Ok I admit it, sometimes I just crack myself up. I am imagining you are all humming the theme to that TV show in your head now. If you don’t now what I’m talking about perhaps that is all for the best. Today’s topic is about sharing your story with newcomers. This is going to be a perplexing topic for me yet one that I look forward to delving into. Lately, as in the last few years my basic philosophy has been to hold off at meeting level about my drinking trials and let somebody else get their story off their chest.
The other day a newcomer was in a meeting and she kind of just jumped into things without much of a set up but the jist of it was that she isn’t even an alcoholic according to her and she is here to satisfy some sort of court order. I have heard this many times and I have no judgement about the accuracy of her status as an alcoholic or not. Anyhow, it was pretty fascinating listen to her story and I really appreciated her willingness to be vulnerable and trust us with some very personal information. Lately I have been enjoying listening to others and I always feel like AA will be just fine whether I speak or not. Lending two ears for somebody to feel valuable and listened to is in itself a valuable commodity to bring to a group in recovery.
That sounds all fine and dandy and seems like a great justification for not getting too deeply personal at the meetings and holding back however some recent readings have been changing my opinion on that. I have been reading some viewpoints that think we old-timers are being of service by telling our story to the newcomers. We do this so that they will know that they are not alone and will be able to get some sort of hope that they too having gone through similar things as yourself can recover. When we tell our life story we call it a chair, as in I chaired a meeting today. This pretty much means you are at the head of the table next to the secretary and at the appropriate time you give your story in perhaps 15-30minutes. So as much as I am not into chairing at this time perhaps I need to revisit the value of opening up to others so that perhaps my experience can be of service to them.
This is a good challenge for me to think about. Lately I feel like in my blogs I have been cruising to an extent. Perhaps emotionally I have been holding back and intentionally staying out of the deep water. There is a bit of a dilemma as I feel like I have to find that balance between being overly self-centered and just spilling my guts to people for the sake of spilling my guts and holding back too much out of fear and really depriving people of my experience and strength.
The first time I ever shared I gave that poor room full of 40 people everything I had. I told them all the dark secrets. I made it about myself where my main objective was hey let me get this schtuff off my chest and I will feel better. In my mind it was a disaster because all of the emotions were still raw. I was not carrying the message I was carrying the mess. I swore much, I was uneasy, I did not present a picture of a healed soul. It was like a Ginsberg book,much mess little resolution.
Over time I will share more of my pain and my recovery from that in bits and pieces. I don’t want to do it all at once as that would be about a books worth of info. I also want to be able to sustain this blog for awhile so I should budget some info for later.