Wednesday, November 30, 2011

For Today: November 30th

Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God when He did not want to sign.
Anatole France

People who are brought to the brink of destruction and then one day awake to find themselves restored to perfect health do not believe in coincidence.

We are held breathless, awestricken by personal stories in which recovery---indeed, life itself----hinged on blind “chance,”  on a series of events so incredible they would be dismissed in other circumstances.

There are the members who canceled intestinal bypass surgery because, between the time the operation was scheduled and the day they were to check into the hospital, they found OA.  Others, whose doctors gave them only a short time to live, tell us about a literal “bottom” where physical deterioration is all but total.  They, too, were directed to our door and are recovering.

For Today:  The powerful force that brought me to OA is ready to lead me to the promises of this program.

I witness miracles all the the meeting rooms of OA and in the rest of life. I am a miracle myself........having battled obesity for 40 years with little to no relief. 

When I committed myself to an abstinent lifestyle, the miracle began to unfold and hasn't stopped yet.  If someone like ME can turn their lives around, ANYONE can do it! 

Giving up addictions for any length of time IS a miracle! When I was chained down to booze and excess food, I didn't believe I'd EVER get into recovery mode and stay there.

I was wrong.  God had other plans for me and all I had to do was take the first step.  The rest is history.  While I will never be 'recovered' or finished working this program, I know that I CAN do it, one day at a time, and with God's help.  And, of course, support from my fellow sufferers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

For Today: November 29th

Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of non-knowledge.
Isaac Bashevis Singer

The pride of humankind often edges into arrogance.  Comparing ourselves with the rest of earth’s inhabitants tends to give us a sense of godlike superiority.  Human history shows that, individually and collectively, those who are overly impressed with their knowledge may have closed their minds to anything new.  The annals of science and medicine are filled with such examples.

The assumption of knowledge is incompatible with humility, which is the state of being teachable.  “We know only a little,”  states the Big Book; and “more will be revealed to us.”

In this program, it is suggested that we put aside our knowledge and keep an open mind.

For Today:  I may know what I think I know, but I can put it aside for what I have yet to learn.


"Knowledge" is quite useless where compulsive overeating is concerned.  I can read dozens of diet books, filled with scientific facts about how to lose weight, and they won't do me one bit of good.  I can devour books on the subject of eating 'in moderation' and how to incorporate trigger foods into my life without a problem.


I will never be a 'normal eater' and no book on earth will change that fact.

All the knowledge in the world will not help me deal with my disease of compulsive overeating, which is why I don't read them.

My spirituality needs instruction, not my brain.  God does for me what no amount of knowledge on earth can do.  The 12 steps teach me how to live an abstinent lifestyle and my fellow OAs keep me humble & teachable.  When I listen to their struggles and their stories, I feel a sense of belonging and acceptance that I cannot find elsewhere.

When I keep an open mind is when I stay teachable and receptive to what God has to tell me. 

For today, I will work on my intuitive abilities instead of trying to cram knowledge into my brain.  For today, I will surrender to God and to my program with the knowledge that OA is the perfect path for me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

For Today: November 28th

Hope is the risk that must be run.
Georges Bernanos

Have I tried and failed?  Try again.  The Big Book says, “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.”

Going to any length means taking twelve specific steps, one day at a time, and never being finished.  In the process, sanity will be restored and abstinence will become a reality.

Hope and willingness are the springboards to recovery.  The hope of being healed of my illness is a risk I’m willing to run today and every day.

For Today:  I have hope, or I wouldn’t be in OA.  Do I have the willingness to take that leap into the steps; into abstinence?

What comes first..........abstinence or taking the 12 Steps?  For me, abstinence came first. In other words, I had to commit myself to a strict food plan BEFORE I did anything else.  Until I removed myself from the excess food, I wasn't able to see anything clearly.

Once I stopped overeating, I began to see my addiction and what it had done to me........what it turned me into: a slave.  Compulsive overeating robbed me of my freedom and stripped me of joy and happiness.  

After finding abstinence, then I was able to throw myself into working the steps.  When I got a taste of the freedom that came along with restricted food intake, glimpses of happiness started peeking into the darkness.  I had Hope again..........finally, and that was a great feeling!

Without Hope I am a hopeless addict who believes in nothing, finds comfort from nothing, and stays in a childlike state, unwilling to grow & learn & flourish.

Without Hope, I am nothing BUT a compulsive overeater.

With Hope, compulsive overeating does not define me.  It blends into the background of my life instead of consuming me, body mind & spirit.

