This is the transcript of episode 292.
Do you have some sayings or quotes that support your recovery? How do you use them in your life? Welcome to episode 292 of The Recovery Show. This episode is brought to you by Steven, Amber, Christopher, and Paula. They used the donation button on our website. Thank you, Stephen, Amber, Christopher, and Paula for your generous contributions. This episode is for you. We are friends and family members of alcoholics and addicts. We've found a path to serenity and happiness. We who live or have lived with the seemingly hopeless problem of addiction understand as perhaps few others can. So much depends on our own attitudes and we believe that changed attitudes can aid recovery.
Before we begin, we'd like to state that in this show we represent ourselves rather than any 12 step program. During the show, we will share our own experiences. The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the person who gave them. Take what you like and leave the rest. We hope that you'll find something in our sharing that speaks to your life.
My name is Spencer and I am your host today. Joining me today is Eric. Welcome. Eric.
Hey, good morning, Spencer. Beautiful June morning here in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Okay, good. We're going to dive right in here. Eric said, “Hey, hey, let's do a show about like sayings and quotes and Proverbs and parables” and then he put together this huge list. And so we're going to pick a few from the list and talk about, and we've got some suggestions from listeners as well and we'll see, uh, see how far we get. So, Eric, you want to pick one?
Well, I mean look, I mean, right in our opening, “Take what you like and leave the rest.” I started thinking about, well, as a lot of people do, I take a little notebook with me to meetings. I've been doing it for, you know, almost from the beginning, a little pocket pad. And when I hear something that strikes me that I like, I write it down. Honestly, if I went back through the little note pads from the beginning, which for me is about 10 or 11 years ago, this list I sent you of 53 would be more like 503. So, “Take what you like and leave rest” is the one that pops right out because just before we started recording we said, how are we going to get through this?
I hear three more every week that I put in my little book, three, four or five sometimes. I took, I tried to take the list that I, you know, assembled of kind of my favorites that popped into my head three, four weeks ago when I started putting all this together and kind of highlighted the ones that I, I find a lot of help with. And as you say, and you know, in the beginning, are there some favorites that you use and how do they support your recovery? So “Let it begin with me,” is one of my favorites. It's referenced in all kinds of readings by way, you know, be the example you want to be and lead by example. That starts with me. Focus on myself. So love, love “Let it begin with me.” You know on my little meditation app, the Insight Timer, there is a profile picture of people who meditate using the app around the world. And underneath it you can put a quote and a lot of people use famous quotes from Proverbs and, and mine is, uh, “Let it begin with me” right there. So that's a favorite. “You Are not alone” is one of the first I embraced coming into the rooms. Those are two. We'll just start with that. How about you?
So actually putting those two together, I mean yeah, “You are not alone,” that is, that's something that every time I tell my story I kind of emphasize that. Cause that was the thing that happened when I came to my first meeting was I was not alone anymore. And the flip side of that really is, “Let it begin with me.” It is expressed in the Alanon declaration that some meetings maybe read at the end of the meeting says, “Let it begin with me. When anyone anywhere reaches out for help, let the hand of Alanon and Alateen be there and let it begin with me.” How do we help people be not alone by reaching out ourselves, right? So those two go together pretty nicely. I was, uh, looking down the list here and I found “Don't pick up the rope.” It's one of those things that, that I carried around with me.
You know, some of my pocket change, right, as you like to put it, for a long time and actually sort of memorized sort of. I did, I memorized what page in “How Alanon works.” It talks about not picking up the rope because we would say, “Don't pick up the rope, “and somebody was like, well, what does that mean? I'm like, Oh, okay, it's on page 30 in “How Alanon works,” at least in the hardcover edition: “It's as if we were holding one end of a rope and an alcoholic grabbed the other end and started to tug. Most of us react automatically. We would talk back. It never occurs to us that we don't have to play. If we knew we had options, we might choose to drop the rope.” So also “Drop the rope” is very similar. And that goes along, I think, pretty nicely with this voicemail from Natalie.
Speaker 3 (05:19):
Hi, this is Natalie about the upcoming topic of quotes. And I think my, one of my favorite quotes is “Not my monkeys, not my circus,” because it's kind of a humorous way of saying to myself, mind your own business, which is hard for me. I want to be involved and control everything. So a related quote to that would be, uh, “I don't have to attend every dog fight I'm invited to,” and “Stay inside your hula-hoop.” Those are kind of variations of that same idea that to stay in my own business and not worry about other people and just put my recovery first. So thank you for your show. I love it. Bye.
Yeah. So Natalie has has two beautiful ones there that are really, you know, close to, “Don't pick up the rope.” I want to just mention the second one first that she, she talked about, which “I don't have to attend every dogfight I'm invited to,” which I might've sorta heard that before, but that's just, it's the same thing, right? You know, if somebody else wants to start a fight, I don't have to go. I do not have to go there. Right. as she says, stay in my own business and not worry about other people. And then “Not my monkeys, not my circus.” These are not my monkeys. This is not my circus. Like, yeah, when you're living in that crazy being reminded that I don't have to own that when it's somebody else's crazy. Right.
