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 feedback@therecoveryshow.com 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.

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Confession, Redemption, and Forgiveness – Episode 166

love“I’ve got a confession to make.”

How do you feel when you say that? How do you feel when you hear it?!

What is the power that confession has for us in Step 5? (Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.) How does the inventory and self-examination of Step 4 make it possible to honestly make that confession? (Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.) How do these combine to give us ownership of our own faults, so that we are ready to change? (Step 6, Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.) And to ask for help in changing ourselves? (Step 7, Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.) Is it possible to truly “make it right” with those we hurt without having first made confession from the depth of our being? (Steps 8 and 9, Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.) Confession, in Steps 5 and 9, is a cornerstone of recovery, and makes it possible to find redemption and forgiveness.

Our topic for next week is either serenity or shame. Both start with the letter “s” but are otherwise pretty much unrelated. (How) have you found serenity? What does it mean to you? Or… Does shame still dominate your life? How has recovery helped you to move into and through your shame? 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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Stepping Stones to Serenity Part 4 – Episode 165


perfectThis is part 4 of a 4-part seminar titled “Stepping Stones to Serenity”, presented by Ellen C in 2008. This part covers steps 10 through 12.

The previous episodes are

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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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Fourth Step Inventory – Episode 149

DSC_5860Have you done a fourth step inventory? How did you do it? Join Mike S. and David M. as they lead a workshop on using the 4th step inventory worksheets, based on the process described in the “How it Works” chapter in the AA Big Book.

There are 4 worksheets, corresponding to the 4 inventory categories listed in the Big Book: resentments, fears, sex conduct, and harms to others. Each worksheet has 4 or 5 columns to be filled in, one column at a time.

For example, in the worksheet for fears, the first column is headed “What am I afraid of?” In this column, I might list financial insecurity, (negative) judgement by others, people not liking me, etc. I should finish this column before moving on. The second column heading asks “Why do I have the fear?”. I might say “because I never seem to have as much money as I want” in the first row, and so on. The 3rd column is titled “Which part of self have I been relying on that has failed me?” It has sub-headings “self-reliance”, “self-confidence”, “self-discipline”, “self-will”, and a blank space to enter other parts of self, if these don’t fit your case. In my first row, I might check “self-reliance” and “self-discipline”. In the second and third, I will clearly mark “self-confidence”. The fourth column asks “What part of self does the fear affect?”, and has these subheadings: Self esteem, pride, emotional security, pocketbook, ambitions, personal relations, and sex relations. Again, I will fill these in from top to bottom. In the first row, I check self esteem, emotional security, pocketbook, and ambitions. In the second, self esteem, pride, and personal relations. And so on.

The other worksheets are arranged similarly. In each, you fill in columns from top to bottom, as completely as possible, before moving on to the next column. Mike and David work through several examples, and provide explanations of what some of the words and concepts mean to them. Members of the audience chime in with suggestions and questions. I feel that I have a better understanding now of how I could use these worksheets, having listened to their presentations.

Our topic for next week is meditation. Do you meditate? How? Does the idea of sitting still and thinking of “nothing” just seem impossible? Are there are other ways to meditate? 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.