Fathers – Episode 117

IMG_0786.JPGFathers Day is a holiday that recognizes fathers and honors fatherhood. What is or was your relationship with your father? Are you a father yourself? How can recovery help us to be better fathers? Or to improve connections with our fathers?

In this episode, Spencer reflects on how his father affected his life, and on how he has been a father to his own children, while walking through the woods and fields behind his church.

 

 


IMG_0778.JPGUpcoming topics include worry and obsessive thinking. 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 Fathers – Episode 117

Gather your chairs in a circle – Episode 116

unityA couple of weeks ago, at church, we honored our graduating high school seniors. The sermon that day was in the form of advice to those setting out into adult life. What caught my ear was the second point, to “gather your chairs into a circle.” What does this mean, and how does it relate to recovery?

  • We are in community when we “gather our chairs into a circle.”
  • We sometimes “turn our chairs away” and isolate ourselves, especially when life is hard.
  • I did this.
  • At most of my meetings we sit in circles or around a table, facing each other.
  • In our circle we are not alone.
  • In our circles we discover shared experience and share strength and hope.
  • So come into the circle, or find some others and gather your chairs into a new circle.

I also talked a bit about stress and how it has affected me recently. I have been putting my very busy work ahead of “the rest” of my life. When I come home, I just want to “veg”. I feel overwhelmed by all the things I have to do, and so I shut down and don’t start any of them, because it’s “hopeless” to think I could ever do them all. Which, of course, leads to guilt over not having done them. How am I working my way out? First and foremost, recognizing the problem. Admitting it, asking for help. “Doing the next right thing.” Shedding some responsibilities, and deciding what is most important, and putting that first.

In “my life in recovery”, I mentioned an episode of the podcast Podcast Answer Man, which touched me deeply.

Upcoming topics include worry, obsessive thinking, and some more Concepts of service. 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.
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Public outreach – Episode 115

the seaOur 12th Step encourages us to “carry the message to others.” How have you done that? How can we reach out to sufferers who don’t even know about Al-Anon?

Spencer and Eric talk about our experiences with public outreach, roughly following this outline.

  • How did you first get involved in public outreach?
  • What have you or members of your group done as part of your public outreach?
  • What resources are available to help you in doing outreach?
  • Why do you believe that public outreach is important?
  • How have you preserved your anonymity “at the level of press, radio, TV, and films”?
  • How have you cooperated with other recovery groups and programs in your area to carry the message?
  • Have you been involved in other forms of service? In your district? In your group(s)? Personally?
  • How does service help to carry the message?
  • How have all these forms of service supported and enhanced your recovery?

We mentioned many resources for outreach. Here are some of them:

Upcoming topics include worry, obsessive thinking, and caretaking. 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.
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Participation, harmony, and being heard – Episode 114

In your interactions with others, how do you find harmony? Do you sometimes feel that you are not heard? How do Concepts 4 and 5 help? Concept 4 says “Participation is the key to harmony.” and concept 5 states “The rights of appeal and petition protect minorities and insure that they be heard.”

  • How do you understand Concept 4, “Participation is the key to harmony”?
  • What can I do to participate more fully?
  • When I participate in a group, do I feel more a part of it?
  • When I feel part of a group, is it easier for me to be in harmony with its workings?
  • Do I participate actively in my Al-Anon group? In other groups in my life?
  • How do my relationships benefit when I participate fully in all areas of my life?
  • How do I let others participate?
  • What if I disagree with a decision of the majority? Can I still be heard?
    • In Al-Anon?
    • In my workplace?
    • In my family?
    • With my friends?
  • How willing am I to listen to Al-Anon? my family? at work?
  • How do the “rights of appeal and petition” help me find my voice when I am in the minority?
  • Why is it important that minority opinions be expressed and heard?
  • How has learning that I have a right to speak up changed the way I feel about myself?
  • When is it just as important to keep my opinion to myself as it is to share it?
  • How can concept 5 help me change how I feel about people who disagree with me?
  • What can I do when I react negatively to someone’s opinion?
  • How can I use steps 1-3 and “Let Go and Let God” in conjunction with these two concepts?
  • Final words?

