Read below about what others have to say about their experience at the ACA Camp de Benneville Pines Retreat:
Hi, my name is Laura and I am an ACA'er. My very first ACA Meeting was on July 15th, 2018. It was on a Sunday and it was a Red Book Study Meeting. I was feeling out of control emotionally. I truly thought I was going insane.
I had recently gone through a breakup and I couldn't understand why I was feeling so hopeless, depressed, and suicidal. Someone suggested to me to check out ACA. At my second meeting, which was on the 16th of July, they mentioned the Fall Mountain Retreat at Camp de Benneville Pines. I found this retreat idea very interesting.
I wasn't planning to stay this long in the ACA Program and I felt that the retreat was way too far off in the future for me. But, I continued coming back to the ACA Meeting and they continued announcing the retreat to the meeting members. I became even more interested, so I registered for the event.
Days before the retreat I started feeling very anxious, because I was so new to all of this and I didn't know any people who would be going. But, I took the chance anyway as I drove up to the mountains by myself.
I got there on Friday Night, registered, went to my cabin, and put my bags down in my cabin room. All this time I was feeling so lonely and frightened. I went to a workshop that started at 9:30PM and it lasted until 11:00PM. I was so drained after it. I cried a lot when I heard the many good testimonials given by fellow campers. It helped me feel at home.
Exhausted, I went back to my cabin and fell asleep. The next morning, I visited another workshop before breakfast. It too was emotionally draining and frightening for me. After the workshop I went to breakfast. After breakfast I went for a walk in the woods to try to make a connection with God.
After my walk I was still frightened, lonely, and overwhelmed. I was having an anxiety attack and as I walked back to my cabin I decided to pack-up my things and go back home.
In my cabin room where 3 other ladies. They asked me how I was feeling. I then broke down. I could not hold it back any more. I sobbed for the first time in my life in which I shared with total strangers how scared and lonely I was. I told the ladies that I am packing my things right now and I am leaving to go home!
The ladies asked me to sit down, and literally begged me to stay and give myself a second chance with the retreat. And so I did. Right now, I am so glad that I did because even though I was very emotional and frightened I ran into people that were also going through the very exact thing that I was.
The retreat has so much to offer; fellowship, games, and arts and crafts. I never had a real childhood while growing up. So, at first, I thought all this stuff was kind of silly. But the people who came before me in ACA had already connected with their inner child. At the time, I was clueless as to what an inner child was.
On Sunday, when it was almost all over, after the all the fun, all the crying and all the love I felt from other ACA'ers I had to share with one of the ladies at my cabin. I told her that the retreat should be four days long. Because, the first day is really frightening, the second day is very emotional, and by the end of the second day I started to warm up to people and felt comfortable and at home.
I didn't want this experience to be over!!! I was so new to ACA that I have only been in program for one month, probably just 6 meetings. Now, as I look around me, I see a whole bunch of adults being kids with themselves. I love this part of the retreat.
I'm sobbing as I am writing this, because I am going back to the mountains in my mind. I'm going back to the feelings I was feeling right then and there. I felt so good to be with a group of kids who were in the bodies of adults. This retreat is the best thing that has ever happened in my life.
I never done something good for myself and this was a great start for my healing process. Definitely, I will try to make it to the Spring Camp Recovery Retreat. I will definitely go to the Fall Mountain Retreat next year which is a must for me.
And I will be there to share with a new comer, like what the ladies in my cabin did for me. I will advise the new person to stay around so she too can find herself.
Thank you for your time in reading my testimonial and about my experiences at the Fall Mountain Retreat at Camp de Benneville Pines.
I have attended the Fall Mountain Retreat every year since 1999. What an amazing place to participate in recovery! Meetings, workshops, arts and crafts, & the surrounding mountains, tall pine trees, starry night sky and absolute quiet are so gorgeous and calming. The FMR is an important must in my recovery with my fellow travelers. -- A Very Happy Camper
I went to my first Fall Mountain Retreat 10 plus years ago. I was a little scared, but once I heard all the different readings I knew I was in the right place. I made a promise to myself I would be back each year. I seemed to get stronger every time I shared. On my journey I have met some amazing people. I have learned something every time or read it.
I am so grateful that I did decide to go to the Fall Mountain Retreat back then. Now I am a strong, independent person because of this ACA program and I am grateful for that. -- Ann, ACA
In 2014, I was ten months into my recovery. I was attending meetings on a regular basis and coming to terms regarding being part of the ACA Community. I did not want to admit I was an Adult Child. I did not want to tell people, who I did not know and seemed kinda strange to me, about my feelings! They can all go to h-e-double hockey sticks!
But at the same time I felt I have come home. Finally, I had a label for my condition.
At my home meeting, I saw on our literature table a bunch of blurred and slightly off set flyers for a retreat in the San Bernardino Mountains. I was gung-ho about the program, but no so much regarding everything else. Happy to be here, but afraid of the people, location, and all things they wanted me to do! I picked up a flyer, went home and attempted to research, online, this retreat that purports to have been running 20 plus years.
In short, I found nothing. This filled me with trepidation. But, when I reached out to my sponsor about it he said I should go. I then paid my monies and said h-e-double hockey sticks or high water I will be going. So, with my limited knowledge about the place I planned my packing and route there.
At the time, my car's power-steering was going out, the A/C did not work, and it seemed to want to pull to the left.
On the day I left, I left late, and hit bumper to bumper traffic in Los Angeles and in San Bernardino. By the time I got to the base of the mountain the sun was quickly falling behind the hills and the sky was fading to dark fast. I was really triggering now. I did not know where I was, I was out in the middle of nowhere, and it was getting difficult to see. Great way to kick off a retreat...
At about 9:00PM I was at the top of the mountain and speeding past Angelus Oaks on the way to the camp. Unbeknownst to me, the GPS App on my phone would soon let me down. By the time I got onto the road to the camp it was pitch black all around me. My GPS told me that the camp entrance was 1.5 Miles ahead.
When I got to the turn, the turn onto the camp road, all my car's headlights revealed to me was a bunch of pine trees.
This lead me to series of small misadventures that finally got me to camp much later that evening. Then, it got really exciting...
Looking back on this weekend it was the very best thing I needed to kickoff my recovery. I didn't want this type of kick to the pants, but my higher power and my sponsor understood just what I needed. The camp was the how.
Since my first experience with Camp de Benneville Pines I have made it a point to go back each year. If you want to kick start your recovery or feel that you have plateaued, or you want to try something new then this place is for you.
I have met people who have never, ever missed this retreat. They have been coming here for at least 15 plus years. This tells me a lot about them, their dedication to their own recovery, and the retreat itself.
I hope you dear reader, have figured out that I am the one who worked with Orange County Intergroup to get this Fall Mountain Retreat information section setup. I did this so people who are interested, but fearful of trying something new, can ally their concerns and fears about this wonderful retreat. Please come and join us. -- Happy Camper, 85