“Why don’t you come this meeting I chair and tell your story” is a refrain heard by many in the Recovery community. We are often asked to “give a lead” and “share our experience, strength, and hope” in an effort to solve the problems we have had with alcoholism. In fact, when we agree to speak to other alcoholics we are actually entering into the treatment/solution model. Our Big Book also has a section following the first 164 Pages tittled “Personal Stories.” I was taught that these stories are about how 42 alcoholics “recovered from their malady,” but more importantly, they focus on the psychic change and the diverse ways that a higher power is made manifest in the life of alcoholic. In many ways the stories read as a “coming to believe” statement. To me they represent the
coming together of the dark and light sides of our personalities, a story of our drinking, and then the evolving story of our sobriety. I do not believe they are a how to of the steps as that is left to two alcoholics, usually a sponsor, working together. While we have a clear delineation of the Steps, we do not offer a set way to accomplish this task beyond working all 12 in order. One of my favorite stories in the Big Book is written by a woman who lived in Evanston, Illinois. The last page so clearly articulates what has happened to me during my sobriety.
“The last fifteen years of my life have been rich and meaningful. I have had my share of problems, heartaches, and disappointments because that is life, but also I have knowne a great deal of joby and a peace that is the handmaiden of an inner freedom. I have a wealth of friends and, with my A.A. friends, and unusual quality of fellowship. For, to these people, I am truly related. First, through mutual pain and despair, and later through mutual objectives and newfound faith and hope. And, as the years go by, working together, sharing our experiences with one another, and also sharing a mutual trust, understanding, and love – without strings, without obligations – we acquire relations tht are unique and priceless.”
The story goes on to state that aloneness is replace with belonging. For me, this is the key to the kingdom that the stories title aludes to: The more I share my story, the less secrets I have and the more opportunities I provide for others to identify with me. It is here that this mutuality of trust and respect begins. What is your story and who have you shared it with? How might it help the person still suffering?