Activism and Recovery with Amanda and Becky – 337

How can recovery, the serenity prayer, and the traditions of Al Anon guide me in working for societal change? When should I “let go and let God” and when should I work to “change the things I can”?

Spencer, Amanda, and Becky have a wide-ranging discussion around these questions and others. We were joined virtually with voice shares from Mark and Lynne. Our discussion was guided but not limited by the outline below.

  • Note about Tradition 10 The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
    We do not represent any 12 step program. We aim to use the Al Anon principles in all our affairs. As individuals, we can use what we’ve learned in Al Anon as tools to help us navigate our own civic engagement and activism.
  • LIstening is a skill. 
    • Avoid “defensive listening”
    • Finding common ground
    • Practice “Recovered listening”
    • What is my motivation for what I’m about to say?
  • One of the primary messages of Al-Anon is that I cannot control others actions and decisions. We have slogans and tools like
    • Let go and let God
    • Detachment
    • Acceptance
  • For many of us, there are things about society and culture that we cannot accept and wish to work for change. 
  • How do we reconcile this with the recovery messages of acceptance? 
    • Accepting the situation as it is/coming out of denial. Accepting that others may have other views/be on different sides/ be in denial about how bad a situation is/the reality of it. 
  • More so, how can we use recovery tools to more effectively work for change?
  • Personal responsibility to engage and participate. Concept 4-5  Hope for Today, p. 99
  • The Three A’s 
    • Awareness (opposite of denial)
    • Acceptance (Pause/ Processing/emotional sobriety)
    • Action (Singleness of purpose, responding not reacting)
  • Let it begin with me  / breaking the cycling of dysfunction like the family disease of alcoholism / Skill of listening fully to others practiced in meetings (crosstalk) 
  • Let go and let god Letting go of outcomes
  • Keeping things manageable, Selfcare, Boundaries (external & internal) HALT / slogans
  • Keep an open mind / Would you rather be right or happy 
  • Contrast Angela Davis quote with serenity prayer.
    • I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.

Readings and Links

We read from From Survival to Recovery, excerpts from pp. 230-231; also Hope For Today April 8 and Sept 29.

A listener asked about episodes for parents. For any topic, you can use the search page to find episodes and other blog posts. Episodes are also tagged with topics. In this case, the tag search for “parent” finds several episodes.

The Al-Anon World Service Office has a severe budget shortfall this year, and has had to lay off staff. If you want to help, you can make a donation or buy literature on the Al-Anon web site.

Upcoming topics

Upcoming: more on activism, and “it's not your fault.”

Do you feel like “it” is your fault? Are you criticized, blamed, accused
and sometimes even feel responsible somehow for other’s bad choices or
behavior? Do you blame and criticize yourself? Do you think that somehow
you “could have done better”?

How do the 12 steps and the tools of Al-Anon help? How are you learning
to take just the right amount of responsibility for your own decisions
and actions? Where do you know that it's NOT your fault? What are you
still struggling with?

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

Music from the Show

Peter , Pau & Mary – We Shall Overcome
P!nk – What About Us
Sam Cooke – A change is gonna come

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