Mad River Barn Weekend – Let's Discuss


And We’re back … From Vermont that is …

I have to say that the weekend amongst my brothers/fathers/friends in sobriety rocked the house to the ground. I am so fortunate to have the sponsor I do and had the opportunity to spend the weekend listening and sharing with such honesty.

Hands down this weekend was the best weekend I have had in sobriety thus far. And it only took 12 and a half years to get here.

We departed on Friday afternoon, playing follow the leader out to Vermont. My sponsor and friends in one car, and myself and my friend (the driver) in the other.

It was all smooth sailing until we hit the U.S. Border. They got through quickly, where as when it came to our turn, we got grilled. Never tell a border guard you are sober, or that you are an alcoholic, in recovery or NOT !

So, in the end we got through. It was a smooth drive into Vermont. We (read: our car) ate at McDonald’s before leaving the city. One of our guys forgot his passport so they had to go back and get it …. (read: such a dunce!)

We made it all the way to Colchester where we stopped for Food for three and more food for us. It was good fresh food served to us by a witty happy waitress.

After the meal we paid for our food and set off for the Barn. Which would be a couple of hours later. We were following for the first 10 or so miles, when my driver realized that he had left his jacket (WITH) his passport, at the restaurant.

I madly texted the lead vehicle finally calling via cell to advise that we were turning around to go back to Colchester. We hit an exit that was not correct, had to ask directions and then find our way back to the diner.

We pulled up in the parking lot and parked, got out of the car, and got to the door. And wouldn’t you know it – The diner was CLOSED !!!

Panic set in. We started banging on the door hoping that there was somebody still inside. A few minutes later the check out girl opened the door and handed us the jacket and passport. They figured we would be returning and waited for us to get there. Imagine if we had not realized that the passport was left behind.

It was a scenic route into the Mad River Valley, thank God we had printed directions and talent at following them.

The Mad River Barn is a working Bed and Breakfast Inn. Not far from Sugar Bush Mountain, (which, by the way, still had snow on the runs).

They sorted us into rooms. All the guys in my room were from Montreal. The Inn has been recently refurbished and reopened on December 26th 2013.

Our room slept 6.

A suite with a queen bed, in the main room, a set of bunk beds and two beds head to head in the second room. The bathroom was state of the art, with complete service (Towels, shampoo, and all that good stuff). I didn’t need all the shit I packed and brought with me.

We had a third meal at dinner time, along with the 50 men who were present.

Food – We had three meals a day with dessert. All the coffee you could drink, and I noticed late Saturday Night that there was a soda gun on the coffee stand. Needless to say that I was over caffeinated, leading to no sleep on Friday night.

We had presentations on the Steps as outlined in the Big Book, and the Twelve and Twelve. One guy would speak on the step for a few minutes and then the floor would open for discussion.

There were twelve discussions. over three days.

The opening salvo came to a head when Step One was introduced,

“We” admitted … This is a WE program.

And I raised my hand and told my story about : Go somewhere else and do not return to this meeting. Where I had hit two meetings in sobriety and was told it was a “We” program but “I” was not included in that “WE.”  In front of everyone.

Jaws dropped. People were angry, several people turned in their chairs. That was the majority of the discussion on that step, and would be touched on throughout the weekend.

I took my sponsees with me in spirit. Because After each presentation, I spoke to the person who spoke on the step about a great many things. My sponsor was there and heard everything I said in the meetings.

We had cell service in the Mountains, and if I stood in one particular spot on the sidewalk out front, I could get a clear signal, as I was calling Montreal several times checking in with them over the weekend.

I learned a great deal about working my steps, as the others had worked them, how they applied them to their lives and what I could expect if I did the same. I spoke a lot during steps 1 thru 4. Because I have done Steps 1 thru 4.

I worked on my 4th step during the weekend. But my sponsor isn’t done with his yet, and HIS sponsor was also there for the weekend.

I took a bunch of notes. I listened to all the other steps as they came up. And I took those notes home, and planned to discuss them with my guys.

After each session we had a break to get out of our chairs to spend some time talking amongst ourselves outside the meeting format, and to huddle with our chosen mentor of the moment.

I went to bed late both Friday and Saturday. And I woke early both Saturday and Sunday just so I could get a conversation in with every person I could over the weekend. We drank a shit load of coffee and smoked packs of cigarettes. Not to mention several boxes of cigars as well. They were very popular.

By Saturday night we were spent to death. Everybody got good sleep.

Location, Location, Location … There was a separate section of the building where guests we roomed. They served them meals upstairs on the second floor which had a bar, games tables, tv’s and seating for meals.

All very well appointed. The others, who had been here before kept remarking at just how GOOD a job they did with the rebuild.

During our afternoon break on Saturday I chose to nap, while others went on hikes into the mountains. We were warned about Bears and Moose! And yes we did have sightings.

Today – read: this morning … We met for Step 12. Discussed, and people began to scatter, as it was Mother’s Day and the guys/husbands/fathers, needed to get on the road to spend the rest of the day with their significant others.

These guys were all good guys. I did not get a whiff of ego, or that stupid heterosexual Men’s Pissing Game. We did play several practical jokes on people which was quite funny.

We departed about 11:30 this morning. And we took the scenic route over Sugar Bush up the mountain, across and down the other side all the way to Burlington. A drive that took us an hours time.

It would have been quicker had we taken the route we came in on. The views were stellar. I can’t wait to see what that scenery looks like come fall, which is when the next intensive is scheduled.

We arrived back in town about 2:30 in the afternoon.

I loved Loved LOVED the weekend. How ever much we enjoyed the weekend, by Sunday we were all ready to come home. And when I got home, I wished that we had stayed longer. If only to spend more time with the others and get to enjoy more of the surrounding mountains.

I unpacked and chilled until I had to leave for the Sunday Night Meeting.

It was a stellar day. If this is the tip of the sobriety iceberg, I can’t wait to see what is underneath. Because I want MORE …

I am pooped. I need dinner and to sleep in my own bed.

Which leads me to the fact that I have never slept on such a comfortable mattress than the one I slept on over the weekend. I want One … Down/memory foam.


That is all for tonight. More to come…

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