Jennifer – Free from Obsession – 302

how much love?Jennifer's adult son has been drinking alcoholically for his entire adult life, some 30 years. She wrote and offered to tell her story, where she is now living a wonderful life, free of the obsession to do something. She loves him, she is concerned about his well-being and health, but that doesn't consume her life any more.

Her son's alcoholism is so strong that he has been unwilling to seek or accept help. She still loves him, but has told him that he must live on his own, that she will not support him in his addiction. This meant that at times, he was homeless, living in the forest. She accepts (but doesn't like) that he must live with the consequences of his actions. She has given him the respect of letting him live his life, not the one she might have wanted for him.

Readings and Links

Jennifer read from Courage to Change, September 14, and Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses, p. 15.

A listener asked about where I got the Mary Pearl workshop. I bought it from Lee's Tapes and CDs at an AA convention, and it is also available online at this link.

Only the last 300 episodes are available in your podcast app, but they are all available right here.


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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Saying No — No is a complete sentence – 298

Is it hard for you to say “no”? Do you avoid responding instead of saying “no”? Or, maybe you say “yes” when you want to say “no”.

  • “No” is a boundary.
    • Typically in response to a request or requirement to do something we do not want to agree to do and is not ours to do.
  • What’s the problem here?
    • I feel I have to justify my “no” answer.
    • I’m afraid you won’t like me if say “no”
    • I’m afraid you will respond with anger or disappointment if I say “no”
    • I feel like I’m being mean if I say “no”
    • I feel like I “should” say “yes” but I don’t want to.
    • I say “I don’t know” or “maybe” instead of “no.”
    • I say “yes” but I mean “no.”
  • Do I also have a problem saying “yes”?
  • Do I have a problem committing, in general?
  • Why should I learn to say “no”, period?
    • I don’t have an infinite store of time and energy.
    • Some things are more important than others.
    • I need to set and respect my own boundaries.
    • I’m not comfortable / don’t agree with what you are asking me for / to do.
  • What is the difference between “no” and negativity?
  • Strength of “no”
    • It is an affirmation of self.
    • When I say “no”, it makes my “yes” stronger and more meaningful.
  • When to say no?
    • When it keeps me true to my principles and values.
    • When it protects me from being exploited.
    • When it keeps me focused on my own goals.
    • When it protects me from abuse.
    • When I need the strength to change course.
    • Try saying “yes” and “no” (in your head) and see how each one feels to you.
    • Think about the consequences of saying “yes” (or “no”).
  • How can I say no nicely?
    • “I’ll think about it” — but only if I really will think about it and get back with a “yes” or “no” — not just to put off saying “no”.
    • Use softer language: “I’d prefer not to”
    • At least say it calmly.
    • “That’s really not my responsibility.”
  • How can I say “no” to myself? And when is it important to say no to myself?

Readings and Links

We read from Courage to Change, July 25 and April 13.

Eric mentioned the book Discovering Choices.

Web links we used as resources include these from Psychology Today: The Power of No, When, Why, and How to say No. From Huffington Post, The Art of Saying No. From, No Is A Complete Sentence.

We got some quotes from

Related topics from The Recovery Show include these episodes

Upcoming: our 300th episode

Our 300th episode is just around the corner! I’d love you to share how The Recovery Show has supported your recovery. Did we encourage you to go to your first meeting? Did a particular topic or guest inspire you or give you a new insight? We want to know!  Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. To be included in episode 300, please do so before August 10, 2019. Continue reading “Saying No — No is a complete sentence – 298”

Force and Power – Episode 249

Read a transcript of this episode.How have you given away your power?

Did you lose power over your life when you tried to force solutions?

How can you recover your personal power?

