Spencer and Amy — a couple in recovery — 294

Recently, my wife, Amy, and I were guests on the podcast Sober Speak. This is our sharing — what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now. We spoke both of our own experience and of our shared experience.

I hope that something we said connects with you.


Lynne – Grief can be a wonderful thing – 293

Lynne tells her story – what it was like, what happened, and what it's like now. She touches on grief both before and after entering recovery, on parenting, and on co-parenting with an alcoholic. Lynne tells of the alcohol fueled death of a close friend, and of the later crisis that brought her into Al-Anon. I really enjoyed our conversation together.

Readings and Links

Lynne read from Courage to Change, January 2.

She recommend the “grief book”, Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses.

Her home group is working the Steps, Traditions and Concepts using the workbook Reaching for Personal Freedom.

In response to questions from listeners, we mentioned some resources with “open talks” from AA and other programs:

  • Recovery Radio Network, which is both a podcast and a website.
  • XA Speakers, a website with a huge collection of speakers from many “anonymous” programs.
  • Sober Speak, a podcast where members of AA (and occasionally Al-Anon) share their stories.

A listener shared that she recently started using Insight Timer, and thanked Eric for recommending it.


An upcoming topic is “having had a spiritual awakening”. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com to share your spiritual experience or awakening. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading “Lynne – Grief can be a wonderful thing – 293”

Sayings, Quotes, Proverbs, and Parables – 292

Do you have a few sayings or quotes that support your recovery? How do you use them?

Spencer and Eric explore a long list of sayings, quotes, proverbs, and parables. We talked about all of these, some at length, and some quite briefly. Some of these have dates in the form month/day, which refer to readings in the book Courage to Change.

  • Take what you like and leave the rest.
  • Let it begin with me.
  • You are not alone.
  • Don’t pick up the rope.
  • I don't have to attend every dog fight I'm invited to.
  • not my monkeys not my circus
  • There are only two types of business; my business, and none of my business.
  • We’re only as sick as our secrets.
  • Move a muscle, change a thought. (Act my way into right thinking.)
  • Don’t just do something, sit there. When in doubt don’t.
  • First thought, wrong thought.
  • I am a human being, not a human doing.
  • Participation is the key to harmony.
  • Worry is like a rocking chair; going back and forth and going nowhere.
  • The only way I can push people, is away from me.
  • Say what you mean but don’t say it meanly.
  • The enemy of serenity is indecision and hurry.
  • Came, Came to, and Came to Believe!
  • Show up, wake up, smarten up.
  • I can’t, he can, I think I’ll let him.
  • “If you understand, things are just as they are.  If you don’t understand, things are just as they are.” Zen proverb.
  • It works if you work it!
  • If nothing changes, nothing changes.
  • Let go or be dragged.
  • Stop living in the wreckage of the future.
  • Life on life’s terms.
  • Keep my head where my feet are.
  • Fear and faith can’t live in the same house.
  • When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
  • What other people think of me is none of my business.
  • Do the next right thing.
  • If I don’t have 5 minutes to meditate, take 10.
  • My best thinking got me here.
  • If my only prayer today is thank you, that will suffice.
  • The family situation is bound to improve as we apply the Al-Anon ideas.
  • I may not get everything I want today but I have everything I need.
  • Forgiveness is letting go of hoping for a better yesterday.
  • Look back but don’t stare.
  • Parable of the two wolves — Which one wins? The one you feed.
  • When going through hell, keep going.
  • When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot.
  • When 1 door closes, another door opens, but living in the hallway is hell.
  • Before sunlight shines through a window, the blinds must be raised.  American – 3/5
  • Patience is the key to paradise.  Turkish – 5/14
  • When we talk of tomorrow, God laughs.  Chinese – 5/17
  • The highest for of wisdom is kindness.  The Talmud – 4/13
  • “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abe Lincoln
  • “Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.”  MLK Jr – 8/6
  • “Even if I knew tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”  Martin Luther – 11/5
  • “The oak grows stronger in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”  Peter Marshal – 3/23
  • “There is no try.  There is do or not do.”  Yoda
  • “Fear leads to hate, hate to anger, anger to suffering.”  Yoda
  • “Example is not the main thing in influencing others.  It is the only thing.” Albert Schweitzer – 12/9

Readings and Links

Links to longer explanations about or readings of the parables we discussed:

Pandoras box
Cheshire Cat
The two wolves

The original list that we worked from is available as a PDF document.


We are planning an episode of spiritual experiences / spiritual awakenings. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com to share yours. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Step 11 with Mary Pearl T – 291

How have you deepened your conscious contact with your higher power? What is your practice of prayer and meditation?

Mary Pearl T leads us on an exploration of Step 11, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” She uses stories to illuminates her understanding of the step with her usual blend of humor and depth.


In an upcoming episode, we will be talking about our favorite quotes and sayings. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

But One Purpose – 290

Our 5th tradition says, Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. How do we do this? How has this supported and worked in your recovery?

In full, it reads, Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.

I explore how this tradition appeared in my life, in reverse order of the phrases in the tradition.

Welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.

    • I walked into my first Al-Anon meeting with some fear and trepidation. I didn’t know what I was going to find there, and I was terrified that I’d meet someone who knew me. Of course, that happened even before I stepped into the room!
    • I really don’t remember what anyone said at that meeting, but by the end of the meeting, I knew one very important fact: I WAS NO LONGER ALONE!
    • I was welcomed with open and loving arms into the Al-Anon fellowship. That alone was enough for me to come back the next week, and the next, and the next.
    • I try to remember to extend this welcome whenever a new person comes to a meeting, but also to all members, whether new or “long timers”. This can be a spiritual practice: to smile, to say “hi”, and to listen with real interest.
    • In my experience, there is no comfort to be had that is greater than someone saying, “I’ve been there. This is what I did. It wasn’t easy, but I got better.”

Understanding and encouraging our alcoholic relatives.

    • Oh, this was hard. I was so angry and resentful of my loved one’s alcoholism. Initially, I was angry at her. Why couldn’t she just stop. Or maybe just drink normally? Why couldn’t we go back to the “way it was”?
    • I started to learn about the disease concept by attending “friends and family” days at treatment centers (and yes, there were several of these).
    • What really drove home to me that alcoholism was a disease, and that it was not a choice of my loved one, was attending AA speaker meetings. During my first few years, I must have attended 100 of these. I started to see that the “arc” of their story was the same, even though all the details were different.
    • I could hear my wife’s story in other people’s voices, when I couldn’t hear it from her. I could start to develop compassion for her struggle.
    • “Encouraging” — What does that mean? It’s not standing on the sideline shouting “Rah!” or “Ole!” or “you can do it!” At least I don’t think so. For me, it was being loving (as best I could), whether she was drinking or not. It was not berating her when she slipped, as she did many times. And it wasn’t always easy.

Practicing the 12 steps of AA ourselves.

  • This is where recovery happened for me. I had to find (at least the concept of) a higher power. I had to look at myself and ask for help to change. I had to clean up “my side of the street.” And I had to grow into a new way of living, and finding a new emotional and spiritual center for myself.

Readings and Links

I read from Courage to Change, December 20.


Upcoming topics include quotes. What quotes have helped you or inspired you?

A listener suggested the topic of Spiritual Experiences. Have you had a spiritual experience (large or small)? Share it and help us to put together an episode.

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