A Glimpse Into the Mind of an Alcoholic
You are Braver than you Believe, Smarter than you Seem, and Stronger than you Think. -Winnie the Pooh
This month I have taken a service commitment at one of my regular meetings. For those not in recovery, a service commitment is a self-explanatory expression… it means committing to a job during the meeting for an entire month. In my case it means I have agreed to be the October Chair. In other words, I am the leader of the meeting for the month of October. This particular group holds a topic meeting, which means, as the Chair, I pick a topic, discuss what it means to me, and then I open the meeting up for discussion.
I have chaired multiple meetings in the past 252 days, but I have never chaired a topic meeting before this past weekend. Here is a glimpse into my mind: I pick a topic that I believe is meaningful. In this case, I picked something that I think about regularly, which is defining the basics, what they are for me, and how they have evolved over the past 8+ months. After I pick the topic, I go over in my head how I can expound on it. I then spend the next several days telling myself why no one will get it, why they won’t appreciate it, why I won’t be able to communicate my thoughts effectively, and I project how the room will sit and stare at me in silence for the remainder of the hour. I toss around multiple other topic ideas, then reject them in the exact same way. Finally, I get so sick of my thinking, that I give up, and decide that my original topic is going to have to do, and that God put it there for a reason, so just do it, and stop with all the nonsense!
So I go to the meeting with all these negative thoughts rolling around in my head, sit down in the front of the room, and like so many other tasks before this one, I just do it. Can you guess what happens next? The first person that raises his hand after I open the meeting up for discussion says, “I can’t believe you spoke on this subject, I woke up this morning thinking about exactly what I need to do on a daily basis to keep sober!” He then talks about his basics, which opens up even more discussion, and then more people raise their hands, and more great ideas are tossed around, and by the end I got exactly what I needed out of that meeting, and I’d like to think the rest of the room did as well.
Why do I still constantly second guess myself? Why do I still struggle with the thought that I have something to contribute? I get so frustrated, and yet, as I reflect, there was a time not so long ago that I wouldn’t even raise my hand at a meeting, and now I am leading a group, so I guess it’s once again about the progress, and not perfection…