12-step recovery for those of us who love alcoholics or addicts. We share our experience, strength, and hope as we use the principles of the Al-Anon program in our lives. We talk openly and honestly about the problems and challenges as we face alcoholism and addiction in our friends and relatives. We share the tools and solutions we have found that let us live a life that is serene, happy, and free, even when the alcoholic or addict is still drinking or using.
Acceptance is a Gift of Recovery – 381
How is acceptance a gift of recovery for me?
In March, 2021, I gave a talk at an online conference. I tried to follow this outline.
What is acceptance? What is it not?
* Not “giving up”* Not saying “this is ok”* Recognizing reality
How do I use acceptance?
* Not “crying against the night”* Opening possibilities for change.* Doing the “next right thing”* Reduce expectations & resentments
Early acceptance: Step 1: Powerless over my loved one’s alcoholism.
Recently: accepting my parents’ aging and illness.
Dementia: triggering because memory problems reminded me of the active drinking days.
Grief: losing the parents I had known for decades (all my life!)
Denial: it’s not that bad.
* Wanting them to move into assisted living.* OK, now what?* Learning to enjoy the time I had with the people they were becoming.* Photo albums & videos* Caring for them physically
How have you experienced the gift of acceptance? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Awareness and Acceptance – 380
How do you practice awareness and acceptance? How have they helped you to take actions that change the things you can?
Eric and Spencer were invited to share at an online AA conference as the Al-Anon speakers. Eric chose to talk about awareness, and Spencer about acceptance. Naturally we both included the “3 A's”, Awareness, Acceptance, and Action.
The theme of the conference was The Language of the Heart, based on Bill W.'s writings for the The Grapevine, a monthly publication of Alcoholics Anonymous, as collected in a book titled The Language of the Heart.
Music from the Show
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – What I Am
Jewel – Hands
Letting Go – 379
What do you want to let go of? What is preventing you from completely letting go?
Eric was inspired by a meditation he heard on the Insight Timer app, titled She Let Go.
A very rough outline of our conversation follows:
* What does it mean to let go?* Stop doing things that I don’t have the power to carry out (control someone else, e.g.)* What am I letting go of?* Resentment* Anger* Anxiety* Blame* Fear* Shame* Expectations* Catastrophizing the future* The past* The need to be right, to win, to control* Old behavior* “Need” to react to triggers.* Responsibility* Dependence on others* What tools do I have to help me let go?* Slogans* Let go and let God.* How important is it?* Would you rather be right or be happy?* Easy does it. (let go of anxiety)* One day at a time. (let go of worry)* Live and let live – let go of trying to live someone else’s life for them and live my own* Neutral responses* You could be right.* Oh.* Random thoughts* I have no dog in this fight.* Not my circus, not my monkeys!* Let go or be dragged.* Meditation* “Turned a 12-cylinder type A Leo into a 6 cylinder hybrid. Learned to slow down.”* “Why?”* “Drill down” to find something I can actually do something about. Example: I am afraid of my loved one’s drinking. Why? I am afraid that I will lose them. Why? I am afraid of being alone.* When I let go of things I don’t like, I make room for new things (hopefully better things) to come in.* Recognize “alcoholic” behaviors* Provoke conflict* Create anxiety* When I let go of other people’s stuff, I can live my own life.
Readings and Links
We read from Reaching for Personal Freedom, the Step 1 chapter; Courage to Change, March 5.
The poem “She Let Go” was written by Safire Rose, and you can listen to it on Insight Timer, read by Jack Godsman.
Al-Anon books can be purchased online at the Al-Anon Store.
Patti asked about episodes on regaining trust. There are 3 about trust: How do you trust? – Episode 281, Trust and Trustworthy – Episode 228, and Trust – Episode 91. In addition, this search turns up other shows where trust was a topic in some respect: https://therecoveryshow.com/tag/trust/
Jillian asked about all the songs we've suggested. Many of them are in The Recovery Show playlists on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/therecoveryshow
An upcoming topic is being a single parent and business owner in recovery. Do you have a similar experience in your life that you would like to share? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email email@example.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Music from the Show
Idina Menzel – Let It Go
The Beatles – Let It Be
Donna wrote to recommend this Al-Anon talk. She said “I found it captivating, helpful, and hilarious.”
