Pray To Your Higher Power and Row The Boat To Shore. What?

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I am happy to report a summer of moderate, if not radical, self-care has happened. Drop a comment below and share what self-caring action step you took this summer! How did you do?
As we move into Season 3 of The Embrace Family Recovery Podcast, I am excited to introduce you to more wonderful people sharing their stories of the family disease of addiction in their life. I have recorded some fantastic conversations and am constantly reminded of the resilience and courage of being human while navigating a chronic, progressive, and potentially fatal disease.
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See Full transcript below.


You’re listening to The Embrace Family Recovery Podcast, a place for real conversations with people who love someone with the disease of addiction. Now here is your host, Margaret Swift Thompson.

Margaret  00:28

Welcome back, here we are with another season of Embrace Family Recovery Podcast


The Embrace Family Recovery Podcast

Margaret  00:55

I hope you had a really good summer where you took care of yourself and did some fun things. And were gentle with yourself if it was difficult. It’s ironic that as I record this, we’re having one of our famous mountain thunderstorms. I don’t know if it’s coming through the mic, but it feels appropriate. 

I was determined this summer to do radical self-care. And now here comes the rain, which to me is a symbol of water. And I’ve come to appreciate how important water is in my recovery, my spirituality, and my self-care.

One of my favorite things my sponsor says to me is “pray to your higher power and row the boat to shore”. And how that relates to recovery is pretty clear today for me, but in early recovery, it was a foreign entity.

The concept being that I rely on my higher power, I turn to my higher power. And I do my part, I do the work required on a day-to-day basis to protect my recovery and my abstinence and prioritize my self-care. This was hard to do in early recovery because it felt so selfish. And that coming from a person who was always focused on caring for others, doing for others, feeling good enough about myself because someone else valued me. That’s like chasing a moving target, hoping that it will somehow be enough to fill my insides. 

I row but sometimes I find myself rowing against the current of my higher power, trying to take my control back, trying to make things go the way I want them to go. Having a hard time surrendering to the fact that life on life’s terms means letting go, because I don’t have the power to control the lives of anyone other than myself. And though I may love them, and though I may want them to do and be in a different place. It’s not in my power. 

As families, we love someone who is trapped by the disease of addiction. And we do everything in our power to free them from the trap. However, we can’t, we can love them, we can come alongside them. The greatest thing we can do is role model our own recovery out loud one day at a time. Show them that we’re willing to take it seriously that this is a family disease and that everyone in the family has been affected by the disease of addiction. 

Not to blame the addict but blame the disease. Not to take on responsibility to cajole to smooth over to be the cleaner or the sweeper. But to watch my own bobber as my good friend Dianne says. Take care of my side of the street as the 12 steps remind us. Prioritize myself and not believe that selfish but actually self-caring, and very much what we’re taught when we’re on the airplane. And the stewardess or steward says, put your own mask on first, before trying to assist anyone else. It’s counterintuitive. It is not something we’re familiar with. 

And though I committed to doing radical self-care, there were times this summer that I got derailed with Margaret wanting Margaret’s way and will. What I did do was take some time, regroup, dive into recovery, program, meetings. Engage in my new affiliation, which SHE RECOVERS, which is a wonderful recovery community for women and non-binary, women identifying people who can go twice a day to a gathering at no cost and meet with people working a patchwork of recovery, finding their way to health and wellness one day at a time. 

There were things this summer that I wish could have been different. Boy, that takes me back to my early days of wishing that my partner wasn’t struggling with a compulsion or wishing that I wasn’t a food addict and could eat anything I wanted, without consequence. Without that preoccupation and obsession, rearing its head. Wishing doesn’t make anything so. The work of recovery is what changes the landscape of how I live my day, one day at a time. 

I’ve talked to people on this podcast who shared they don’t feel grateful for the disease coming into their life. And I understand that, however I do. I feel incredibly grateful. Do I wish it wasn’t the case some days? Absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t have such a structured recovery program? That I didn’t suffer with mental stuff around my image? My food addiction. My other focus. Yes. However, if I had not met my ex fiancé, whose compulsion led me to the rooms of Al-Anon to my doors at Hazelden, where I got trained in a field that I never believed I would work in. For those I say, I’m grateful, because I was afforded a window into learning about recovery, and a solution that works for so many if we’re willing to work. 

