(How to get out of your mind without chemical assistance)
On Friday the 7th of February fifteen of the Calderdale in Recovery lot gathered together to embark on a weekend of insight into awareness and mindful-self-mastery at the Martinsell Centre in Marlborough. There were a few mixed opinions on the way down as no one was sure of what to expect but we were all in high spirits and going into this with open minds hoping that, from this experience, we might come away with extra tools to help us on our journey to recovery. Well it was definitely an experience, that’s for sure! Never have I laughed so much in my life and I’m not just talking about laughing I’m talking about proper belly laughs right from the deepest part of the stomach and it made me feel amazing, I’m still laughing a few weeks on!
As we arrived at our destination after what felt like endless hours of travelling, you could feel the excitement building off everyone. We made our way to the main room and were shown our sleeping quarters. The guys had this built in floor which I bet none of them could stand up in. So when it came to Stan and Richard they were well and truly ‘foo-bard’ as they are both 6ft plus. It was definitely a hand and knees job. I don’t think I will ever get the vision of them two climbing to their beds out of my head, it was so funny in fact I’m laughing reminiscing about it as I type.
As the guys got settled in us girls were shown our quarters, we were buzzing to say the least as we were blessed with an en-suite, proper beds, kitchens and even TV/DVD players, not that we would get to watch it but it was a bonus to be blasting our tunes while getting ready in the morning, that’s just got to be done! After settling in we all congregated back in the main room to meet our instructors. They were all sat on cushions on the floor breathing quite heavy, a kind of panting. As I looked round the room at my fellow ‘recoverees’ you could just see everyone looking at each other with a slight confused look, but being us and with the high spirits we were in, the laughter just erupted. We must have been laughing for at least ten minutes. I was even in tears at one point.
After the laughter had calmed down and the room dropped to silence we were given our induction to the weekend then it was off for our vegetarian tea. I was a bit apprehensive as to what we were in for but I couldn’t believe the tastiness and the service we received. Full marks all round and to top it off the dining room was always set out beautifully for all our 3 course meals and the roaring open fire just blew me away. I don’t think I could have imagined a finer setting.
Well day two was especially eventful for me as we went on a mindfulness hike up what they referred to as the dragon’s tail. It was a hill, a big, steep, muddy hill for that matter but I was prepared, I had just bought myself a pair of hiking boots so I was sorted. So as we were trekking up the dragons’ tail we were asked to be aware and mindful of every step we took, not as easy as it sounds but we did it anyway. It must have taken us a good hour to get up this hill but when we reached the top it was so worth it. The view was breath-taking. You could see for miles. The weather wasn’t on our side but that didn’t stop us. At the top there was a big dip like a crater and me being me was in one of my silly moods and decided to ‘roley-poley’ into it then try to do the same out. I was a woman on a mission and that mission was successful.
After we got back to the house I realised that I had lost my phone, gutted wasn’t the word but I had a damn good idea where it was so I just want to take this opportunity to say thanks to Vicky Ashington and Michael Silcock for coming to help me find it, it was just as expected right on top of the bloody hill, but even though it’s got water damage now and turns itself off when it wants I was grateful to have found it.
Just to give you an insight as to how mindful our walk up the dragon’s tail actually was, the second time round we were up and down in about 20 minutes! Talk about on a mission….
Later that afternoon after we were rested, fed and watered, we had a session about ‘living in the moment’ that I really found interesting and have used at home since. I found it useful as I’m a worrier and I learnt that if there’s nothing you can do about a situation that’s in the future why let it affect the here and now? Just worry about it when and if it comes. As addicts we project a negative outcome and wallow in the fear of it, well I can really only speak for myself and that’s what I’ve been doing until now. When I catch myself doing it, I’m now aware of what I’m doing. I correct myself and return to living for now. What’s the point in worrying about something that hasn’t or may not happen? As we were learning this new found awareness technique I was also aware that it is not always possible to live in the here and now, not in our society anyway and even though they went on about not thinking about the future too much (as it’s only a projection) there are things in my life that I am and want to look forward to. Still, awareness is an amazing thing and its definitely another tool I’m going to add to my box.
There were a few other things that went on that I just thought were bizarre! At a few points over the weekend they were teaching us how to be at one with our selves and to mediate, there was a lot of panting and heavy breathing going on for my liking but it was an experience in itself.
Overall I really enjoyed our weekend retreat and got various things from it. The best thing for me though was definitely the bonding with my fellow ‘recoverees’. You lot really made it for me and the more I get to know each and every one of you the more I like you and I feel so lucky to have you in my life. I don’t think my recovery journey would be as enjoyable and as uplifting without you guys, and that also goes to the others who were unable to attend the retreat. Keep up the good work, there will be many more opportunities that I look forward to attending with you on our mad abstinent journey to recovery.
“What works? ……Team work!”
Love you guys
Other feedback from the trip:
VL – Absolutely loved it. It was of the best experiences of my life. I would definitely go back if I had the chance. Laughed from start to finish.
DO – I enjoyed the whole weekend very much – as I told Adrian – Awakening, Mindfulness & Self Awareness Achieved! I came away with new tools to help me maintain my abstinence and drive towards peace of mind. I highly recommend the Addicts Guide to Inner Space to anyone looking for ways to learn more about themselves and dealing with our own heads.
ST – From the moment we arrived there was something special about the group. It was a bond where I felt safe to be myself. I have never laughed so much without being under the influence. I learned that I can also be comfortable being in the moment and for a short while I was able to free my mind from all thoughts. It was scary at times but an amazing experience thanks to CiR for giving me the chance.
Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue 7
Article 2 of 3 – #3 A Holistic Approach to Recovery