March 16, 2011

The Way of the Program, to Vent or Not to Vent?

Just like in Al-anon, many of us come to EA out of a need to solve a relationship problem.  We don't realize until we get a little ways into recovery that, in order to find our own wellness, we need to let go of both our comfort and our discomfort in our assumed family role.  In short, we need the change to begin with us, and not our problem person. Most times we are the only ones with the (initial) awareness it takes in order to change. 
Before our twelve step programs, I believed venting about my problems was the only way to be honest.  Feeling my feelings and speaking them out loud was my way of coping. Especially with anger. Venting is what some might call my "out loud" thinking.
Has anyone else noticed that, in a face-to-face meeting, few people vented in the way you might have hoped?   Even in the beginning, I could tell meetings were a special place, very different from group therapy, conversation, or confession. My early meetings were also welcome change from trying to reason with my family member. 
From the mental health perspective of Emotions Anonymous, fellow members also refrained from asking if I had a diagnosis; instead they were so matter-of-fact that I suspected I could recover from my own special disorder. That's why I decided to take some time to listen. I spent a long time observing how others shared, and learning from their different examples.  
For it can take some time for us to understand what is going on, and understand what is working or not working, in the different ways folks “do the program.”  We might see real quickly in a face-to-face meeting, that venting is an accepted stage of recovery.. and we are encouraged not to stay in that phase too long


  1. I so agree. Meetings are a special place. And eventually we focus on the solution and not the problem

  2. Yes, the solutions.... but first... we must speak our truth to someone who will listen....


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~