As a woman in recovery, I recently encountered a challenging situation in an online AA meeting. A man, who I have long perceived as pretentious and condescending, began to share his thoughts on the program. Despite his established sobriety time and his status as a role model for many newcomers, his words were dismissive and patriarchal, implying that the only way to work a strong program in AA was to follow the Big Book like scripture.
This man's words were especially concerning because they denigrated the experiences and shares of others in the meeting. As a woman, I found the Big Book to be limiting and not relatable to my own experiences. I have found greater insight and understanding in my recovery through listening to other women, my sponsor, and other literature outside of the program.
In response to the man's dismissive words, I felt compelled to speak up and defend the experiences of others in the meeting. I shared that I did not find anyone's shares to be silly and expressed gratitude for the honesty and vulnerability of everyone who shared.
My partner later reflected on the situation and questioned my approach, suggesting that I may have caused harm to the man who had disregarded others' experiences. I disagreed with my partner's perspective and explained that, as someone with a voice and privilege, it is my duty to call out unjust actions and advocate for those who may not have a platform to do so.
I refuse to remain silent in the face of oppressive behavior, even if it makes others uncomfortable. My sobriety is not meant to silence me but rather to empower me to speak my truth and challenge systems of oppression. I did not get sober to be silenced, and I will not be deterred from using my voice to effect positive change in the world.