How do you trust? – Episode 281

When do you decide to trust (or not to trust) someone?
How do we trust others in the program?
What fears might stop us from trusting?

  • What is trust?
    • (noun) firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
    • (verb) believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.
  • How do we come to trust someone?
    • The marble jar analogy.
  • Brené Brown on trust: (
    • We often think trust is built by grand gestures at crucial moments in our lives, but trust is typically built with simplicity and small actions. After looking at the research Brown said, “It’s very clear. Trust is built in very small moments.”
    • Charles Feltman had the “most beautiful definition of trust,” which was “Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.” “Feltman says that distrust is what I’ve shared with you that is important to me is not safe with you,”
  • What are some of the “marbles” of trust that I found in the program?
    • Open, honest, vulnerable sharing
    • “Nodding” — “I’ve been there. I know what it feels like.”
    • Members being there week after week.
    • No judgement.
    • Keeping confidences.
  • What are some “marbles” of distrust?
    • Unsolicited advice.
    • Someone assuming they know what I feel.
    • Breaking confidence (rare in my experience)
  • Brené Brown’s acronym: BRAVING ( )
    • Boundaries
    • Reliability
    • Accountability
    • Vault
    • Integrity
    • Non-judgement
    • Generosity
  • Tradition 12 “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.”
    • Anonymity is the basis of the trust that makes the program possible.

Readings and Links

We read from Courage to Change, April 3

We recommend the new book from Al-Anon, Intimacy in Alcoholic Relationships

A listener spoke of her experience in Recovering Couples Anonymous.

Another listener suggest a topic of “intuition vs fear”, which reminded me of episode 61, Intuition or God's Will? 


Our topic for next week is Mary Pearl T on Step 7. Also upcoming is an episode on Acronyms and Alliterations. Acronyms like HALT, FEAR. Alliterations like the 3 A's or 4 M's. What is your favorite? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email and share your favorite (and why). Or just leave a comment right here.
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Humility – Episode 208

Is humility the same thing as humiliation? How does humility help me change?

Definition from Merriam-Webster:  freedom from pride or arrogance :  the quality or state of being humble

  • What is the difference between humility and humiliation?
  • Some have compared humility to teachability. How do you understand this statement?
  • How does humility help keep me from trying to control people and situations?
  • How Al-Anon Works says “True humility is based upon letting go of self-will and relying instead upon the will of our Higher Power.”
  • In the “Lois’s Story” chapter in How Al-Anon Works, she writes, “‘Humbly’ was a word I never fully understood. It used to seem servile to me. Today it means seeing myself in true relation to my fellow man and to God.”
  • What is the connection between anonymity, as we practice it, and humility?
  • How is humility part of taking care of ourselves, rather than taking care of others?

Eric read from “The Paradoxical Power of Humility“.

Upcoming topics include “the 3 P's”, perfection, procrastination, and paralysis. 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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anonymity – a meditation



11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films and TV. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Al-Anon Traditions

I have spent some time thinking about anonymity. What is it? What does it mean for me? What does it mean for this podcast? How can I tell my story and maintain appropriate anonymity? Recently, I attended a screening of the new documentary, The Anonymous People, which encourages us to speak out in support of recovery, to work to remove the stigma of the disease of addiction. It raises some questions. How can we speak out while hiding our identity? Does feeling that we need to keep our recovery secret just perpetuate the stigma and shame?  What is important about anonymity?

For me, there are four important aspects of anonymity as captured in Traditions 11 and 12.

First, I believe strongly that my anonymity is mine to protect or unveil. I can control what I reveal and what I hide. I can decide to be fully open about who I am, what I do, where I live, or I can decide that it is none of your business and not reveal any of it.

However, tradition 11 asks us to not put ourselves forward as representatives or spokespeople for our recovery program. No one person can represent the program. If I were to say, “I am the true voice of the program,” and you decided you didn't like me, you might also reject the good of the program. Or, if you took my word as gospel, my experience might not be right for you, and you wouldn't find the help you need. Thus, in this podcast, I remain as anonymous as possible, trying to share my experience, strength, and hope, and nothing more.

Tradition 11 also asks us to protect the identity of any members of AA that we might know. In fact, just as I can control what I reveal, I believe that it is your decision and responsibility to decide what you might reveal or hide about yourself, and that I must defer to you in those decisions.

Tradition 12 tells me that it is important that what I share in meetings comes from my own experience, that I share from that experience, and that I do not put myself forward as any sort of authority. If, for example, I was a therapist, I should not use that as a basis for recommending any solution or course of action. I say only “this is what I experienced”, “this is what I did”, and “this is what happened.” In that way, I share from principles and not from my own person.

From this, I conclude that Al-Anon does not require me to be silent about my recovery. It only requires that I do not reveal things I learned about other people in the program, and that I do not put myself forward as any sort of representative or authority about the program. I am free to share my experience, my strength, and my hope, within those boundaries.

At least, that's my opinion.

A meditation for September 25, 2013.

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Anonymity – Episode 27

Our 12th Tradition says “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions…” Why is anonymity important? What does it mean to be anonymous? Does it mean that we actively hide our identity? Is it about only sharing our first name (and initial?) Or is there something deeper here? What can we share about ourselves? What can we share about other people in our lives? And especially, what can we share about the alcoholics and addicts whose behavior has so deeply affected our lives?

We were prompted to this topic by a listener, who wrote, “I would like to make a show suggestion: can you do a show on Anonymity? It’s another thing I struggle with. How much about my life can I talk about in my share? Should I keep details like what I do for a living or where I go to school to myself? When I have heard the most profound thing at a meeting and want to share it, can I tell someone what I heard? I some times feel like al anon is shrouded in mystery, where are the boundaries of the secret?”

Kelli, Swetha, and Spencer, with some help from our friend Mark, discuss these questions and other aspects of anonymity in the program.

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