Upcoming topics include service and obsession. 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.
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Fun – Episode 113

Family-1How do you have fun? Do you have fun? Has your concept of fun changed in recovery?

Join Spencer and Brooke as we talk about fun, and hear the contributions a couple of listeners sent in via email.

  • What does “fun” mean to you?
  • How did you think about having fun before recovery?
  • Could you have fun by yourself or did it have to involve others?
  • What have you learned about having fun in your recovery?
  • What do you to for fun?
  • Are you able to have fun even when life is not perfect?

Our topic for next week addresses participation, harmony, and being heard in decision making. Specifically, we will talk about Concepts 4 and 5, which say, respectively, “Participation is the key to harmony” and “The rights of appeal and petition protect minorities and insure that they be heard.” 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.
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Do you drink? – Episode 112

Do you drink? Did you drink with your alcoholic loved one? How has recovery changed how you drink? How you think about drinking? Did you stop drinking? Why?

Spencer talks about his personal experience with drinking, about how he drank with his loved one, and about how that changed with recovery and how his feelings about drinking have become complicated.

A listener asked about the topic of sponsorship, which we discussed in episode 25 and in a round table.

An upcoming topic is “fun”. How do you have fun? What does fun mean to you? Is the way you are able to think about fun changed in 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.
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Prayer – Episode 111

AcceptanceDo you pray? What is prayer? How can it support your recovery?

In this episode, Spencer shares his personal journey to and understanding of prayer.

  • I did not grow up with a tradition of prayer.
    • My idea of prayer as a young person: “God, please give me a pony.”
    • It didn’t work!
  • I did not grow up with an understanding of or belief in God.
    • So prayer is meaningless, right?
  • The 12 steps challenged me to find meaning in these concepts: God and Prayer.
  • What is prayer? How do we pray? Why do we pray?
  • Serenity prayer — helped me to get through difficult moments/hours/days.
    • My first experience of non “pony” prayer.
    • I say “God, grant me the serenity…”
    • The atheist version: “Please grant me the serenity…”
  • Going beyond the serenity prayer…
    • 3rd & 7th step prayers from AA big book.
    • “God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!”
    • “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.”
    • Another version of 3rd step prayer: “God, help me remove the blinders of self-will. Help me see what is true. Teach me so that I can be of service. Free me from fear, from hate, from greed, from discontent so that I may contribute myself to your work. Allow me to see what you would have me do and grant me the strength to follow through.”
  • Anne Lamott suggests that there are 3 “essential” prayers: Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
    • The serenity prayer is a “Help” prayer, as are the 3rd and 7th step prayers.
    • When I express gratitude, whether to God or the universe, I am praying “Thanks”.
    • a prayer of gratitude, sung this morning at church
      • We give thanks for this precious day / for all gathered here and those far away / for this time we share with love and care / Oh, we give thanks for this precious day.
    • A “Wow!” prayer: e.e. cummings, “i thank You God for most this amazing day
    • Another Wow! prayer: Hallelujah Chorus, which we sang together after the service this morning.
  • A fourth kind of prayer, which I might call “Be well”. Every Sunday, we sing our children to their classes with this: Go now in peace / Go now in peace / May the spirit of love surround you everywhere / everywhere you go.
  • Why do I pray?
    • “Prayer doesn’t change the world, prayer changes me.”
    • A prayer that I say every morning (when I remember): “Lord, help me to hold myself and others to a standard of grace, rather than perfection.” Why? Because it addresses (at least) two of my character defects: perfectionism and my expectation that others will do things my way. (Thus: part of my seventh step practice.)
    • It reminds me that others are also children of God, that they have inherent worth and deserve respect, and that I am not in control.
    • Prayer reminds me that I am not alone and that I need not solve all my problems by myself.
    • Prayer gives me a way to focus on that which is important to me.
    • Prayer gives me a way to express my hopes and fears.

Upcoming topics include Fun! How do you have fun? How have you learned to have fun?  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 Prayer – Episode 111

Right of Decision – Episode 110

StairsDo you have trouble letting others make decisions? Do you second guess your own decisions? Spencer and Akilah discuss the “right of decision”, as expressed in Al-Anon’s 3rd concept of service, “The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.”

