Knowing myself – Episode 177

Stepping StonesStart where you are. When change comes, as it always does, it helps to know who you are.

  • Why is it important to know “who I am”?
  • What does it mean to know “who I am”?
  • How have the Steps helped me in knowing myself? (Step 4 is the obvious one, but what about the others?)
    • Step 1: starting to break through denial. My image of my life is not realistic.
    • Step 2: Starting to see that I am not the center of the universe, and that I can ask for help.
    • Step 3: Recognizing how much I want “my will”. Making a decision to ask for help, to follow outside direction. How hard it is!
    • Step 4: Looking in detail at myself, admitting my assets and my shortcomings.
    • Step 5: How much I really don’t want to expose my “failings”! How much I fear your judgement.
    • Step 6: Coming to own my inventory. Starting to recognize some of the “why” about what I do (and don’t do).
    • Step 7: Humility: I can be teachable.
    • Step 8: Recognizing the ways in which my shortcomings have caused me to harm others, whether deliberately or by oversight.
    • Step 9: Seeing my shame, my fear of rejection, my fear of judgement. And also my courage and honesty.
    • Step 10: Continuing to know myself more deeply.
    • Step 11: Getting in touch with my own spirit, getting “out of my head”. Who am I when I’m not “chattering” away in my mind all the time?
    • Step 12: Recognizing the ways in which I have awakened.

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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Spencer’s Open Talk – Episode 168

DSC_9877What was it like? What happened? And what is it like now?

Spencer was invited to give an “open talk” recently, and he elected to use this traditional format.

It starts with “what happened?” With that moment when the reality of his powerlessness and the unmanageability of his life crashed down on him. When he heard that “You didn't cause it, you can't cure it, and you can't control it.” And when those words lifted a weight from his shoulders that he hadn't realized he was carrying. That he had been trying to accomplish the impossible: to make his loved one stop drinking.

He came to see that his journey to Al-Anon has really started much earlier. He believed that it was his job, his task in life, to “rescue” others. And so, maybe it is no surprise that he fell in love with and married an alcoholic. Because, who needs “fixing” or “rescuing” more than an alcoholic. Not that he recognized that at the time!

He came to his first Al-Anon meeting almost unwillingly. After all, he was not the one with the “problem.” But nothing was working, and his life was miserable, so maybe, just maybe, this Al-Anon thing would help.

His recovery story includes coming to understand what “working the steps” means, and learning to trust others with the reality of his life. It includes finding freedom from anger, fear, despair, and rage. It includes experiencing serenity, even when his life was still in the midst of chaos.

And, it includes finding an answer to what seemed an unanswerable question: “I can't live this way, but I can't leave either. What can I do!?” The answer turns out to be “I can live.”

Upcoming topics include sorrow and feelings. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

What does it mean to work the steps? – Episode 80

When you first heard “work the steps”, what did you think? Are you still confused about what it means? Or, maybe you’ve worked the steps, but you’re looking for more.

Spencer talks with Ruth, Maria, and Patti about our understanding of and experience of “working the steps”. We consider these questions in our conversations.

  • When you first heard the phrase “work the steps”, what did you think it meant?
  • Have you worked the steps once? More than once?
    • If more than once, how did your understanding of “working the steps” change?
    • How did you work the steps? From a book? With a sponsor? As part of a group?
  • Some steps have clear actions in them (“took an inventory”, “made a list”), and some do not (“came to believe”, “became entirely ready”).
    • Would you say that some steps are “action steps” and some are not?
    • Or, do you believe that all the steps have actions in them?
  • How do you know you have “finished” a step and are ready to move on to the next one?
  • If you are a sponsor, how do you guide your sponsees in working the steps?

Our topic for next week is “The 3 C's“. We are told that “We didn't cause it, we can't cure it, and we can't control it.” How does this help? Does it help? What do you think? 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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Tradition 5 – Episode 73

Have you wondered what Al-Anon is about? Why do we keep coming when we feel better? What does Al-Anon tell us about our alcoholic friends and relatives? These questions and more are addressed by Tradition 5. “Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.”

Ruth shares her experience with being welcomed into the fellowship of Al-Anon, and about how she came to understand what it means to “encourage” her alcoholic loved one. Then Spencer shares his musings on this tradition, roughly following this outline.

  • What does it mean to “understand and encourage our alcoholic relatives”?
  • How can we gain understanding of alcoholism?
  • How does this help us?
  • How can I “encourage” my alcoholic relative(s)?
  • In what ways did Al-Anon welcome me?
  • How do I welcome others?
  • How do I give comfort to others?
  • Why is it important for me to work the 12 steps?

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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sponsor – a meditation


The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, when you are near or with them.

Charles Bukowski

When I came into the program for the first time, I was terrified of the idea of asking someone to be my Sponsor. I didn't know who to ask or how I would know when I find someone I want to ask. Eventually, I started hanging out around a group of people amongst which my current Sponsor was one. When I was around this person and talked to her, I felt calmer. I felt I had more space to exist and I was treated with respect, kindness, and compassion. This was because I was treated that way by my Sponsor. My Sponsor was a free soul.

And every day since, I have found more and more people in the program around whom I feel good and at peace when I am near them. These are the people that have what I want. These people have peace. And when I am around them, it is contagious.

When I first came to the program, I was relieved from their serenity. It was like standing by a fire on a cold night. I felt warm. But when I walked away, I became cold again. I would keep coming back to meetings for more warmth, more serenity. And as I came and heard everyone's shares, I would have sparks in my own souls that would light me up for a little longer than just the duration of the meeting. Then I got a Sponsor and worked the Steps. Suddenly, those sparks started to become a small flame. As time passed and I continued to work my program in all my affairs, my flame turned into a roaring fire of my own as I was able to be in touch with my own serenity and my own Higher Power.

The program showed me peace, then it showed me peace could exist in me, and then it lit a fire inside of me through the program of 12 Steps. I am grateful to the program for this because I now have my own serenity and I am able to give back the same to the newcomers and friends of the program.

A meditation for August 1, 2013.

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