396 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 • 1.2K 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.

    Recovery in the TV/Film Industry – 388

    Recovery in the TV/Film Industry – 388

    Lisa H is using her recovery tools as she is working in the TV and film industry. My stereotype, at least, of this industry is that it is full of “dysfunctional” situations and people.

    Lisa came to Al-Anon when her therapist told her that although there was likely no alcoholism in her family of origin, there was an “alcoholic dynamic.” She says, “when I was there, I just felt really felt very safe and comfortable. And I immediately started crying. Like everyone started talking and I started crying and then someone talk and I started crying and then I felt comfortable talking, but then I'd start talking and then I'd start crying.”

    In meetings, she “really loved people talking. They were talking about the truth of their lives and they were really sharing stories that were very, deep. … And I felt like at the time I was not surrounded by people who were really sharing truthful experiences … somehow I was craving it.”

    “When I first started, I had that anxiety my chest, like I'd wake up in the morning and I'd have this anxiety.” Lisa got a sponsor and started working the steps. “I woke up one morning and I didn't have that anxiety in my chest. And then the next day I didn't have anxiety in my chest.” She says, “[it] was a higher power miracle that just took it away.”

    We spent some time talking about how she did her inventory. After she wrote it out, and shared it with her sponsor, then her sponsor would say “Are you ready to let go of this today?” After Lisa said (maybe tentatively) “Yes,” then her sponsor told her to rip it up.

    This brought us to talking about writing, inventory, journaling, etc. We both agree that writing brings out thoughts and ideas we didn't know we had, that we didn't know we were going to write until we wrote them. Which brought us to the story of what her dad wanted to tell her. And how her writing anticipated the totally unexpected things he had to share with her and her sister.

    Finally, we got to her experience working in the TV and film industry, and how Al-Anon has helped her do so more sanely. And how she has come to a realization about what she really wants to do with her life.

    Readings and Links

    Lisa read from Courage To Change, Nov 7.

    A listener wrote to recommend the ACA Adult Children Voices Across America podcast. (The link is to this podcast on Apple Podcasts — if you use a different app, you will need to search in that app to see if it's there.)

    Another listener recommended the book Sober Siblings: How to Help Your Alcoholic Brother or Sister-and Not Lose Yourself by Patricia Olsen.


    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

    Carole King – You've Got a Friend

    This next one has a content warning — it glorifies and celebrates excessive drinking.

    Cal Drinking Song

    Joe Cocker – You Are So Beautiful

    • 1 hr 33 min
    Co-Crazy – 387

    Co-Crazy – 387

    Are you co-crazy? How can we recover from the state of codependent craziness?

    Sarah M joined us to talk about her journey of recovery from what she calls “co-crazy”. Her book is titled Co-Crazy: One Psychologist's Recovery from Codependency and Addiction: A memoir & roadmap to freedom.

    Sarah says

    My path into recovery began when I was sober for 20 years or so and married a guy in the program who relapsed and my life fell apart. Before that I had gone to Al-anon when I was married in 1999 and it began to change my life. Going to Al-anon and working the steps and keeping the focus on myself rather than the other person was the turning point in my recovery.I wrote the book because I have worked with people in recovery for thirty years, and most people I worked with seriously struggled with their codependency.  I often say if my clients could do 2 things: 1) speak up and 2) set boundaries, I would not have a job! So treating the untreated codependency became what my work life was really about—helping people to look at the fear that was keeping them stuck and what was getting in the way..of speaking their truth…I believe codependency kills people. I am very committed to get this message out because focusing on others does not help you OR the other people, that is the delusion that coaddicts live in. My belief is the definition of codependency is simply the inability to be who you truly are. Its all about what others think and feel rather than what you think and feel.The take home message is that life can be soooo much easier and simpler when you just focus on yourself. You can find so much freedom and peace when you stay in your lane—and that you are worth it. That it is ok to feel good about yourself, its not selfish, you don’t have to feel guilty—focusing on yourself actually works so much better for both people…

    Readings and Links

    Sarah read a couple passages from her book Co-Crazy: One Psychologist's Recovery from Codependency and Addiction: A memoir & roadmap to freedom. It is available through Amazon or directly from Sarah. (Purchasing through the Amazon link benefits The Recovery Show, purchasing it from Sarah means she doesn't have to pay Amazon's cut).

