We claim spiritual progress … – Episode 72

By Haragayato (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can't go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. (Alcoholics Anonymous)

Mara joins Spencer again to talk about perfection, progress, and topics in between. The quote, above, from the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous formed the foundation of our conversation. Here are some of the questions we may or may not have ended up addressing.

  • What does it mean to be perfect?
  • What is your perspective/understanding on character defects? Are they what keep you from perfection?
  • How did you feel about perfection before the program vs. now?
  • What do you consider to be progress?
  • How does your outlook and attitude change when you look at your progress (how far you’ve come) instead of your shortcomings (how far you have to go to be perfect)?
  • How do you see your progress?
  • By taking a periodic inventory?
  • When you see yourself facing or responding to an old situation in a new way?
  • When someone else points it out to you?
  • How do you feel or react when something does not work out the way you wanted it to?
  • What tools can you use to get past that feeling or reaction to resolution or completion?

Spencer closed with this prayer he got from a Facebook friend, by which he tries to live every day. “Lord, help me to hold myself and others to a standard of grace, rather than perfection.”

Our topic for next week is Tradition 5, which says “Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.”

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 “We claim spiritual progress … – Episode 72”

Waking – a meditation



In the grey cocoon of light the mind
finds metamorphosis,
makes from the wreck of what she was
the wings of what she is.

Ursula K. LeGuin — Waking


I have been thinking about “spiritual awakening”. I heard a speaker, who said, that “spiritual awakening” is just what it says: that we “wake up” to a new life of the spirit. It's just that simple. There does not have to be any sudden change, any “aha” moment, any flood of inspiration or visitation. Just waking up. I think about waking up from a night's sleep. Sometimes I come slowly to consciousness, not really sure where the boundary is between sleep and waking. At other times, I am instantly and suddenly wide awake, with a clear boundary between dreaming and reality.

My spiritual awakening in recovery was gradual. I did not have a moment of enlightenment, when it all changed for me. I had to pause and take stock, to ask myself, “How am I living my life now? How is this different from my life before recovery?” In that asking, the answer was clear: I had awakened. I was more present, more aware, more conscious, more intentional, and perhaps more rational in the way I lived, in the way I interacted with others, and in my understanding of a Higher Power that was restoring me to sanity. The Al-Anon program was, for me, a “grey cocoon of light” that supported and enabled my metamorphosis from “the wreck of what [I] was” to “the wings of  what [I] am”.

A meditation for December 28, 2013.

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Step 12 – Episode 53

Are you wondering whether you’ve had a spiritual awakening, or even what a spiritual awakening might be? How can you practice these principles in all your affairs? And what are “these principles” anyway? Are you not sure how to carry the message? Today, Linda and Spencer talk about Step 12, which states “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.”

Our discussion is structured by these questions:

  • Have you had a spiritual awakening?
    • What does that mean to you?
    • How do you know?
    • What sort(s) of spiritual awakening(s) have you experienced?
  • What do you understand to be “these principles”?
    • Steps? Traditions? Concepts? Slogans? What else?
  • What are some ways in which you practice these principles “in all your affairs?”
    • In the family
    • At work
    • With friends
    • In society
  • What are some ways in which you carry the message of the program to others?
    • In meetings
    • As a sponsor
    • With family and friends
    • This podcast!
  • How does Step 12 empower and inspire you?

Our topic for next week is communication. 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 “Step 12 – Episode 53”

spiritual awakening – a guest meditation from Beth

how much love?



Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


Step 12 of Al-Anon


I have heard many people in al anon say that they have had a spiritual awakening, thanks to this program, and that as a result, they have gotten their lives back. Thankfully, I can say that too. I am one of those lucky, happy people. But what does having my life back really mean for me? After years of not being present in my own life as a result of throwing myself headlong into the drama and chaos of trying to live other peoples’ lives FOR them, because of working this program, the crazy negative constant chatter in my head has subsided. I am peaceful where I was once obsessed. I am kind to myself where I once was my own worst enemy.

This internal quiet has become a part of my daily existence, and I now find myself open and available to receive the many joys life offers me each day. I observe, listen, and am present with myself and others in a way I have not experienced in a long, long time, maybe since I was a child. People say it is never too late to have a happy childhood. I am having mine now. I am happy to say that I am actually LIVING each day, and treasuring my life to the fullest.

