Chaos – Encore – Episode 107

Due to first my co-host and then me being under the weather, we present this encore of the Chaos episode. Enjoy!

Our topic for next week is criticism and self-compassion. 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.

In the Moment – Episode 106

in the momentWhat does it mean to live “in the moment?” How can I plan for tomorrow when I’m living “one day at a time”? How do I learn from past experiences if I don’t look back?

  • How did/do I live not in the moment?
    • Anger and resentment – Living in the past.
    • Chewing over past actions – blaming (myself or others)
    • Fear and worry – Living in the future.
    • “Awfulizing”
  • What are aspects of living in the moment?
    • Take care of the things I can do now, let go of the things I cannot do.
    • Do the “next right thing”.
    • Be fully present in what is happening.
    • Listen
    • Notice the beauty around me
    • Enjoy what is good now (instead of ruminating on what was bad or worrying about what might be bad)
  • How can I practice living in the moment?
    • Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
    • Focus on what is happening now.
    • Focus on the people I am with.
    • Listen – don’t be thinking about my agenda
    • Mindfulness meditation (or other meditative practice)
    • Body language – when my body is in an accepting, listening position, so is my mind.
    • Positive expectations – How they can shape interactions and actions. (“Batman” episode of This American Life and Invisibilia)
  • What about planning for the future and learning from the past?
    • There’s a difference between worrying about what might happen, and planning for what we would like to do.
    • We can and should look at our past in our inventory. We only need to let go of the desire to change it.

Upcoming topics include caretaking, being the “Al-Anon parent” in an alcoholic marriage, and Concept 3, which says “The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.” 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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Letting go of the process – Episode 105 – REPOST

The original podcast upload for Episode 105 was cut short. If you downloaded it before Friday morning, February 13 (Eastern US time), you only got 2/3 of the episode. If that was all you needed, or if you downloaded the full episode after Friday morning, you can just delete this one. My apologies for not finding the problem earlier.

Letting go of the process – Episode 105

Do you want to do recovery “your way”? Are you skipping steps because you don’t like them? Can you let go of control? Spencer and Harriet talk about letting go of the process.

  • Harriet, can you explain what you meant by “letting go of the process” when you suggested this topic?
  • How do/did you try to control your recovery?
    • obsessively doing the things we *can* do
    • overdoing self-care
  • What parts of it do/did you particularly not want to let go of?
    • “character defects” — I want them removed in my order
    • outcomes
    • comfort in maintaining the illusion of control over my own life
  • Why?
  • How does letting go help your recovery? Your peace of mind?
    • focusing on control of outcomes is a “fool’s errand” and makes my life unmanageable
    • It frees me to focus on the things I can control
    • Frees me to do self-care
  • What blocks you from letting go?
    • impatience
    • perfectionism
    • Not wanting to feel unpleasant feelings
    • judgement and shame
    • fear
    • expectations
  • What ways have you found to let go?
    • Prerequisite – Accept who and where I am right now.
    • Being open to the universe — humility
    • Work with a sponsor
    • Prayer
    • Meditation
    • what else?
  • What do you still struggle with letting go of?
  • What would you say to a newcomer who isn’t sure the program will work for them?

Upcoming topics include caretaking and parenting. We are particularly interested in hearing your experiences of parenting in an alcoholic family. How do you talk to your children about alcoholism? What amends have you made to your children? If your spouse is still drinking, what do you do to keep your children safe?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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Relapse – a “best of” episode

DSC_4706While Spencer is away, enjoy this “best of” episode from a year ago.

Has your loved one relapsed? Did you expect it? How did you react? Today, Spencer and Jessyca talk about Relapse.

We structured our discussion around these points and questions:

  • The disease of alcoholism and addiction is chronic, progressive, and eventually fatal.
  • Relapse does not have to be part of the disease, but it is frequently part of the process.
  • As friends and family members, many of us have experienced the relapse of a loved one from a period of sobriety, sometimes short, sometimes long and full of recovery.
  • How did and how do we respond and react when a loved one relapses?
  • What is our understanding of relapse? It is often a process in which picking up the drink or drug is the last stage.
  • How can we support ourselves and our loved ones in relapse?
  • And, sometimes, we relapse back to our old behavior. What is an “Al-Anon relapse”?
  • Have you had one? What was it like, and how did you get out of it?

See the “extras” for the original episode.

Judgement – Episode 104

vultureHow does having judgement differ from being judgemental? Can judgement be both a character asset and a character defect? How do you judge others? How do you think others judge you? How do you judge yourself? Today, Spencer and Anthony talk about judgement.

