We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

This is another action step and requires a willingness to confront our issues. In order to avoid unintended harm, you may wish to review your proposed amends with your sponsor couple. For example, parents or children might be harmed by learning of compulsive behaviors. It takes courage to do this Step, good judgment, and a careful sense of timing.

Many of us begin our Ninth Step with our children. Depending on their maturity, we discuss our unhealthy behaviors only when it is clear they will not be harmed. We make further amends to our children by respecting them as individuals, by maintaining our own recovery, by striving to be healthy and happy adults ourselves.

You are cautioned not to confuse apologies with amends. Sometimes apologies are called for, but apologies are not amends. Amends are made by repairing damage when possible, and then acting differently. For example, you could apologize ten times for being late to a meeting, but this does not “amend” the issue. Being on time and changing your behavior becomes your amends.

As you repair the damage done to others, you are “healing” your own coupleship. You will find satisfaction in knowing you are doing all you can to pay off emotional, material, moral and spiritual debts.

In preparation for the actual making of the amends we suggest you:

  1. Read the Safety Guidelines
  2. Devote time to prayer or meditation.
  3. Think about what you want to say
  4. Be clear–possibly writing out your amends
  5. Create a comfortable, safe setting

In making the actual amends we suggest you:

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Express a desire and/or ask permission: “I (we) need to admit the harm I (we) have done and take responsibility for my (our) actions. I (we) would like to make amends to you. Are you OK to receive an amends?”

The form of your amends may be something like this:

“I (We) want to make an amends about ________. I (We) ask for your forgiveness. I (We) plan to change my (our) behavior by ________.”

In making amends, you will also need to make amends to yourself and your partner. How do you make amends to yourselves? You develop new attitudes that reflect a willingness to love and to forgive yourselves. The format for making an individual or coupleship amends may be similar to other amends, but you may want to use this suggested format:

“I want to make an amends to our coupleship about ________. I would like you to forgive me for all the words that were said out of fear (thoughtlessness, inconsideration, anger, immaturity, self-righteousness, selfishness, etc.) and out of my own confusion. I ask for your forgiveness. I plan to change my behavior by ________.”

As a result of doing our amends we are developing ourselves as persons within a healthy relationship. We ask our Higher Powers for the courage and wisdom to face each new challenge in our coupleship. We take responsibility for our mistakes and learn from our experiences.

The final three Steps are about practicing what we learned in the first nine Steps.

We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 8 is about those people, including ourselves, who have been harmed by our couple dysfunction, such as family members, children, friends, and fellow workers. In this Step, we continue to take our coupleship inventory. This Step helps us to interact with other people in new ways. This Step calls for changes in our behavior.

In Step 8 we need to determine the harm that we caused. What was the exact nature of this harm? It helps to categorize our wrongdoing into four groups:

Emotional Wrongs

  • Raging
  • Holding grudges
  • Withholding information
  • Giving our partner the silent treatment
  • Making shaming or blaming statements

Material Wrongs

  • Borrowing, spending, or withholding money selfishly
  • Cheating, or not abiding by terms of couple contracts
  • Disregarding others boundaries regarding personal things
  • Destroying or violating joint property

Moral Wrongs

  • Setting bad examples
  • Engaging in infidelity, broken promises, lying
  • Engaging in emotional, physical, sexual, or verbal abuse

Spiritual Wrongs

  • Neglecting obligations to ourselves, family, support group, or community
  • Avoiding self-development
  • Lacking gratitude
  • Neglecting our spiritual quest
  • Lacking humility
  • Being self-righteous
  • Preoccupying ourselves to the point of emotional unavailability

Now look at the facts and ask yourselves:

  1. What are your thoughts and feelings about the harm you have done?
  2. What are your fears about making amends?
  3. What causes your resistance to making amends?
  4. What consequences of your harmful behavior are you willing to accept?
  5. What ways do you plan to make amends?

Now you have a better idea about what dysfunctions existed in your coupleship. Make a list of people you have harmed including yourself.

