‘My Truth’ in AA

Embracing the Freedom of Sharing

One of the hallmarks of AA meetings is the freedom members have to express their thoughts and feelings. Unless the format involves “crosstalk”, every share goes unchallenged, paving the way for a broad spectrum of subject matters and styles of delivery.

The beauty of this arrangement is the liberty it provides for members to pour out their hearts and minds without reservation. When done effectively, sharing can be a cathartic experience for the speaker and evoke empathetic connections among the listeners. This bond is the heart of AA discussion meetings and is the ‘magic’ that makes them so captivating for some.

Navigating the Downsides

While there is undeniable merit in the open forum style of AA meetings, it also leaves room for misinterpretations and inaccuracies. Often, members misquote the Big Book or describe elements that aren’t part of the program. In recent years, with an influx of “visitors” who join meetings at the behest of their rehab centers or court orders, non-AA phrases and ideas have seeped into the narrative.

These new practices or phrases tend to focus heavily on the self, fostering greater self-centeredness—a trait the Big Book cautions against. The book emphasizes, “Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.”

The Emergence of ‘My Truth’

One such phrase that’s been increasingly heard in meetings is “my truth”. It sounds empowering to deliver a share and conclude with “and that’s my truth!” But does this notion align with AA’s principles?

Is truth not meant to be objective? Shouldn’t its universality be what qualifies it as “truth”? Doesn’t the Big Book present a program “on which we can all agree”?

The AA program that saved my life introduced me to a “truth” outside myself—the twelve steps, guidance from a sponsor, and accountability to a home group. This collective “we” rather than individual “me” approach has been the cornerstone of my sobriety and has consistently proven effective for others as well.

While “my truth” may seem harmless as a phrase, it’s essential to reflect on the potential risks it poses when it overrules the well-established “THE truth.”