Speaker of the House
I can now check another AA milestone off my list: I shared my story for the first time at a Speaker Meeting. For those unfamiliar, AA meetings have different formats… some are topic meetings, some are literature meetings, and some are speaker meetings. At a speaker meeting, one person shares their experiences with the group, and then discussion flows from the speaker’s story.
In terms of life accomplishments, this morning’s speech is going to rank right up there for me. I doubt I will ever forget the process of getting ready for it (procrastinator that I am, there was minimal actual work done, just a lot of worrying), the feeling of nervous anticipation walking into the meeting, looking at everyone’s face before I told my story, and, of course, the amazing feedback I received once I finished.
In AA, the format for telling your story is: what is was like, what happened, and what it is like now, all in the framework of your addiction. Here is what I gained personally from telling my story:
What It Was Like
This was beneficial for me because it heightened my awareness that addiction was in my life long before I took my first sip of alcohol. It reinforced for me that addiction has little to do with the substance, and everything to do with your thought process. Telling my personal story from beginning to end highlighted the patterns in my life where I behaved in an addictive fashion. A lot of that time had nothing to do with mind altering substances, and everything to do with how I thought, and, more importantly, the actions I took as a result of those thoughts.
I would imagine this part of the story becomes more important to share the more time you have sober. For me, with 5 months and 2 days, “what happened” is still very much a part of my consciousness. However, telling what happened out loud to a group of relative strangers allowed me to look back at my shameful behavior, but to do so in the comfort of those who empathize without judgment. It also served to remind me how far I’ve come in such a short period of time.
What It’s Like Now
I can’t say enough about how transforming it was to share this part of the story. It felt indescribably empowering to testify to the power of this 12-step program, and to share the pride I feel in the accomplishments I have made in just 5 short months. It also called to mind, though I should need no reminders, how blessed I am to have the supportive people in my life. Having the ability to publicly list all the different ways my relationships have improved with almost every key person in my life, to describe the endless blessings I have received, and to specify how I have been able to use the tools of recovery to improve nearly every aspect of my life… there are simply no words to convey the depth of positive emotion I feel.
All that I have described, and I have not even touched on the positive feedback I received, and how wonderful that felt! I will need a separate post. And to think, the best is yet to come…
Posted on June 29, 2012, in Recovery and tagged Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, Meeting, Psychoactive drug, Substance Abuse, Support group, Thought, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.