We all have stories. In Al-Anon we tell our stories to each other. Why do we do this? 

Our suggested welcome suggests that “we say what is in our minds and hearts, for this is how we help one another in Al-Anon/Alateen.” In fact the full paragraph emphasizes the importance of sharing our stories

Anonymity is an important principle of the Al-Anon/Alateen program. Everything that is said here, in the group meeting and member-to-member, must be held in confidence. Only in this way can we feel free to say what is in our minds and hearts, for this is how we help one another in Al-Anon/Alateen.

How Al-Anon Works Chapter 2

There is power in stories. If I read “you should do X and Y to get Z”, my first impulse is to be skeptical. If, on the other hand, I hear you tell a story about doing X and Y and getting Z, I’m much more likely to accept that the same actions might help me. 

I look at the Al-Anon literature and see that so much of it is personal sharing, aka stories. The book How Al-Anon Works has x pages of “explication” and y pages of stories. I remember when I was new in Al-Anon, still unable to sleep at night, worrying about my loved one’s drinking. I could pick up the book, turn to one of the stories in the back, and find a little bit of relief, a hint of hope, or a view of possible serenity. And after reading a story or two, I could sleep. Just knowing that someone else had been where I was, and had gotten through, had gotten better, had recovered – that was enough for me at that moment.

Some stories are big and dramatic. Others are small and quiet. They all have power to reach into hearts and minds. Whether you share for a couple of minutes in a meeting, or give an hour-long talk, your story will inspire, enlighten, or brighten the day for someone.

Here are a few of my stories.

  • 3 C’s
  • Psych ward
  • Ice cream/sponsor
  • Setting a boundary in the car
  • Making amends for rage

I know that you have stories, both big and small. I invite you to share them for a future episode. Send a voice memo or email to feedback@therecovery.show, or call our voicemail at 734-707-8795.

  • Discussion points

Readings and Links

Spencer read from How Al-Anon Works, Chapter 2, and Ashley read from One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, January 20.

These episodes were mentioned in listener feedback

Amanda shared about attending a “12 step recovery fair” in Liverpool. She sent us a link to The All-Party Parliamentary Group on 12 Step Recovery, including a list of 30 different 12 step programs.

Aimee told us how much she got from a watching a video series by Alice G, titled “Working the 12 Steps as an AlAnon using the Big Book of AA“.

Esther had questions about an article “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous” (The Atlantic, 2015)

Upcoming topics

I like at the beginning of the year to spend a little time looking back and looking forward and setting intentions (not resolutions, intentions). How are you setting intentions for the new year? How are you looking at the year past and seeing what you want to change, but maybe more importantly, what went well for you this year? What did you do this year that was different from what you had done in the past? And, how much more do you like that?

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

Brandi Carlile – The Story
Harry Chapin – Cat's In The Cradle
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car

Bonus — Rajni shared that this song “shows for me the relationship that I've developed with my inner loving parent and my higher power, no matter what happens, I can be there for me.”

The Pretenders – I'll Stand By You

1 comment on “The power of stories – 391

  1. Holly says:

    LIF is love in the fellowship ( or in my head that’s what it is )

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