Topic ideas

We have a huge list of potential topics for future episodes. We actually started the list by going through the index for the book Courage To Change. We have added to it various suggestions from our listeners and friends. Below, you can view the list as it stood on 29 March 2013 (it will be updated here periodically). The “Suggested?” column keeps track of how many suggestions we've had for that topic. The “Positive/Negative” heading is to help us balance topics that explore “negative” behavior with topics about “the solution.” If you would like us to cover a particular topic, please send email to

Note: you can click on the column headings to sort the table according to the contents of that column. You can type into the search box just above the right edge of the table, and it will show rows that contain what you have typed so far.

EpisodeTopic ideaComments
081813 C's
1331334 L'sListen, Learn, Let go, Love
084844 M'sMothering, Managing, Manipulation, and Martyrdom
003 3Acceptance
Alateen panelMaybe a panel of Alanon members who started in Alateen.
It would be helpful to hear their opinions, what made them go and what prevented them? What made them curious to go the first time. Do they get their information best via the social media or at school? We as adults should only support, what do they most appreciate in this regard?
AnniversariesAl-Anon "birthday", "serenity day", "recovery day"
015 15Asking for help
06262Attitudes (changed)
04343Awareness, Acceptance, Action (3 As)
016 16Blame
001 1BoundariesAlso 103
04444Boundaries and ControlHow do we set boundaries in a way that is not controlling?
Carrying the message
047 47Changes
Changing the things I can
04545Chaoswhy we create chaos when there is none? real chaos vs manufactured chaos, finding serenity within chaos,
Character defects (and assets)
005 5Choices
130130Clearing a pathReflections on a lead, based on a story from the Forum magazine.
102102Concept 1 and 2Titled Responsibility and Authority
110110Concept 3Titled Right of Decision
114114Concept 4 and 5Titled Participation, harmony, and being heard
120120Concept 6 and 7Titled Authority and Responsibility
128128Concept 8, 9, and 10Titled Leadership
135135Concepts 11 and 12Titled Cooperation and Balance
125125Conferences and conventions
108108Criticism and self-compassion
Decision (making)
004 4Denial
012 12Detachment
Disease conceptCNN article
What about non-substance addictions?
112112Do you drink?
123123DreamsHave you ever had an "Al-Anon dream"? Our panelists have.
109109Dry Drunk
021 21Easy Does It
011 11Enabling
006 6Expectations
057 57Face to face meetingsWhy are they important?
07474Faith over Fear
05454Family of our DreamsInspired by the phrase from How Al-Anon Works, "We may never have the family of our dreams…"
117117FathersA Fathers Day meditation.
051 51First things first
Focusing on myself
020 20Forcing solutions
116116Gather your chairs in a circle
04949Getting Started in Al-Anona very straightforward show on Getting Started - what to expect, what you should do immediately, challenges early on, or simply an intro to the culture of al anon.
God of my understanding / Higher Power
019 19GratitudeAlso 97 and 129
Healthy risk takinghealthy risk-taking and the courage and creativity it takes to do things differently
History of Al-anon
Hitting our Bottom
134134Holiday survival kit
How important is it?
106106In the moment
Introverts--Are they welcome in the program Hillary! I was really drawn to her email. Not because I'm a dominant introvert but because I remember what it felt like to feel uncomfortable around others and to feel like I could be no other way. Fortunately, I had good people in the program to nurture me through the discomfort. She talked a lot about how sharing through writing is easiest for her and I would encourage her to write her shares and send them to the Forum. Also, my sponsor has me write 3-5 things I'm grateful for and a response to the daily page via a private Facebook message. After about 6 months of responding to a page in writing it became much easier to share a response to a daily page or topic in a meeting. I have a somewhat shy Alanon friend that regularly shares her program progress on a private Facebook group called courage to change.
Finally, I'm so glad that you are keeping the listen feedback portion of the show. When you read my ITunes review and my first email on the podcast, I can't describe with the limitations of words how very much I felt a part of.
Thank you,
Stacy M
06161Intuition or God's Will?
03737Juggling vs Balance
Just for today
Keep an open mind
Keep coming back
Keep it simple
Let go and Let God
Let It Begin With Me
007 7Letting go
105105Letting go of the process
118118Life on Life's terms
Live and let live
04242Living full, rich livesHi there,

Love the show! I listen while I do the dishes 😉
I would love to hear a show on the topic of "full, rich lives": I found the "let live" part of the slogan quite simple to grasp, but the "live" part much harder: Now that I'm no longer on the merry-go-round all the time, I find myself with time of my hands to LIVE. Who knew. But how do you actually build a life, when you've always been focused on someone else? I sometimes struggle with the idea that I have a right to a life of my own (isn't that just selfish?) or faith that its even possible (it is for others, just not for me). And of course with fear of risk, loss and disappointment. What tools can we use to build a full, rich life and live it fully, with serenity?
I use phone calls/reasoning it out a lot, and slogans such as first things first and one day at a time. But I'd love to hear how others have started really living in recovery!

