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.
Listening to you – 406
Listen to the experience, strength and hope, questions, and fears of 30-ish listeners of The Recovery Show. Hear from members on topics such as these:
* Coping with the effects of addiction
* The recovery process
* Working the Al Anon program
* Sponsorship in recovery
* Understanding self-centered behavior
* Acceptance of powerlessness
* Reflections on past recovery experiences
Here are few moments that you might connect with:
Sue wrote, “While listening to Debra C. share on your podcast, I realized she was telling my story. I took away many things, but mainly that ‘hands off, pays off’ is my new mantra.”
Mike said, “If someone is trapped and has no resources or outside help, and has been through this before, they may fawn. That is, they may become compliant or even take the side of the oppressor to soothe, distract, or somehow deflect or minimize the harm that is coming their way.”
From another Sue, “[Your podcast] has helped me find a path into the spiritual side of the program. This is something I never expected to be possible for me.”
Mary said, “Al Anon taught me that his alcoholism is about him, not me, and also that I didn't cause it, can't control it, and can't cure it. But I sure can contribute to it. And I did do that by reacting in a way that was not helpful to him or me or the situation.”
Louise is “so grateful for the tools of recovery that have given me the ability to navigate the halls of alcoholism.”
There are many more moments such as these in the full episode.
These episodes were mentioned by contributors:
* 402 Gossip
* 401 What is my Motive?
* 322 Deborah C – Hands Off Pays Off
* 132 Living with Lies
* 381 Acceptance as a Gift of Recovery
* 394 People of Color in Recovery – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
* 403 Inaction and Reaction: Navigating the Path to Meaningful Action
* 9 Step 2
* 296 Spiritual Awakenings and Experiences
* 358 Al-Anon after Divorce
* 354 Making Decisions
Lean on Me – Bill Withers
Working the Steps – 405
The 12 steps are indispensable in the journey towards healing. They can spark enlightenment, foster growth, and propel personal transformation. In this episode, Spencer, Karen, and other contributors explore several approaches to working the 12 steps.
Acknowledging Variety and Personalizing the Process
12-step recovery does not have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Members apply the steps to their own lives in differing ways. The Al-Anon literature includes several guides to the steps, and sponsors may suggest yet other approaches. Some members may need to start with a deep exploration of their powerlessness, while others may need “emotional detox” before they can even start looking at the Steps.
The Importance of Sponsors in the Recovery Journey
Assistance from sponsors, mentors, or “fellow travelers” can be instrumental in easing the 12-step process. Whether helping with the complex aspects of the journey or offering insights for self-development, the value offered by mentors can be immeasurable. Often, sponsors can help people identify the steps they need to apply the most, thereby confronting the challenge head-on.
Working the Steps: Different Approaches, Same Journey
In the realm of recovery, three popular tools to work the steps in Al-Anon are the books Paths to Recovery, Blueprint for Progress, and Reaching for Personal Freedom..
Paths to Recovery offers a comprehensive guide through the 12 steps, with some questions that help focus thoughts and inspire deep reflection. It may present a long journey, sometimes up to two years per complete cycle, but with patience and perseverance, progress can be made.
Blueprint for Progress, another workbook, provides a detailed walk through Step four, conducting a deep dive into one's inventory, listing shortcomings and assets alike.
Reaching for Personal Freedom is a newer book. It guides an examination of the Steps, Traditions, and Concepts, focusing on how these can be applied to our personal lives.
The common thread with these books is their focus on applying the 12 steps to daily life, transforming not only habits but an entire inner worldview.
Overcoming Challenges: The Essence of Step Four
Step Four, involving a ‘Fearless and searching moral inventory,' can be challenging. It is during the process of Step Four that the strength and support of a sponsor becomes critical. Often, a sponsor will suggest a particular practice of working Step 4, usually because it is the way they have worked that step in their own recovery. Some have found the “4 column” approach described in the book Alcoholics Anonymous to be useful. As a sponsor, however, we should also be sensitive to whether the proposed approach is working well for the person we are guiding.
