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Deep Breaths, Both Lungs, Simple Self-Care

(Audio From Online Retreat May 15 - 17, 2020)

 

For Friends and Families Of Alcoholics and Addicts, 12 Step Based

 

Father Tom shares about Recovery through Grace, Wisdom, and Humor.

 

In recovery, we learn to mind our own business, instead of going around giving people a piece of our mind or advice for everything. We get to learn how to live with a crazy person and not go crazy ourselves. When we find ourselves agitated, we can practice using tools like the Serenity Prayer to help change the way we handle a situation. There are things we just simply cannot change. We want to know what those things are so we don’t waste our time on them and turn our focus on the things we can.

 

We get to practice focusing on our recovery and our Higher Power. With practice, we begin to worry less and trust in the process. In the disease of alcoholism and addiction, we learned how to survive not to thrive in our own life. Recovery teaches us to thrive regardless of the situation. We learn how to live simply and enjoy the here and now! This is what sanity looks like. The key when we are in recovery is paying attention to our behaviors, attitudes, and thinking. Replying with “I don’t know” is an excellent sign of growth and wisdom.

 

The 12 Steps are a simply sophisticated way to learn how to be a human being instead of a human doing!

(May 15 – 17, 2020)

The Things We Have In Common:

Friends, Companions, Allies….. Recovering From Alienation

 

(Audio From Online Retreat April 24-26, 2020)

 

Join Fr. Tom, as he guides you through the weekend to see what helps you instead of hurting you.

 

Getting through these days without harming yourself or others is vital. When we mind our own business and stay out of other people's way, we may gain Peace and Serenity. We always have more to learn and ways to grow in the life of recovery. During these current times, when life is uncertain, it's essential to keep things simple.

 

Say to yourself, "I Am Here." "I Am Present." Acknowledge when you may not be handling a situation very well. The future isn't what it used to be. Stay away from critical fearful thoughts as well as the words: might, possibly, and maybe. We need to be emotionally present, to be here now.

 

We want to pay attention to our feelings and emotional state. When the news bombards us, and we can't make sense of life, we are left worrying and buzzing with confusion. We can't breathe. We become depleted and exhausted. Pay attention to the people, places, or things that may not be for your highest good. Our program teaches us to become more of a human being than a human doing. We embody this by practicing life on life's terms vs. life on our terms.

We do this One Day at a Time. (4/20)

You’re In Charge Until You're Not...

Sometimes the third step prayer is as simple as HELP!
One day at a time I can practice how to be in the present. I start by asking or praying for God’s help, that is enough to get started. Whether new or having been around a while, we learn that there is a big difference between being dry or being sober. It doesn’t matter if it is within ourselves or being around our someone we love. 
When we ask for help it is our beginning to getting well. Simply asking is the Spiritual way to mental health! Healing happens just by being. “Keep coming back” works if you let it.
The first step is about the train wreck. The following steps are about how to live in our own skin relatively comfortably and how to navigate through relationships and life. We don’t realize how lucky we are when we make it to our first meeting. It can be the beginning of lifelong healing.
When we feel inconvenienced or pushed out of our comfort zone we learn, just like when we exercise, we need to be stretched in order to grow and heal. We find that even disappointments are a type of soft resentment and how to watch out for them. 
Having a safe place to go with safe people helps us to gain experience on how to navigate not only the big things in life but also the day to day challenges. Meetings can help us to keep our feet on the ground and get in touch on how we really feel. We want to stay out of the drama and stay in the solution. We find what enhances our lives and what takes away, as well as what motivates us. To look at the bigger picture.
When we are exhausted and worn out the war is over! We lost… When we stop fighting everything and learn how to rest and take care of ourselves. You need an ego, just not the one that crushes everyone. It takes time so give yourself a break. A lot of recovery isn’t efficient, quick, or easy. So don’t compare yourself with others.
You are who you are. Find out your heart’s desires and rebuild your life! Find that authenticity. We are given the gift of today, what a gift! Build your world of friends, companions, and allies!
(1/20)
 

Bits of Hope While Crazies Surround Us!

