Last bank holiday weekend, experienced spiritual healer and addictions counsellor Adrian Rooke and Jennifer Kavanagh who is a nurse and therapist at Broadway Lodge delivered our 12 Step Recovery Renewal Retreat which was a huge success. Attendees gathered from Friday 31st May – Sunday 1st June in the sleepy Somerset village of Kilve which is nestled by the coast alongside an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The word ‘retreat’ has been defined as ‘a place affording peace and quiet’ which was certainly offered at this very serene, peaceful and green location away from the outside world to enable everyone to immerse themselves in the healing, therapeutic and reconnection activities throughout the weekend.
Below, Adrian has written his experience of the weekend.
Jennifer and I arrived at Kilve Court at lunchtime on Friday 31st of May to begin setting up for the retreat that was starting later that day. I suppose for me that was when the magic started. We set up the central space for lighting our candles and bringing little treasures that were symbolic for each individual to represent something that had some meaning for them in their recovery. We set up the gongs for the evening’s meditation and ensured that the fire pit was ready. Then we walked the beautiful grounds, mentally letting go of the outside world and preparing ourselves for the weekend ahead.
One by one people began to arrive, unfortunately some were late due to traffic jams but eventually we were all together. The Kilve Court staff arrived to cook us a sustaining supper and we shared our first meal together. We then gathered, with introductions and sharing of experience followed by the drumming and gong healing meditation.
Very quickly from what started out as a bunch of strangers, the group began to gel, bonded by their shared experience of addiction and a desire to find something new in this weekend experience. Sleepy but happy we all retired to our cabins.
Both mornings began at 7am with the Dance of Life, a Native American meditation with movement and song, followed by Tai Chi on the lawn.
The group were becoming more and more familiar and friendly, using the time to share some powerful recovery and relapse experiences. We enjoyed fine weather on the Saturday so before supper we had a silent mindful walk to the beach, allowing contact and exploration of the five senses in a way we normally forget to use in the hurly burly of everyday life.
There were so many special moments that it would take a small book to share them all. Everyone was engaged and participated in the workshops on Step 3, Mindfulness Relapse Prevention, Planning Your Own Relapse, The Brown Bottle and Peter Davies’ Trust workshop. Everyone relaxed and enjoyed the drumming and singing around the fire pit.
As a facilitator with several years’ experience, I can say there is always a hope that everyone has had their needs and wants fulfilled, but that’s rarely the case. This time, however, everyone was blown away by their experience and to a man and woman said they will be back for next year’s Retreat. We even had an offer to take the weekend programme to Sheffield!
All in all a job well done, and although myself and Jennifer were both very tired at the end of the weekend, packing up and driving back both Jennifer and I agreed that we had shared a very special experience with some very special people. – Adrian Rooke (pictured beside the fire pit below)
We are very pleased with the positive feedback from attendees and we are delighted that all have stated that they would recommend the Retreat to others. Their feedback includes:
“Thank you thank you thank you. This is what I needed. Long term sobriety needs refreshing and this was just the thing. All of the activities were nourishing but the relapse prevention workshop was especially helpful to me at this point in my journey. Length of sobriety does not ensure sobriety but it is hard to find a space that offers support in this kind of way. The fusion of sharing, activities and 12 Step workshops is perfect. Once again – thank you.”
“Such a fantastic weekend. Adrian and Jennifer engaged us in the most soul nourishing activities. I loved the gong bath, the morning dance, Tai Chi was a lovely discovery – loved it. Our group shares, the guided meditations, the walk to the beach, our fire, our food, the company – fantastic. Will be recommending this recovery weekend to our recovery fellows. Looking forward to the next one. The kitchen lady worked so hard to keep us watered and fed. We were so very well looked after, they are stars and made the retreat yummy.”
“Thank you so much. It was just what I needed to give me clarity and direction again. Thank you for the relaxed atmosphere and the intuitive re-planning as required. Maybe do it on a bank holiday because an extra day would be wonderful!”
“I had an amazing experience. Everything I wanted to achieve happened. I’m very happy that I came here, it has been very useful. I enjoyed all of the activities and group discussions and everyone’s company.”
“I think the weekend was wonderful and just what I needed, everything was superb and I definitely feel like my recovery has been renewed! Thank you to Adrian, Jennifer and my peers.”
“Enjoyed everything. Feeling re-connected and inspired to go home, engage with AA and help others. Please do it again next year.”
“Well delivered, personal, professional, informative, creative and innovative. Massive thank you Adrian and Jennifer.”
“Really enjoyed it. Great food and location. Amazing staff – highly recommend”