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When Sharing Takes You Someplace Bad

Posted: July 17, 2017, 10:28 PM
I went to a meeting tonight and shared. Probably no one thought anything of it, but it left me feeling ashamed and exposed.

I don't want this to turn into a triggering event, but I do not know what to do. I do not feel comfortable talking to my friends about addiction stuff, and my sponsor will yell at me for sharing in a meeting at all.

It was my own fault. I usually stay away from small meetings where everyone gets to share, but I stayed for this one and I should have walked out.

Not in a good place at all. And it it because I cannot stay silent.

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Joined: October 17, 2003

Posted: July 18, 2017, 11:48 AM

This forum does not get as much action as others. Try posting in the forum that addresses your addiction. More people will see it there.

- the moderators

Posted: July 23, 2017, 2:51 PM
Not to be disrespectful, in any forum here you have to wait pretty long for any response. It is worse in the forum for my addiction than here.

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Joined: July 8, 2017

Posted: July 23, 2017, 3:46 PM
Hi Taylor! My name is Christian. Please try to let go of that awful feeling that your sharing has left you with. I have been to many meetings and I've heard many things, and I will tell you that people who share with rigorous honesty are the ones who have the best shot at recovery. As well, they always garner the respect of the people who hear them share. I am a doctor and fear of my reputation and seeing my patients at meetings kept me away from a program of recovery for a long time. Finally, I let go. I don't care anymore, I share and don't hold anything back. I may have lost a few patients, but I am well respected by most for coming clean and doing something to get better. The people who left are non-alcoholic/addicts who couldn't understand us if they tried, and they're just pissy people who I don't like anyway. People who could use the 12 Steps just to improve their character.
I have heard things at meetings that shock me, even as an ER doc. "I drank mouthwash during my last relapse", "I drank and used during both my pregnancies". "I killed a mother and her baby while I was driving drunk". I have heard big tough men give specific details about how they were sexually abused as children and break down crying in front of the group, many of whom were strangers. People talk openly about their mental health issues. And they always earn my greatest respect for their commitment to the program, and never my scorn.

This post has been edited by alcoholic-addict-doc on July 23, 2017, 3:49 PM

Posted: July 23, 2017, 9:35 PM
I try not to share so much. My sponsor says that I relapse too much to share and I also do not like getting negative feedback from the group. It why I ran out after that last meeting.

I am someone who needs to talk about what I am going through so this program may not be right for me.

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Joined: July 8, 2017

Posted: July 23, 2017, 9:43 PM
Hmmm. That's interesting advice from your sponsor. I feel we are only as sick as our secrets, and that 12 Step meetings are the one place in the world where it is completely safe to let out what we need to. If you need to talk to someone who doesn't know you, who you are or where you live, but understands you as a fellow alcoholic and addict, I volunteer my ear. Many of these forums have a private message option if you're not comfortable sharing with everyone. There is a real freedom that comes with letting go.

Posted: July 23, 2017, 9:52 PM
I am a bit too negative for 12-step meetings. I have gone for years, but in the past I shared about wanting to use which nearly got me banned. I did not think about how my cravings could trigger someone else. And as I have been told, even just talking about problems rather than solutions can trigger people.

I think it probably is smarter to wait till I can share experience, strength and hope. I can only share my difficulties now, which helps no one.

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Joined: July 8, 2017

Posted: July 23, 2017, 10:02 PM
Wow, that is strange to me. At the 12 Step meetings I attend we encourage people to discuss their problems, and we tell everyone not to go home with something on their mind. It's the people who sit there and say that life is all roses when really they are feeling overwhelmed that relapse. People get really down and dirty about their problems because that is how we stay clean and sober. I go to AA, though, and I know it's different from other 12 Step fellowships in terms of rules and expectations.
One way or the other, please do find a way to share your issues and feelings with someone. It is the people who are struggling that are priority number 1, not the people with "experience, strength, and hope." I do service work at a local detox facility, putting on AA meetings, and some of the best experience, strength and hope I get is from the addicts and alcoholics in there fresh off the streets.

Posted: July 23, 2017, 10:10 PM
I also primarily go to AA. It is hard because obviously there is a lot that I cannot say to my sponsor or anyone in the program. And my friends are not addicts and think I got over this years ago when I first got into recovery.

