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April 24 • Disconnected

Day 655

Some Step meetings are better than others. I've never experienced a 'bad' one, although I'm sure they exist, at least relatively. I'm often uncomfortable during the 'less than great' meetings, wondering what a newbie or someone struggling would think about the mundane discussion. Invariably, the guys I'm worried about are the ones that speak up about what a great topic is being shared. Again, I guess it really isn't always about me (he said with a smile). I thought this morning's meeting was going to be less than average when someone offered the topic of "Empathy" as it relates to spouses and Step 8. Boy, was I wrong. It was a great meeting with everyone contributing, most using words. There is a line that's spoken during the closing of a lot of Step meetings that I do not want to violate here:

"What you hear here, who you see here, when you leave here, leave it here. (Here Here)."

It is a safe place, and I want to do nothing to make anyone uncomfortable that the soul-freeing anonymity of these gatherings is fodder for publication. I do not want to break that trust, but neither do I want to miss an opportunity for the Twelfth Step, to share the process with others. It is a bit of a conflict, but I will endeavor to stay on the right side of the line. My first takeaway from today's meeting was how our desire to have empathy with our spouses, as well as others, is directly connected to the level of honesty we are sharing with that person, especially the spouses. Someone really got my attention with the line that

"...we become disconnected by our secrets."

Powerful. Here's a bit of discomfort I have with group threapy, and even with 12 Step programs: we spend a lot of time telling our fellows in a meeting things that we should be telling our spouses. We feel safe and close and comfortable in these meetings because this is where we have the fewest secrets and the least judgments. That is good and important, but finding the balance to use some of that openness at home is really important. I do not want to go to meetings as an excuse to avoid doing the work of living with someone I love. I want to find the balance of both.




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