Living with alcoholism or addiction – Episode 70

DSC_4706Do you wonder how you’re going to make it through another day with the drinking and chaos? Have you had thoughts of leaving or worse? Today we have 4 stories of living with active alcoholism or addiction.

We hear personal stories from Julie, Jen, Maria, and Spencer. Each of us was given the following questions as a prompt, and although our stories are different, they are also the same.

  • Tell me a little bit about your situation:
    • What relationship do you have with the active alcoholic or addict?
    • Is he or she living in your home?
    • How long have you been living with active alcoholism?
    • Are you still living with the alcoholic or have you separated?
  • How long have you been attending AlAnon meetings?
  • How long have you been working the AlAnon program, if that’s different from the answer to the previous question?
  • How are you using the tools of the AlAnon program in your situation?
    • Which slogans do you find helpful?
    • How do you recognize your powerlessness?
    • What do you have power to affect or change?
  • Are you keeping the focus on yourself first?
  • Are you practicing detachment? With love?
  • Are you recognizing where you have enabled the alcoholic in the past?
  • How are you working to not enable now?
  • Has AlAnon helped you to be less angry, sad, scared, frustrated, anxious, (add your own favorite emotion here)?
  • What questions and issues are you struggling with now?
    • With respect to the alcoholic?
    • With respect to other family members such as children?
    • With respect to yourself?
    • With respect to the relationship you have with the alcoholic?

Upcoming topics include “recovery on the road” — how do you take recovery with you? And tradition 5, which for me captures the essence of AlAnon, says “Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.” 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 Living with alcoholism or addiction – Episode 70

Tradition 4 – autonomy – Episode 69

hope through adversityDo you like some meetings better than others? Do you wish all meetings would do things the same way? Do feel you should be able to do whatever you want, regardless of others? Stick around, because today, we’re going to talk about Tradition 4, which says “Each group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole.”

Spencer and Rachel talk about Tradition 4. As we do, we consider these questions and others.

What does this tradition say to you about how we can and cannot conduct our meetings?
What is autonomy?
How might the actions of a particular group affect “Alanon or AA as a whole”?
How does this tradition suggest that a group takes responsibility for their actions?
How can you apply this tradition to your own life?
How do you take responsibility for your own actions?
How do you allow others to take responsibility for their own actions?
Think about other groups you are a member of (family, affinity group, group of close friends).
Do these groups follow this tradition? What would happen if they did?

Our topic for next week is living with active alcoholism or addiction. 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 Tradition 4 – autonomy – Episode 69

Forgiveness – Episode 68

Holocaust memorial, Berlin, GermanyDo you have trouble forgiving the alcoholic or addict in your life? Have you carried hurts long after the person who hurt you is gone from your life? How can we forgive without forgetting? Let’s talk about forgiveness.

Spencer and Erika share their experience, strength, and hope about forgiveness, and try to address these questions.

What do the quotes that we opened the show with say to you about forgiveness?
How does this compare to the way you used to think about forgiveness?
Did you (or do you) think about forgiveness as giving a “free pass” to the person who hurt you?
Do you now think about forgiveness as “a gift you give to yourself”? (Or can you be willing to think about it that way now?)
How can forgiveness connect to the love of your higher power?
What Al-Anon tools can you use to help move from anger and resentment to forgiveness?
Inventory — seeing “my part” (and I there is almost always “my part” as well as “their part”)
Compassion — especially helpful for me in finding forgiveness for my alcoholic loved one’s actions during her active disease.
Prayer and meditation. Praying for the person I want to forgive, even if it’s just the “SOB prayer.”
Seeing that the other person is a human being, with faults, and that they were doing the best they knew at the time.
Setting boundaries to prevent the hurt from happening again.
How can I find forgiveness for myself, for my past actions that hurt others? (Same tools?)
What about “unforgiveable” behaviors? How can I let them go so that they’re not continuing to affect my serenity and continuing to drag me down?