    In our conversation, we mentioned the podcast Adult Child. Be aware that the host, Andrea, uses explicit language that may not be suitable for all listeners.

    Several listeners mentioned the Al-Anon book Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses.

    Another listener suggested a book on dementia that had helped him: The Last Ocean: What Dementia Teaches Us About Love, by Nicci Gerard.

    In response to a listener looking for resources for a teen whose mother is in rehab, I suggested listening to the stories of recovering alcoholics, such as those presented on the Sober Speak podcast, and that they might want to try Alateen meetings, which are listed on the Al-Anon website, including online meetings available in the Al-Anon app.

    Talk to the show

    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.

    • 1 hr 37 min
    Loss and Grief – 386

    Loss and Grief – 386

    I recently was asked to lead at an online meeting. This is what I said about loss and grief. Then, I asked some of you to share your responses, and you did!

    Spencer on Loss and Grief

    Thank you, Jo. thank you for inviting me. I have some gratitude that today is a holiday in the USA so that, I'm not at work, which I normally would be at two o'clock in the afternoon, which is what it is for me here in Michigan. and that I'm able to share something with you. When Jo asked me to speak, I thought, what am I gonna talk about?

    And then of course I let it go. And this morning when I had this panic at noon, my time that I thought, oh, no, the meeting is starting and I'm not there. I realized I hadn't thought about a topic. So I said, what's going on in my life right now. And one of the things that is going on in my life right now, and has been part of my life for a while now is, loss and grief. So I thought I'd share some experience, strength and hope, my experience, strength and hope, on that topic.

    And I'm gonna be reading, from this Al-Anon book a little bit, it's called Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses, and it is a book about loss and grief and, how, we can move through them, move into them, with , the tools of Al-Anon recovery. And I will note that this book has very recently been made available as an ebook also. So if that is your preferred mode of reading, go buy it at Amazon or apple or nook or wherever else eBooks are sold.,

    So I wanna start with a reading. and this is a reading that I was at a point in my life where I didn't know that I was grieving. And I, for some reason I picked up this book and different parts of this book have spoken to me at different times in my life. But when I opened the book .

    There's a section titled the recurring nature of grief. It's right at the beginning of the book, page 14, it says it is often these little changes that catch us by surprise. They seem to come out of nowhere. The day in and day out, disappointments of living with an alcoholic can become commonplace until one day we wake up feeling the effect of all those small losses.

    Why, we wonder, do we suddenly feel sad about our situation, especially when we may have spent months or even years living this way. Many of us have lived with the notion that grief is something we feel when we have lost something tangible when someone has died or gone away. In Al-Anon. We learn that though the alcoholic may still be living, he or she isn't able to be fully present emotionally, spiritually, or even physically.

    Recognizing that we are not living the lives we had planned or hoped for, with the person we love is a loss that occurs gradually. Each day, we lose a little bit more until what remains is merely a shadow of the person or life we thought we knew. Living with ongoing grief of this kind can be particularly trying.

    I'm gonna come back to that reading where I wanted to start actually was this recognition that I had, when I read that passage, that I was grieving the loss of, of something that had been part of my life that had been really important in my life for a long time. and I had recently returned from a conference, for this particular hobby that I was involved in.

    And while I was at that conference, I just wasn't getting the enjoyment out of it that, that I used to get, and I didn't understand why not. And I was feeling very restless, irritable, and discontent during the conference. And I came home and I picked up this book a few days later and I read that and recognized that I was no longer as deeply involved in this and that I'd been gradually withdrawing from it for quite a while. And it took this conference where there were, several hundred people,

    • 1 hr 28 min
    Worry Less — 385

    Worry Less — 385

    Does your mind automatically tune into the worry-and-fear channel? Are you suffering from worry about your loved ones? What tools have you found to help escape from constant worrying?

