Families – Episode 138

unityAnother conversation about families. What did you learn from your family of origin? How have you found new ways to relate to families in recovery?

Tom joins us, and talks about what his family was like growing up, what he brought from that into his adult life, what he rebelled against, and how he is using his recovery programs to find a more balanced way of living and relating to his families — his family of origin and his recovery family.

As with last week’s conversation, we were guided by these questions:

  • Describe, generally, what kind of family you grew up in.
    • Was there (active) alcoholism or addiction?
    • Was there codepenency?
  • What did you learn in your family of origin?
    • About relating to other people?
    • About keeping secrets?
    • About love?
  • How did these affect your life before recovery?
    • Your relationships?
    • Your ability to take life on life’s terms?
    • Your desire/need to control others and your environment?
    • If you are a parent, what patterns from your parents did you bring into your new family?
    • etc?
  • Alcoholism is described in our literature as a “family illness”. In what ways do you now understand this description?
  • How has alcoholism or addiction affected you and your family (current or family of origin)? How has your perception of this changed in recovery?
  • How has recovery helped you to develop / discover new ways of being in family?
  • How has recovery helped you to be with your family of origin?
  • How do you use the principles of the program (including traditions and concepts) in your family or other relationships today?

An upcoming topic is the first “gift of Al-Anon”.  It says “We will become mature, responsible individuals with a great capacity for joy, fulfillment, and wonder. Though we may never be perfect, continued spiritual progress will reveal to us our enormous potential.” How do you see this gift appearing in your life? Or are you still waiting for it? Another topic I’m thinking about is “We”. What does it mean to you that this is a “we” program? How does hearing the experience of others and sharing your own lead to recovery? To me, this is both the core and the mystery of our program.

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 – Episode 137

DSC_4706What did you learn from your family of origin? How have you found new ways to relate to your family in recovery?

Spencer and Mara talk about family, guided by these questions.

  • Describe, generally, what kind of family you grew up in.
    • Was there (active) alcoholism or addiction?
    • Was there codepenency?
  • What did you learn in your family of origin?
    • About relating to other people?
    • About keeping secrets?
    • About love?
  • How did these affect your life before recovery?
    • Your relationships?
    • Your ability to take life on life’s terms?
    • Your desire/need to control others and your environment?
    • If you are a parent, what patterns from your parents did you bring into your new family?
    • etc?
  • Alcoholism is described in our literature as a “family illness”. In what ways do you now understand this description?
  • How has alcoholism or addiction affected you and your family (current or family of origin)? How has your perception of this changed in recovery?
  • How has recovery helped you to develop / discover new ways of being in family?
  • How has recovery helped you to be with your family of origin?
  • How do you use the principles of the program (including traditions and concepts) in your family or other relationships today?

 

Upcoming topics include “We”, and the “gifts of Al-Anon.” 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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Codependency – Episode 66

If you put your loved one’s needs ahead of your own… If you feel that others’ happiness is your responsibility… If your response to “what do you want for dinner” is “what do you want?”  … Then you’ve come to the right place, because today, we’re going to talk about codependency.

Spencer took this one solo, trying to follow this rough outline:

  • Wikipedia says “Codependency is defined as a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (typically narcissism or drug addiction); and in broader terms, it refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.”
  • Did you have any understanding of codependency before you came into recovery? Had you even heard of it?
  • When did you first hear of codependency? What did you think it meant then?
  • How has your understanding of codependency changed?
  • In what ways do you have codependent behavior?
  • How have you recovered from your own codependent behavior? What program tools do you use?
  • How do you deal with other people’s codependent behavior?
    • In your family?
    • With friends?
    • With co-workers?

Upcoming topics include Tradition 4, forgiveness, and how to take recovery with you when you travel. 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 “Codependency – Episode 66”

denial – a meditation

 

“The most confused we ever get is when we try to convince our heads of something that our hearts know is a lie.”

