Isolation – Episode 96

aloneDo you revert to isolating in times of increased stress and difficulty? Do you find it harder to work your program at these times? Today we will talk about what isolation has meant to us.

Spencer and guest host Harriet discuss this topic, suggested by Harriet, following this outline and questions.

  • What is isolation?
    • Closing myself off from the outside world
    • Looking outward to fix an inward problem
    • Rejecting reality
  • What did isolation look like a year ago, now, etc.
    • Can take many forms, and could look like:
    • Pretending (hiding)
    • Self criticism (finding evidence that fits my conjecture that I’m  broken and alone)
    • feeding an obsession
    • Compulsive show watching (often a familiar show I’ve already watched, maybe b/c I need to have some certainty)
    • Compulsive podcast listening (not to broaden my perspective but to drown out my thoughts or emotions)
    • Avoiding connection with friends or Al-anon members (Anything that takes me further into my closed system)
    • Food
    • Being compulsively busy
  • Why do I isolate?
    • Shame (I hide my worst parts)
    • Disconnect between mind body and spirit.  I look outside myself to find the answer
    • I’m having a feeling I’d rather not be having and am afraid to look at myself
    • I believe my own conjecture
  • What helps?
  • Accepting where I am and my current reality
  • Trying one thing different to break my cycle
    • I need to make peace within myself before I can genuinely connect with others.  I think I need to share w others, but until I’ve reconciled within myself, I can be isolating right in the middle of a conversation
    • Writing— before I’m too far gone
    • Step 5 — a member or friend who I can share with (to acknowledge where I am)
    • A meeting
    • Meditation – breathing exercise
    • connection with a pet
    • Prayer
    • Brene Brown’s TED talks
    • This podcast- suffering is optional, 3 A’s, self-care
    • Inventory—why am I isolating?
    • Service
    • Self-care and self compassion

Our topic for next week is gratitude. 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 Isolation – Episode 96

Tradition 11 – Episode 95

DSC_5860Do you switch the tv-channel when the commercial kicks in? Are you tired of being reminded of something which you know would be good for you but you just don’t want to, and now giving in would just feel odd? Do you wonder why some annoying people always have to emphasize where and how they get their stuff? But are you curious why that person, despite all the obvious problems in their life, has a smile on their face? And how do we practice anonymity in our podcast?

Ruth and Spencer talk about Tradition 11, “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and TV. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.” We used these questions to guide our discussion.

– There is a lot in this this tradition and I would like to start with the last sentence: the anonymity of the alcoholic. Why it is important, for them for us. How was it when we were new, or even before before we learned about the concept if the desease.

  • If we break our anonymity we may break the one of our relatives too.
  • How can we share our story without breaking the anonymity?
  • Various aspects of anonymity: our background, education, finance, status … not just names.
  • As important as it is to experience people who have what you want to have, it is important not to connect people with program (principles over personalities).
  • What can we do, what do you do to let people know about AlAnon?

I asked on twitter: how would you translate the 11th tradition into your personal life and I get a very good response from “the bubble hour”: “attraction not promotion means we can stand on our integrity in all things, without controlling outcomes or people.”

  • How do we practice Tradition 11 in this podcast?
  • We share only our own experience, strength, and hope.
  • We do not use our full names, and some of us use pseudonyms.
  • We don’t try to “sell” Al-Anon.
  • We often use phrases such as “loved one” when we mention the alcoholic(s) and/or addict(s) in our life.

A Slogan for Tradition 11: “Take what you like and leave the rest”

How do we practice this tradition in our life?

  • Being an example.
  • Act as we expect to be treated (“Golden rule”)

Upcoming topics include isolation and caretaking. 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 11 – Episode 95

Spiritual Practice – Episode 94

peace at sunset

How do you feed your spirit? Do you struggle with prayer and meditation? What does it mean to be “spiritual?”

 

Spencer shares his thoughts about spiritual practices, and invites you to share your own spiritual practices by voice mail or email.

