When I first started in Al-Anon, I shared but often felt a little apprehensive. There was still a lot of pain going on in my life. And there were meetings where I felt uncomfortable. After going to a lot of meetings, I've found that there has only been a time or two that I didn't share. And I've found that the meetings I go to are the ones where I do feel comfortable.
I've found that I get a lot out of listening to others. In fact, I would much rather listen to others than actually talk. But there is something about being in a meeting that makes me feel okay about sharing my E, S, and H. I can remember dreading having to tell my story the first time. Now, it doesn't seem difficult at all. I was so serious and in a lot of pain for that first year but this year, I have gotten the message and feel much better about myself and others around me. It's as if a thick cloud has disappeared and there is nothing but clear skies.
I sometimes wish that everyone would share or had a chance to do so in a meeting. Everyone in the meetings has a story to tell or an opinion. And I learn something from everyone. I also fully understand that it is difficult for people to share, to trust and open up to a group. I have been in a meeting where the person chairing was trying to push another to share. I believe that saying "I pass" is to be respected and no issue need be made of it. I thought that the lady who kept pushing the person to share even though she declined was being pushy. Meetings are not about control but about helping us to recover from being controlled or controlling.
And sometimes people will share off topic because they need to just get something off their chest. They may be hurting or have something that is really bothering them. I think that is okay because the meetings are there to help someone who is suffering.
I found the following information on sharing a message of experience, strength and hope at meeting level. I thought that these provided a simple guide to getting the most out of a meeting.
Sharing is a means in which “God will constantly disclose more to you and to us.” I have not been able to maintain anything like ‘perfect adherence’ to these principles. I have been able to share the message more effectively when I ask God to work through me to help someone who is suffering. I keep coming back.