Gather your chairs in a circle – Episode 116

unityA couple of weeks ago, at church, we honored our graduating high school seniors. The sermon that day was in the form of advice to those setting out into adult life. What caught my ear was the second point, to “gather your chairs into a circle.” What does this mean, and how does it relate to recovery?

  • We are in community when we “gather our chairs into a circle.”
  • We sometimes “turn our chairs away” and isolate ourselves, especially when life is hard.
  • I did this.
  • At most of my meetings we sit in circles or around a table, facing each other.
  • In our circle we are not alone.
  • In our circles we discover shared experience and share strength and hope.
  • So come into the circle, or find some others and gather your chairs into a new circle.

I also talked a bit about stress and how it has affected me recently. I have been putting my very busy work ahead of “the rest” of my life. When I come home, I just want to “veg”. I feel overwhelmed by all the things I have to do, and so I shut down and don’t start any of them, because it’s “hopeless” to think I could ever do them all. Which, of course, leads to guilt over not having done them. How am I working my way out? First and foremost, recognizing the problem. Admitting it, asking for help. “Doing the next right thing.” Shedding some responsibilities, and deciding what is most important, and putting that first.

In “my life in recovery”, I mentioned an episode of the podcast Podcast Answer Man, which touched me deeply.

Upcoming topics include worry, obsessive thinking, and some more Concepts of service. 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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Intimacy – Episode 88

siblingsHave you lost the ability to share intimately with another person? Have you found people in the program that you can trust with your secrets? What are your barriers to intimacy with your loved ones? Mara and Spencer talk about Intimacy.

We used these questions to inform our conversation.

  • What is intimacy?
    • Vocabulary.com says this: Intimacy is closeness with another person, like the intimacy that develops between friends as you tell one another your life’s story and all your secrets and dreams for the future.
  • Do I have any intimate relationships in my life today? Have I had any in the past?
  • How do I deflect or avoid intimacy?
  • What keeps me from being intimate with my loved ones? My friends? My family?
  • How have I learned to be intimate in Al-Anon?
    • “Safe place”
    • to be vulnerable
    • sharing by others
    • sharing with others
  • How have I developed an intimate relationship with my sponsor?
  • How am I deepening the friendships and loving relationships in my life? What might help me do so?

Questions from Blueprint for Progress:

  1. How do I define intimacy?
  2. What actions encourage intimacy and which ones don’t?
  3. Which of my actions are helpful in bringing me closer to another person?
  4. With whom was I intimate when I was growing up?
  5. How have I shared important information with someone I didn’t trust?
  6. Where do I get examples of positive, intimate relationships?
  7. In what ways have I been intellectually or spiritually intimate with the alcoholic?
  8. What activities help me show how much certain people mean to me?
  9. What kind of examples do my actions convey about the importance of close relationships?

For me, intimacy is tied in with trust and fear. Here are some questions from those sections of the Blueprint:

  1. What is my history of trusting myself?
  2. How do I determine if someone is trustworthy?
  3. How do I determine if someone has lost my trust?
  4. How do I react when frightened?
  5. What provokes my fears?
  6. How do my fears affect the way I make decisions?
  7. How do my fears of the alcoholic affect the way I interact with him/her?
  8. How do I include my Higher Power when I feel afraid and what is the result?

Upcoming topics include trust, enabling, triggers, and Tradition 10. 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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living fully here and now – a meditation

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We are not to retreat from life, pinning our hopes on ‘elsewhere,’ but to know that we will come to that final destination best by living fully here and now, be it through joy, or pain, or a mix of both.

– Madeleine L’Engle, The Rock That Is Higher

I spent much of my life trying to get fulfillment and happiness from other people. I needed you to be happy so that I could be happy. I needed you to like me so that I could like me. I needed your approval so that I could approve of myself. I needed your attention so that I would not be alone with myself. You were the ‘elsewhere’ on which I pinned my hopes.

Through the Steps, I am finding my way to a life that is supported from within me, with the aid of my Higher Power. I have learned that I control my own happiness, and I am not responsible for yours. The love that my Higher Power has for me is helping me to love myself. Through Steps 4-9, I see my strengths and assets, have asked my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings, and am amending my behaviors to a way of living that is consonant with my values. Step 11 is helping me to be comfortable in my skin, and to find serenity in solitude and calm. Through my continuing spiritual awakening, I spend more time living fully in the here and now, more time as myself. I find myself less in need of you to define who I am, and am thus able to enjoy your companionship for what it is, enriching rather than shaping my life.

A meditation for September 19, 2013.

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