Freedom – Episode 241

What does freedom mean to you? What freedom have you found in recovery?

Eric suggested this topic, and we were loosely guided in our conversation by this outline.

  • Definition of freedom? Many definitions…
  • Do I believe that freedom only comes from being in control of my life?
  • What does it mean to me (now) that “freedom can only come from acceptance”?
  • The blog “Through an Al-Anon Filter” says
    If I want peace, I must give my program away to others. If I want growth, I must give up my belief in my own “rightness.” If I want serenity, I must give up self-will, and be open to my Higher Power. If I want freedom, I must give up my need to control.

    If I want real, lasting change, I must give up my safe misery.
  • (How) do I understand this in my life?
  • Concept Three 
The Right of Decision makes effective leadership possible.
    • We have the right to decide, to make choices. This is a powerful idea and one that many of us may have lost sight of growing up in families that were dysfunctional.
    • “When I began studying Concept Three, I found the answer. It wasn’t alcoholism that bothered me. It was someone taking away my right of decision.” Reaching for Personal Freedom p. 132
  • What freedom(s) have I found in recovery?
    • Free to live my life. I don’t have to follow the whims and wishes of my loved one (I can choose to do so, but I don’t have to.)
    • Free to take care of myself (instead of my loved one).
    • Free to grow.
    • Free to laugh.
    • Free to make choices.
    • Free to know myself.
    • Free to let go of the past (but not wish to shut the door on it).
    • Free to find gratitude in the little (and the big) things, even when some part of my life sucks.
    • I am becoming Free FROM;
      • Despair
      • Sadness
      • Loneliness
      • Isolation
      • Anxiety
      • Blame
      • Resentments
      • Feeling trapped
      • Fear
      • Anger
      • Guilt
      • Shame
      • Dependence (on others)
      • Expectations (of others)
    • I am become FREE TO;
      • Live and Let Live
      • Let It Go
      • Surrender without giving up
      • Say No (and feel good about it)
      • Detach, with love
      • Set boundaries
      • Allow consequences to happen
      • Love, not need
      • Walk away
      • Feel, without fear
      • Say what I mean
      • Go slow
      • Enjoy solitude
      • Be happy
      • Have choices
      • Take risks
      • To be wrong
      • Trust
      • Laugh more (Promise 12)
    • Who knew!?  (as my sponsor said yesterday when I read him my list… 😊)
  • We want to be “happy, joyous, and free”

Upcoming topics include is talking to young children about recovery. Also parenting in all its aspects. And, violence by the “Al-Anon” in a relationship. 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 “Freedom – Episode 241”

Linda L Open Talk – Episode 240

I’m on vacation this week, visiting my brother in southern California.

I’m sharing with you the talk given by Linda L at the March Roundup 2018 in Dearborn, MI.

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.

March Roundup 2018 – Episode 239

Have you been to an AA or Al-Anon convention or round up? What did you find there?

This week, I attended “March Roundup 2018”, an AA convention with Al-Anon participation in Dearborn, Michigan. My wife and I both went and attended sessions together, with a mix of AA and Al-Anon topics and speakers.

From Friday to Sunday, we attended workshops on

And we heard 6 speakers:

  • Danny D (AA)
  • Linda L (Al-Anon)
  • Matt R and Summer B (Alateen)
  • June G (AA)
  • Earl H (AA)

As always, there was much more that we wanted to do than we had time and energy for. Activities extended into the night, both Friday and Saturday, with additional workshops, fun, games, and dancing. However we went home to get our sleep (about 45 minute drive). And Saturday and Sunday both started at 8AM, which we definitely were not able to make it that early.

I want to express my joy to the listeners who approached me to say “thank you” for this podcast. I do this podcast for my recovery and for yours, and it is always encouraging to hear how it helps you. We saw friends from our home groups and shared some recovery with them, too.

If you’ve thought about attending a “round up” or convention, I strongly encourage you to do so. If you’re afraid you’ll be singled out as an Al-Anon, I can honestly say that nobody asked me what program I was in. At this one, we made our own name badges, which could say as much or as little as we wanted. Everybody was warm and welcoming, and we got so much recovery wisdom. (Granted, not all the presenters were excellent speakers, but they all had something meaningful to share.)

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 wrote and asked about a flowchart I had mentioned a while back, where all the choices eventually lead to “don’t worry”. She wanted to know where to find it. Here’s one version: https://lifehacker.com/this-flow-chart-tells-you-when-to-worry-about-anything-1638610395

Myrtle A. Open Talk – Episode 238

Myrtle A speaking in Lusk, WY in 1996. Myrtle says she is her own worst problem. And that she has kicked “poor me” out of the house. But she is also a thief: she will “steal your responsibility faster than you knew you had it.” I hope you enjoy and get as much from her talk as I did.