  • What is a spiritual practice?
  • What is the purpose/goal of spiritual practices?
    • Connection with the divine, something greater than myself.
    • Centering.
    • Feeds my spirit/soul.
  • What practices are suggested in the 12 steps?
  • What is prayer?
  • What is meditation?
  • What are some (other) examples of spiritual practices?Sitting/walking in nature.
    • Attitude of gratitude
    • Deep breath
    • Dance
    • Song
    • Journaling

Our topic for next week is Tradition 11, which says “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and TV. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.” Join our conversation. 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 Spiritual Practice – Episode 94

Not God – Episode 93

fateDo you sometimes feel responsible for the whole world? Would other people be happy if they would do things your way? An critical part of our recovery is that we recognize that we are not God.

Spencer talks about ways in which he has tried to “play God” in the past, about how those increased the unmanageability of his life, and about how the realization that he is not God has simplified his life and provided serenity. He worked from the outline below, illustrating the points with stories from his life.

  • What do I mean when I say I am not God?
  • I can’t control or change other people
  • Things outside my “hula hoop” are not my responsibility
  • I don’t know what is best for others
  • I don’t always know what is best for me
  • Why would I think I am?
  • How did my actions suggest I thought so?
  • When do i struggle with wanting to play God?
  • How is it a relief when I remember that I am nobody’s higher power?

Upcoming topics include Tradition 11 and “Is it caretaking or healthy support?” 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 Not God – Episode 93

Triggers – Episode 92

grasshopperDo words and events throw you into your past? Do you get angry when it’s inappropriate? What are triggers and how do they affect us?

Spencer and Akilah talk about our experience of triggers and how the 12 steps have lessened their impact on our lives. We had a few basic questions to guide our conversation:

  • What does “trigger” mean to you?
  • What triggers have you recognized in yourself?
    • How do you react to these triggers?
  • How has the program helped you to reduce or eliminate your triggers?
    • Taking an inventory?
    • Finding acceptance?
    • Making amends?
    • Trusting in my Higher Power?

Harriet and Julia also shared some of their experience with being triggered by voice mail and email.

Harriet talked about a book by Charles Whitfield, A Gift to Myself: A Personal Workbook and Guide to “Healing the Child Within”, and particularly mentioned a chapter titled “Visiting my Family of Origin”.

Upcoming topics include “Is it caretaking or healthy support?” and Tradition 11, which says “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and TV. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.” 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 Triggers – Episode 92

Trust – Episode 91

Family-1Are you afraid to trust others? Do you hesitate to share personal details? Are you trustworthy? Mara and Spencer talk about Trust.

We used these questions to guide our discussion:

  • When do I have trouble trusting?
  • How do I know I can trust someone?
  • Do I have a Higher Power I can trust?
  • Can I trust myself?
  • Can others trust me?
  • What is my history of trusting myself?
  • In what ways am I trustworthy both to myself and to others?
  • In what ways have I been untrustworthy in some of my activities?
  • How do I determine if someone is trustworthy?
  • How do I determine if someone has lost my trust?
  • What behaviors do I have that inspire trust?
  • What behaviors do I have that inhibit trust?
  • What important things do I trust to my Higher Power?
  • What am I reluctant to give over to my Higher Power at this time?

Upcoming topics include “is it caretaking or healthy support?” and “triggers”. 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 Trust – Episode 91

Tradition 10 – Episode 90

conflictHas someone brought their different political or social opinions into a meeting? How did that feel for you? Or even outside of meetings, can an opinion of another person disturb you? Today, we talk about Tradition 10, which says “The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.”

Ruth and Spencer talk about Tradition 10, about how they see it work in their meetings, and how they can use it in their personal lives. We had some questions to guide our conversation.

Can you recall a situation in a meeting were this happened, where someone brought outside issues into the meeting?

How did you, how did the group dealt with it?

Is there a Al Anon position on outside topics?

