Obsessive Thinking – Episode 197

Do you obsess over your loved one’s drinking? Do you keep chewing over past actions or wrongs done to you? How can we stop?

  • What is obsessive thinking? What are some other words?
    • Wallowing (in negativity/fear/anger)
    • Resentment (as we discussed last week)
    • Ruminating / chewing over (past wrongs / future problems)
    • Looping
  • What sorts of obsessive thoughts do I have? (… have I had?)
    • Getting the alcoholic to stop drinking.
    • Counting drinks.
    • The problems I had in my life (as a result of the drinking).
    • Money problems.
    • What could happen (the worst, of course).
    • Things I did that I feel shame about (kicking myself over and over.)
  • Why is it a problem?
    • Takes time from things I can do.
    • Depresses my mood.
    • Sleeplessness.
    • “We who have been affected by someone else’s drinking find ourselves inexplicably haunted by insecurity, fear, guilt, obsession with others, or an overwhelming need to control every person and situation we encounter.” How Al-Anon Works Chapter 1
  • Tools for relieving obsessive thinking?
    • Detachment
    • Slogans: “How important is it?”, “One day at a time”, “Just for today”, “Let go and let God”
    • THINK / Pause (Courage to Change – Mar 4) Before I get into trouble, before I open my mouth to react, or get lost in obsessive analysis of another person’s behavior, or worrying about the future, I can Stop. Then I can Look at what is going on and my role in it. Then I can Listen for spiritual guidance that will remind me of my options and help me find healthy words and actions.
    • Letting go
    • Gratitude list
      • Often I’ll detour at a particular letter and find myself giving thanks for apples and alexandrites, apothecaries and astronauts, ants and anchovies, or bottles and bakeries, bumblebees and blueberries, bathtubs and brushes. The more overwhelming the problem I’m entertaining, the more my gratitude list helps me. First, by taking my mind off of my obsession, and second, by reminding me of the multitude of delightful and peculiar items in the world around me. (Having Had a Spiritual Awakening Chapter 8)
    • Think of something positive: “… when my thoughts race out of control, I need to stop. I may do this by breathing deeply and looking at my surroundings. It can help to replace the obsessive thoughts with something positive, such as an Al-Anon slogan, the Serenity Prayer, or another comforting topic that has nothing to do with my problem.” Courage to Change Nov 1.
    • Do something: listen to music, go for a walk, play a game, do a puzzle …
    • Serenity Prayer (praying for HP will)
    • “God Box”
      • On a note, I write down the name of the person about whom I am so distressed or angry, or describe the situation that is killing me, with which I am so toxically, crazily obsessed, and I fold the note up, stick it in the box and close it. You might have a brief moment of prayer, and it might come out sounding like this: “Here. You think you’re so big? Fine. You deal with it. Although I have a few more excellent ideas on how best to proceed.” Help, Thanks, Wow (p. 36).

    Some other links:

    Deepak Chopra: How to stop anxiety and obsessive thoughts

    Georgia Psychological Assn: How to Stop Obsessive Worry

    Upcoming topics include Alateen, parenting, and the “adult child” experience. 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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    Resentment – Episode 196

    Do you hold a grudge? Why is this harmful? How can our program help let go of our resentments?

    • What is a “resentment”?
    • Why is it a problem?
    • Where do you find your resentments stem from?
      • Anger at a past injury?
      • Others not doing things “your way”?
    • One method of working Step 4 (“searching and fearless moral inventory”) starts by listing resentments.
      • Why do you think that is?
      • Why can this be a useful way of digging into our inventory?
    • The book How Al-Anon Works talks about resentment in the chapter titled “Detachment, Love, and Forgiveness”.
      • How do these tools help relieve our resentments?
      • What other tools do you use?
      • Gratitude
      • Inventory
      • Taking a fresh look — maybe the behavior has changed and I don’t recognize it

    Upcoming topics include Alateen, Parenting, and Obsessive Thinking. 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 “Resentment – Episode 196”

    What is Al-Anon – Episode 195 – Episode 10 redux

    What is Al-Anon? Why do we, who don’t have a drinking problem, need the 12 steps?

    In this “retro” episode, Spencer, Kelly, and Swetha talk about what brought us to Al-Anon, what we found, and why we keep coming. And, maybe, why Al-Anon might help you, too.

    Upcoming topics include resentment. What do you resent? How is that hurting you? And what can you do about it? 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.

    A listener mentioned the book Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses
    book cover
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    Continue reading “What is Al-Anon – Episode 195 – Episode 10 redux”

    March Roundup 2017 – Episode 194

    Photo credit: Maria

    This weekend, my wife and I attended March Roundup 2017, an AA convention in Dearborn, Michigan. In this episode, I reflect on that experience and hope to inspire you to attend an AA or Al-Anon convention in your area.

    Upcoming topics include obsessive thinking. 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 “March Roundup 2017 – Episode 194”

    Buck N Open Talk – Episode 193

    I recently listened to this open talk from Buck N. I loved his “old school” Al-Anon, his straightforward presentation, and his sense of humor. I hope you do, too.

    Upcoming topics include the disease concept of alcoholism. Do you think that this idea gives your alcoholic loved one “an out”? What is your understanding of alcoholism as a disease? How has it changed (or not) your relationship with the alcoholic(s) in your life? 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.