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”

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.

Continue reading “Courage – Episode 220”

Faith over Fear – Episode 74

Does fear keep you from acting? Can you move forward in faith instead? This week, we talk about faith over fear.

Spencer and Adrienne talked about their experience with fear and faith, reflecting on these questions and others.

  • How has fear been a factor in your life to date?
  • In what ways did fear direct your actions (or inactions) in the past?
  • How have you experienced faith in recovery?
  • Which steps are acts of faith for you?
  • How does working the steps help you to learn to have faith?
  • How can you move in faith rather than sitting in fear today?

An upcoming topic is Tradition 6, which says “Our Family Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim. Although a separate entity, we should always co-operate with Alcoholics Anonymous.” Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading “Faith over Fear – Episode 74”

awareness – a meditation


If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.

Bruce Lee

This quote reminds me of every time I have turned myself into a victim. I would often feel frustrated by a situation in my life, but be afraid of change. That is to say, I would prioritize my fear of change over my frustration about the situation. I think, had I been self-aware enough to realize and accept this, I would have been more serene. But instead, I told myself I was a victim and that I was forced into a situation in which I did not want to be. This self-defeatist attitude did not serve me, however. Instead, it added to my unhappiness.

When I came to my recovery program, however, people did not judge my choices. Instead they offered a safe place for me to be myself – whatever choices that might entail. In this safe environment, I was able to take my own inventory and see my part in the situations about which I felt unhappy. Then I was able to be self-aware about the role I played in my life. Once I was able to see that and see that I had choices, I no longer felt like a victim. At that point, regardless of my external circumstances, I was able to see myself as valued and empowered to take control of my own life. I no longer needed to stay at my plateau. I could move forward.

Today, I will not talk about the things I can't do. I will only talk about the things I can do. In doing so, I will be able to see the solution rather than focusing on the problem and am better able to see my part in it.

A meditation for August 4, 2013.

Continue reading “awareness – a meditation”