Review your amends list with your sponsor couple. Now ask for guidance on how to make amends that will not hurt or injure others. When direct amends are not appropriate or possible, we suggest you devise alternative amends, such as praying for the well-being of those people, being kind and responsible to your partner and others, doing community service, or donating to a charity.

You become willing to make amends by admitting this harm to yourself, your partner, and others. As you become willing to look at your own behavior, you tend to become more tolerant and forgiving, less rigid and judgmental. Your viewpoints, attitudes and beliefs will begin to change as a result of your participation in this process.

Now you should be ready to move on to Step Nine.

 

We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

In Step 7, we need to form a working partnership with our Higher Power. We seek humility. Humility is defined in many ways including:

  • the ability to face reality;
  • knowing there is a Higher Power, and we, or our partner, are not it;
  • we don’t think less of ourselves, but we think about ourselves less;
  • we are spiritually no better than, but no less than anyone or any other couple.

The real change happens as we let go of our false pride and work to change in partnership with our Higher Power.

We frequently ask our Higher Power to remove our shortcomings. We know we can’t change our old ways of doing things on our own, but in partnership with our Higher Power, we can. The more we work the RCA program, the more our shortcomings are relieved. Many of us found contracts to be a vital tool in overcoming these shortcomings by adding accountability (see contract section). We learn to avoid being hungry, angry, lonely and tired (HALT) as those states seem to make our shortcomings worse. At the very least, we avoid making crucial decisions while experiencing those states.

A suggested Seventh Step Prayer (or meditation topic):

I want to be more sensitive to my partner,

As sensitivity to my partner opens awareness of my innermost self.

Higher Power help me become more open and aware.

I need to see my own fear behind my shortcomings:

My tendency to be sarcastic and stubborn,

My tendency to blame and make my partner wrong,

My need to make my partner feel disrespected and less than.

Higher Power, help me find the courage to acknowledge my own shortcomings, 

instead of focusing on those of my partner.

I promise to try to use the coupleship tools I have learned

To stop interrupting my partner,

To speak from I statements,

And to acknowledge the strengths my partner brings to our coupleship.

Higher Power teach me humility and remove my character defects

so that I may love more sincerely and completely.

Amen

We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, communication and caring.

Step Six has a clear message – get ready for some changes! The first three Steps showed us we couldn’t change on our own, but that we could find the power needed to change. Then Step Four helped us recognize our defects. Step Five allowed us to get rid of much of our shame. With Step Six we become willing to have our Higher Power remove these defects. We don’t have to let go of behaviors. We just need willingness to allow our defects to be removed. The more we work the RCA program, the more willing we become.

Every recovering couple has dysfunctional patterns of behavior. These patterns typically occur at times of stress, overextension, or depletion. Often these happen during an opportunity for intimacy. One or both partners elect to avoid closeness by going to their old patterns. Recovering couples need to recognize these patterns.

Warning signs that old patterns are resurfacing:

  1. Arguing repetitively
  2. Falling into frequent periods of denial
  3. Communicating nonproductively
  4. Suffering extreme overextension or depletion
  5. Making statements we do not mean
  6. Taking actions we regret
  7. Fighting about issues that are not important
  8. Stating you always, you never

Make these lists together and pick a time to talk when you are both feeling balanced. You are now ready. Enjoy the process. See the humor. Open up to healing in your coupleship. Always start by reading the Safety Guidelines aloud. Take your piece of paper and gather more information for your coupleship by answering the following questions:

  1. What are your dysfunctional patterns of relating?
  2. What are your dysfunctional patterns of communicating?
  3. What are your dysfunctional patterns of caretaking?
  4. What are your dysfunctional patterns of nurturing each other?
  5. What are your dysfunctional patterns of being sexual?
  6. What are your dysfunctional patterns of fighting?

If, as a couple, we don’t work on our relationship, similar issues will likely surface with subsequent partners. This means that we should practice couple recovery with our partner now. Our couple issues probably were the same in this relationship as they were in previous relationships.

