Sharing at Al-Anon meetings has been sometimes easy and sometimes difficult for me. I used to dread having to share because I felt that I didn't have anything but pain to offer. Now I see the solutions more clearly. And I try to stick to the topic so that I don't ramble. I like to get to the point and not be repetitive but simply state what comes from my heart. But being at a meeting isn't so much about what I say but what I get from others who share their E, S, and H.
There have been many times though that I didn't want to listen to anyone. I didn't want to listen to my father when I was a teenager. I thought that I knew best and was sure in my stance and stubborn as a mule. And there are still subjects that evoke passionate opinions from me, such as politics and conservation ethics.
With the alcoholic, I actually listened to the drunken self pity and the morning after apologies. What I really wanted was to shut out the slurred words and the philosophical meanderings of a drunken mind. Now I've come to realize that it would have been best if I'd not listened to any of that or tried to argue back or even tried to make sense by offering rational advice. I don't believe that there was anything that I could have said that would have made much of a difference at the time. It was just another way that I was going to try to control an unmanageable situation.
I've learned to trust my inner voice and to listen to it. When that inner voice tells me that something isn't right, I listen and don't ignore it. If it tells me to remove myself from an unacceptable situation, then I pay close attention. If it tells me to keep my mouth shut and sit tight, then I inventory the situation and make a decision.
Listening is a powerful part of the program. Sometimes by just keeping quiet, the answers that I seek become clear.