I was once told that most of life’s problems could be traced back to not having a large enough sample size. While this may seem like an over simplification for how complicated life can be, the more that I think about, the more I tend to agree.
What the person who told me this meant is that majority of the things that we believe to be wrong with us are in fact “normal”, or at the very least have been experienced by others before. This means that if we could have a large enough sample of people who were honest, we would see that we were not so alone in our quirks and that most of the things that we harshly judge ourselves for are in fact just a byproduct of being human. You see we feel alone when we act out on behaviours we think we should be above like resentments that we continue to carry in sobriety, or struggling with being honest, or people pleasing.
This means that if we shared openly with each other, in a way that we currently don’t do in this society, a lot of the ills of humanity would probably go away, as we would start to see that most people on this planet think, or have thought, similar things. We would begin to see that regardless of race, religion, gender, etc., deep down we are all the same. We have similar fears, and similar wants and desires, and if we understood this, life would look very differently on the macro level. But let me get off of my soap box for a minute and return back to earth to say, share openly with people because you never know when it could possibly save someone from their own destruction.
When I first got to Alcoholics Anonymous I experienced just that. I finally found that there were people who acted like me, thought like me, and suffered from the same things that I suffered from. People shared openly and honestly about things that I never even realized I had thought about. They were thoughts in my subconscious that rattled around my head for years and sitting in the rooms of AA, I heard them spoken aloud for the first time and I felt a relief that I had never felt before.
Finally finding people who truly understood how I felt was just about the greatest thing that ever happened to me in my life. I no longer felt alone, or weird, and I knew for the first time, in perhaps ever, that I was going to be okay.
Since I experienced the power that relating to other’s stories has, I am acutely aware of just how important it is for me to do the same thing. I must share openly about the things I have experienced because I never know how and when my story can be of use to another person.
One of my friends in AA told me a story that I thought was really telling in regards to sharing opening about who he was. He was working at a hotel in Downtown Miami and while he didn’t expose the fact that he used to do heroin because there was no need to really do this, he did talk to his co-workers about how he no longer drank. He told them that he used to, but that it turned him into a terrible person, so he stopped.
About 3 months into working at the hotel one of the managers called him into the office one day and shut the door. My friend thought he was in trouble, but instead his manager asked him, how he stopped drinking. My friend told her and then the manager said that she thought she had a drinking problem. He in turn brought her to a meeting and she has now been sober for over 4 years.
Now I understand that people are touchy about sharing their story in public and they evoke the anonymity part of our program in order to do this, and that is their prerogative, but let’s say that my friend hadn’t been open about the fact that he no longer drank, would his manager have gotten sober? I can’t say for certain either way, but it is clear that my friend being honest definitely helped another alcoholic.
The same can be said inside the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is not always the newcomer who is hurting the most, and sometimes people with a good deal of time are dying on the inside, but too prideful to tell anyone. They sometimes believe that because they have some time they shouldn’t feel the way they do, but if you are at a meeting and share honestly about struggles you are having, you may help save someone without even knowing you are doing it.
There is a power that comes with relating to others, that really can’t be created any other way. Knowing that you are not alone in your struggles can give you the strength to push through what may seem like insurmountable problems, but this can only be achieved if we share openly and honestly with one another.
It can sometimes be difficult to be truly honest, but understanding that you choosing to share your story or not, could be the difference between helping someone or letting them drown, makes this decision easier. So I say share your story freely. Don’t be ashamed of who you are, how you feel, or what you’ve done in the past, because in the end we all have similar stories and letting others know that they are not alone is one of the most important things you can do in life.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.