Say Yes! to Life – Episode 155

surf!Last weekend, I drove back to the city I grew up in, to attend a memorial service for a childhood friend. As family and friends shared their memories of my friend, I reflected on the ways we say “Yes!” to life in the presence of death. This week, I am re-issuing episode 76, Loss, with a new title. The original notes for that episode follow.

What do you do when you lose someone close to you? How can I use the tools we have learned in the program to get through a loss? I was inspired to this topic by a tragic, accidental death in the past week. It brought me to reflect on the nature of loss, on how loss affects me and those close to me, and how my response to loss is so different now than it was before I came into the program. I used this outline as a guide for my musings.

  • The story.
  • How did I deal with loss in the past?
    • Stuff it
    • Ignore it
    • Numb it
    • Isolate
  • Other kinds of loss?
    • Loss of dreams
    • Loss of friendship
      • Separation and divorce
  • Fear of Loss
  • How has the program helped me to deal with loss?
    • Feel it.
    • Acceptance.
    • Gratitude for what was.
    • Grief process — acknowledge it.
    • Less guilt.
  • How to deal with loss and grief
    • Take care of self
    • Prayer
    • Ask for help
    • Talk about it
    • One Day at a Time
    • Letting go

Our topic for next week is new topic. 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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Mothers Day – Episode 154

Are you a mother? What did you learn from your mother? How has recovery changed your way of being a mother, or your relationship with your mother?

Inspired by the US holiday, Mothers Day, Carrie and Spencer talk about mothers, their relationship with their mothers, and being a mother.

  • What was your mother like?
  • What was your relationship with her like?
    • Loving?
    • Complicated?
    • Difficult?
  • What did you learn from her?
    • About how to live?
    • About how to relate to others?
    • About being a parent?
  • Are you a mother now?
  • What did your mothering look like before coming into the program?
  • What has changed about how you are a mother since you came into recovery?
  • How do you incorporate what you have learned into your mothering?
  • How has your understanding of / relationship with your mother changed in recovery?
  • How do you relate to your mother now?

Upcoming topics include loss and grief. 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 “Mothers Day – Episode 154”

Ajit S Open Talk – Episode 153

This open talk by Ajit S was recorded at the We Are Not Saints AA roundup in 2007. I first heard Ajit on a tape or CD some years ago, when I was new in the Al-Anon. I liked what he had to say and how he said it. He has a great self-deprecating humor mixed with some real wisdom. In this talk, he reflects on his growth in the program and provided me with some insights that I really connected with.

Our topic for next week is Mothers Day. What was relationship like with your mother – the challenges and gifts. If you are a mother, what did your mothering look like before program (if you came after being a mom for a while), and how do you incorporate what you’ve learned from Al Anon in your current mothering. Men, you can contribute, too, except you probably can’t talk about your experience as a mother. 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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Shutting down as a defense – Episode 152

closer to perfectionDo you retreat into yourself when problems arise? Do you prefer not to hear bad news? Maybe you are shutting down as a defense.

Here’s our outline:

  • Which of these statements do I connect with about shutting down?
    • “When I am stressed, I retreat into myself.”
    • “If I don’t think about a problem, it will go away.” (Tom)
    • “Instead of doing something, I chew over my problems in my head, over and over.”
    • “I escape into a book/movie/tv show/video game/… when I don’t want to face something.”
    • “Conflict just shuts me down. Sometimes I can’t even talk.”
    • “I keep busy with unimportant tasks, so I don’t have to face the things I don’t want to do.” (Tom)
    • “When there is chaos around me, I can’t do anything. I just shut down and retreat into my skull.”
    • “I hide by not answering the phone, or not opening mail.” (Tom)
    • “I fantasize about a better future, but I don’t seem to be able to do anything about getting there.” (Tom)
    • “In an airport or other public space I make sure nobody will sit next to me.” (Tom)
    • “I avoid difficult conversations at all costs.”
    • “There’s only one way to survive life. Shut down, or get hurt and die.”
  • What have I learned about myself, and about my ways of “shutting down” and “escaping”?
    • Conflict avoidant.
    • Lack of self-worth/self-esteem.
    • Fear of criticism, rejection, other mental/spiritual harm.
    • Fear of bodily harm.
    • Fear of intimacy.
    • Denial — if I don’t “know” about a problem, maybe it won’t happen.
    • Isolating
    • Depression
  • When can it be healthy to “shut down”?
    • Detachment
    • Taking a break
    • Resting
  • What tools can I use to face daily conflicts, problems, and discomfort of dealing with other people?
    • Serenity prayer.
    • Other prayers.
    • Inventory. (I can’t change something if I don’t see it.)
    • Gratitude.
    • Check in with program friends.
    • Living in the moment. “One day at a time.”
    • Meditation.
    • Practicing Step 10. “… and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
    • Self-acceptance
    • Vulnerability.
    • HOW: “Honest, open, and willing.”
    • Detachment — “it’s not me/mine”
    • Scheduling activities with others to prevent a self-isolating funk
    • Progress not perfection

Some online resources

Suppressing Emotions

Emotionally Closed Off: Healing Pain and Learning to Love

Why Anxiety Causes Detachment “Why anxiety causes detachment” (about the “bad” kind of detachment — distancing, emotional shutting down)

Upcoming topics include another “gift of Al-Anon”. This one is “Our sight, once clouded and confused, will clear and we will be able to perceive reality and recognize truth.” 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 “Shutting down as a defense – Episode 152”

Meditation – Episode 151

DSC_5126How do you meditate? Or, DO you meditate? Meditation is something of which many of us say “I need to do that!” “I’ve got to get into doing it regularly.” “I know it would really help me.” So why is this? What is blocking us? What good can it do us? And what ways are there to meditate?

Spencer and Eric talk briefly about their (non-)understanding of meditation before coming to recovery. We explore some of the benefits of meditation. And talk about the ways in which we have practiced it. Eric points out that the key word here is “practice.” Just as we must exercise our muscles to become competent at a physical activity, we also need to exercise our “meditating muscles.” Carrie and Patty also share some of their experience and understanding.

For some articles and a video about the benefits of meditation, read on. Continue reading “Meditation – Episode 151”