When new to Al-Anon, I was astounded by the way people would speak up in a meeting and reveal their emotional lives, and their thinking. I could not begin to imagine myself doing that - tell all these relative strangers about my crazed obsessive thinking? I was unable to believe that I could do that, and still be accepted and unconditionally loved. I was sure that their opinion of me would plummet instantly were they given any access whatsoever to the madhouse between my ears.
The first 50 times I mustered the nerve to speak about anything in a meeting, my voice wavered and wobbled, my hands shook, and I drove home afterwards berating myself for having been so honest about my insanity.
I had no ability to grasp that anything I might say would be of any use to anyone, because back then, I had no understanding that it isn't what I am thinking of saying on the subject that matters, but the fact that I can be a conduit for a message from someone's Higher Power. This often happens when I start out talking about one thing, and find myself finishing up speaking about something else entirely, which was nowhere in my head when I began.
Those seem to be the times that someone will come to me after the meeting and thank me for what I said, and I barely recall what it was that I did say, because it wasn't coming from me. I was being used, as my Higher Power has used so many other people in program to teach me what I need to
When I reveal myself in a meeting, I am opening myself to the miracle of Al-Anon, and I am practising humility. One thing I've heard time and again from newcomers to Al-Anon, is that when I admit that I still do whatever it is, still struggle with this or that, and they find out that I've been in Al-Anon for 28 years now, they feel much more comfortable with their own character quirks, and their own struggles.
Revealing myself honestly is what makes this program real to newcomers. This is one of the few places in life where a person can admit to being bonkers, and the roomful of people listening will burst into a warm and delighted laughter.