Yeah. Really, really good. You know, I got no dog in this fight and you know, I used to believe every fight, you know, everything that by, and look, I said this I think in a prior episode and it was probably, if it's not on this list, I don't like it as it should be. A, I heard a girl say, and it just absolutely leaped off her lips and then onto my little notebook was that the alcoholics two primary weapons create anxiety and provoke loss of temper. I don't think I put that on the list even, but man, and that means, you know, it's, it's their circus. It's their monkeys. You know, I, I don't have to be provoked into losing my temper and jumping on this crazy train. You know, as much as the bait is dangled, you know, don't take the bait, “Don't pick up the rope.” Those are hand in hand. I choose not to, you know the only way to win this war is to not play; all good.
Following up on what Natalie said about not my business, I like this one here that you have: “There are only two types of business, my business and none of my business.”
I love it. I hear that one all the time.
Mm. Well, what's, what's your next choice?
Oh God. Let's see. I mean, I'll just ramble down a few in a row. I like, and I heard this maybe during our weekend recovery. We'll touch on it, but I heard it again last week actually. It was my daughter. We'll get to that. “We're Only as sick as our secrets.” I guess that one I put back up on the top of the list whenever we sent it to you because this disease is a disease of secrets and lies, you know? And my 21 year old came me to a meeting my home group meeting kind of out of the blue. I invited her and she said yes. And she came and she shared that she had been keeping a secret and she was ashamed, which she shared it during joys and concerns and she said, you know, she's living with her mother and she hasn't told me, I mean, not that I, I kind of knew, but she said, my mom is in relapse and she has been for two or three months.
Yeah. She got it out. You know, that's a, that's a strong one. And then the next down the list, just going in order now, “Move a muscle, change a thought.” Yeah. You know, I mean, I think we've all probably heard that. I'm sure it's from our literature somewhere, you know, it's the opposite of “Don't just do something, sit there.” Another one, right? That one is more to not react, right? Not just, you know, your emergent and “Your urgency is not my emergency.” That one too should be on a list. I mean, I've done, I'm a walking, I'm a walking dictionary of sayings, quotes, parables and Proverbs and, and, and the purpose of it is so it, they're all little tools, you know? Call them nuts and bolts, wrenches, screwdrivers. They're all little things that can help me not react. So if I'm feeling angry, I'm feeling lonely, I'm feeling frustrated, tired, you know, get up and do something before it becomes panic, you know? And that to me is “Move a muscle, change a thought.”
Mmm Hmm, so I wanna I want to actually add onto the move a muscle. I've also heard it said, and I have said, you know, “I can't think my way into right acting; I have to act my way into right thinking.” (“Wow, that's not on the list,” Eric commented.) That's what I thought of when I, when I saw “Move a muscle change a though,” right? If I practice new behaviors, they'll start to become the way I do things and it will change the way that I think about situations, the way I react. “Don't Just do something, sit there.” You know, like you said, that's sort of the counterpart of that. And I, and I think the word just here is important. Like don't JUST do something right, like wait, hang on a sec. Like, think about it for a moment. And then if you have an action to take, you can take the action deliberately and intentionally rather than reactively. Right?
I mean, “First thought, wrong thought” comes to mind. That's not even on the list. “When In doubt, don't,” that IS on the list. You don't give myself time to T.H.I.N.K, and use the acronym: Is what I wanna do thoughtful, honest, intelligent, necessary, kind? Usually I usually stop on necessary. Allow myself the, I don't know, self respect and dignity to say, I don't know. I don't know what to do here. In the past it was just a constant series of reacting, you know, trying to put the fires out, reacting to crazy with crazy, you know? “He Who's loudest last wins.” That's the wrong way. (“He Who's loudest, yeah ok, right.” Spencer said.) Yeah. That's the way it was when I came in, you know? It was every, it was just, you know, again, my alcoholic was a provoker; provoked anxiety and created stress and, and, and I just fought fire with fire, you know? It doesn't work. So “When in doubt don't.” I love that. And it plays into the same thought.
Yep. You mentioned “I'm a human being, not a human doing.” And I think the first time I heard that was when my wife was in a longterm treatment and we were meeting with the therapist and, and the therapist was telling her, basically your value comes from who you are, not from what you do. You need to be a human being, not a human doing. And here's where my sickness was at the point. At that point it was like, well, if she stops doing, like, we're going to lose that income. I mean, one of the big stressors in her life at that point was her job and, and I, you know, I felt like this therapist was telling her, you got to quit your job if you want to live. You gotta quit your job. You got to not have your value come from, from your job.
And my selfish reaction was, well then we won't have her income. Okay. I had some work to do at that point, didn't I? You know, I understand that. Like just think about when you, when you meet somebody new, you know, what is the smallest, the first thing that almost inevitably comes out of your mouth? And as you're trying to, you know, have a little bit of small talk with the person. Well what do you do? Right, right. It's so ingrained. What do you do? Well, I sit home and meditate. No, you're not going to say that. Right? You're just not going to say that because that is not socially acceptable. All right, let's see.
