Force and Power – Episode 249

Read a transcript of this episode.How have you given away your power?

Did you lose power over your life when you tried to force solutions?

How can you recover your personal power?

  • Definitions
    • Force: make a way through or into by physical strength, make (someone) do something against their will
    • Power: the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events
    • Powerful: sturdy, influential, strong, compelling
  • How we give away our power?
    • Enabling
    • Saying yes when we mean no
    • Avoiding confrontation
    • Feeling resentment, bitterness, anger, shame
    • Fighting / taking the bait / picking up the rope
    • Denial
    • Losing track of what is acceptable
    • Not setting boundaries or not keeping them
    • Apologizing for things that weren’t ours to keep the peace
  • Forcing (solutions)
    • March 8, Courage to Change – Easy does it
    • Force is the antithesis of recovery
    • Trying to control drinking
    • Punishing
    • Hollow/idle threats
    • Impossible ultimatums
    • Working the program “hard”?
    • Tom W said “I don’t believe ‘it works if you work it’. I believe it works if you let it.”
  • How do we recover our power?
    • The power we were born with to live our lives with peace and serenity
    • Asking my higher power for help
    • Al-anon Welcome: “… we find it loses its power to dominate our thoughts and our lives.”
    • How Al-Anon Works, chapter 16 “A Nun finds Spiritual Peace”
    • Use the tools of the program
    • Slogan: Easy does it
    • Let go and let God
    • “I don’t know.”
    • Detaching with love
    • Setting healthy boundaries
    • Saying “no”
    • Saying what we mean without saying it meanly
    • Neutral responses (see page image below)
    • Understanding consequences (mine and not mine)
    • Changing the way I think is real power.

Read a transcript of this episode.

Upcoming topics include parenting a child who is an alcoholic or addict. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Willingness – Episode 216

A member asked another member to be their sponsor. The response was, “Are you willing to do what I did for as long as I did it to get what I have?” What would your answer be? Where does that willingness come from?

  • Definition
  • What does this word mean to me today?
  • How is that different from how I understood it in the past?
  • Where does willingness appear in the Steps?
  • Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  • Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • But also: Step 4 — willingness to look deeply at ourselves.
  • Step 5 and 6 — willingness to change.
  • Step 11 — willingness to deepen our relationship with a higher power.
  • In fact, we can find it in all the steps!
  • Eric noted that you can put the word “willing” in front of each step: Step 1, “Became willing to admit we were powerless…”, etc.
  • Acronym: HOW — Honest, Open, and Willing. This is HOW the program of recovery works.
  • How did I become willing?
    • Examples of others — your stories of using the principles of the program in your own recovery helped me be willing to try them for myself.
    • Pain — “hitting bottom” over and over in different ways. Eventually willing to try something, anything new.

A few tidbits from the episode:

Psychology Today article: 5 Ways to Really Get Closer to Each Other

Phone meetings web site.

And the quote from Marilyn Monroe that Spencer mentioned: “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Spencer’s Open Talk – Episode 168

DSC_9877What was it like? What happened? And what is it like now?

Spencer was invited to give an “open talk” recently, and he elected to use this traditional format.

It starts with “what happened?” With that moment when the reality of his powerlessness and the unmanageability of his life crashed down on him. When he heard that “You didn't cause it, you can't cure it, and you can't control it.” And when those words lifted a weight from his shoulders that he hadn't realized he was carrying. That he had been trying to accomplish the impossible: to make his loved one stop drinking.

He came to see that his journey to Al-Anon has really started much earlier. He believed that it was his job, his task in life, to “rescue” others. And so, maybe it is no surprise that he fell in love with and married an alcoholic. Because, who needs “fixing” or “rescuing” more than an alcoholic. Not that he recognized that at the time!

He came to his first Al-Anon meeting almost unwillingly. After all, he was not the one with the “problem.” But nothing was working, and his life was miserable, so maybe, just maybe, this Al-Anon thing would help.

His recovery story includes coming to understand what “working the steps” means, and learning to trust others with the reality of his life. It includes finding freedom from anger, fear, despair, and rage. It includes experiencing serenity, even when his life was still in the midst of chaos.

And, it includes finding an answer to what seemed an unanswerable question: “I can't live this way, but I can't leave either. What can I do!?” The answer turns out to be “I can live.”

Upcoming topics include sorrow and feelings. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

Step 1: Powerlessness and Power – Episode 160

DSC_5353What does it mean to be powerless? How can admitting powerlessness give you power over the unmanageability of your life?

Spencer and Tom, joined virtually by Sara and Gerrie talk about Step 1, We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, and our lives had become unmanageable.

  • Why is it difficult to admit my powerlessness?
  • How do the effects of alcoholism make my life unmanageable?
  • What is my “First Step story”?
  • What keeps me holding on to the illusion that I have the power to change someone else?
  • How do I determine I am powerless over someone else’s behavior?
  • Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does/did that change how I interact with the drinker?
  • How do I react when others refuse to be or do as I wish?
  • What would happen if I stopped trying to change others? ]
  • How can I let go of others’ problems instead of trying to solve them?
  • Do I say “yes” when I want to say “no”? What happens to my ability to manage my own life when I do this?
  • How can admitting powerlessness lead me to new power?
  • How does Step 1 help me let go of blame and shame?
  • What tools do I use to find serenity when my life seems unmanageable?

Upcoming topics include another “gift of Al-Anon”. “Courage and fellowship will replace fear. We will be able to risk failure to develop new hidden talents.” Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Worry – Episode 119

vultureDo you worry a lot? Is it hard to get your mind off the terrible things that might happen? Or maybe it’s just obsessing on the stuff that is wrong in your life today?

  • Think about a time before program when you were worrying.
    • What were you worrying about?
    • How did worrying affect your life at the time? (Inability to get things done, acid stomach, lack of sleep, etc?)
    • Did you get any resolution of your problem from your worrying?
  • Think about a recent time when you could have worried?
    • Did you worry?
    • How was it different from the time before?
    • How did you use program tools in this situation?
    • Were you able to move out of worrying into some productive resolution?
  • What is worry?
  • How does it differ from preparation?
    • Slogan: “Worry is not preparation”.
    • But also: “Preparation is not worry.”
  • Does “Let Go and Let God” mean we shouldn’t do anything?
  • What slogans and steps help you when you find yourself worrying?
  • What would you say to someone who can’t stop worrying about their loved one who still drinks or drugs?

Upcoming topics include laughter, Al-Anon dreams, and Concepts 6 & 7. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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