Refections on the 34th Annual Maine Area Roundup: Packed With Fun and Lessons Learned for Halfway House Clients

The following post was written by a client in Crossroads for Women’s halfway house program. Clients and staff recently had the opportunity to experience the 34th Annual Maine Area RoundUp, an event put on by Alcoholics Anonymous.

This year, Crossroads for Women Back Cove was “Rocketed into the 4th Dimension” at the 34th Annual Maine Roundup at Sugarloaf Ski Mountain in Carrabassett Valley, ME. Even after a long, hot drive in the van, with no air conditioning, the thirteen of us arrived full of anticipation, excitement, and laughter. After arriving at the condo and unpacking, we immediately jumped in the meetings. The beautiful mountains, inspirational atmosphere, and amazing people made it easy to feel welcome (even in a crowd of over 850 people).

The first main speaker on Friday night was from Boston, MA and spoke of action and change. Upon opening our eyes in the morning we must also open our ears. Now is the time to “suit up, show up, put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing.” Everyone can have a new life and be saved from the old and after that it is important that we take the next right step. Through the speaker’s energy and charm, a clear message was conveyed that in seconds and inches a persons life could change if they are willing to take these steps.

With those messages in our minds and hearts we prepared ourselves to dance the night away. With our Program Manager and volunteer at our side, we took the dance floor with energy and style. Just spending time together, as a family, and having fun was fantastic. It was so amazing to see all of the women from the house let go, let loose and be themselves.  It was truly a perfect ending to our first day at Roundup.

After a long night of dancing, Saturday morning started out with an Al-Anon speaker from Alabama. Her story was one of tremendous strength and hope that truly touched the soul. The reality is that life has ups and downs, but by putting trust in someone or something more than myself I can have faith that the outcome will be what it is meant to. Life is a long journey, full of lessons that help us to learn, change, adapt and grow. The lessons we learn throughout our journeys are there to strengthen our hope and faith in ourselves and everything else in our lives. Living through and receiving these lessons also gives us the ability to step up and pass our knowledge and experience on to help another when they are enduring those hard life lessons.

The Saturday night speaker came from California and gave the message that sobriety can be lifelong. We all go through periods of joy; loss, fear, pain or tragedy and we can make it, through the good and the bad times in our lives, sober. Making it through these trials and tribulations makes us all the stronger in our recovery and our day-to-day lives. We all have those ups and downs. Some downs seem as though they are bringing us into a pit of despair and some ups may be so high that it feels as if we will never come down. Regardless of our ups and downs, we need to have faith in our Higher Power, our fellows, our sobriety and ourselves.

After dancing another night away to a band playing music from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, we packed up the van and headed to the last events/meetings of Roundup. As we took our seats, we were full of hope, love, inspiration and true beauty. Everyone in the room stood on their feet and a countdown began starting at 55 years, to find the person with the most sobriety in the room. An 86-year-old man slowly made his way to the stage with 51 years of sobriety.

The countdown then continued, the crowd clapping with every year that went by. As people’s sobriety times were called, they took their seats until less and less people were standing. Finally, one woman remained standing, with less then 24 hours of sobriety. As she made her way to stage applause of encouragement erupted and tears welled up in her eyes. Once on stage the 86-year-old man presented her with the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, signed by all of the people in attendance at the Roundup and a few words of encouragement, determination, faith and heartfelt honesty. This was truly a spiritual and emotional experience as goosebumps appeared, tears ran down cheeks, and feelings of warmth ran from head to toe.

The weekend of July 15th, 16th, and 17th was a spirit, heart, and soul opening experience. Being able to share the “life lessons” of this weekend with a family of sober women was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We were truly blessed to be able to share it with each other and every other recovering person there. Everyone walked away with something. Most, I believe, with something that will change their lives forever.

The women from CFW Back Cove would like to thank our Program Manager and volunteer for all their hard work and planning in making this trip so absolutely successful and memorable.