Sober since April 6, 2006


Friday, October 13, 2006

fear of speaking in meetings

Went to an open discussion meeting tonight, and the topic was how upset we get when things don't meet our expectations.

I hate it when everyone else has shared except for me, and the meeting leader says, "There are still a few minutes left ... would you like to share?" I'm looking at the ground, hoping to dear GOD that they're not talking to me.

Ask me to read something, or to stack chairs, or even to greet people -- and I'll be fine. But ask me to share my opinion -- and I'm screwed. I can only make myself speak if I feel like what I have to say would really help someone. That has happened exactly TWICE during my last nine months of going to AA meetings.

I've lived such a sheltered and boring life that it's very difficult for me to identify with people's circumstances. All I can offer to most discussion is immature conjecture. But that's so damn annoying! I don't want to be annoying ...

There's nothing more disconcerting to an AA group than a period of more than ten seconds of silence during a discussion meeting. People squirm in their seats. The meeting leader glances at people to encourage them to speak. Everyone feels uncomfortable. In AA, nothing is more intolerable than silence.

But I don't understand why. I happen to LIKE silence. In many Asian countries, silence is considered good. It's peaceful, contemplative, and means that you care enough about the subject to pay it thoughtful consideration without forming premature judgements about it. I prefer this interpretation of silence.

I feel just as uncomfortable sharing as other people feel uncomfortable with silence.

Today, I'm grateful for ...

  • being 190 days sober
  • getting to a meeting tonight
  • talking with other alcoholics
  • my nice family and sweet dog
  • the cool people who read my blog
  • that in my understanding, God's motto is the same as AA's: "Keep Coming Back"


Sober Chick said...

Well I think that listening is very important. Sometimes I can get all wrapped up in what I am gonna share I don't allow myself to hear the messages being said. I cheat myself.

When you do speak, please try to keep in mind that you do have a story, and your experience is going to help someone. We don't know the exact moment -- it is on God's time. Listen to the similarities rather than the differences, others shall seek this in your shares as well.

The last meeting I went to I lead, and towards the end it was like pulling hair out to get someone to share. Reading your experience today will help me to understand why someone may not feel the need to share and perhaps explore a creative method to hear them speak. Thank you.

Gwen said...

Just be honest and the rest is all good. They use to raise my arm for me in early sobriety. Then they couldn't shut me up.

Mary Christine said...

Just share your very own experience, strength, and hope. That is all any of us have. And it is all that is worth listening to.

stayathomemotherdom said...

I always try to share, every time I get called on because I was told it was God's way of calling me out. I hate it though, when like you said, you are having a day when you just want to listen, and everyone else has shared.

Designer Girl said...

I totally identify with you on this. At the meetings I attend, it's perfectly okay to say "Pass" or "I just want to listen today/tonight." Knowing that has actually given me much more courage to share, I guess because the pressure is off.

I agree with what all the others are saying, too. You don't know when your sharing will be exactly what someone else needs to hear in that moment.

Mark said...

There are no rules in AA, thank God! I can agree with what everyone else has mentioned.

I'll tell you this though - learning how to tell on your disease and then putting it into practice could one day save your life. We can't help anyone if they don't share what is troubling them.

It is also an ego deal when you feel like you have nothing worth while to share. Humility helps bunches with that.

One last thing I learned;

Pain shared in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous is cut in half. Joy shared in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous is doubled.

I've found both to be 100% true.

Carly said...

I'm so glad I read your post tonight, and the responses to it. This is what I love about AA: the love, help, honesty and gentleness given in abundance.

Your gratitudes rock.

tkdjunkie said...

Thanks everybody for sharing your insights. I'm going to learn this stuff -- hopefully fast!