We admitted to God, to each other, and to another couple the exact nature of our wrongs.

Most of us choose to share our Fifth Step with a sponsoring couple or other couples who have been in the RCA program long enough to have worked the Twelve Steps. It is also important to give this inventory to couples who seem to be living the program.

This process of doing the Fifth Step is a vehicle to self-acceptance. This may be difficult because of shame. However, this is your opportunity to have shame transformed into humility.

We suggest you begin with a moment of silence and then the Serenity Prayer followed by reading the Safety Guidelines. We encourage you to record your experiences in a journal and to get feedback from the sponsoring couple. We find sharing honestly and openly with other couples to be healing, because we realize our coupleship is accepted in spite of our dysfunctional behavior.

Step 5 frees us to begin anew.

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our relationship together as a couple.

We suggest you look at the impact of your individual behavior on the coupleship. First you may share your individual inventories. Next you can complete your coupleship inventory. The goal of these inventories is to gain awareness of the extent of our dysfunction. We all need to be fearless in our inventories. When a couple is able to face their reality honestly, they can grow in their love. Here are some questions that may help you in your individual inventory.

  1. Unfinished Business: In what ways have I not raised things with my partner, letting those unfinished things build resentments?
  2. Hypervigilance: In what ways have I looked for things to go wrong?
  3. Self-Responsibility: In what ways have I failed to take responsibility for my actions?
  4. Comfort and Feelings: In what ways have I not shared uncomfortable feelings with my partner?
  5. Accuracy and Honesty: In what ways have I placated my partner or avoided sharing my own perceptions?
  6. Connection: In what ways have I not been available to my partner? In what ways have I sought to connect?
  7. Stress: In what ways have my overextension and stress affected my partner?
  8. Separateness: In what ways have I developed a separate life from my partner?
  9. Personal Needs: In what ways has my partner needed to guess or been expected to know my needs? Have I clearly asked for these needs to be met?
  10. Shaming and Blaming: In what ways have I sought to shame or blame my partner?
  11. Pain Thresholds: In what ways have I tolerated emotional pain that was unnecessary and caused distance from my partner?
  12. Choice Clarity: In what ways have I been unclear about my choices, leaving things undecided or up to my partner?

To complete your couple inventory, review together the following questions and record your answers on paper. Writing helps to organize your thoughts and beliefs. Please begin by reading aloud the Safety Guidelines.

Please answer the following questions as a couple:

  1. In what ways have we let fears or resentments interfere with our coupleship? How has that affected our intimacy?
  2. In what ways have we created crises when there weren’t any?
  3. In what ways have we fought that never accomplished anything?
  4. In what ways have we neglected our coupleship?
  5. In what ways have we avoided being intimate?
  6. In what ways have we pretended our problems did not exist?
  7. In what ways have we isolated from couples and friends who could have supported our coupleship?
  8. In what ways have we allowed ourselves to become depleted, leaving nothing to give each other?
  9. In what ways have we tolerated abuse?
  10. In what ways have we had losses (having never achieved financial goals, having children with problems, having dysfunctional sexual relationships, etc.)?
  11. In what ways have we grieved these losses?
  12. In what ways have we treasured our partner and the coupleship? What are our strengths as a couple?

Having a better understanding of how frequently our problems arose from within us rather than as a result of external hostile forces, many of us found it was very freeing to reveal our problems to another couple – often our sponsor couples. Although sharing our problems was typically intimidating, the relief we felt was enormous when our problems were accepted by other couples. While we may have believed  that we were unique in our problems before taking Step Five, we often learned that the couple with whom  we shared our inventory had experienced many of the same issues.

We made a decision to turn our wills and our life together over to the care of God as we understood God.

