“No personal calamity is so crushing that something true and great can’t be made of it.” – Bill Wilson, Author of Alcoholics Anonymous
More often than any of us could ever know, something we say from the heart about the challenges we’re facing in our recovery—and how we’re handling such—may end up benefitting another person in the room (whether it be in a treatment setting or a 12-Step fellowship meeting).
If we’re needing evidence of the truth of this, we need only look to our own experience. How many times have we been sitting in a group when someone in recovery shares their painful story about what’s troubling them, the obstacles they’re facing or the hurts or fears that have been paralyzing them? Haven’t we, at least once, been moved by their opening up to share about it, the courage of their “putting it out there”? Their willingness to ask for help or input?
Let alone the insights or inspiration many of these “shares” have provided us… by way of what others in the group have said or brought out, as they’ve sought to support the person with their own experience, strength and hope about the issue that was raised. I know many times I’ve appreciated the insight that often comes forward from those who’ve shared with the one who chose to open up and lay their difficulties, fears or hardships on the table.
Further, sometimes our ability to identify with someone else’s pain or their personal challenges in recovery—and the fact we’re clearly witnessing them dealing with it without using or acting out—encourages us to be more open with what we ourselves may be facing.
I recall recently hearing someone in recovery opening up about a particularly heartbreaking experience they’d recently endured and gotten through (the loss of her brother to cancer) with the help of their recovery network of support. Given I have been dealing with a very similar issue myself—my oldest sister currently is undergoing treatment for cancer—I felt deeply grateful I’d gotten to see someone in recovery getting to the other side of their heartrending loss without using, by sharing their pain and inviting the support of those around her. It leads me to believe I, too, can get through such tough times with the help of others in my network of recovery.
The bottom line, for me, is this: whenever I’m facing some personally challenging times or issues, I owe it to myself and the others in my recovery “family” to consider sharing about such things openly, so that I and they can get the benefits of what I put on the table, as well as what others may feel inspired to share about it.
We never know who our “experience, strength and hope” may help, encourage or inspire, if we’re open to sharing it.