Where do you even want to go here? There's so many. I mean, “Participation is the key to harmony.” Yet. We hear that all the time. (“Which Is concept four, I think.” Spencer replied.) Yeah, I use it. It just came out of me one day in a job interview with, you know, like six people around the table after exhaustive type of an interview. One of the last questions was, you know, how do you work in a group? Are you a dictator or do you take direction, give direction? Do you like the feedback of, are you a team player, is what they were getting at. Right. And I just get just rolled right off my lips. What am I, you know, I think, I believe “The participation is the key to harmony.” (Oh yeah, yeah! Got it right there!” Spencer replied.) Showing up and sharing “(Showing up and sharing, yep.” Spencer said.). And getting it out. And again, you're, “You're only as sick as your secrets.” That's kinda the purpose of showing up at meetings and sharing makes these meetings work and makes this program work. You know, just say what we mean.
So yesterday I was in a meeting, one of the people in the meeting shared about how she feels if she's not worrying about her loved ones, that she's somehow letting them down. She's not helping them. And so I look at this, I'm saying here, “Worry is like a rocking chair going back and forth and going nowhere.” You know, in her share she kind of was like realizing for herself that worry doesn't actually accomplish anything, right? If I'm not worrying about my daughter, I'm not helping her. And she realizes like, no, like the worry itself doesn't accomplish anything. Right. It, it's, it's like a rocking chair. It goes back and forth, but it doesn't go anywhere.
We did a whole episode on it and that one (“Yeah we did.” Spencer) Remember? And that was the primary, one of the primary points of the whole episode is, you know, if I, if I worry enough, you know, that'll solve the problem.
Right? So we spent, you know, 45 minutes or something talking about it or worry as like a rocking chair. Oh, got the image in my head. I mean, I think that's one of the things that these sayings, a lot of these sayings do, is they give me a little image that I can hold onto, that I can pull up more easily than a long drawn out discussion like we had. You know? And so what I hope is when we have these episodes where we have this long discussion about a topic, is that, you know, people pick out a couple of things that, that speak to them from that, that discussion, right? Maybe you're saying.
Nuggets, you know? Recovery nuggets or maybe recovery emojis. Yeah, yeah. A little rocking chair.
Yeah. Right. Sure. (“Yeah. I like it.” Eric) “The only way I can push people is away from me.”
You know, I found that the other day and I really like it. It's in one of our readers.
Right. That makes sense. Yeah.
It is. It's in, it's somewhere buried in a reader and it's, it's either a quote at the end of the page or it's in the, you know, things to think about in Alateen or something. But yeah, I love it. You know, I can't push people to do something, act a certain way. I mean I can lead by example. I can say what I have done that has worked for me. I mean it's a little different with teenage or younger children, but the word PUSH is the one that came. (“It's The key word there. Yeah, yeah.” Spencer)
And, and I think it's absolutely true for teenagers. (“Yeah.” Eric) I was listening to uh, listening to another podcast recently and he was talking to a guy who I guess does a, does a parenting advice show on radio or something. The guy was relating something that had happened with, between him and his teenage son where they were having a discussion, and his son was having a realization about a behavior. And then the dad says, you know, it's just, this is like what we've been telling you all along and the kid blows up; like just blows up. Why did you have to say that? And the dad was like, where did that come from? I don't know why it happened. And he was talking to another colleague and the colleague was like, well, because when you were having the discussion about your kid's behavior, he was relating to you as an adult.
You were having a conversation of equals and then when you said it's what we've been telling you all along, all of a sudden he feels you're treating him like a child again. (“Right.” Eric) And that's where that reaction came from. And, and I was like, yeah, I could totally see that. I've probably done that without knowing, without recognizing it, right? That, you know, I'm trying to give that little extra push. And when I do that, the the kid or the other person pushes back and, and when we're both pushing, what happens, we, we, you know, we move further away from each other if we're both pushing. So yeah, that one is, that one is so true.
I get that, you know, once a week from my soon to be 17 year old in a week or 16 year old. Why do you say it like that, dad? You know what? I got to think back. How did I say that? What was my tone of voice? Oh, Christ, she's right. (“What Was my attitude?” Spencer) Yeah! What was my, you know, posture, uh, didn't, you know, instead of what I, you know, have learned to do is, mmm hmm, you know, ah, that's interesting. You know, I said something, I reacted and I said, but you shouldn't have, I don't know what it was. It doesn't even matter. It's irrelevant. But the reaction, which is what you were just talking about, is not good. And it's the reaction to HOW I said it, the tone of voice, you know, the whole chapter on communication. Another episode on, yeah. The one that jumps up here is “Say what you mean, but don't say it immediately.”
Yep. “Say What you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean.”