  • Definitions
    • Force: make a way through or into by physical strength, make (someone) do something against their will
    • Power: the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events
    • Powerful: sturdy, influential, strong, compelling
  • How we give away our power?
    • Enabling
    • Saying yes when we mean no
    • Avoiding confrontation
    • Feeling resentment, bitterness, anger, shame
    • Fighting / taking the bait / picking up the rope
    • Denial
    • Losing track of what is acceptable
    • Not setting boundaries or not keeping them
    • Apologizing for things that weren’t ours to keep the peace
  • Forcing (solutions)
    • March 8, Courage to Change – Easy does it
    • Force is the antithesis of recovery
    • Trying to control drinking
    • Punishing
    • Hollow/idle threats
    • Impossible ultimatums
    • Working the program “hard”?
    • Tom W said “I don’t believe ‘it works if you work it’. I believe it works if you let it.”
  • How do we recover our power?
    • The power we were born with to live our lives with peace and serenity
    • Asking my higher power for help
    • Al-anon Welcome: “… we find it loses its power to dominate our thoughts and our lives.”
    • How Al-Anon Works, chapter 16 “A Nun finds Spiritual Peace”
    • Use the tools of the program
    • Slogan: Easy does it
    • Let go and let God
    • “I don’t know.”
    • Detaching with love
    • Setting healthy boundaries
    • Saying “no”
    • Saying what we mean without saying it meanly
    • Neutral responses (see page image below)
    • Understanding consequences (mine and not mine)
    • Changing the way I think is real power.

Read a transcript of this episode.

Upcoming topics include parenting a child who is an alcoholic or addict. 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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Consequences – Episode 245

Do you try to reduce the consequences of your loved one’s choices and actions?  Do you have trouble enforcing consequences on undesirable behavior by others?


  1. a result or effect of an action or condition.

synonyms: result, upshot, outcome, effect, repercussion, ramification, corollary, concomitant, aftermath, after effect;

  • Setting Consequences
    • I have to be willing to enforce them.
    • They should be realistic and relate to the behavior.
    • They should impact the other person more than me!
    • What is the difference between “threat” and “consequences”?
    • When I set a boundary and consequences for violating that boundary, am I attempting to control or manipulate another’s behavior?
  • Consequences of OTHER people’s behavior – Is NOT my business
    • When I “do for others what they are capable of doing for themselves”, I set myself up as enabling, and deny them the natural consequences, good or bad, of their actions.  Resentment, disappointment, anger…
    • When I try to instill consequences, punishment, discipline, I often exacerbate an issue and set myself up yet again, for resentment, disappointment, anger…
    • A definition of “enabling” that I learned is “getting between someone and the consequences of their actions.” (see Courage to Change January 5, June 16)
  • Consequences of MY behavior – IS my business
    • When I take care of myself, …
      • Feel better
      • Act better
      • Cope better
    • When I do not take care of myself I…
      • Blame
      • Resent
      • Slip into old behavior
      • Get sick, angry, lonely, tired
  • Mentioned or implied in several slogans including Live and Let Live, Let Go and Let God, One Day at a Time


We read from at least some of these articles.

Our topic for next week is new topic. 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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Courage – Episode 220

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?

  • We use the word “courage” a lot in this program. Most of our meetings start with the serenity prayer:
    God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And the wisdom to know the difference
  • What does the word “courage” mean to you?
    • In the past?
    • Now?
  • When were some moments in which you found “the courage to change the things you can”?
    • Coming into your first Al-Anon meeting?
    • Sharing in a meeting?
    • Calling another Al-Anon member?
    • Asking someone to be your sponsor?
    • Setting (and holding to) a boundary?
    • Not enabling your loved one.
    • Taking your 4th step inventory?
    • Sharing your “wrongs” with someone in the 5th step?
    • Making amends?
  • How have you found courage in recovery?
    • Faith and trust in the program, sponsor, higher power.
    • Little steps lead to confidence in bigger steps.
  • Finding the courage live your own life with your authentic truth. (24 hours at a time.)
  • Step 11 “power to carry that out” == courage

Upcoming topics include parenting. As an adult child of an alcoholic, how can you not pass that on to your own children? What have you learned in recovery about being a better parent? Or, alternatively, what is your experience as the parent of an alcoholic or addict? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

A listener called, looking for an e-book version of the Blueprint for Recovery 4th step workbook. To my knowledge, this is not (yet) available in electronic format. Some Al-Anon literature is available as E-Books. A variety of small publications are also available for free download from the Al-Anon website.

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