Maria – Beyond Recovery – Episode 185

How do you use recovery in your life?

Join Spencer and Maria as they explore how she has found a new way of living, beyond recovery.

Before coming to recovery, Maria's life was “good enough.” The tools she gained in the Al-Anon program have enabled her to face two major life choices, and to decide to make a huge change in her direction.

How about you? What does your life look like, beyond recovery? Please contact us: call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

A listener was helped by the meditation “A god of my understanding.”

Serenity – Episode 167

SunriseWhat is serenity, anyway? And how do you get it?

Let’s start with a definition: (

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).

1. Composure, calm, peacefulness, peace.

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 with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Dancing with Dementia – Episode 161

AcceptanceHow is living with alcoholism like living with dementia? Can I use what I have learned in one, with the other?

The sermon was titled “Dancing with Dementia”. “What perfect timing!” I thought, as I was sitting down. This week I will be visiting my parents, who may or not have diagnosed dementia, but who are definitely becoming less engaged in life, and it hurts.

My brother, my sister, and I have decided to try to have “the talk” with them about aging, about whether they need help in daily living, and about whether they might consider starting to think about moving into an assisted living situation. It won’t be easy.

I also reflected on how my feelings and reactions in this situation parallel my feelings and reactions to active alcoholism, when that was happening in my life. Which brings me to the question, how can I use these tools in this new situation?

The keys seem to be these:

  • Dementia is a disease, just as alcoholism is a disease.
  • I can meet them where they are.
  • I can live in the moment.
  • I can find compassion for my loved ones.
  • I can recognize and feel my grief, and have compassion for myself.

An upcoming topic is the “gift of Al-Anon” that says “Courage and fellowship will replace fear. We will be able to risk failure to develop new hidden talents.” How do you see this coming true in your recovery? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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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 with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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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 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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