😉 V N

Ps my name is unusual, so I just use "V"
Living in the present
07070Living with Alcoholism or AddictionPersonal stories
132132Living with lies
Lone Memberow can you work the program when meetings and other Al Anons and therefore Sponsohsip are not (easy) accessible?
101101Looking back, looking aheadReflecting on the past year and setting intentions for the coming year.
07676LossRef the book Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses
Multiple programsWhat if I'm in more than one program? What do I say in my Al-Anon meetings? What do I not talk about? (Panel?)
026 26My First Meeting
052 52My StoryAnniversary podcast with listeners' stories.
093 93Not God
136136Old Year, New Year
03434One day at a time
022 22Parents in the programRound table format
002 2Powerlessness
03030Program in the Workplace
02929Progress, not perfection
115115Public outreach
Reaching out
07171Recovery on the RaodOne person's story of taking recovery with her when traveling.
05858 and 59RelapseFacing relapse, living with it, what is it?
008 8Resentments
03636Self-acceptance, Self-esteemErika requested this topic for when she co-hosts in Aug
Serenity Prayer
013 13Shame
03838SiblingsPanel of people with addicted/alcoholic siblings
131131SlogansEasy Does It, THINK, How important is it, Let go and Let God.
SlogansSlogans in general? Or individual slogans?
Spiritual awakening
09494Spiritual practice
07272Spiritual progress
025 25Sponsorship
03232Sponsorship round tableA joint episode with the Recovered podcast, it will feature members of several 12-step programs discussing sponsorship.
Sponsorship StrugglesHere's a topic request: struggling with sobriety. My recovery is intact, I'm maximum, and my sobriety grows. But my sponsees barely get 48 hours. They're doing quality big book work (step 4), we're talking every day, they're in meetings... I'm not sure what to do. I tell them about being rocketed into the 4th dimension, and that hope keeps them coming back, but I can tell they're disappointed that they are not having a spiritual experience. If your show could speak to lengthy struggles w/ sobriety (emotional, sexual, or chemical), especially from a sponsors perspective, that would be very helpful.
07878Stay or Go?4 personal stories of staying in relationship with an alcoholic or leaving.
127127Step 2 - Higher Power
04848Step 10
05050Step 11
05353Step 12
Step 1
009 9Step 2
014 14Step 3
018 18Step 4
023 23Step 5
02828Step 6
03131Step 7
03535Step 8
04040Step 9
SufferingDo we need it? Is there a ‘right’ way to do it etc.?
08282Suffering is Optional
Supporting the alcoholic or addictHealthy ways of doing this. (Relate to Tradition 5 maybe)
Take what you like and leave the rest
03939 89Taking care of ourselves or self-care
024 24This too shall pass
Tools of the program"I can forget some of them are there. And sometimes the ones I need the most are the hardest for me to pick up, such as the 50 lb. telephone."
09090Tradition 10
09595Tradition 11
098 98Tradition 12
05555Tradition 1
06060Tradition 2
06363Tradition 3
06969Tradition 4
07373Tradition 5
07575Tradition 6
07979Tradition 7
08383Tradition 8
08686Tradition 9
Traditions (overall)
017 17Trusting the process
Unacceptable behavior
Victim role
010 10What is Alanon
077 77Why I came, Why I stay.
08080Working the steps
119119Worry"worrying is like answering the phone before it rings. Don't answer the phone before it rings." marianne

21 comments on “Topic ideas

  1. Dianne says:

    Add a vote for siblings topic.
    Consider “Tools of the program” topic. I can forget some of them are there. And sometimes the ones I need the most are the hardest for me to pick up, such as the 50 lb. telephone.

  2. Jmexico says:

    I would love to hear a podcast on procrastination!
    Love the podcast. I listen in Mexico City 🙂
    Hugs and prayers,

  3. Ruth says:

    Add another vote for siblings

  4. Ruth says:

    topic: “lone-member”.
    How can you work the program when meetings and other Al Anons and therefore Sponsohsip are not (easy) accessible?

    1. John Ballas says:

      I use to live more than 1 1/2 hours away from the nearest meeting. And I would go on weekends and once in a while one during the week. “Let it begin with me”

  5. Ruth says:

    topic: Alateen

    It would be great if we could have kind of a round table format of Alateens.

    It would be helpful to hear their opinions, what made them go and what prevented them? What made them curious to go the first time. Do they get their information best via the social media or at school? We as adults should only support, what do they most appreciate in this regard?

    Thanks for your great work. Ruth

  6. Nell R says:

    I’d like to hear a show on healthy risk-taking and the courage and creativity it takes to do things differently (also, another vote for a show on siblings)

  7. Caroline says:

    I would love to hear a show about healthy ways of supporting the addict during treatment/early recovery. Also vulnerability. 😉 thanks guys!

