In All Our Affairs – Episode 201

Step 12 says “… we tried … to practice these principles in all our affairs“. It’s easy to say but harder to do.

Al-Anon doesn’t do me much good if I pick and choose where I’m going to put it into practice. Program works best when I embrace it wholeheartedly: give up my excuses, rationalizations, justifications,
and work to make the principles a part of my daily, hourly, life. (…In All Our Affairs, Al-Anon Family Groups)

How do we take these things we talk about in here and try to learn from the meetings, and actually use / apply them to life, every day, in every way possible? Not just with our alcoholic or addicts, but with the line at the grocery store or the dreaded dmv, the person who insults or acts unkindly toward us, cuts us off in traffic, acts rudely or with hostility or anger, or takes advantage of us….?

I “carry” a “tool box” full of Alanon Slogans and sayings, and a spiritual canteen of positive past results experienced for times when I need refreshment or reminders of these results, in Life, not in the rooms. My tools are kept lubricated by prayer and meditation, calls to my sponsor and fellow members, reading, listening on phone meetings, participating in the program in various ways through service, attending meetings, and carrying the message to others by example and attraction.

Some things I do differently now:

  • Asking for help.
  • Taking responsibility for my actions. (Not blaming the cop for giving me a ticket.)
  • Saying “no”.
  • Doing my part and letting go of expectations of outcomes.
  • Pause before I react. Slogans “THINK”, “How important is it?” are helpful.
  • Using “neutral responses” such as “That’s Interesting”, “Let me think about that”, “I hear you”, “you don’t say”, “that’s one way to look at it”, or my favorite “Ah-Ha” or “Oh”

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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Obsessive Thinking – Episode 197

Do you obsess over your loved one’s drinking? Do you keep chewing over past actions or wrongs done to you? How can we stop?

  • What is obsessive thinking? What are some other words?
    • Wallowing (in negativity/fear/anger)
    • Resentment (as we discussed last week)
    • Ruminating / chewing over (past wrongs / future problems)
    • Looping
  • What sorts of obsessive thoughts do I have? (… have I had?)
    • Getting the alcoholic to stop drinking.
    • Counting drinks.
    • The problems I had in my life (as a result of the drinking).
    • Money problems.
    • What could happen (the worst, of course).
    • Things I did that I feel shame about (kicking myself over and over.)
  • Why is it a problem?
    • Takes time from things I can do.
    • Depresses my mood.
    • Sleeplessness.
    • “We who have been affected by someone else’s drinking find ourselves inexplicably haunted by insecurity, fear, guilt, obsession with others, or an overwhelming need to control every person and situation we encounter.” How Al-Anon Works Chapter 1
  • Tools for relieving obsessive thinking?
    • Detachment
    • Slogans: “How important is it?”, “One day at a time”, “Just for today”, “Let go and let God”
    • THINK / Pause (Courage to Change – Mar 4) Before I get into trouble, before I open my mouth to react, or get lost in obsessive analysis of another person’s behavior, or worrying about the future, I can Stop. Then I can Look at what is going on and my role in it. Then I can Listen for spiritual guidance that will remind me of my options and help me find healthy words and actions.
    • Letting go
    • Gratitude list
      • Often I’ll detour at a particular letter and find myself giving thanks for apples and alexandrites, apothecaries and astronauts, ants and anchovies, or bottles and bakeries, bumblebees and blueberries, bathtubs and brushes. The more overwhelming the problem I’m entertaining, the more my gratitude list helps me. First, by taking my mind off of my obsession, and second, by reminding me of the multitude of delightful and peculiar items in the world around me. (Having Had a Spiritual Awakening Chapter 8)
    • Think of something positive: “… when my thoughts race out of control, I need to stop. I may do this by breathing deeply and looking at my surroundings. It can help to replace the obsessive thoughts with something positive, such as an Al-Anon slogan, the Serenity Prayer, or another comforting topic that has nothing to do with my problem.” Courage to Change Nov 1.
    • Do something: listen to music, go for a walk, play a game, do a puzzle …
    • Serenity Prayer (praying for HP will)
    • “God Box”
      • On a note, I write down the name of the person about whom I am so distressed or angry, or describe the situation that is killing me, with which I am so toxically, crazily obsessed, and I fold the note up, stick it in the box and close it. You might have a brief moment of prayer, and it might come out sounding like this: “Here. You think you’re so big? Fine. You deal with it. Although I have a few more excellent ideas on how best to proceed.” Help, Thanks, Wow (p. 36).