This does not mean every day is a picnic. It just means that I am ok with it, whatever happens. I know by now that both the bad and the good will always come and go like the tides, because i embraced with my whole heart the wise slogan this too shall pass.

The pain and sadness I have endured have left me with a melancholy streak. That is ok. Because of my experiences I can offer true compassion to others who are in pain, like my son. I can allow him the space to walk his own path for himself with dignity. I can detach in love, with real hope for him in my heart because I know that the program works.

Because of the mistakes I have made, I have the humility to know that I don't have all of the answers, and I am absolutely done forcing solutions.

How did all of this happen? My sanity and balance have been restored in large part by love. The love shared between members of this program is very powerful. You loved me when I could not love myself. The love I felt for you was real and heartfelt, and so i began to trust and believe that the love you showed me was real too. This helped a lot! It started me on my journey of learning to love myself again. The love a newcomer receives from members of this program is like a tidal wave, very powerful, and at first very unexpected. I am humbled and immensely grateful for the love freely given to me in these rooms. And I love being able to reflect all this goodness right back at all of you. But most of all i love being loving and kind to MYSELF.

The other primary source of my restored wellbeing was working the steps. The time and sweat that I put into writing my searching and fearless moral inventory was well spent. So was the energy I devoted to making amends. I felt reborn and freed from age old self-imposed shackles afterwards. I repeat a mini version of this process using step 10 continually in my life, and I always feel truer to myself and more whole as a result. The steps are a symphony, not a note wasted or unnecessary. This fellowship and it's gifts are truly amazing.

So now that I am present in my life, spiritually awake, practicing the Al-Anon principles in all of my affairs, I get to see some really beautiful things. Here is what i saw the other day, something i would never have seen in my old obsessed crazy state. I would have been too busy micromanaging my son’s life, fully convinced that I not only could but should control every step he took, missing my own life while careening headlong toward exhaustion and failure.

Riding home on the train the other day, on a sunny lovely day, I looked out the window as the train stopped. Passengers were getting off at “highland station”, so named because the platform is a top a small hill. I saw a group of about ten young boys ranging in age from 5 to 8 outside my window. They were pushing bikes up this small grassy hill only to ride down it together in glee, over and over. Their happiness was so contagious that i found myself grinning. As they were making their way back up the hill towards me, I started waving. One boy tentatively waved back. I smiled bigger and waved harder. Then another waved back. Soon all were waving and smiling at me. Then, from the direction they were looking, I could tell that the conductor had started waving at them too. And some other passengers followed suit. By the time the train pulled away, everybody on the train was waving at the little boys, and all the boys were waving back with glee. It was so beautiful, and I started it all, because I was awake, living my own life.

Thanks to this program I am having my own happy childhood today, finding love to share around every corner.

A meditation for December 13, 2013

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Living Rich, Full Lives in Recovery – Episode 42

Does a life in recovery sound limiting? Are you unsure what activities, events, etc from your previous life will fit into your new life of recovery? Does living a rich full life sound selfish when your loved ones are still suffering from addiction? What tools have your learned that allow you to fully live your own life today? Kelli, Spencer, and Swetha try to answer these questions and others as we talk about living rich, full lives in recovery.

  • What does “living rich, full lives” mean to you?
  • Does it mean something different to you today than it did in the past?
  • What are some tools you use today to ensure that you are living life in a satisfying way?
  • How do you know when you are living a rich, full life?
  • What do you see as the spiritual aspects of a rich, full life?
  • How can changed attitudes contribute to living a rich, full life?
  • How does your life today differ from your life before recovery? Some aspects of life to consider include:
    • Activities
    • Relationships with partners, friends, family, co-workers, etc.
    • Spiritual practices
    • Emotional life
    • Intellectual life
  • Do you see your life today as rich and full? As richer and fuller than it has been in times past? What do you still want to add (or take away) to improve your life?

Our topic for next week is the 3 A's – Awareness, Acceptance and Action.  Do you think you have to fix something as soon as you become aware of it? Do you find yourself springing into action even before you know what the problem is? Is it difficult to know if you've fully accepted something as a cue to take action?  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. We plan to record this episode on Monday, September 30 starting at 6PM EDT (2200 GMT). You can listen live and participate. Just click Listen Live at the top of the page.

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