There you go. (“Or Meanly if you want to have correct grammar, but yeah.” Spencer) Yeah. You know, if I can speak in this tone of voice, I can get away with saying just about anything. You know, you know I I don't, I don't think that, uh, you respected the curfew, so you're not going to be able to use a car for a week. So, but have a nice afternoon. I'm going to a meeting. (“I'm Going.Oh yeah!” Spencer) Yeah, I can, I can get away with saying anything if I keep my tone voice. You know, I said this once early on in a fairly, again on other episodes when in the midst of a confrontation with my alcoholic years ago and she was willing to provoke and create a fight and escalating, you know, the volume. My sponsor or somebody suggested a little tool that said to just stop for a second and say out loud, you know, if we can continue talking in this tone of voice, I'm happy to continue this conversation. If we can't, then we'll have to come back and talk about it later. It was like Halon on a grease fire. That little, you know, tool. (“Really?” Spencer) Yeah, it's amazing. It pulled the chair out. She, she stepped back and said, Oh wow, okay. And then, but then it escalated of course. And then I said, let's talk later. But yeah, the point was I set a boundary and I kept within myself, you know, again, another one, “The enemy of serenity is indecision and hurry.” I think that's on the list here somewhere. I love that one.
“The Enemy of serenity”
“Is indecision and hurry.” And that is also directly out of our readers somewhere or in How Alanon Works. Yep.
Wow. Indecision and hurry. That is so, that is so where I was at the beginning, like I don't know what to do, but man, I gotta get it done quick. (“Yeah. You think?” Eric) You know, running off, running off, uh, furiously in all directions.
Speeding tickets. That was the consequences of my indecision in there. I got to get there, you know, before I need to, and I don't know why, but I better go fast.
We had an email from Mark, Mark McP, he signs himself, and he talks about the other three C's: “Came. Came to. Came to believe.” And that was, that was like when somebody said that to me when I was studying step two, which says, you know, came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity was like, Oh, that's my experience. I came and I started coming to meetings. I came to, I started to wake up, I started to hear what people were saying. I started to maybe have some inkling about how I could bring some of that stuff into my life and have a little bit of what they had, and eventually I came to believe that at least working the program of Alanon would help me. And that's enough. That was enough for me for step two at that point.
Okay. Element programs, my higher power and it is helping to restore me to sanity. Boom. Step two right there. Mark says, that was my “Progress, not perfection.” I had to show up. Then wake up before I could smarten up. Oh, I like that: Show up. Wake up. Smarten up. (“Never Heard it.” Eric) Yeah. (“On The list.” Eric) Getting to the rooms was the hardest part because I had to exhaust so much ego and misguided, well before I was humbled enough to get help. I didn't know it then, but the door to the rooms led to the steps into self awareness and a reckoning with reality and myself. The fellowship welcomed me to keep coming back and to keep looking at my own business. For so difficult and so deferred a journey, it was strange how quickly I became comfortable there and how I pined for that company between meetings and looked forward to the next and next and next. And before I knew I had come to believe and was blessed. Well thank you Mark for (“Fantastic!” Eric), unpacking that one. That's…
Jeez. You know that brings up another, that's again not on my list. I mean this list could go on for hundreds and hundreds (“Of course it could.” Spence). So the one that I really like and I just wrote down as, as I was reading also when you were sharing Mark's, which is kind of those steps, one, two, three: “I can't. He can. I think I'll let Him.” (“Right.” Spencer) Wow, right? That should be on the list! (“Typing It right now. It will be in the show notes at least.” Spencer) Oh, the show notes are going to be a little novel, a novelette.
They're going to be a big long list of sayings. Yeah. Yeah. So I found one over here. Let me see if I can, I can find it again that I wanted to… I swear somebody read this one in a meeting. Apparently this is from I think Courage To Change, March 1st. The quote: “If you understand, things are just as they are; if you don't understand, things are just as they are.” But I looked and March 1st was not a meeting day for me this year, but I swear maybe maybe somebody picked that reading, you know as a topical reading and it's whatever, but it's like, yeah, things are what they are and I can understand them or not. So I don't know where I heard it but I heard it recently in a meeting. (“Love It!” Eric) What do you got?
“It Works if you work it.” We've all heard that and had most meetings finish with that phrase. We edit, I think, in one of, or you may have mentioned that “It works if you let it.”
A lot of the meetings around here end with, “It works if you work it, and you're worth it.” Or …”and we're worth it.” I've also heard, “It works if you work it and it sucks if you don't.” (“Haven't heard that.” Eric) And I was at an AA meeting once where they ended with, “It works if you work it and you'll die if you don't.” (“Oh, wow! Eric) Yeah. I thought, well that's a little dark, but you know, I mean it does. I mean those are the stakes for, for you know, for people in AA sometimes, right?
Well yeah, I mean I've heard people say there are three choices for an alcoholic: Recovery, incarceration or death. (“Yep.” Spencer) It's pretty grim. But, “It works if you work it,” I mean right in the newcomer greeting; I don't know if you have those in your meetings, but Alanon will work if you allow it to. (“Hmm. I hadn't heard that.” Spencer) Yeah, it's right in our newcomer greeting.