  8. Kim says:

    I agree with Caroline, above. Early recovery is a whole different animal. Marriage and raising kids with my alcoholic husband, one month sober, is really really hard. I’m going to Al-anon and he’s working his recovery program as well. There is not a lot of information out there (that I’ve found yet) that deals with this specific phase of recovery and all of its unique challenges. I love your podcast, its been a blessing for me! Thank you!

  9. Ruth says:

    a vote for Denial!
    I listen to an older episode of the recoveredcast when Mark and Spencer spoke shortly about it. It reminds me of denials. Some of them were so obscure that today I could laugh about them.
    And than it happens again and before I even notice I’m down on the path into mist. …

    “Everey time I try to see your face
    Cloads got in its way
    Life is gray when I’m out and away
    I want more than this
    All I want, truly I got is waiting
    Is already here
    All I want, truly all I got keeps me hoping, praying for you to appear..”

    Due to missing language skills I may misinterpred but this lines are speaking to me, recollectin this times.
    How impacts my denial, my life and others? What the harm? whats the pay off. What are early warning signs? …

  10. Ruth says:

    response to myself: see episode 4 ;P

  11. Jen says:

    a vote for “Loss” – I lost someone very close to me to the diseases of alcoholism/addiction in March 2013. I don’t feel like I have dealt with this loss very well yet. Perhaps a round-table? I could really use some experience, strength and hope with this topic.

  12. Mama Calder says:

    Tradition 4 as it pertains to our personal lives. How do you keep yourself autonomous. I have a hard time maintaining myself, my goals, my dreams, separate from my loved ones. I find Tradition 4 to be very helpful reminding me that this is so important for healthy relationships to last.

  13. Beth says:

    Nothing brings out old patterns of discomfort and anxiety like talking about MONEY with my family.
    I feel like everything, both good and bad, in a relationship is magnified to super nova scale when
    Finances come up. Today I am in a totally loving and safe relationship yet old scars lead me to hesitate
    With both openness and trust. Setting boundaries and directly expressing what I need in this arena
    Is still a huge challenge. Avoidance, denial, and catastrophizing replace healthy efforts. We are trying to
    work on wills. Not having one has made me feel “less than” ever since I had kids with my qualifier so long
    ago. Having that settled will be a huge relief, if I can just get through it. I feel like so many of us could
    get something out of a discussion on program tools and $$$$$. Slogans do help me if i pause and apply
    them so maybe that could be a starting point? How important us it esp. Thanks Spencer et al.

  14. Ronda S says:



  15. Susanne says:

    I am about 2 1/2 years in Recovery. I have had several instances in the past 3-4 months that I have chosen Recovery over pre-program friends. I have had to discontinue a friendship of 20+ years as my girlfriend is in a very active alcoholic/marijuana home, deep in chaos and continually trying to bring me into the chaos. I had invited her to attend several Al-Anon meetings which she did consistently negating AlAnon every chance she could. It reminded me of Sara Bullock in 28 Days when she comes out of rehab and has to disconnect from her old boyfriend. Recovered has an episode on Toxic Relationships. Would you consider a show of Toxic Relationships from the Al-Anon perspective. Bless you all for your committment to this show. It is saving lives and making a difference!!!

  16. Brian says:

    Topics that I have heard in your podcasts but aren’t on the list above:
    -Web Meetings
    -Finding a Home Group
    -Roundtable/Webinar on Program without limits…program while traveling, or living in area without a vibrant Al Anon community or no community at all
    -How to start a recovery community
    -Identify the Similarities/ Ignore the differences
    -How has the program helped at home?
    -Raising kids in program vales and ideas.
    -Judgement or being judgmental
    -Tradition 11 – Program of Attraction and/or attracting new members

    Topics here but can’t figure it out:
    -Might just be the demographics of the areas I have attended meetings, but I have had a hard time finding Al Anon members under 60. The old timers say that there used to be many more people going to meetings, but that has changed in the last 5 years. Some blame online meetings and most just dont know. Generation gaps in Al Anon?
    -Knowledge from AA, or cross-overs with AA, or things I learned from AA. Maybe just a show on double winners?

    Thanks for all you do. I can’t get enough of the podcast. Love it.

  17. Jen says:

    3 P’s – Perfectionism, Procrastination, Paralysis

  18. Bruce says:

    We did a show once called “Procrastibation”…a slightly different take on procrastination…

  19. Sylvester says:

    I realised that as I’m an addict , I got this mind that forgets easily and the body that tries to kill me! So I have to Surrender every day in my recovery .

    Surrender is a profound Topic for me.

  20. Connie says:

    Scapegoating. I am an adult victim of scapegoating. No more family relatives nieces nephews. I am poison I am a senior adult who has endured this for life. Have complex ptsd also a rape torture survivor

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