Home > Weekends of Recovery > 2013 Weekends of Recovery: Sequoia Retreat Weekend of Recovery

MaleSurvivor Level I Weekend of Recovery
"Dare to Dream"
Join us for a beautiful spring weekend at
Center for New Beginnings, Dahlonega, Georgia
May 17-19, 2013


Save $50 by registering early!

MaleSurvivor Weekends of Recovery are open to any man, 18 or older, who has been sexually victimized as a child and/or as an adult.

We have selected a very special place to host this weekend experience, the Center for New Beginnings, in Dahlonega, GA, a little less than 2 hours north of Atlanta Airport. The Center for New Beginnings is located in one of the most beautiful and peaceful spots in the nation - the unspoiled North Georgia mountains. The splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains - Cedar Mountain, in particular, to the west and the Horseshoe Appalachians to the north - provides a year-round backdrop for respite and renewal, and is especially beautiful in the spring.

Enjoy the Outdoors

Explore nature trails winding through old hardwoods and towering pines, walk beside small, trickling streams, sit beside spring-fed reflection pools or in quiet coves where the loudest sound is the caw of a blackbird. The Center's 45 acres, surrounded by thousands of acres of old-styled pastures and woodlands, are "the mountains" at their best.

Goals of the Weekend of Recovery:

  1. To provide an opportunity to experience a safe environment in which participants can discover they are no longer alone in their recovery;
  2. To provide an opportunity to co-create and experience safety with other survivors as they explore further aspects of their healing journey;
  3. To provide an opportunity where survivors can share their inner pain, strength and hope with others who have been abused;
  4. To provide an opportunity for survivors to give a voice to their experiences as a survivor;
  5. To provide a safe way for participants to share the story of their abuse with others who will understand and offer support;
  6. To provide a safe place for participants to experiment with letting go, opening up and being vulnerable, and practice asking for the support they need;
  7. To provide an opportunity for participants to explore safe ways of going beyond their comfort zones, and to find ways to get beyond their blocks to move beyond their abuse to experience a greater sense of freedom in their minds, bodies, and spirits; and
  8. To provide a safe place where participants can experience a sense of community, brotherhood and joy.

Facilitator Team:

Weekends of Recovery are facilitated by trained psychotherapists, utilizing the same clinical boundaries and code of ethics as adopted by the American Psychological Association. The weekends are adjuncts to participants' ongoing recovery work with individual and/or group psychotherapy, twelve step programs, and individual spiritual work, and are not meant to substitute for the participants' local support systems that are consistent with their own recovery. Dr. Howard Fradkin, a Psychologist with over 30 years of experience working with male survivors, co-chairs the facilitator team, along with Jim Struve, Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 35 years of experience working with male survivors. The team of facilitators includes other Psychologists, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Mental Health Counselors. Biographies of all staff members for this weekend can be found on the MaleSurvivor website at www.malesurvivor.org

Dr. Fradkin and Mr. Struve will be coordinating the Dahlonega facilitator team. The rest of the team for the weekend includes: Peter Botteas, MA, LMHC, CCC; Andy Dishman, MA, MDIV, LPC; Rob Hawkings, MA, CACCF; Sharon Imperato, LMHC; Lynne MacDonell, BA, CADC, CHt; and Mikele Rauch, LMFT.

MaleSurvivor reserves the right to make changes to the staff depending on enrollment.

The Role of Women Facilitators at the Weekends of Recovery:
One of the valuable resources at a Weekend of Recovery is the presence of women facilitators who bring a wealth of therapeutic experience with men who have had a history of sexual abuse. Women facilitators can offer the benefit of witness and exchange that may differ from what men have experienced. During the weekends, they share fully in the responsibilities and work of the team. The inclusion of women on the team offers men an opportunity to examine their reactions to women in a safe setting.

Is This For Me? How Can I Prepare for the Weekend?

