I have been pleasantly surprised to have my “story” accepted by others, as a means of helping them.  I made a lot of mistakes, as many of us do, but today I know that the lessons I learned from those mistakes can be utilized by other members of the Program.  If I relate my history with a view to helping others, and am fully honest about it, then my experiences serve as lessons on what not to do.  This also serves as an example of what “being open” can mean in the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and helps others to open us about their own experiences.  For me, there are different levels of opening up – there are things that I only share with God and my sponsor.  There are behaviors that I only share in Women’s meetings.  There is some history that I share at group level, as a means of explaining the Steps, or the Traditions.  I believe that I am “only as sick as my secrets.”  Having divulged my secrets frees me from having to sort out what is okay and what is not okay to share.  I was surprised to find that I did not have any “unique” sins, mine were just the common, garden variety . . . and were no more or no less than the sins of others around the tables.

Now, I work to share my “stories” with my sponsees that they might learn from my mistakes.  What they learn at the tables, they will share with others, who will share with others – on and on it goes.  That’s one of the miracles in the Program – we “pass on” what we have been given, in the hopes of helping others.  The shame and regrets of the past are brought into the light and are shown for what they truly are – human errors, and most of the behavior problems seem to be lessons we have yet to learn.  Adding alcohol to behavior problems can make for some pretty wild stories, which while seemingly entertaining to others, are never-the-less very sad in many ways.  When sharing at group level I try to keep my focus on the present, and to keep my history short, and to the point.  There are instances where my drunken behavior was humorous – but I try to remember the pain, because the humor of drinking only lasts a short time, and then the “morning after” would arrive with regrets, terrible blank spots, remorse, and worst of all the absolute surety that once again I have exceeded the boundaries of my morals, and that my behavior had been suspect to say the least.  I am so grateful that my behavior today is based on the Spiritual Principles, and not on King Alcohol.  Big, big, big difference!

Photo Courtesy of Rocky

Photo Courtesy of Rocky

Advertisements