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Do you drink? Did you drink with your alcoholic loved one? How has recovery changed how you drink? How you think about drinking? Did you stop drinking? Why?
Spencer talks about his personal experience with drinking, about how he drank with his loved one, and about how that changed with recovery and how his feelings about drinking have become complicated.
A listener asked about the topic of sponsorship, which we discussed in episode 25 and in a round table.
An upcoming topic is “fun”. How do you have fun? What does fun mean to you? Is the way you are able to think about fun changed in recovery? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email email@example.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading Do you drink? – Episode 112
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Do you pray? What is prayer? How can it support your recovery?
In this episode, Spencer shares his personal journey to and understanding of prayer.
- I did not grow up with a tradition of prayer.
- My idea of prayer as a young person: “God, please give me a pony.”
- It didn’t work!
- I did not grow up with an understanding of or belief in God.
- So prayer is meaningless, right?
- The 12 steps challenged me to find meaning in these concepts: God and Prayer.
- What is prayer? How do we pray? Why do we pray?
- Serenity prayer — helped me to get through difficult moments/hours/days.
- My first experience of non “pony” prayer.
- I say “God, grant me the serenity…”
- The atheist version: “Please grant me the serenity…”
- Going beyond the serenity prayer…
- 3rd & 7th step prayers from AA big book.
- “God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!”
- “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.”
- Another version of 3rd step prayer: “God, help me remove the blinders of self-will. Help me see what is true. Teach me so that I can be of service. Free me from fear, from hate, from greed, from discontent so that I may contribute myself to your work. Allow me to see what you would have me do and grant me the strength to follow through.”
- Anne Lamott suggests that there are 3 “essential” prayers: Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
- The serenity prayer is a “Help” prayer, as are the 3rd and 7th step prayers.
- When I express gratitude, whether to God or the universe, I am praying “Thanks”.
- a prayer of gratitude, sung this morning at church
- We give thanks for this precious day / for all gathered here and those far away / for this time we share with love and care / Oh, we give thanks for this precious day.
- A “Wow!” prayer: e.e. cummings, “i thank You God for most this amazing day“
- Another Wow! prayer: Hallelujah Chorus, which we sang together after the service this morning.
- A fourth kind of prayer, which I might call “Be well”. Every Sunday, we sing our children to their classes with this: Go now in peace / Go now in peace / May the spirit of love surround you everywhere / everywhere you go.
- Why do I pray?
- “Prayer doesn’t change the world, prayer changes me.”
- A prayer that I say every morning (when I remember): “Lord, help me to hold myself and others to a standard of grace, rather than perfection.” Why? Because it addresses (at least) two of my character defects: perfectionism and my expectation that others will do things my way. (Thus: part of my seventh step practice.)
- It reminds me that others are also children of God, that they have inherent worth and deserve respect, and that I am not in control.
- Prayer reminds me that I am not alone and that I need not solve all my problems by myself.
- Prayer gives me a way to focus on that which is important to me.
- Prayer gives me a way to express my hopes and fears.
Upcoming topics include Fun! How do you have fun? How have you learned to have fun? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading Prayer – Episode 111
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Do you have trouble letting others make decisions? Do you second guess your own decisions? Spencer and Akilah discuss the “right of decision”, as expressed in Al-Anon’s 3rd concept of service, “The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.”
- What is “the right of decision?”
- How do we use the right of decision in the program?
- Example from Spencer’s home group: the “chair” chooses the person who gives the lead each week.
- GR, delegates to assembly, etc.
- How do we use the right of decision in our own lives?
- From Paths to Recovery (pg. 265): “In our own lives, the right of decision means we have the right to proceed in the best way we know and to ask for help when it is needed.”
- How does this concept connect with Tradition 2? (For our group purpose there is but one authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants—they do not govern.) With Step 3? (Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.)
- Can I make a decision and be comfortable with it? If not, why not?
- Do I ever ask someone to do a task and then try to direct the details of how it should be done? If so, how can I change this pattern?