    Gigi joins Spencer to talk about strategies and tools to worry less. We started with some of her story of codependence and worry.

    She identifies “whispered lies” as a primary source of worry. You may be familiar with the “committee in your head” that tells you all the things you are doing wrong, and all the things that could go wrong.

    The 4 strategies to worry less are

    * Get honest (with yourself)* Claim power (a higher power)* Choose a new future* Use your growth practices (aka tools)

    These connect to the 12 steps roughly like this: Get honest is Step 1, where we admit that the way we have been living isn't working for us (so well). “Claim power” is Steps 2 and 3, where we become aware that a higher power can help us, and ask for that help. We choose a new future in Steps 4-7, and take action to affirm that choice in Steps 8 – 12. And there are tools that help us in getting honest, claiming power, choosing a future, and worrying less.

    Gigi discovered these strategies and tools for herself, and has shared them with us in her book Worry Less Now. The book describes 50 tools, and we certainly don't talk about all of them. Gigi does give examples of how she has used some of them in her journey to worrying less.

    Once she got honest enough with herself to break through her denial, she thought “there must be a way to live other than by my will” (because her will was not bringing her happiness). What power could help? We talk about sources of power such as a program of 12-step recovery, the God of your religion, a divine spark within yourself, and a loving community. These are not exclusive — it's possible to reach out to all or any of them.

    A few tools

    Mindfulness Meditation is a key to self-awareness and self-honesty, as well as a great tool for getting off the “worry train”. Part of mindfulness meditation is to “watch” your thoughts. And as you're doing that, you might wonder, “who/what is it that is watching my thoughts?” and perhaps realize that “my thoughts are not me!” (Which, of course, means that “my worry is not me”.)

    Finding a community of support. Many of us find such a community in our recovery program. In fact, this may be the first place we find such a supportive community. But it doesn't have to be the only such place. It is important to pick your “support people” carefully, though. One important characteristic to look for is the ability to listen fully, without interrupting, without injecting their own experience, and without giving unwanted advice!

    The Serenity Prayer is something that many of us are already familiar with. It is a tool for claiming that positive power we are looking for.

    The Golden Key is a practice of turning your thoughts away from the problem and towards positive power. If you have a Higher Power called God, then for you it might be a practice of “bringing God in”. Another term is “living in the solution” instead of “living in the problem.”

    Readings and Links

    We did talk about Gigi's book Worry Less Now. We could not have covered all 50 tools and the supporting strategies in the time we had together. It is available directly from Gigi, or via other online merchants such as a href="https://amzn.

    • 1 hr 45 min
    Leaning into Faith – 384

    Leaning into Faith – 384

    How have you found faith, and how has it helped you let go of fear?

    Kathy joins Spencer to dig into these questions and to share some recent experiences that prompted this topic. Our conversation touched on and was inspired by these topics:

    * Fear and old behavior* Fear of the G-O-D word* How believe in a higher power became easier* A story of “going through the fire to get to the other side” that pushed her into believing* Examples of asking for help and seeing the clear, powerful result of that request* “Faith V2” — really trusting and believing in my HPs path* related to acceptance, powerlessness, willingness, surrender, humility* Kathy's heart issue* COVID and fear of financial instability (and a trip to Disneyland)

    A friend sent an inspirational quote on the day we were recording the podcast

    Own ItThis life is yours.Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.Unknown

    Kathy wrote about this:

    As we were digging into this and unpacking it as you say, their question was, it’s so overwhelming when I don’t know who I am… choosing what I want is such a big choice

    I wanted to share this in the podcast because I feel like that’s an HP thing that this question came to me today

    the strength of trusting in our HP is that we don’t have to know all the answers right now, thats where the faith comes in

    taking it one tiny step at a time, using my HP for help to see which indicated next step is following my HPs path for me

    Closing thoughts

    Choosing faith over fear led me to be able to have serenity even in the middle of an emergency / crisis… 

    it gives me great comfort to know that I have a HP to lean on, & my loved ones have their own HP and I’m not it

    my worries don’t fix anything or anyone including myself, so it’s much better for everyone involved if I just let all that go

    The thing I love about this program is that I can discover tools that work for me, that allow me to have serenity and peace.  Every day, every moment I have a choice – I can either use my tools or not.  If I put the tools down, the next moment I can choose to pick them up again.  My own serenity is up to me, which is the greatest example of self care I can give myself.  

