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”

Gratitude 2014 – Episode 97

A power greater than ourselves provides the beauty of a flower.Can you be grateful for painful events? How do you cultivate an “attitude of gratitude”? Can gratitude help you sleep better? Join Spencer and Wendy as we talk about our experience with gratitude.

We used these questions to guide our discussion.

  • What does “gratitude” mean to you?
  • Do you see gratitude differently now than before you came to Al-Anon?
  • Do you practice an “attitude of gratitude”?
  • How has this changed your life?
  • Have you found gratitude for painful occurrences in your life? How or why?
  • What are you grateful for today?

We also found a couple of interesting articles about gratitude. Powerful Lessons in Gratitude starts “As I write this, I am coming to terms with the death of a good friend of mine who was killed in a tragic accident over the weekend. … However, I realize that even in death we have the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of life.” Both of us have found gratitude in the middle of pain and loss, and that gratitude has helped us to live our lives with greater serenity and even joy.

Another interesting article is 8 reasons to love gratitude, which has this list of benefits. The benefits are backed up by scientific study, believe it or not.

  1. It can make you happier.
  2. It can reduce blood pressure.
  3. It makes hearts healthier.
  4. It’s associated with better sleep.
  5. It helps people exercise more.
  6. It helps make vets more resilient.
  7. It can help your relationship.
  8. Even a little bit helps.

Spencer was happy to hear that he doesn’t have to practice gratitude every day in order to gain its benefits!

Our topic for next week is Tradition 12, which states “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.” 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 “Gratitude 2014 – Episode 97”

Hope – Episode 65

Wow!“… we shall hew from this mountain of despair a small stone of hope.” — Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is hope? How do we find hope when we are overwhelmed by a mountain of despair? Spencer, Maria, and May talk about their experiences of finding hope in the midst of their times of confusion, fear, and despair.

Some of the questions we used to guide our discussion included these:

  • How did you experience hope before you came to the program?
    • Did you “hope for” particular outcomes?
  • Has your conception or experience of hope changed as you have worked the program?
  • Do you see a difference between having a hopeful attitude versus an optimistic attitude?
    • The “Stockdale paradox” is that the POWs in Vietnam who didn’t survive were the optimists.
  • In his “dream” speech, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  said “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
    • What does this say to you?
  • Does faith support or engender hope for you? (Faith in a higher power, faith in the program, faith that there are good people, faith…)
  • How can we find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation?
  • Can hope lift us from despair, as King suggests?

Upcoming topics are forgiveness, co-dependency, and Tradition 4. 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 “Hope – Episode 65”