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!
Getting positive feedback, and true gratitude from my fellow attendees, makes the reliving of my personal demons completely worthwhile!
Posted on April 29, 2013, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged 12 step program, Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, Bill W, fellowship, Miracle, Monday, Recovery, self-development, Sobriety, Substance Abuse, Support group, Time. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.