Monday, December 31, 2012

Each Day a New Beginning: December 31st



In the process of growing to spiritual maturity, we all go through many adolescent stages.
—Miki L. Bowen


Progress, not perfection, is our goal in this recovery program. And many days we'll be haunted by the feeling that we've regressed. We will display old behavior. We will feel unable to change, to go on, to make gains once again. But these periods will pass, and soon progress will be evident again.

We must be wary of our need for perfection. It's this need that makes normal progress seem not good enough. And yet, that's all we're capable of - and all we'll ever need to be capable of. The program, its Steps and the promises offered, provide the tools we have lacked, yet need to use in order to accept ourselves wholly and imperfectly.

Daily attention to our spiritual side will foster the spiritual and emotional health we long for. Prayer and meditation, combined with honest inventory-taking, can show us the personal progress needed, the personal progress made. However, we will falter on occasion. We will neglect our program some days. But it won't ever be beyond our reach. And each day is a new beginning.

Today is before me, and I can make progress. I will begin with a quiet prayer and a moment of meditation.

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.

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Here we sit, on New Years Eve, getting ready to ring in a new year & possibly a new start to LIFE.  What is holding you back from enjoying your life to the fullest? If compulsive overeating is your answer, then make a promise to yourself today.  That you will commit yourself to abstinence and the 12 Steps of Recovery.

Take life in 24 hour chunks; the 'One Day At A Time" slogan is not just an empty old saw. It tells us that we have to STOP living in the past OR the future, and we need to live for the moment, for NOW.  Abstinence is doable on a 24 hour a day basis.  Find or choose a Food Plan, and then stick TO it like GLUE.  That constitutes 'abstinence.'  Put your abstinence FIRST in your life, as top priority, and get about the business of LIFE, unencumbered by excess weight & self-loathing.

Progress, not perfection, is the goal in this recovery program.  Not every day is going to be great.........there are many emotions to sort through along this journey.  Some days we will not want to get out of bed because of fear and anxiety, and the desire to chuck our Food Plans and binge.
But then we ask God/HP for help in staying the course.  He comes through EACH & EVERY time we ask for help.  The problem is, many days, we do not WANT help.  We want to shut down and stop feeling............we want to numb ourselves with food or booze or drugs, and we want to pretend those substances will erase our pain.

Instead, using addictive substances will INCREASE our pain, leaving us with feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness.

Only commitment to abstinence & working the Steps will relieve us of our misery.  Once we get out of our own HEADS, and into giving back to others, THEN we stop believing the world centers around US.  Food takes a back seat to Service, and we are well on our way to enjoying the amazing freedom & beauty of life instead of wallowing in self-pity.

The only way OUT is THROUGH.  Each day is a brand new beginning! If you faltered yesterday, make today an abstinent one.  Wake up tomorrow feeling EMPOWERED and capable of anything and everything! Step away from the off plan food & tell yourself it is NOT AN OPTION.  Once you utter those words, your brain relaxes & accepts the decision without argument.

It is only when we waver.........when we falter.............when we try to convince ourselves that 'just one bite' will be ok...........THEN we are off & running into COE behaviors and binges. 

For today, you will not take that first compulsive bite. 
For today, you will stick to your food plan of abstinence.
For today, you will believe that nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.
For today, you will take YOUR life BACK, one hour at a time.

Happy New Year, dear ones.  May all your hopes & dreams become a reality in 2013.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: December 30th



Laying the Foundation

The groundwork has been laid.

Do you not see that?

Don't you understand that all you have gone through was for a purpose?

There was a reason, a good reason, for the waiting, the struggle, the pain, and finally the release.

You have been prepared. The same way a builder must first tear down and dig out the old to make way for the new, your Higher Power has been cleaning out the foundation in your life.

Have you ever watched a builder at construction? When he begins his work, it looks worse than before he began. What is old and decayed must be removed. What is insufficient or too weak to support the new structure must be removed, replaced, or reinforced. No builder who cares about his or her work would put a new surface over an insufficient support system. The foundation would give way. It would not last.

If the finished product is to be what is desired, the work must be done thoroughly from the bottom up. As the work progresses, it often appears to be an upheaval. Often, it does not seem to make sense. It may appear to be wasted time and effort, because we cannot see the final product yet.

