Expectations – Episode 6


In this episode of The Recovery Show, Swetha, Kelli, and Spencer discuss expectations. Swetha wonders about the distinction between boundaries, expectations, and rules. She suggests that her boundaries are what she needs, her expectations are what she wants, and rules are an agreement about how people in a relationship will behave. Spencer notes that his expectations are frequently unexpressed – he expects others to read his mind, and to just somehow know what he expects them to do. Usually, people don't meet his unstated expectations, leading to resentment. Kelli feels that boundaries are about things “in her hula hoop”, and expectations are “outside her hula hoop”. Kelli relates the question to the Al-Anon Steps, Traditions and Concepts.

Swetha talks about becoming aware of her expectations in the program, and how being aware of them makes it easier to accept outcomes that don't meet her expectations. Spencer was not very self-aware before the program. Now that he can recognize his expectations, he is less likely to be disappointed, angry, or resentful if they are not met. Kelli talks about the expectations she has of other drivers when she is travelling, and that these are sometimes difficult to keep in check. She also notes that she can also have healthy expectations of herself.

Mark calls in from Canton and mentions the saying that high expectations lead to resentments and low expectations lead to disappointments. The second part was new to most of us and we spend some time talking about how it matches our experience. Mark also wonders how he can know if an expectation is reasonable or unreasonable. We agree that this is a difficult question. One way we have found, is to check in with another program member, maybe a sponsor, and with our Higher Power. Kelli's expectations can get out of control when she is out of touch with her Higher Power, and not living in the moment. Spencer suggests that words like “never” and “always” might indicate that he's holding an unreasonable expectation.

During the segment “Our Lives in Recovery”, Kelli talks about how she keeps the program alive in her life when she travels.

Our topic for next week will be Letting Go. You can join the conversation. Call 734-707-8795 to leave a voice mail or send email to feedback@therecoveryshow.com. If you have comments on this episode, please share them below.

Music from the show

The Spotify playlist includes the songs we played in this episode, plus one more song, Crystalized, by The Xx. Swetha said of this song, ‘I tend to apply a lot of pressure on the people around me to be exactly the same and completely consistent all the time. That's just my controlling behavior. And it's sung from the point of view of the person that is dealing with someone like me – “You apply the pressure to have me crystalised … Do I have to keep up the pace to keep you satisfied?”‘ Listen to the episode to hear why we picked King of Anything and Someone Like You.


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