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.
Co-parenting with an Alcoholic – 342
Are you struggling with co-parenting your children with an alcoholic? What are your challenges? What tools have you found? Join Lynne and Linzi as they share their experience in a conversation guided by these questions.
* What was it like before, co-parenting with an alcoholic before recovery?* What made you realize that this wasn’t how you wanted to live any more? What brought you into recovery?* What lessons did you learn in those early Al Anon meetings that you could apply to your co-parenting situation?* What does dropping the rope mean to you? How do you find the line between protecting and parenting your kids and not overstepping into that over-mothering/hyper-vigilance/hyper-functioning?* How did your family change when you found recovery and a new way of living?* How is your relationship now with your co-parent?* How do you talk to your kids about addiction and Al-Anon?* How do the traditions help you find serenity in your co-parenting situation?
Readings and Links
Lynne read from the Detachment pamphlet, which is available online.
Upcoming topics include “if I’m not the problem, there is no solution.” How has recovery let you see “your part” in problems? How does this help you to find a solution you can actually execute? 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
Jason Isbell – Hope The High Road
The Avett Brothers – No Hard Feelings
Maggie Rogers – Fallingwater
Activism and Recovery – Your Voices – 341
In episode 337, I talked with Amanda and Becky about how recovery and activism intersected for them. I got a lot of feedback about that episode with some very thoughtful sharing. This episode has your voices, without any discussion or comment by me. I want to thank everyone who contributed. You have given me a lot to think about.
Readings and Links
Amanda shared some links to articles that she found thought-provoking. These are: an article, “Activism is better for recovery,” from HuffPost; and an organization, Faces and Voices of Recovery, that advocates for recovery policy.
Upcoming, we have a conversation about co-parenting with an alcoholic or addict. We are planning a couple of episodes, tentatively titled “There are no experts in Al-Anon”, and “If it's not my problem, there is no solution.” How do these ideas resonate with you? 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.
Married to an Alcoholic Minister – Barbara K – 340
What is it like being married to an alcoholic minister who is beloved of his congregation? How might it cause you to behave in crazy ways?
Today I am sharing with you a talk by Barbara K, recorded in 1993. I listened to this recently and I thought she captured so well the ways in which WE, the partners of alcoholics, can be and act crazier than our alcoholic loved ones.
Readings and Links
A listener sent some information about recovery programs that are not based on the 12 steps. She listed these:
* SmartRecovery.org* CelebrateRecovery.com* RecoveryDharma.org* RefugeRecovery.org* SoberGrid.com
Our guest, Josh, on episode 324, Recovery Dharma, talked about that program and Refuge Recovery.
A topic we're considering is an exploration of the idea “if I'm not the problem, there is no solution.” How does this speak to you? It's sort of a counterpoint to our recent episode “It's not your fault.” 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
Sheryl Crow – Every Day Is a Winding Road
James Taylor & Carole King – You've Got A Friend
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris – Why Worry
It’s Not Your Fault – 339
Do you feel that IT is your fault? How can recovery help you understand what is really your responsibility and what is absolutely not? Spencer and Eric discuss these questions along with shares from many of you. This topic was inspired by the scene “it's not your fault” from the movie Good Will Hunting. A clip of this scene from YouTube is shown below.
* Definitions of fault and blame?* Blame: * v. Assign responsibility for a fault or wrong.* Blame is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blame)* Fault:* responsibility for an accident or misfortune.* a misguided or dangerous action or habit* v. criticize for inadequacy or mistakes* At fault:* responsible for an undesirable situation or event; in the wrong.* When and how have you felt that “it” is your fault?* How did you respond/react to this (guilty) feeling? (258, responsibility 120, 102, patience 333)* When do others (and maybe particularly the alcoholic or addict in your life) blame you for their problems?* Do you blame yourself for the things that have happened?* Do you criticize yourself for your decisions and actions?* Does it always seem that you “could have done better”?* How have the 12 steps and the tools of recovery helped?* How are you learning to take just the right amount of responsibility for your own decisions and actions?* When do you know it is not your fault?* What are you still struggling with feeling “to blame” for?
Readings and Links
We read from the book In All Our Affairs, p. 85, the section titled “No Longer Blaming Myself”.
We talked briefly about an article titled Is Your Guilt True or False?
The conversation and your sharing prompted reference to many episodes of The Recovery Show, including these:
13 – Shame, 81 The 3 C's, 102 Responsibility and Authority, 120 Authority and Responsibility, 121 Laughter, 151 Meditation, 169 Feelings, 211 Kindness and Courtesy, 219 3 P's, 258 Perspective, 270 Do You Believe?, 328 Hope Means Possibility, 333 Patience and Tolerance
Eric suggested a meditation titled She Let Go from Insight Timer.
Upcoming topics include feedback on episode 337 on activism and recovery. I’ve heard from some of you, and I’m planning an episode where your voices can stand alone. 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
“It's not your fault” clip from Good Will Hunting
The video for “Good Enough” includes a scene with domestic violence.
Wisdom to Know the Difference – 338
The serenity prayer asks for the wisdom to know the difference. What does this mean? And how does it happen?
