I'm still jazzed about my experience at the Women Healing conference last weekend in Minneapolis. My presentation didn't just go well; it was fabulous. They laughed, they cried, they cheered when I finished. I was hilarious (who'd have thunk) and just kind of fell into a zone of story and ideas and telling my reality that worked.
One of the things I think that made it work was that I was not a professional in the recovery field, not a therapist or a treatment counselor. I was just me, a recovering woman sharing my experience, strength, and hope. I told about my early addiction to chocolate, about how I got sober in 1989, about how I transformed my relationship with my dad. I talked about how I wrote my memoir and why it's important that we write our stories.
Story is really important in 12-step programs, it's a huge part of the way that we communicate suggestions and learnings to each other. Twelve-step programs all practice "no crosstalk," meaning that each person's sharing is self-contained, without referencing other people's sharing or giving advice or commentary in any way. Each of each shares our own experience or challenges. So we tell stories about our lives, past and present. There aren't lots of places left in our culture for story so I'm proud to be part of that tradition.
And while I did have a PowerPoint presentation with suggestions for how to thrive in long-term sobriety, I mostly told stories. And it was fun for us all.