Episodes
Published 11/21/22
What are the four primary ideas? How have they been active in my recovery?. * We are powerless over the problem of alcoholism. * Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable. * Admitting my powerlessness freed me to come to Al-Anon * It took many events to bring true acceptance of my powerlessness * I could not find serenity and peace in my life until I accepted my powerlessness * We can turn our lives...
Published 11/02/22
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...
Published 09/26/22
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...
Published 09/07/22
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...
Published 08/19/22
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,...
Published 07/27/22
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,...
Published 07/06/22
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...
Published 06/24/22
How do you remember the loved ones you have lost? How do you measure their lives? When my grandfather died, my father wrote a thoughtful, personal remembrance of him. At that time, I thought “I’d never be able to do that!” Because of the work I have done in recovery, I can do that. The examples of others who were vulnerable and open in their sharings. The work of self-examination that I did in working the steps (with the help of many others and a loving higher power). My own practice...
Published 05/30/22
How is acceptance a gift of recovery for me? In March, 2021, I gave a talk at an online conference. I tried to follow this outline. What is acceptance?  What is it not?  * Not “giving up”* Not saying “this is ok”* Recognizing reality How do I use acceptance? * Not “crying against the night”* Opening possibilities for change.* Doing the “next right thing”* Reduce expectations & resentments Early acceptance: Step 1: Powerless over my loved one’s...
Published 05/07/22
How do you practice awareness and acceptance? How have they helped you to take actions that change the things you can? Eric and Spencer were invited to share at an online AA conference as the Al-Anon speakers. Eric chose to talk about awareness, and Spencer about acceptance. Naturally we both included the “3 A's”, Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. The theme of the conference was The Language of the Heart, based on Bill W.'s writings for the The Grapevine, a monthly...
Published 03/30/22
What do you want to let go of? What is preventing you from completely letting go? Eric was inspired by a meditation he heard on the Insight Timer app, titled She Let Go. A very rough outline of our conversation follows: * What does it mean to let go?* Stop doing things that I don’t have the power to carry out (control someone else, e.g.)* What am I letting go of?* Resentment* Anger* Anxiety* Blame* Fear* Shame* Expectations* Catastrophizing the future* The past* The need...
Published 03/23/22
Al Anon Courage to Change: “We all have dark times in our lives, but the journey to better times is often what makes us happier, stronger people. When we stop expecting instant relief, we may come to believe that where we are today is exactly where our higher power would  have us be.” Lea's world fell apart one day, when her husband was diagnosed, in the Emergency Department, of liver failure from his drinking. She didn't even know that he was drinking that heavily, and had thought he...
Published 03/13/22
Our suggested opening tells us that “we can find contentment, and even happiness whether the alcoholic is drinking or not.” How does this happen? How can we deal with the “isms” of the disease in a way that is healthy for ourselves? Nancy joins Spencer to share how this has been true in her life. Nancy came to “the rooms” when her son was in trouble with alcohol and drugs as a teen. At that age, she and her husband were able to make him go to treatment. Fast forward about 30...
Published 03/02/22
A listener sent me a deeply moving and personal share about her life with her husband. She recorded the share shortly before attending his memorial service, after his death from the disease of alcoholism. She tells us of how he hid his drinking from her, and how it was not until he was nearly dead of the disease that she suspected the truth. She also shares her deep love for him and how much she enjoyed his company and their time together. In the end, she is at peace with both his life and...
Published 02/23/22
I recently received an email from a person who is in early recovery. He is struggling with getting really into the program, and listed these issues he has.  * Almost everybody member of my home group has years of recovery on me.* It seems that everybody has taken the steps at least one time, and I am still in step 2.* People talk about their higher power as if it is so obvious that everybody has one. It seems easy to know what a higher power is.* The fellowship seems a happy place...
Published 02/18/22
Is your recovery dependent on someone else’s? How does this hurt? Ester's partner decided to stop attending AA. How did she react? How did she use this to strengthen her own recovery? She paused (and let her HP in). She let him speak and did not say anything that would harm. The next challenge: he said “do you want to know more about this decision?” She felt that this was “like an alcoholic having a beer poured right in front of him.” YES! She wanted to know more, but...
Published 02/14/22
In November, I asked the members of the email list, “what are you grateful for today?” These are your responses. I had hoped to get them out shortly after the US Thanksgiving holiday, but as life happened, that didn’t happen. Maybe this is a reminder that we can practice gratitude every day. I said this in my email (with a small edit for circumstances since then.) For those of us in the US, our Thanksgiving holiday is just a few days away. Although it is important to me to...
Published 01/16/22
How do you embrace risk in your life today? How has this changed in recovery? Why can risk-taking be healthy? Spencer and SA explore these questions and others. “A ship in the harbor is safe—but that’s not what ships are for.” John A. Shedd Social psychology research tells us that at the end of their life, more people regret the risks they never took than the ones they did- even if it didn’t work out as they had hoped.  Today we explore the inherent role of positive, healthy...
Published 01/05/22
My mother breathed her last on this day. I reflect on her life, what she meant to me, and what seeds she planted in me.
Published 12/20/21
Are you a teacher? How has recovery changed the way you teach? What recovery tools do you use in the classroom? Rajni joins Spencer to share her experience as a teacher, both before and after entering recovery. Our conversation started with a bit of Rajni's story. Characteristics that she identified in herself, pre-recovery, included these: * Overdeveloped sense of responsibility – overcommitted * Hyper-vigilance* Perfectionism * Sarcasm* A lack of boundaries,...
Published 12/11/21
BHow have you treated yourself meanly or roughly? How have you learned to be gentle with yourself? Anna joins Spencer to talk about why being gentle with herself is so important in her recovery, and how an experience at Christmas revealed this to her and produced a spiritual awakening. Our conversation is guided by these concepts. * how I learned to love myself through the fellowship (“my fellows loved me until I could love myself”)* how I use the St. Francis Prayer as a...
Published 11/19/21
Lisa grew up in alcoholism, addiction and abuse. She is finding healing through writing a novel. Content warning: Lisa talks about some of the abuse she survived as a child. Here are some of the questions that guided our conversation. * Please tell us your story.* What inspired you to write?* How are your experiences reflected in your protagonist?* What did you learn about yourself while writing it?* How has writing helped you to heal?* What is your wish for someone...
Published 11/03/21
We say that alcoholism is a disease of relationships. What do we mean by this? How are our relationships damaged and how can we recover from that damage? Spencer and Megan used these questions to guide our conversation. * How has alcoholism affected your self-esteem? What were the results?* Share your experience of forming and sustaining close relationships before and during time in the program.* What about relationships we didn’t choose: family of origin/children. * How have...
Published 10/06/21