Photo's top to bottom; THANK YOU district 14 for another wonderful Sober Float, our campsite, Niobrara river valley, river just down from campsite and last my camera shy dog Sweetheart.
The river is crowded with plenty of people drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages. Some are very loud, others just mind there own business and drink. At the falls, you get to watch people stumble along, listen to stupid alcohol induced conversations, things we use to do. Some of it was sad, like a few young women who were drunk out of their minds, it was only about 11:00am. Nick and I talked about how many light weights there were, how we drank so heavy a 12 pack had little effect on us. This isn't bragging, this is the sad truth of where our addiction took us. Watching others drink on the river is always a good reminder of why we can't and don't want to drink again. Even Mich and bf who are not active in recovery, they still drink, noticed how much better it was to float the river sober.
We landed at the half way point, campground for Sober Float around noon. There is a lunch of burgers, hot dogs, salads and such provided by district 14. After lunch most people get back on the river and do the 3-1/2 hour float which concludes the days floating. I had been in the second half of the float before, it is just as beautiful and peaceful as the first half. This year I decided to forgo the second half, go back to the campsite, clean up dishes, gather firewood and then take a drive along the river and also go into the town of Valentine for ice, plus wanted to call Teresa (new girlfriend) and talk to her, I missed her not being able to come. Mich's bf said he had enough sun for one day and stayed back as well. I asked him if he wanted to go for a ride with me and he did. We had a nice visit while driving, stopped at a scenic lookout. He mentioned he was glad he came, he had never experience this beautiful part of Nebraska before. I didn't talk to him much about recovery, figured he was surrounded by people living in recovery and the message would come through loud and clear without a word being said.
Evening brought a potluck supper and another meeting. One of the guys from Kearney who lives in a three quarter way house, brought his little sister up, it was her 12th birthday and his present to her was tubing and camping, he shared how this was one of the best things he had done in his young life and was so grateful he was clean and sober. The final count for Sober Float was 54 people, many of them newcomers. I think I got as much out of the newcomers being there as they did. It is a joy to watch people realize they can have fun in recovery, to experience "we are not a glum lot, we insist on having fun"!
It started raining once again after the meeting. This time most of my group took a 25 mile road trip to a casino in South Dakota. Me not being a gambler stayed behind, built a big fire and once again took time to mediate. I also laid down and read for a bit, then got a good nights sleep. The gentle sound of rain on the tent was just the right thing to hear while following asleep. Next morning we started a roaring fire, drank a couple of pots of good campfire coffee and loaded up. Another storm move in just as we finished loading. I had a different person ride back with me and again it was good conversation.
We got back to Kearney at 2:30pm. Teresa came over and we had a nice visit while I put things away. My relationship with Teresa is growing, we have much more in common than I did with Lady B. We have common taste in music and movies, both like to read and also our drinking and up-brings are similar. Both come from families where emotions were not expressed with the exception of anger. I met her boys on Tuesday and we really hit it off as well. I will write more on this later.
My yearly journey to Sober Float is something I really enjoy. I love the peacefulness of floating down the river, spending quality time with the God of my understanding. I enjoy the fellowship, the love, laughter and support. It is a time of mindfulness and reflection.
When we got back, Wendy, who is not a tent camper but stepped outside her comfort zone, Jeremy bought a nice tent, even had a battery operated ceiling fan in it, trying to make the experience of sleeping in a tent more comfortable for her, said we need to do another camp out. In the past Wendy and Jeremy have stayed in cabins when we camp, so she has been a part of the camping experience. Anyway, she said she missed not having our bonfire meetings, meetings among our small group of campers, close friends who really open up sitting around a fire surrounded by nature. It was decide we would have a camp out later this summer at a state park a few miles south of Kearney. This will allow others the ability to join us without having to drive very far, be easier for those of us who work second shift or Saturday's. I thought it was really cool she was the one who brought up the idea of camping again, usually it is Jeremy or I who instigate this.
Well friends, this has taken my a week to write. Today is the 4th of July. I am taking my mom and Angel to my home town for the annual parade this morning, I haven't been to the parade in a long time, mom and I will enjoy the parade seeing old friends and Angel will like the candy and abundance of horses. Today is also Angel's 3rd birthday, so this afternoon we are having a party for her. Angel has been a special gift from God to me, she has given me a chance to grow in more ways than I can count.
Peace Love and Light