Sharing in front of a group can feel intimidating but it is an important part of recovery. One of the benefits is having a venue to voice personal truth and beliefs with suspended judgment. It is the main reason why people continue going to meetings even though sobriety has been present for many years. Consider some other reasons why sharing at AA matters.
How It Works
The majority of AA meetings are devoted to sharing personal stories. Members get an opportunity to speak and, mostly, discuss personal worries. Some of the following are guidelines for how meetings can work:
- Step Meetings: focusing on one of the steps with members being encouraged to share the experience of working that step
- Big Book Meetings: focused on a section of the AA book with encouragement on sharing
- Discussion Groups: topic is chosen ahead of time for members to discuss
- General Meeting: one member shares life experience before and after AA. The rest of the group is encouraged to share following the story
Benefits of Sharing
When people share at AA, there are many reasons. Some of them can include these benefits:
- Relieves stress about possible situations that cannot be discussed with others
- Other members offer different perspectives on problems even suggesting new ideas
- Sharing helps people feel part of a meeting or group
- Sharing helps aid in recovery by inspiring people through advice who may be struggling
- People may be unsure how to voice distress and talking it out helps discover what’s going on
- Feeling less alone
- Things become more clear when spoken out loud to develop resolution points
A common concern of people in AA is confidentiality. At meetings, members are frequently reminded things spoken or seen at meetings remain there. No guarantees exist but most people adhere to this strongly. Despite the risk of a person breaking confidentiality, people protect anonymity by only speaking generally. This way people can share without having to worry about later embarrassment.
Knowing what to share can be a challenge for people in AA. People are free to voice whatever is on their mind but some guidelines can help people share most effectively and respectfully including:
- Be completely honest without lies or exaggerations
- Sharing allows time for others to speak as well
- Put hands up to indicate the willingness to share
- Focus on oneself and not on others or divulging embarrassing details of other members
- Speak about what point in recovery a person is in and focus on positives
- Keep things short and to the point
- Avoid using meetings to promote personal beliefs or causes including politics which may alienate other members
- Let go of crude language that makes others uncomfortable
The tips can help a person get started but the best way to share is to show up, listen and be present. When the time is right an individual will naturally want to open up and begin sharing what is hard so the truth is revealed and recovery can progress.
The Villa believes every person is capable of attaining the freedom that comes from recovery. Call us to find out how we can help you share your story, get support and move forward in the healing journey.