The 24/7 Recovery Group held their 7th annual campout and fish fry May 25-29 at Lake Wappapello. This year’s event was attended by 18 campers in RV’s, campers and tents. Boats and a jet ski for water sports and fishing were available. The festivities started on Friday night with a campfire social “meet & greet” event. A 12 Step Recovery Group Meeting was scheduled for Saturday night and a Christ-Centered meeting on Sunday morning. Food was plentiful with full buffet style breakfasts each morning and grilled burgers and hotdogs for lunch. One of the main events was a Fish Fry held on Saturday evening that was attended by more than 50 people from area recovery groups, family and friends.
I started these yearly events when I got clean & sober in 2001 and discovered that my old habits of a cooler full of beer and a few joints was just a normal thing to have while doing about anything that I used to do. I actually found that fishing was no longer any fun and realized that something was seriously missing in my new found recovery life. I read a lot of books and was taught a lot of things in treatment, but I was never exposed to the fact that I had to learn to do the very things that made me happy in a different way. I knew that I was not the only person who experienced this feeling of insecurity. What was once my most treasured moments of solitude and generally my connection with the universe and all creation had somehow slipped away and it was unacceptable.
In 2001, I organized the 1st annual Recovery Campout and invited anyone in recovery to attend. To my surprise I found that many others felt this same way. I had founded the 24/7 Christ-Centered Recovery group and we started raising the funding needed to put on this type of event. With our weekly donations we raised over $200, found a place by the river and picked a date the week after Memorial Day when the temperatures would be in our favor and we could be by ourselves to get through and deal with any issues we would face. I honestly didn’t know how it would turn out.
Sitting by the campfire, we got to know each other in a whole new way rather than what we had known at AA meetings. By taking turns at the chores of cooking, cleaning up and learning how to get along, we learned to endure each other’s faults and find strength in unity. We have learned how to make it better each year. We have learned together, taught each other and depended on each other more than ever before.
That is what makes a group cohesive, lifting each other up, being a part of a new extended family of lifelong friends in recovery, encouraging and being encouraged while building character within us. The campout continues to grow each year and is a fun and exciting time to learn to cope with life outside of the box that we let our addictions put us in. The Park Rangers and other folks camping can see that we have a great time being clean and sober. We learn new life skills that have to be self taught by getting along with others and being a part of breaking the stigma and shame that deters and keeps us from leading normal lives after treatment when the true recovery begins in everyday living.