- The 3rd concept section of the AA 12, 12 and 12 study guide starts with the statement “We serve by acting on our conscience through our “Right of Decision” and we trust others when they exercise their ‘Right of Decision.”
- Am I acting in any area of my life that is contrary to my own conscience?
- Am I mistrustful of the decisions of others in authority over me?
- Am I demanding that anyone else act contrary to their conscience in order to please me?
- From Paths to Recovery: Is [concept three] not letting go and letting God?
Reference: 12, 12 and 12 study guide on Concept 3: http://1212and12.org/homework/concepts/1212and12_concept_3.pdf
Upcoming topics include parenting, caretaking, and fun. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email email@example.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading Right of Decision – Episode 110
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What is “dry drunk”? Can an Al-Anon exhibit similar symptoms?
A few weeks ago, Jennifer suggested the topic of “dry drunk.” Then Ruth mentioned how she feels when she misses a few meetings. And then, I heard a talk about “dry drunk” on the Recovery Radio Network podcast.
We start with a talk from Dick S titled “Recovery is Forever: Dry Drunk Revisited”.
My experience with “dry Al-Anon”:
- My realization from the Step 3 reading in “Paths to Recovery”.
- “As we grow in the program, we find ourselves returning again and again to these basic principles when faced with new challenges.”
- The moment of truth: A co-worker’s talk with me on Friday about my behavior earlier in the week.
- Looking back:
- Feeling complacent.
- Missing meetings.
- “White knuckle”
- My solution?
- Re-establish routine of prayer and meditation.
- Recognize the importance of meetings
- Say “yes” to the program!
Our topic for next week is Concept 3, which says “The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.” What is the “right of decision”? How does it help? How can you apply this to your personal life, your family, your workplace? (And, of course to your Al-Anon group!) Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
You can find the original of Dick’s talk on the Recovery Radio Network, along with many other talks.
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Do you have a voice inside you that criticizes everything you do? Can you find compassion for yourself when your internal critic is harsher than what others say about you? Spencer and Brooke talk about criticism and self-compassion.
Some of the questions we considered were these. How might you answer these questions?
- Do I have an internal critic? (Don’t we all?)
- How loud is it?
- How harsh is it?
- How do I react to criticism from others?
- How does my internal critic react to criticism from others?
- How does my internal critic react to praise from others?
- Do I find it easier to have compassion for others than for myself?
- How do I struggle to find compassion for myself?
- How do I struggle to see myself as worthy?
- How can seeing myself as worthy, and having compassion for my failings, help me to deal with criticism from others?
- What program tools can I use to make it easier to find self-compassion and self-worth?
- Steps 2 & 3 remind me that I have a higher power that loves me.
- Steps 4 and 5 encourage me to look at myself honestly and fearlessly. By sharing my faults with my Higher Power and another person, I find that I am not defined by my “defects”
- Steps 6, 7, 8, and 9 show me that there is a way to change and to let go of my self-criticism for past actions.
- Step 10 helps me to not have new things to kick myself about.
- Step 11 encourages me to connect more closely to my Higher Power. Meditation can help me to live in the moment instead of the past.
- What slogans help me?
- How does listening (and sharing) in meetings, or with a sponsor or program friend help?
- What might I say to a newcomer who is strugging with self-criticism?
Upcoming topics include caretaking, parenting, and Concept 3, which says “The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.” What do you think this means for you? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email email@example.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading Criticism and Self-Compassion – Episode 108
I had technical difficulties this week, and need to re-record part of the podcast. I’ll be out of town for a couple of days, and can’t fix it until I get back. Otherwise, everything is fine. Talk to you soon.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:48:42 — 49.8MB)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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What 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.
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading In the Moment – Episode 106
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:26:42 — 39.7MB)
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.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:26:42 — 39.7MB)
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
- comfort in maintaining the illusion of control over my own life
- 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?
- Not wanting to feel unpleasant feelings
- judgement and shame
- 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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading Letting go of the process – Episode 105