  • What is “the right of decision?”
  • How do we use the right of decision in the program?
    • Example from Spencer’s home group: the “chair” chooses the person who gives the lead each week.
    • GR, delegates to assembly, etc.
  • How do we use the right of decision in our own lives?
    • From Paths to Recovery (pg. 265): “In our own lives, the right of decision means we have the right to proceed in the best way we know and to ask for help when it is needed.”
  • How does this concept connect with Tradition 2? (For our group purpose there is but one authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants—they do not govern.) With Step 3? (Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.)
  • Can I make a decision and be comfortable with it? If not, why not?
  • Do I ever ask someone to do a task and then try to direct the details of how it should be done? If so, how can I change this pattern?
  • The 3rd concept section of the AA 12, 12 and 12 study guide starts with the statement “We serve by acting on our conscience through our “Right of Decision” and we trust others when they exercise their ‘Right of Decision.”
  • Am I acting in any area of my life that is contrary to my own conscience?
  • Am I mistrustful of the decisions of others in authority over me?
  • Am I demanding that anyone else act contrary to their conscience in order to please me?
  • From Paths to Recovery: Is [concept three] not letting go and letting God?


Reference: 12, 12 and 12 study guide on Concept 3: http://1212and12.org/homework/concepts/1212and12_concept_3.pdf

Upcoming topics include parenting, caretaking, and fun. 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.
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Dry Drunk – Episode 109

turtleWhat is “dry drunk”? Can an Al-Anon exhibit similar symptoms?

A few weeks ago, Jennifer suggested the topic of “dry drunk.” Then Ruth mentioned how she feels when she misses a few meetings. And then, I heard a talk about “dry drunk” on the Recovery Radio Network podcast.

We start with a talk from Dick S titled “Recovery is Forever: Dry Drunk Revisited”.

My experience with “dry Al-Anon”:

  • My realization from the Step 3 reading in “Paths to Recovery”.
    • “As we grow in the program, we find ourselves returning again and again to these basic principles when faced with new challenges.”
  • The moment of truth: A co-worker’s talk with me on Friday about my behavior earlier in the week.
  • Looking back:
    • Feeling complacent.
    • Missing meetings.
    • “White knuckle”
  • My solution?
    • Re-establish routine of prayer and meditation.
    • Recognize the importance of meetings
    • Say “yes” to the program!

Our topic for next week is Concept 3, which says “The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.” What is the “right of decision”? How does it help? How can you apply this to your personal life, your family, your workplace? (And, of course to your Al-Anon group!) 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.

You can find the original of Dick’s talk on the Recovery Radio Network, along with many other talks.

 

 

Criticism and Self-Compassion – Episode 108

4511993528_17b91f6985_bDo you have a voice inside you that criticizes everything you do? Can you find compassion for yourself when your internal critic is harsher than what others say about you? Spencer and Brooke talk about criticism and self-compassion.

Some of the questions we considered were these. How might you answer these questions?

  • Do I have an internal critic? (Don’t we all?)
  • How loud is it?
  • How harsh is it?
  • How do I react to criticism from others?
  • How does my internal critic react to criticism from others?
  • How does my internal critic react to praise from others?
  • Do I find it easier to have compassion for others than for myself?
  • How do I struggle to find compassion for myself?
  • How do I struggle to see myself as worthy?
  • How can seeing myself as worthy, and having compassion for my failings, help me to deal with criticism from others?
  • What program tools can I use to make it easier to find self-compassion and self-worth?
  • Steps 2 & 3 remind me that I have a higher power that loves me.
  • Steps 4 and 5 encourage me to look at myself honestly and fearlessly. By sharing my faults with my Higher Power and another person, I find that I am not defined by my “defects”
  • Steps 6, 7, 8, and 9 show me that there is a way to change and to let go of my self-criticism for past actions.
  • Step 10 helps me to not have new things to kick myself about.
  • Step 11 encourages me to connect more closely to my Higher Power. Meditation can help me to live in the moment instead of the past.
  • What slogans help me?
  • How does listening (and sharing) in meetings, or with a sponsor or program friend help?
  • What might I say to a newcomer who is strugging with self-criticism?

Upcoming topics include caretaking, parenting, and Concept 3, which says “The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.” What do you think this means for you? 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 Criticism and Self-Compassion – Episode 108