking it all home again because the menu options were so great.

Our mission for the weekend was to delve into The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition—and delve we did! Our leaders walked us through the Steps carefully and thoroughly. We listened and exchanged thoughts during the lecture and then broke out into small groups to discuss the Steps and how we could apply them to our lives. It gave us a chance to meet OA members from other areas and help one another by exchanging ideas.

The retreat revitalized my program. Having attended OA meetings for more than forty years, I no longer recite the Steps as I would the alphabet. Instead, when asked to read a Step aloud, I find that I think about what I’m reading and ask myself if I’m living by that Step Principle. I love how the Twelve and Twelve, Second Edition lists the spiritual Principles right under the Step, and I’m now working on memorizing each Principle.

Years ago, a friend’s mom wrote in my high school yearbook, “Man’s reach should always exceed his grasp, else what are the heavens for?” I feel that way about program; I will never arrive. To keep my program alive and well, I need to continue reaching and striving. I came away from the retreat with a desire to do more service and strengthen my program.

To that end, two OA friends and I are starting a phone meeting. We’ll meet this afternoon for the first time and will start by working on—you guessed it—the Twelve and Twelve, Second Edition, using the new Workbook too. We’ll take turns reading from the book and then sharing. We’re looking forward to this awesome chance to do service for our Fellowship. Together we get better.

— Evangelyn R.

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