There are two sides to every coin. Good and bad.
What is great about the sharing in AA meetings is that members can say whatever they want. Unless it is a “crosstalk” format, the share will go unchallenged providing a wide latitude for both the subject matter and style of delivery.
The good here is members can let simply “let it rip” and get whatever it is that is in their heart/mind out. The added good is when done well, both a catharsis for the person sharing and an empathetic connection with the listeners occurs. This connection is, in a nutshell, is the “magic” of AA discussion meetings and what makes them so addictive for some.
The wrong here is all sorts of nonsense is shared that either has nothing to do with the program or isn’t true. Members frequently misquote the Big Book or describe elements of the program that, well, aren’t part of the program.
In the past couple years, largely on the backs of “visitors” who come to the meetings at the direction of their rehab or the court, new phrases and ideas not from AA have crept in. To old crusty old-timers, many of these are annoying and potentially dangerous for active recovery.
Almost all of these new practices/phrases elevate the self and promote even greater self-centeredness. The Big Book says, “Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.” This passage from page 62 goes on, “we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!”
One example is the phrase, “my truth.” More and more I hear people using it in meetings. I admit, it sounds cool when you say your piece and then wrap it up with, “and that’s my truth!”
Hello? Isn’t truth objective? Isn’t universality what makes it “truth” to begin with? Doesn’t the Big Book offer a program that is “something on which we can all agree?”
I think so. What saved my life in AA was a “truth” outside myself. It was the twelve steps, directions from a sponsor, and accountability to a home group where I found Truth. It is in the “we” rather than “me” program that I have found my sobriety and seen work over and over with others.
It’s just a phrase, but, I would just ask folks to think about the slippery slope they can create where an unchallenged “my truth” trumps, a well established “THE truth.”