Alcoholism – a Personal Journey – Episode 85

find meWhat did you think when you first heard the statement that alcoholism is a disease? Did is seem like a cop-out? Did you feel that your loved one just needed to drink normally!? Today, Spencer explores his personal journey of coming to an understanding of this cunning, baffling, and powerful thing called alcoholism.

Here’s a rough outline of the journey in bullet points:

  • Alcoholism? Is that a thing?
  • Alcoholic? Certainly not!
  • The poster.
  • Early explanations
    • Genetics
    • Brain chemistry
    • Recovery and relapse
  • Open talks
    • Eye opening
    • Coming to see the arc of the story — one story in many lives
    • Finding hope
  • Disease concept
    • Brain chemistry?
    • A disease that denies itself
    • Chronic, Progressive, Fatal unless arrested
    • No known “cure” but can be treated
    • Like cancer in remission
    • Lifetime treatment (like diabetes)
  • Compassion

Upcoming topics include “Caretaking or healthy support?”, “Triggers”, and Tradition 9 (Our groups, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.) 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 Alcoholism – a Personal Journey – Episode 85

The 4 Ms – Manipulation Managing Mothering Martyrdom – Episode 84

I see youHave you found yourself trying to do it all? Did you take care of your loved one’s problems? Do you try to force things to work out your way? Have you ever felt totally unappreciated?  The 4 M’s are Managing, Manipulation, Mothering, and Martyrdom.

Join Erika and Spencer as we talk about our experience with the “4 M’s” and how the program has helped us to rely less on these crutches.

  • How do/did I try to manipulate others?
    • “Setting up” a situation
    • passive/agressive behavior
  • How do/did I try to manage and control my live and the lives of those around me?
    • How have I taken on responsibilities that were not mine?
    • Have I ever been called a control freak?
  • How do/did I mother others by “cleaning up” their problems, by doing things for them, etc?
  • How have I played the martyr. What did I hope to gain?
  • What tools does Alanon give us?
  • Inventory – recognizing my behaviors.
  • Loving detachment
  • Self care

Our topic for next week is alcoholism. Other upcoming topics include “is it caretaking or support?” and Triggers or being triggered. 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 The 4 Ms – Manipulation Managing Mothering Martyrdom – Episode 84

Tradition 8 – Episode 83

unityDo you find yourself looking for the “experts” in your meetings? Do you sometimes feel like you have nothing to offer? How do we help one another in Al-Anon? Today, we’re going to talk about Tradition 8, which states “Al-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.”

Spencer and Ruth talk about Tradition 8, guided by these thought questions.

  • How does the reading match with my experience in Al-Anon?
  • Why do we have this tradition?
  • What are the advantages of a “fellowship of equals”?
  • What are the disadvantages?
  • Do I look to certain members as “experts”?
    • How can this be a problem for me?
    • How can this be a problem for them?
  • Do I sometimes feel reluctant to share because I’m not an “expert”?
  • Am I sometimes reluctant to share my problems because I feel I have to be “perfect” in my program?
  • How can I share with others without trying to fix them?
  • Am I sometimes “Mr or Ms Alanon”?
  • How/when am I judgemental?
  • How/when do I take others’ inventories?
  • What about paid employees (“special workers”)?
  • Final thoughts?

Our topic for next week is “The 4 M’s: Managing, Manipulation, Mothering, and Martyrdom”. 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 8 – Episode 83

Suffering is Optional – Episode 82

AcceptanceWhat do we mean when we say “Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional?” What’s the difference? How can we avoid suffering?

Spencer and Maria share their experience about suffering and pain. We used this outline to guide our conversation.

  • What distinction does the quote make between pain and suffering?
  • Does it make sense to say “suffering is pain plus a story we tell ourselves?”
  • What forms can suffering take?
    • Worry.
    • Obsession.
    • Despair.
    • Dullness.
    • Self-pity.
    • Isolation.
    • ?
  • What tools does Al-Anon give is to stop turning pain into suffering?
  • Let go and let God.
  • Just for today.
  • One day at a time.
  • Loving detachment.
  • How important is it?
  • Live and let live.
  • This too shall pass.
  • Patience.
  • Prayer.
  • Hope.
  • Attitude of gratitude.
  • Connection with others — we are not alone.

Our topic for next week is Tradition 8, which states “Al-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.” Why is this important? How does it help us in recovery? Other upcoming topics include “Am I caretaking or am I supporting someone?” and “the 4 M’s: managing, manipulating, mothering and martyrdom.”

If you’ve got something to share on any of these topics, you can join the conversation. Please leave a voicemail at 734-707-8795, use the voicemail button to the right, or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

Continue reading Suffering is Optional – Episode 82

Cause, Cure, Control – The 3 Cs – Episode 81

We are told that “we didn’t cause it, we can’t cure it, and we can’t control it.” The 3 C’s capture our powerlessness. What does this mean for us, what does it mean for the ones we love who are caught in this disease?

  • What are “the 3 C’s”?
    • We didn’t cause our loved one’s alcoholism or addiction.
    • We can’t cure it.
    • We can’t control it.
  • When did you first hear about them?
  • What did you think then?
  • How did you feel?
  • Why are they important?
  • How do they express our powerlessness over alcohol?

We’d love to hear your questions or experience about these upcoming topics:

  • Caretaking or healthy support?
  • Suffering – What does it mean when we say “pain is inevitable but suffering is optional”?
  • Tradition 8 – Al-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

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 Cause, Cure, Control – The 3 Cs – Episode 81

What does it mean to work the steps? – Episode 80

When you first heard “work the steps”, what did you think? Are you still confused about what it means? Or, maybe you’ve worked the steps, but you’re looking for more.