But it is so important that the foundation be laid properly if the fun work, the finishing touches, is to be all that we want it to be.

This long, hard time in your life has been for laying of groundwork. It was not without purpose, although at times the purpose may not have been evident or apparent.

Now, the foundation has been laid. The structure is solid.

Now, it is time for the finishing touches, the completion.

It is time to move the furniture in and enjoy the fruits of the labor.

Congratulations. You have had the patience to endure the hard parts. You have trusted, surrendered, and allowed your Higher Power and the Universe to heal and prepare you.

Now, you shall enjoy the good that has been planned.

Now, you shall see the purpose.

Now, it shall all come together and make sense.

Enjoy.

Today, I will surrender to the laying of the foundation - the groundwork - in my life. If it is time to enjoy the placement of the finishing touches, I will surrender to that, and enjoy that too. I will remember to be grateful for a Higher Power that is a Master Builder and only has my best interests in mind, creating and constructing my life. I will be grateful for my Higher Power's care and attention to details in laying the foundation - even though I become impatient at times. I will stand in awe at the beauty of God's finished product.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

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The suffering in my life was not, and is not, without purpose.  While not always immediately apparent, there IS a reason for all events that take place. I've learned more from the difficulties than I have from the easy times.

The foundation was laid for me to enjoy my life now, as a 55 year old woman.  Although I still face quite a bit of adversity on a daily basis, I now have the strength & commitment to get through ALL of the trials that I face.

2012 has been an incredibly difficult year for me in many ways, but mostly health-wise.  I choose to believe that I was given these issues to strengthen & teach me...........to allow me to overcome the obstacles & to reap the rewards.  Some of the rewards I am still awaiting.........but I have faith that they WILL arrive, in God's time, not mine.

For today, I pray for the patience to endure the hard parts.  Even when it ALL seems hard..........

For today, I know that God has a bigger plan FOR me than I have for myself. I pray for the courage to await His results.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Recovery Meditations: December 29th



~GRATITUDE FOR ADVERSITY ~

He was my greatest teacher.
He taught me patience.

The Dalai Lama on Mao Tse Tung


Whenever I feel downtrodden or disappointed by the hand that life has dealt me, I often think of this quote. It moves me beyond speech. Here was a man who had lost his homeland to communist China, yet he still had a good thing to say about the man who started it all. It forces me to come to a realization that what has happened to me is peanuts!

Too often I am caught up with feeling sorry for myself because of my disease, while ignoring the fact that I am so fortunate to have found recovery. Sometimes I feel so poor, yet I live in a large home with a wonderful spouse and delightful pets. I have a car, and enough food to eat every day. I have the luxury of obtaining my degree. Most of all, though I often complain about how unfair it all is, I am even fortunate to have an eating disorder. Because it is through admitting I have a problem that I am beginning to taste recovery, and it is sweeter than any binge item. And it has taught me that it is through our adversities that we learn compassion and patience.

I have to realize that life just isn't fair. If it were, how boring it would be! Nothing worthwhile is easy to obtain, and that includes recovery. What would it be worth if there was no effort going into it? Sometimes bad things happen, and they are unfortunate. But that's the end of it. I cannot make things be the way I want them to be. I cannot change life. I must accept life on life's terms, and learn the art of patience, so well demonstrated by the above quote. How fortunate that I have the opportunity to learn these precious skills in the safety and security of my own home, with my wonderful friends, spouse, and my program family!

One Day at a Time . . .
I will avoid dwelling on the misery that accompanies hardship. I will develop the willingness to be grateful for the opportunity for me to learn compassion and patience.

Claire

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I have learned more from the adversity I've faced than from the good fortune, that's for sure.  When I face a tough situation & come through it intact, I grow as a human being.  If I shy away from challenge, I stagnate........I prevent myself from becoming all I am capable of being.

When I take the attitude that there are no coincidences & no 'mistakes' in my life..........that all events are given to me as blessings to learn from...........then I treat each challenge as a learning experience, rather than a reason to feel self-pity. 




Nothing worth having comes easy, as this reading says, and if it did, life would be boring.  If I am afraid to live TODAY, out of fear of what may happen TOMORROW, then I am preventing myself from experiencing the beauty of LIFE.  I am here on this earth to learn valuable lessons.  If I hide out and avoid learning those lessons, then I am shunning the whole purpose OF my life.