Fireflies – Recovery of a Marriage – 378
Al Anon Courage to Change: “We all have dark times in our lives, but the journey to better times is often what makes us happier, stronger people. When we stop expecting instant relief, we may come to believe that where we are today is exactly where our higher power would have us be.”
Lea's world fell apart one day, when her husband was diagnosed, in the Emergency Department, of liver failure from his drinking. She didn't even know that he was drinking that heavily, and had thought he might be having a stroke.
I knew then that I had to intervene to get him into treatment because it was life or death.
I started therapy and Al-Anon and read numerous books and realized that I had to focus on my own recovery and let him walk his path. I realized that I needed to change the way I lived my life too as this is a lifelong disease. If my husband had diabetes or any other lifelong disease I would support him. I gave away my wine fridge, threw away all of our wine glasses, and chose sobriety.
But I had to work on my co-dependency issues and also recognized that I had to learn healthy coping mechanisms and start living my life for me.
She wrote a book about her experience, and about the path to recovery in her marriage.
I always enjoyed writing and that helped me “sit with my feelings” when I would write about them. The book came about because I felt so hurt and alone and there wasn’t a book that spoke to me. Writing helped me to heal and I thought maybe someone else would want to hear my story to not feel so alone.
Readings and Links
Lea's book, Fireflies: Finding Light on a Journey Through Addiction, is available from Amazon through this sponsored link.
We have added a page with “neutral responses” at https://therecovery.show/responses
Lea suggested a topic of humor in recovery. How has recovery made it easier to laugh about the events and missteps along the way? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Music from the Show
Bon Iver – Bruised Orange (John Prine cover)
Cage The Elephant – Trouble
Cage The Elephant – Love's The Only Way
Whether the Alcoholic is Still Drinking or Not – 377
Our suggested opening tells us that “we can find contentment, and even happiness whether the alcoholic is drinking or not.” How does this happen? How can we deal with the “isms” of the disease in a way that is healthy for ourselves?
Nancy joins Spencer to share how this has been true in her life.
Nancy came to “the rooms” when her son was in trouble with alcohol and drugs as a teen. At that age, she and her husband were able to make him go to treatment. Fast forward about 30 years, during which he lived a sober life.
Until he started struggling with depression and mental health issues, and eventually relapsed.
Nancy is grateful that she kept up her program in Al-Anon. Along with the support of a loving God, it helps her to maintain a relationship with her son, even when he pushes her away. She knows that she is doing, and has done the best she can to support him, without enabling, without “fixing”.
Readings and Links
Nancy read from Courage to Change, p. 124, May 3.
The reading she closed with, by Mitra Rahbar, is from Maria Shriver's The Sunday Paper, specifically in this edition. You can also read it in Mitra Rahbar's Facebook post.
Marylou shared a podcast episode with us, that touches on the importance of fellowship. The podcast is How to Human, the episode is a conversation with Kate Bowler, titled Chronic Uncertainty.
An upcoming topic is “Letting go”. How do you “LET GO”? What is it we want to Let Go of? Resentment? Blame? Worry? Fear? Control? All of them? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email email@example.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Music from the Show
Rascal Flatts – My Wish
Cyndi Lauper – True Colors
I Loved Him First – Joyce MacPhee
My Husband – 376
A listener sent me a deeply moving and personal share about her life with her husband. She recorded the share shortly before attending his memorial service, after his death from the disease of alcoholism. She tells us of how he hid his drinking from her, and how it was not until he was nearly dead of the disease that she suspected the truth. She also shares her deep love for him and how much she enjoyed his company and their time together. In the end, she is at peace with both his life and his death. I am grateful to her for sharing this with us.
Just what I needed
My circumstances don’t allow me out of the house in the evenings so this has literally changed my life. I’ve never gone to Al-Anon but this has given me a pretty good idea what it’s about and has helped me immensely. Thank you!
Take Al-Anon Anywhere
This podcast does a fantastic job of communicating the help for living a serene life that the al-anon program offers whether the alcoholic (addict) is still drinking or not. An excellent showcase of the al-anon program lived out.
Incredible Service and Meeting Alternative
I found this podcast before I found Al-Anon and it brought be to the rooms of Al-Anon. This program literally saved my life. I realized that I am not alone, that I have choices, and that my job is not to fix everyone else. I attend weekly meetings, listen to this podcast weekly, and listen to past episodes as my program needs it - which is frequently! I especially like the Open Talk episodes and listen to them all the time. Keep up the great work and service!! This is truly a blessing for many.