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Grapevine : April 2011
done. I was so miserable, in fact, that I thought to ask for help, requesting a group conscience meeting to make absolutely sure that in stopping long shares, I was acting as the group wished me to. For several weeks beforehand, I announced the group conscience meeting, each time explaining that I was seeking guidance on how to handle shares that went beyond the normal length of time. After one such announcement, a woman came up to me and said, "You're very brave to do this." It hadn't occurred to me to be nervous or frightened (although I had certainly witnessed some group conscience meetings where emotions ran high), but once I heard that comment, I was terrified. I knew that I was going to be...what? Corrected? Reprimanded? Stripped of my chairmanship? Drawn and quartered? I didn't know what was going to happen, but I was sure it wouldn't be good. In fact, what happened at the group conscience meeting wasn't good; it was great. The discussion was thoughtful, even profound, and abundantly loving, both toward me and toward people who wanted to share at length. As a result, language was added to our opening script to ask those present to keep their shares to two or three minutes, and chairpersons were authorized to re- mind people of those guidelines if necessary. The change in the script wasn't the only change that occurred that evening. Witnessing the good- will of my fellow AAs made me a little more trusting and a little more willing to ask for help. Putting my ego aside to ask oth- ers for help still doesn't come natu- rally, so I've made it a part of my Tenth Step inventory, asking, "Have I failed to ask for help when I need- ed it today?" I am astonished how often the answer is yes. Not asking, it seems, is a deeply ingrained trait, as most of my character defects are. But the rewards of asking for help--- increased humility, connection, and trust---are well worth the effort. Before this article goes to the Grapevine, it will have been read by several thoughtful AAs of my acquaintance; if it gets into print, Grapevine editors, too, will have used their skills on it. The article may be a little less "mine" in the end, but it will be better because I've asked for help, and so will I. Marcia J. Phoenix, Ariz. The argument ended when I screamed at my husband, 'I hate you, I hate you, I hate you! I'm going to kill myself, and you can't stop me!' aagrapevine.org 21