If Our Turn Comes To Speak at a Meeting (Step Twelve continued)

If our turn comes to speak at a meeting, we again try to carry A.A.’s message.  Whether our audience is one or many, it is still Twelfth Step work.

I’ve been trying, in this blog, to explain (to myself) and record some of my difficulties as an oldtimer.  I started it, in a way, because I find so much of the people, meetings, literature, etc, around me to be geared to newcomers.  If they are the most important people in a meeting, I guess I am among the least important.

Poor me!

But to continue my sob story, my problems with being an oldtimer pale in comparison to being an introvert.  This is not a good personality type for success in AA.  But luckily, I got desperate enough before I actually died to talk to the people, use the phone, sponsor people, speak at meetings.  I did what I had to do, though it was often very difficult and it often made me anxious and unhappy.

Having the experience of watching Carole grow up in AA, I know it is a far different experience for an extrovert.

So what follows are true confessions.

I STILL hate to say anything at an AA meeting.  I hate having a room full of people look at me and listen to me.  I have spent years in AA “passing” at my turn because I hate to speak up so.

And I feel badly about it.  It’s part of what I was writing about previously in the 12th step.  I need to represent!  Whether or not my very presence helps anyone at all (besides me), I should have something worthwhile to say about almost everything that comes up at this point.

One thought on “If Our Turn Comes To Speak at a Meeting (Step Twelve continued)

  1. I am a little on the opposite end of the sharing at meeting spectrum. Being an experienced public speaker of many years, I was frequently asked to share in meetings.

    It didnt take long before I realized that I began to expect it and enjoy it in unhealthy ways. So I began passing or hiding in meetings. In doing so, I found a great opportunity to hone my listening and absorbing skills.

    I remember my self-talk at the beginning of a meeting telling myself that I am absolutely determined to hear every word of every speaker no matter how on or off topic they are. No matter how humble or arrogant. My job is to listen. God’s job is to help me hear what it is he wants me to hear.

    Now, years later, I prep myself for every meeting by clearing my mind of any expectation to speak or share, and ask God to show me who to talk to and to give me the words, should I be asked. I do my best not to push my will on the meeting or others.

    Part of avoiding my will is accepting that if the Chairman asks me to speak, that I should. No matter what, I should get up and be the best vessel I can in that moment.

    Many times, I woulld feel like I was talking in circles or not saying anything worthwhile. Yet someone would come to me and thank me for sharing a particular thing. So I quickly realized it was not my clever crafting of words or witty delivery. It was me being obedient to do what I felt God was leading me to do and say in each moment. And to never pass just because I felt I didnt want to share.

    Does God work through every AA Chairman to call the appointed and anointed speakers at the right moment? I have no idea. But I would rather defer to the chance that he is, verus any self-will I have running through my head at the moment he asks me to share.

    His will…. and definitely not my will be done.



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