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Crying at Meetings


I’ve always hated crying, and I especially hate crying in front of other people. When you cry, you admit your vulnerability to the effects of people and things on your emotions. When you cry in front of people, you admit that vulnerability to other people. I hate that. Ultimately, it is like admitting that you’re in a weakened state and are extra vulnerable to attack. It goes against all my instincts. Like how a dog eats his or her own vomit so that other dogs or predators won’t find it and know that they are sick, I want to cover up and hide my emotional wounds from the world. However, in reality, I would never heal without the help and support of other people.

If I get to select the person whom I cry to specifically, because I trust them, and then cry, I feel better about it. However, lately I find myself crying in front of large groups of people. I’ve actually cried through three meetings in the past week and a half. It feels exposing, uncomfortable, risky, and terrible unpleasant to show the extent of my true emotions and suffering.

Last night, I cried through a meeting and found myself wanting to say, “I hate you all for seeing me this way” at the end of my share. Ultimately, showing how you really feel is always a risk. Crying demonstrates that one is in a place where he or she needs support. Sometimes it’s met with a hug or a cup of tea, and other times it is met with averted glances, and people walking in a ten foot diameter around you or even taking advantage of you.

I believe that the level of support received is directly proportional to the community’s level of emotional wellness. For example, my sober living saw me crying at our in house women’s AA meeting, and one person came up to me. Everyone else avoided me for the duration of the night. They all have somewhere between a few weeks and five months of sobriety, and clearly have personal issues they have not worked through. Meanwhile, at my standard Thursday night meeting and even a random Saturday meeting, when I broke down, strangers and friends wanted to support me however they could.

What I cannot receive from my home, I receive from the outside world. I am grateful for this on several levels. First, it means that I will get what I need. Showing my vulnerability has, in addition to getting many hugs, strengthened my bonds with the men and women of my 12-step meetings I connect with and look up to. On top of that it shows how I have outgrown sober living. I no longer really bond with the girls about kvetching over staff members or the woes of treatment centers. I am dealing with the real issues in everyday life, not stuck in the unreality of the treatment bubble. It shows that I am ready to reenter the world as a whole and enter the 12-step world fully.



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Filed under: Life, Recovery · Tags: 12 step meetings, 12 step program, 12-steps, Addiction, addiction treatment center, alcohol treatment, Recovery