Willingness – Episode 216

A member asked another member to be their sponsor. The response was, “Are you willing to do what I did for as long as I did it to get what I have?” What would your answer be? Where does that willingness come from?

  • Definition
  • What does this word mean to me today?
  • How is that different from how I understood it in the past?
  • Where does willingness appear in the Steps?
  • Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  • Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • But also: Step 4 — willingness to look deeply at ourselves.
  • Step 5 and 6 — willingness to change.
  • Step 11 — willingness to deepen our relationship with a higher power.
  • In fact, we can find it in all the steps!
  • Eric noted that you can put the word “willing” in front of each step: Step 1, “Became willing to admit we were powerless…”, etc.
  • Acronym: HOW — Honest, Open, and Willing. This is HOW the program of recovery works.
  • How did I become willing?
    • Examples of others — your stories of using the principles of the program in your own recovery helped me be willing to try them for myself.
    • Pain — “hitting bottom” over and over in different ways. Eventually willing to try something, anything new.

A few tidbits from the episode:

Psychology Today article: 5 Ways to Really Get Closer to Each Other

Phone meetings web site.

And the quote from Marilyn Monroe that Spencer mentioned: “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

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.

What does it mean to work the steps? – Episode 80

When you first heard “work the steps”, what did you think? Are you still confused about what it means? Or, maybe you’ve worked the steps, but you’re looking for more.

Spencer talks with Ruth, Maria, and Patti about our understanding of and experience of “working the steps”. We consider these questions in our conversations.

  • When you first heard the phrase “work the steps”, what did you think it meant?
  • Have you worked the steps once? More than once?
    • If more than once, how did your understanding of “working the steps” change?
    • How did you work the steps? From a book? With a sponsor? As part of a group?
  • Some steps have clear actions in them (“took an inventory”, “made a list”), and some do not (“came to believe”, “became entirely ready”).
    • Would you say that some steps are “action steps” and some are not?
    • Or, do you believe that all the steps have actions in them?
  • How do you know you have “finished” a step and are ready to move on to the next one?
  • If you are a sponsor, how do you guide your sponsees in working the steps?

Our topic for next week is “The 3 C’s“. We are told that “We didn’t cause it, we can’t cure it, and we can’t control it.” How does this help? Does it help? What do you think? 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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Faith over Fear – Episode 74

Does fear keep you from acting? Can you move forward in faith instead? This week, we talk about faith over fear.

Spencer and Adrienne talked about their experience with fear and faith, reflecting on these questions and others.

  • How has fear been a factor in your life to date?
  • In what ways did fear direct your actions (or inactions) in the past?
  • How have you experienced faith in recovery?
  • Which steps are acts of faith for you?
  • How does working the steps help you to learn to have faith?
  • How can you move in faith rather than sitting in fear today?

An upcoming topic is Tradition 6, which says “Our Family Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim. Although a separate entity, we should always co-operate with Alcoholics Anonymous.” 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 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.
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