    I matter, I have value, and my serenity is worth making the effort to keep and protect.

    Readings and Links

    We read from

    Courage to Change, Sept 8, p. 252

    One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, Sept 4, p. 248 and March 14, p. 74

    Al-Anon Groups at Work, p. 24, Understanding Ourselves (last paragraph) This can be found in the Al-Anon Alateen Service Manual, which you can read online or download as a PDF file.

    Kathy mentioned the Force and Power episode, number 249, which she said is “probably my favorite episode ever on The Recovery Show.”

    Alateen electronic meet...

    • 1 hr 23 min
    Laurel S — Alcoholism Ended her Marriage — 383

    Laurel S — Alcoholism Ended her Marriage — 383

    Laurel's story begins: My wife was 6 years sober when we met – but not in program. “AA doesn’t work for me”. She remained sober another 6 years. After our first baby and a big move for my career (that put her closer to her family) she decided she “wanted to try drinking again. I think I can do it normally. I’m not the same depressed person I was in my 20s.” I was extremely apprehensive, and extracted all kinds of promises from her that if it became a problem, she would stop. But I also found it impossible to tell her “no” – how do you tell your spouse that you don’t trust them? And stay married? So in 2014, she began to drink casually. I didn’t know then, what I know now thanks to Al-Anon and AA – that this is the big delusion of all alcoholic – that they will someday be able to drink like other people can.

    As you might expect, things did not get better from there. Her growing family was affected financially by choices her wife made. The hardest blow was when her wife withdrew from intimate relations. Laurel felt betrayed, but continued to try to keep her marriage going.

    Listen to hear more, and what brought her to Al-Anon and the decision to ask for a divorce. At the beginning she went to 90 meetings in 90 days. She continues to attend meetings and work the steps. Laurel is now using the tools of recovery to take care of herself and her children.

    Readings and Links

    We read from Courage to Change, January 2, p. 2; June 3, p. 155; and October 7 p. 281.

    A couple of podcast episodes that have particularly helped Laurel are episode 146, Emotional Safety; and episode 342, Co-parenting with an Alcoholic.

    A listener recommended the book Mindfulness and the 12 Steps: Living Recovery in the Present Moment.

    Upcoming topics

    Our topic for next week is “faith vs fear”. How have you found faith, and how has it helped you let go of fear? 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

    George Harrison — Isn't it a Pity

    Fleetwood Mac – Landslide

    Iris Dement – Let the Mystery Be

    • 1 hr 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
1.2K Ratings

1.2K Ratings

Snowmom17 ,

Tip toeing into Al-Anon

I want to thank you for continuing to put out this amazing podcast. To be honest I should definitely be in Al-Anon! Probably since birth!! my fear and perfectionist personally persuade me to believe I’m FINE! Haha jokes on me! I plan on attending an in-person meeting in the near future. Without this podcast I would have never even consider searching for one in my area! I’m so grateful!

whyme2345 ,

Thank You!

Your podcast has been my go to ever since I discovered it! I have learned so much and found such comfort in your episodes and cannot express how much I appreciate the time and effort you give to this project. You really make a difference in my journey to understand and survive my two qualifiers as well as understand myself and why I reacted as I did. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

bsayw10 ,

Thank you!

Thank you for this podcast. I’ve been to a couple meetings but didn’t feel comfortable due to social anxiety. This has been a wonderful stepping stone for my healing journey. I’m starting from the first episode and working my way through.
Take care, Britt

You Might Also Like

Michelle Anderson
Mark S.
AA Podcast
John M
Lynn Matti