Ester joined me for a conversation about these questions. We thought we might structure our conversation by starting with the idea of “Knowing when I don’t know.” Then how “wisdom to know the difference” in the serenity prayer is helpful to recovery.
And finally, how we might use “wisdom to know the difference” can apply very broadly to recovery in ways that aren't maybe immediately obvious in the serenity prayer (with Courage to Change October 10, if we need a guiding reading). Often, I need to pray for the wisdom to know the difference between a bunch of dualisms that sometimes appear to be the same, such as these:
assertiveness and arrogance
When does assertiveness—standing my ground on principles and values that matter to me—cross the line into arrogance?
Almost always when I am fearful or insecure, particularly of my powerlessness. And arrogance is me trying to exercise my self-will again.
When I use the slogans such as “think (x 3)” I realize that I am single-handedly attempting to fight an entire system that I’m working within.
When I pause I can ask myself whether I have the wisdom to know the difference between
a) standing up for what I believe is acceptable in my own hula hoop, on the one hand, and
b) what I believe is a problem with an entire system, that has been occurring over a series of decades, and which I cannot will to change (no matter how many self-righteous statements I might make).
something that is important and something that is urgent
I often lack the wisdom to know the difference between these. Sometimes I have trouble completing important projects because I cannot always see how other things I’m focusing on doing, while they may be important, are not urgent.
I tend to like “clearing my desk” so will work through things that really should be my B and C lists while items on my A list get completely neglected.
Another reason for this imbalance of priorities is that I also have trouble distinguishing between doing a healthy amount of what I would call the “service” part of my job and letting it completely consume my working week with no time or energy left for anything else.
I tend to view the tasks that require external accountability as the urgent ones because I am afraid of the consequences of not giving people what they want immediately and at the highest possible standard.
I tend to do what someone else asks of me before the things that were already on my to-do list. Leads to neglecting my own goals. In some situations, to the detriment of my career progression. The “service” part of my job is important work, but has to sit on a steady foundation of basic needs, self-care, and wishes. Otherwise I self-sabotage, reinforce low self-esteem, and resent the people to whom I’m externally accountable.
busyness and unmanageability
Variety & a full life = the good kind of busyness. I might be tired afterward but go to sleep peacefully at the end of it and be satisfied with it.
I can usually tell when busyness crosses over into unmanageability when I notice myself feeling agitated, crotchety, irritable. When very small things make me very mad, I know I’m becoming unmanageable.
There are certainly more we could explore, but this is where we stopped.
Readings and Links
Activism and Recovery with Amanda and Becky – 337
How can recovery, the serenity prayer, and the traditions of Al Anon guide me in working for societal change? When should I “let go and let God” and when should I work to “change the things I can”?
Spencer, Amanda, and Becky have a wide-ranging discussion around these questions and others. We were joined virtually with voice shares from Mark and Lynne. Our discussion was guided but not limited by the outline below.
* Note about Tradition 10 The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.We do not represent any 12 step program. We aim to use the Al Anon principles in all our affairs. As individuals, we can use what we’ve learned in Al Anon as tools to help us navigate our own civic engagement and activism.* LIstening is a skill. * Avoid “defensive listening”* Finding common ground* Practice “Recovered listening”* What is my motivation for what I’m about to say?* One of the primary messages of Al-Anon is that I cannot control others actions and decisions. We have slogans and tools like* Let go and let God* Detachment* Acceptance* For many of us, there are things about society and culture that we cannot accept and wish to work for change. * How do we reconcile this with the recovery messages of acceptance? * Accepting the situation as it is/coming out of denial. Accepting that others may have other views/be on different sides/ be in denial about how bad a situation is/the reality of it. * More so, how can we use recovery tools to more effectively work for change?* Personal responsibility to engage and participate. Concept 4-5 Hope for Today, p. 99* The Three A’s * Awareness (opposite of denial)* Acceptance (Pause/ Processing/emotional sobriety)* Action (Singleness of purpose, responding not reacting)* Let it begin with me / breaking the cycling of dysfunction like the family disease of alcoholism / Skill of listening fully to others practiced in meetings (crosstalk) * Let go and let god Letting go of outcomes* Keeping things manageable, Selfcare, Boundaries (external & internal) HALT / slogans* Keep an open mind / Would you rather be right or happy * Contrast Angela Davis quote with serenity prayer.* I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.
Readings and Links
We read from From Survival to Recovery, excerpts from pp. 230-231; also Hope For Today April 8 and Sept 29.
A listener asked about episodes for parents. For any topic, you can use the search page to find episodes and other blog posts. Episodes are also tagged with topics. In this case, the tag search for “parent” finds several episodes.
The Al-Anon World Service Office has a severe budget shortfall this year, and has had to lay off staff. If you want to help, you can make a donation or buy literature on the Al-Anon web site.
Upcoming: more on activism, and “it's not your fault.”
Do you feel like “it” is your fault? Are you criticized, blamed, accusedand sometimes even feel responsible somehow for other’s bad choices orbehavior? Do you blame and criticize yourself? Do you think that somehowyou “could have done better”?
How do the 12 steps and the tools of Al-Anon help? How are you learningto take just the right amount of responsibility for your own decisionsand actions? Where do you know that it's NOT your fault? What are youstill struggling with?