For today, I will accept whatever lessons are in store for me to learn.  I am willing to deal with ALL of life..........the good, the bad & the ugly.  There is something of value for me in EACH situation!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Each Day a New Beginning: December 28th

The human heart dares not stay away too long from that which hurt it most. There is a return journey to anguish that few of us are released from making.
  —Lillian Smith


As the sore tooth draws our tongue, so do rejections, affronts, painful criticisms, both past and present draw our minds. We court self-pity, both loving and hating it. But we can change this pattern. First we must decide we are ready to do so. The program tells us we must become "entirely ready." And then we must ask to have this shortcoming removed.

The desire to dwell on the injustices of our lives becomes habitual. It takes hours of our time. It influences our perceptions of all other experiences. We have to be willing to replace that time-consuming activity with one that's good and healthy.

We must be prepared for all of life to change. Our overriding self-pity has so tarnished our perceptions that we may never have sensed all the good that life daily offers. How often we see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full!

A new set of experiences awaits me today. And I can perceive them unfettered by the memories of the painful past. Self-pity need not cage me, today. 

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.

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When I revisit self-pity all the time, I invite my disease to wreak havoc upon me. Self-pity leads me straight to the refrigerator, as I feel self-righteous indignation take over & ENTITLE me to soothe myself with excess fill-in-the-blank.  My unholy trinity is Booze, Food & Cigarettes.  If I'm feeling sorry for myself because of all the injustice others have heaped upon me, why not over-indulge myself in one of my addictive behaviors?

Self-indulgence is a fatal flaw. When I use unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress, I stay sick.  When I indulge in self-pity, I remain unteachable.  I purposely shut OUT the light, deny my Higher Power, and refuse to see the beauty that life holds out for me.  I see the glass as half-full and I lick my wounds in solitary confinement..............a self-imposed prison of isolation.

For today, I will not dwell upon the injustices I've been exposed to.  I will not be caged by self-pity, but seek out the beauty and good life that is offered to me.

For today, I will replace my self-pity with healthy activities.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: December 27th


Near the Top

I know you're tired. I know you feel overwhelmed. You may feel as though this crisis, this problem, this hard time will last forever.

It won't. You are almost through.

You don't just think it has been hard; it has been hard. You have been tested, tried, and retested on what you have learned.

Your beliefs and your faith have been tried in fire. You have believed, then doubted, then worked at believing some more. You have had to have faith even when you could not see or imagine what you were asked to believe. Others around you may have tried to convince you not to believe in what you were hoping you could believe.

You have had opposition. You have not gotten to this place with total support and joy. You have had to work hard, in spite of what was happening around you. Sometimes, what motivated you was anger; sometimes fear.

Things went wrong - more problems occurred than you anticipated. There were obstacles, frustrations, and annoyances en route. You did not plan on this being the way it would evolve. Much of this has been a surprise; some of it has not been at all what you desired.

Yet, it has been good. Part of you, the deepest part that knows truth, has sensed this all along, even when your head told you that things were out of whack and crazy; that there was no plan or purpose, that God had forgotten you.

So much has happened, and each incident - the most painful, the most troubling, and the most surprising - has a connection. You are beginning to see and sense that.

You never dreamt things would happen this way, did you? But they did. Now you are learning the secret - they were meant to happen this way, and this way is good, better than what you expected.

You didn't believe it would take this long, either - did you? But it did. You have learned patience.

You never thought you could have it, but now you know you do.

You have been led. Many were the moments when you thought you were forgotten, when you were convinced you had been abandoned. Now you know you have been guided.

Now things are coming into place. You are almost at the end of this phase, this difficult portion of the journey. The lesson is almost complete. You know - the lesson you fought, resisted, and insisted you could not learn. Yes, that one. You have almost mastered it.

You have been changed from the inside out. You have been moved to a different level, a higher level, a better level.

You have been climbing a mountain. It has not been easy, but mountain climbing is never easy. Now, you are near the top. A moment longer, and the victory shall be yours.

Steady your shoulders. Breathe deeply. Move forward in confidence and peace. The time is coming to relish and enjoy all, which you have fought for. That time is drawing near, finally.

I know you have thought before that the time was drawing near, only to learn that it wasn't. But now, the reward is coming. You know that too. You can feel it.