Okay. (“Yep.” Eric) Yeah. I don't think my meetings typically have a specific, like scripted at least, newcomer greeting. One of the meetings we, we have some points we try to remember to hit about going to different meetings and coming to at least six before you give up and (“Yep.” Eric), stuff like that. And in that particular meeting we also say, and sometimes there are long silences while people are deciding what to say, and this is normal. It's uncomfortable, but it's normal. Let's see, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” That's one of my, one of my favorite sponsor sayings. All those, all those things where we repeat ourselves, right? Sounds so wise. “It Is what it is.” “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” I can't think of the others right now, but there's, there's a whole bunch of them. You know, it's true and, and the repetition, it helps to drive the point home, right? (“For Me, yeah.” Eric) What it's saying to me is, “If I keep doing the same old thing, I'll keep getting the same old thing.”
One of our quotes from you know a definition of insanity: (“Right.” Spencer) “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” (“Yep.” Spencer)
And this, this Chinese proverb here: “If we do not change direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed,” is also similar to that, right?
Yeah. Or, “If we don't know where we're going, it doesn't matter which road to take.” All right. Gesture cat. That's coming up.
Oh yeah. Yeah. Why don't you talk about the Cheshire cat there?
Oh yeah. It's so weird. I mean, as I sent you by text, I shared not surprisingly as you might guess on, you know, favorite quotes and sayings. And in our in a, in a meeting or two last week the Cheshire cat came up. The parable of a Pandora's box came up and maybe we'll hit on those later, but just THAT, completely independently. Okay, so my home group was Thursday. I think Friday I got a text with a little cartoon image of the Cheshire cat when Alice gets to the fork in the road and the Cheshire cat's up in the tree. She says, “Which, which way should I go, Mr. Cat?” You know, I'm not quoting this correctly, but I'm making up my own version of it. And then the cat says, “What, where are you going?” And she says, “I don't know.” And of course, the cat says, “Well then take either path; it doesn't matter.” Yeah. So, so funny. And she sent this to me, this girl out of the blue. I very rarely if ever communicate with her, and she sent me the Cheshire cat little cartoon. I said, it's impossible. Do you know I just shared on that story in my home group yesterday, and she just, out of the blue so, pretty cool. Very, very cool. There are no coincidences, maybe.
You shared on it; must've been what inspired her, right?
She wasn't in the meeting!! (“Oh, Okay. Oh wow.” Spencer) She wasn't even there! (“Ok. That I did not, I did not get that from you. Sorry.” Spencer) She wasn't there. No, she's not, she's not in my home group. (“Okay. Wow. Well that's a little bit of a higher power moment then isn't it?” Spencer) Of course. Yeah. Let's just go to another quote here: “Let go or be dragged.” I like that, yeah. (“No Kidding.” Spencer) Yeah, that was me. I was getting dragged. “Stop Living in the wreckage of the future.” That's one of yours. I love it. “Live Life on life's terms.” Another really, really helpful one for me when stuff doesn't go the way I want it to. You know what? Sometimes that's just life.
So, and the wreckage. (“Yeah.” Eric) I was listening to a, an open talk. The guy was talking about the principles in the steps and he said, step 10 helps me to clean up the wreckage of today. And I'm like, Oh, okay. So we don't want to live in the wreckage of the future and we want to clean up the wreckage of today and you know, steps again, eight and nine, clean up the wreckage of yesterday, right? So we got those; we got that wreckage. Definitely. But “Stop living in the wreckage of the future.” That's about (“Worry” Eric), it's about worry. Yeah, it's about exactly about worry.
I don't know if this is like a saying exactly, but I've certainly heard it said that, “When I'm in fear, I'm living in the future, and when I'm angry, I'm living in the past.” Angry or resentful, you know, it's about living in, living in the now. So when I start feeling fearful, it's like, Oh, I'm living in the future. I'm projecting things that may or may not happen. If there's nothing I can do to prepare, then I'm in that useless worry with the rocking chair. If I'm angry or resentful about something, that's about something that already happened that I can't change. So what I can accept about that? Are there things I can do to you know, change my attitude or things that I can do to, to recover from, from the outcome that happened already, because even God can't change the past, right?
And then number 33 and 34 for right, right here, just put, you know, you can save me a puff ball. “Keep My head where my feet are,” and “Fear and faith can't live in the same house.” (“Right.” Spencer) Yeah. I don't know. These both came out of readers or shares or something, but really, I think appropriate right here, you know? Worry, I “Keep my head where my feet are,” in order to stay in the moment. Live, you know, “Live one day at a time.” Sometimes that's way too long. I've heard somebody say one day is WAY too long. I gotta stay one hour at a time. “Fear And faith can't live in the same house,” you know? You know, that's kind of deep, but I mean it's about letting go. I'm just living in the moment and if I in fear, I'm not in my, am not where my feet are. My head is not where my feet are and I'm worrying, projecting, catastrophizing, et cetera. The next one, 35 I like: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” We've probably all heard that. That's amazing. Yeah. “Look back, but don't stare.” (“Oh yeah. Yeah.” Spencer) Really like.
