Episode #56 with Michelle and Rich


Pleasant Surprises

Michelle and Rich met at AA and have fallen more and more in love with each other as the years have gone by. Their love story is unlike any other that we've had here on the podcast... and I'm so glad it is.

One of the best gifts this podcast has given me is that it's made me aware of my prejudices (prejudice = pre-judging), and pushed me to get to know, love, and accept people I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Michelle and Rich fall into that category. At first glance, I would never have guessed they share the type of love they revealed to me in the back of a conference room in Austin, Texas last year at SXSW.

It's because of people like them that my perception of what is possible in love and relationships is constantly evolving and transforming. I'm so grateful for that, and for them.

Lovers Anonymous

One of the things I loved learning about in this episode is how the 12 Step Program has become a foundational principle for growth and change for Rich and Michelle throughout their marriage.

This conversation was one of the first conversations I'd ever had (in detail) about the 12 Step Program, how it works, and how it changes people.

What I learned is that it's a set of rules that help people take ownership and create change in their lives... and if there's one that's true about relationships, it's that they work best when rules are in place, and both partners hold themselves and each other accountable.

The problem many people see in relationships is that they get caught in - or addicted to - a behavioral pattern that is damaging to their relationship.

Helen Fisher - one of the scientists leading the charge on the study of love - even goes as far to say that, "Love is an addiction."

And when you have an addiction, you don't grow emotionally. You stagnate. You get stuck.

So, if you're feeling stuck in an area of your life, maybe this interview, and the 12 Steps (I've modified them a bit for relevancy) will be super helpful to you:

12 Steps

  1. I admit I'm powerless over _______—that my life has become unmanageable in this area.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.
  3. Make a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him.
  4. Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself.
  5. Admitted to God, to myself, and to another human beings the exact nature of my wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove my shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons I have harmed, and be willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when I was wrong, promptly admit it.
  11. Seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God, as I understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, I try to carry this message to those who are suffering, and to practice these principles in all my affairs.

[jbox title="Show Notes:" border="5" radius="15"]

  • Meeting at AA and conquering addiction
  • Evolving as individuals within a relationship to get past hurdles (gaining confidence, learning to be with each other, humility, etc.)
  • The power of 12 Step programs, and the importance of spiritual growth
  • Being responsible for your own thoughts, actions, and feelings... including your own happiness
  • The importance of being yourself and self-awareness
  • How prayer and meditation can transform your relationship
  • Learning to compromise - the 1-10 scale, how important is this to you?
  • The importance of maintaining a good reputation with your spouse, and playing by the rules you set
  • When you have an addiction, you don't grow emotionally
  • Being a man is doing what you say you'll do
  • Exploring personal sexuality