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1st AA Lead
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November 1st I will have 1 year of sobriety. I have been asked to give an hour lead soon and I'm really nervous. Is anyone aware of any AA guidelines out there for how to structure a lead? I've been told to speak from my heart and I will be fine however a 1 hour talk is very intimidating!!! Any advice would be so greatly appreciated! Thanks!!!
Posted on 10/23/09, 09:57 pm
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Reply #1 - 10/23/09  10:03pm
" Pray first. Then just follow your heart. "
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Reply #2 - 10/23/09  10:33pm
" I keep the following in mind when speaking at meetings:-

Experience, Strength, Hope

In a general way - What I used to be like, what happened. what I am like now.

I try to share about my drinking for the purposes of helping a newcomer identify with step 1 - so emphasis on how the phenomenon of craving, mental obsession, spiritual malady manifested themselves and affected my life. Rather than a long description of everything that happened to me when I was drinking.

I also try to get a good balance between my drinking and my recovery in terms of how I got well and how my life has changed. For me I find it difficult when a speaker talks about their drinking for 55 minutes and then says I came to AA and got well and that is the end. I like to hear about how a person got well and deals with their life sober as that is what helps me to do it for myself.

Hope this gives you something to think about. I keep these general things in mind and then find that when I speak I seem to say what I am meant to say at that time. It sometimes doesnt feel as if I have much to do with it - I am the messenger not the message. Absolutely right that speaking from the heart is so much more powerful than just saying what we think we are supposed to say.

Good luck, looking forward to hearing how it goes. :-) "
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Reply #3 - 10/23/09  10:58pm
" I think you got the best advice with 'lead with your heart' JGal. I guest speak at Defence units here and always wonder sometimes what I'm going to say, but then I remember what my sponsor used to say and it was pretty much just to 'follow my heart'. I've never prepared a speech, just gotten up, closed my eyes, taken a breathe and the words have come. it's usually briefly about where I've been, how I came to get sober, and mostly how I came to be where I am today and the amazing journey it's been. I do check myself sometimes to stay on track, but the content is unscripted.

As Nicky mentioned, experience, strength and hope. I love to make eye contact with people in the room. I can see the pain in some, who can't lift their eyes, the eagerness to commit to sobriety in those who sit on the edge of their chairs, and the uncertainty of others who are not sure if they're in the right place. We may not reach all we share with, but if our experiences can relate to just one who may be listening, then it's worth the effort yeah. Congratulations on your first year JGal, it's truly an inspiration and offers so much hope to others. Best of luck and 'lead with your heart'. CM xxx "
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Reply #4 - 10/23/09  11:33pm
" WHen I first began AA, I was amazed at these people who could get up there and so elequently, for an entire hour, tell their story. And I never once was disappointed-and I am a tough critic! These people, I could tell, all spoke from something deep within them-they were maybe nervous, but got beyond that and told their story because it was important and real. Like others have said-tell it from your heart. You can get a rough outline prior-like what you want to touch on and such-but let your heart flow. People will love it.

I swear it was like God was guiding these people I saw-they were better speakers than any I have seen. Just ordinary recovering alkis-so inspired. "
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Reply #5 - 10/24/09  6:51am
" Hi jgal congrats on your upcoming 1 year sobriety birthday.
Some sound advice posted to you allready so I can't add to that
Notice your in the states.When you say asked to "give an hour lead" that suprised me.I live in the uk and in my area we or ocasionaly asked to share our "experiance strrength and hope at what would usually be an open meeting but are only required to speak for 15 to 20 minutes. Usually 3 speakers at the top table for these meetings.
I've never heard anyone share for an hour but i supose if you have seen quite a few people do this then that's the norm
Wish you well and remember no one is judging you. You are giving of yourself which is a key part of recovery imo "
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Reply #6 - 10/24/09  7:19am
" Thank you guys and girls for the wonderful advice. I really appreciate it and it is so nice to not only have the support in the meetings I go to but here as well. Thanks! :))) "
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Reply #7 - 10/24/09  7:28am
" Hi Rival! Thanks for your post. In my area we also have a few meetings a year in which 3 people are asked to give "mini" leads for 15 minutes. My home group is hosting an annual gratuity bean dinner in November where this will happen. The last Monday of every month however is when we ask someone usually 1 yr plus and up to give an hour lead. I love going to meetings not only at my home group but in other states too when I travel. I don't travel abroad much however if I ever get the chance I'm sure that would be amazing too! And I agree with you and will keep in mind that no one is judging me up there! I have found that quality of AA and it's members to be one of the many reasons why it works! Thanks for sharing with me! "
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Reply #8 - 10/24/09  7:57am
" Just don't drink between now and then and ask your Higher Power to guide you in what it is that you should say and things will go swimmingly well.

They say that if one is nervous that one should imagine those in the audience just sitting there in their underwear, but if your meetings are anything like mine, well, I wouldn't imagine such a thing. Thank the Gods for the oldtimers who have helped me and who have taken me under their wings, but I cannot and will not imagine them in their underwear and then expect to be calmed. Shocked maybe, but calmed enough to speak better, no. "
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Reply #9 - 10/24/09  10:50am
" well in my exp someone who is speaking for the whole hr should have been thru all 12 steps with a sponsor and atleast be actively trying to sponsor others thru the steps. Like what nikki share its best to usually split the hr with what it was like what happend and what its like to day. The latter being what it was like to go thru the steps with your sponsor , what it was like to make all your ammends off your list, what its like to have that relaitionship with God now and what it is like to take new commers thru the steps and to get the privledge to watch them recover and thier familes get reunited. How the steps gave us dignity and how we can now walk with our heads held high. Thats my exp with doing leads and pretty much everyone who speaks at my home group which every week is a speaker meeting where the speaker speaks for the whole hr. PPl have traveled all over the east coast to come and carry that message every week at the group so its always a uplifting message of hope and never a bithc session of how hard it is to stay sober I hear at many other aa meetings. "
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Reply #10 - 10/24/09  12:36pm
" Dear Journey,

You have gotten some very good advice here. Oh, thank God for your first year! I assume you are VERY excited! :-)

The only thing I could add is that the time you take is not important. I have seen leads take 15 minutes and others take 1.5 hours (or more). Don't get hung up on the time factor. Just get up there and ask God to help you tell your story. It really is just you talking about you. As long as you go up with the attitude that I want to help someone today, you will do fine.

I heard someone criticise a lead for being to long. The lead was about 1 hour and 15 minutes. I stood up and commented about her lead because I know her pretty well. I first turned to the former commenter and told him that her her lead was fine and that his criticism was undue.

So just just pray and do your best. It is amazing that you are doing it in the first place. Many commit to a lead and then cancel at the last minute. Where as, there are others that will give a lead at the drop of a hat (to fill in for the leader with cold feet). The devine act is just trying to right. Remember the "we claim spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection" part of the "How It Works?"

You GO girl,
Wayne- "

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