Adult Children of Alcoholics – Episode 203

Did you grow up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional family? How has this affected your life today? How can you recover from your childhood experiences?

The ACA or ACOA program was created in the 1970s by a group of Alateen members who needed a program that focused on recovery from their experiences growing up in alcoholic or dysfunctional families. It is a separate 12-step program similar to, but separate from Al-Anon. Emily joins Spencer to explore how ACA is different from but also works together with Al-Anon in her recovery.

Our conversation was guided by these questions.

  • What is ACA?
  • How is it different from Al-Anon?
    • The focus of Al-Anon is on adult issues or spousal drinking, vs childhood issues in ACA.
  • What is the “laundry list”? (http://www.adultchildren.org/lit-Laundry_List)
  • How is the first step of ACA different? (http://www.adultchildren.org/lit-Steps)
    • “We admitted we were powerless over the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction, that our lives had become unmanageable.”
    • Why is this important?
  • How do ACA meetings differ from Al-Anon meetings?
    • Inclusion
    • No crosstalk
  • How are they the same?
    • Common topics
  • How has ACA helped you recover?
  • What would you say to someone who is considering attending ACA?

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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Step 1: Powerlessness and Power – Episode 160

DSC_5353What does it mean to be powerless? How can admitting powerlessness give you power over the unmanageability of your life?

Spencer and Tom, joined virtually by Sara and Gerrie talk about Step 1, We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, and our lives had become unmanageable.

  • Why is it difficult to admit my powerlessness?
  • How do the effects of alcoholism make my life unmanageable?
  • What is my “First Step story”?
  • What keeps me holding on to the illusion that I have the power to change someone else?
  • How do I determine I am powerless over someone else’s behavior?
  • Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does/did that change how I interact with the drinker?
  • How do I react when others refuse to be or do as I wish?
  • What would happen if I stopped trying to change others? ]
  • How can I let go of others’ problems instead of trying to solve them?
  • Do I say “yes” when I want to say “no”? What happens to my ability to manage my own life when I do this?
  • How can admitting powerlessness lead me to new power?
  • How does Step 1 help me let go of blame and shame?
  • What tools do I use to find serenity when my life seems unmanageable?

Upcoming topics include another “gift of Al-Anon”. “Courage and fellowship will replace fear. We will be able to risk failure to develop new hidden talents.” 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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Stepping Stones to Serenity – 1 – Episode 158

 

StonesThis is part 1 of a 4-part seminar titled “Stepping Stones to Serenity”, presented by Ellen C in 2008. This part covers steps 1 through 3.

 

Powerless over being helped – a guest meditation by Hillery

feet

 

 

She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah

 

It’s so fitting that I’m working on step one right now.

About a week and a half ago, a stool fell upon my foot. It hurt quite a bit, but after a few days, it seemed fine, so I kept about my normally busy schedule almost ignoring my foot. Well now, I’m actually learning two lessons here. Had I gone to the doctor then, practicing some self-care, I might not be in this mess right now.

This current “mess” is of being powerless. Twenty-four hours ago, my foot was in excruciating pain. This morning, I adopted a pair of crutches from the basement because I couldn’t walk without hurting. So, already, I’m feeling like I have little power over my life. A fucking stool fell on my foot, and now I gotta deal with a house of kids and no way to really control them or anything else. I can’t even walk through a door without difficulty or help. But, I can handle this, right? I can lay down the control a little bit and let someone else take over. What I’m having a hard time accepting is that people will help me how they want to help me, not how I want to be helped. For example, I wanted to take a bath before I went to urgent care and then I wanted the bathroom tidied when I was finished. Instead, I was drawn a bath, helped into the bathtub, and given chocolates and coffee – whether I wanted any of this or not. A kind gesture, no doubt, but not what I wanted. I felt extremely powerless and cried in the bath. I’d just realized how much I was not in control, even of my own bath, and certainly not over the actions of others. I felt like I had to take back some of that control by getting out of the bath by myself, though that could’ve ended badly.

I’ve already admitted that I am not all that great at self-care, but that doesn’t mean I’m great with being taken care of, either. I prefer to do things myself. I feel strong when I can overcome an obstacle and take care of something myself. But, sometimes, I do need help. Today, I learned that when I do ask for help (or even without asking), people will help me in ways that they see fit to help me, not necessarily how (or if) I want to be helped. And, I guess all I can really do is kindly take the help that is given me, and either seek out help for what else I may need help with, do it myself, or leave it undone (like the dishes tonight).

A meditation for October 26, 2013.

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blessing – a meditation

 

Every experience, no matter how bad it is, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.

Buddha

Recently, I thought I have been struggling with acceptance because of a loved one’s addiction and denial. My program has taught me that it is not up to me to classify someone as an addict, or alcoholic, or codependent since I know that I can only honestly speak about my own experience. But I have found myself deeply affected by fear and pain because I do not feel accepted or loved by this person. I found myself trying to explain my loved one’s behavior to myself by assigning labels to this person’s actions or creating stories around why they can not give me what I want. I would tell myself, “this person is not spiritually fit enough to be open and loving”. At other times, I would think “why doesn’t this person love me enough to do this for me? Am I not good enough?”. Sometimes I would just call my loved one an addict and detach with resentment and anger.

In the end, I realized I was right – I was struggling with acceptance. Only, I was struggling with accepting my loved one rather than judging. I was also struggling with accepting myself and trusting in my Higher Power. I know this because my entire focus was on the acceptance I did not feel I was receiving from my loved one. I worried about this person and their behaviors rather than keeping the focus on me and my behavior and my needs.  It is none of my business what my loved one does or why unless it violates my boundaries; and having my boundaries violated is not the same as having my fears triggered. And that is all that is happening – my fears are being triggered. I am afraid that if I do not feel acceptance from this loved one,  I will suffer and be abandoned.

I remember thinking, even up to this morning, “Why did I invite this person into my life? Why couldn’t I have left well enough alone?” But this is why. It is because my Higher Power wants me to love myself and know that my Higher Power loves me unconditionally – even when other people do not. What a blessing it is that I have the opportunity to learn how to love myself and accept the love of my Higher Power no matter what!

So, today, I took a pen, and wrote a message to myself that reminds me that I am loved by my Higher Power. And I know I will feel the fear that I am not good enough for the people in my life to love me. But then I will look at my wrist and realize the more important thing – that I am, have always been, and will always be good enough for my Higher Power to love and accept every part of me.

A meditation for September 26, 2013

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