What are the four primary ideas? How have they been active in my recovery?.

  1. We are powerless over the problem of alcoholism.
    • Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
    • Admitting my powerlessness freed me to come to Al-Anon
    • It took many events to bring true acceptance of my powerlessness
    • I could not find serenity and peace in my life until I accepted my powerlessness
  2. We can turn our lives over to a Power greater than ourselves.
    • Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    • I don’t have to do it alone.
    • The groups and the literature are a source of help / new ideas / tools.
    • Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
    • I discovered that if I listen, if I pay attention, I will get guidance.
      • “Still, small voice”
      • Other members
      • “coincidences” 
    • The phrase “care of” God is important to me.
  3. We need to change both our attitude and our actions.
    • What attitudes did I need to change?
      • I know what is best for my loved one.
      • It is my duty to “fix” other people.
      • If I can’t, I am a failure.
    • What actions came from those attitudes?
      • All the things I did to try to convince her to stop drinking
      • Raging
    • But also,
      • I’m not allowed to be happy unless others are happy.
      • It is selfish to do things I want to do, if others don’t want to do those things
      • My well-being is dependent on my loved ones’ well-being.
      • I need your approval to know that I am a good person.
    • And what actions came from those attitudes?
      • Putting others' needs and wants ahead of mine.
      • Not knowing my own needs and wants.
      • Not doing things that I want to do
      • Approval seeking
  4. We keep Al-Anon’s gifts by sharing them with others.
    • You were there for me!
    • When I listen to you, I hear my own experience. (“How is that you are living inside my head?!”) This won’t happen if I’m not in a meeting or talking with another member.
    • Being a sponsor required that I dig deeper into my own recovery.
    • Sharing my own ESH reminds me of where I came from and how much progress I have made. It inspires me to keep on working.

Readings and Links

We read from the 2022–2025 Al-Anon Alateen Service Manual, p. 20, “Four Primary Ideas”

Upcoming topics

You can contribute to our annual gratitude episode. What are you grateful for today? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecovery.show with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

Music from the Show

Alan Walker – All Falls Down (feat. Noah Cyrus with Digital Farm Animals)
Courtney Marie Andrews – These Are The Good Old Days

2 comments on “Four Primary Ideas – 389

  1. Maria O says:

    Loved this!

  2. Pauline says:

    Hi Spencer
    Thanks as always for your generous service and thank you for introducing the four primary ideas of Alanon from the 2022-2025 service manual.
    I love their distillation of the principles and spiritual focus of the program.
    I have been listening to the music and sound of
    Jacob Collier recently and his song “Saviour” may be one that fits also in Co dependency topics.
    These words arrested me;
    I know she’s always goin to try to please me , but
    She could never find the strength to leave me.
    She’ll never be the one to free me”

    I’m so greatful to have eventually found the strength to leave a relationship of 27 years and to be granted the courage to change the things I could when I finally made the commitment to build a new relationship…. With my higher power and myself.
    I am greatful for the slowness of my learning and the patience and kindness of alanon , a wonderful resource to me for close on twenty years and for members like you whose service holds a light for others to see.
    With gratitude

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