Together two people in a committed relationship form a coupleship, a oneness, a distinct and separate entity. This coupleship has a life of its own and needs to be nurtured. Couple recovery depends on this nurturance. Each partner needs individual recovery such as meetings, sponsors, support groups, spirituality, recreation, vocation and individual interests. The coupleship needs these same elements for couple recovery.
Trust is a major issue for most couples, since almost all couples have had trust violated in the past. Just as Step Two focused on what we decided to trust together, Step Three focuses on how we decide to turn our coupleship over to our Higher Power.
Letting go of outcomes is especially helpful. Many of us feel compelled to control events believing that our happiness depends on resolutions favorable to us, only to find disappointment when the happiness we expect is only temporary or nonexistent. In spiritually centered coupleships, we simply do our best while leaving the outcome to our Higher Power.
Some couples find Higher Power Boxes helpful to visualize relinquishing control. Coupleship problems are written down and placed in the box, symbolically turning them over to their Higher Power. Similarly, some couples make a ceremony of burning their problems or having the tide wash them away.
The practice of meditation and prayer, especially the serenity prayer, is the spiritual bulwark of most couples. Focusing on insight, courage, willingness and acceptance seems to be the key to letting go.
Becoming more integrated in an RCA group is a vital part of any Third Step. Sharing our fears and stories at the group and sponsor level is an emotional letting go. It also allows us to relate to others, breaking our sense of isolation and uniqueness. Participation in a meeting can lead to a change in perspective and a return to sanity. Letting go also means not going alone.
Before Step Three can be completed, many couples go on a spiritual quest. Spiritual quests vary widely, but could include:

  • Starting each day with thanksgiving
  • Reading spiritually significant literature together
  • Meditating
  • Going to a house of worship or other spiritually significant place
  • Going to recovery groups
  • Praying
  • Going on a spiritual retreat together

These quests could take days, months, or even years. Hopefully, a mutually acceptable statement of faith will emerge. You are encouraged to write down a quest agreement. This
could be in longhand or printed suitable for framing and witnessed by friends or your sponsors. This presents a truly warm, supportive and validating experience for all involved. Additionally, it is suggested that you chair an RCA step meeting, and share your experience, strength and hope with other couples.
Ultimately, Step Three involves turning our relationship over. Many couples find it important to do something significant, even formal, such as a rededication of couple vows in the presence of friends. This may occur anywhere: in a place of worship, or at an informal gathering such as a picnic or at home, to celebrate our spiritual renewal. You are invited to be creative and have a personally memorable event celebrating your increasing commitment to each other and to the relationship.
We recognize that we are on a spiritual path together. Placing our relationship in our Higher Power’s hand would mean the end of power struggles and seeking to control. We make a decision. We surrender. This is the spiritual principle upon which Step Three stands.

We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to commitment and intimacy.

In Step One we admitted we were powerless over our coupleship. Step Two involves coming to some mutual understanding of what we trust as a couple, and what we believe. We seek to blend our heritage and to find meaning as a couple. This is the beginning of a spiritual quest. One way we find helpful is to cut out of magazines sayings and pictures that make us think of our Higher Power. We make collages to have a visual picture of our Higher Power. In making collages we share a deep intimate look at our beliefs and feelings. As we share parts of ourselves, we may find a special connection. We find it helpful to frame and keep accessible these collages for our coupleship and to share with other couples. We are willing to accept our individual Higher Power and nurture our coupleship with a sense of hope and freedom.
We find writing Step Two a useful tool. We suggest you share one pencil and piece of paper as you do the step. The following is a list of questions you may wish to consider to assist in your journey of recovery.

We suggest you pause and read aloud the Safety Guidelines before moving forward:
1. What family-of-origin messages about religion or spirituality have you brought into the coupleship?
2. What kinds of instruction, modeling, teaching, etc. about religion or spirituality have you experienced?
3. What forms of spiritual guidance have you received from your parents?
4. Are there abuses or dysfunctional beliefs regarding couples you have learned from your religion?
5. Are there healthy and supportive beliefs you have learned from your church, synagogue or other spiritual path?
6. Are there spiritual abuses you have experienced? 7. Are there examples of one of your parents being the Higher Power in your family of origin?
8. Are there examples of clergy, or religious teachers being unkind, shaming, blaming or belittling?
9. Are you angry about religion, God, or your heritage?
10. What do you accept or reject of the spiritual beliefs of your partner?
11. Describe your vision of your Higher Power.
12. What would it be like to have a relationship with this Higher Power?

