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.
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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.

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Tradition 2 – Episode 60

At the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

Spencer and Adrienne discuss Tradition 2, which says “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.” Which, when you think about it, is a pretty radical statement. Have you been in any other groups that functioned without “leaders”?  What does it mean that our leaders are “trusted servants?”

We start with a reading from the blog al-anon journal about Tradition 2. Our discussion was shaped by these thoughts and questions:

  • From Courage to Change Page 215:
    • We strive to conduct our meetings as a fellowship of equals and to practice rotation of leadership. No single member has the right to take charge.
    • When I insist on having my way, I am tampering with the spiritual nature of AlAnon as a whole
    • Any attempt to manage or direct is likely to have disastrous consequences for Group Harmony
  • Why do we have this tradition?
  • How can it work? Can it really work to have no one person deciding how things will be?
  • What is a “group conscience?” How is it determined?
  • Is this sort of like Steps 2 & 3 for the group?
  • How can you use this tradition in your personal life?
    • In relationships
    • At work
    • With friends
  • How does Tradition 2 support Tradition 1 (welfare of the group comes first)?
  • Does this tradition remind me to not “take charge”?
  • What is a “trusted servant?” How do you lead without governing?

Our topic for next week is the question “is it Intuition or the Will of my Higher Power?” How do we hear our Higher Power's will, which we are told to ask for in Step 11? Is our intuition the same thing? 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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acceptance – a guest meditation by Scott B.

 

“Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life.”
Grenville Kleiser, Courage to Change P. 176
My first months in program, I couldn't gather new tools fast enough. I tried everything I could, anything anyone recommended. One of the personal methods suggested was to repeat to myself; “I am good. I am unique. I am beautiful. I love you,” while looking in a mirror. I had the initial thought that it was cheesy, something crazy people said to themselves. Well, I was feeling crazy, so I took a deep breath, and said it out loud to my reflection. With my low self-worth and self-esteem, I didn't feel comfortable. I felt awkward, embarrassed and ashamed even in the privacy of my home.
In spite of my mixed emotions, I said each of these four sentences again and again, day after day. I would say it in my car rear-view mirror while stopped at a light, (heaven forbid, never when another car was beside me) worried that someone might see me talking to myself. Faithfully, I kept repeating these phrases even without a mirror, now memorized by rote from many weeks of repetition. The words almost became a mantra.  Internally, I didn't approach the place of transforming love I had expected to reach (and I expected to reach someplace, anyplace, much sooner). I felt no comfort from my repeated efforts over time.
Disheartened, I concluded that saying these simple things could not possibly work and there was no use in continuing. As time in recovery went by, I would occasionally break out a simple, “I love you.” in the mirror. Still, after all this time, I felt the awkwardness spread through me and my stomach tensed as I looked away. Forgotten in the depths of my mind (lost in one of those bad neighborhoods) my affirmations faded, though I continued going to meetings.
When I experienced what seemed like a long period of no growth in my program, I figured I had plateaued. A friend shared during a meeting that change, lasting change, happens on her Higher Power's time. All she needs to do is her footwork, go to meetings and be patient. This stuck in my brain like a burr. It would not go away. It echoed in my head daily.
That summer I went on an eight mile walk, in eighty degree heat.  I rested, but I had run out of water about 3 miles from home. Dehydrated, I arrived at my house, filled up on water and poured an ice-cold glass of milk. I sat down in front of my computer. I reached for my mug of milk, my hand moved way too fast, and I spilled the white liquid all over my laptop. The screen went half black, the other half froze and I turned the laptop on its side, unplugged it, and ejected the battery.
Anger rushed through me. Powerlessness surrounded me. The feelings were coming and I couldn't stop them. I felt overwhelmed. I had heard so many times not to try to stop feelings. It was best to recognize them, feel them and let them go. But I made a mistake! And not just a little one! How could I of all people, be human? The turmoil inside me swirled. Old tapes told me to shame myself. New behaviors told me to laugh and accept it. Before program I would spend months, even years beating myself up over such an incident. Which direction should I take? Help me God, what do I do, where do I go?
The mirror. The mirror? Now? Really? My gut feeling was to walk into the living room and stand in front of the mirror. I felt nudged. I looked deep into my own panicked eyes and said, “I love you, Scott and there's nothing you can ever do to make me stop loving you.” There was no awkward pause, no feeling of inadequacy. I held my gaze and didn't look away. A wave of gratitude washed over me. Tears welled in my eyes as I cried and laughed at the same time. My gaze was unwavering until it was blurry and I couldn't see. Thank-you, God. Thank-you. I kept thinking that the feeling would leave, but there it was; solid in my Higher Power's Love.
Only in looking back from now can I see that everything contributed to my growth; every meeting, every coffee, lunch and potluck. Each email, text and affirmation. Every conversation, every call to my sponsors, every vulnerable moment. All the Concepts, Traditions and every Step along the way. My Higher Power takes it all in and uses my experiences to change me into who I'm meant to be.
A meditation for October 16, 2013.

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self – a meditation

 

It is always our own self that we find at the end of the journey.

Ella Maillart

What I find most beautiful about this quote is that it doesn't say that I need to be someone different at the end of the journey. What I see in this quote is that spiritual growth is not about changing into someone else, at all. It's about becoming more myself. This is something I feel is true with every passing day in recovery. Sometimes I think to myself that I'm not recovering, I am uncovering. That, I seek out the person I am under all of my fears and resentments and anger. I used to reject that person because I thought that person was weak and unloveable. I thought that acting on fears or anger makes me strong. But I realize that it's those anger-based actions that have brought me the most suffering because I am not being myself. I do not believe I am an angry person or a scared person. I am a person that can feel angry or scared, but basing my whole life on those two emotions has brought a lot of imbalance in my life. Once I became more aware of myself, I am able to feel fear and angry and choose to act out of love for myself.

A meditation for October 09,2013

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