Daddy’s Medicine – Brinn Black – Episode 200

Brinn Black is a singer and songwriter from Nashville. She wrote a song, Daddy’s Medicine, about her experience growing up with an alcoholic father. Our conversation with Brinn was guided by these questions:

Brinn, I have to say that the first few lines just grabbed my heart:

When you’re five you don’t know
there’s a stranger in your home
it’s quiet but it’s dangerous.
But a child’s heart can tell
the meaning of a yell

Although I did not grow up in a home with alcoholism, my children did. I saw their life from the outside, but not the inside.

What inspired you to write this song?

Can you tell us more about your experience as a child with an alcoholic father?

You have said “it tore your family apart” — did he, or the rest of you, leave because of the drinking?

I used to think that my love could conquer alcoholism. So I find the lyrics of the chorus particularly poignant:

How different my life would have been
if my love were stronger than
my Daddy’s medicine.

I believe that these lines express the wish and hope of every one of us who has experienced the pain of living with active alcoholism. How did you mean these lines when you wrote them?

How has this song helped you and your family to heal?

How has this song been received when you perform it?

Where do you find yourself in your journey to recovery from your childhood experience?

What has helped you in this struggle?

Many of my listeners are still living with the effects of alcoholism. What would you say to someone who grew up affected by alcoholism, and is still working to “get over it”?

Our topic for next week is “in all our affairs”. How do you use your recovery tools and principles in your daily 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.
Continue reading “Daddy’s Medicine – Brinn Black – Episode 200”

Right of Decision – Episode 110

StairsDo you have trouble letting others make decisions? Do you second guess your own decisions? Spencer and Akilah discuss the “right of decision”, as expressed in Al-Anon’s 3rd concept of service, “The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.”

  • What is “the right of decision?”
  • How do we use the right of decision in the program?
    • Example from Spencer’s home group: the “chair” chooses the person who gives the lead each week.
    • GR, delegates to assembly, etc.
  • How do we use the right of decision in our own lives?
    • From Paths to Recovery (pg. 265): “In our own lives, the right of decision means we have the right to proceed in the best way we know and to ask for help when it is needed.”
  • How does this concept connect with Tradition 2? (For our group purpose there is but one authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants—they do not govern.) With Step 3? (Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.)
  • Can I make a decision and be comfortable with it? If not, why not?
  • Do I ever ask someone to do a task and then try to direct the details of how it should be done? If so, how can I change this pattern?
  • The 3rd concept section of the AA 12, 12 and 12 study guide starts with the statement “We serve by acting on our conscience through our “Right of Decision” and we trust others when they exercise their ‘Right of Decision.”
  • Am I acting in any area of my life that is contrary to my own conscience?
  • Am I mistrustful of the decisions of others in authority over me?
  • Am I demanding that anyone else act contrary to their conscience in order to please me?
  • From Paths to Recovery: Is [concept three] not letting go and letting God?


Reference: 12, 12 and 12 study guide on Concept 3: http://1212and12.org/homework/concepts/1212and12_concept_3.pdf

Upcoming topics include parenting, caretaking, and fun. 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.
Continue reading “Right of Decision – Episode 110”

Letting go of the process – Episode 105

Do you want to do recovery “your way”? Are you skipping steps because you don’t like them? Can you let go of control? Spencer and Harriet talk about letting go of the process.

  • Harriet, can you explain what you meant by “letting go of the process” when you suggested this topic?
  • How do/did you try to control your recovery?
    • obsessively doing the things we *can* do
    • overdoing self-care
  • What parts of it do/did you particularly not want to let go of?
    • “character defects” — I want them removed in my order
    • outcomes
    • comfort in maintaining the illusion of control over my own life
  • Why?
  • How does letting go help your recovery? Your peace of mind?
    • focusing on control of outcomes is a “fool’s errand” and makes my life unmanageable
    • It frees me to focus on the things I can control
    • Frees me to do self-care
  • What blocks you from letting go?
    • impatience
    • perfectionism
    • Not wanting to feel unpleasant feelings
    • judgement and shame
    • fear
    • expectations
  • What ways have you found to let go?
    • Prerequisite – Accept who and where I am right now.
    • Being open to the universe — humility
    • Work with a sponsor
    • Prayer
    • Meditation
    • what else?
  • What do you still struggle with letting go of?
  • What would you say to a newcomer who isn’t sure the program will work for them?

