374 episodes

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.

The Recovery Show » Finding serenity through 12 step recovery in Al-Anon – a podcast The Recovery Show

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.7 • 1.1K Ratings

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.

    The Gift of Pain – 367

    The Gift of Pain – 367

    How is it possible for our pain to become our gain? Andrea’s story illuminates this transformation.

    Andrea from Adult Child Podcast joins us to talk about how her greatest pain became her greatest gain.

    When Andrea was several years sober, she realized that recovery had not magically fixed all her problems. She tells us about “the two Brians” — “Two guys that I dated named Brian that were the catalyst to my adult child healing journey. I dated Brian number one at seven years sober. And it was through that relationship that I realized that my dating issues were related to my childhood.”

    Only a few weeks later, a woman at a 12-step meeting shared a similar experience and mentioned the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families book. Andrea went home, downloaded it, and devoured it. She says, “I related to it even more than I did in any other recovery literature that I'd ever read. It was like, I was finally reading, all of my thoughts and feelings … written down on paper.” The next time she saw the woman, she went up to her, “and I say that how her share head impacted me and how I had downloaded that book that she had mentioned that I had read it. And I told her a little bit about Brian number one, and these a hot moments that I had had, and she looks at me and she goes, that's wonderful, but I want to let you know that this is going to take years for you to work through. … And I remember looking at her and thinking, years? Years!?”

    So she starts working in ACA, and then “Brian number two comes along … what I will tell you is that I hadn't changed a damn bit and the next six months of my life were the most painful times of my life. … I realized that, what I was dealing with was a lot more powerful than what I had assumed and that that lady had been right. That I did have to treat this just as seriously as my alcoholism. That's what I did.”

    What is the rest of the story? How did all this pain become her greatest gain? And why did she decide to make a podcast about the Adult Child experience? Listen for all the details.

    Readings and Links

    There were several books and other resources that were mentioned and read from in this episode. I captured a few of them, below.

    First, I have to link to Andrea's podcast Adult Child, where you can hear the full story of the 2 Brians in Episode 1.

    The opening reading is from Your Divine Lens: The Secret to Finding Purpose, Healing Grief and Living in Alignment with your Soul (pp. 119-120). Sue Frederick.

    Andrea also read from Emotional Sobriety: from relationship trauma to resilience and Balance by Tian Dayton (and enthusiastically recommended anything by this author.)

    She suggests that anyone who might possibly think they qualify for ACA read The Laundry List.

    Upcoming topics

    An upcoming topic is about recovery through writing. Do you use writing as a recovery tool? How does it enhance your program? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecovery.show with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

    Music from the Show

    • 1 hr 25 min
    Honesty – 366

    Honesty – 366

    What does a lack of honesty with ourselves and others look like? What does the program teach us about the importance of honesty to our recovery?

    Ester and Spencer share their experience, strength, and hope on the topic of honesty, roughly following this outline.

    * Honesty before recovery – or was there?* How were we dishonest with ourselves and others?* What did we learn from our family of origin?* Honesty in recovery?* How was it modeled in meetings?* Learning to be honest with ourselves through sponsorship and the steps.* Still learning and growing.* The slippery slope of lying by omission.* How to be honest without breaking another's anonymity?

    Readings and Links

    Ester read from Intimacy in Alcoholic Relationships, pp. 47 and 49.

    Spencer mentioned the Step 4 chapter in Paths to Recovery, where it talks about why we write out our fourth step inventory. He also referred to the reading on Tradition 8 in the same book.

    Richard recommended a reading from One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, August 15, about frustration.

    Upcoming topics

    An upcoming topic is titled “the disease of relationships”. Megan wrote “One of my favorite pages out of our CAL talks about alcoholism is a disease of relationships.” How has this disease shown up in your relationships?

    Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecovery.show with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

    Music from the Show

    Aretha Franklin – Honest I Do

    Fleetwood Mac – Little Lies

    Depeche Mode – Policy of Truth

    • 1 hr 30 min
    In All Our Affairs – 365

    In All Our Affairs – 365

    Step 12 suggests that we “practice these principles in all our affairs”. What does this mean to you? How do you do it?

    Definition: principle

    * a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.

    The AA 12 principles from the book 12 Steps and 12 Traditions

    * HONESTY – Fairness and straight forwardness of conduct: adherence to the facts.* HOPE – To expect with desire; something on which hopes are centered.* FAITH – Complete confidence; belief and trust.* COURAGE – Firmness  of  mind  and  will  in  the  face  of  extreme  difficulty;  mental  or  moral  strength  to withstand fear.* INTEGRITY – The quality or state of being complete or undivided; soundness.* WILLINGNESS – Prompt to act or respond; accepted and done of choice or without reluctance.* HUMILITY – Not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive; a clear and concise understanding of what we are, followed by a sincere desire to become what we can be.* LOVE – Unselfish concern that freely accepts another in loyalty and seeks his good to hold dear.* DISCIPLINE – Training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character; to bring under control; to train or develop by instruction.* PATIENCE/PERSEVERANCE – Steadfast despite opposition or adversity; able or willing to bear; to persist in an understanding in spite of counter influences.* AWARENESS – Alive and alert; vigilance in observing.* SERVICE – A  helpful  act;  contribution  to  the  welfare  of  others;  useful  labor  that  does  not  produce  a tangible commodity.

    * What do you consider to be “these principles”?* Why is it important to practice them “in all your affairs”?* What does the word “practice” say to you?* How have your life and your relationships been changed by practicing this step?* What tools help you to practice these principles?* How to carry them “out of the rooms and into traffic.”* How have you used Al-Anon recovery principles in your life, and how were your actions, feelings, and reactions different?

    Readings and Links

    We read from How Al-Anon Works Step 12 discussion in Chapter 8.

    The reading referred to the book In All Our Affairs.

    Elizabeth read from One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, November 4 (p. 309).

    Upcoming topics

    Our topic for next week is honesty. what does a lack of honesty with ourselves and others look like and what does the program teach us about the importance of honesty to our recovery?

    Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecovery.show with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

    Music from the Show

    The Avett Brothers – No Hard Feelings

    Indigo Girls – Hammer and a Nail

    FC Kanuna – Hayling

    • 1 hr 23 min
    Fear of Abandonment – 364

    Fear of Abandonment – 364

    Do you fear being abandoned? How has it driven your life? How can recovery free you from this fear?

    Shannon says, I wanted to speak about the topic of Fear of Abandonment because (due to my childhood trauma) it’s a fear that I have struggled against my entire life and recently in 2020 was forced to face against my will. I wondered about others who have struggled in the same way and perhaps may find something in my story that might be helpful to their recovery.

    She grew up with an alcoholic father and a mother with mental health problems. When her father got angry, he would say he was leaving, get in his car, and drive away down their long driveway. “Several times I would be so terrified of the thought of him leaving and never coming back that I would run down the driveway after him. I remember seeing him notice me in his rearview mirror crying hysterically and yelling for him to come back. And he would always turn around and come back and tell my mother he only came back because of me.”

    Shannon was 7 when her grandfather died. Her mother reacted by retreating into depression and essentially emotionally abandoning her family. She says, “My father became my HP and protector and I lived to make him love me and be proud of me. He later (when I was around 18) got sober and never drank again and we had a very close and codependent relationship.”

    As an adult, she says, “I went from one bad relationship to the next, seeking out emotionally unavailable people who were incapable of loving and being responsible for themselves (some were alcoholics, some weren’t) who were most likely to abandon me as I, unknowingly at the time, tried to recreate the abandonment of my mother and threats of abandonment by my father.”

