Step 7 – Episode 31

end of dayWhat is humility? How do we ask God to remove our shortcomings? Are they really defects?

Listen as Spencer, Swetha, and Kelli, back together at last, talk about Step 7, Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

We explore our understandings of the word “humbly”. It can mean that we accept ourselves as we are, that we are teachable, that we don’t blow things out of proportion, or that we don’t have expectations. When we humbly ask, we say “I am ready to learn a new way of being.”

The readiness we found in Step 6 is essential for us to ask for our shortcomings to be removed. We also know that not all our defects will be removed right away, that there is a process, and that they will go in our Higher Power’s time, not ours. We can start to see the effect these shortcomings have in our lives, even as we continue to act from them. By the time we get to Step 7, we may have some former defects that are gone, or “gone-ish”. This can help us to believe, to have faith in the promise of Step 7.

We each share personal stories of defects removed, lessened, or still present. Kelli and Swetha relate how they used their program, and particularly Step 7, during a “very, very long” 4 day “vacation” with their families of origin. Spencer tells, during the Lives in Recovery segment, of a very recent experience in which he had to use Steps 1 through 7 to regain serenity.

The 7th step prayer asks for removal of “every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows”. We look at various understandings of “defect”. They can be tools that are no longer useful. Swetha puts forth the idea that her character defects were put there by her higher power so that she could learn something, which we all relate to.

Next week, we will be recording a joint sponsorship round table with the Recovered podcast. Our topic for episode 33 is compassion. 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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Program in the workplace – Episode 30

How do you use your program in the workplace? Do you have a hard time setting boundaries at work? Do you find yourself staying late even though it affects your self-care? Can you deal effectively with your difficult co-workers?

Swetha, Kelli, and Mary share their experiences with these questions and others. Anne H. and Spencer also call in to share some of the ways in which they have used their program at work. They share specific problem situations from their workplaces, and talk about how they worked through them. Even when they weren’t completely successful at using their program tools, they look back and say “I could have used this tool here”. Listen for some great examples of the program in action.

Our topic for next week is Step 7, “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”. 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. Some questions to think about: What is humility? Does the step tell us anything about when our shortcomings will be removed? What are “shortcomings” anyway? How do we ask humbly?

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Progress, not Perfection – Episode 29

Today, we’re going to talk about progress, not perfection. Ever feel like no matter how much you try, you fall short? Ever just want to give up because perfection just seems too hard to achieve, so why bother? Ever feel like the strides you do take forward just aren’t good enough? Join Kelli, Swetha, and special guest Wendy for this journey.

How do we see perfection or perfectionism? It seems that perfection is never achievable, because if we reach it, we must not have defined it correctly. We keep on moving the goal posts. Or, maybe you can relate to this statement: “Perfectionism is what I’m not. It is something better than what I am. It’s always got to be one level above, no matter where I’m at.” Maybe you tie it to control: if I could just get everything to fall into place … if I could only get everyone to do what they are supposed to do…  I can’t get there because there are so many things out of my control. Perfectionism leads us to do things only when we know we are good at them, otherwise we say “f— it. I’m not doing that.”

Perfection is not rooted in reality. Is progress rooted in reality? Is it reachable, tangible? It is more real, more attainable, kinder. Perfection is rooted in anger and sadness, while progress is rooted in elation and happiness. But it can be hard to see our own progress. The program has brought us a measure of self-awareness that lets us start to see our progress. It also lets us see when we are falling away from who we want to be and to get ourselves back on track, and to see our progress.

Swetha shares an affirming definition: perfection is who you are right now, progress is what you need to do so you can be perfect for tomorrow. You are exactly right now who you need to be so that you can be of maximum use to yourself and your fellows, and your higher power made it that way. (You may not like it, but that’s how it is.)

How can we measure, or even just see, our progress? What tools do we have? Our 4th step and 10th step inventories can show us our progress, especially if we compare a current inventory to a past one. I can take time during our daily prayer and meditation to look at where I at today. I can get feedback through my sponsor or other program friends. Someone might come up to me after a meeting and say “I really liked your share. I want to try that in my recovery.” And I will see my progress in a new light. We might find ourselves reacting in a new way to an old situation. We can support each other by complimenting others on their progress, when we see it. And when we see (or are shown) our progress, we can congratulate ourselves — not only is this OK, it is encouraged. Laughter and humor can be a great tool when we find ourselves reaching for perfection instead of being satisfied with progress.

