Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sharing In AA Meetings

Sharing in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings is enormously therapeutic and can inspire other members. AA meetings provide a sacred space where you can share your experiences or problems you’re dealing with. Everyone in those rooms has a desire to stop drinking, and has walked down a similar path. They listen and share without judgement because they have experienced many of the same things.

There are many benefits of sharing at AA meetings. Things become more clear when they are spoken out loud. You will feel less alone because many others have experienced the same difficulties. It releases frustration and stress. Problems are not festering inside of you when you let them out. Sometimes you may not be comfortable speaking to friends or family about struggles you are facing in recovery. A 12 Step meeting is the perfect place to voice concerns. Sharing your story is also a service in recovery. When members share about their experience, strength, and hope, they can help someone who is struggling. It can also give a person the confidence they need to share their own story. When you share your story, you feel part of the meeting.

AA meeting sign
AA meeting sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you decide not to share, you cannot fully benefit from the meetings. It makes it harder to build friendships and you may feel like an outsider who can't benefit from the fellowship. When you don’t share, it’s easy to fall into denial and delusion. Alcoholics and addicts can talk themselves into or out of anything, and it can lead to “stinking thinking.” Not sharing at meetings can also be a warning sign of relapse. 

It is not necessary to share your deepest, darkest secrets in a meeting. You can share personal experiences with a sponsor. It’s alright to share a general feeling to the group if you’re going through a difficult situation.

Some people may think they have nothing to offer the group. This isn’t the case. Many times sharing something that may seem insignificant to you may change the life of someone else. I have thanked many people for sharing their stories, and they were shocked their words meant the world to me. For instance, a lady in my meeting shared her struggle with perfectionism. She felt she had to be the best and everything had to be under control at all times. It was just a part of her story, but it affected me because I related to it. I also put unnecessary pressure on myself. It made me feel less alone.

Sharing in AA meetings will support recovery. Getting a sponsor and working the steps is important as well. You don’t need to be afraid of sharing, because most people will relate to your story, and everyone has something to offer. Look for the similarities instead of focusing on the differences. If you think you need help with alcohol or addiction, there are many renowned 12 step treatment centers that can help you. You don’t have to walk the path to recovery alone.
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