Your struggle has not been in vain. For every struggle on this journey, there is a climax, a resolution.

Peace, joy, abundant blessings, and reward are yours here on earth. Enjoy.

There will be more mountains, but now you know how to climb them. And you have learned the secret of what is at the top.

Today, I will accept where I am and continue pushing forward. If I am in the midst of a learning experience, I will allow myself to continue on with the faith that the day of mastery and reward will come. Help me, God; understand that despite my best efforts to live in peaceful serenity, there are times of mountain climbing. Help me stop creating chaos and crisis, and help me meet the challenges that will move me upward and forward.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

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My legs hurt from climbing so many mountains! But the challenges I face are meant to teach me.........

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

On a spiritual journey, we come to believe that God has a plan for each of us, and that nothing in life is random. There is a purpose to everything, including my disease of compulsive overeating.  I was meant to suffer from this disease so I could find a way to effectively manage it, and to share that knowledge with many others.  Had I not been burdened down with the gift of compulsive overeating, I probably wouldn't have tuned into my spirituality! I'd have gone through life, fearing death, thinking 'is that all there IS?' and never realizing the purpose of life.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

No struggles are in vain.  Peace, joy & abundant blessings are mine here on earth to enjoy.

For today, I accept where I am  continue to push forward, one day at a time.  There is growth in acceptance.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Food for Thought: December 26th


Control

Control was something we either feared or did not know much about before we began the OA program. We resisted control as being opposed to our idea of spontaneous living, especially spontaneous eating, Control was for other people - our children perhaps - but not for us.

Without control, we watched as self-will ran riot with our lives. We ate what we pleased, and then, angry and depressed, we said what we pleased and did what we pleased. The problem was that we ended up being not at all "pleased," but full of disgust and despair. Dimly, we may have realized that our suffering was due to lack of self-control, but we did not know how to go about acquiring what we lacked.

By relinquishing our so-called control to a Higher Power, we learn what it means to be free. By using the OA concept of abstinence to control our eating, we find spontaneity in living. Rather than inhibiting us, the kind of control we develop through this program liberates us from the bondage of self-will.

Control my life, I pray.


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Self-will ran riot with my life. I ate what I pleased, and then, angry & depressed, I said what I pleased & did what I pleased.  The problem was, I ended up be not at all 'pleased' but full of disgust and despair.  Perfectly, perfectly stated; compulsive overeating in a nutshell.

When I finally surrendered to a Food Plan of abstinence on June 11, 2008, I put aside everything I 'knew' to embrace everything 'new.'  I put aside my self-will, relinquishing my control to God.  Through controlled eating I was able to find spontaneity and FREEDOM!  Pretty odd concept for me, the queen of control-freaks!

For today, I am grateful to be free from the bondage of self will, and the huge EGO that supports such behavior.  While I am far from perfect, for today, I choose to be abstinent and that is better, and more freeing, than ANY food on earth can EVER be!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: December 25th

The Holidays

Sometimes, the holidays are filled with the joy we associate with that time of year. The season flows. Magic is in the air.

Sometimes, the holidays can be difficult and lonely.

Here are some ideas I've learned through personal experience, and practice, to help us get through difficult holidays:

Deal with feelings, but try not to dwell unduly on them. Put the holidays in perspective: A holiday is one day out of 365. We can get through any 24-hour period.

Get through the day, but be aware that there may be a post-holiday backlash. Sometimes, if we use our survival behaviors to get through the day, the feelings will catch up to us the next day. Deal with them too. Get back on track as quickly as possible.

Find and cherish the love that's available, even if it's not exactly what we want. Is there someone we can give love to and receive love from? Recovering friends? Is there a family who would enjoy sharing their holiday with us? Don't be a martyr - go. There may be those who would appreciate our offer to share our day with them.

We are not in the minority if we find ourselves experiencing a less than ideal holiday. How easy, but untrue, to tell ourselves the rest of the world is experiencing the perfect holiday, and we're alone in conflict.

We can create our own holiday agenda. Buy yourself a present. Find someone to whom you can give. Unleash your loving, nurturing self and give in to the holiday spirit.

Maybe past holidays haven't been terrific. Maybe this year wasn't terrific. But next year can be better, and the next a little better. Work toward a better life - one that meets your needs. Before long, you'll have it.