Many of us made our partners our Higher Powers. We focused on our partners and gave them the power to regulate our lives. In this situation many of us found it necessary to find a spiritual connection with a Higher Power, a center for our lives, rather than focusing on what others were doing. When we are spiritually centered, our partners actions do not bother us nearly as much as when we are not. Additionally, it may be helpful to remember HALT. When we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired we can lose touch with our spiritual centers. We need to return to our spiritual centers rather than fight with our partners.

Now that both partners have their own vision of Higher Power, we can seek those aspects of a Higher Power that are common to both. Those aspects we share in common become our couples Higher Power. Individuals within the coupleship may have a separate vision of a Higher Power, but many couples believe there should be a goal of a mutual Higher Power shared by both partners.

Step Two allows us to believe that a Higher Power can restore us to commitment and intimacy. Step Three gives us an opportunity to develop a relationship with our higher power.

We admitted we were powerless over our relationship – that our lives together had become unmanageable.

Most of us have family-of-origin issues and all have a history. We may not have gotten what we needed emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually. When we were growing up there may have been abuse (physical, sexual, spiritual, or emotional), abandonment, or deprivation. We all bring baggage to the coupleship. The Steps teach us how to look at our baggage and how to reverse the process of blaming.
Both of us are responsible for the presence or absence of intimacy between us. As soon as each of us accepts mutual responsibility, we are ready for Step One of RCA. Step One involves taking full responsibility for the health or disease of the relationship. Each person carries 100%.
Occasionally some couples might not be far enough along in their individual recovery, (or not in recovery at all), to be able to answer the following questions; or they might get into fights or other dysfunctional behavior simply by having certain issues raised. In these cases, we encourage Step work be done only in the presence of sponsoring couples.

Couples come into RCA at different stages. Step One involves understanding dysfunctional patterns. It also involves understanding family-of-origin issues, personality traits and other individual issues that affect our current coupleships.

Writing is important for clarity and thoroughness. It is suggested you:
1. Read aloud the Safety Guidelines.
2. Take one pencil and one piece of paper and begin the process together. RCA is about the we-ness and us-ness of our relationship. In RCA, we open ourselves up to a new way of thinking and living in coupleship.
3. Make couple decisions: Who will hold the pencil and do the writing? Are you able to share, negotiate or compromise? Is there a power struggle? And, are you ready to take the First Step?
4. Divide the paper in half with a vertical line down the middle.
5. Make lists of the coupleship issues over which you feel powerless.
6. Alternatively, one partner writes and the other dictates, or the partners may write their own parts.

We suggest you answer the following questions:
1. What dysfunctional roles have you brought from your family of origin?
2. What have your family-of-origin models taught you about relationships?
3. If you have had experiences of abuse, how had those affected your ability to relate, to be intimate, and to be sexual?
4. How do your individual addictions or dysfunctions affect your coupleship?
5. What are recurring issues you never seem to resolve (e.g., how you spend money, how you spend your time together, parent, divide the household duties, or celebrate the holidays, etc.)?
6. How do these issues bring you to anger and what are your patterns of expressing anger?
7. In what ways do you feel hopeless about your coupleship?
8. In order to save your coupleship, what measures have you tried that havent seemed to work?
9. How do you fight unfairly?

Understanding the powerlessness and unmanageability of your relationship is key. Remember, you are a beautiful and unique couple that deserves recovery. Having surrendered thus far, you are ready to take Step Two.

Introduction

Welcome to the Sunday Video Trailblazers meeting of Recovering Couples Anonymous. This meeting lasts for an hour and a half. This is an open meeting; both singles and couples are welcome. I am ___ in coupleship with ___ , and we will be leading the meeting today. 

