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 feedback@therecoveryshow.com 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 feedback@therecoveryshow.com 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 feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Cause, Cure, Control – The 3 Cs – Episode 81

We are told that “we didn’t cause it, we can’t cure it, and we can’t control it.” The 3 C’s capture our powerlessness. What does this mean for us, what does it mean for the ones we love who are caught in this disease?

  • What are “the 3 C’s”?
    • We didn’t cause our loved one’s alcoholism or addiction.
    • We can’t cure it.
    • We can’t control it.
  • When did you first hear about them?
  • What did you think then?
  • How did you feel?
  • Why are they important?
  • How do they express our powerlessness over alcohol?

We’d love to hear your questions or experience about these upcoming topics:

  • Caretaking or healthy support?
  • Suffering – What does it mean when we say “pain is inevitable but suffering is optional”?
  • Tradition 8 – Al-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

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 – a guest meditation from Beth

falling-leaves

 

“When I heard ‘Let Go and Let God’ for the first time, it didn’t make sense to me. Let go of what? And let God do what?

Hope for Today – Al-Anon Family Groups

When despair led me to my first AlAnon meeting, the season was late summer. By the time the leaves on the trees began changing color, I had been to enough meetings and read enough but literature to glimpse the futility of attempting to control things that were not in my control. I began to understand that by trying to fix my alcoholic, I was actually contributing to the problem. In the rooms I met other people in my position who had seen their lives improve by consciously letting go of things that were not on their side of the street. I wasn’t sure I could allow the balls I had been keeping in the air so faithfully to just fall where they may, and I was scared. I also knew I was exhausted from the effort, and that spending my last ounce of strength had not accomplished my goal, which was to get my alcoholic husband to be there for me and our kids like I wished he would. The key to finally beginning to let go was getting honest with myself, and really accepting the fact that I was not actually ever IN control, it was all just an illusion. No wonder my efforts had no effect! I was trying to control people and outcomes and events over which I had no power, which were not mine to control in the first place. The only thing I could truly control was ME. This was a truly freeing revelation. As I began to change my thinking and my behaviors, i found i had so much extra time and energy for myself because I was no longer wasting energy spinning my wheels worrying about everyone else.  I shifted my focus and began paying attention to the wonderful world around me, finding my SELF again by reconnecting with my love of nature. I took in the gorgeous colors of fall in the turning leaves, and as the winds blew a few leaves descended gracefully to Earth one by one. I imagined each leaf was a worry I was saying goodbye to, one I couldn’t change or fix anyway, so why not just let it go? As I watched, more and more leaves were swept away by the winds, and as the gorgeous reds and yellows carpeted the grass all around me, I saw how straight and true the majestic tree stood, amid the swirling colors.

Each fall I am reminded of this amazing transformation in me, how by letting go I regained my strength and could stand tall again.

Standing, I breathe deeply in through my nose, straightening my back and shoulders as I attain my full height with the slow intake of air. I am tall, true, and strong like the oak. I am me. Slowly I release my breath through my nose, imagining my exhaled breath swirling and falling to Earth like the colored leaves, carrying away the worries I am no longer owning. I am free. With each breath i draw in i stand taller. With each breath released I am lighter. I delight in the colors swirling around me, releasing, releasing, releasing worries. Deep breath. Big smile. I am experiencing beauty in the moment, and I am part of it.

A meditation for September 27, 2013.

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