This talk was recorded the day after Thanksgiving, and leading into the Holiday Season. Fresh into the crazy! By continually learning to and gaining tools to maneuver through this time of year, or through any groups or gatherings, with some sense of sanity. Fr. Tom shares insights on how we can do better during get-togethers of any kind and learn more about ourselves. When we are in recovery, somethings can seem like a crisis, whether new or having been around for a few days.

Fr. Tom talks about being able to wake up in the morning without dread and learn how to celebrate life. By reading, writing, and meditating and not wasting time on things we cannot change, really frees up your days. We learn we can not change the past, but we can better our future. By coming into the program, we hopefully have received the Gift Of Desperation. We often don’t realize it’s a gift for a very long time.

At this retreat Fr. Tom has a special guest, Dr. Mary cross. Dr. Cross touches on the benefits of the 11th Step and Conscious Contact in your daily practices. As we awaken in our recovery, we see our “dry bones” and may recognize for the very first time that our life was a train wreck. We may recognize that we were so angry because we were so scared. We learn how to sidestep traps by responding to the crazies rather than reacting. We practice learning how not to say everything we are thinking.

We only have today to live, that 24 hours is a gift. We learn how to do this by practicing with the tools we have picked up in our recovery and not thinking or projecting into the future, that’s insanity.

Practicing this to the best of our ability, we can learn to lessen the crazy! This is the freedom that comes by Living Life One day At A Time. (11/19)

Honesty Gets Us Sober,

and Tolerance Keeps Us Sober

Making mistakes is important in recovery. If something doesn’t work, we can begin again. For those of us who have been around for a while, it might be time to try something new — maybe begin to review our days and looking for grace, kindness, and mercy. When you let this energy flow doors open, kindness and grace happen.

Begin to train your eyes to see all that is beautiful and full of life. You will develop your own experiences of God. Fr. Toms explains how to open our hearts and have a richer recovery program — living more authentic little by little, coming back to life. (11/19)

Stop Fighting Everything All The Time…

In this series Fr. Tom discusses topics like:

Are you miserable enough to be welcomed in? We are so glad to see you.
We often don’t know what healthy looks like when we're used to unhealthy.

If we haven’t had any examples of sanity, it may be difficult to know what sanity looks like.
What do we do when we come to and wake up, to a lot of chaos.

In recovery, we gain tools to learn how to be vulnerable and transparent with sponsors, mentors and our peers. We learn how to participate in life as human beings by waking up and coming to.
In the program, we learn how to be and let other people be. Instead of pushing people away we let them in. These are some of the tools that we gain that we may be astonished! Learning how to let go of the past and let go of the future to practice being in the moment. (9/19)

Learning How To Live Your Life, And Letting Others Live Theirs

There is freedom when you practice letting go. By practicing being present, being here, you can develop a sense of peace, a chance to listen. It takes a while in recovery, and we learn by practicing the principles in our daily living. When you lose faith and hope it’s time to HALT and take time for some self-care. The result of any addiction is isolation. The Gift Of Desperation, or G.O.D., is a Great Gift. In Recovery, you are not alone. Our program offers tools to reconnect and gain back little bits of hope and sanity. Through the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, we learn how much work and practice went into getting us to where we are today. One day at a time! We understand because we are the same. We all get to make a million mistakes, and with each other, and the program, we can get back on track. Stay and look for the similarities and not the differences. The Steps help us make progress, and that is where Miracles Happen by learning how to live your life and let others live theirs. Your life can become much Lighter! (7/19)

Secrets Have Power - Telling Our Story Heals

There is healing in telling our story. From sharing our stories, we learn to identify with other people’s stories. When we share stories of struggles and joys, our lives become so much better.