Our topic for next week is Tradition 4. Upcoming topics include living with active alcoholism and taking recovery on the road.  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 Forgiveness – Episode 68

Made a Decision – Episode 67

20130814-130029.jpgI’ve titled today’s episode Made a Decision. I am going to relate my the story of my journey to and through Step 3, “Made a decision to turn our will and our live over to  the care of God as we understood God.” I started from unbelief, was told to “act as if”, found willingness, and eventually surrendered. But still, I must give my will over on a daily basis, because I continue to try to take it back.

  • My Story
    • What is this “God” thing of which you speak?
    • How can I turn my will and my life over to something I don’t believe in?
    • “Act as if”
    • Letting go of my loved one’s recovery (or lack thereof)
    • The meeting and the program as my HP
    • A later understanding of surrender — just going to meetings
    • Unmanageability as motivation
    • Evidence of God working in my life
    • Growing willingness
    • Surrender
    • God suggests — sometimes I listen
    • Daily practice
  • What holds me back?
    • My intellect
    • Fear (of losing control)
    • Desire for my outcome
  • What pushed me forward
    • Clear unmanageability of life
    • Seeing it work — when I listened
    • My will has often led me into trouble
  • Change requires changing — letting go of old ways — I can’t do it alone

Our topic for next week is Forgiveness. 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 Made a Decision – Episode 67

let god – a guest meditation by Karla

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

 

TIMELY WIND

The eagle soars away into the sky
And yet he never plumbs the depths of space.
The four seasons give place to one another,
Yet never seem to have an end or a beginning.
When the one dry tree on the hill is blown down
By the timely wind, what can one do?

“Song of the Golden Elephant” in Mudra: Early Poems and Songs by Chögyam Trungpa, page 31

By Shambala Publications

Consciously working on my third step again “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”, especially this morning as I put the results of my daily efforts in my Higher Power’s hands. “May your will be done”, I repeated, as I got up and carried on with my day. Especially because I am beginning to write the first article I will ever write as a professional, and I feel scared. The above excerpt from a poem eased my pain, visualizing how everything changes in an infinite continuum, a continuous loss and gain through the changing seasons of my life and the universe.

I lost the key to my gym locker this morning and I have to pay a fee I do not want to pay to replace it. I felt a sense of loss about not being able to trust myself sometimes when I am distracted. I stopped a moment, held my head with both my hands, and felt the subtle pain of loss through my body. I repeated to myself a quote from Courage to Change “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in it’s hands.” ~Richard Bach. Then I got up, did what I had to do, and carried on with my day.

Life does not go as I expect it when I let go and let god, but it goes as is best for me.  I don’t understand what gifts are wrapped withing my problems and challenges, but I trust those gifts are richer than I expect. I am willing to enjoy soaring into the sky, adapting to the ever changing seasons of life. Every time that life asks me to face my fears and myself, I want to feel my feelings and let go, one day at a time.

A meditation for March 29, 2014.

Continue reading let god – a guest meditation by Karla

Codependency – Episode 66

If you put your loved one’s needs ahead of your own… If you feel that others’ happiness is your responsibility… If your response to “what do you want for dinner” is “what do you want?”  … Then you’ve come to the right place, because today, we’re going to talk about codependency.

Spencer took this one solo, trying to follow this rough outline:

  • Wikipedia says “Codependency is defined as a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (typically narcissism or drug addiction); and in broader terms, it refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.”
  • Did you have any understanding of codependency before you came into recovery? Had you even heard of it?
  • When did you first hear of codependency? What did you think it meant then?
  • How has your understanding of codependency changed?
  • In what ways do you have codependent behavior?
  • How have you recovered from your own codependent behavior? What program tools do you use?
  • How do you deal with other people’s codependent behavior?
    • In your family?
    • With friends?
    • With co-workers?

Upcoming topics include Tradition 4, forgiveness, and how to take recovery with you when you travel. 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 Codependency – Episode 66

Hope – Episode 65

Wow!“… we shall hew from this mountain of despair a small stone of hope.” — Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is hope? How do we find hope when we are overwhelmed by a mountain of despair? Spencer, Maria, and May talk about their experiences of finding hope in the midst of their times of confusion, fear, and despair.

