Maria – Beyond Recovery – Episode 185

How do you use recovery in your life?

Join Spencer and Maria as they explore how she has found a new way of living, beyond recovery.

Before coming to recovery, Maria’s life was “good enough.” The tools she gained in the Al-Anon program have enabled her to face two major life choices, and to decide to make a huge change in her direction.

How about you? What does your life look like, beyond recovery? Please contact us: 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 was helped by the meditation “A god of my understanding.”

Life on Purpose – Episode 156

Can you say what is your purpose? How do you decide what to do on a daily basis? What do you want to be “when you grow up”?

This episode is inspired by the book Life on Purpose.

  • How has recovery challenged me to articulate my values and my purpose?
  • What is the purpose of “purpose”?
    • Give direction and meaning to my life
    • Articulate what matters to me
  • Creating my life vs taking life for granted.
  • Live a longer and healthier life?
  • “So let’s imagine a drug that was shown to add years to your life; reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke; cut your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by more than half; help you relax during the day and sleep better at night; double your chances of staying drug- and alcohol-free after treatment; activate your natural killer cells; diminish your inflammatory cells; increase your good cholesterol; and repair your DNA. What if this imaginary drug reduced hospital stays so much that it put a dent in the national health-care crisis? Oh, and as a bonus, gave you better sex? The pharmaceutical company who made the drug would be worth billions. The inventors of the drug would receive Nobel Prizes and have institutes named for them! But it’s not a drug. It’s purpose. And it’s free. Oh, and the side effects? More friends. More happiness. Deeper engagement in life. And did I mention better sex?”
  • Eudaimonic (self-transcending) vs Hedonic (self-enhancing) pleasure.
    • Eudaimonic pleasure: Connecting with our (inner) divinity, living in harmony with it.
    • Hedonic pleasure: gratifying short-term desires.
    • How do we do this in recovery? Step 11!
  • How do I find and describe my purpose?
    • Consider my different roles? Do I have a purpose in each of those roles?
      • Community
      • Work
      • Family
      • Self
    • What do I want written on my headstone? (“Mentor, Husband and Father”? Or “Highest score in Candy Crush”?)
  • What are my values?
    • From episode 101: Integrity, Commitment, Acceptance, Love
    • How do these drive my purpose?
    • What other values might be part of my purpose?
    • What are the values of people I admire? How do they live their purposes?
  • Affirming values as a reason for behavior change enhances the ability to make that change. (Connecting to Steps 6 & 7.)
    • A positive approach to behavior change.
    • From AA Big Book: “On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.”
    • And “When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.”
  • What are my goals (based on my values)? (Statements starting with “To…”)
    • To lead others into recovery. (Community)
    • To create software that makes a difference in people’s lives. (Work)
    • To be a loving and committed husband, father, and son. (Family)
    • To be fully present and to enjoy life. (Personal)
  • Self-transcendance
    • Step 3 – Living according to my Higher Power’s will.
    • “Make the other band members look and sound good. Bring out the best in them; that’s your job.” – CHRISSIE HYNDE
    • Find a self-transcending “why” for what I do, and I will do better!
    • But also: set good boundaries!
  • Time management or Energy management?
    • It’s really about energy management.
    • Positive affirmation of values and purpose can increase energy. (also “gratitude list”)
    • But not just energy – it needs direction. Without a direction, all the energy in the world is unlikely to accomplish something.
    • Roughly two thousand years ago, the Stoic philosopher Seneca wrote, “When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
  • Sources of energy
    • Positive emotions or actions.
    • Beauty
    • Doing things for myself
    • SPACE acronym:
    • Physical activity
    • Eating well
    • Sleeping well
    • Presence
    • Creativity
  • Willpower
    • “Now don’t say you can’t swear off drinking; it’s easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.” W. C. FIELDS
    • Positive energy, affirming values, and considering purpose increases will power. (Also SPACE.)
    • “ psychologists have found that willpower acts in a similar manner to a muscle: it can be depleted after mental exertion, it can be strengthened, and it can be fueled.”
  • Using and achieving purpose
    • “The life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it.” SENECA
    • Steps 10, 11, 12.

Upcoming topics include Step 1. 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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Changes – Episode 47

Do you wish that things would just stay the same? Does change freak you out? Maybe you get depressed when live today isn’t the same as yesterday. If you identify with these feelings, stick around. Today, I’m going to talk about changes.