    In 2010, her father died shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. “I remember the morning he died like it was yesterday and watching the light go out in his eyes while I became that little girl in the driveway again, only this time he was never coming back. Without my ‘Higher Power’ and no recovery program my fear of abandonment was off the charts. My inner child went into hiding and I was running on the high of fear ever since, never even thinking to stop and look back.”

    She divorced in 2016, after realizing how toxic her relationship with her first husband was. Then she met the man who became her second husband, who was an alcoholic in recovery. He introduced her to Al-Anon and ACA, where she got sponsors and started working the steps in both programs.

    In doing her inventory she discovered how the fear of abandonment was at the root of many of her shortcomings. She says “the 3 I’s helped me: Inventory, Identity, Integrity”.

    “I found the more I worked at my inventories, the more I formed my own identity and began to see who I really was, instead of who my father or relationship partners wanted or needed me to be. This was actually a very long process …, but I can see my progress every day now and because I now have a better sense of who I am (identity), I have a much easier time setting and enforcing clear boundaries (integrity). Until I had my own identity, boundaries were impossible to set, much less enforce. This has been a huge change for me and my recovery.”

    We talked about recovery tools she uses, including

    * A God Box.* Learning that happiness can be a choice, and that she has choices.* “No” is a complete sentence

    She concludes, “Now that I have faced my past, learnt what I can from it, I feel it’s time to let it go and move forward. After a very long and painful journey, today I choose happy.”

    • 1 hr 54 min
    Finding Compassion for the Alcoholic – 363

    Finding Compassion for the Alcoholic – 363

    How did I find compassion for the actively drinking alcoholic in my life?

    At first, I had no compassion. I had anger, frustration, and frustration, instead.

    Why would I want to find compassion? The two big reasons were, for me and for her.

    For me—I could start to release my anger, resentment, and frustration, or at least move it off of my loved one.

    For her—I could stop blaming her and start supporting her (as Tradition 5 says, “by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives.”)

    How I got there

    I learned about the disease of alcoholism. A residential treatment facility offered weekly lectures about alcoholism as part of their “friends and family day”. There I became intellectually convinced that alcoholism was a disease of mind, body, and spirit. I learned that my loved one did not choose to be alcoholic, and that the disease affected not only her body, but also her thinking and behavior.

    I attended many “open talks,” at which an AA member would tell “what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now.” For me, these gave me two things:

    * An insight into the experience of the disease “from the inside,” and from people with whom I had no pre-existing anger, resentment, and frustration. I could hear their experience with an open mind, and then start to see the parallels with my loved one's experience.* Hope. Here were many people who had descended into the depths of despair and sickness. Some went deeper and some less deep, but they had all found their way to recovery. This gave me hope that my loved one would also find recovery some day.

    As I learned and listened, I found an image that was my first step towards compassion. I visualized her as the passenger in a car driven by her disease. It was driving recklessly and crazily. She was trapped in the car, sitting in the passenger seat, screaming in terror.

    OK, I have compassion. Now what?

    What other principles and tools did I learn that worked along with the compassion to enable me to continue to live in the chaos of active alcoholism? I'll mention just a few of the most important.

    First, the “3 C's”. That I didn't cause her alcoholism, that I couldn't cure it, and that I could not even control it. When I first heard these words, I felt a weight come off of me that I hadn't realized I was carrying. Those words encouraged me to come to my first Al-Anon meeting that same night. Much of my frustration and anger stemmed from the idea that it was my job to control or cure her drinking. I now had permission to stop that fight.

    Next, detachment. Specifically, detachment with love. That bizarre concept that I can let go of my attachment to her behavior but stay connected to her, and I can start to learn where the boundary is between me and the rest of the world. That I can detach her from her disease, love the one and hate the other. That I can realize that the behavior I hate is part of the disease and not part of her. This helps me to let the anger, resentment, and frustration flow out of me.

    And last, but certainly not least, is the Serenity Prayer. Where I ask for help to accept the things I cannot change (mostly other people and their behavior), change the things I can change (mostly just myself), and, perhaps most importantly, the wisdom to know the difference. Because I can not do this by myself.