You are asked to keep your video on, and we will conduct this like a face-to-face meeting. To have the full face-to-face experience, we recommend you use the Gallery View in the upper right-hand corner of your screen to see everyone at the same time. (Use can also use Ctrl F2) Please mute your line using the button on zoom, if you are not sharing.

Please treat this as a face to face meeting and please try to refrain from talking during the meeting. If you need to get up please do so between couple shares.

[Leader:  Only when there is a pending time change (spring and fall), read:

Trailblazer meetings start at 7 pm Copenhagen, Denmark time, except for a few weeks each year, as Europe and the US change to and from daylight savings time at different times. To determine the current time, please go to: www.worldtimebuddy.com and compare your local time to 7 pm Copenhagen, Denmark time.]

We hope you will find in this Fellowship the help and friendship we have been privileged to enjoy. Let’s open the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Couples Serenity Prayer.

Start Sharing Screen Use Desktop share and maximize your browser.


SERENITY PRAYER

God, grant us the serenity

to accept the things we cannot change,

courage to change the things we can,

 and wisdom to know the difference.


Would [leaders select a member couple] read: Page 50 in the basic text (4th edition)

RCA Preamble

Ours is a fellowship of recovering couples. We suffer from many different addictions and dysfunctions, and we share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problems and help other recovering couples restore their relationships. The only requirement for membership is a desire to remain committed to each other and to develop new intimacy.

There are no dues or fees for membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. We are not allied with any organization. We do not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorse nor oppose any causes.

Although there is no organizational affiliation between Alcoholics Anonymous and our fellowship, we are based on the principles of AA. Our primary purpose is to stay committed in loving and intimate relationships and to help other couples achieve freedom from dysfunctional relationships.


Would [leaders select a member couple] read: Page 51 in the basic text (4th edition)

How It Works Part One

          Rarely have we seen a couple fail who have thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands mutual and rigorous honesty.

There are those, too, who cannot or will not make a commitment to their partner. There are those who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest. Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas, and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with addictions – cunning, baffling, powerful. We also deal with all those memories of past hurts, misbehavior, and vows violated. Without help our anger, hurt, and mistrust are too great for us. But there is one who has all power; that one is God. May you find God now.

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked God’s protection and care with complete abandon. Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery.


Would [leaders select a member couple] read: Page 52 in the basic text (4th edition)

The Twelve Steps of RCA

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our relationship – that our lives together had become unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to commitment and intimacy.
  3. We made a decision to turn our wills and our life together over to the care of God as we understood God.
  4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our relationship together as a couple.
  5. We admitted to God, to each other, and to another couple the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, communication, and caring.
  7. We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
  8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it to our partner and to others we had harmed.
  11. We sought through our common prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to other couples, and to practice these principles in all aspects of our lives, our relationship, and our families.

Leaders read the tradition of the month: Page 56 in the basic text (4th edition)

The Tradition of the Month

  1. Our common welfare should come first; couple recovery depends upon RCA unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority, a loving God as known in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for RCA membership is a desire to remain in a committed relationship.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or RCA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose, to carry its message to recovering couples who still suffer.
  6. RCA ought never endorse, finance, or lend the RCA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every RCA group should be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Recovering Couples Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. RCA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Recovering Couples Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the RCA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Would [leaders select a member couple] read: Page 54 in the basic text (4th edition)

How It Works Part Two

         Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! We can’t go through with it. Our love is lost, our vows forever violated, our communication destroyed, our families broken beyond repair.”

Do not be discouraged. No couple among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.

We are not saints, our love is not perfect, our energy not unbounded, nor our relationships ideal. There is no such thing as the ultimately caring and nurturing partner or perfect intimacy. The point is that we are willing to grow together along spiritual lines.

The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. In our spirituality we claim the goal of greater caring, communication, and intimacy.

Our understanding of our addictions, dysfunctions, and our personal histories before and after recovery make clear three pertinent ideas:

  1. That our relationship had become unmanageable. That despite our best efforts we were headed for  separation and/or divorce.
  2. That probably no human power could have restored us to commitment and intimacy.
  3. That God could and would if God were sought.

