Inaction and Reaction: Navigating the Path to Meaningful Action – 403

In our lives, we often find ourselves faced with situations that require us to make decisions. We have a choice to either react impulsively or take a moment to consider our actions. This interplay between inaction and reaction can shed light on how we navigate life's complexities. Let's delve deeper into the concepts of inaction, reaction, and the transformative power of taking meaningful action.

The Dance of Inaction and Reaction

Our primitive “lizard brain” responds when faced with unexpected or challenging situations. Our initial response can be inaction, an attempt to freeze and hope the problem goes away. We struggle with discomfort and uncertainty, hoping it's not real. However, when it becomes clear that inaction is not viable, our lizard brain's second response can be to run away.

Recovery introduces a new way of dealing with these situations. We learn to create a period of inner waiting and preparation before deciding on an appropriate course of action. We move away from immediate reactions and step into a space of awareness, acceptance, and ultimately, meaningful action.

Seeking Guidance

Spencer and Eric look at tools and strategies for dealing with inaction and reaction. One powerful tool is seeking guidance from our higher power, a sponsor or a trusted person. Prayer and meditation can reveal our higher power's will for us. By reaching out to others, we gain different perspectives and can find the courage to move forward.

Taking Time for Self-reflection

Another valuable tool is the practice of self-reflection. Whether through journaling, physical activity, or prayer and meditation, taking time to calm the mind can help us navigate our emotions and make more informed decisions. By becoming aware of our motives and feelings, we can avoid falling into the trap of impulsive reactions and find a more balanced approach.

The Power of Choosing Our Attitude

A quote from Victor Frankl suggests that in the time between a stimulus and our response, there lies a space where we have the power to choose our attitude. Even in challenging circumstances, we have the freedom to choose how we respond. By embracing this perspective, we can transform our reactions and inactions into actions that align with our values.

Supporting a Loved One's Challenges

We (Eric and Spencer) share our experience of supporting loved ones dealing with mental health challenges. We found we could maintain a balance between support and enabling, allowing our loved ones to navigate their difficulties, while providing a non-judgmental presence. 


As we explore the dance between inaction and reaction, one thing becomes clear: the choices we make in these moments shape the trajectory of our lives. By cultivating awareness, seeking guidance, and choosing our attitudes, we empower ourselves to break free from impulsive reactions and embrace meaningful action. We hope that sharing our own experience, strength, and hope will enable you to  gain valuable insights into how to navigate life's challenges with grace and purpose.

So, next time we find ourselves at the crossroads of inaction and reaction, let's remember to pause, reflect, and choose our response wisely. By doing so, we can embark on a path of personal growth, empowered decision-making, and the fulfillment that comes from living a life aligned with our values.

Readings and Links

We opened with a reading from Hope for Today October 15, and included the reading for August 14 later in our conversation.

I described a “mind map”, Action Inaction Reaction, which introduces the acronym AIR.

A listener M gave us 4 more examples of literature with Al-Anon themes. You can actually read them online using the links below.

  1. H. G. Wells – The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896)
  2. Robert Louis Stevenson – The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886)
  3. Anne Brontë – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)
  4. Theodore Roethke – My Papa's Waltz (1942) 

Upcoming topics

Our topic for next week is “in all our affairs”. How do you use your recovery tools and principles in your daily life? 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

John Mayer – Waiting On the World to Change
Daryl Hall & John Oates – Delayed Reaction
The Clash – Should I Stay or Should I Go

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