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.

Healing the Trauma of Alcoholism – Episode 237

What trauma has alcoholism brought into your life? How are you healing from it?

I didn’t realize it, but by the time I came to Al-Anon, I had been traumatized by the disease of alcoholism. Al-Anon is helping me to heal from this trauma. I recognized recently that it’s not over, even almost 16 years later.

Recently, I heard of 3 simple steps that can help us to heal from traumatic stress. (Simple, not easy!) I have to admit that I don’t completely understand how to apply them, but what I know is that my progress in Al-Anon has followed these 3 steps. They are:

  • Act
    • I came to Al-Anon. I wasn’t sure why I came, except that I didn’t know what else to do.
    • I kept on coming, just because each time I felt a little better.
    • I listened and identified with what members said in meetings.
    • I read Al-Anon literature (this was huge for me in reducing anxiety and enabling me to sleep.)
  • Act with others.
    • I can’t do it all by myself. That is the essence of Steps 2 and 3:
      Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
      Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
    • I asked another member to be my sponsor. This was my first step to acting with others. I didn’t use my sponsor very effectively, but I did call when I didn’t know how to act or deal in a situation.
    • I met with other members and formed a step study group (AWOL = A Way Of Life). We met weekly for about 2 years, working through the 12 steps together.
    • Working through Step 4, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”, with others helped me to see that I am not uniquely broken, and that other people have suffered similar trauma.
    • Step 5, “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”, has been essential in healing my guilt and shame over my past actions. Until I open up to another person, I am not relieved of my pain. In this way, Acting with another is essential to my recovery.
  • Act from your wise mind.
    • The concept of “wise mind” comes from dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). It has been described as the combination of intellectual thought and emotional thought. OK. What’s that mean for me?
    • One way I see this action in my program is in Steps 6 and 7. In working Step 6, I try to reach a fullness of understanding and acceptance of my “shortcomings”. Some shortcomings are easy to accept intellectually — I can see the negative effects of my procrastination — but hard to accept emotionally — I am somehow driven to procrastinate but I don’t really know why. Practicing mindfulness can help here. By letting my thoughts just pass by, I start to find acceptance of what is true rather than what I want to be true.
    • Other shortcomings are obvious emotionally but not so much intellectually. My fear of financial insecurity is/was one of these. I knew I was afraid, but I didn’t know what I could do about it. I couldn’t get out of it by reasoning. In fact, my reasoning mind told me that I should just do the things I was afraid of: check the bank balance, pay the bills on time, make a budget. I had to bring the emotion and the reason together to accept that I needed to ask for help.
    • When I have reached intellectual and emotional acceptance of a shortcoming, then I am entirely ready to have it removed, and I can move on to Step 7 where I ask for just that.
    • Many of the components of the Al-Anon program help me to act from my wise mind, by reaching understanding and acceptance of what is true.
      • The disease concept of alcoholism was foreign to me and I rejected it at first. I had to learn about how addiction affects the brain, and I had to listen to lots of other people’s experiences to really accept it. (From both alcoholics and Al-Anon members.)
      • I came to see that I truly could not “fix” my loved one. By “accepting the things I could not change”, I could seek “the wisdom to know the difference” and the “courage to change the things I can.” When I kept on trying to do the impossible, I did not see what I could change to make my life better.
      • Tools and slogans that help me to “act” rather than “react”.

I recently heard a story of a person who was working to make change in their life. It was hard, and most days they weren’t sure they could do it. On the way home each day, they would walk through a park. In the park was a bench, and sometimes they were so overwhelmed that they would just sit on the bench and cry. After a time, they found the energy and the will to get up and continue the journey home. Until the next day…

I’ve been on that bench at times in my life. When I said to myself “I can’t and yet I must”. And I just cried from the seeming impossibility of my task.

Al-Anon helped me to get up from the bench, to start to act for myself. Other members shared their experience, strength, and hope with me. And also shared their pain, so I could know that I was not alone. They showed me how they had found the strength to get up from the bench, and I saw that I could do the same thing. If only for an hour or a day. And that was enough for then.

So if you’re sitting on the bench, crying, not knowing how to heal your trauma, come to us. Act. We will welcome you into our fellowship. Act with us, and start to find your wise mind. You are not alone. Al-Anon is a community where we don’t have to pretend everything is ok. You can find healing, but you must act. You can take one small step and reach out for help.

 

Upcoming topics include freedom and parenting. 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.

Links

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (Wikipedia)

A couple of links about “wise mind”: link 1, link 2.

Music from the show

Julien Baker: Appointments

Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive

Diana Ross: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough