This is part two of a series of blog posts detailing the experiences and highlights of the author, a newcomer, at the 3rd annual 2013 Prime Time Men’s Retreat taking place Friday, Oct. 18 to Sunday, Oct. 20 at Nashville’s Camp Widjiwagan. This account covers the presentations of Step One through Step Six of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
In a futile attempt to battle morbid thoughts that characterize acute heroin and opiate withdrawals, I found myself reading an old book of short stories. If memory serves me correctly, the story was called How to Build a Fire by Jack London. To this day, the experience of that sleepless night stays with me as a strong reminder of the very real dangers of heroin and opiate addiction.
Fast forward 20 years, and I’m using more needles than a three-armed nurse. Shots for breakfast, lunch and dinner – not tequila or vodka, just heroin. By far the worst item on my narcotic résumé. Fortunately, I sought help. Most don’t find quality addiction treatment. I was one of the lucky few.
The 2013 Prime Time Men's Retreat is the first Alcoholics Anonymous-related recovery retreat I have attended, ever... and what an amazing first retreat it turned out to be! Although I'd signed up for Twelve-Step recovery retreats in the past, it seems I always ended up concocting various lame excuses in an attempt to justify my usual bailing out; my antisocial tendencies and aversion to commitment were certainly stronger then. In those cases, I had either relapsed by the time the recovery event rolled around or had given in to my social fears about sharing such a weekend with other recovering men.
Let’s face it. People at the end of a long run of alcohol and drug abuse are bonkers. And I’m not talking maybe-I-should-see-a-therapist crazy. I’m talking call-Homeland-Security-immediately crazy. The families I talk to find themselves in crisis situations. Their loved one is guzzling booze and/or drugs like its Christmas in Amsterdam, and they usually don’t know what to do.