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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    Expectations – Episode 186

    Do you have unrealistic expectations of other people? Or, maybe, of yourself? How does this hurt?

    • What are “expectations”?
    • “Expectations are pre-meditated resentments” — how do you see this as true?
    • How can expectations set you up for disappointment?
    • How do your expectations of yourself hurt you?
    • How do you deal with other people’s expectations of you?
    • How do you
      • let go of unrealisitic expectations?
      • set realistic / reasonable expectations and boundaries?
    • When has letting go of expectations improved an experience for you?

    Eric referred to several other websites:

    A correspondant mentioned the Hand in Hand Parenting support organization and how it had helped her.

    Upcoming topics include a talk with Alateen sponsors, and the question “how am I trustworthy?” 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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    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.

     

    Forgiveness – Episode 68

    Holocaust memorial, Berlin, GermanyDo you have trouble forgiving the alcoholic or addict in your life? Have you carried hurts long after the person who hurt you is gone from your life? How can we forgive without forgetting? Let’s talk about forgiveness.

    Spencer and Erika share their experience, strength, and hope about forgiveness, and try to address these questions.

    What do the quotes that we opened the show with say to you about forgiveness?
    How does this compare to the way you used to think about forgiveness?
    Did you (or do you) think about forgiveness as giving a “free pass” to the person who hurt you?
    Do you now think about forgiveness as “a gift you give to yourself”? (Or can you be willing to think about it that way now?)
    How can forgiveness connect to the love of your higher power?
    What Al-Anon tools can you use to help move from anger and resentment to forgiveness?
    Inventory — seeing “my part” (and I there is almost always “my part” as well as “their part”)
    Compassion — especially helpful for me in finding forgiveness for my alcoholic loved one’s actions during her active disease.
    Prayer and meditation. Praying for the person I want to forgive, even if it’s just the “SOB prayer.”
    Seeing that the other person is a human being, with faults, and that they were doing the best they knew at the time.
    Setting boundaries to prevent the hurt from happening again.
    How can I find forgiveness for myself, for my past actions that hurt others? (Same tools?)
    What about “unforgiveable” behaviors? How can I let them go so that they’re not continuing to affect my serenity and continuing to drag me down?

    Our topic for next week is Tradition 4. Upcoming topics include living with active alcoholism and taking recovery on the road.  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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