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.
Feeling my feelings – 351
How are my recovery tools helping me to live with grief and loss? How am I feeling my feelings today?
My father died a few days ago. I am grieving his loss. Because of my work in recovery, I can feel my feelings. I don't have to deny them, and stuff them. What a gift!
My Life was Unmanageable – 350
My life was out of control, but I still thought I could control my loved one’s drinking.
* Cold Wednesday in April. The beginning of the story but also the middle of the story.* Where is the beginning?* When I learned, as a child, to take care of everyone else first? That I couldn’t be happy unless everyone around me was happy, too?* When almost all the romantic relationships in my early life were with someone who needed “help”?* When I married an alcoholic (not that I knew it at the time)?* When I realized her drinking was a problem and started trying to control it?* When I was living in despair and anger and rage as a result?* That cold Wednesday: * I heard the 3 Cs for the “first” time, and felt a weight lifted.* Found the pamphlet Has Your Life Been Affected by Someone Else’s Drinking? I answered “yes” to 16 of the 20 questions.* My first meeting — I am not alone.* Step one: accepting my powerlessness. * Step two: rejecting God, but finding a higher power speaking through the program.* Step three: “fake it until I make it” — “act as if” — Hindsight tells me that committing to work the program was and is a Step 3 decision.* Step four: SO SCARY. I worked the steps with a small group. We met weekly. Accountability kept me going, and hearing others’ sharing brought the understanding that I am not uniquely broken, but am just human. A powerful release of shame and blame.* Step five: “I’m only as sick as my secrets”. I have found that I cannot change my “defects of character” without admitting the “exact nature of my wrongs” out loud to another human.* Step six: What does this even mean? “Entirely ready”? ALL my defects? And HOW? Turns out that for me, this is about really accepting myself as I am, and that when I do that, then I am ready to change. This is where recovery starts.* Step seven: Ask for change. Trusting the process. Practicing new behaviors. My HP releases me from being stuck in old behavior but I have to practice the new way — that’s “my part”.* Step eight: Who did I hurt? What was “my part” and how did I injure them? Am I ready to make amends? Can I be willing to become ready?* Step nine: Amend means to “make better”, to “improve”. Step nine is not about apology. It is about admitting my role in events and about changing my behavior so it won’t happen in the future. * Step ten: I love this step because it keeps my life “clean”. I no longer have to carry guilt and shame over things I did, because I can make immediate amends and move forward.* Step eleven: * Step twelve: The only promise in the steps — we *will* have a spiritual awakening. My awakening was gradual and I only recognized it when the book asked me “Have you had a spiritual awakening?” Yes! I am living in a new way. I have serenity and a stable place to stand. I have tools to deal with the inevitable times when I am knocked off balance by events and people.* I came in broken and angry, full of shame. I thought it was my mission to get my wife to stop drinking and I was failing. Here I learned how to be a “me” that I actually like, to understand where the boundary between me and the rest of the world lies, to be able to ask for the wisdom to know the difference, and to experience serenity even when the world around me is full of chaos
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
Tracy Grammer – Keep the Ashtray Clean
Service in Al-Anon – 349
“When I got busy, I got better”. I’ve heard this as an encouragement to service in recovery. What is service, and how can it support my recovery?
Spencer and Ester talk about our experience with service, with support from almost a dozen listeners. Our discussion was guided by but certainly not limited to these questions.
* What *is* service, anyway? What kinds of service are we talking about?* How have you given / experienced service in your recovery?* Why have you given service?* What have been your reasons for not giving service?* How do you balance service commitments with the “rest of your life?”* There’s a booklet titled “When I Got Busy, I Got Better” What does this phrase mean to you? Have you experienced this? Why and how?* How has service changed your outlook in “all your affairs”?* Have you found service intrinsically rewarding? How might this differ from your earlier attitudes about “being of service” or “helping out”?
Readings and Links
We read from Courage to Change, September 7. The reading from the same book for October 2 was also mentioned. I don't recall if we mentioned the book When I Got Busy, I Got Better, but it is definitely relevant.
Eric suggested a new slogan “Don't engage with rage.” 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
Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water
Teen Depression and Self-harm – 348
How can we use our recovery tools to help us when our loved ones are suffering from mental illness? Is it harder when our loved one is our child?
Roberta shares her experience, strength, and hope around these questions. Our conversation was guided by these questions.
* How/when did you come to Al-Anon?* Give as much or as little of that journey as you wish.* How and when did you realize your daughter’s problems?* What was your initial reaction / response to them?* What program tools are you using to support her and to keep your own “sanity”?* Serenity Prayer* A place to go — program friends* Meetings — Zoom!* “This too shall pass” — the wave comes in and then it goes out* Podcast.* Loving Detachment* Acceptance* Boundaries (around what we can do)* Live in the moment — One day at a time.* Prayer* Hope (without expectations?)* What else?* How is this experience similar to your earlier experience with alcoholism?* How is it different?* How does the fact that she is your child and still a minor make a difference in * What you do?* What you feel you should do?* What you can do?* What others are telling you you should do?* What are your fears?* Where are you today, emotionally and spiritually?* What might you say to other parents who have similar struggles?
Readings and Links
We read from the Al-Anon pamphlet 3 Views of Al-Anon, the section titled :”An Open Letter from an Alcoholic”, and the book Discovering Choices, Chapter 10.