Yeah. Dave left us a voicemail that actually gets back to probably should've played it right after we talked about, “There are only two types of business, my business and none of my business.” So let's, let's, let's get Dave in here. (“Cool.” Eric)
Speaker 4 (33:22):
The sayings and quotes are a brilliant idea and I, and I can't wait to hear what everybody comes up with. One of the ones that I've been really focusing on lately, and it helps me with so many aspects of my life is, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” And that reminds me that I can't control what other people think. I can't control other people's responses to my actions. I can't change how my words and deeds affect other people. And honestly I have no right to, I have no right to control what other people think of what I have to say or do. And it, and it just has to remind me that when I start going down that path of, you know what, what does she think of me? Or what is, what does she think of what I said or did that it's really not in my business. I have no idea who said it. If anybody out there knows who that is attributed to you, I would love to know that. At any rate, thank you for listening, uh, to me ramble and, and I will continue to listen to you and your wonderful work. So thank you. Have a great day.
I can't control what other people think. I can't control other people's responses. I'm not responsible for what other people think of me either. You know, “I can only do what I can do.” There's another one that was repetition things, right? And if somebody else takes that in a way I didn't intend it, that's about them not about me. Yeah. Thanks Dave for that one.
I mean, this one I just wrote, I don't even know if it's on the list: “Do the next right thing.” How many times have we heard that? I mean, that's very prevalent in AA, I think. You know, just do the next right thing.
Yep. No, that's one that I carry with me. It's kind of like, “First things first.” (“Yeah.” Eric) It helps me when I'm stuck. It helps me when I have too many choices. (“Right.” Eric) And like the Cheshire cat said, well, if I don't know which one is the right one, then well, pick one, right?
Or wait, or don't go anywhere. “When In doubt, don't.” Don't do anything.
If, if none of them feel right.
Just wait. Yeah. Leave some room. “If You don't have 5 minutes to meditate, take 10.”
Yeah, I saw that. I was like, Ohhhh K! (“Seemed Appropriate to drop that one in here.” Eric) I very often don't have 5 minutes to meditate, and I don't take 10. So, (“First things first.” Eric), something for me to carry with me for a little bit, right? (“MmmHmm” “My Best thinking got me here.” Eric) Yeah, no kidding. Uh. (“How 'bout that?” Eric) Uhhh! Yeah.
Let's see. Yeah, this is let's keep moving here. I, I'm on my second page of the list. I'm getting close to the end of the quotes or sayings, but if these are sayings, actually most, most of them. “If My only prayer today is, thank you, that will suffice.” I really, really like that. That's from Courage to Change. And this one, I don't know where this came from. I may have made it up, but I don't think so. I'm not that smart. “The Bird that soars above the fields is not concerned about the chaos.” I really liked that image. You know, I can, I can fly above the chaos, you know, not worry about the roadblocks, the bumps, traffic jams. “Nothing Changes if nothing changes.” We touched on that. And really the huge, right in our opening: “The family's situation is bound to improve as we apply the Alanon ideas.”
Yep. It is right there.
“I May not get everything I want today, but I have everything I need.” Really good.
That's a good thing for me to meditate on. Especially like back, back in the day when I was still living with, with drinking, you know, and what I wanted was the drinking to stop. But what I found in the program was that I didn't NEED the drinking to stop in order for me to be okay.
But you can be happy whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.
“We Can find contentment and even happiness,” I think, is what the opening says.
Yeah. I mean, I heard that and I said, impossible. Nah, that's impossible. (“That Can't happen. Nope.” Spencer) Nope. Nope. Nope.
Oh, here's the one that goes along with the wreckage of the future: “Forgiveness is letting go of hoping for a better yesterday.”
Yeah. You were saying, I heard you say that. That's where I got that from. I don't know where you got it, but that's great.
I don't know where I got it either. I'm sure I heard it in a meeting or read it in the literature somewhere. (“Yeah.” Eric) It's just so true. You know, like I said, I can't change yesterday and if I keep wanting yesterday to change so that you know something, somebody didn't hurt me, that's not gonna happen. I have to let go of wishing that things had been different and that's, that's one way for me to look at forgiveness, which is, how can I forgive somebody who actually hurt me, right? Well, I can forgive them because it helps me to not keep focusing on that thing that happened. You know, there's a saying “Forgive and Forget,” but I don't like that one in, in some circumstances because that's like saying, okay, yeah, this thing happened, but it really, it's fine and you don't have to change anything.
I don't have to change anything. We'll just forget about it. And then it'll happen again. I liked the one that you have here: “Look back, but don't stare.” Where is that? Which is sorta like that. It's like I can look back at things that happened in my life and I can learn from them and I can grow from them. But if I focus my attention on the things that I didn't like that happened, then I'm taking myself out of today and I'm removing myself from a path to recovery. It's in here somewhere. Look back. But I don't know.