    Some other links:

    Deepak Chopra: How to stop anxiety and obsessive thoughts

    Georgia Psychological Assn: How to Stop Obsessive Worry

    Upcoming topics include Alateen, parenting, and the “adult child” experience. 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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    Forgiveness is critical to recovery – Episode 174

    What does it mean to forgive? Why do we talk of “finding” forgiveness? And who really gains from forgiveness?

    • What does forgiveness mean?
      • Dictionary
        Merriam Webster has this simple definition of the word forgive: “to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)”
        And also this: “to give up resentment of”
      • To me?
    • How did I understand forgiveness before recovery?
      • Forgiving meant condoning the other person’s actions?
      • If I forgave someone, I had to like them, be ok with their company?
      • They had to apologize first?
      • If I forgave, I had to “forget”?
    • What new understandings of forgiveness did I discover?
    • One of the “gifts of Al-Anon” in From Survival to Recovery is this: “As we gain the ability to forgive our families, the world, and ourselves our choices will expand.”
      • How do I understand this gift?
      • How have I seen it happen in my life?
    • How does forgiveness help me?
    • What if someone did something truly unforgiveable?
      • How can I forgive them or their action?
      • Why would I want to?
    • What story or stories can I share about
      • Finding forgiveness
      • Having difficulty finding forgiveness
      • Forgiving without forgetting.
    • What would I say to a newcomer about forgiveness “the Al-Anon way”?

    Join our conversation. 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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    Letting go of the process – Episode 105

    Do you want to do recovery “your way”? Are you skipping steps because you don’t like them? Can you let go of control? Spencer and Harriet talk about letting go of the process.

    • Harriet, can you explain what you meant by “letting go of the process” when you suggested this topic?
    • How do/did you try to control your recovery?
      • obsessively doing the things we *can* do
      • overdoing self-care
    • What parts of it do/did you particularly not want to let go of?
      • “character defects” — I want them removed in my order
      • outcomes
      • comfort in maintaining the illusion of control over my own life
    • Why?
    • How does letting go help your recovery? Your peace of mind?
      • focusing on control of outcomes is a “fool’s errand” and makes my life unmanageable
      • It frees me to focus on the things I can control
      • Frees me to do self-care
    • What blocks you from letting go?
      • impatience
      • perfectionism
      • Not wanting to feel unpleasant feelings
      • judgement and shame
      • fear
      • expectations
    • What ways have you found to let go?
      • Prerequisite – Accept who and where I am right now.
      • Being open to the universe — humility
      • Work with a sponsor
      • Prayer
      • Meditation
      • what else?
    • What do you still struggle with letting go of?
    • What would you say to a newcomer who isn’t sure the program will work for them?

    Upcoming topics include caretaking and parenting. We are particularly interested in hearing your experiences of parenting in an alcoholic family. How do you talk to your children about alcoholism? What amends have you made to your children? If your spouse is still drinking, what do you do to keep your children safe?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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    Not God – Episode 93

    fateDo you sometimes feel responsible for the whole world? Would other people be happy if they would do things your way? An critical part of our recovery is that we recognize that we are not God.

    Spencer talks about ways in which he has tried to “play God” in the past, about how those increased the unmanageability of his life, and about how the realization that he is not God has simplified his life and provided serenity. He worked from the outline below, illustrating the points with stories from his life.

    • What do I mean when I say I am not God?
    • I can’t control or change other people
    • Things outside my “hula hoop” are not my responsibility
    • I don’t know what is best for others
    • I don’t always know what is best for me
    • Why would I think I am?
    • How did my actions suggest I thought so?
    • When do i struggle with wanting to play God?
    • How is it a relief when I remember that I am nobody’s higher power?

    Upcoming topics include Tradition 11 and “Is it caretaking or healthy support?” 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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