What Is a Retreat? Why Make One?

• A Matt Talbot retreat offers an opportunity for recovering alcoholics to seek a stronger spiritual experience and enhance their sober way of life.

• The people who attend these retreats are all recovering alcoholics.

• Retreatants are of all races, all religious beliefs, all ages, and all walks of life.

• There are retreats for men, women, and married couples.

• Retreats are mentioned on page 89 of the Twelve and Twelve: “Many of us also like the experience of an occasional retreat from the outside world where we can quiet down for an undisturbed day or so of self-overhaul and meditation.” *

Matt Talbot Retreats generally begin Friday evening and conclude early Sunday afternoon. Throughout the weekend brief conferences are held by a Retreat Master or Director, usually a recovering alcoholic and member of the clergy. As a rule, the Retreat Master has personal experience with our problem and also has the training and the background to provide us with guidance and insight into the Steps and our own individual spiritual path. In addition, much time is available for sharing and fellowship, and for rest and meditation away from the stresses, tensions, hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

People who attend retreats have an honest desire to stay sober, but they are often plagued by some of the following problems:

• I am having trouble with the spiritual side of the twelve-step program.

• I would like to have a Higher Power working in my life, but I don’t know how to do this.

• I ask my Higher Power for guidance every morning, yet I am not happy and I show no improvement in my behavior and my thinking. What am I doing wrong?

• I would like to work on some of the steps, but my life is so full and so hectic that I just cannot find the time.

• Sometimes it seems that every one else is changing and getting some serenity, and I just feel angry and left out.

• While my recovery seems good, I would like to enhance my spiritual growth.

When we attend a retreat, we find that many of the other people at the retreat have the same problems, the same questions, the same feelings. We find a peaceful atmosphere where we can relax and think about our own needs. We find people who are willing to listen to our concerns. We find people who are willing to share their solutions. We find time to take a look at ourselves while surrounded by people who, like us, are interested in permanent, joyful sobriety.

We also find that the Retreat Masters who conduct these retreats are past masters in the art of spiritual living. They know their stuff. They know how to dish it out in the proper doses, and most important, they know and understand us alcoholics. They help us to use our own tools. The net result is a gain in the blessed peace and serenity that every recovering alcoholic strives for. The proof of this comes from those of us who have been to retreats. We know. We’ve been there. We intend to go again and keep on going. Can you spare a weekend to find out “where you are” and “where you are heading”?