Karen Moning

My ego and soul often have conversations with one another. This interaction between the two parts of me is constant, whether I awake or asleep, happy or sad, or restless or at peace. The details of each conversation varies depending on what the topic is, but the general gist is the same: my ego says “I am afraid that everything needs to be different for me to be happy” and my soul responds “I am happy already, I am just afraid to see that I am.”

Before recovery, these conversations occurred also, but I didn’t realize because the voice of my ego had reigned supreme over my choices for so long that I hardly heard the small voice of my soul respond. As I worked the Steps, that changed. The voice of my soul became louder and louder. I wasn’t used to hearing both voices and I suppose my ego wasn’t used to the competition so it often felt like a battle in my head. My initial days in the program felt like a struggle between the ego that I knew and the soul that I had rejected. But I slowly began to listen to the voice of my soul. It was so calm and peaceful that I felt at peace listening to it. I felt charmed by it and began to utterly ignore my ego.

This, however, was very typical behavior for me. I always go to extremes. With my black-and-white thinking, I had either entirely ignored my soul or entirely ignored my ego. But the truth is both are part of me. To reject either one is to reject a part of myself, and when I reject part of myself, I feel fearful and fall to old patterns. And this is exactly what happened. I began to ignore my “bad” feelings. I began to tell myself that I shouldn’t be angry and that I can’t be unhappy and that I have to be serene all of the time. But I am human and I could not do those things and I began to be afraid that I wasn’t good enough to listen to my soul. The irony of it all was that my soul, ever loving and accepting, never told me ignore my ego. It kept trying to guide me to acceptance of all of me by signaling me through my emotional discomfort that the path that I was treading would not guide me to happiness. When I finally became desperate again, I was able to listen to my soul once more as well as my ego. I learned that I am both things. I am yin and yang. I am dark and light. I am ego and soul. To deem one good and the other bad is to not honor myself.

It is only when I am able to listen to what my ego is telling me that I am able to understand myself and my fears, and then my soul is able to reach out and be nurturing during this awareness and guide me to healing and peace. One without the other does not help me. That is only half of me. It is only when I am able to accept both sides, able to accept all of me, that I am able be open, honest, loving, and peaceful.

A meditation for October 12, 2013.

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blessing – a meditation

 

Every experience, no matter how bad it is, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.

Buddha

Recently, I thought I have been struggling with acceptance because of a loved one’s addiction and denial. My program has taught me that it is not up to me to classify someone as an addict, or alcoholic, or codependent since I know that I can only honestly speak about my own experience. But I have found myself deeply affected by fear and pain because I do not feel accepted or loved by this person. I found myself trying to explain my loved one’s behavior to myself by assigning labels to this person’s actions or creating stories around why they can not give me what I want. I would tell myself, “this person is not spiritually fit enough to be open and loving”. At other times, I would think “why doesn’t this person love me enough to do this for me? Am I not good enough?”. Sometimes I would just call my loved one an addict and detach with resentment and anger.

In the end, I realized I was right – I was struggling with acceptance. Only, I was struggling with accepting my loved one rather than judging. I was also struggling with accepting myself and trusting in my Higher Power. I know this because my entire focus was on the acceptance I did not feel I was receiving from my loved one. I worried about this person and their behaviors rather than keeping the focus on me and my behavior and my needs.  It is none of my business what my loved one does or why unless it violates my boundaries; and having my boundaries violated is not the same as having my fears triggered. And that is all that is happening – my fears are being triggered. I am afraid that if I do not feel acceptance from this loved one,  I will suffer and be abandoned.

I remember thinking, even up to this morning, “Why did I invite this person into my life? Why couldn’t I have left well enough alone?” But this is why. It is because my Higher Power wants me to love myself and know that my Higher Power loves me unconditionally – even when other people do not. What a blessing it is that I have the opportunity to learn how to love myself and accept the love of my Higher Power no matter what!

So, today, I took a pen, and wrote a message to myself that reminds me that I am loved by my Higher Power. And I know I will feel the fear that I am not good enough for the people in my life to love me. But then I will look at my wrist and realize the more important thing – that I am, have always been, and will always be good enough for my Higher Power to love and accept every part of me.

A meditation for September 26, 2013

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