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The share—the oral, audible exposure and expression of a person’s plight—is the cornerstone of any twelve-step meeting, whether for adult children of alcoholics or other groups. However, a deeper inspection will disclose its broader significance as well as the stages it may adopt.

Most adult children have what is known as a “abuse-loge,” or the nearly automatic phrases that they constantly repeat to people about their upbringings, which may include alcoholism, para-alcoholism, dysfunction, difficulty, and humiliation. However, they are only able to skirt the edges of it until they attend a treatment facility. Probing and piercing hurtful, traumatic conditions, the layers of which have been laid over years of difficulties, takes patience and trust, mostly because the identical worries and concerns people despise experiencing in life are the ones they must face in sessions.

They will most likely only observe, assess, and absorb the share process at their initial ones. Because many, whether characterized as adult children or not, fear public speaking and there is certainly an element of this in these very venues, mustering the courage to do so may require some time. Already lacking the trust they were robbed of during their upbringings, they may feel particularly exposed and vulnerable during such occasions.

Aside from engaging in a form of public speaking, they bare their souls, exposing their deepest secrets about their home-of-origins and thus breaking, perhaps for the first time, the family lie about dysfunction that ensured its perpetuation in front of people they consider nothing more than strangers-at least until they get to know them and become more comfortable with them.

Fearing their judgment, they may rehearse in their minds exactly what they wish to say, striving to do so as flawlessly as possible, only to conclude after the actual share that it could not have been further from what they had intended. They may also believe that their problems pale in comparison to those of others in the group, shedding light on their perception of their low sense of importance and self-esteem. They may be very conscious of any imposed time limit. And their nerves, at least during their early meetings, may prove more powerful than them, hijacking their coherence. It is this last point which most needs to be understood.

Triggered and perhaps retraumatized, they are forced to face the very emotions they try to avoid, and may not understand how the cause can now become the cure. There is a psychology axiom which states that:” the only way out is through”-in other words, a person will never be released from his anxieties and fears until he walks through and confronts them so that he can come out the other side. But there is a difference between attempting to do so alone and doing so in a group meeting.

Connected to God or a Higher Power of their understanding through the standardly-recited Serenity Prayer, they and all others are provided, sometimes without awareness and always without visualization, guidance, support, strength, and comfort from above. Sharing their burden in such circumstances unburdens them, since the group dynamics are far stronger than the adversities that caused their shatter. And that Higher Power does more than just observe: He listens, desensitizes, and lifts the blockages, plugging, ever so gradually throughout the recovery process, the holes in their souls.

Furthermore, witnessed by others who understand their struggles, they find additional comfort in their verification and validation of their pain and their plight.

Aside from the value of understanding the significance of the share process for beginners, there is equal value in it for those who have attended recovery meetings for a considerable time, since it enables them to gauge the stages and depths of what they say and their departure from their outer abuse-logue layer.

Although they may have initially scratched the surface, progressive strength, restoration, confidence, and esteem enable them to penetrate to their core. The more they are unburdened, the freer they become, enabling them to partake of some of life’s aspects they could once only contemplate, but never completely embrace or enjoy. And, as they emerge from the darkness of their past to the light of their present, they may increasingly share about how the recovery process has healed and restored them, and how it has paved the way to a brighter future.

So powerful is the disease of alcoholism, para-alcoholism, codependence, and dysfunction, that it takes the collective, kindred-spirit strength of a twelve-step group, guided by a Higher Power, to combat it, and the share is the method of triumphing over it.

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