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I attended an incredible rustic retreat one time in the north of Lower Michigan, near Charlevoix. How did I find out about this small event? From daily contact with other AAs, that is part of my program of recovery.

From attending meetings regularly and engaging with people there, by staying late or going early and taking names and telephone numbers. Through having the willingness and open-mindedness to travel some distance and to try new things for enhancing my sobriety.

I had incredible adventures that summer, including time to help others and ongoing amends. The AA retreat/campout was on Beaver Island and entailed taking the ferry for an hour; but one of the boats transported our gear, luggage and us all so we could leave our cars on the mainland.

I had relatives in the area, so I parked some distance from the ferry and rode a bicycle to it, but missed a turn and missed the first boat. Which turned out to be for the best as everyone else took the second ferry and I was right where I was supposed to be.

Besides the meeting, we toured the island. A man took us out on his sailboat. There were bonfires, meeting new people, swimming in incredibly clear and fresh water, and oh, smoked white fish; not to be missed if you travel there!

On Saturday night, a visitor was selected to give a full lead. I always loved this guy’s story of how he got to AA, and how he emphasized giving back what was so freely given to us all. Which reminds me of “First the man takes a drink. Then the drink takes a drink. Then the drink takes the man.”

The speaker was David G. from Cleveland. In his life, he journeyed to many conferences and other AA events and I always knew right where to find him; stage right, up front, in the arena during Founder’s Day. He had enthusiasm and… “The God within” …and shared that willingly. David was a fantastic friend to very many people and he will be missed.

A Higher Power certainly put him in my life to make it better.

Love, Charlie P.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.