Unmanageability – Episode 87

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DSC_5239Do you find yourself running in circles? Do you obsess over things you can’t change? Do you lie awake worrying? Spencer and Ruth talk about what it’s like when our lives are unmanageable, and how we have found a better way to live.

We started with the outline below, but actually ended up structuring our conversation around some of these questions from the book From Survival to Recovery.

  1. When difficulties occur, do you need someone to blame, even it is yourself?
  2. Do you feel uncomfortabe or draw a blank when asked whar it is you really want?
  3. Does a dark cloud of despair or a creeping depression sometimes seem to apeer from nowhere to weigh you down?
  4. Do you feel guilty or selfish whenever you say “no”?
  5. Are you lonley and isolated? Do you feel like an outsider in the midst of a crowed?
  6. Can you identify only one or two extreme feelings, such as anger or fear?
  7. Do you think in all-or-nothing terms? Is life either wonderful or miserable, with litte in between?
  8. Are you numb or flat, with no extremes in you feelings whatsover?
  9. Does your memory fog out or have giant holes where you remember nothing?
  10. Do you feel suicidal or have a need to hurt yourself or others?
  11. Do you tolerate unacceptable behavior even after you have said you wont?
  12. Do you have difficulty relaxing and having fun. Would you not regonize fun, even if it was right on front of your nose?
  13. Are you frequently impatient with yourself or others?
  14. Do you think you are the only person in the world you can depend on?
  15. Do you feel compelled to do things for other people they could do for themselfs?
  16. Do you do things you don’t want to do, rather than risking disappointing people?
  17. Do you have difficulty trusting your won perception? Do you need to prove you are right and others are wrong in order to convince yourself?
  18. Do you feel embarresed or ashamed because of someone else’s behaviour?
  19. Do you startle easily?
  20. Do you think the best way to take care of your needs is not to have any?

The original outline:

  • How did you feel/react when you heard that your life was unmanageable?
  • In what ways has your life been unmanageable?
    • Trying to change things.
    • Trying to control outcomes
    • Trying to change somebody else
    • Worrying
    • Obsessing
    • Not taking care of my own “stuff” because I’m in someone else’s.
    • Priorities out of order
  • What are symptoms of unmanageability?
    • Anger
    • Not eating
    • Not sleeping
    • Over-working
    • Paralyzed inside
    • Depression
    • Isolation
    • Physically sick
  • How do I deal with these things differently today?
    • Recognize when something is outside my control and “put it down.”
    • Prayer
    • Ask for help — talk to a “program friend” or sponsor.
    • Go to a meeting.
    • Do what I can now, then let go of worry and obsession.
    • Take care of myself — remember to eat and sleep.
    • Inventory — what is my part, what is not?
    • Understand my options
    • Recognize that I have choices.
    • Don’t pick up the rope.
    • Gratitude
    • Slogans that help
      • First things first.
      • Do the next right thing.
      • Let go and let God.
      • One day at a time
      • Just for today
      • How important is it?
  • How do I know that my life is manageable?
  • I have time for “me”
  • I’m not always jumping from one “crisis” to the next
  • I can recognize my choices and make them rationally
  • I recognize others’ humanity and have compassion for their struggle
  • I recognize that it is not my job to “fix” others

Our topic for next week is Intimacy. Which is to say, deeply sharing our feelings and thoughts with another person. Intimacy is closely tied with trust, emotional safety and vulnerability. We welcome your thoughts, You can join the conversation. Please leave a voice mail or send us an email with your experience or questions about Intimacy. Have you lost the ability to share intimately with another person? Have you found people in the program that you can trust with your secrets? What are your barriers to intimacy with your loved ones?

We are also still working on an episode about “triggers”. If you would like to share your experience with triggers and being triggered, and on how working the program has helped you to deal with them, please call or email.

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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Tradition 9 – no organization – Episode 86

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PodHow can we function without organization? Tradition 9 says, “Our groups, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.” This seems somehow contradictory. What does it mean?

Spencer and Ruth talk about Tradition 9, following these questions:

  • What does it mean that our groups are not organized?
  • How do we get things done without “organization”?
  • When might we create “service boards” or committees?
  • How does this tradition connect to Steps 2 & 3?
  • How can I apply this tradition in my daily life?

Upcoming topics include “Is it caretaking or healthy support?” and “Triggers”. If you would like to share your experience with triggers and being triggered, and perhaps how working the program has helped you to deal with them, 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 9 – no organization – Episode 86

Alcoholism – a Personal Journey – Episode 85

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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?