That's number 38 on my list. So I mean, yeah, I know the list is just ever-changing. I mean there, there is just a couple of funny ones I heard at this. I don't know if these are sayings but I've heard it and I thought it was really a lot of, I get a lot of reaction from it: You know, “People go to AA to prevent from committing suicide. People go to Alanon to prevent from committing homicide.” (“Yep. Yep” Spencer) I don't know. I find that it really, it always gets a great reaction. I don't know where I heard it, but it's funny.
Yep. You had another parable down here. The two wolves. (“Yeah.” Eric) I've heard different versions of the story, but it, you know, sort of the setting. Okay. I think you sent a link to a video that talks about a Cherokee legend with the idea. So like this grandfather is talking to his grandson and, and, and he says, “You know, we each of us have two wolves living inside us.” And I don't remember the exact wording, but basically “There's a good wolf and there's a bad wolf.”
One is full of evil, anger, sorrow, regret, greed, self pity and false pride. (“There You go. Okay.” Spence) All our defects; or many of them.
And, and the kid says, “Well, well grandpa, which one wins? And grandpa says, “The one you feed.”
Right. The power of attraction. Yeah. I mean, act as if, I mean, feed, feed recovery is kind of, you know, I mean feed, “Do the next right thing.” All these things come in to play with that little parable. I think, you know, do the right next thing. “Take Care of yourself.” You know is so contrary to the feelings that I had when I came in, you know, to take care of myself first. It just seemed that I had to take care of everybody else first or now my children, uh, to get her to stop drinking. The house was gonna burn down. No, I mean, my program says no. You know, put your mask on first. You can't help anybody unless you take care of yourself. All good stuff. The last few from, you know, sayings I'll just touch on: “When going through hell, keep going.” I heard that early on. “When You get to the end of your rope, tie a knot.” I heard that, like that whole image. You know, really good little recovery emoji there. “When One door closes, another door opens. But living in the hall is hell.”
Living in the hallway is hell. (“Yeah. Yeah” Spencer) Indecision. There you go. Indecision. And then I heard this from a guy had many, many, many years in recovery in both programs, and he said it, I don't know where, he said it to me in a parking lot; I know exactly where it was. Three or four months ago I saw him leaving, I dunno, ShopRite or something. And he is such a beautiful soul. He's a therapist also and he's been a guest speaker at some of our anniversary meetings and I just was telling him what's going on and he just looked at me with this just incredible, beautiful bucolic look of serenity. He held his hand out and he shook my hand and he said, “We are the lucky ones.” (“Hmm.” Spencer) Isn't that cool? (“We Are the lucky ones because we found recovery.” Spencer) Yup. Yup. So true. Better. Yep. We found a better way of living. So, Proverbs real quick, you want to hit on a few? (“We Did hit a couple of them.” Spencer) We did. We did. I have a few more that I really, really like. All these are from Courage to Change. This is March 5th: “Before sunlight shines through a window, the blinds must be raised.” That's an American proverb. Meaning, you know, kinda let the light shine in, you know? Another great one, Turkish Proverb: “Patience is the key to paradise.” Pretty powerful. We've probably all heard this, a Chinese proverb: “When we talk of tomorrow, God laughs.” Really good.
“Live In the moment.” Best laid plans, Chinese proverb: “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid of standing still.” I like that one. Last one from the town that I shared on last week, it came up: “The highest form of wisdom is kindness.” We did a whole episode on that. On that one. Yep. If you had to pick a default reaction or response? Kindness, choose kindness. You know. Pretty good. (“Yup. Oh, here's the, here's the, the definition of insanity: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Attributed to Einstein. I think it's probably been attributed to a lot of people, you know?” Spencer) Yeah, yup. I've seen it, mostly Einstein and then,uthe others from quotes, Abe Lincoln, posted right on our little bookmark: “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds be.”
And that also is connected to a reading out of one of our daily readers. Because again, heard it recently in a meeting, you know, that feels like I can't make myself happy. Well, actually I can, I can, I can find happiness. I can find enjoyment in, in places where I might not have thought that they would be there. You know, I found serenity and happiness in the middle of active alcoholism, which I never thought would happen. But by taking my focus off, trying to change the thing I couldn't change, it gave me some space to find things that were still good; to find things that I could be happy about, to find, you know, and just stopping the, the, the worry in the squirrel cage helped with the serenity thing. You know, like if I'm not running, running, running, and in all directions furiously and getting nowhere, I can actually find some serenity. So it sounds like, Oh yeah, sure. Ha. But it actually turned out to be true for me. So…
Yeah, me too. “Courage Faces, fear and thereby masters it:” Martin Luther King Jr. How about this? Martin Luther; I love: “Even if I knew tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my Apple tree.” That's cool. That is so cool. That's so cool!
For many of us right now, it feels like the world's going to pieces. So let's go plant some Apple trees. (“Why Not?” Eric) Planting an Apple tree (“It's the process.” Eric), but it also is faith in the future, right? Because you're not going to get apples off of it right now, and it's going to take several years before you get apples off of it.