My relapses are less and less frequent, which I am grateful for. But I am also better able to feel them coming on, which is terrible.

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Joined: July 8, 2017

Posted: July 23, 2017, 10:19 PM
yeah, once we are in the program and start learning about addiction our relapses are never the same again. Well, if ever you want to unload the stuff on your mind on me, just let me know. I'm a good listener.

Posted: July 23, 2017, 10:29 PM
It only took a decade in the program.


Posted: July 24, 2017, 10:14 PM
I am going. I say what I need to say. Then I leave right after so I do not have to face negative feedback. This is what I dd tonight.

It is wimping out.

It does not leave me feeling great. But I think it is good for me. I just need to stew a little in unhappiness afterwards.

Then I get over it.

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Joined: June 27, 2016

Posted: July 29, 2017, 9:22 PM

I hope I say something that is comforting or motivating... Addiction doesn't feel great for anyone. I am the mom of a son addicted to meds. He is working full-time and does not think he has a problem. After 2 rehabs, 2 sober livings, living away from home for two years to get his life back, he is back home , but not living at our home, and still in addiction at some level. my son has said he does not like the 12 step bc of the 'brain washing' and hearing bad stuff all the time and never hearing good stuff at meetings. I suggest trying SMART recovery online. check out the web site. It might be just what you need. some who are not resonating well with AA find that SMART recovery works better for them.

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on July 29, 2017, 9:26 PM


Posted: July 30, 2017, 11:56 AM
Thank yo.

I used to do the SMART Recovery chat rooms for a few weeks about 10 years ago and the people were so dogmatic that it turned me off from exploring further.

I like the program actually engages with how to cope with cravings. The biggest shortcoming of 12-step recovery for me is that it has such a long term focus, but has little advice or support for people in the midst of cravings.

Maybe I need to explore SMARTrecovery further.

Posted: October 9, 2017, 10:11 PM
If alcoholic-addict-doc is still around, I would take him or her up on the offer to talk.

Not sure how we would manage it.

I would not post any personal contact info here.

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Joined: July 16, 2019

Posted: July 21, 2019, 4:32 PM

Know that there no requirement in any 12-step meeting to share, but generally you must identify yourself in such a way as to qualify to attend that meeting. The word "pass" works well if you don't want to share, or in some meetings, you don't raise your hand.

Sponsors come in all shapes and sizes, but yours sounds a little too militant for my liking. Still, your sponsor is not absolutely wrong, it is usually suggested that as a newcomer that you take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth, spend time listening and doing some self-reflection rather than tuning out the message worrying about what to say.

Also know that if you can identify or relate to or see yourself in other meeting attendees that you are in the right place. Listen to what the other attendees are sharing. Are they not "exposing" themselves too? We ran away from life and our feelings for so long that we just don't know what to do with our feelings. It will come with time. Stick it out. It's not as bad as it would be if you went back out.

Mean time share with your sponsor and other members of the group privately for now.

Alcoholic-Addict-Doctor makes a good point, not everything is appropriate to share at a 12-step meeting. The sexually abused burly guy who broke down crying went too far in sharing too many details.

I witnessed a person share at two separate meetings of the same group too many details regarding an incestuous relationship which wasn't related to his addiction and otherwise turned many of the meeting attendees off; in other words he hurt these people with his selfish sharing. The same guy told his story at an open women's meeting and used a generous helping of profanity which turned off many of the women and let the cat out of the bag that he was a non alcoholic drug addict claiming otherwise by sharing his drug related experiences and leaving out all but one early experience with alcohol. Mr. Incest, who is a drug counselor, probably gets an unhealthy thrill out of shocking others.

I remember from my early days this attractive woman who I often attended the same closed discussion meeting with. One day she told her story at an open meeting she hadn't attended before and she went into detail about how promiscuous she had been. This wasn't a therapy session and wasn't related to her alcoholism. We don't wear our disease on our sleeve, but when it is appropriate, we share our deepest-darkest secrets made easier when the Fourth and Fifth steps are completed.

There is general axiom that is applicable here, there is a time and a place for everything!

This post has been edited by SoberInMI on July 21, 2019, 5:17 PM
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