Open-Heart Sharing

My boundary in sharing my experience, strength, and hope is: "I speak only for myself."

I always share in the first person, always about me and always for my benefit first. This is an integral part of my recovery process. This is how I get down to the bare-bones honesty real recovery requires. And I can only be honest about my self and my feelings—not anyone else's.

By speaking and sharing in the first person, I work to express myself and my feelings. Often, I don't know how I feel until I begin sharing. Sharing is self-discovery. Sharing is vulnerability. That is why meetings must be safe sharing places for those who are new to recovery and for veterans of recovery as well.

By sharing my experience, strength, and hope, I indirectly help others see themselves in me and in my recovery actions and choices. The key word is indirectly.

As I struggle through my own issues, openly and honestly, my sharing (hopefully) encourages others to do likewise. I don't share in order to solve anyone else's problems or issues. That is advice-giving masquerading as sharing. I share to solve my problems and issues, 90% of which are common to most people. However, one of the reasons sharing is important in a meeting is because it lets people see they are not alone. That their problems are not so unique after all. That the universe is not singling them out and picking on them. That suffering is a common problem and that real solutions and options are available.

By verbalizing the solutions that work for me, I am taking responsibility for my recovery (and indirectly), being responsible to (not for) my brothers and sisters. I help the world by helping myself!

I help the world by helping myself.

This is what I call open-heart sharing. In a meeting, I am simply carrying on a verbal dialogue with my soul, offering others a venue through which to listen to that dialogue. I open my mind, my heart, and verbalize my struggles. Perhaps some one will relate; perhaps not. But someone has been helped—ME. Other people can take what applies to them at the moment and throw out the rest. If some one else is helped, it is because they saw some part of themselves in me and made the choice to learn from my experience. That is wisdom. That is support. That is the universal Higher Power available and accessible through sharing.

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I began sharing when I was ready. A CoDA meeting was my incubator. I sat and listened for a long time. Once I started working the Twelve Steps (and it is about the Steps after all), I had something to share. Once I started living the steps, I had something to share. I began sharing once I realized I needed to be totally honest with myself in order to grow. I choose to be vulnerable with myself and others who knew how to listen to a person taking those first baby steps in recovery.

Now, when I am silent, perhaps it is because I have discovered I am not working an honest program in some part of my life. Perhaps it is because I am back in the listening stage. Perhaps I am gathering renewed courage and strength. Perhaps I am praying. Perhaps I am simply reveling in the calm center of my serenity or the warmth of the acceptance and peace I am feeling. Perhaps I am connecting with God and enjoying God's presence. Perhaps I am learning to be more patient with myself. Perhaps I have quieted that scolding inner voice for the first time that day.

If I am silent, it is OK. I will share again when the time is right for me.

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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 13). Open-Heart Sharing, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: August 8, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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