Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Speaking At A Meeting.

Last night, after the meeting, I was standing with my sponsor, and a woman who I hadn't seen before came up to say to me, "You could be a stand-up comedienne." She smiled at me, and walked away. I turned to my sponsor and asked, "Why would she say that to me, I didn't say anything funny tonight, did I?"

My sponsor said a few things about my delivery, and honesty, and left me feeling somewhat more understanding of what that had been about, but not much. I don't plan what I'm going to say, I just open my mouth, and start speaking about the topic, and allow my Higher Power to direct the flow. Most times, if you were to ask me afterwards what I'd said, I couldn't tell you.

It's like writing a blog post here - I may have a slight idea of what I'd like to get across in my writing, but once I've begun, it goes where it will, and I follow. When I was new in Al-Anon, I felt very anxious about speaking at a meeting, and it seemed of paramount importance that I get it "right." I judged myself so harshly, that it was a small jump in thought, to assume that everyone listening was doing the same - judging.

I've learned that what other people are thinking of me is none of my business. My job is to clean my side of the street, keep it neat and tidy through practising the Steps and Traditions, and whatever other people get from my shares is not up to me. This allows me to not worry if the newcomer is hearing what they need to hear - they have their own Higher Power, and things will work out for them with my only input being my sharing at meetings.

I've often begun speaking, thinking I was about to talk about one thing, and found myself a mile down a side road, talking about something else entirely, which somehow is closely related to the topic, but for some reason, seems to be what I need to talk about that night. There have been many times when I've surprised myself by what I've shared - I may not have realised I had that outlook, or still carried that doubt or guilt, until I hear myself saying at a meeting that this is how it is for me right now.

Today and yesterday I was worrying about the future, how long do I have to live? What will my health be like in six months? What end am I facing?

I had to stop and say to myself, "Live in the moment!" repeatedly, and force my mind into that place, as I mixed our home-made muesli in the giant tub we keep for just that purpose. Later, we went out for a nice long ramble around downtown, and to the bead store, where I bought enough findings to make myself four pairs  of earrings. I've always wanted to make my own earrings, but have never gotten around to it. Now seemed like an excellent time.

Walking and talking with Robert brought me sharply into the present - his company is such a gift and a pleasure, that I can easily revel in the moment. Tonight, I have my new step group to enjoy. Life in the now, is a glorious adventure; it's my choice as to whether or not I live there.

When I speak at a meeting, I try to allow myself to be a conduit for my Higher Power; I do my best to keep my ego in the back seat, and let my HP do the steering. I am no longer overwhelmed with insecurity, and I don't give what I've got to say, nearly the level of importance I once did.  I've said most of it many times before, in the 30 years I've been in program, and I'm grateful for the chance  to listen and learn.


  1. "Grateful for the chance to listen and learn"....Yes, yes, yes! Great post!!

  2. I still struggle with sharing my story in front of the group...I want to get it all right and to still protect my qualifiers. My M one of my main qualifiers is still alive and never drank much but was raised by 2 drinkers. She is my gate to working a deeper program learning more of how to be with her without attaching to who I want her to be. Our relationship still has sticky parts but detaching with love.
    I have a choice in how I am going to go through my day and can start over at anytime.
    Thanks for your blog it helps me grow!

  3. Sharing my story was never a problem for me, I have spent my career speaking in public and writing reports so I was able to give a chronological account of my story in asset time! This was useful for me to understand how various things happened. I used to careful consider the topic for each meeting before going so I could think about was I was going to share. Maybe this was some level of perfectionism and being in control because now I just go to a meeting, think before talking, open my mouth and share - I think for me it is much more spontaneous and open. This can mean I'm more able to identify with others shares and for new ideas and thinking to surface.
    Living in the now has been a great skill for me to develop. If I am feeling anxious I often say to myself - but am I okay at this moment - for today? If so that's okay as I only have this moment - this day.

  4. I feel the same way. I no longer wonder or care what others think when I share. It comes without any preparation and is honest. I think the best shares are from the heart.