For those working with professionals, we recommend you discuss your planned participation in this weekend to get their feedback and suggestions for how you can benefit as much as possible from the experience while keeping yourself as safe as you need to be. All participants must be able to safely and appropriately engage in structured group activities. After receiving confirmation of your registration, if you are in therapy, please go the website and download the form for your therapist to complete which confirms you and your therapist agree you are prepared for the weekend. If you have an already established support system of friends/family members/significant others, we also encourage you to talk with them about your participation so they can be available both before and after the weekend as needed to help you prepare and process your experiences.

If you are not in therapy, and/or do not yet have a support network, we encourage you to consider setting up an appointment with a therapist either before you come to the retreat, or as soon as possible after your return, and/or encourage you to explore what types of self-help groups and resources are available in your community or near by. This way you can follow up on some of the experiences and skills you learn that will help the weekend's learning stay fresh in your mind and help you apply what skills and awareness would most help your continuing recovery.

One of our staff members will be contacting you by phone within two weeks of when we receive your application to talk with you about your needs for the weekend and your readiness to participate. All participants must be able to safely and appropriately engage in structured group activities. If we have any concerns about you participating, we may suggest some steps you can take to enhance your readiness for this weekend or we may ask you to wait for a future weekend while you take some additional steps we believe would be important for you to benefit from the experience. Please do not schedule your travel arrangements until after your interview is completed and you have been told you have been accepted as a participant. The facilitator team will make every effort to complete that process as quickly as possible. You are encouraged to register early, as our weekends have been filling early - registering early can also help you save money on transportation and by taking advantage of the early registration discount).

Comments by participants who have attended previous Weekends are available at malesurvivor.org (see the testimonials section under the tab Weekends of Recovery). Many participants have told us that the weekend is a very intense and rewarding experience, and at the same time sometimes it is quite uncomfortable. We recognize that one of the challenges male survivors have is feeling comfortable enough to ask for help, especially when they are feeling most in need of the help. For participants who are aware they have a problem with dissociation, this can be an especially difficult challenge. We would encourage you to practice asking for help before the weekend, perhaps with your own therapist, as well as with friends and significant others, and to assess for yourself what gets in your way of asking for the help you need so you can let us know when we contact you prior to the retreat. The facilitators are all very skilled therapists, and often times we can be sensitive and intuitive enough to know you need help even when you are not asking. However, we will clearly need your help and ask you to take the risk to articulate your needs during the retreat. To the extent you can help us know you are needing some extra help at any time during the weekend, this will help you to have an even safer and hopefully more beneficial experience.

During the weekend, we'll invite you to participate in a number of different types of activities. We'll spend some time helping each of you to feel as safe as possible. We'll take our time getting to know each other by sharing a little at a time. Frequently during the weekend we will meet in small groups, where you can have more individual time to talk and share your feelings and observations.

Everyone will be given some opportunities to choose how to tell your story - through words, through art, through movement, and/or through music. We'll also introduce you to some different types of relaxation and visualization exercises you may choose to do at home to increase your abilities to cope and manage life stresses. We'll also give you time to wander the beautiful retreat grounds alone or with some of your fellow participants.

Survivors With Perpetration History:

Any person who has been convicted of sexual perpetration and/or has been placed on a sexual offender registry as an adult is ineligible for participation in the regularly scheduled Weekends of Recovery. If this is true for you, we recommend you do not register now, and instead, review the last paragraph in this section to learn how you may be able to attend a specially designed weekend in the future.

In instances of adjudication on sexual perpetration charges as a youth, individuals will be considered for eligibility and readiness for the Weekends of Recovery on a case-by-case basis through an interview with one of the Co-Chairpersons.

MaleSurvivor understands that some survivors have sexually acted out in childhood, adolescence, or even adulthood, and we do not wish to automatically exclude them from a Weekend of Recovery. Therefore, all applicants to the Weekends of Recovery must complete an interview, and during that interview they will be screened for any instances of sexual perpetration in their history. When a history of sexual perpetration is disclosed, an interview with one of the Weekends of Recovery Co-Chairpersons will be required along with a consultation with their current psychotherapist to determine if they will be accepted based on consideration of their best interest and the best interest of all participants.? We have an expectation that all potential participants will be honest in their screening interview and will disclose any such history or incidents in their past because some participants may experience safety concerns with people with such histories.