Introductions

Now is the time we introduce ourselves by our first names. Please let us know where you are joining us from. If there are any newcomers to our meeting or RCA, please let us know, so that we can welcome you.

 

NEWCOMERS

Leaders: Please ask if there are any newcomers. If so, read the following text and send to NEWCOMERS ONLY in chat window.

The love and respect we offer to newcomers is a reflection of the love and respect we are learning to offer ourselves. If your coupleship is new to RCA, we encourage you to contact the Welcome Couple via email at welcomecouple@RCATrailblazers.org to request a welcome letter that will give you information for requesting a newcomer packet, which will be mailed to your home directly. Also, for additional support to your coupleship, instructions are posted in the welcome letter for adding your contact information to the Trailblazers Contact List.

Please feel free to stay after the meeting to have any questions addressed by the Welcome or Greeter Couple. 
Please copy this information as it will disappear when you close zoom

Leaders, if the Welcome Couple is not present at the meeting, ask for stand-in Greeter Couple.

Would a couple be willing to stay after the meeting to serve as the Greeter Couple for our newcomers today? Thank-you ______.


Business meetings are held on the last Sunday of the month, immediately following the recovery meeting. Please email the Secretary Couple at Secretary@rcatrailblazers.org to have an item added to the agenda, and then attend the business meeting as a couple. We encourage everyone to stay for the business meetings and help to keep our group working well!  You are welcome to stay on the video channel for fellowship after the meeting. 

Here are the Trailblazers announcements. (click here)  [The Secretary Couple will read the announcements.]

To request or be added to the contact list, please email the Contact List Couple at ContactListCouple@RCATrailblazers.org

Is there a couple who will volunteer to be our spiritual time keepers for the meeting today?  The group has decided to allow each individual 2 minutes to share, so please set your timer for 2 minutes. Please use the audio as well as visual cues to let people know their time is up. 


The format for today’s meeting is:

1st Sunday – Step Meeting 

http://rcatrailblazers.org/our-services/

Ask a couple to read the entire step for the month (e.g. Jan = Step 1) from the RCA basic text.

 

2nd Sunday – Speaker or Topic Meeting

Ask if any couple is willing to share their experience strength and hope. (10 min. per couple)

Otherwise: Topic meeting – please choose and read a daily reflection from chapter VI (pgs 233-296) in the basic text followed by general sharing.

 

3rd Sunday – Traditions Meeting

http://rcatrailblazers.org/our-services/

Ask a couple to read the entire tradition for the month (e.g. Jan = Tradition 1) from the RCA basic text – open meeting for sharing on either the tradition or anything from your coupleship.

 

4th Sunday – Newcomer and  Anniversary Meeting

Ask if there are any newcomers and welcome them.

Ask if there is a couple celebrating an RCA anniversary. If so they get 10 minutes each to share their experience strength and hope.

If not the chair can read, or ask another couple to read either a Reflection (pp. 233-296 of the Blue Book) or the Characteristics of Functional/Dysfunctional Couples,  then open the meeting for sharing. 

 

5th Sunday – Reflection or Topic 

Please choose a reading/contract from any of the RCA literature and open the meeting for sharing.


Would [leaders select a member] read: Page 55 in the basic text (4th edition)

 

Safety Guidelines

Anonymity and mutual respect of boundaries are essential to providing a healing experience to each of us. Most of us have had great difficulty establishing our boundaries, assertiveness, and personal space. We are sensitive to cross-talk. Our purpose is not to give advice or try to fix one another, but rather to create a safe environment where we can experience and share our pain, hope and joy.

We have found that:

  1. It is OK to feel.
  2. It is OK to make mistakes.
  3. It is OK to have respectful conflict.
  4. It is OK to have needs and ask for them to be met.
  5. It is important to respect others (partners and others in the group). It is important to avoid self-righteous statements, baiting or button-pushing statements, case-building statements, and the taking or sharing of another persons inventory.
  6. It is important to respect ourselves and to avoid self put-downs and self-pity. It is helpful to take ownership of our own story and to take credit for our progress and work in recovery.
  7. Anonymity is our spiritual foundation. Whom you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here.

