Sharing at Group Meetings
Group meetings are one of the best ways to maintain sobriety. These meetings act as a safety net, giving us support and guidance we need to avoid relapse. Most relapses aren’t a single event, but a process that begins when the addict falls back into the same habits and thought processes from before we began recovery. If you’ve never attended a group meeting, sharing may be difficult for you. The trick is to make yourself say whatever is on your mind. Get it all out there—anything you’re comfortable with sharing. Just be sure to do it in a way that’s respectful to other group members.
There are no concrete rules for what you should share at a group meeting, or how you should go about sharing it – only some general guidelines:
Addicts tend to be shameful about their experiences, which is understandable. However, there is never a good reason to lie, exaggerating, or minimizing your thoughts and experiences within a group setting. Doing so helps no one. You’re not being honest with yourself. Even worse, your fellow group members are unable to derive any real value from what you say. Why? Because what you’re saying isn’t the truth. You can’t learn real, relevant life lessons from fake experiences.
It’s called “sharing” for a reason: everyone should have a chance to talk at least once or twice throughout the meeting. This can be tricky for a number of reasons. Maybe you’re a great speaker, but a terrible listener. This is your opportunity to practice your listening skills, and you should probably take it. Go out of your way to include less extroverted members into the conversation, too.
Raise your hand
Always, always do this. Whoever is chairing the meeting needs to be responsible for choosing who speaks and when. Organization is critical, because equal-opportunity dialogues don’t just happen naturally. Without guidance and order, we tend to interrupt each other. When we only hear bits and snippets, we often take them the wrong way.
Talk about yourself, not others
Never criticize another member during your speaking time. Likewise, you should never use your time to challenge or promote any political, religious, or spiritual beliefs/ideologies, apart from those already rooted in your program. Words of encouragement are fine, but remember: this moment is yours. It’s a time for reflection – and for feedback.
Stay on topic
Each meeting will be assigned a particular subject, like forgiveness, anger, resentment and so on. Do your best to remain at least somewhat on topic. If you make an abstract point that people don’t understand, try not to get frustrated. You may have a clear, cohesive idea in your head, but others can’t see in there.
Contact Blueprints for Recovery to get helpful insight into your options for addiction recovery and aftercare support. We believe in you.