For today, I pray for the willingness to keep an open mind; for the willingness to stick to my food plan with the realization that a whole lot MORE is at stake than how much food goes into my mouth.  My LIFE is at stake, quite literally, and for today, I choose not to risk it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

For Today: November 27th

People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Unsettledness may be said to be a state of becoming.  Which is what we in Overeaters Anonymous are doing.  Just as growth is a process that is never finished, so is recovery an ongoing process:  I am recovering, not recovered.   Being settled is never forever.  I can say, “when this is over, I’ll be all right.”  But then something else arises, and the process begins again.  That is the natural pattern of growth---one step after another.  If there is no pain, what is there to work through, to learn from and to grow beyond?

For Today:  I rejoice that the feeling of being unsettled—having many problems to deal with, much adjusting to do—sends me to my Higher Power instead of the refrigerator.

 Wanting to feel 'settled' before finding abstinence is just another excuse to put off doing what must be done.

Kind of like saying I'll start my new diet 'On Monday.'  Monday never comes, and using that excuse allows me to stuff myself until Monday.

How else can I overeat in peace if I don't drum up some tired old excuses?

Life is full of tough situations. If I allow myself to break abstinence for every 'tough situation' that arises, I will not find or keep it.

The goal of OA is to stop using food as a coping mechanism.  To learn how to live without the burden of excess; to live a happy, joyous and free lifestyle once and for all.

In order to do that, I have to box up all of my excuses and throw them into the dumpster.

For today, I will not be starting a plan of abstinence on "Monday".  Today is Sunday and for this day, I choose to preserve my abstinence.  Because, in reality, Monday may never come.  I will live for today; yesterday is gone & tomorrow isn't here yet.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

For Today: November 26th

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana

The diet-and-binge syndrome experienced by many compulsive overeaters is a classic example of “forgetfulness.”  Each time I dieted myself down to a satisfying slimness, the danger of regaining weight seemed remote—despite repeated proof that gaining back the lost pounds is a natural consequence of dieting-and-weight-loss regimens.

Thank God I am in a program that does not talk about dieting and losing weight, but rather tells me what I can do to like who I am right now.

For Today:  To keep it fresh in my mind, I share my experience with other compulsive overeaters.

If I didn’t have a food plan to keep me abstinent, I would have regained the 100 lbs I lost LONG long ago.
I’ve proven that fact to myself countless times over the past 40 years of chronic dieting. 

Since I am no longer ‘on a diet’, I don’t obsess over the scale, my weight, what to eat or not eat………I just stick to my healthy, wholesome food plan every day and that’s THAT.

The steps keep me honest, and, talking with other compulsive overeaters keeps me from ‘forgetting’ what it felt like to be caught up in the throes of my disease.

Practicing the principles of OA has helped me to ditch the 'all or nothing' mentality when it comes to food. If I slip up and break abstinence, I don't keep on eating since I've 'blown it' anyway.  I get right back to my food plan and move forward immediately.
In the old days of dieting, if I 'blew it', I was finished.  The diet was finally over with, PHEW, and I was free to gorge myself until all that hard work went down the drain & I was back to my starting weight, plus a few extra pounds.

Nowadays, I live my life in 24 hour increments. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn't here yet.  If I didn't stick to my food plan perfectly yesterday, today is a whole NEW day to be 100% committed.

For today, I am grateful to have a program that keeps me honest while giving me a solid, structured plan to follow that keeps me physically & mentally satisfied.  The Steps are what keep me spiritually satisfied.

Friday, November 25, 2011

For Today: November 25th

All who joy would win
Must share it.  Happiness was born a twin.
Lord Byron

From my first day of abstinence, I discovered the truth of the saying, “I can’t keep what I have unless I give it away.”  What joy there is in telling an OA newcomer or friend or sponsor of the miracles that have come about in my life thanks to OA.  I never get tired of sharing “what I was like, what happened and what I’m like now.”  Even when I have something troubling me that I intend to discuss, I am aware of the gratitude in my heart and I want to express it.  Remembering the joy this program has brought me is enough to lift my spirits; sharing that with someone brings the joy back to me.

For Today:  Here’s a good OA pick-me-up:  Call some OAs, including at least one newcomer and one person I have never called before; give them a nutshell version of why I am so thankful to be in OA, and then tell all of them how glad I am to have them as fellow members.

I find this to be 100% true........I can't keep what I have unless I give it away.
When I tell my story.....what I was like then, and what I'm like now.............I offer Hope to those who find it impossible to believe that OA could bring about such changes to their lives.  Newcomers are generally skeptical, and so are those who have been in program for quite awhile, but who have lost their way.

