Feelings, Recovery, Compassion, and Forgiveness – Episode 192

Diana shares a powerful story of recovery, of discovering her own feelings, and finding compassion and forgiveness for those who harmed her.

Upcoming topics include obsessive thinking; 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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Feelings – Episode 169

conflictHave you ever felt controlled by your feelings? What feelings could you identify in the past? How do you balance feelings and facts?

  • Were you able to identify feelings (before recovery)?
  • What did you feel?
  • Did you feel?
  • Did you think that certain feelings were “good” and others were “bad”?
  • Did it seem you had to act on/react to your feelings?
  • How did you deny/push down/hide from feelings?
  • Have you heard the saying, “feelings are not facts”?
  • What does it mean to you?
  • How do you use it now?
  • Have you found a “feeling vocabulary” in recovery?
  • How do you respond to feelings now?
  • How are you able to feel, but act from your head?
  • How can you accept that you have feelings, and that they do not have to control your actions?
  • How have your feelings changed?
  • What slogans or tools help you to deal with how you feel?
    • Let go and let God.
    • This too shall pass.
    • Just for today.
    • One day at a time.
    • Easy does it.
    • First things first.
    • Prayer and meditation.
    • Inventory
  • How have you become more aware of and able to feel?

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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exhale – a guest meditation from Scotty B





The most important stage of breathing is the exhale.

— an anonymous runner



A runner said the most important stage of breathing is the exhale. A complete exhale leaves me room to breath in fully. When I expel all the carbon-dioxide, there is room for what works best; oxygen (and lots of nitrogen). I'm also able to choose whether I slowly inhale or quickly exhale.

My first two weeks of trying this out left me with sore lungs. I was not familiar with this under-utilized organ. Like any muscle that is rarely used there was a period of mild discomfort and adjustment. After the first few weeks, my lungs adapted and their capacity increased.

When I was canoeing at Herbert Lake this summer, I was able to paddle consistently for long periods with short breaks. Breathing fully in and out also allowed me to feel my feelings. My Dad had died two weeks previous. I was camping to recharge my spirit and find serenity in nature. I had the entire lake to myself.

Feeling grief and loss, I imagined inviting my Dad to see what I loved to do. I pictured him being enthusiastic and heard encouragement in his voice as I paddled. The canoe floated at the base of the mountain and I felt tiny in its cold shadow. I shared a warm moment with my father and felt connected to him. It was a small step on the road to forgiveness for myself as I could not make direct amends to him while he was alive; living amends was the best I could do.

Breathing fully allows me to feel alive, to share my feelings and to connect with people; living or deceased. I feel hope as I clear away the wreckage of my past. My Higher Power and I make way for new relationships with people in the program as I accept my feelings and myself.


A meditation for October 30, 2013.

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Higher Power – a meditation


When I fear the unknown
You feel like home, you feel like home
You put my feet back on the ground,
Did you know you brought me around?
You were sweet and you were sound
You saved me

Zero 7 — Somersault

I do not know where or when I got the idea that pain was bad or that I must do everything in my power to keep from feeling that pain. I don't think it's relevant that I know where this feeling came from, but it's important to me to be rid of the idea for a few reasons: 1) pain is inevitable, 2) some of the things I love most came about because of painful situations.

As I have grown in my program, I've started seeing pain and fear as communications from my Higher Power about my soul instead of seeing pain as an indication of something in me that I need to carefully guard. I hate talking about feelings because I am afraid that I will be rejected or judged and then I will feel pain. As a result, my Higher Power has put people in my life that are very interested in discussing feelings. When I feel terror, I know that this is my Higher Power telling me that in order to heal and grow spiritually, I need to be self-aware about my feelings and feel safe in that awareness rather than rely upon another's reception of my feelings.

At first I used to wonder why I need to heal and grow, but I think I know now. I think it is because fear is the opposite of love and when I feel fear, I am unable to love. When I am unable to love, I am unable to be close to my Higher Power. And so every time something happens in my life to inspire growth, I think it's really just Higher Power asking me to be closer so that It can take care of me instead of me trying to control a situation in a vain attempt to care for myself.

When I can keep my focus on my Higher Power, I am able to move towards serenity and peace and love. When I focus on the fear, it my spiritual growth is blocked and that fear becomes my Higher Power. So when I feel afraid, I try to close my eyes and whisper to my fearful heart that we are safe and we will be protected and I focus on my Higher Power.

A meditation for August 7, 2013

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expectations – a meditation


“When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person's life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist

I spend a great deal of time focusing on the external. I judge people and situations as “right” or “wrong”, or even “good” or “bad” depending on how I feel about them. I even used to say things like “they made me feel…” or “he hurt me…” or “she mad me mad…” In none of these situations do I take accountability for my own feelings in the situations. I just hold my external circumstances to up to certain expectations.

How did I develop these expectations? I believed that if everything and everyone were a certain (as I expect them to be) then I would be safe and happy. I wouldn't be yelled at or teased or judged or criticized. And that's what I wanted so badly. I wanted peace. I wanted a space to just be myself. Ironically, this is exactly what I was not allowing of the people and environment around me. Though I wanted peace, I kept pushing my expectations on others either passively or aggressively. Though I did not want to be criticized, I was constantly assessing how other people or situations could and should change for the better. In my desire to have space to exist, I tried to control all the space around me. But I do not need to do that.

In the beginning of this meditation, I wrote “I judge people and situations depending on how I feel about them.” In this sentence lies the answer to my need to control via expectations. The key is my feelings. I think, often, I take my feelings out of proportion by minimizing them. I reject or ignore my feelings by telling myself not important enough. But those feelings build up and form resentments and expectations which I then take out of of proportion again and believe them to be the most important thing. This is black-and-white thinking. But it does not need to be.

I can simply accept my feelings for what they are – my ego responding to the world around me. I can accept that I am sometimes in pain, happy, angry, sad, etc. If I can do this without judging my feelings and simply allowing them to be, I am better able to process them and only then am I able to decide how I want to react.

Just for today, I will try not to judge others. Rather, when I feel frustrated or upset about another person's behavior, I will stop and take a quick inventory on why I feel bothered. I will not judge my reaction as good or bad, but rather simply accept it. In doing so, I can give myself peace and give myself space to exist. When I can offer this compassion to myself, only then am I able to offer it to others.

A meditation for July 31, 2013*

*Thanks to Hillery for requesting a meditation on the topic of expectations! Continue reading “expectations – a meditation”