We used this outline for our conversation:

  • What does “judgement” mean to you?
  • How does it differ from being “judgemental”?
  • A reading in Courage to Change speaks of a “judgement ladder”, where everyone is either above or below someone else. Have you felt like you are on this ladder?
  • How do you judge others?
  • How do you feel judged?
  • How do you judge yourself? Are you harsher on yourself than others?
  • How can judgement be a positive attribute?
  • How has the program helped you to be less judgemental of others and yourself? To practice “good judgement”?
    • Are there slogans that help?
    • Any particular steps?

Anthony talked out a site that has phone meetings, phonemeetings.org. He also talked about the “Spire” that his wife got for him. Spencer mentioned Clancy I’s first recorded talk.

Upcoming topics include caretaking and letting go. 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 Judgement – Episode 104

Boundaries – Episode 103

find meHave you ever set an ultimatum? What did you do when it wasn’t honored? How do you deal with unacceptable behavior from your loved ones? Spencer and Maria talk about boundaries.

Last week, we read an email from a listener who asked these questions:

  • Do any of you out there have any personal experiences setting ultimatums with your addicts that were not respected, acknowledged or met with insult?
  • How have you handled the negativity from your addict, and the anxiety and heartbreak of not knowing if the relationship will ever be restored?
  • What has it looked like for you to practice loving detachment with an intimate partner through a separation or divorce?
  • What is the next right thing to do once a boundary has been communicated?

So we thought, “maybe it’s time to talk about boundaries again.” We actually had a couple of earlier shows around this topic. Our very first episode was a 20 minute discussion of boundaries, and then in episode 44, we talked about setting boundaries without controlling.

Some discussion/thought questions about boundaries:

  • What is a boundary?
  • How does it differ from an ultimatum?
  • How can I set a boundary that involves someone else’s behavior?
  • What can I do when my boundaries are not respected?
  • How do I feel when my boundaries are not respected by someone I love?
  • How can loving detachment help me to maintain my boundaries?
  • What if I don’t want to follow through with the consequences of my boundary having been violated?
  • What happens (to me) if my boundaries turn out to be expectations?
  • How does a boundary with my own behavior differ from a boundary with someone else’s behavior?
  • How can I set up and follow through with consequences on a boundary with myself?

During the show, we referred to several earlier episodes, including relapse, face to face meetings, Tradition 1, and getting started in Al-Anon.

Our topic for next week is judgement. How does having judgement differ from being judgemental? Can judgement be both a character asset and a character defect? How do you judge others? How do you think others judge 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.
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Responsibility and Authority – Episode 102

sing joyouslyDo you take responsibility for your own actions? Do you take on responsibility for the way others live their lives? Do you sometimes try to play God?

Spencer and Akilah talk about responsibility and authority, as set forth in Concepts one and two.

  1. The Ultimate Responsibility and Authority for Al-Anon World Services Belongs to the Al-Anon Groups.
  2. The Al-Anon Family Groups Have Delegated Complete Administrative and Operational Authority to their Conference and its Service Arms.

The readings in the books Paths to Recovery and Reaching for Personal Freedom include some writings on personal application as well as explanations of how it works on the service level.

  • What do “authority” and “responsibility” mean (to me)? What is the difference?
    • Authority: “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.”
    • Responsibility: “the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something” or “taking ownership of my thoughts, words, and actions.”

For concept one

  • For what part of my life am I ultimately responsible? What responsibilities might I share or delegate?
  • How do I contribute to the group conscience?
  • How does this concept help me to keep the focus on myself?
  • How can I learn to trust the decisions of others?
  • When have I assumed responsibilities that are not mine?
  • When have let others take on responsibilities that should have been mine?
  • Can this concept help to me to “Let go and let God”, knowing that I am not the ultimate authority?

For concept two,  the questions are:

  • Why is it important to delegate both responsibility and authority in general? In Al-Anon?
  • Am I able to share responsibility? What responsibility? Am I willing to offer my assistance to others?
  • When do I rely on others? Can I ask for help?
  • What responsibilities in my life could I delegate to someone else?
  • Whom can I trust to be reliable?
  • How does delegating responsibility help to trust the abilities of others?
  • How willing am I to work with others and to consider their ideas? How often do I trust the knowledge an experience of another person? Do I support and encourage others?
  • When delegating how do I define boundaries to separate my responsibility from someone else’s
  • How does my attempt to take charge of everything without delegating keep me from completing the work that needs to be done?
  • For what am I responsible?

A listener emailed some questions. Listen to the show to hear the whole email. We put the questions to you, in hopes that you will share your experience, strength, and hope with our listener.

