Fellowship of The Spirit Conference
These annual 12-step retreats are made possible by a group of spirited individuals who dedicate themselves to the principled way of living as outlined in the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous. These informal gatherings originated in Breckenridge CO, and have since spared retreats nationwide of like-minded individuals who are interested in making permanent recovery a way of life, and passing that message along to others. These weekends utilize speakers and panels to lay out step-by-step the path to recovery that has worked for so many. Many of our residents have found these weekends to provide an essential stepping stone towards letting go of some reservations they have had about being sober to making a beginning in the steps. Through regular attendance at these conferences we have built a network across the nation of sponsors and mentors that have helped past residents establish their own recoveries after graduation.
"Before going to Fellowship of the Spirit I honestly didn’t think life was going to be fun or rewarding, but after hearing the speakers, meeting some of the people and having fun at the dance, I was able to see their happiness and how they were; I hoped that my sobriety might look like that too."
- Former In Balance Resident
Young People’s of AA Events
The Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous, affectionately known as YPAA, are a group of regional committees that organize events and functions all over the nation to introduce the 12-step way of living to the younger generation and prove that not only is recovery possible, but also rewarding, fun and full of possibilities to reclaim futures once clouded by the disease of addiction. The enthusiastic gatherings, often in the thousands, provide sober dances, sporting events, games and panels of speakers from different areas that carry the message home for the younger generation. Many of our graduates and former residents have in fact gone on to join these committees and start conferences of their own to broadcast the message- "Come join us in this new way of living."
Another facet of our program is that of embracing the inherent beauty and mystery of Arizona and the outdoors. One such place, Havasupai, is a small village surrounded by waterfalls at the base of the Grand Canyon. Twice a year the In Balance Living community will conquer the challenging and rewarding trek into the canyon to do weekend seminars of individual and team building exercises. This trip helps create and cement strong bonds between each member of the community and allows residents to challenge themselves one step at a time to create esteem and challenge personal capabilities. Some of our staff that have traveled throughout the world have said it is the most beautiful place they have ever been.
"Havasupai was a mind opening experience…the physical and mental challenge pushed me to my limits, and in doing so helped me through some personal struggles I was having. I think on that hike we all learned the true meaning of teamwork." -Former In Balance Resident
In the winter months, one of the ways and means to provide team building and recreation is to facilitate regular snowboarding and ski trips to the White Mountains. Our In Balance programs have been fortunate enough to reap the benefits of having a spacious and comfortable cabin outside of Sunrise Mountain- a relaxing place to do weekend retreats and life skills workshops as well as tackle the slopes of the Cyclone and Sunrise ski areas alike. For many of our residents, the ski weekends provide the first opportunity to learn a new form of recreation while seasoned veterans of the slopes can practice patience and virtue by helping their peers learn a new skill. This is a great example of how the community helps teach and support the community.
ICYPAA in Los Angeles
Essay written by a resident that attended ICYPAA (International Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous):
"Before I went on the trip to L. A., I was on the fence about the NA and AA program, whether or not I wanted to be sober, and what I thought about sobriety. This trip has changed all of that for me. As soon as we got to the hotel, people started to come up to greet us, talk to us, and make sure we felt welcome at the convention. This was a big surprise for me, because I have never been anywhere where people were so kind and welcoming. Throughout the weekend, I have learned new things about myself. I tried to take in a meeting every day, a choice that I made, not that staff made for me. This surprised me at first, because there were other things going on that I could have done, instead of going to a meeting. I chose to go to the meetings because they were inspiring, and for once, I genuinely cared about what the speakers had to say."
"Another thing that happened on the trip was I realized how much I am able to accept myself now. I had a little incident on the dance floor while I was dancing with one girl, and I surprised myself with how I reacted. I was also able to go up and just talk to anybody I wanted to, something that a lack of confidence had previously prevented me from doing."
"Lastly, this trip has shown me just how much fun you can have in recovery. I think this trip was more fun than I have had in the past few years. Just being in the atmosphere where everybody was achieving a common goal, everybody was happy, and most importantly, everybody was kind to one another, has been a major factor in helping me decide what I want to do when I leave transitional living. I feel that the saying, "My worst day clean is still better than my best day using" applies in this situation. Even when I wasn't doing anything on the trip, I was still having more fun then when I was using."
"In conclusion, this trip has completely changed my mind about what I want to do when I leave Transitional Living. If for nothing else, I want to stay sober just so I can keep going into those rooms, meeting new people, and helping others along with their recovery. Of course, I want to stay sober for myself. I think that this trip has shown me all the great things that AA/NA has to offer, what a clean life would be like, and what I can have if I want to take it. And I want it all."
Over the years we have done numerous international expeditions. The first two were to South Africa, the third to Kenya/Tanzania, the fourth to Nepal, and our most recent couple expeditions have been to Peru. The formula for success on these trips is simple: we bring a therapist, experienced expedition staff, and peer mentors that are working a strong program. These trips are based around the idea of Voluntourism, which for us, normally involves cultural experiences, seeing places of worth, safari, trekking, and service. We try and combine history, nature, fellowship, adventure, and service all into a single experience. These trips are optional for Transitional Living Residents and are absolutely amazing experiences.