Spencer, Swetha, and guest host Nic talk about shame – what it is, how we feel it, how we used to deal with it, and how we deal with it in recovery. We start by looking at the difference between shame and guilt. When we do something wrong, we feel guilt, and we can deal with it by making amends. When we feel shame, the message we are hearing is “I am a bad person”. We react to shame by hiding it and internalizing it and stuffing it down. We feel that we are not worthy, and that we will lose our friends, be ostracized if we reveal the thing that caused us to feel shameful.
Kelli hosts Swetha and Spencer as they share their experience, strength, and hope about detachment. Kelli opens with a reading that links detachment to self-acceptance and self-care. The first time that Spencer heard about detachment was when his uncle told him, “I hear that you’re supposed to ‘detach with love’”. Spencer had NO idea what that meant. He did not understand how he could detach and love at the same time. When she came into AlAnon, Swetha wanted certain people to just be gone from her life. She received a sheet about detachment, which started “Detachment is neither kind nor unkind…” and felt relief. Kelli thought that “detachment” sounded like giving up on a person. Her black and white thinking told her that she should either love and help (and enable) someone or just leave them. She couldn’t find a middle ground.
Once you have crossed the river, leave the raft behind.
– The Buddha
As I was growing up, and later as I struggled to survive in an alcoholic relationship, I learned coping skills. While those skills might have helped in the past, they are now at the root of many of my character defects. As I continue to grow in recovery, I must leave these old skills behind. This is sometimes a scary thing to do. Despite the problems they cause me, they are comfortable and comforting, something I can turn to in times of stress. But I have found that my higher power does not leave me bereft and alone. Instead, new, healthier skills develop to take the place of the old, discarded ones. Moving forward in this way is not always comfortable, but I now can have faith that the destination will be a better, happier, more serene place for me, and for those I love. And I know that if I encounter a new river to cross, that I can build a new raft with the tools I am learning in recovery.
A meditation for February 18, 2013.
Swetha, Spencer, and Kelli talk about enabling. We start by defining our understanding of the term, enabling. Early on, Swetha wondered whether anything nice she did for someone was enabling. Her sponsor helped her by giving her this definition: “getting between someone and the consequences of their choices or actions.” Kelli also had this confusion. Her codependency had distorted her thinking so that she always thought she was being helpful, whether she was really just being nice, or she was enabling. The concept of enabling did not come naturally to her, because of the codependency in her family growing up. Spencer is pretty sure he had no idea what “enabling” meant before coming to the program. If he drove to the store to buy more wine, so that his loved one would not be driving drunk, he thought he was doing a good thing, even though he might have resented doing it at the same time. He struggled with the difference between enabling and keeping his family safe, at times.
We plan to record two episodes this Sunday (February 17), because a couple of us are traveling next weekend so we won't be able record the show then. We want to give y'all a chance to send us your thoughts on the topic of the second show, which will be Detachment. If you have questions or experience, strength and hope to share about detachment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our voice mail at 734-707-8795. Thanks!
In other news, we have written a short informational page about how to listen and subscribe to The Recovery Show. We noticed that we don't seem to be getting a lot of downloads to Android phones, so we put together step-by-step instructions for subscribing on an Android phone. Specifically, we used a Samsung Galaxy S3 with the BeyondPod app, but the experience should be similar on other phones or tablets, and with other apps. If you've been listening on your phone by tapping the button on the web page, check out our instructions. After you subscribe, the app should download each episode to your phone, so you can listen anywhere without using up your data plan. We've also got very brief instructions for using iTunes and the Podcast app on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
As always, if you have suggestions for improving our content, we'd love to hear from you.