I find it helpful sometimes to remember what it felt like to be a newcomer in a meeting. I can remember the first meeting I attended very well. I didn't have a clue what to expect and didn't know if I would be accepted. I felt inside that nobody could be as confused as I was and I was very hesitant about sharing anything. I had dismissed my feelings for so long, I don't know that I even knew what I was feeling.
I sat there and listened as the sharing passed from person to person around the table. I heard stories and experiences that sounded just like what I was dealing with. Yet, here was this person looking so happy and healthy; surely if they could do it, so could I. I still felt "less-than" and it took me many, many meetings before I felt safe enough to share from the heart.
If someone comes into a meeting now, I try to realize that they are a work in progress, just as I was. I can't help them by giving advice; I can't help them by reverting back to unhealthy behaviors; I can't help them by "fixing" their life. I can help them by helping myself; by being honest about myself and my behaviors; by showing up; and by listening to those first attempts at crossing that bridge into healthy living.