Imperfection – Episode 122

perfectDo you feel that you have to be perfect? Do you go through life as if you’re on a stage? Is it hard to have compassion and love for yourself? Let’s talk about imperfection.

This episode was inspired by the book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, by Brené Brown. The gifts of imperfection, according to Brown, are courage, compassion, and connection. And with them, we can begin to live whole-heartedly.

Think back to your first meeting. How did you find the courage to walk in? How do you now find the courage to openly speak of what is happening in your heart and soul? We practice courage every day, and with it we can begin to embrace our imperfection.

I found compassion for myself as I worked the steps, and in particular as I worked the steps in the company of others. I was able to see my wholeness, to see that I was not uniquely flawed, and to start to accept myself as I was and to find compassion for myself as an imperfect person. And in finding compassion for myself, I could more easily “suffer with” (have compassion for) others.

And the last is not least: connection was the first thing I found in Al-Anon. At the end of my first meeting, I was no longer alone in my struggle and fear and desperation. I found connection, soul-deep connection, with others who were walking my journey. This connection, more than anything, kept me coming back.

What blocks us from living with a whole heart? Brown suggests 10 “guideposts”, each described as a positive attribute, and also described in term of letting go. This resonates strongly with me, because the first slogan I adopted from Al-Anon was “Let Go”. (“Let God” came later.) What are these guideposts?

  1. Authenticity (Letting go of what people think)
  2. Self-Compassion (Letting go of Perfectionism)
  3. Resilient Spirit (Letting go of numbing and powerlessness)
  4. Gratitude and Joy (Letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark)
  5. Intuition and Faith (Letting go of the need for certainty)
  6. Creativity (Letting go of comparison)
  7. Play and Rest (Letting go of exhaustion=status and productivity=self-worth)
  8. Calm and Stillness (Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle)
  9. Meaningful work (Letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”)
  10. Laughter, Song and Dance (Letting go of being cool and in control) 

Upcoming topics include some more Concepts of service, and Al-Anon Dreams. A reader wrote in asking about intervention. If you have had experience with doing an intervention with a loved one, and you would like to share that experience, please call or email. I would love to put together an episode of The Recovery Show on intervention. 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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Laughter – Episode 121

When you came to your first meeting, were people laughing? How did that make you feel? How do you use laughter in your recovery today?

  • When (under what circumstances) did you laugh before program?
  • When and how did you laugh as a child?
  • How did that change as you grew older?
  • How did that change as you were affected by alcoholism/addiction?
  • Could you laugh at yourself then? … about your pain? … about your foibles and shortcomings?
  • How did you feel when you first heard laughter in an Al-Anon meeting?
  • How has recovery changed the way you laugh? Why you laugh?
  • Can you laugh about your pain? … about your shortcomings?
  • How do you see laughter as a healing force?
  • What have you learned about laughter in recovery?

Upcoming topics include Al-Anon dreams, and imperfection. 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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Best of: Our first meetings

What was your experience of your first Al-Anon meeting? Maybe you haven’t been to one yet. Spencer, Kelli, Swetha and 7 other members talk about their first meeting or meetings. Hear how we came to believe that they could find help in Al-Anon. For some of us, the first meeting was transformational and enlightening. Others of us just didn’t get it at first. Some of us went away for a while, but eventually came back and “got it.” From our stories, we identify some things you can do if you’re new to the program, and some things we longer-term members should do to help new members feel welcomed. Listen to our stories, and we think you will find something to identify with, and hopefully something to keep you coming back.

Spencer was out of the country at a wedding, and came back to an overtime week at work, thus this “best of” episode. We will be back soon with new episodes on laughter, on the gifts of imperfection, and on attending recovery conventions.

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Authority and Responsibility – Episode 120

sing joyouslyDo you have trouble letting go of responsibility? Do you take on too much? Or do you give responsibility to someone for something they can’t do? If you’ve ever felt that way, you may find help in Concepts 6 and 7. Concept 6 says “The Conference acknowledges the primary administrative responsibility of the Trustees.” And, Concept 7 states “The Trustees have legal rights while the rights of the Conference are traditional.”

  • How can Concept 6 help me manage my time and accomplish the tasks I need to do?
  • How can I effectively “share the load” with others? What does Concept 6 teach me about that?
  • How do I do my work and allow others to do theirs without interfering or taking it on?
  • Talk about a time when I was overwhelmed by trying to do everything myself?
  • How can clear communication encourage others to help me accomplish a task?
  • How does Concept 6 encourage me to seek the help of those who are qualified for a job?
  • How can Concept 6 motivate me to ask for help when I am frustrated and overwhelmed?
  • How do I determine the difference between legal and traditional rights in my personal life?
  • How can clearly defining my responsibilities keep me from trying to “fix” the lives of others?
  • How can Concept 7 help me clarify my role in difficult situations? (Examples?)
  • How does understanding the rights and responsibilities of each person in a situation help me?
  • How can I apply concept 7 as a parent when making or enforcing rules?

Upcoming topics include laughter. How have you experienced laughter in the program? Did you find it weird at first? How does the ability to laugh at yourself help your recovery? Also, I’m still hoping to hear about your Al-Anon dreams. 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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Worry – Episode 119

vultureDo you worry a lot? Is it hard to get your mind off the terrible things that might happen? Or maybe it’s just obsessing on the stuff that is wrong in your life today?

  • Think about a time before program when you were worrying.
    • What were you worrying about?
    • How did worrying affect your life at the time? (Inability to get things done, acid stomach, lack of sleep, etc?)
    • Did you get any resolution of your problem from your worrying?
  • Think about a recent time when you could have worried?
    • Did you worry?
    • How was it different from the time before?
    • How did you use program tools in this situation?
    • Were you able to move out of worrying into some productive resolution?
  • What is worry?
  • How does it differ from preparation?
    • Slogan: “Worry is not preparation”.
    • But also: “Preparation is not worry.”
  • Does “Let Go and Let God” mean we shouldn’t do anything?
  • What slogans and steps help you when you find yourself worrying?
  • What would you say to someone who can’t stop worrying about their loved one who still drinks or drugs?

Upcoming topics include laughter, Al-Anon dreams, and Concepts 6 & 7. 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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Life on Life’s Terms – Episode 118

At the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.Sometimes life throws us a curve ball. How can we accept it and live life on life’s terms?

Due to some technical difficulties, the episode we had planned for this week did not come together. Instead, I’m talking about taking life on life’s terms. Or maybe it’s about acceptance. Or about Higher Power moments.

Upcoming topics include Concepts 6 (The Conference acknowledges the primary administrative responsibility of the Trustees) and 7 (The Trustees have legal rights while the rights of the Conference are traditional). How might we interpret these in our personal lives? Cara suggested the topic of “Al-Anon dreams”. Share your dreams of relapse or recovery with us, and we’ll make it a poly-voice episode. Eric thought that “laughter in recovery” would be a great topic. So do I! What do you think? 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.

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.
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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.
Continue reading Participation, harmony, and being heard – Episode 114