A couple of listeners wrote about the podcast Poetry Unbound.
A listener wrote in response to a question about using recovery to deal with food issues, recommending Overeaters Anonymous.
Upcoming topics include “Service”, and “What qualifies your for Al-Anon?” Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email email@example.com to share on either of these topics.
Music from the Show
Nina Simone – Feeling Good
Rachel Platten – Fight Song
Eminem – Not Afraid (Explict)
Eminem – Not Afraid (Clean)
If I am not the Problem, there is no Solution – 347
If I’m not the problem, then there is no solution. Huh? How does this make sense for my recovery.
Spencer, Eric and several listeners share our thoughts about this idea.
* How would you have felt about this statement before you came into recovery?* In what ways were you trying to fix other people’s problems?* Which of those problems was actually yours?* How did trying to fix someone else’s problems make you feel?* What did you hear when you came to Al-Anon that encouraged you to think differently?* What does this statement mean to you now?* How does that affect/change your behavior?* How is it liberating?* How does it contribute to less unmanageability and more serenity in your life?* Some problems I have* Failing to LET GO. My problem becomes, that I will be dragged. Example, my (Eric) marriage. Going to AA to take the medicine, to cure her disease.* If I fail to set healthy boundaries, I will become a doormat, and accept unacceptable behavior, and become resentful, angry, and irritable, without knowing it…* If I do not practice the art of listening, intently, with an OPEN MIND, I will not hear, understand, and lose my ability to have choices, and choose a response, that is healthy and best FOR ME.* These and many other problems, are OF MY OWN MAKING. The solutions are of my OWN choosing. I have the power to change this “stinking thinking”.* What solutions have we found?* Detachment* Boundaries* Acceptance
I can’t change the weather, the traffic, and I cannot drive the car in front of me. No matter how much I want to… I CAN change, my perspective, my outlook, and my attitude towards it.
There is a solution. I / we all, have the power to awaken within us, the courage to change, the things we can. And, I have come to know that that thing, is ME.
I will Let It Begin With Me.
Readings and Links
We read from How Al-Anon Works: p. 20 (in Chapter 4) Seeking Solutions for Ourselves, and Tradition 5, p. 113.
Spencer reflected on “Phase One” by Dilruba Ahmed, a poem about forgiving ourselves, which he heard on the podcast Poetry Unbound.
Gina told us about another Al-Anon podcast: www.al-anonuk.org.uk/podcasts
We were reminded of these other episodes:
* Freedom (241)* Perspective (258)* Enabling or Empowering? (261)* Consequences (245)* Resentment (196)
If you have questions, comments, or shares on any of our episodes, you can 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
Coldplay – Fix You
I'm the Problem – Timothy Brindle
Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
Gratitude 2020 – 346
What are you grateful for right now? Where do you have gratitude that isunexpected? How has the practice of gratitude helped you throughturbulent, stressful events and times?
My gratitude this year is centered on people in my life.
* My brother, who is taking care of my aging, ailing parents. He is there when they have a crisis and need the support of medical professionals. He is there when they have a crisis that just needs some loving, physical attention. He is there when a care giver is potentially exposed to COVID and he needs to suddenly fill her schedule with someone else. He is there.* My sister, who backs up my brother in care. She lives about 45 minutes away from my parents, and can be there when he needs to take one to the ER and the other needs to stay home. I am 8 hours away by car, and really can’t be there on short notice, so I am grateful that we have two layers of support.* The fact that my parents are still alive. They may be fading out, but they are still there. I *think* I am ready for the inevitable, but how can I really know until it actually happens.* My wife, who picks up a lot of the routine tasks of living, especially financial. She is the one who negotiated refinancing our mortgage. She is the one who negotiated getting long term care insurance. Both of these involved lots of time on the phone, and lots of time on hold. She brings flowers into the house, and hugs into my life. * My religious community, who continue to be there, week upon week. Who made the transition to online worship with hardly a glitch. Who have created new opportunities to connect on a regular basis. And who let me know about the joys and troubles of friends in community. * My neighbors. The one who regularly bakes goodies and puts them on her porch for all to share. The ones who share how they are thriving or struggling in this strange time. The ones who say “hi” when we pass (appropriately distanced) on the sidewalk. The ones who figured out how to have a great neighborhood Halloween celebration while remaining safe from the virus. The ones who write birthday greetings on their sidewalk in chalk for neighbors’ children. The ones who make this a neighborhood.* All of you, who continue to contribute your experience, strength, and hope. Whether you have sent me an email or a voicemail; or have participated as a guest in the podcast. I am grateful to you, because I really could not keep on going without your support.
Thank you, also, to those listeners who shared their gratitude in this episode.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Supportive for Adult Children of Alcoholics, too
Although we are different programs this podcast supports my ACA recovery a ton
Strength and Hope
Being brand new to Al-Anon and living in a small town (not to mention the current pandemic restrictions) this podcast has been Godsend to me. I have found an episode to address nearly all my questions and fears. I found hope and love here. I’m so grateful for it and I share it with everyone I’m led to!
I love this podcast and because of it, I attended my first ever Al Anon meeting. I most appreciate the variety of topics, tools as well as the calming presence and integrity of the host, Spencer. I especially like the Speaker Episodes, and can always relate to them. Thank you, thank you, thank you.