Stepping Stones to Serenity – 1 – Episode 158

 

This is part 1 of a 4-part seminar titled “Stepping Stones to Serenity”, presented by Ellen C in 2008. This part covers steps 1 through 3.

 

Columbus, Ohio travel

I (Spencer) will be traveling to Columbus, Ohio from June 22-26 for the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association. If you are also attending, I’d love to meet with you for conversation, and if possible to record a short interview for the podcast.

If you live in Columbus, I’d also love to meet with you for conversation and a possible interview. I will be staying at one of the hotels by the convention center, and my schedule will be pretty full, but I’m sure I can carve out time for a cup of coffee.

Finally, if you live in Columbus and you can recommend some good meetings, particularly if there is also an AA meeting at the same time, please do. There are general 12-step meetings embedded in the GA schedule, but I would love to get to a specifically Al-Anon meeting, if I can.

Email feedback@therecoveryshow.com if you’d like to meet or if you have meeting recommendations. Thank you.

Seeing Clearly – Episode 157

I see you“Our sight, once clouded and confused, will clear and we will be able to perceive reality and recognize truth.”

Our sight, once clouded…

  • Implies impaired vision
  • Only able to see a short distance
  • Lacking perspective
  • Denial
  • Paradoxically living in the future
  • Guilt
  • Overcompensation
  • I had a very narrow vision, everything was black or white, all or nothing
  • Conflict or disagreement was threatening, I did not understand collaboration.

And confused…. How was I confused?

  • Impaired thought processes,
  • Clouded reality also makes me think of the four M’s: martyrdom, manipulation, mothering and managing
  • I was a fixer and manager, I thought that would help the situation
  • I believed I was responsible for everything, I had to do everything for my family
  • I had no understanding of boundaries, healthy relationships, how to nurture them,
  • Any feedback or criticism was interpreted as a direct assault
  • Others came first, always
  • I did not value myself
  • I did not believe myself loveable
  • Believing that I needed to control everything and everyone
  • Believing I had control over people, places, and things
  • Not seeing how my life, my behavior, my attitudes had been affected by this disease.

We will be able to perceive reality

  • We climb out of the clouds one step at a time
  • This is part of the process, it becomes clearer the more we work the steps and use the tools of the program
  • As I work the steps, I become more able to perceive reality
  • Decluttering my mind and life prepares me for future growth

We will be able to recognize truth

  • This is a spiritual concept.  We are spiritual beings, not just beings.
  • Recognize the truth of who and what I am – both positive and negative.
  • I can only do this when I believe in a higher power that I can count on to care for me
  • Looking at parts of myself that I don’t like requires it being balanced with acknowledging my assets
  • Like a tight rope walker with a balancing pole, have to put equal weights on either side or they will fall.
  • On the other hand, this cleared vision allows me to see the behaviors of those in my life for what they were – sometimes lies, sometimes attempts at manipulating me, unnecessary or inappropriate judging coupled with condescension, sometimes attempts at preserving the status quo as I was changing,
  • Allowed me to recognize the truth that my loved ones suffered from an addiction and deserved love and compassion, regardless of what choices I made for myself or what stage of their addiction they were in.

Readings in this episode are from the Al-Anon book Discovering Choices.

This is the third episode in a sequence on the “Gifts of Al-Anon“, which are described on pp. 268-9 of the book From Survival to Recovery.

Upcoming topics include Step 1 “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.” How have you found power in admitting your powerlessness? How was (is) your life unmanageble? How does this step help lead you into recovery? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading “Seeing Clearly – Episode 157”

Life on Purpose – Episode 156

Can you say what is your purpose? How do you decide what to do on a daily basis? What do you want to be “when you grow up”?

This episode is inspired by the book Life on Purpose.