An Ongoing Learning Process
Working the steps is an ongoing learning process, finding new layers of understanding and inner growth at every step. Some of us have found that we can apply the 12 Steps to particular incidents or actions in our lives, whether alcohol is involved or not. Sometimes a quick run through the steps can lead us to “promptly admitting” our faults, as suggested by Step 10. For most of us, working the steps is not “one and done” but is a lifelong process of personal growth. It is truly about a journey,
Experience, Strength and Hope from the 2023 Al-Anon International Convention – 404
Did you attend the 2023 Al-Anon International Convention? If you didn't, have you wondered what it was like? In this episode, Heather, Racheal, and Spencer share our expectations of the convention, what happened at the convention, what we learned, and what we are bringing home.
Contact the show
You can leave a voicemail 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
The Beatles – All You Need is Love
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.
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 conve...
Finding Freedom from Gossip and Creating Positive Relationships in Recovery – 402
What is gossip? How is it harmful to my recovery?
Spencer and Laurel discuss gossip and how it can hinder our path to recovery. We share our personal experiences, elaborating on how we used to perceive gossip and how this perception has changed. We lay emphasis on the power of silence, restraining oneself from engaging in gossip, and talk about relevant situations from our work lives. We conclude by acknowledging that refraining from gossip can be a lifelong struggle but a resultant increase in authenticity in relationships makes it worth it.
In our conversation, these three things emerge:
Harmful effects of gossip: Gossip can be harmful, both to individuals and to relationships. Damage is caused by spreading rumors, engaging in speculation, and talking about others without their presence. We highlight the importance of being mindful of the information we share and the impact it can have on others.
The importance of boundaries: We must set boundaries when it comes to gossip. We can recognize when conversations are turning towards gossip and actively choose not to engage in or perpetuate such discussions. Tools we can use to avoid gossip are silence and self-restraint.
The value of personal reflection and growth: We express the personal growth and self-reflection that can occur through practicing the tools and principles of the Al-Anon program. We can learn to navigate gossip and gossip-like situations by reflecting on our own behavior, practicing empathy and compassion, and focusing on personal responsibility rather than blaming others. We are constantly learning from our experiences and striving to improve our interactions with others.
Readings and Links
Laurel chose readings from Courage to Change, January 25 and October 26.
She also pulled in the concept of “hotwiring intimacy” using gossip from Brené Brown's book Braving the Wilderness.
Spencer was inspired and deeply affected by a couple of podcast episodes:
* Fragmented to Whole, episode 229, “Why I Think of Gossip as an Anti-Intimacy Campaign”
* This American Life, episode 809, “The Call“
Veronica suggested Where'd You Go , Bernadette as another book with Al-Anon themes (referencing episode 399, “Finding Al-Anon Lessons in Classic Novels”)
Nancy was inspired by the book Incurable Hope by Lisa Gennosa, and by hearing her speak.
(Note: I earn a small amount from qualified purchases through links to Amazon. I earn nothing from links to the Al-Anon book store.)
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
Adele – Rumor Has It
Jill Scott – Hate on Me
The Go-Go's – Our Lips Are Sealed
What is my Motive? – 401
At a recent meeting, the topic was Step 11. I most often share about my difficulties in creating a regular program of prayer and meditation. But at this meeting, I picked the second part of the step “Praying only for knowledge of God’s will…” The question that I face when I consider that phrase is, “how do I know if something is God’s will or just mine?”
Apparently, I last talked about this question in Episode 61 “Intuition or God’s Will?”
One tool that I try to remember to use when faced with this question is to ask myself “What is my motive?” I was guided to this question by a program friend some years ago. An acquaintance had had a horrible experience, and I was thinking about calling them to let them know I cared. But, I also had enough Al-Anon experience to know that I really ought to check this out with someone else, first. So I called a program friend, and described what I was considering. This friend then asked me “What is your motive?”
That made me stop and think. What was my motive? Did I really think that I could provide support? Or was I just trying to make myself feel better about not being able to actually do anything about the situation? Was I close enough to my acquaintance to even talk to them about their experience?
In the end, I decided that this idea came from my will, with the motive of making myself feel better, and did not call. Years later, I still think that was the right decision.
There are other situations in which I ask myself, “what is my motive?” Listen to hear about them.
Readings and Links
We read from Courage to Change, January 18.
What is your experience using the question, “What is my motive?” Please send a voice memo or email to email@example.com, or call our voice mail line at 734-707-8795.
Thank you! for all your efforts.
I have been listening and love it
Thank you Spencer! This Podcast is an important part of my Daily Recovery! You do an Important service to help us Recover from the affects of Alcoholism and how it affects the families of alcoholics! I listen almost every day on the train to work and home. You have helped me in many ways!
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!