Monday, August 13, 2012

I Love The 12-Step Share

I've been going to 12-step groups for the past 18 months to find recovery from my emotional addictions. An integral part of meetings is the "share." Many meetings will have a lead speaker who'll give a share from 8-15 minutes on average. He'll talk about how his addictions ruined his life and how he found recovery through working the program. A good share is brutally honest. The person talks about his own struggles and which specific parts of the program helped him. A mediocre share is filled with advice-giving, theory and quotations from spiritual masters. Advice-giving is not the 12-step way. Instead people are encouraged to speak about their own experience and to not give cross-talk commentary on others shares. Two months ago, for the first time, I was asked to give the lead share. Then a couple of weeks ago, I walked into a meeting and five minutes before it was due to start, I was asked if I would mind substituting for the scheduled speaker who couldn't make it. On my first talk, I had a few days to prepare. This time I had but a few minutes. My talk wasn't as smooth, but I just spoke from the heart, shared what I had struggled with, and related how I had worked the 12-steps and which ones were the most difficult for me, starting with step one. I grew up a preacher's kid. I heard hundreds of sermons. Some were inspiring, some were boring. Right now, I prefer the 12-step share where people open up about how their addictions have destroyed their lives and then describe how a power greater than themselves restored them to sanity. As a writer, I rarely feel comfortable prescribing for others. I'm much more comfortable sharing my own struggles and things that have helped me. Take it or leave it. Your mileage may vary. My personality, my writing style, my life position, all feel much more comfortable with sharing rather than preaching.