Laying My Cards on the Table

 

A bleary Monday morning (afternoon, by the time I will be finished) in my part of the world, but always bright for me personally, because of my Monday morning meetings.  The format for this meeting is called rotating literature, which means the first week of each month I read from one AA book, the second week a different book, and so on.  The fourth week I set up as “chairperson’s choice.”  Since I am the sole chairperson at this point in time, I generally search for older pieces of literature within the confines of “AA approved,” usually early articles written by the founder of AA, Bill Wilson.  Every 4 months or so, there is a fifth Monday in the given month, which means I need to come up with some other random thing from which to read.  This weekend I had the idea that maybe I could set up a speaker for the 4 months or so a year where we have 5 Mondays in a month, today being the first of this particular series.  And since I came up with this idea so late, I figured I would book myself as the first speaker.

This is not the first time I have shared my story, but it is the first time I have shared it with the group that I started.  You would think it would get easier to tell your own story, especially if you have done it with the regularity I have (I am sober 15 months, and I have shared my story at a meeting about a dozen times).  Sadly, it does not get easier to share the shame, and the downward spiral.  I guess, technically speaking, it gets easier in the sense that I have the timeline down pretty well, and I can pinpoint various highlights (or, in this case, lowlights!) in my personal journey with greater ease.  But the actual act of opening up, and disclosing such personal information… well, that remains a leap of faith each time I do it.

But if I want this meeting to succeed, and I want people to believe in me, in my recovery, and my message of hope, I need to share what brought me to this point, and so share I must.

From the other side of the table, it is easy to see what can be gained by attending a speaker meeting, and listening to someone else’s experience, strength and hope.  You can hear what mistakes were made, the progressive nature of addiction, and what led the individual to the doors of AA.  You can find elements in the story that you can relate to your own life, and make connections that you did not know existed.  Age, gender, race, religion, career path… none of these things matter when the story of recovery is told… there is always something that resonates with another alcoholic, and it is in that resonance that the magic of AA resides.

But what about the other side… what benefit is there to the story-teller?  What is gained from the exposition of pain, in reliving the worst moments of your life?  For this recovering addict, the benefits are many.  First, telling my story reminds me from whence I came, and keeps fresh in my mind where I never want to return.  Revealing my personal truth, disclosing the worst parts of me, connects me to my friends in recovery in the deepest way possible.  It keeps me in the heart of the AA Fellowship, which is exactly where I need to be to keep my life in balance.

And, of course, it fills up the gap of the 5-Monday month!

Today’s Miracle:

Getting positive feedback, and true gratitude from my fellow attendees, makes the reliving of my personal demons completely worthwhile!

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Posted on April 29, 2013, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. You describe so beautifully what can be gained from participation in a 12-step meeting. Both the sharer and the listener reap the rewards of honest communication. It’s never a one way street.

    I have been thinking lately about what people say/feel toward me and something has been bothering me. It used to be that I didn’t want people to know all my secrets, but now that they are out of the bag it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. It has actually been beneficial in relating to other alcoholics.The thing that is bothering me, of late, is the lies that others say about me. I am having to learn to deal with the lies and unkindness directed my way. And this is bothering me.

    If I work a program the way I teach and share, then I must grow through what these lies represent to me. (What feelings they are conjuring up within?) “Ugghhh,” is what my mind says. Sometimes I am tired of growth opportunities. Anyhow, thanks for letting me share. I love your posts and I always gain from the Monday meeting … through your eyes.
    xox lisa

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  2. You are such an inspiration! Starting up your own meetings and stuff! Wow. Sharing is always tough but you’re right, it’s humbling for me and i always can use a good dose of humility. Also, it lets others know that they’re not alone, that i have gone through some of the same things they have, have felt the same fears and hit the same lows. What a beautiful way to illustrate this. Keep up the good works, Miracle.

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  3. Continue to inspire! I have nominated you for the Shining Through Recovery Award
    http://amylong1933.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/shining-through-recovery/
    visit this link to accept the nomination

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  4. I have always enjoyed sharing my story – not because I like to hear my own voice / ego / etc. but because I am excited that there is someone who I can help…someone who perhaps thinks they don’t belong there, or perhaps someone who hears just one tiny thing I said and realized “damn, I am in the right place”. And that’s the joy for me. And through telling my story, I get to see it from different lights as I continue to grow. What i used to cringe describing might now be something that I can see through and can talk about confidently and not with shame. I am not there telling a drunkalog, but I do have to share enough for someone to identify, then I can get into the solution. I tend to tell more about how I felt, rather than the actual circumstances. People there know how to drink, I don’t need to get into that. But if I come to things with experiential feelings about how it was, I find I connect more to others. If I get into how much vodka i drank and very specific things, I may not be able to connect as much.

    I am still in awe of how you just started this meeting…la di da dee dee…and have that strong spirit behind it. I am humbled by how you have put so much into it…and ta da, look how much you have gotten out of it. Lesson for us all.

    blessings,
    Paul

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  1. Pingback: Shining Through Recovery Award Nomination | A Path To Recovery

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