Perspective – Episode 258

What does it mean to “place our problem in its true perspective”? Can a change in perspective change everything?

    • Our suggested opening says “as we learn to place our problem in its true perspective, we find it loses its power to dominate our thoughts and our lives”.
    • What is perspective?
      • From dictionary.com:
      • the state of one's ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.
      • the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship: Your data is admirably detailed but it lacks perspective.
      • a mental view or prospect: the dismal perspective of terminally ill patients.
      • a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance
      • the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity: try to get some perspective on your troubles
      • Scrabble points: 26
    • Perception and attitude: perception is how i see things. Attitude is how I react. (http://sarahtauber.com/interesting-words/perception-vs-attitude-difference/ )
    • How do I lose perspective?
      • (Over) reacting in the moment.
      • Dramatizing / awfulizing
      • Minimizing (denial)
      • Not looking at “the bigger picture”
    • What happens when I lose perspective?
    • How can I “put things in perspective” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anxiety-files/201702/putting-things-in-perspective)
      • Ask yourself what is the cost to you and others of your reaction?
      • Observe and describe rather than judging.
        • HALT (Am I hungry angry lonely, or tired?, WAIT (why am i talking), THINK (thoughtful, honest, intelligent, necessary, kind)
      • What can you still do? (Serenity prayer, first things first)
        • Pause
        • Serenity prayer
      • Ask how you will feel in a week? A month? A year?
        • Regret, shame, guilt? 8th step list?
        • How important will this seem in the future?
      • Consider it as an inconvenience instead of the “end of the world.”
      • “Rational” comes from “ratio” — consider proportion
    • Making crisis work for us (https://al-anon.org/blog/affairs-making-crises-work/ )
      • Breaking through denial
      • Slowly rising awareness
      • Sudden revelation
    • TED talk “transformative power of classical music”  — Story (from The Art of Possibility) about shoe salesmen in Africa, opportunity, and perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9LCwI5iErE\
    • Program tools
      • Serenity prayer
      • Let go and let God
      • How important is it?
    • Quotes: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/perspectives and https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/different_perspective

Readings

How Al-Anon Works:

  • Chapter 16: Tradition 1
  • Part 2, Chapter 16, “A Nun finds Spiritual Peace”
  • Part 2, chapter 31, “Letting Go of a Loved One’s Alcohol, Drug, and Money Problems”

Courage to Change

  • January 27, “sometimes dirty dishes are just dirty dishes” (How Important is it?)
  • June 24 — “It wasn’t much of a day for egg-laying, but it was a great day for music!”

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 “Perspective – Episode 258”

3 P’s: Perfection, Procrastination, Paralysis – Episode 219

Do you find yourself seeking perfection? Do you procrastinate because you can't achieve it? Or, maybe, you are paralyzed because of it.

We explore the 3 P's, guided by the questions below and with shares from listeners.

  • How do Perfection, Procrastination, and Paralysis connect to each other?
  • How have I experienced perfection(ism) in my life?
  • How (and why) do I procrastinate?
    • What is the payoff from procrastinating?
  • When do I experience paralysis?
    • What behaviors do I exhibit then?
  • How can I use the “6 P’s”(from our book Paths to Recovery) of Step six?  Thanks to Cleaning Out the Old Toolbox blog for these reflections:
    • Perspective: think of defects of character as “survival skills that no longer serve me”. Since my Higher Power wants more for me than mere survival, I can let them go and trust that I will develop healthy behaviors and thinking.
    • Pain: Whenever the pain of staying the same hurts more than the pain of change, that’s the time when I will be ready.
    • Prayer: My part is to pray for openness & willingness; God’s part is to do the removing.
    • Patience: God gets to choose when and how fast He will remove my defects of character.
    • Process: Quite possibly, this is a grief process of denial, anger, bargaining and depression.
    • Payoff: The bottom line–what am I getting out of holding on to some of these defects of character? What is still good about it?
  • How can I let go of 3 P’s?
    • Slogans
      • Progress, not perfection
      • First things first
      • How Important is it?
      • Do the next right thing.
      • Keep it simple.
      • Easy does it.
      • Let go and let God.
    • Steps
      • Step 4 — identify my character traits
      • Step 5 — be honest about them!
      • Step 6 — become ready to let go of what is not helping me
      • Step 7 — Ask for the help (and practise new behavior)
    • Acceptance that nothing is/will be perfect. Ever.
    • Gratitude

Our upcoming topic is courage. The word courage appears in the serenity prayer, from which the title of one of our daily meditation books was taken: Courage to Change. How have you experienced courage in your recovery? Which steps required courage of you? How has recovery given you courage to change the things you can? 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.

Episodes mentioned in this show are: Episode 203, Adult Children of Alcoholics; Episode 200, Daddy's Medicine; and Episode 22, Parents' Roundtable.
Continue reading “3 P's: Perfection, Procrastination, Paralysis – Episode 219”

Being Thankful – Episode 180

DSC_5126How are you thankful? Can you be thankful even when life isn’t going well? How can being thankful improve your situation?