  • How has recovery challenged me to articulate my values and my purpose?
  • What is the purpose of “purpose”?
    • Give direction and meaning to my life
    • Articulate what matters to me
  • Creating my life vs taking life for granted.
  • Live a longer and healthier life?
  • “So let’s imagine a drug that was shown to add years to your life; reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke; cut your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by more than half; help you relax during the day and sleep better at night; double your chances of staying drug- and alcohol-free after treatment; activate your natural killer cells; diminish your inflammatory cells; increase your good cholesterol; and repair your DNA. What if this imaginary drug reduced hospital stays so much that it put a dent in the national health-care crisis? Oh, and as a bonus, gave you better sex? The pharmaceutical company who made the drug would be worth billions. The inventors of the drug would receive Nobel Prizes and have institutes named for them! But it’s not a drug. It’s purpose. And it’s free. Oh, and the side effects? More friends. More happiness. Deeper engagement in life. And did I mention better sex?”
  • Eudaimonic (self-transcending) vs Hedonic (self-enhancing) pleasure.
    • Eudaimonic pleasure: Connecting with our (inner) divinity, living in harmony with it.
    • Hedonic pleasure: gratifying short-term desires.
    • How do we do this in recovery? Step 11!
  • How do I find and describe my purpose?
    • Consider my different roles? Do I have a purpose in each of those roles?
      • Community
      • Work
      • Family
      • Self
    • What do I want written on my headstone? (“Mentor, Husband and Father”? Or “Highest score in Candy Crush”?)
  • What are my values?
    • From episode 101: Integrity, Commitment, Acceptance, Love
    • How do these drive my purpose?
    • What other values might be part of my purpose?
    • What are the values of people I admire? How do they live their purposes?
  • Affirming values as a reason for behavior change enhances the ability to make that change. (Connecting to Steps 6 & 7.)
    • A positive approach to behavior change.
    • From AA Big Book: “On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.”
    • And “When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.”
  • What are my goals (based on my values)? (Statements starting with “To…”)
    • To lead others into recovery. (Community)
    • To create software that makes a difference in people’s lives. (Work)
    • To be a loving and committed husband, father, and son. (Family)
    • To be fully present and to enjoy life. (Personal)
  • Self-transcendance
    • Step 3 – Living according to my Higher Power’s will.
    • “Make the other band members look and sound good. Bring out the best in them; that’s your job.” – CHRISSIE HYNDE
    • Find a self-transcending “why” for what I do, and I will do better!
    • But also: set good boundaries!
  • Time management or Energy management?
    • It’s really about energy management.
    • Positive affirmation of values and purpose can increase energy. (also “gratitude list”)
    • But not just energy – it needs direction. Without a direction, all the energy in the world is unlikely to accomplish something.
    • Roughly two thousand years ago, the Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote, “When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
  • Sources of energy
    • Positive emotions or actions.
    • Beauty
    • Doing things for myself
    • SPACE acronym:
    • Physical activity
    • Eating well
    • Sleeping well
    • Presence
    • Creativity
  • Willpower
    • “Now don’t say you can’t swear off drinking; it’s easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.” W. C. FIELDS
    • Positive energy, affirming values, and considering purpose increases will power. (Also SPACE.)
    • “ psychologists have found that willpower acts in a similar manner to a muscle: it can be depleted after mental exertion, it can be strengthened, and it can be fueled.”
  • Using and achieving purpose
    • “The life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it.” SENECA
    • Steps 10, 11, 12.

Upcoming topics include Step 1. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading “Life on Purpose – Episode 156”

Say Yes! to Life – Episode 155

surf!Last weekend, I drove back to the city I grew up in, to attend a memorial service for a childhood friend. As family and friends shared their memories of my friend, I reflected on the ways we say “Yes!” to life in the presence of death. This week, I am re-issuing episode 76, Loss, with a new title. The original notes for that episode follow.

What do you do when you lose someone close to you? How can I use the tools we have learned in the program to get through a loss? I was inspired to this topic by a tragic, accidental death in the past week. It brought me to reflect on the nature of loss, on how loss affects me and those close to me, and how my response to loss is so different now than it was before I came into the program. I used this outline as a guide for my musings.

  • The story.
  • How did I deal with loss in the past?
    • Stuff it
    • Ignore it
    • Numb it
    • Isolate
  • Other kinds of loss?
    • Loss of dreams
    • Loss of friendship
      • Separation and divorce
  • Fear of Loss
  • How has the program helped me to deal with loss?
    • Feel it.
    • Acceptance.
    • Gratitude for what was.
    • Grief process — acknowledge it.
    • Less guilt.
  • How to deal with loss and grief
    • Take care of self
    • Prayer
    • Ask for help
    • Talk about it
    • One Day at a Time
    • Letting go

Our topic for next week is new topic. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading “Say Yes! to Life – Episode 155”