Why do a Moral Inventory? – Episode 246

Why do we take inventory in Al-Anon? And what is a “moral inventory” anyway?

Spencer shares his answers to some questions about Step 4 from our book Paths to Recovery about the purpose of taking our own moral inventory. His answers were written in 2002, 2011, and 2018. How have they changed (or not)?

The questions are:

  • Am I willing to look honestly at myself? What stands in my way?
  • Have I sought help from my Higher Power, my sponsor, or other Al-Anon members?
  • What suggestions have I tried to see if they might work?
  • Do I understand the spiritual principle of an inventory?
  • What do “searching” and “fearless” mean to me?
  • What does “moral inventory” mean?

How would you answer these questions? Please share your thoughts. 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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Sponsorship: a prompt – Episode 140

siblingsDo you have a sponsor? Do you sponsor others in the program? How has your sponsor supported your recovery? How has being a sponsor supported and enriched your recovery? Tell us about it!

Two of us share our experience as a sponsor, and of being sponsored, and then challenge you to share your experience, strength, and hope with us.

Upcoming topics include the first gift of Al-Anon: “1. We will become mature, responsible individuals with a great capacity for joy, fulfillment, and wonder. Though we may never be perfect, continued spiritual progress will reveal to us our enormous potential.” How do you see this gift appearing in your life? 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. See our contact page for detailed information about how to join our conversation.
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Recovery on the Road interview with Mara – Episode 71

SunriseHow do you take recovery with you when you travel? I talked with Mara about her recent experience traveling for several months, and how she kept her recovery program alive.

Our conversation was very loosely guided by these questions:

  • Did you think about how you were going to take your recovery program with you before you left home?
  • What did you take with you? (Literature, phone numbers, meeting locations / list?)
  • What were your expectations about what you would find at your destination (that could support your recovery)?
  • How did you use what you brought?
  • Did you make program calls? Text? Email?
  • How did what happened match (or not) your expectations (of practicing recovery)?
  • Did you attend in-person meetings?
  • Did you attend online meetings?
  • What did you find challenging about practicing your recovery program while traveling?
  • How did your program help you enjoy your travel?
  • What else would you like to share about your experience?

Upcoming topics include Tradition 5, Progress, and Humility. Tradition 5 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.
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Face to face meetings, why are they important? – Episode 57

Have you ever wondered, “Why do I need to go to meetings? Can’t I just read the literature?” Today, Spencer and Wendy talk about Face to Face meetings and why they are important.

Our discussion was guided by these questions:

What resources have you used / do you use in your program?

  • Meetings
  • Reading Al-Anon literature
  • Daily reader
  • Sponsor
  • Phone list
  • Individual meetings with program members
  • Small group (“AWOL”)
  • Email
  • Online meetings
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Journaling
  • etc.

How have these helped you? How is each different from the others?
Could you do your program without going to meetings?
What do you get from meetings that you don’t get from other resources?
How does going to a meeting help others? How does it help to build a community of recovery?
Has there been a time when you were unable to or just didn’t go to meetings? What did you do then?

Our topic for next week is Relapse. A listener wrote, suggesting this topic, “I think relapse would be a good topic.  So many of us, parents especially, naively believe that our loved ones will emerge from rehab as if from a car wash–scrubbed clean and ready to go.  As we've all learned through hard experience, it's not that easy, since addiction, alcoholism and codependency are spiritual illnesses that only long-term spiritual recovery work can address.” Have you experienced relapse of your loved one? Did you see it coming? Or were you “on the pink cloud”? How did you react or respond to the relapse? Please call us at 734-707-8795 , use the voice mail button to the right, or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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acceptance – a guest meditation by Scott B.


“Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life.”
Grenville Kleiser, Courage to Change P. 176
My first months in program, I couldn't gather new tools fast enough. I tried everything I could, anything anyone recommended. One of the personal methods suggested was to repeat to myself; “I am good. I am unique. I am beautiful. I love you,” while looking in a mirror. I had the initial thought that it was cheesy, something crazy people said to themselves. Well, I was feeling crazy, so I took a deep breath, and said it out loud to my reflection. With my low self-worth and self-esteem, I didn't feel comfortable. I felt awkward, embarrassed and ashamed even in the privacy of my home.
In spite of my mixed emotions, I said each of these four sentences again and again, day after day. I would say it in my car rear-view mirror while stopped at a light, (heaven forbid, never when another car was beside me) worried that someone might see me talking to myself. Faithfully, I kept repeating these phrases even without a mirror, now memorized by rote from many weeks of repetition. The words almost became a mantra.  Internally, I didn't approach the place of transforming love I had expected to reach (and I expected to reach someplace, anyplace, much sooner). I felt no comfort from my repeated efforts over time.
Disheartened, I concluded that saying these simple things could not possibly work and there was no use in continuing. As time in recovery went by, I would occasionally break out a simple, “I love you.” in the mirror. Still, after all this time, I felt the awkwardness spread through me and my stomach tensed as I looked away. Forgotten in the depths of my mind (lost in one of those bad neighborhoods) my affirmations faded, though I continued going to meetings.
When I experienced what seemed like a long period of no growth in my program, I figured I had plateaued. A friend shared during a meeting that change, lasting change, happens on her Higher Power's time. All she needs to do is her footwork, go to meetings and be patient. This stuck in my brain like a burr. It would not go away. It echoed in my head daily.
That summer I went on an eight mile walk, in eighty degree heat.  I rested, but I had run out of water about 3 miles from home. Dehydrated, I arrived at my house, filled up on water and poured an ice-cold glass of milk. I sat down in front of my computer. I reached for my mug of milk, my hand moved way too fast, and I spilled the white liquid all over my laptop. The screen went half black, the other half froze and I turned the laptop on its side, unplugged it, and ejected the battery.
Anger rushed through me. Powerlessness surrounded me. The feelings were coming and I couldn't stop them. I felt overwhelmed. I had heard so many times not to try to stop feelings. It was best to recognize them, feel them and let them go. But I made a mistake! And not just a little one! How could I of all people, be human? The turmoil inside me swirled. Old tapes told me to shame myself. New behaviors told me to laugh and accept it. Before program I would spend months, even years beating myself up over such an incident. Which direction should I take? Help me God, what do I do, where do I go?
The mirror. The mirror? Now? Really? My gut feeling was to walk into the living room and stand in front of the mirror. I felt nudged. I looked deep into my own panicked eyes and said, “I love you, Scott and there's nothing you can ever do to make me stop loving you.” There was no awkward pause, no feeling of inadequacy. I held my gaze and didn't look away. A wave of gratitude washed over me. Tears welled in my eyes as I cried and laughed at the same time. My gaze was unwavering until it was blurry and I couldn't see. Thank-you, God. Thank-you. I kept thinking that the feeling would leave, but there it was; solid in my Higher Power's Love.
Only in looking back from now can I see that everything contributed to my growth; every meeting, every coffee, lunch and potluck. Each email, text and affirmation. Every conversation, every call to my sponsors, every vulnerable moment. All the Concepts, Traditions and every Step along the way. My Higher Power takes it all in and uses my experiences to change me into who I'm meant to be.
A meditation for October 16, 2013.

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