    These tools, meetings, our literature, program friends, my sponsor, and the compassion they helped me to find meant that I was present when my loved one said “I don't want to drink today.

    • 47 min
    Avoidance (running away from scary feelings) – 362

    Avoidance (running away from scary feelings) – 362

    Do you find yourself avoiding scary feelings? Are you running away from things you don’t want to face? How are you facing your fears instead?


    We start our conversation with Kathy and Sabah with a couple of definitions, recognizing that pausing is healthy, while avoiding is usually not.

    Pause: interrupt action or speech briefly. – from GoogleA pause is a short period when you stop doing something before continuing. – from Collins English Dictionarysynonyms: Stop, Cease, Halt , Discontinue

    Avoidance: an act or practice of avoiding or withdrawing from something – from Merriam Webster Dictionarysynonyms: dodge, retreat, flight, escape, sidestep


    And also a couple of quotes.

    A ‘No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. – Mahatma Gandhi

    When I was younger, I was terrified to express anger because it would often kick-start a horrible reaction in the men in my life. So I bit my tongue. I was left to painstakingly deal with the aftermath of my avoidance later in life, in therapy or through the lyrics of my songs. – Alanis Morissette

    Avoidance Coping

    We talked briefly about an article titled “Avoidance Coping and Why It Creates Additional Stress“, which included some tips on “How to avoid avoidance coping.”

    What is avoidance coping? Briefly, it is “trying to avoid stressors rather than dealing with them.” But often, this just causes more stress.

    How can you stop avoiding and instead actively cope with stressful situations? Some of the recommended steps may sound familiar. The article has a longer list with more details, of course.

    * Recognize when you are doing it (i.e. Step 4).* Take small steps (for me, this is often what happens in Steps 6 & 7)* Identify other options, find new ways to relieve stress, and practice them (ditto plus at least Step 11).

    How did we run away?

    Kathy described the “back story” of this topic, which included not avoiding discomfort while recording our earlier episode (356 – Domestic Violence and Other Unacceptable Behavior).

    When do we (or did we) avoid scary feelings, and how? Kathy says that she packs away her feelings, “… those things are not something that's healthy for me to dig in. Like it's better to just move on and focus on other things.” The idea of dealing with them later is something I can identify with, for sure. But, does “later” ever come? Spencer relates an occasion when “later” was forced by a deadline, and he discovered that what he had been fearing was not real. He could have avoided months of anxiety by just dealing with it earlier.

    What tools do we have?

    A tool that helps us to “unpack” these feelings that have been packed away is the 4th Step inventory. We can dig deep in our “searching and fearless” inventory with the help of our sponsor or step group. Asking for relief of shortcomings (such as procrastination) in Steps 6 and 7 helps us to be able to stay with our feelings in the moment, instead of running away. Sabah says “emotion doesn't control me anymore. I [can] say that I own my emotions.”

    Slogans such as “take it easy”, “first things first”, “just for today,

    • 1 hr 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
1.1K Ratings

1.1K Ratings

Peaceful Laura ,

Medicine for My Soul

I’ve been attending Alanon for 4 months now. With three qualifiers in my life, I did not know how much I needed the program AND this podcast. I listen to your podcast most every morning along with time in my Bible and in Alanon daily readings. “My word” for 2021 is PEACEFUL, and this podcast gives me a peaceful start to my day. Thank you for your service. P.S. I’m in West Michigan, so hello to my Ann Arbor friends!

ithinkthis is rigged ,

Wonderful. Refreshing.

Thank you for your service.

xebec_lady ,

Life saver!

I discovered this podcast during COVID lock down while my loved was experiencing a relapse. I had been away from Al-anon for many years, and this has been a wonderful refresher course! Also a great meeting substitute! Thanks Spencer, co-hosts and guests!

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