How do you trust? – Episode 281

When do you decide to trust (or not to trust) someone?
How do we trust others in the program?
What fears might stop us from trusting?

  • What is trust?
    • (noun) firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
    • (verb) believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.
  • How do we come to trust someone?
    • The marble jar analogy.
  • Brené Brown on trust: (
    • We often think trust is built by grand gestures at crucial moments in our lives, but trust is typically built with simplicity and small actions. After looking at the research Brown said, “It’s very clear. Trust is built in very small moments.”
    • Charles Feltman had the “most beautiful definition of trust,” which was “Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.” “Feltman says that distrust is what I’ve shared with you that is important to me is not safe with you,”
  • What are some of the “marbles” of trust that I found in the program?
    • Open, honest, vulnerable sharing
    • “Nodding” — “I’ve been there. I know what it feels like.”
    • Members being there week after week.
    • No judgement.
    • Keeping confidences.
  • What are some “marbles” of distrust?
    • Unsolicited advice.
    • Someone assuming they know what I feel.
    • Breaking confidence (rare in my experience)
  • Brené Brown’s acronym: BRAVING ( )
    • Boundaries
    • Reliability
    • Accountability
    • Vault
    • Integrity
    • Non-judgement
    • Generosity
  • Tradition 12 “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.”
    • Anonymity is the basis of the trust that makes the program possible.

Readings and Links

We read from Courage to Change, April 3

We recommend the new book from Al-Anon, Intimacy in Alcoholic Relationships

A listener spoke of her experience in Recovering Couples Anonymous.

Another listener suggest a topic of “intuition vs fear”, which reminded me of episode 61, Intuition or God's Will? 


Our topic for next week is Mary Pearl T on Step 7. Also upcoming is an episode on Acronyms and Alliterations. Acronyms like HALT, FEAR. Alliterations like the 3 A's or 4 M's. What is your favorite? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email and share your favorite (and why). Or just leave a comment right here.
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S-Anon – Episode 280

Brian joins The Recovery Show to talk about his experience in S-Anon. What is S-Anon? It is a 12-step program, similar to Al-Anon, for those who have been affected by another person's sexual addiction.

Brian introduces the S-Anon program, and talks about his personal experience of finding recovery in that program. We look at ways in which his experience parallels mine in the Al-Anon program, and how it is different. (Spoiler: it's probably more alike than different, but it takes us a while to get there.)

Readings and Links

Brian read “The S-Anon Problem“.

If you want to know more about S-Anon, or to find a meeting, visit

These books were mentioned: Intimacy in Alcoholic RelationshipsFrom Survival to Recovery, and Hope for Today.


Upcoming topics for next week include acronyms and alliterations. What's your favorite Al-Anon acronym? An alliteration that is meaningful to you? (3 C's, 4 M's?) Share what and, most importantly, why. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Do you like yourself? – Episode 279

Do you like yourself?
Can you love yourself?
Can you trust yourself?

In a recent meeting, the topic was Step 5, “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” One member shared that she often had a hard time even liking herself, and that this was a barrier to working Step 5. If she hated herself for some of the things she had done, how could she ever admit them out loud?

I definitely identified with that feeling. There are some events in my life that I felt a lot of shame about. That I did not admit in my first 5th step. One, in particular, that I didn’t admit in my second 5th step, had haunted me for over 30 years. Every time I remembered that incident, a flush of shame and self-loathing washed over me. Finally, probably after a meeting in which the reading included the saying that “we are only as sick as our secrets,” I realized I had to talk about it. I met with the person I had done that 5th step with and said “I’ve got some more.”

It wasn’t easy. I had admitted it to my Higher Power and to myself, but never to another person. But it was something I felt I had to do. The amazing thing is that since that time, the memory of this event has lost its power over me! I’m still not pleased that it happened, but I don’t feel the shame that it used to impose on me. That hard admission brought me some peace and some more love and compassion for myself. Even for the 40-years-younger me that made a really poor decision (doing the best with what he had.)

