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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: When someone raises their hand at a meeting and claims that they need to “get real,” my spirits sink.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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When someone raises their hand at a meeting and claims that they need to “get real,” my spirits sink. I expect that the share from said some...

When someone raises their hand at a meeting and claims that they need to “get real,” my spirits sink. I expect that the share from said someone will be the emotional equivalent of barf.

Many people bring undigested personal turmoil into meetings and urp it up in front of everyone, a practice that probably helps them make it through the week but leaves everyone else feeling like they need a shower.

For some people, this is just how meetings work; They get together and share their pain, uniting against a possible relapse.

Fair enough.

My own experience tells me that if I do the same, I’ll end up very weird and very isolated, murmuring to myself in a dark corner somewhere and feeling sorry for myself.

That’s what happened the last time I treated meetings as a place to “dump.”

There are clear differences between “venting” or “dumping” and making an honest confession. When I vent, I am directed by my own self-obsession to seek sympathy from others. When I confess, I am directed by my conscience to bring hope to others.

Dumping encourages more dumping.

Confession encourages further honesty.

When meetings promote venting, they worsen the spiritual trouble that underlies addiction—self-obsession.

When meetings promote confession, they cut to the heart of the addict’s trouble and confront it directly. Honest confession names self-obsession as the illness, and demonstrates its cure.

In an environment of dumping, the air is heavy and thick. An invisible weight presses down on all.

In an environment of confession, the air is clean and electric, almost frighteningly so. If you’re not used to that kind of honesty, it can really come as a shock.

Honesty like that, honesty that cuts to the heart of one’s own selfishness, is a sacrament.

When I moved back to California and was looking for a new home group, I started hitting every book study on the list. I had a rule for myself: If you don’t hear the message in the first ten minutes, split.

Some meetings reveal themselves more quickly than that. Sometimes, you know what kind of meeting you’re in before anyone says a word.

At each meeting, I’d hang out for a while and listen. When the air was heavy and people were dumping, I knew the meeting would not be a good home for me. So I left.

Granted, this was a completely selfish and self-interested approach to meeting attendance; I was just looking for a meeting that would suit me rather that trying to bring a message where there was none. So I went about it, as I do most things, in the wrong way.

 

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