Al-Anon Slips – Episode 191

What does it mean to relapse in Al-Anon? Have you had an Al-Anon slip? What did you do to recover?

  • What is a “slip”? Is it just another word for “relapse”?
  • What do you think an “Al-Anon slip” is?
    • How do you know if you’re having (or if you had) one?
    • In AA, it’s “obvious”, but in Al-Anon, it’s more subtle.
  • What kinds of slips can you identify?
    • Controlling
    • Enabling
    • Emotional
    • Making another person your HP
  • Relate a story about a slip you had
    • A big one?
    • A little one?
  • How did it feel the same as before recovery?
  • How did it feel different?
  • What program tools did you use to recover from your slip?
  • How do you / can you detect that a slip is imminent and what can you do to prevent it?
    • What tools/slogans help?

Upcoming topics include obsessive thinking. How does your obsession with others behavior (such as drinking) make your life unmanageable? 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.

In response to a listener question, we suggested episode 78: Stay or Go?
Continue reading “Al-Anon Slips – Episode 191”

Detachment with love – Episode 188

Do you get caught up in other people’s problems or emotions? Does the phrase “loving detachment” just baffle you?

We start with a reading from an Al-Anon flyer titled Detachment.

  • What thoughts about detachment does the reading bring up for you?
  • When you first heard the word “detachment” in a meeting, what did you think it meant?
  • Did “detachment with love” make any sense to you at all?
  • What is the difference between detachment and distancing or separation?
  • Why do I get angry? Fear. Because I care.
  • Maybe I have to become “indifferent” when moving from anger to love.
  • What forms of detachment have you found/learned?
    • Emotional — my emotions are not ruled by someone else’s.
    • Detaching the person from their disease (How Al-Anon Works, Detachment section in Chapter 11):

      If someone we love had the flu and cancelled plans with us, most of us would understand. We wouldn’t take it personally or blame the person for being inconsiderate or weak. Instead, in our minds, we would probably separate the person from the illness, knowing that it was the illness, rather than our loved one, that caused the change of plans. This is detachment.

    • Detaching from outcomes
  • How has detachment helped you?
    • Treating others with more kindness and compassion.
    • Give a power greater than myself a space to come in.
    • Not getting “pulled down”
    • Being able to love the person while hating their actions
    • Finding forgiveness
    • More serenity.

Upcoming topics include slogans (what’s your favorite?), Alateen, and parenting. 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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Start where you are – Episode 173

DSC_0379Start where you are. Bring your angry self. Bring your despairing self. Bring your resentful and frustrated self. Bring your confused self. And we will meet you there.

Sometimes I think I need to be “ready” before I can do something, before I can make a change. But that’s not true of our program. I was able to start where I was, and I can still start where I am. How does this work? How was I able to “start where I am” at each point along the path of recovery? Because recovery is a process, not an event.

  • Walking into my first meeting.
    • You met me where I was. You didn’t require that I know anything, that I agree to anything, you just welcomed me.
  • Step 1: We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
    • My first challenge – what does “powerless” mean? Can I admit that I am “powerless”? How do I recognize the unmanageability of my life? Is this where I am right now?
  • Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    • I start into this step where I am: questioning the very existence of a Higher Power. Some start into this step with a vengeful, angry God. No matter where we start, we can find an understanding of this step.
  • Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
    • If my starting point is “the meeting is my HP”, I can look for guidance and wisdom in the meeting, and try to follow that.
  • Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    • This step has always met me where I was. As my starting point has changed, the inventory has also changed. My new point of view has revealed other aspects of myself, which were not visible earlier.
  • Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
    • My first starting point for this step was “no way!” My second starting point was “there’s some stuff I’m just not going to talk about.” I *think* that, at this time, I’ve admitted all my wrongs, but I might be wrong about that.
    • Each time, there was power in the step, no matter where I started, and how “well” I did it. The point is to take the step, not to take it perfectly.
  • Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
    • Again, my starting point has “moved” with time. I’ve gone from “well, of course” to “um, not that one!” to “please help me to become willing”.
    • I didn’t understand this step the first time I “took” it, but I did it anyway.
  • Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
    • What does this step mean if I don’t have a concrete idea of G-o-d?
    • But, I found that, when I ask for help, I find it, and I change.
  • Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
    • The literature suggested that I can group my list into: people I am willing to make amends to, people I might be willing to make amends to, and those people who I was not willing to make amends to.
    • I started there, and found that my lists changed as I moved into Step 9.
  • Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    • Do the easy ones first, and don’t worry about doing it perfectly!
  • Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
    • I started doing this step before I actually got to it. Because I didn’t want to add new things to my “Step 4 inventory.”
  • Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
    • Wow. What is prayer? How do I do it? You suggested I start with the Serenity prayer. And I was able to do that.
    • Meditation? How? When? “Just try. Sit with me. Breathe.” It’s a start.
  • Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
    • My awakening came gradually, as I moved in recovery, I became more awake, where I was.
  • Sponsorship!
    • I was not “ready” (in my mind) to be a sponsor the first time I was asked. But I said “yes” and did the best I could.
  • Gratitude
    • Finding gratitude in small things helped to to develop an “attitude of gratitude”.

So, start where you are, and we will meet you there and welcome you into the beginning of your path to recovery.

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.

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.

Serenity – Episode 167

SunriseWhat is serenity, anyway? And how do you get it?

Let’s start with a definition: (dictionary.com)

1. the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; sereneness.
2. A title of honor, respect, or reverence, used in speaking of or to a certain member of royalty (usually preceded by his, your, etc).

Synonyms
1. Composure, calm, peacefulness, peace.

Antonyms
1. Agitation

  • How did you conceive of serenity before recovery?
  • Did you think your whole life had to be “serene” in order for you to have personal serenity?
  • How did you act in ways that pushed serenity out of my life?
  • When you heard the Al-Anon suggested welcome, did these words make sense to you?
    • Did they seem unattainable?
    • Did they give you hope?

      “We urge you to try our program. It has helped many of us find solutions that lead to serenity. So much depends on our own attitudes, and as we learn to place our problem in its true perspective, we find it loses its power to dominate our thoughts and our lives.”

  • Do you recall experiencing serenity, perhaps briefly, as you started to work the program?
    • What happened?
    • What did it feel like?
    • How did you recognize it?
  • Reading: Hope for Today, May 20.

    “The serenity I am offered in Al-Anon is not an escape from life. Rather it is the power to find peacefulness within life.”
    “Al-Anon does not promise me freedom from pain, sorrow, or difficult situations. It does, however, give me … the necessary skills for maintaining peace of mind, even when life seems most unbearable.”

  • What tools have you found for maintaining or restoring your serenity?
    • Trust in a Higher Power. Let go and let God.
    • Detachment.
    • Just for today.
    • One day at a time.
    • Talk to a program friend.
  • “Exercising” spiritual “muscles” by working the steps, going to meetings, reading the literature, etc.
  • Do you think serenity is a state of being, or an attitude? Or a little of both?
  • What would you say to a newcomer who is living a life full of “agitation” with little or no serenity?

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.
Continue reading “Serenity – Episode 167”