The MaleSurvivor Facilitator team believes that ALL survivors have a right and an ability to heal. To facilitate that goal, we will maintain a waiting list for men who are deemed inappropriate to attend one of our regularly scheduled Weekends because they have been convicted of sexual perpetration and/or have been placed on a sexual offender registry as an adult or as a youth. When we have gathered a sufficient number of names and the ability to facilitate such a weekend, it is our intention to offer a special weekend for these men to assist them to further their healing as survivors. To be placed on this waiting list, contact Howard Fradkin, PhD, Co-Chairperson, at hfradkin@malesurvivor.org and include a brief description of why you are requesting to be placed on this waiting list.

Registration Costs

Registration includes the costs of the facilitated Weekend of Recovery program, with our 6-8 skilled facilitators from the MaleSurvivor Weekend of Recovery Facilitator Team, plus lodging, 7 meals, and snacks. Bottled water, juices, tea and coffee will be available throughout the weekend. We have a variety of accommodations at the center. If you are not a MaleSurvivor member, we encourage you to join the organization prior to registration both to secure a significant $75 discount and to help support the work of MaleSurvivor. Limited numbers of each type of accommodation are available, and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. You can also save $50 more by registering early! The costs shown here are

____CATEGORY A1 Single w/Private Bath-MaleSurvivor Member $895
____CATEGORY A2 Single w/Private Bath-Non-Member $970
____CATEGORY B1 Double w/private bath -MaleSurvivor Member $795
____CATEGORY B2 Double w/private bath - Non-Member $870
____CATEGORY C1 Triple w/Shared Bath-MaleSurvivor Member $695
____CATEGORY C2 Triple w/shared bath--Non-member $770

All prices quoted above are for Early Registration (by March 29th)

Registration after March 29: Add $50

To register for the weekend, we ask that you complete an online registration at www.malesurvivor.org and/or mail in a registration form. To hold your spot for the weekend, we are requesting at least $150 deposit with your registration. You will have the choice on the registration form to either prepay your registration in full at the time of registration or opt for a payment plan. If you want to take advantage of the early registration discount, your total registration must be paid by March 29. Your balance will automatically be charged to your credit card on March 29, and you will still receive the early registration discount. You may also forgo the early registration discount, and make payments between the time you register and one month prior to the weekend, when all payments are due (April 17th). Choosing the 2 payment option, you will owe an additional $50 for regular registration, and we will bill your credit card for 1/2 of the balance of the total of the registration due based on your accepted accommodation type on March 17, 2013, and the second half on April 17, 2013. You may also mail in checks to be received on these dates. Holding your registration will be contingent on receipt of your additional registration fees on these dates. Any registration which is not paid in full by April 17, 2013, is subject to cancellation and a $50 cancellation fee. Any cancellation after April 17th will be subject to the loss of all monies paid, unless we can find a replacement for your space in the weekend.


A limited number of partial scholarships will be available for this weekend. The number of scholarships we can offer is dependent on MaleSurvivor's Scholarship Fund balance. If you have a need for a scholarship, please do not register for the weekend. Instead, access the "Apply for a Scholarship" application via the Weekends of Recovery menu tab at the MaleSurvivor website. After you complete the Scholarship Application Form, email it to Jim Struve, Weekend Co-Chairperson, at jimstruve@malesurvivor.org.

We ask that all scholarship recipients join as a paying member of MaleSurvivor to be eligible for a scholarship. Membership is based on a sliding fee scale according to your income. You can join MaleSurvivor by clicking on the 3rd tab down on the left hand side of the website that says "Join MaleSurvivor".

Scholarship recipients are expected to accept assignment to a triple cabin. The maximum available for scholarship grants is 75% of the registration rate for a triple cabin. If your scholarship request can be granted, Jim will contact you by email with authorization to register and directions about how to enter your scholarship into our payment system. We can only provide assistance with registration costs, and cannot at this time provide any assistance with transportation costs.