God, help me enjoy and cherish this holiday. If my situation is less than ideal, help me take what's good and let go of the rest.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Food for Thought: December 24th



Thinking Straight

Before we found this program, we did a great deal of thinking in circles. Since we did not know how to stop eating compulsively, we spent a lot of time thinking up reasons for our behavior, making plans for change, and rationalizing another day's failure to eat normally. Our thinking often wandered away into fantasy, spinning dreams of when we would be thin and on top of things. Since we had to have reasons for our inability to make the dreams materialize, we blamed our failure on the people around us. "If they were only more loving, considerate, capable, exciting, smarter..."

Such circular thinking got us nowhere. The more we fantasized, the more we ate, and the more we ate, the more we withdrew from reality.

When our minds are not muddled by too much food, our thinking is clarified. The Twelve Steps put us on the road to responsible action, rather than irresponsible rationalization. Accepting the fact that we have a disease keeps us in the world of reality instead of a fantasyland.

With Your truth, keep my thinking straight


From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

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Ah yes, thinking in circles............a/k/a The Vicious Cycle.  Blaming others for MY lot in life, then eating to cope, withdrawing into fantasy-land and shutting myself DOWN.  For decades I lived that way; with twisted & irrational thinking.

When my mind is not muddled from a carb-coma, I am thinking clearly & rationally. I am behaving myself in a rational, responsible manner, seeing things for what they ARE instead of what I'd like them to be.  

My husband was irritated with me yesterday. My first reaction was that HE was wrong...........I didn't 'do' anything.  He was just silly & mistaken.  He's mad, so place the blame on HIM instead of ME.  The old, twisted thinking was in charge.  Then I sat down and thought about what he'd said...........with a clear & rational mind.  He was RIGHT.  I was WRONG.  I saw what he was saying for the TRUTH that it was.  I apologized to him and set about making some changes that were long overdue. 

I was treating our house like it was MY house; MY things were everywhere, forcing HIS things to be put into the basement. 

For today, I am grateful to know the truth...........to hear it, to accept it, and to have the willingness to make attitude adjustments as necessary. :) 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: December 23rd



Holiday Triggers

One year, when I was a child, my father got drunk and violent at Christmas. I had just unwrapped a present, a bottle of hand lotion, when he exploded in an alcoholic rage. Our Christmas was disrupted. It was terrible. It was frightening for the whole family. Now, thirty-five years later, whenever I smell hand lotion, I immediately feel all the feelings I did that Christmas: the fear, the disappointment, the heartache, the helplessness, and an instinctive desire to control.
—Anonymous


There are many positive triggers that remind us of Christmas: snow, decorations, "Silent Night," "Jingle Bells," wrapped packages, a nativity scene, stockings hung on a fireplace. These "triggers" can evoke in us the warm, nostalgic feelings of the Christmas celebration.

There are other kinds of triggers, though, that may be less apparent and evoke different feelings and memories.

Our mind is like a powerful computer. It links sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste with feelings, thoughts, and memories. It links our senses - and we remember.

Sometimes the smallest, most innocuous incident can trigger memories. Not all our memories are pleasant, especially if we grew up in an alcoholic, dysfunctional setting.

We may not understand why we suddenly feel afraid, depressed, and anxious. We may not understand what has triggered our codependent coping behaviors - the low self worth, the need to control, the need to neglect ourselves. When that happens, we need to understand that some innocuous event may be triggering memories recorded deep within us.

If something, even something we don't understand, triggers painful memories, we can pull ourselves back into the present by self care: acknowledging our feelings, detaching, working the Steps, and affirming ourselves. We can take action to feel good. We can help ourselves feel better each Christmas. No matter what the past held, we can put it in perspective, and create a more pleasant holiday today.

Today, I will gently work through my memories of this holiday season. I will accept my feelings, even if I consider them different than what others are feeling this holiday. God, help me let go, heal from, and release the painful memories surrounding the holidays. Help me finish my business from the past, so I can create the holiday of my choice.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

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I grew up in a dysfunctional household myself...........I was always trying to 'keep the peace', which is what led to becoming a control freak.  I don't think I ever realized this before now............that the fear, disappointment & heartache/helplessness led to an instinctive desire to CONTROL!! Wow.

