STEP FIVE CONTINUED: Share our struggles with others of like-mindedness trusting that our anonymity will be guarded by all.
Instruction: Listen, relax, and enjoy.
Those who attend our meetings are not required to say a word. They can sit, listen, relax, and enjoy the conversations. In fact, there is never a time when anyone has to speak. A moderator might choose to speak to help with the discussion, but there should never be a time when an attendee is required to speak. First names only are requested, and anyone is free to use a name that is not their own if they want to remain completely anonymous, and some people do. Sometimes we begin not so much by sharing our struggles but by listening to people share their struggles with us first. This makes sense, and it is often one way people use to get comfortable with the group, to feel safe, and to gain the confidence needed to share when and if they decide that is what they want.
Sharing is essential, but it doesn’t have to be in one of our 13-Step meetings. In can be one-on-one, or it can even be in an inner dialog with The Divine. Going straight to the Source is a good idea, but also having a friend or two who can relate to our situations can be a wonderful advantage. It helps to remember that The Divine did not create religion and is not responsible for the religious abuse we encountered.
When we are ready to share our struggles, we might ask where, specifically, we should begin. Once again, we find there is no right or wrong beginning or ending. Some might want to start with minor hurts or disappointments and progress to larger issues, but where we begin is not important. Sharing is want moves us forward and helps us take the needed steps in the healing process. Many find that healing takes a giant leap forward when we begin to share.
Today, or sometime in the near future, try to set an appointment with someone who you believe is “safe.” Someone who will never share your secrets. It is important to choose someone who will not judge or condemn you. Share only what you feel safe in sharing during the initial meeting and wait to see if there is any fallout from your conversation. Do they treat you differently after you’ve shared? Your safety is important. Not everyone can be trusted.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.