Upcoming topics include caretaking and parenting. We are particularly interested in hearing your experiences of parenting in an alcoholic family. How do you talk to your children about alcoholism? What amends have you made to your children? If your spouse is still drinking, what do you do to keep your children safe?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.
Continue reading “Letting go of the process – Episode 105”

Intimacy – Episode 88

siblingsHave you lost the ability to share intimately with another person? Have you found people in the program that you can trust with your secrets? What are your barriers to intimacy with your loved ones? Mara and Spencer talk about Intimacy.

We used these questions to inform our conversation.

  • What is intimacy?
    • Vocabulary.com says this: Intimacy is closeness with another person, like the intimacy that develops between friends as you tell one another your life’s story and all your secrets and dreams for the future.
  • Do I have any intimate relationships in my life today? Have I had any in the past?
  • How do I deflect or avoid intimacy?
  • What keeps me from being intimate with my loved ones? My friends? My family?
  • How have I learned to be intimate in Al-Anon?
    • “Safe place”
    • to be vulnerable
    • sharing by others
    • sharing with others
  • How have I developed an intimate relationship with my sponsor?
  • How am I deepening the friendships and loving relationships in my life? What might help me do so?

Questions from Blueprint for Progress:

  1. How do I define intimacy?
  2. What actions encourage intimacy and which ones don’t?
  3. Which of my actions are helpful in bringing me closer to another person?
  4. With whom was I intimate when I was growing up?
  5. How have I shared important information with someone I didn’t trust?
  6. Where do I get examples of positive, intimate relationships?
  7. In what ways have I been intellectually or spiritually intimate with the alcoholic?
  8. What activities help me show how much certain people mean to me?
  9. What kind of examples do my actions convey about the importance of close relationships?

For me, intimacy is tied in with trust and fear. Here are some questions from those sections of the Blueprint:

  1. What is my history of trusting myself?
  2. How do I determine if someone is trustworthy?
  3. How do I determine if someone has lost my trust?
  4. How do I react when frightened?
  5. What provokes my fears?
  6. How do my fears affect the way I make decisions?
  7. How do my fears of the alcoholic affect the way I interact with him/her?
  8. How do I include my Higher Power when I feel afraid and what is the result?

Upcoming topics include trust, enabling, triggers, and Tradition 10. 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.
Continue reading “Intimacy – Episode 88”

Hope – Episode 65

Wow!“… we shall hew from this mountain of despair a small stone of hope.” — Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is hope? How do we find hope when we are overwhelmed by a mountain of despair? Spencer, Maria, and May talk about their experiences of finding hope in the midst of their times of confusion, fear, and despair.

Some of the questions we used to guide our discussion included these:

  • How did you experience hope before you came to the program?
    • Did you “hope for” particular outcomes?
  • Has your conception or experience of hope changed as you have worked the program?
  • Do you see a difference between having a hopeful attitude versus an optimistic attitude?
    • The “Stockdale paradox” is that the POWs in Vietnam who didn’t survive were the optimists.
  • In his “dream” speech, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  said “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
    • What does this say to you?
  • Does faith support or engender hope for you? (Faith in a higher power, faith in the program, faith that there are good people, faith…)
  • How can we find hope in a seemingly hopeless situation?
  • Can hope lift us from despair, as King suggests?

Upcoming topics are forgiveness, co-dependency, and Tradition 4. 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.

Continue reading “Hope – Episode 65”