Some of the questions we used to guide our discussion included these:

  • How did you experience hope before you came to the program?
    • Did you “hope for” particular outcomes?
  • Has your conception or experience of hope changed as you have worked the program?
  • Do you see a difference between having a hopeful attitude versus an optimistic attitude?
    • The “Stockdale paradox” is that the POWs in Vietnam who didn’t survive were the optimists.
  • In his “dream” speech, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  said “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
    • What does this say to you?
  • Does faith support or engender hope for you? (Faith in a higher power, faith in the program, faith that there are good people, faith…)
  • How can we find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation?
  • Can hope lift us from despair, as King suggests?

Upcoming topics are forgiveness, co-dependency, and Tradition 4. 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 Hope – Episode 65

Detachment – a “best of” episode – Episode 64

Early on, I was told to practice “loving detachment.” I already knew how to do “middle finger detachment,” but detaching with love was a foreign concept. In this “best of” episode from February 2013, Kelli, Swetha, and Spencer share their experience, strength, and hope about this complex topic.

Our topic for next week is hope. 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 Detachment – a “best of” episode – Episode 64

Tradition 3 – Episode 63

DSC_4706Spencer, Ruth, and Wendy talk about Tradition 3, which states “The relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.

Ruth contributed her reading of Tradition 3 in German: “Wenn sich Angehörige von Alkoholikern zu gegenseitiger Hilfe versammeln, können sie sich Al-Anon Familiengruppe nennen, vorausgesetzt, dass sie – als Gruppe – keine andere Bindung haben. Die einzige Voraussetzung für die Zugehörigkeit ist, dass bei einem Angehörigen oder Freund ein Alkoholproblem besteht.” (From http://www.al-anon.de/grund/programm/12traditionen.htm)

Ruth and Spencer talked by Skype, and we then added her contributions into the conversation with Wendy. We used these questions to guide our discussions:

How do you interpret the word “relatives” in this tradition?
What about “alcoholic” and “alcoholism”?
Does your loved one have to admit they are alcoholic before you qualify for Al-Anon?
What if the alcoholic is no longer present in your life?
Do you think this tradition is intended to be inclusive or exclusive? Or maybe some of both?
How do you feel about including members whose loved ones are addicts to another drug or behavior?
Can alcoholics and addicts qualify?
How do we welcome them and keep the focus on Al-Anon at the same time?
What does this tradition suggest about how our groups function?
Welcoming new members?
Keeping focus on Al-Anon?
Who gets to decide whether someone is qualified to attend Al-Anon?
Can we read this tradition to say “we don’t judge motives”?
How can I use this tradition in my personal life?
How can I use it at work?
How can I use it in relationships?

Our topic for next week is Hope. A cancer surgeon recommended that his patient’s family cultivate a hopeful attitude rather than an optimistic attitude.  How is hope different from optimism? Can we have hope in “hopeless” situations? 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 Tradition 3 – Episode 63

Changed Attitudes – Episode 62

We say “changed attitudes can aid recovery”. But how do we change our attitudes? How does it help? Spencer and Rachel talk about changed attitudes.

 at·ti·tude

  1. a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.
  2. the orientation of an aircraft or spacecraft, relative to the direction of travel.

We used these questions to guide our discussion:

  • What is “attitude” anyway?
  • Do I generally have a negative attitude or a positive attitude?
  • Can you make deliberate changes in attitude?
  • One definition: “Angle of approach”
    • If you use this definition, how does this change your answer?
    • Can you change your attitude by looking at your situation / events / other people from a different point of view?
  • Have you changed your attitudes since coming to the program?
  • How does a change in attitude help me to accept powerlessness?
    • To help me see what I *can* change?
    • To stop “taking it personally”?
  • What tools have helped you change attitude?
    • Steps?
    • Slogans?
    • Other people’s experience, strength and hope?
    • From meetings
    • Literature
    • “open” talks
    • Higher power, prayer, meditation
  • How have changes in attitude helped you
    • In relationships?
    • At work?
    • Dealing with the addict/alcoholic(s) in your live?
    • Living?

Our topic for next week is Tradition 3, which states “The relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.” 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 Changed Attitudes – Episode 62