I am a member of an online meeting of Sexaholics Anonymous. Our group guidelines state that what we are to share in meetings is our experience, strength, and hope in using the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to find recovery.
When I was new, I did not have much strength and I did not have much hope. I shared mostly about my experience, and that experience was pretty rough. I’d “check in” just to dump my problems on the group, and I’d feel a wee bit better for having a place to do that, knowing that I was communicating to other SA members, who understood.
The more I attended face-to-face meetings, though, the more I heard something larger in the shares. Instead of just “checking in” with their problems, the more sober members would describe their current problem, then talk about how they applied the Steps to that problem, and then what hope that gave them for the future. They were sharing their experience, strength, and hope.
So I started doing what they did. After all, they had way more sobriety than I did. I was surprised to find that sharing this way actually made me feel much better than just dumping my problem. I still got the benefit of writing out the problem to like-minded people, but now I was also offering something that just might help someone else. Sometimes, I’d get a side email from another online member thanking me for my share and how it helped them. I would share my Step Three: doing what I believe God would have me do (following the practice of those before me), and Step Twelve: sharing the solution. And this has worked!
This is still my practice today. It’s a strong part of my recovery, that gives me hope that I can continue to stay in recovery and live this better life that I’ve found.