“Love and Forgiveness” Retreat

Trefeca recovery retreat Wales

Trefeca recovery retreat Wales

Back in March two of our ‘recoverees’ ventured out to Trefeca, a historic and sacred place located in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. They were going on a weekend retreat centred around the 12 step recovery program and key principles of love and forgiveness. Edmund and Brad have each kindly written a piece for RecoveryTimes reflecting on their little venture:

I have just returned from this and what can I say? Bloody wow! My head really has been blown away. You would not believe me when I say I feel like I have had a second spiritual awakening, I am on one now and that’s for sure.

Over the years I can now see that, although I think my recovery is good, I definitely know that there are a couple of areas that I need to look at to keep me feeling like I feel at this moment. I feel elated. I feel more grateful than I ever have.

I have been neglecting my family and the people I love in various ways. I learned this whilst working with the two brilliant, inspiring facilitators – Colin was one of them and Wynford Ellis Owen the other. These two people I will meet again, I have already made up my mind on that. I now know that I have been putting other stuff before my recovery.

I have taken a good look at myself these last couple of days and what I see is that I have been taking my eye off the ball. I have been so focused on the ‘work home, work home’ thing that I seem not to care about anything or anyone else in my life.

I expect everyone just to be there and put up with my chaotic lifestyle. To fit in with it. I did this when drinking too, didn’t I?

I have been taking on issues that do not need to be mine, and taking on other people’s problems too, and they really have been affecting me. I have been feeling shit most of the time, but telling myself that it will pass. But I now know, from this weekend, that I have given no-one the permission to make me feel this way.

This will now change. I will work on me more and I will not allow anyone to make me feel low.

When I first entered the grounds on Friday I could feel peace immediately. I could feel love and I was absolutely at ease. This is what I want to keep hold of, and I can if I remember what I have learned and keep me safe.

So a big thanks to Colin – diamond geezer – and Wynford, who signed his book for me. The wisdom of this guy is something that I fixed on. I have never seen it in anyone yet – a brilliant man. We will meet again, as I told them, because I will make it happen. It’s something that I want and I will go and get it.


Trefeca, often called ‘The Cradle of the Connexion’, was the home of Howell Harris (1714-1773), influential leader of the Methodist Revival in Wales and contemporary of other great Methodists such as Daniel Rowland, William Williams Pantycelyn, George Whitefield and John and Charles Wesley.

An itinerant preacher, Harris was converted and began preaching all over Wales in 1735 but withdrew to Trefeca in 1750 and, in 1752, established his ‘Teulu Trefeca’, the Trefeca Family. To William Williams, Trefeca was “Harris’s castellated monastery”, but to John Wesley, it was “a little paradise”. At its height, over 120 people lived, worshipped and worked in Trefeca, practising more than 70 types of crafts and trades as a self-sufficient community with a monastic ethos inspired by the Moravians. Howell Harris died in 1773 and over 20,000 people attended his funeral. The Methodist societies he established across the country eventually became the Presbyterian Church of Wales. He has been called one of the most influential Welshmen of all time.