I used to pride myself on sharing at meetings. As soon as a topic was decided, my hand would go up as I thought of ways to share and make people laugh, be informative, and show how much I knew about the Big Book, Steps, and recovery. My sharing was sometimes long, and I thought it was okay because everyone seemed to enjoy the share, laugh out loud, and nod their head at my wit and my charisma.
Then I did an inventory on my sharing. Was I sharing to help others or impress others? I remember being in a meeting once and a female was sharing about the difficulty she was having concentrating on Steps and sobriety while going through menopause and hot flashes. The next three people who shared were men, and I thought, what did they know about what she was feeling? Then I thought of times I shared, not from my heart but from my head, a clever joke or a play-on-words to show my wit.
Then I remembered when I was a newcomer. I did not care how much you know until I knew how much you cared. I could tell when someone was sharing from their heart or from their head. Don’t get me wrong, knowledge is power, but caring, respect and love appeals to the heart, and that is where true compassion and the ability to embrace the 12 Steps of recovery lies.
So I don’t share as much today in open meetings. Recalling my own sobriety, some of the most meaningful messages to me came in a whisper, after a meeting or before a meeting, during a phone conversation, or just listening to a person one-on-one.
When my sister passed away, I was so afraid to have to go home and make funeral arrangements; I had never done this before. I shared this in the meeting, and after the meeting a friend came to me and whispered, “Don’t worry, the funeral director will take care of everything.” I never knew, and he did.
I had once moved to a location I quickly became disgruntled with, and was worried about relocating and hurting the person’s feelings, and someone whispered after the meeting, “Be honest, say what you mean, but don’t say it mean.”
I still enjoy those who can share and make others laugh, are knowledgeable about the Steps, recovery and the Big Book. Today when I share, I try to share a message that says “I care.” I try to share in a whisper so I can reach the heart. Because I believe, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”