Boundaries – Episode 103

find meHave you ever set an ultimatum? What did you do when it wasn’t honored? How do you deal with unacceptable behavior from your loved ones? Spencer and Maria talk about boundaries.

Last week, we read an email from a listener who asked these questions:

  • Do any of you out there have any personal experiences setting ultimatums with your addicts that were not respected, acknowledged or met with insult?
  • How have you handled the negativity from your addict, and the anxiety and heartbreak of not knowing if the relationship will ever be restored?
  • What has it looked like for you to practice loving detachment with an intimate partner through a separation or divorce?
  • What is the next right thing to do once a boundary has been communicated?

So we thought, “maybe it’s time to talk about boundaries again.” We actually had a couple of earlier shows around this topic. Our very first episode was a 20 minute discussion of boundaries, and then in episode 44, we talked about setting boundaries without controlling.

Some discussion/thought questions about boundaries:

  • What is a boundary?
  • How does it differ from an ultimatum?
  • How can I set a boundary that involves someone else’s behavior?
  • What can I do when my boundaries are not respected?
  • How do I feel when my boundaries are not respected by someone I love?
  • How can loving detachment help me to maintain my boundaries?
  • What if I don’t want to follow through with the consequences of my boundary having been violated?
  • What happens (to me) if my boundaries turn out to be expectations?
  • How does a boundary with my own behavior differ from a boundary with someone else’s behavior?
  • How can I set up and follow through with consequences on a boundary with myself?

During the show, we referred to several earlier episodes, including relapse, face to face meetings, Tradition 1, and getting started in Al-Anon.

Our topic for next week is judgement. How does having judgement differ from being judgemental? Can judgement be both a character asset and a character defect? How do you judge others? How do you think others judge you? 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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Forgiveness – Episode 68

Holocaust memorial, Berlin, GermanyDo you have trouble forgiving the alcoholic or addict in your life? Have you carried hurts long after the person who hurt you is gone from your life? How can we forgive without forgetting? Let's talk about forgiveness.

Spencer and Erika share their experience, strength, and hope about forgiveness, and try to address these questions.

What do the quotes that we opened the show with say to you about forgiveness?
How does this compare to the way you used to think about forgiveness?
Did you (or do you) think about forgiveness as giving a “free pass” to the person who hurt you?
Do you now think about forgiveness as “a gift you give to yourself”? (Or can you be willing to think about it that way now?)
How can forgiveness connect to the love of your higher power?
What Al-Anon tools can you use to help move from anger and resentment to forgiveness?
Inventory — seeing “my part” (and I there is almost always “my part” as well as “their part”)
Compassion — especially helpful for me in finding forgiveness for my alcoholic loved one’s actions during her active disease.
Prayer and meditation. Praying for the person I want to forgive, even if it’s just the “SOB prayer.”
Seeing that the other person is a human being, with faults, and that they were doing the best they knew at the time.
Setting boundaries to prevent the hurt from happening again.
How can I find forgiveness for myself, for my past actions that hurt others? (Same tools?)
What about “unforgiveable” behaviors? How can I let them go so that they’re not continuing to affect my serenity and continuing to drag me down?

Our topic for next week is Tradition 4. Upcoming topics include living with active alcoholism and taking recovery on the road.  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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Family of our Dreams – Episode 54

Family-1In the book, How Al-Anon Works, in the discussion of Step 1, it says, “We may never have the family of our dreams…” What is the family of your dreams? How does your family fall short of your dreams? What have you tried to do about it? How has recovery helped you to relate to your family, whether the family of origin, family of choice, or “recovery family”?.

Spencer, Maria, and Nic address these questions and others, very roughly following this outline.

  • What is your understanding of the phrase “family of our dreams”?
  • How do you envision your dream family of origin?
  • How do you envision your dream family of choice?
  • How do your real families fall short of your dreams? (Pick 1 or 2 examples!)
  • How have you used / can you use your Al-Anon tools and principles in your families?
  • Setting boundaries.
  • Keeping expectations realistic.
  • Accepting others as they are.
  • We may not receive love in the way we want it, but recognizing it in whatever form it may be offered.
  • Maintaining our own recovery in the face of non-recovery.
  • Recognizing/breaking out of old unhealthy patterns.
  • Detaching with love.
  • Refraining from controlling behavior.
  • Recognizing when we are shopping for bread at the hardware store.
  • Keeping the focus on ourselves.
  • Reflect on how your view of / interaction with / tolerance of / participation in your family(s) have changed in recovery.

Our topic for next week is Tradition 1, which says “Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity.” 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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forgiveness – a meditation

heart

 

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

It'll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what its power can do
So let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Matthew West – Forgiveness

Forgiveness…

I have had to learn that forgiveness does not mean forgetting.
… that forgiveness does not mean what happened was “ok”.
… that forgiveness does not say “do it to me again.”
… that forgiveness does not mean I can't set boundaries.
But most of all, I have had to learn that forgiveness is for me.
… that forgiveness opens a path to healing.
… that forgiveness frees my heart.
… that forgiveness brings me closer to God.

Forgiveness can come from a lot of places.

Forgiveness can come from understanding and compassion. From understanding that people are fallible, and that most of the time we are doing the best we know how to do. From compassion for another's struggle and pain. From understanding that addiction is a disease of the mind and spirit, and compassion for the compulsion and obsession that is inevitable in active addiction.

Forgiveness can come from love. Love that encompasses and holds another in their full humanity and brokenness. Love that says “You are too important to me, for me to throw you out of my heart.” Love that is able to say, “I will hold you in my heart, but it is not healthy for me to have you in my life right now.” Love like God has for all of us.

Forgiveness can come from recognizing that holding onto pain and resentment hurts me more than it hurts the object of my anger. Every resentment, every grudge, every remembered pain keeps me from serenity. Every time I lie awake chewing over some past wrong, every time my gut tightens at the memory, every time I turn away in anger from another person is a time that removes me from living my life for myself, a time that I am not fully in the present moment, a time that I am not enjoying what is happening right here, right now.

It helps me to remember that forgiveness does not condone past wrongs. Forgiveness is not the same as saying “It was OK.” It is not forgetting that we were hurt. And it is definitely not saying “Do it to me again!” I can find forgiveness for past hurts, while setting boundaries to prevent future harm. If somebody stole from me, I can say “you may not come into my house.” If someone was emotionally abusive to me, I can say “I will not be with you.” If their behavior came from active drinking, I can say “I will spend time with you only when you are sober.” If someone repeatedly violates my physical space, I will say “next time you come here without my permission, I will call the police.” In forgiveness, I can do these things with love and compassion, rather than with anger and rejection.

Finding forgiveness heals my heart, bringing me peace and serenity. Finding forgiveness allows me to remember what happened without reliving the pain. Finding forgiveness brings me closer to the life that my Higher Power wants me to live.

Forgiving is not always easy. But it is necessary … for me.

A meditation for December 26, 2013.

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Program in the workplace – Episode 30

How do you use your program in the workplace? Do you have a hard time setting boundaries at work? Do you find yourself staying late even though it affects your self-care? Can you deal effectively with your difficult co-workers?

Swetha, Kelli, and Mary share their experiences with these questions and others. Anne H. and Spencer also call in to share some of the ways in which they have used their program at work. They share specific problem situations from their workplaces, and talk about how they worked through them. Even when they weren't completely successful at using their program tools, they look back and say “I could have used this tool here”. Listen for some great examples of the program in action.

Our topic for next week is Step 7, “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”. 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. Some questions to think about: What is humility? Does the step tell us anything about when our shortcomings will be removed? What are “shortcomings” anyway? How do we ask humbly?

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