  • Do any of you out there have any personal experiences setting ultimatums with your addicts that were not respected, acknowledged or met with insult?
  • How have you handled the negativity from your addict, and the anxiety and heartbreak of not knowing if the relationship will ever be restored?
  • What has it looked like for you to practice loving detachment with an intimate partner through a separation or divorce?
  • What is the next right thing to do once a boundary has been communicated?

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com. Or just leave a comment right here.

Continue reading Responsibility and Authority – Episode 102

Looking Back, Looking Ahead – Episode 101

peace at sunsetHave you made New Year resolutions? How has that worked for you in the past? Is there a way to use our program tools instead?

This is the time of year when we look back at the year gone by and forward at the year to come. Spencer talks about his process of “looking back, looking ahead” at this beginning of the new year and end of the old.

  • How do I do this?
  • I can ask myself, how are my actions in alignment with my values?
    • There is discomfort in the gap that spurs me to want to change
  • The program gives me tools for this: Steps 4–7.
  • What are my values? When I state my values as aspirations of the way I want to act, I can more clearly see the alignment (or not) of my actions with them.
    • Integrity: I act in all things according to my true self. I state my beliefs honestly and openly.
    • Commitment: I do not make commitments I cannot keep, and I keep the commitments I make.
    • Acceptance: When I disagree with someone, I may argue my position, but I will not diminish their personhood.
    • Love: I express my love openly and appropriately.
  • How have my actions this year aligned, or not, with my values?
    • Acceptance is hard. I react emotionally to some people, and let those reactions color my interactions.  On the plus side: I am more aware of this when it happens, and more likely to modify my response.
    • I can “go along” with something I don’t agree with, because it is too uncomfortable to disagree. This happens less often than it used to.
    • I can express my desires and needs when they are important to me.
    • I sometimes overcommit and under-deliver.
    • I find it difficult at times to express my true feelings to my wife.
    • I have openly stated and explained my spiritual beliefs and practices, even when I don’t know they will be accepted by those to whom I am speaking.
  • What can I let go of, that is no longer of use to me?
    • What holds me back?
    • Stuff! Clothes I haven’t worn in a decade.
  • What do I want to bring into my life (more) in the coming year?
    • Self-care: physical and spiritual (I do OK on the mental front)
    • Family: I will spend more “quality” time with my family
    • Money: I will work to be more attentive to our financial status.

Next week’s topic will be the first of a series on Al-Anon’s concepts of service, focusing on Concepts 1 and 2. These say

  1. The Ultimate Responsibility and Authority for Al-Anon World Services Belongs to the Al-Anon Groups.
  2. The Al-Anon Family Groups Have Delegated Complete Administrative and Operational Authority to their Conference and its Service Arms.

In my experience, many Al-Anon members are not at all familiar with the Concepts, and that includes me. We will explore not only what these concepts mean for Al-Anon as a whole, but perhaps more importantly, how we can use them in our day to day lives. These two raise an interesting question in my mind: What is the difference between “Ultimate responsibility and authority” versus “administrative and operational authority”? What might these phrases mean in my family life? my work life?

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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Guest Host Experiences – Episode 100

What is it like to be a guest host on The Recovery Show? Join us as Mark, Ruth, Mara, Harriet, and Akilah talk about their experience co-hosting the podcast.

I asked my guests today to reflect on these questions as we reach our 100th episode.

  • Why did you decide to participate as a guest on The Recovery Show?
  • How did you feel beforehand? How did you feel afterward? How do you feel now about your participation?
  • Did you listen to “your” episode? If you did, what was that experience like? If not, why not?
  • How has participating in the show strengthened (or not) your Al-Anon program?
  • What would you like to say to our listeners about your experience?

Mark, who hosts the Recovered podcast, remembers being a guest on the show, and the ease of not having to “run” the show.

Ruth reflects on co-hosting the 12 Tradition episodes, why she committed to them, and what it has meant to her.

Mara talks about the importance of service in her recovery, particularly when she is not at home. She also sings Happy Birthday to us (in tune!)

Harriet was terrified at the idea, but still committed to co-host an episode about isolation, which she had identified as a problem in her life. Hear how she feels now about her participation.

Akilah admittedly likes to talk. She enjoyed co-hosting an episode and encourages you to do the same.

Upcoming topics include include growth in the program, discovering ourselves, and healthy support vs caretaking. As we approach the end of the year, and the start of the new year, what “resolutions” are we thinking about for 2015? I’m also talking with a co-host about doing a series over the next year on the 12 Concepts of Service. As with the traditions, we will be talking a little about how these work for the Al-Anon groups, but also taking time to share how we can use the Concepts in our personal lives, families, and workplaces. 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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