Saturday, 27 February 2016

How do we share?

The quotations below, if read properly, should clear up two gross misconceptions in AA.

The misconceptions are:

(1) We share in a general way.
(2) We share about what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now.

First quotation (page 29):

'Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered. These are followed by three dozen personal experiences.
Each individual, in the personal stories, describes in his own language and from his own point of view the way he established his relationship with God. These give a fair cross section of our membership and a clear-cut idea of what has actually happened in their lives.
We hope no one will consider these self-revealing accounts in bad taste.'
Second quotation (page 58 of Alcoholics Anonymous):
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now.
Firstly a distinction has to be made between the story and the disclosure. The story is the account of what happened. What the story discloses is the general portrayal of our condition before and after the Twelve Steps. A general understanding of alcoholism and the recovered state should be derivable from our stories, therefore. In other words, we need to use our stories to make points.

Secondly, the disclosure should be of what we used to be like and what we are like now. There is no it.

Thirdly, the actual stories on which basis we make general points are supposed to be detailed. Firstly, the page 29 quotations make this explicit. Secondly, the stories in the Big Book are hugely specific, from Bill's Story onwards.

Hopefully this brief article will make clear that we must tell specific, detailed stories but make general universal points on the basis thereof. This is preferable to the alternative: anodyne stories stripped of biographical interest, which are entirely interchangeable, or fascinatingly detailed stories without an actual point. Most strong meetings display the former; most weak meetings display the latter. The few excellent meetings display good storytellers with a real message.

No comments: