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.
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Meditation – Episode 151

DSC_5126How do you meditate? Or, DO you meditate? Meditation is something of which many of us say “I need to do that!” “I’ve got to get into doing it regularly.” “I know it would really help me.” So why is this? What is blocking us? What good can it do us? And what ways are there to meditate?

Spencer and Eric talk briefly about their (non-)understanding of meditation before coming to recovery. We explore some of the benefits of meditation. And talk about the ways in which we have practiced it. Eric points out that the key word here is “practice.” Just as we must exercise our muscles to become competent at a physical activity, we also need to exercise our “meditating muscles.” Carrie and Patty also share some of their experience and understanding.

For some articles and a video about the benefits of meditation, read on. Continue reading “Meditation – Episode 151”

Holiday Survival Kit – Episode 134

Holiday lightsDo you dread the holidays? Do they bring out the worst in you or your loved ones? Are you not sure how you’re going to survive visiting (or visits from) your family? What is in your holiday survival kit?

Here are some items from my and my friends’ holiday survival kits:

  • Plan ahead
    • Take Al-Anon literature with you.
    • Talk to Al-Anon friends or your sponsor — get numbers you can call if you need to. Make sure they are in your phone or carry a phone list with you.
    • Talk about your anxiety or fears with a program friend.
  • Don’t set unrealistic expectations.
  • Don’t try to meet others (or your own) unrealistic expectations.
  • Take care of yourself.
    • Get enough sleep.
    • Eat properly.
    • Get enough “self time” — don’t spend all the time with your family (toxic or not!)
  • Have an exit plan.
    • Where can you go to be alone?
    • Have a way to leave if you need to (drive yourself, for example.)
    • Stay at a motel instead of in the family home, if possible (see above about others’ expectations!)
    • Go for a walk.
    • Make a phone call.
    • Stay only as long as you want to.
    • Sit at the “kids table” (they’re usually more sane than the adults!)
  • Plan to attend meetings.
    • If you are traveling, check the local Al-Anon district website for meeting times and locations. (Google “Al-Anon in city” works pretty well.)
  • Take the podcast with you.
  • Pray and meditate — keep up your recovery routines.
    • This can be hard when you are not in your own space. Maybe you can’t do it exactly as you do at home, or for as long, but you will feel better if you keep up whatever P&M you normally do.
  • Take it one day at a time, one hour at a time.
  • Remember, “this too shall pass.”

Upcoming topics include Concepts 11 and 12. 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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amends – a meditation

 

The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.

John Green, Looking for Alaska

I have had a lot of anger towards loved ones in the past. I remember that I used to write down the resentments against them when I took my inventory. I was so upset from the harms that I perceived had been committed against me – even if they were decades old. I had heard in the meeting rooms that forgiveness is key to finding peace. And I kept telling myself to forgive these people. I would even chant it to myself or act as if I had forgiven them. Nothing helped. My resentments remained and I felt frustrated.

Eventually, I got to the 8th Step in my Stepwork with my Sponsor. To do the 8th Step, I had to make a list of all persons I had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all. I listed everyone on my resentment list and listed my anger and judgment against them to be reasons for my amends. Thankfully, I had a wonderful Sponsor that asked me where my amends to myself was on the list. I realized I had no amends to myself – not really. I had hastily scribbled my name on the last page in the margin. My Sponsor reminded me that I was not really honoring  and respecting myself by ignoring my self-amends. I took her suggestion and sat and wrote a proper amends to myself. In the amends, I apologized for not standing up for myself in the past. I apologized for lying about my feelings  to myself and others. I apologized for ignoring my own needs. I apologized for giving up my power to other people. And then I cried because I had just been given an amends by the one person with whom I actually angry, myself.

As I cried, the pain left me and the suffering left me and my wounds started to close. Since then, every day that I am honest about my feelings, every time I honor my needs, and every time I stand up for myself, the wounds close a little more and open up more space for gratitude and love and even more forgiveness. And as I heal and forgive myself, forgiveness for others comes so easily. I think this is because my reality exists within me and I project that reality onto the world around me. Now that my reality is that I am responsible for loving myself, so I am able to seeking external validation and resenting people when I do not receive it.

Today, my Higher Power blessed me with happiness and peace as well as pain and fear. All four blessings are always present for me; some offer comfort and some offer opportunity. When I can see all of these as equal, one not better than another, I can stop feeling like a victim and be accepting, grateful, and forgiving.

A meditation for September 29, 2013

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*maintaining serenity – a guest meditation by Ruth

 

If you planning to do something, become aware of what you really going to do. For example when you plan to go to the natatorium, than imagine how it is there, how people bespatter you with water, pushing you back and forth, accuse you and steal from you. But you will go there in peace and feeling safe, when you remind yourself upfront that you want to stick to your moral conviction. This aligns you with human sanity. This approach applies to everything else. Then when something is really disturbing you, you can say to yourself. I didn’t want to go only to take a bath but I wanted also to practice my moral convictions which makes me sane. This won’t happen if I let myself get upset by those incidents.

Epictetus – The Enchiridion

 

Epictetus was a late stoic philosopher who lived from about 50 to 130 after Christ. When I came first to Al Anon, I recognized that the program contains a lot of ancient wisdom; this made me feel comfortable early on. On the other hand, to know that human beings are struggling with the same issues since ancient times made me feel as thought I am part of a chain of humans from the past to the present.

My home group meets in a parish hall near the oldest church in town, the fundaments of which date back to the 9th century.When I arrive early enough before the meeting, I get into the church and sit there for awhile. Then, I think that all of the prayers which have been spoken around this place are still there and I have a feeling of being connected to the time, location, and the human beings around me. When I am on the street again, trying to make my way, I am much more relaxed looking at the other people and knowing that they are also just on their way.

 

A meditation for September 20, 2013.

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