We have care and concern for ourselves and our coupleships. We meet to both receive and provide the nurturing our relationships need to grow and endure. For that reason, it is important for us to act and speak respectfully to our partners and others. As we do this, we value the group and the relationships in it.


Sharing Guidelines (leaders read)

As this is an open meeting; both singles and couples are welcome.  All are welcome to share whether your partner is present or not. We ask that you keep your sharing focused on your own part in the coupleship as stated in the RCA Safety Guidelines.  

We ask that we avoid cross-talk.  Cross-talk is giving advice to others who have already shared, speaking directly to your partner, rather than the group, and questioning or interrupting the couple sharing or leading the meeting at the time. In our meetings we make I statements, as opposed to you statements. If you would like to respond personally to what someone has shared, we suggest that you talk to that person one-to-one after the meeting. These guidelines apply to the use of the chat window.

In RCA, we suffer from many different addictions and dysfunctions. In this group, we ask that you be mindful of crosstalk, appropriate dress and who and what appears on your screen. At any time anyone can send a gentle reminder message to a couple, or message safety to ALL.  The facilitators will stop the sharing and address the issue.

We have 2 minute shares.  We will time each share, and you will see a signal when your time is up.  The meeting is now open for sharing on the topic, the reading or your coupleship issues.

NOTE:

  • 15 minutes before meeting ends – Leaders ask, “Are there any newcomers who haven’t shared, but would like to share?”
  • 5 minutes before meeting ends – Read next section on 7th Tradition

7th Tradition

Now is the time we practice the Seventh Tradition which states we are self-supporting through our own contributions. Your group contributions go to newcomer welcome packets, group expenses such as the Trailblazers web-site, as well as support of RCA World Services. Be mindful of your own needs first, and give only as you can. Remember when it is your turn to donate: “3 to survive, and 5 to thrive.”  Please go to www.rcatrailblazers.org and push the 7th Tradition button to make your contribution via PayPal.


Closing

[if newcomers, say:] Welcome again to our newcomers. Please email:   WelcomeCouple@RCATrailblazers.org, so we can send you a welcome letter.

[If a speaker couple meeting, say:] Let’s thank our speakers!

[On last Sunday of the month say:] We encourage everyone to stay for the business meeting today. Please help us keep our group working well!

[If not the last Sunday, say:] You are welcome to stay on the video channel for fellowship after the meeting.

Is there a couple who would be willing to lead next weeks meeting?

In closing, we would like to say that the opinions expressed here were strictly those of the person who gave them. Take what you like and leave the rest.


Would [secretary selects a member] read: Page 59 in the basic text (4th edition)

RCA Promises

If we are honest about our commitment and painstaking about working the Twelve Steps together, we will quickly be amazed at how soon our love returns. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will learn how to play and have fun together. As we experience mutual forgiveness we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. Trust in each other will return. We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.

No matter how close to brokenness we have come, we will see how our experiences can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness, shame, and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our partners, families, and others. Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will be better parents, workers, helpers, and friends. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

For those of you who are new to our fellowship, there are no problems that you have experienced that are not common to many of us. Just as our love for our partners has been imperfect, we may not always be adequately able to express to you the deep love and acceptance we feel for you. Keep coming back; the process of loving and communication grows in us, and with each other, one day at a time.


Would those of you who are willing un-mute and join us in the Unity Prayer? [Page 60 in the basic text (4th edition)]

Unity Prayer

I put my hand in yours,

and together we can do

what we could never do alone.

No longer is there a sense of hopelessness.

No longer must we each depend

upon our own unsteady willpower.

We are all together now,

reaching out our hands

for a power and strength greater than ours.

And as we join hands,

we find love and understanding

beyond our wildest dreams.