If you are in a position to make a financial contribution to our scholarship fund, you can make a donation on the registration form or through the MaleSurvivor website http://www.malesurvivor.org/memorial-fund.html Thanks for any help you can provide.

MaleSurvivor also has a designated Scholarship Fund for Men of Color, which has been funded by generous donors to MaleSurvivor. You can indicate on the scholarship application form if you are eligible for this fund.

Dining: Lori Patton is our Chef for the weekend. Lori is a delightful native of Dahlonega who has owned and operated her own restaurant, and trained with world renowned chef Marva Pettis. Lori's recipes can be found in the newsletter of the Center for New Beginnings. Lori brings a loving energy to the food she prepares to meet your needs. The Center understands the importance of properly designed meals and for that reason, diet requests and requirements are honored, from vegetarian to vegan to the more traditional meat and potatoes. An expanded and fully-equipped kitchen allows Lori and her staff to prepare three tasty meals a day.

Guests are welcomed to the large decks just outside the dining room for lounging outdoors on Georgia's abundant warm spring days. All of your food and snacks will be included in the registration fees. Please indicate on your registration form if you have special food requests, and be sure to mention these to the facilitator who will be interviewing you.

Smoking Policy: Guests may not smoke inside any building at the Center - including guest rooms - out of consideration for other guests. Cigar and pipe smoking are also prohibited. Guests may smoke outside buildings in designated smoking areas only which will be indicated to you when you arrive.

Internet Access: The Center has wireless internet access in several buildings and a computer. However, we request that you only access the internet during break times and not during any regularly scheduled activities.

For Your Comfort While Visiting Dahlonega and the Center:

The average temperature for May is 64.7; the average high is 77.1; the average low temperature is 52.3; which should make for a very comfortable stay for us. Average precipitation for the month of May is 5.7 inches.

Getting To Dahlonega and The Center:

By air: Atlanta International Airport is serviced by most major airlines. For a complete listing of available airlines check: www.slcairport.com/flights/airlines
By Train: Atlanta is serviced by Amtrak. www.amtrak.com/destinations/index.html
By Bus: Atlanta is serviced by Greyhound Bus. For a complete route map and reservations information call 1-800-739-5020 or check www.greyhound.com The Greyhound Bus Depot is located in downtown Atlanta. Information about this bus terminal is also available at the Greyhound website.
By Car: Directions are below if you are driving.

Transportation To The Center:

The Center is easily accessed by car, however it is roughly a 2 hour drive north of the airport. Most major car rental companies are available at the Atlanta International Airport.

Ground transportation is also available via Fuller Transportation, 404-349-7006.

Transportation Coordination

After you have registered and been accepted for the weekend, your name and email address will be provided confidentially to our webmaster, who will provide you access to the MaleSurvivor Bulletin Board. On the board, you will then have access once you sign in to talk with others who are planning on attending the Dahlonega Weekend so you can offer to share or give rides to those needing help in getting from the airport to the Center. To protect your confidentiality, this part of the bulletin board will only be able to be accessed by those registered for the Dahlonega Weekend, and by the Weekend Co-Chairs. If you share a ride, please be respectful and offer assistance with paying for gas.

Other Information About The Center: The Center has asked that we take our shoes off before entering all meeting spaces. So we'd suggest you bring shoes that are easy to slip on and off. You're welcome to bring indoor slippers or shoes. Most cell phones do work here. There are plenty of walking trails through the woods, so bring socks, long pants, long sleeve shirts, bug protection and shoes that support you on rough terrain and are waterproof. Please bring your own flashlights. All bedding and towels are provided.

No alcohol or un-prescribed drugs may be brought to the weekend.

When to Arrive and Depart - Making Travel Reservations

Please do not schedule your travel arrangements until after your interview is completed and you have been told you have been accepted as a participant. The facilitator team will make every effort to complete that process as quickly as possible. The earlier you register, the more possible that will be (which of course could help you save money on transportation and by getting an early registration discount).

MaleSurvivor will not be responsible for any fees charged by your airline if you do not follow this policy and need to change your flying times.