Kelli shares a tool she uses. When she finds herself faced with an old trigger, she “hits pause” and then “plays the tape forward”, seeing how it might turn out if she reacts in her old behavior, or how a new response can lead to a more positive result. Then she can choose progress. And of course, she uses the Serenity Prayer to help her choose progress (what she can change) over striving for perfection (what she cannot change).

Wendy shared a quote by that prolific writer, Anonymous. “As I journey through recovery, more and more I learn that accepting myself and my idiosyncracies, laughing at myself for my ways, gets me a lot further than picking on myself and trying to make myself perfect. Maybe that’s really what it’s all about: absolute loving, joyous, nurturing self-acceptance.”

Our topic for next week is Program in the Workplace. Do you have a hard time setting boundaries at work? Do you find yourself staying late even though it affects your self-care? How do you use your program in the workplace? Please call us at 734-707-8795, use the voicemail button at the right, or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Step 6 – Episode 28

Wow!Step 6 says “[We] were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” What are “defects of character.” What does “entirely ready” mean? How do we become entirely ready? What if we like some of our defects? How can we become ready to have them removed? Spencer, Kelli, and special guest host Melissa talk about these questions and others, sharing our experience, strength, and hope on the topic of Step 6.

What are “character defects”? This term seems very negative. A more positive view is that they are traits that block us from becoming the person we want to be. Or, paraphrasing the 7th Step prayer from the AA Big Book, they “stand in the way of our usefulness to God and our fellows.” Many of our defects are old attributes or coping schools that once served us well, but are no longer helpful.

For many of us, Step 6 seems to not require any action on our part. But if we just sit there, how do we become “entirely ready”? Melissa says that for her, there was a lot of writing and prayer involved. We also found that it involves self-acceptance, and acceptance of our faults. Ok, that’s good, but how do we get there?

Our reading spoke of “the 6 P’s”: perspective, pain, prayer, patience,process and payoff. Looking at the pain that a particular defect causes us, and the payoff that it used to give us, or perhaps continues to do us, can help move towards acceptance. If we are often late to meetings and appointments, the pain might be the disapproval of those we are meeting, while the payoff is that we are not “wasting time” by being early. By identifying the “payoff”, maybe we can find something to do that will avoid that feeling of wasting time, and will make it easier for us to actually arrive on time or early. Then we are ready for this defect to be removed.

We might be afraid that if a particular defect is removed, there will be nothing to replace it, and we won’t be the same person any longer. We can look back at the assets that we identified in Step 4. We will continue to have those, and maybe some of them will expand to fill the “void”. Or, a new positive asset will replace the defect. We can have faith that our higher power will replace the defect with something better. A listener wrote that she views the changes that will result as “a welcomed adventure, exploring the new me.”

What changes have we seen in ourselves as a result of working this step? Listen and find out.

Our topic for next week is progress, not perfection. Do you struggle with perfection?  Have you learned how to be accepting of your achievements even if they aren’t perfect? Please call us at 734-707-8795, use the voicemail button, or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Anonymity – Episode 27

Our 12th Tradition says “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions…” Why is anonymity important? What does it mean to be anonymous? Does it mean that we actively hide our identity? Is it about only sharing our first name (and initial?) Or is there something deeper here? What can we share about ourselves? What can we share about other people in our lives? And especially, what can we share about the alcoholics and addicts whose behavior has so deeply affected our lives?

We were prompted to this topic by a listener, who wrote, “I would like to make a show suggestion: can you do a show on Anonymity? It’s another thing I struggle with. How much about my life can I talk about in my share? Should I keep details like what I do for a living or where I go to school to myself? When I have heard the most profound thing at a meeting and want to share it, can I tell someone what I heard? I some times feel like al anon is shrouded in mystery, where are the boundaries of the secret?”

Kelli, Swetha, and Spencer, with some help from our friend Mark, discuss these questions and other aspects of anonymity in the program.

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