One of the fun things I did this summer was go on a natural Lazy River up here in the mountains of North Carolina. It wasn’t too lazy because we had some rapids which led to some bumps and bruises, but boy, was it a lot of fun. I walk with the puppies, go down to the creeks and listen to the water. Joyfully, get mesmerized by the fireflies as they light up in the dusk. Saw a shooting star. Spent time with friends and went home to Bermuda to visit and do caretaking but also sit by the ocean. Enjoy the night sky filled with treefrogs whistling. There was pain. There was grief. There was frustration. But there was ultimately peace if I was willing to pray to my higher power and row the boat to shore. 

If I got resentful, I pulled out resentment sheets and did work on them. Life on life’s terms is just like the fact that I stood here today in my closet getting ready to do my podcast recording and the thunder started, and the rain is pounding. And I’ve decided to embrace it and let it be part of the background noise if it’s recording.


This podcast is made possible by listeners like you.

Margaret  07:52

Hey, it’s Margaret Swift Thompson, host of The Embrace Family Recovery Podcast, which was created to help people like you who love an addict feel less alone. You can find this podcast on your favorite platform. Don’t forget to hit the Follow button. And if you listen on the Apple podcast platform, do me a huge favor and write a review. I want more families to find this resource and you can help make that happen. Thanks.


You’re listening to The Embrace Family Recovery Podcast. Can you relate to what you’re hearing? Never miss a show by hitting the subscribe button. Now back to the show.

Margaret  08:35

Let’s talk about season three of The Embrace Family Recovery Podcast. I am so excited for this season. Not only professionally are things changing in the landscape of Embrace Family Recovery. But the podcast is making some shifts and change.

 I have some fascinating people already recorded and ready to go for you. I have Tennie McCarty, who is one of my gifts along my journey when I got to hear her speak as a recovering food addict/Compulsive Overeater. 

I also have a little variation from the family story where we’re gonna get the opportunity to hear from people who have the substance use disorder, the disease of addiction, share their story. One of those will be Randy Grimes. Who is the spouse of Lydia Grimes, who we’ve already had on the podcast. Before you get to hear from Randy make sure you check out Lydia’s podcast episodes, Episode 61,62 and 63. It’ll be so interesting and great to hear both sides of that coin. Randy is an ex-NFL football player who shares very candidly about the struggles as a professional sportsman when it comes to recovery, but also what a gift he is to his sports career. And now people coming along through football. He gives back constantly,

I have Adriana and Dianne, who are the geniuses behind the most beautiful movie I’ve seen this summer called The Creative High, and they are going to share more about their movie. 

There are going to be people talking about loss due to this disease because it’s important. When we recognize that addiction is a chronic, progressive, and fatal disease. We have to look at all aspects of it. Yes, we can recover. I often say when people ask me about this disease, I wish it on nobody. Because I don’t. I hate this disease. However, I also know that the hope in recovery for this disease can often be more possible. And a possible solution is there for this disease where many other chronic, progressive, and fatal illnesses, there is no possibility of recovery. 

I’m excited to introduce you to people that I have known through my career or new friends I have met.

Gloria England will be with us who’s the author of a powerful book, and has dedicated her life since the loss of her son to this disease, to helping people be on their journey of grief one day at a time, with help from her organization Recovering U. 

So, buckle up. Let’s get through this season with all sorts of good tidbits from so many different people to help you on your recovery journey. 

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at my email,

Give me ideas of people you would like to hear from. If you’d like to be a guest and share your story, reach out. 

In the meantime, please let people know around you that this podcast is out there. We are at almost 10,000 downloads, which is just mind boggling. And I thank you for your loyalty, your listenership, and your willingness to share your stories when you’re guests on the show. But also, your willingness to share with others this resource. It gives me the utmost pleasure to imagine someone taking a walk with their ear pods in or their headphones on and listening to a podcast where they hear something that helps them take the next step in their recovery. Or just feel less alone in this family disease. 

That was a whole mission behind The Embrace Family Recovery Podcast, a place for people to hear conversations around family stories, when it comes to the disease of addiction. And I’m so grateful that you are listening, you are sharing, and you are sharing with me the benefit you’re getting from the podcasts. 

So, let’s move forward and continue to make more episodes so that you will gain more tools for your toolbox of recovery. 

And don’t forget, whatever platform you choose to listen to The Embrace Family Recovery Podcast on, please follow or subscribe so that you get notified when a new episode is about to drop. They will be dropping as always on Sundays. 

And if you listen on the website, which I think is wonderful, know that if you ever want to go back and listen to any other episodes of The Embrace Family Recovery Podcast, they’re all there available to you. 

So, thank you, and I’m glad to be back. Let’s see what this season brings for all of us, and make sure you take care of you. 

Please find resources on my website. 

This is Margaret Swift Thompson. 

Until next time, please take care of you!