Detachment with love – Episode 188

Do you get caught up in other people’s problems or emotions? Does the phrase “loving detachment” just baffle you?

We start with a reading from an Al-Anon flyer titled Detachment.

  • What thoughts about detachment does the reading bring up for you?
  • When you first heard the word “detachment” in a meeting, what did you think it meant?
  • Did “detachment with love” make any sense to you at all?
  • What is the difference between detachment and distancing or separation?
  • Why do I get angry? Fear. Because I care.
  • Maybe I have to become “indifferent” when moving from anger to love.
  • What forms of detachment have you found/learned?
    • Emotional — my emotions are not ruled by someone else’s.
    • Detaching the person from their disease (How Al-Anon Works, Detachment section in Chapter 11):

      If someone we love had the flu and cancelled plans with us, most of us would understand. We wouldn’t take it personally or blame the person for being inconsiderate or weak. Instead, in our minds, we would probably separate the person from the illness, knowing that it was the illness, rather than our loved one, that caused the change of plans. This is detachment.

    • Detaching from outcomes
  • How has detachment helped you?
    • Treating others with more kindness and compassion.
    • Give a power greater than myself a space to come in.
    • Not getting “pulled down”
    • Being able to love the person while hating their actions
    • Finding forgiveness
    • More serenity.

Upcoming topics include slogans (what’s your favorite?), Alateen, and parenting. 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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Serenity – Episode 167

SunriseWhat is serenity, anyway? And how do you get it?

Let’s start with a definition: (dictionary.com)

1. the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; sereneness.
2. A title of honor, respect, or reverence, used in speaking of or to a certain member of royalty (usually preceded by his, your, etc).

Synonyms
1. Composure, calm, peacefulness, peace.

Antonyms
1. Agitation

  • How did you conceive of serenity before recovery?
  • Did you think your whole life had to be “serene” in order for you to have personal serenity?
  • How did you act in ways that pushed serenity out of my life?
  • When you heard the Al-Anon suggested welcome, did these words make sense to you?
    • Did they seem unattainable?
    • Did they give you hope?

      “We urge you to try our program. It has helped many of us find solutions that lead to serenity. So much depends on our own attitudes, and as we learn to place our problem in its true perspective, we find it loses its power to dominate our thoughts and our lives.”

  • Do you recall experiencing serenity, perhaps briefly, as you started to work the program?
    • What happened?
    • What did it feel like?
    • How did you recognize it?
  • Reading: Hope for Today, May 20.

    “The serenity I am offered in Al-Anon is not an escape from life. Rather it is the power to find peacefulness within life.”
    “Al-Anon does not promise me freedom from pain, sorrow, or difficult situations. It does, however, give me … the necessary skills for maintaining peace of mind, even when life seems most unbearable.”

  • What tools have you found for maintaining or restoring your serenity?
    • Trust in a Higher Power. Let go and let God.
    • Detachment.
    • Just for today.
    • One day at a time.
    • Talk to a program friend.
  • “Exercising” spiritual “muscles” by working the steps, going to meetings, reading the literature, etc.
  • Do you think serenity is a state of being, or an attitude? Or a little of both?
  • What would you say to a newcomer who is living a life full of “agitation” with little or no serenity?

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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Rediscovering Myself – Episode 163

bluemoonDid alcoholism erase you? How did you find yourself in recovery? Who are you? What do you want? Do you know now?

  • In what ways did I lose myself “before program”?
    • Focus on the alcoholic
    • Taking care of others before myself
    • Belief that others must participate in everything — I can’t do something if my partner doesn’t want to.
    • Isolation and withdrawal from life / activities
    • Expectation that my loved ones would read my mind
    • Expecting others to make me happy
  • What messages did I first hear in Al-Anon that started me to rediscovering myself?
    • Take care of myself.
    • Detachment with love.
    • It’s ok to ask for what I want.
  • What have I found out about myself in recovery?
    • Things I like (to do).
    • Things I don’t like that I thought I had to like because others like them.
    • New insights into my character
    • New things that I never thought I would like
  • What did I forget about myself that I have rediscovered?

Upcoming topics include choices and sadness. We will also explore the statement “Courage and fellowship will replace fear. We will be able to risk failure to develop new hidden talents.” to see how it has come true for us. 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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Shutting down as a defense – Episode 152

closer to perfectionDo you retreat into yourself when problems arise? Do you prefer not to hear bad news? Maybe you are shutting down as a defense.