When the siren song of excess food calls our name, it can be quite easy to forget WHY we are here in OA.  When the excess food wins out, and we're back on the treadmill of compulsive overeating, it's easy to lose our way entirely & go back to the slavery of excess.

Speaking about OA and telling my story lets others know that recovery IS possible, no matter how deeply they may be mired in compulsive overeating right now.

If I can do this, anyone can do this.  

If a wretch like me can see the light, embrace it & follow it, everyone can!  OA & the 12 Steps provide a blueprint for sanity and living a well-balanced life in general.

In speaking with fellow OAers, especially those who are struggling, I can remember what it feels like to be hopeless myself.  It brings back memories of my own personal struggles (and there have been many) and reminds me how I do not want to go back down that road again.

For today, I will share myself with others............I will tell my story to someone who needs to hear it.........not to 'brag', but to offer hope, encouragement and opportunity. 

All we need is the desire to stop eating compulsively to be an OAer.  And, one day at a time, a whole new life opens up to us.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

For Today: November 24th

The absurd man is he who never changes.
Auguste Barthelemy

The compulsive overeater in me never changes; but the recovering member of Overeaters Anonymous does.

I am aware that my thinking has changed in many ways.  Where once I dieted for a specific length of time, only to break loose on holidays and other occasions, I am now thankfully abstinent every day.

It is an incomparable pleasure to use the power this program gives me to eat moderately even on days when excess is the norm.

For Today:  I thank God and Overeaters Anonymous for my abstinence and for the new life it has given me.  I wouldn’t trade it for any food on earth.
Such an appropriate reading for Thanksgiving today!

Although it's the 'norm' to overeat today, I plan to stay peacefully abstinent. 

When I let the food beast out of his cage, I literally risk my LIFE; the new life I've built for myself, thanks to OA and everything the Steps have taught me.

So, for today, I will partake in a moderate Thanksgiving meal and I will thank God for helping me DO that.  I can watch others gorge themselves without feeling the desire or need to do so myself!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

For Today: November 23rd

You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.
Kahlil Gibran

With the accumulation of days, months and years of abstinence, it is easy to forget the pain of compulsive overeating.  The expression of gratitude for blessings received keeps alive the awareness of who I am and where I came from.

When practiced daily, prayer and meditation become a channel through which consciousness of the presence of God in my life is heightened.  This consciousness not only comforts me in times of stress and trouble, but it gives new dimensions of peace and contentment to the joy and freedom of recovery.

For Today:   Prayer can be only “Thank you”----which is as appropriate in my need and distress as it is in my abundance and joy.


When I found abstinence, I decided to carry God around with me wherever I go........much like a new mother carries her infant around in a Snuglii.  If I only remember to call on Him when times are tough, I can easily forget that I need Him with me at all times if I am to make it in recovery.

In order to determine God's will for me, I need to have an ongoing relationship with Him.  In order to 'hear' what He has to say to me, I have to be able to intuit it.  By carrying Him close to my heart, I can take His guidance more easily.........and I can actually feel His presence, which helps me get through any & all situations that present themselves.

For today, I thank God for everything; my struggles as well as my triumphs; my bad days as well as my good days; and all the blessings He bestows upon me on a daily basis.

"There are no mistakes, no coincidences.  All events are given to us as blessings to learn from."
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For Today: November 22nd

It is impossible to live pleasurably without living wisely, well and justly, and impossible to live wisely, well and justly without living pleasurably.

Living pleasurably meant giving myself all the food I wanted when I wanted it.  Unlike normal people, who partake of the pleasure of eating with moderation, I was hooked on food.  Soon, what once seemed pleasurable began exacting a price that drained all my resources---physical, emotional and spiritual.  I learned what all addicts eventually come to know: it is impossible to use any substance or activity to excess---be it food, alcohol, drugs or gambling---and live either wisely or pleasurably.

For Today:  I ask the help of a Power greater than myself to moderate my eating and give myself the pleasure of living wisely, well and justly.

 In my case, eating to excess took on a life of its own. What started out as a few extra cookies turned into a bag of cookies and a trip to the gas station for a ton more junk food.  No matter how much I ate, I never felt 'full' or satisfied.  

Compulsive overeating stripped me of the ability to live with joy and pleasure. 

For today, I choose abstinence; I ask God to help me moderate my food intake so I can live the life I was intended to live.

Nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.