There is a big change for the Recovery Show: Kelli and Swetha have decided, for personal reasons, that they can no longer participate in the show. In this episode Spencer reflects on how this change affected him, and how he is using the program to work through it. Here is his rough outline for the show

  • Awareness: What happened? How I felt? What I did?
    • “Change is a process … becoming aware is the first stage of this process.” (How Al-Anon Works, p. 23)
  • Fear of change and uncertainty. What about just giving up?
  • Acceptance:
    • “being willing to feel the feels, and if I can’t bring myself to do the next right thing, at least trying to refrain from doing the next wrong thing” (from a friend via Facebook)
    • “Change, even wonderful, positive change, involves some grief for the old … life” (HAW p. 88)
    • Working the steps: 1 … 2 & 3 … 4 & 5 … 6 & 7
    • Gratitude — for what was — and that I can keep on moving forward.
    • Serenity prayer!
    • Reading from Bless the Imperfect.
  • Action
    • Sermon this morning: “What is the love story we tell that keeps us going?”
    • Where are we going?
    • I am committed to continuing the podcast.
    • I will be drawing on the local recovery community for guests and maybe, ultimately, new co-hosts.
    • It will be different. I fear not as good, and I hope to grow into something better (just as we would have continued to do.)
    • Your contributions are valuable, perhaps more now than ever.
  • Thank you to all who have contributed, and special thanks to those who sent prayers for me this week.

Our topic for next week is Step 10. 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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blessing – a meditation

 

Every experience, no matter how bad it is, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.

Buddha

Recently, I thought I have been struggling with acceptance because of a loved one’s addiction and denial. My program has taught me that it is not up to me to classify someone as an addict, or alcoholic, or codependent since I know that I can only honestly speak about my own experience. But I have found myself deeply affected by fear and pain because I do not feel accepted or loved by this person. I found myself trying to explain my loved one’s behavior to myself by assigning labels to this person’s actions or creating stories around why they can not give me what I want. I would tell myself, “this person is not spiritually fit enough to be open and loving”. At other times, I would think “why doesn’t this person love me enough to do this for me? Am I not good enough?”. Sometimes I would just call my loved one an addict and detach with resentment and anger.

In the end, I realized I was right – I was struggling with acceptance. Only, I was struggling with accepting my loved one rather than judging. I was also struggling with accepting myself and trusting in my Higher Power. I know this because my entire focus was on the acceptance I did not feel I was receiving from my loved one. I worried about this person and their behaviors rather than keeping the focus on me and my behavior and my needs.  It is none of my business what my loved one does or why unless it violates my boundaries; and having my boundaries violated is not the same as having my fears triggered. And that is all that is happening – my fears are being triggered. I am afraid that if I do not feel acceptance from this loved one,  I will suffer and be abandoned.

I remember thinking, even up to this morning, “Why did I invite this person into my life? Why couldn’t I have left well enough alone?” But this is why. It is because my Higher Power wants me to love myself and know that my Higher Power loves me unconditionally – even when other people do not. What a blessing it is that I have the opportunity to learn how to love myself and accept the love of my Higher Power no matter what!

So, today, I took a pen, and wrote a message to myself that reminds me that I am loved by my Higher Power. And I know I will feel the fear that I am not good enough for the people in my life to love me. But then I will look at my wrist and realize the more important thing – that I am, have always been, and will always be good enough for my Higher Power to love and accept every part of me.

A meditation for September 26, 2013

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sophrosyne – a meditation

 

sophrosyne – (n.) a healthy state of mind, characterized by self-control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one’s true self, and resulting in true happiness.

 

I think this meditation is pretty self-explanatory, but the one thing I loved that I wanted to draw attention to about this is that it does not specify what each of these is. It doesn’t say that in order to have a healthy state of mind, you have to a certain way, or anything else. This is something that I’ve noticed in my program of recovery, too. I am given 12 Steps, but the implementation of those Steps is up to me. I decide what a healthy state of mind means for me. And that can change from day to day. That can change from minute to minute. And I love that in leaving that portion of it open-ended, my program helps me to to learn to define who I am rather than tell me who I ought to be. For that I am eternally grateful.

A meditation for July 20, 2013.

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