Spencer talks with Ruth, Maria, and Patti about our understanding of and experience of “working the steps”. We consider these questions in our conversations.

  • When you first heard the phrase “work the steps”, what did you think it meant?
  • Have you worked the steps once? More than once?
    • If more than once, how did your understanding of “working the steps” change?
    • How did you work the steps? From a book? With a sponsor? As part of a group?
  • Some steps have clear actions in them (“took an inventory”, “made a list”), and some do not (“came to believe”, “became entirely ready”).
    • Would you say that some steps are “action steps” and some are not?
    • Or, do you believe that all the steps have actions in them?
  • How do you know you have “finished” a step and are ready to move on to the next one?
  • If you are a sponsor, how do you guide your sponsees in working the steps?

Our topic for next week is “The 3 C’s“. We are told that “We didn’t cause it, we can’t cure it, and we can’t control it.” How does this help? Does it help? 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.
Continue reading What does it mean to work the steps? – Episode 80

Tradition 7 – Episode 79

DSC_5353

How is Al-Anon funded? Why don’t we take outside contributions? What if we all lived our lives that way? Tradition 7 states “Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.”

Spencer and Ruth discuss these questions and others as we explore our understanding of Tradition 7.

  • The statement of this tradition is pretty clear. Why do you think we have this tradition?
  • How does Tradition 7 relate to Tradition 6, which says, in part, “Our Family Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim.”
  • Are there other ways, besides financial, in which our groups are self-supporting?
  • How can I be of service to my meeting(s)? How have I been of service?
  • How do I use this tradition in my personal life?
  • How am I self supporting
    • Financially?
    • Socially?
    • Spiritually?
    • Emotionally?
    • Mentally?
    • Physically?
  • How have I felt when I was dependent on others?
  • Have I expected that “the world” owed me? In what ways? How did I feel? How did I act?
  • How has my self-worth depended on being needed by others?
  • Do I take responsibility for my feelings and my actions? Do I blame others for how I feel?
  • How do I contribute to my own well-being?
  • How can I be fully self-supporting?

Our topic for next week is What does it mean to work the steps?. 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 7 – Episode 79

What does it mean to “work” the steps?

The topic of our next episode, number 79, is What does it mean to “work” the steps? Please share your experience, strength, and hope about this question by sending email to feedback@therecoveryshow.com, by calling our voice mail number 734-707-8795, or by using the voicemail button at the right.

Here are some thought questions that you can use as prompts for your sharing:

  • When you first heard the phrase “work the steps”, what did you think it meant?
  • Have you worked the steps once? More than once?
    • If more than once, how did your understanding of “working the steps” change?
    • How did you work the steps? From a book? With a sponsor? As part of a group?
  • Some steps have clear actions in them (“took an inventory”, “made a list”), and some do not (“came to believe”, “became entirely ready”).
    • Would you say that some steps are “action steps” and some are not?
    • Or, do you believe that all the steps have actions in them?
  • If you are a sponsor, how do you guide your sponsees in working the steps?

 

Stay or Go? – Episode 78

DSC_5860Are you in a relationship with an alcoholic or addict? Have you ever thought, “My life would be so much easier without this person?” Have you wondered how you could ever leave them? Today, we have 4 personal stories from individuals who faced that hard question, Stay or Go?

Spencer starts with his experience. He struggled for years with that question. When he came into the program, he was grateful to hear that he should not make any big decisions in his first year. It took a couple of years and some hard work to decide to stay in his alcoholic marriage.

Ruth was in her relationship for a long time before she came to see that he was an alcoholic. She found Al-Anon then. After some more time, she realized that she could not continue in that relationship and made the hard decision to end it.

Jennifer has stayed with her alcoholic husband, so far. She has hope that he will find long-term sobriety, but fears for the effects of his drinking on their young children if he cannot.

Julia recently ended her relationship with her alcoholic boyfriend. She came to see that the relationship was not healthy for her, and that she could not stay.

 

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 Stay or Go? – Episode 78

Why I came to Al-Anon. Why I stay? – Episode 77

4490727456_8e816c6c02_bHave you wondered why someone would choose Al-Anon? Or why those “long timers” keep on coming?

Spencer and Amy tell their stories of coming to Al-Anon, and the reasons they’re still coming years later. We used this outline to guide our conversation.

  • What brought you to Al-Anon originally?
    • What was your situation?
    • Was there active alcoholism in your life at the time?
    • What was your relationship to the alcoholic(s) in your life?
    • How did you “hit bottom”?
  • What was your first meeting like?
    • What did you expect?
    • How were your expectations met?
    • How were they not met?
  • Did you keep coming back after your first meeting?
    • Why or why not?
  • How and when did you start to understand what the program was about?
  • What did it mean to you?
  • Did you find help for the situation that brought you to Al-Anon?
    • Was it the kind of help you had expected?
  • How long have you been in Al-Anon?
  • Is the original situation the same?
    • How or how not?
  • What keeps you coming to Al-Anon?
    • Do you still have active alcoholism in your life?
    • Did you “discover” more alcoholism around you?
  • Are you still dealing with the same issues as when you came in?
  • Do you attend Al-Anon primarily to help you deal with the alcoholism in your life, past or present?
  • Do you attend because of the growth and change in yourself you have found here?
  • Do you attend because if you don’t, you get crazy again?
  • Do you attend to pass the help on to others who are still suffering?

Our topic for next week is “Stay or Go?” Why would someone stay in a relationship with an alcoholic? What led others to decide to leave the relationship? If you would like to share your experience, please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading Why I came to Al-Anon. Why I stay? – Episode 77