Kinda, you know, for me, I mean I, I've had a garden,. My daughter and I put a garden in our backyard when we got our little cottage here in Greenwich and it was a lot of work, you know, the first four years ago; just diggin in and taken up. And it's sizable, you know, like 12 by 15 and it's not a little tiny thing. And we had to, you know, tear up the grass and rototill it and put in a tremendous, you know, effort. Unfortunately the first year were kinda, you know, for the a hundred hours we put in and several hundred dollars and we got up to three tomatoes. (“Right! Yep. Yep. Uh huh.” Spencer)
But then the second year, a little better, third year, better, fourth year, like exploded. I was, you know, dropping buckets of tomatoes on my neighbor's front porch, ringing the doorbell and running; didn't know what to do with this stuff, you know. And then this year it was easy and I had started it myself a month ago and everything is just exploding. I mean, I have, it's just, it's just the care and nurturing of it. And it was, and the point about the quote is, it really isn't about, you know, YES, I'm looking forward to harvesting in August, but the process of doing the work, you know, planting the seeds, caring for the soil, I even put in, I even, you know, got a Amazon composting bin, you know? I'm composting. I mean that's professional grade, you know, but the results I think are going to be really pleasurable. But the point is, the process of doing it was what really, I found really rewarding. You know?
Yeah. The other sort of thing that I get from this, and I think TREE is, is the key here, because trees don't give instant gratification. Let's say I want to have apples. Okay. I could say, well, if I plant an Apple tree today, it's not going to give me apples today. It's not going to give me apples tomorrow. I like, I'm going to have to wait several years. But if I don't plant the tree, I'll never have apples.
Ahhhhh, “Patience is the key to paradise.” We just read it. It's a Turkish proverb. “The Oak grows stronger in contrary winds, and diamonds are made under pressure.” Yeah. Again, tree referenced there. Peter Marshall March 23rd in Couraged to Change. I like that one, you know, because all this crap, you know, a lot of us have been through, are going through, still have to go through; if we look at it and step back and say, you know what, this is making me stronger and not defeating me. You know, I'm no longer a victim. When I, when I put it in these terms, I'm not a victim anymore. And then we'll just finish, finish maybe with a couple of little ditties from maybe you can, you'll know who this is: “There is no try. There is do or not do.” Who's that?
Yoda. I mean, I'm looking at the sheet here so it's kind of cheating, but I know that one. I know that one. Actually I was walking down the street the other day and there was like a, somebody had posted a sign in their yard that said, “There is no try, there is only do or not do.” Wow. Yoda. I was like, okay. I don't know why but, you know, it's good to have that.
Well you know, I put it on here because I was on the phone, I want to say a month ago. And my alcoholic had triggered me by threatening in a text, you know see you in court and yada yada, another yet another salvo, you know, throw flaming turd ball over the wall coming at me, and I wanted to react really badly and got on the phone with my sponsor instead of doing something. I did the right next thing and I called my sponsor instead of reacting. Then we finished with another back and forth, the text exchange, you know, probably at 10 or 10:30 that evening. And I said to him, you know, I'll try to let it go for tonight. And he responded, “There is no try. There is do or not do.” I said, and then I responded back. I will let it go for tonight. (“There You go.” Spencer) Yeah, right? And then the other good little Yoda, I saw, “Fear leads to hate, hate to anger, anger to suffering.” That's another Yoda. He's quoted a lot, and he's a little smart spiritual dude. (“Yeah. Yeah. Smart little guy.” Spencer) And then lastly on the quotes is Albert Schweitzer from December 9th: “Example is not the MAIN thing in influencing others; it is the ONLY thing.” Like it. Love it.
Yeah. Which gets back to the, the whole thing we do here in this program, right? We share our example. Basically we call it experience, strength and hope, but it's, it's, you know, this is what I did. This is what I found. This is what worked for me. If you say that, I can say, hmm. That sounds good. Maybe I'll try that.
Yeah. “First thought, wrong thought.” Let's just try something different. Yeah. There's another one. It should be on the list. I don't think it's there: “First thought, wrong thought.”
I DID write it down, actually, we mentioned it earlier. Yep. Right after, “Don't just do something. Sit there,” and “When in doubt, don't,” so yeah. All right. Well after a short break, we will continue with our lives in recovery where we talk about how recovery works in our daily lives and in our meetings. And you gave us a song suggestion. We'll talk about that.
Yeah. This one I just happened to be driving around a couple of days ago and heard it. Well, I think that might work in our episode coming up and it's “Say” by John Mayer, one of my favorite artists. Paraphrasing, you know, he says over and over and over and over and over, “Say what you need to say. Say what you need to say.” And the point is, you know, in the first of the lyrics, “Take all of your wasted honor, every little pest, frustration. Take all of your so-called problems, better put them in quotations. Say what you need to say. Walking like a one man army fighting with the shadows in your head, living out the same old moment, knowing you'd be better off instead if you could only say what you need to say.” You know, that's like getting it out. You know, share it in a meeting. So it's not stuck in my head. I'm pretty good.