As I approach the US Thanksgiving holiday, my thoughts naturally turn to thankfulness.
In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, we find this bit of conversation between Hamlet and Rosencrantz. Hamlet has just remarked that Denmark is a prison, and Rosencrantz says that he doesn’t find it so:

HAMLET: Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is
nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it
so. To me, it is a prison.
ROSENCRANTZ: Why, then, your ambition makes it one.
’Tis too narrow for your mind.
HAMLET: O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and
count myself a king of infinite space, were it not
that I have bad dreams.
And don’t we all (have bad dreams)? How can we be thankful in spite of them? How can being thankful actually help us drive away our bad dreams?

Let’s look at the reading from How Al-Anon Works on gratitude.

  • “Actively practicing gratitude is one way we can promote attitude adjustment. Instead of taking for granted the many blessings in our lives, we make a point to mentally acknowledge them until doing so becomes a habit.”
    • I don’t “notice” when things are going well, but
    • I dwell on the times when things went poorly.
  • “Writing them down in a “gratitude list” and then reading the list to our Sponsor or sharing it with other Al-Anon members helps us realize that there are many things in our lives for which we are truly grateful. “
    • A to Z gratitude list
    • How I felt afterwards
  • “Gratitude enables us to savor the unrecognized good that surrounds us, no matter what the circumstances. As we become accustomed to noticing the positive aspects of our lives, we begin to recognize small, subtle gifts and cloaked opportunities when they appear in our day-to-day experience.”
    • My winter day story — a friend helped me to see the good that had happened that day instead of “moaning” about the bad
    • I remember this story and it helps me to see the positive as well as the negative.
  • “ Eventually, as we continue to practice, we actually do find something to be grateful for, even in painful or difficult situations. We replace our victim mentality with an attitude of gratitude.”
    • Psych ward story.
  • “Instead of feeling drained, overwhelmed, and stressed by the circumstances we encounter, we begin to feel empowered and capable of coping, even flourishing, because we have learned that our Higher Power can use every situation, every relationship, every experience, to enhance our lives and foster strength, faith, and personal growth. Thus, everyone and everything has a special gift to offer us.”
    • Visiting with my aging and ailing mother.
    • How I felt, how I grew.
  • “We need only open our eyes to see it.”

Previous episodes and blog posts on gratitude are

Upcoming topics include anger. 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.

Gratitude – Episode 129

DSC_0053Have you heard someone say they were grateful for the alcoholics in their life? How do you practice gratitude? Can you find gifts in the “punishments” of your life?

I reflect on gratitude while walking in the woods on a beautiful fall day.

  • (How) can I say I am grateful for my loved one’s alcoholism?
    • it is part of who she is — her personality
    • I am the person I am now
  • (How) can I find gratitude for pain in my life.
    • Colbert: “‘You have to learn to love the bomb.’ It took me a long time to really understand what that meant. It wasn’t ‘Laugh it off.’ No, it means what it says. You gotta learn to love when you’re failing… The embracing of that, the discomfort of failing in front of an audience, leads you to penetrate through the fear that blinds you. Fear is the mind killer.”
    • “What punishments of God are not gifts? … So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”
    • ”It’s our choice whether to hate something in our lives or to love every moment of them, even the parts that bring us pain. At every moment, we are volunteers.”
    • http://www.gq.com/story/stephen-colbert-gq-cover-story
  • What am I grateful for today.
    • I have a home to live in and food to eat and energy to keep me comfortable.
    • I have a family who loves me and who I love.
    • My body-self is reasonably healthy, despite the minor aches and pains I complain of daily.
    • The day is beautiful, crisp, clear with bright fall colors.
    • I have a program that helps me to grow spiritually and to become more of the person I want to be.
    • I am the sum of my live experiences. I would not be who I am without them.
  • What are you grateful for today? Can you find gifts in your “punishments”?

Upcoming topics include living with lies; clearing a path; and recovering from the death of a loved one who did not find recovery. 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.

Laughter – Episode 121

When you came to your first meeting, were people laughing? How did that make you feel? How do you use laughter in your recovery today?

  • When (under what circumstances) did you laugh before program?
  • When and how did you laugh as a child?
  • How did that change as you grew older?
  • How did that change as you were affected by alcoholism/addiction?
  • Could you laugh at yourself then? … about your pain? … about your foibles and shortcomings?
  • How did you feel when you first heard laughter in an Al-Anon meeting?
  • How has recovery changed the way you laugh? Why you laugh?
  • Can you laugh about your pain? … about your shortcomings?
  • How do you see laughter as a healing force?
  • What have you learned about laughter in recovery?

Upcoming topics include Al-Anon dreams, and imperfection. 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 “Laughter – Episode 121”