How do you feel when someone isn’t sharing your opinion on something?

Why do we have this tradition?

How can you apply tradition 10 to your personal life

Questions from Reaching for Personal Freedom workbook:

  • How does tradition 10 remind me to keep the focus on myself instead of others?
  • How do I connect tradition 10 to detachment?
  • How can tradition 10 help me to respond in a loving way when others say insulting or hurtful things to me?
  • How can tradition 10 help me to not just keep my opinions to myself, but to let them go from my mind?
  • When has practicing the spiritual principle of Tradition 10 helped me to love family members and friends without getting involved in their personal situation and decisions?
  • In what ways can Tradition 10 help me when my family members are going through difficult or sad situations?

Our topic for next week is trust. How do you know you can trust someone? When do you have trouble trusting? Do you have a Higher Power you can trust? Can you trust yourself? Can others trust 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.
Continue reading Tradition 10 – Episode 90

Taking Care of Myself – Episode 89

always in the presentWhen you get sick, do you try to just “keep on going”? When you are overcommitted, do you try to “do it all”? What happens when you do that? Today, I want to talk briefly about taking care of myself.

In Al-Anon, we are told that we need to take care of ourselves first. What does this really mean? How does it change the way we live our lives? This week, I had an opportunity to practice self-care, because I caught a cold. I am pretty sure that this cold was my body’s way of telling me that I needed to slow down a little, that I was trying to do too much in my life, and that my health was being affected by that. I took a couple days off work, although I worked some from home. The big difference was that when I needed to lie down or take a nap, I could. I was also not inflicting my sniffling and coughing, not to mention germs, on my co-workers. Because of the cold, and because of a commitment I had made for the weekend, I was not able to plan for the podcast episode that I had wanted to create this weekend. Instead, I am reflecting on how self-care has been a part of my life this week, and how I had to change my plans to take care of myself.

 

Upcoming topics include trust, Tradition 10, care-taking, and triggers. 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.

 

 

Intimacy – Episode 88

siblingsHave 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? Mara and Spencer talk about Intimacy.

We used these questions to inform our conversation.

  • What is intimacy?
    • Vocabulary.com says this: Intimacy is closeness with another person, like the intimacy that develops between friends as you tell one another your life’s story and all your secrets and dreams for the future.
  • Do I have any intimate relationships in my life today? Have I had any in the past?
  • How do I deflect or avoid intimacy?
  • What keeps me from being intimate with my loved ones? My friends? My family?
  • How have I learned to be intimate in Al-Anon?
    • “Safe place”
    • to be vulnerable
    • sharing by others
    • sharing with others
  • How have I developed an intimate relationship with my sponsor?
  • How am I deepening the friendships and loving relationships in my life? What might help me do so?

Questions from Blueprint for Progress:

  1. How do I define intimacy?
  2. What actions encourage intimacy and which ones don’t?
  3. Which of my actions are helpful in bringing me closer to another person?
  4. With whom was I intimate when I was growing up?
  5. How have I shared important information with someone I didn’t trust?
  6. Where do I get examples of positive, intimate relationships?
  7. In what ways have I been intellectually or spiritually intimate with the alcoholic?
  8. What activities help me show how much certain people mean to me?
  9. What kind of examples do my actions convey about the importance of close relationships?

For me, intimacy is tied in with trust and fear. Here are some questions from those sections of the Blueprint:

  1. What is my history of trusting myself?
  2. How do I determine if someone is trustworthy?
  3. How do I determine if someone has lost my trust?
  4. How do I react when frightened?
  5. What provokes my fears?
  6. How do my fears affect the way I make decisions?
  7. How do my fears of the alcoholic affect the way I interact with him/her?
  8. How do I include my Higher Power when I feel afraid and what is the result?

Upcoming topics include trust, enabling, triggers, and Tradition 10. 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 Intimacy – Episode 88

Unmanageability – Episode 87

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.
Continue reading Unmanageability – Episode 87