We soon realized we have all come back from hard lives and situations. Knowing we’re not alone and finding that common ground with a common solution. Finding hope and help through generations of alcoholism, addiction, and dependencies where there has been isolation, misery, shame, and secrets. Through our stories, we create a kinship based on common suffering, finding that we are not alone. In recovery, we get to wake up and start looking at the damage and the steps to repair it. Taking care of unfinished business and no longer drowning in self-centered fear. Finding out we are not alone and don’t have to recover on our own! Having hope and help as we continue on the journey of recovery, sharing stories with others. (5/19)

Show Up, Pay Attention, Tell The Truth And Let Go Of The Results
The program is for living. Many of us know how to survive, but not live. Our survival skills have helped us function to this point because of our denial and survival skills we don’t recognize how crazy we may be.
The program offers us a reprieve from the worst of our crazy. We learn that there is freedom in acceptance. As we ask for our defects to be removed, we are reminded they are not erased.
We recognize we truly are humans being, not human doings. When we feel exhausted, or overwhelmed, we can use the tools of Al-Anon. If you deal with the public, you need Al-Anon.
We are friends, companions, and allies in a world filled where humanity could use Al-Anon. We learn to have the life of a grown-up. Becoming less obsessed with the past and coming into the present to heal. Recovery helps us feel better, do everything better, not perfect, as we learn to allow our Higher Power to sort it out. (4/19)

Balance Through Work, Love, & Play

When in recovery having worked the steps the next phase is emotional balance. You may ask what is that? Father Tom gives guidance on how to bring balance to your life through work, love, and play and learning how to make decisions while serene, not in the H.A.L.T.  Hungry, angry, lonely, tired crazy stages.
Breathe deeply, don’t get discouraged, healing takes time. Recovery takes a while, recognize that you are growing and changing also. Continued written inventory is helpful in recognizing your growth. Reflect on what stands in the way of your usefulness to God and others. Then ask your Higher Power to show you what small changes can you make to make a big difference. This is slow, gradual growth. Remember to take what you need and leave the rest. (1/19)

The Flexible, Practical, Useful Twelve Steps

Are we willing to get well someone else’s way? Are we willing to have a beginner’s mind as a basis for daily living? Can we turn things over to God’s good care as a way to get out of the argument and stop fighting? While going through the 12 Steps, Fr. Tom W. tackles hard issues such as intolerance, bigotry, isolation, and feeling disconnected. Tom shares his understanding of God and what to do when you don’t have enough hope. What do we do about anger in ourselves and from others? Tom discusses what healthy looks and feels like, what makes a good share at a meeting and what restored to sanity means. It’s not enough just being in recovery, it’s finding the joy in recovery. (7/18)

Take What You Need And Leave The Rest

It’s easy to take what we want and leave the rest, but what if we take what we need?  Recovery is learning that we have our own stuff to deal with.  We wish we could change others – but we can’t.  In these great talks for those of us who love an alcoholic or addict, Father Tom talks about some of the changes we need to participate in.  And he shows us how to bring willingness to the changes. 

Father Tom discusses feelings.  Are we aware when we are feeling fear?  Or do we just get mad?  He talks about decision making.  Father Tom discusses ways to evaluate our emotional maturity.  He talks about approval seeking, paying attention rather than obsessing, and confusing love and pity.  These wonderful talks are not to be missed!  (6/18)

Waking Up To The Here And Now

In these wonderful talks, Father Tom W. shares with us how to focus on the present, where we are continually restored to sanity. Living in the present is where we find serenity, our truth, and our HP.  Do we have a willingness to respond?  

Recovery is an ongoing process.  We don’t get fixed, we get to wake up.  And if we are willing, we keep waking up.  Fr. Tom reminds us to pay attention and not get discouraged.   Do what works.  Keep growing.  Keep learning new things.

Whether you are a newcomer or have been in the program for a long time, these talks expand our awareness, recovery, and gratitude. (1/18)

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