Here’s our outline:

  • Which of these statements do I connect with about shutting down?
    • “When I am stressed, I retreat into myself.”
    • “If I don’t think about a problem, it will go away.” (Tom)
    • “Instead of doing something, I chew over my problems in my head, over and over.”
    • “I escape into a book/movie/tv show/video game/… when I don’t want to face something.”
    • “Conflict just shuts me down. Sometimes I can’t even talk.”
    • “I keep busy with unimportant tasks, so I don’t have to face the things I don’t want to do.” (Tom)
    • “When there is chaos around me, I can’t do anything. I just shut down and retreat into my skull.”
    • “I hide by not answering the phone, or not opening mail.” (Tom)
    • “I fantasize about a better future, but I don’t seem to be able to do anything about getting there.” (Tom)
    • “In an airport or other public space I make sure nobody will sit next to me.” (Tom)
    • “I avoid difficult conversations at all costs.”
    • “There’s only one way to survive life. Shut down, or get hurt and die.”
  • What have I learned about myself, and about my ways of “shutting down” and “escaping”?
    • Conflict avoidant.
    • Lack of self-worth/self-esteem.
    • Fear of criticism, rejection, other mental/spiritual harm.
    • Fear of bodily harm.
    • Fear of intimacy.
    • Denial — if I don’t “know” about a problem, maybe it won’t happen.
    • Isolating
    • Depression
  • When can it be healthy to “shut down”?
    • Detachment
    • Taking a break
    • Resting
  • What tools can I use to face daily conflicts, problems, and discomfort of dealing with other people?
    • Serenity prayer.
    • Other prayers.
    • Inventory. (I can’t change something if I don’t see it.)
    • Gratitude.
    • Check in with program friends.
    • Living in the moment. “One day at a time.”
    • Meditation.
    • Practicing Step 10. “… and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
    • Self-acceptance
    • Vulnerability.
    • HOW: “Honest, open, and willing.”
    • Detachment — “it’s not me/mine”
    • Scheduling activities with others to prevent a self-isolating funk
    • Progress not perfection

Some online resources

Suppressing Emotions

Emotionally Closed Off: Healing Pain and Learning to Love

Why Anxiety Causes Detachment “Why anxiety causes detachment” (about the “bad” kind of detachment — distancing, emotional shutting down)

Upcoming topics include another “gift of Al-Anon”. This one is “Our sight, once clouded and confused, will clear and we will be able to perceive reality and recognize truth.” 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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Love and Alcoholism – Episode 142

heartWhat does Love mean to you? Has alcoholism turned your love turned to hate? Or maybe, you feel both at once and it’s tearing you apart.

The ancient Greeks had 4 words for different kinds of love. In English, we have to use adjectives to distinguish them. These include

  • Romantic love
  • Sexual love
  • Parental love
  • Familial love
  • Obsessive love
  • Compassionate love
  • Love of humanity
  • Unconditional love

In an alcoholic relationship, love can become poisoned, eventually turning into dislike or hate. We can feel both of these emotions at once, which is certainly confusing. Our recovery tools can help to detangle this messy web of feelings. By learning about the disease of alcoholism, we can begin to find compassion for our loved one, and to separate the person from the effects of the disease. This can help us to detach with love, and to find a way to live our life with balance and serenity, even while the alcoholic behavior continues.

Fear of consequences to a love one can compel us to try to control their actions and outcomes. As the reading about Step 1 in How Al-Anon Works states,

… many of us have confused love with interference. We don’t know how to show affection or support without giving advice, seeking to sway another’s decisions, or trying to get those we love to do what we think will bring them happiness. We confuse caring with controlling because we don’t know how to allow others the dignity of being themselves.

We can treat our loved ones as helpless babies who must be protected and helped. Such behavior is appropriate for a baby or young child. But we need to let go of doing that for the adults in our lives. As a child grows up, our love demands that we let them learn to do things for themselves and experience consequences, so that they will be able to live independently as adults.

In the suggested Al-Anon closing, we are told that

… though you may not like all of us, you’ll love us in a very special way— the same way we already love you.

It is also said that in recovery, “we love you until you can learn to love yourself.” What does this mean? We have learned to love ourselves as our higher power loves us – unconditionally – strengths, flaws, and all. And thus, we learn to see you as a lovable human being, struggling to recover from the effects of alcoholism or addiction, and we can love you just as you are.

Upcoming topics include recovery in divorce, and the “gifts of Al-Anon”. The first of these states, “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 is this gift coming true in your life? 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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