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 with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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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 with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

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Changed Attitudes – Episode 62

We say “changed attitudes can aid recovery”. But how do we change our attitudes? How does it help? Spencer and Rachel talk about changed attitudes.


  1. a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person's behavior.
  2. the orientation of an aircraft or spacecraft, relative to the direction of travel.

We used these questions to guide our discussion:

  • What is “attitude” anyway?
  • Do I generally have a negative attitude or a positive attitude?
  • Can you make deliberate changes in attitude?
  • One definition: “Angle of approach”
    • If you use this definition, how does this change your answer?
    • Can you change your attitude by looking at your situation / events / other people from a different point of view?
  • Have you changed your attitudes since coming to the program?
  • How does a change in attitude help me to accept powerlessness?
    • To help me see what I *can* change?
    • To stop “taking it personally”?
  • What tools have helped you change attitude?
    • Steps?
    • Slogans?
    • Other people’s experience, strength and hope?
    • From meetings
    • Literature
    • “open” talks
    • Higher power, prayer, meditation
  • How have changes in attitude helped you
    • In relationships?
    • At work?
    • Dealing with the addict/alcoholic(s) in your live?
    • Living?

Our topic for next week is Tradition 3, which states “The relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.” 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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Communication – Episode 56

siblingsDo you have trouble communicating your needs and feelings to your loved ones? Do your attempts to ask for what you want always degenerate into an argument? How have you learned to communicate better in this program? Today, Spencer, Maria and guest host Meishia talk about Communication.

We started with this list of questions.

How did you communicate in your relationships before you came to the program?
What special challenges to communication have you faced/seen in alcoholic relationships?
Which of these communication skills did you have then / do you have now? Listening attentively and openly. Stating your needs clearly. Using “I” statements.
Which of these communication problems did you have then / have you reduced or eliminated? Accusatory or judgemental statements. Expecting others to “read your mind”. Emotional reaction. Escalation to argument or fight
What are “I” statements?  Why would you want to use them? How can they help to enhance communication and avoid emotional escalation?
Are you aware of the non-verbal signals you send?

A well-written contribution from Adrienne sparked our conversation, and we just rolled on from there.

Our topic for next week is face to face meetings – why are they important? 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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gratitude attitude – a meditation

I love to drum!


Many's the time that we feasted
And many's the time that we fasted
Oh, well, it was swell while it lasted
We did have fun and no harm done

And thanks for the memory


Ella Fitzgerald — Thanks for the Memory

At a recent meeting, the lead topic was gratitude. As  people started to share around the room, I heard a theme about attitude. And I remembered a definition of “attitude” that I had heard in an AA speaker talk: “the orientation or angle of approach of an aircraft”. In other words, my “attitude” is the way that I approach something. In my case, it is about  how I approach the change in this podcast. I can be saddened, anxious, or even resentful that the change happened. But I can also be grateful for what we have done together. It's all in my attitude — my angle of approach.

When I take that attitude, I know that there is much for me to be grateful for. We did a fine thing, and we had fun doing it. When I take that attitude, I can start from what we did and continue to build the podcast. When I take that attitude, I increase my serenity and reduce my anxiety.

I am also immensely grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from you, our listeners. I want to reply to each of you individually, and I will. Right now, my feelings overwhelm me with each new email. Please believe that, even if I have not written back, that I deeply appreciate each and every message.

A meditation for November 1, 2013.

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