The weekend begins at 12 noon on Friday, and ends Sunday at 3 pm. Please pay particular attention to the arrival policy below before making your travel plans. Given travel time, we recommend all participants plan to arrive on Friday no later than 10 am depending on the airport ; and plan to depart on Sunday no earlier than 6:00 pm ( Please see the important arrival policy below. ) If you cannot accommodate your schedule to arrive and depart at these times, please be considerate and do not register. Late arrivals would miss important orientation information, and we ask that all participants plan to stay until the end of the weekend on Sunday to allow you sufficient time for closure. If you find that the only airline reservations you can find will require an overnight stay on either Thursday or Sunday, we are sorry, but we cannot provide overnight accommodations on Thursday or Sunday evening at The Center.

Arrival Policy

Safety for all participants is our utmost concern. Therefore, it is a requirement that in order to participate in the weekend, participants must arrive at the beginning of the weekend, by 12 noon on Friday. In planning your trip, you are expected to take into consideration the unpredictable delays that may accompany your travel.

While we understand you may encounter delays for many reasons, we are unable to allow anyone to begin the weekend if your delay is greater than 2 hours. In other words, you cannot expect to be admitted to the weekend after 2 pm for any reason. If you are experiencing a delay, we request you to call us to inform us of your arrival status. It is important to understand that in the event of your inability to attend due to late arrival, you will forfeit all monies paid for your registration. If you have received a scholarship and arrive too late, we will request you to refund the scholarship fund the amount of your scholarship. One strategy to avoid this situation is to arrive in the city of the weekend the night before, or a city near the airport. Your consideration of this policy will help strengthen the feeling of safety for all participants and help us to build a community.

Departure Policy

Safety concerns and respect for the needs of all participants for adequate time to have closure also have encouraged us to develop a departure policy as well. The weekend is structured so that all participants will have sufficient time on Sunday to plan for their transition back home, to reflect on what they have learned during the weekend, and have an opportunity to say goodbye and express appreciation to the new community of men they have joined. To accomplish these goals, it is necessary that all participants stay until the weekend ends at 3 pm. Completing a Level One Weekend is a requirement to attend any Advanced Weekends of Recovery. Any participant who leaves a weekend prior to 3 pm will be ineligible to attend an Advanced weekend until he completes a Level One weekend. We also suggest you read our Informed Consent Form on the website (you'll find it on the Weekends of Recovery tab) which also addresses early departure from the weekend.

Therapist Recommendation Letter:

When you register online, you will notice a link to a therapist recommendation letter on the tab on the website labeled Weekends of Recovery. We ask that all participants who are currently in therapy bring this letter to your therapist prior to the weekend, and ask them to complete it with you and send it back to us by April 5, 2013. The information in this letter will help us to provide for any additional needs you may have for safety. It is our intention to use this letter to help ensure your safety, and in no way is it intended to disempower you or cast doubt on your own judgment about your readiness to participate in the weekend.



And Check In to Rooms
1-1:45Welcome and Guidelines for Participation
1:45-2:30Co-creating Safety Guidelines
2:30-3Introduction to Mind-Body Awareness
3:15-4:15Introducing Ourselves
4:30-6First Small Groups
7:30-8:00Break/Survivor T-shirts
8-9:30Mind/Body Awareness: Grounding and Centering
1-11-Facilitator Check In


7-8Optional Walking Meditation
9:15-10Preparing to Tell My Story
10-12Telling My Story-Small Groups
12:30-1:30Mindfulness Quiet Lunch
1:30-3Optional Hike
Survivor T-Shirts
5:15-6:15Small Groups
8-10Shame Busting
10-Optional Drumming Circle
10:30-11:30Facilitator Meeting


7:00-8:00Optional Walking Meditation
9:15-11Community Building/Bridges to Home
11:15-12:45Brief evaluation; last small group
2-3Closing/Group pictures


Questions can be directed to Trisha Massa, MaleSurvivor Administrative Assistant, at tmassa@malesurvivor.org