And then, a day later, the sermon topic was “Trust Thyself”. Oh, boy, there’s a message: loving myself and trusting myself, all in the same weekend. You know, the feelings I have that lead me to not like myself and to not trust myself are very similar. You’ve probably heard those messages from the judgey part of yourself, too: “You’re not good enough.” “You can’t do it right.” “You can’t do it at all.” “You’re always wrong.” “You’re so stupid.” “What were you thinking? I can’t believe you’d do that!” And so on, and so on.

In her sermon, our minister presented the “4 Cs” of trusting yourself. Well, I’m a sucker for alliterations, so I perked right up! What are these 4 Cs?

Clarity: Seeing ourselves and the world for what we (and it) really are. In the program, this is Step 4 (probably 5, 6, and 7 too.) Also, Steps 8 and 9 bring more clarity.

Connection: Get out of my isolation. I know that I can’t always see myself clearly, and I need someone else to help me. In other words, go to a meeting, call a friend, get a sponsor (and use them!) And, of course, there’s the connection to a Higher Power we find in Steps 2 and 3!

Compassion: This is also about getting out of myself. When I can have compassion for other people, and when I can identify with their fears and pain, but also their joys and successes, then I can start to see the same in myself. And I can start to have compassion for myself. I would never talk to someone else the way that I sometimes talk to myself.

Commitment: Make a commitment to keep away from the negative self-talk, to continue to work on the first 3 Cs. Step 10 is my commitment to continuing to seek clarity. Steps 11 and 12 are commitments to connection and compassion.

Yup, there’s the recovery part of the program (steps 2-12) captured in 4 Cs. How did this work in my Step 5 experience?

I gained clarity by taking an inventory of the incident. What was motivating me? Which of my needs were involved? I began to understand the “exact nature of my wrongs” in this incident. In talking with my friend, I got a little more clarity as I explained what happened, but I also made connection with another person — I was not alone. That person’s loving acceptance of my sharing deepened that connection, and assured me that I was not a broken person. This helped me to have compassion for my previous self. And you know what? I liked myself a little better. And I trusted myself to be able to do the right thing a little more.

Readings and links

I read from Courage to Change, May 22 and January 24.

After the service, I was talking to the  minister and she mentioned Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. I was pretty sure I had mentioned that here, and indeed: episode 122, Imperfection.


Thinking about acronyms and alliterations as a topic. You know, acronyms like QTIP, FEAR, etc. Alliterations like “3 As”, “4 Ms”, etc. What is your favorite Al-Anon acronym or alliteration? Why? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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What do we do here? – Episode 278

What is this podcast about? We’re not Al-Anon, exactly. What are we?

I got a letter from a listener who asked some questions. It made me think that maybe it's time (again?) to talk about what The Recovery Show is, and what it isn't.

  • Why did we create The Recovery Show?
    • We had been sharing Al-Anon ESH on Recovered podcast.
    • We wanted to bring Al-Anon message “full time”.
  • What is our intent?
    • Share our and others’ experiences in recovery.
    • Illustrate how Al-Anon recovery works in *our* lives.
    • Explore recovery concepts.
    • Explain the Al-Anon program.
  • Some questions and observations from the email:
    • “do you ever worry that your seemingly more “relaxed” discussions might lead to confusion among the listeners and to inadvertent undermining of normal operations of meetings?”
    • “Service and “The Rules” is not a ratings winner, but maybe there is some way to explore it that gives it the proper context and proportion.”
    • “when I encountered The Recovery Show I was struck by the ways it more closely tracked the familiar 12-Step meeting format, but also the ways in which it appeared to depart from that model.”
    • “my program-monitor-radar-alarm went off, particularly about what I perceived as cross-talk.”
    • “The Recovery Show is decidedly NOT holding itself out as an Al-Anon Family Group”
  • What we do here is very much like the conversations we might have when we go out for coffee after a meeting, or when meeting with a sponsor, or (in my case) in at least one of the AWOL groups I have been a part of.
  • I have attended a few “cross talk” meetings in my time in the program, and what we do here is similar to the best of those.

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Bob S Jr Talk – Episode 277

The son of “Doctor Bob”, Bob S., Jr., in a talk from an Al-Anon conference in 2003.

A listener wrote about coincidences and recommended episode 489 of This American Life, “No Coincidence, No Story!”

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading “Bob S Jr Talk – Episode 277”