Christmas was one of the happier times for me, as a kid, but as an adult, the holidays tend to depress me.  I suppose I don't understand why or what events trigger painful memories for me.  I have a plan of action these days, and for that I am grateful.  I bring myself into the present by self care: acknowledging my feelings, detaching, and working the Steps.

For today, I pray to accept my feelings. I pray to God to help me let go, heal from, and release painful memories surrounding the holidays.

For today, I choose to live in the present moment instead of the past.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Food for Thought: December 22nd



Daring

What is it inside our heads that keeps daring us to try once more to prove that we are not compulsive overeaters? What kind of stupidity makes us think that this time we can get away with taking one compulsive bite? In a moment of blind bravado, we can lose months or years of hard won control.

Our ego is our own worst enemy. We forget that once a compulsive overeater, always a compulsive overeater. We tell ourselves that since we have been doing so well for so long, surely we can manage one or two small deviations. We rebel against the program and place ourselves above it. We forget that we have a disease, and we decide to do what we feel like doing, oblivious to the fact that by taking that first compulsive bite we are destroying our sanity and our serenity.

This kind of daring is to be avoided at all costs. The best antidote is the humility, which reminds us of the reality of our illness. We are not like everyone else. We are compulsive overeaters and do not dare to throw away our program.

Save me from the kind of daring that destroys me.


From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

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Taking that first stupid, compulsive bite DOES destroy my sanity & serenity, EVERY single time.  Yet, I still choose to throw away my program from time to time.

Hmmm.  The definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over & over again, expecting a different outcome.

If I am a compulsive overeater today, I will be a compulsive overeater tomorrow. 

If I take that first compulsive bite, it WILL lead to a binge.

If I 'forget' that I have an incurable disease, then I am using selective memory techniques which is a form of denial.

If I choose to allow my ego to stay in control, then I succumb to my disease and allow IT to rule ME.

If I choose to employ humility instead of ego, I remind myself of the reality of my disease.

For today, I pray to be saved from the kind of 'daring' that destroys me.

I have proven to myself that I AM a compulsive overeater often enough over the years.  For today, I pray to avoid taking that test yet again.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Recovery Meditations: December 21st



BABY STEPS

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task,
but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks
as if they were great and noble."

Helen Keller
(born Helen Adams Keller (1880 – 1968)
American author, activist and lecturer
and the first deafblind person to graduate from college).



From as far back as I can remember, I believed that, in order to be worthy or loved, I had to achieve great things. It didn't matter what it was but I set out to be the best at whatever I did, hoping that would make me feel better. Whether it was academic or one of the many diets or diet clubs I tried, it was the same story, and failure was totally unacceptable. Delayed gratification was definitely not part of my vocabulary, and so things had to be done or achieved in record time. If I wanted something done, it had to be done today, if not yesterday. Everything I did was done compulsively. I was, as one person in a meeting described, a "human doing," not a "human being".

Of course the things I could never really achieve were permanent weight loss and the serenity that comes with recovery. These seemed to elude me when I first came into the program, mainly because I expected to do it perfectly and in a very short time. After all, I had lost weight before, and quickly too. I had to realize that recovery is not a race, that this is a journey, not a destination. I don't have to do it all in one day, nor do I have to be the best at it. All I need to do is to take baby steps, one day at a time, and I will recover as God wills me to do. I just need to put one foot in front of the other and do what is before me. Recovery is cumulative and I build on it, day by day.

One Day at a Time . . .
I do the footwork and put my trust in my Higher Power, believing that, as I do what I need to do for today, God's healing power will come to me in the form of recovery.

Sharon S.

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Wow.............Sharon S. has written one of THE most powerful statements on the disease of compulsive overeating I've ever read.

I was a 'human doing' not a 'human being.'  Everything I did was done compulsively..........I was racing to a non-existent 'finish line', imposing ridiculous expectations on myself, setting myself up for failure, over & over again.

For today, I accept the fact that recovery requires me to take baby steps, one at a time. Recovery is cumulative and I build on it, day by day.  I am not in a race, but living the beautiful life that God has given me, one day at a time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Food for Thought: December 20th



A No Fault Illness

Formerly, we may have blamed our parents, a disappointment in love, economic insecurity, or a million other factors for our addiction to compulsive overeating. We probably spent much time and energy trying to figure out why we overate.

When we get honest with ourselves, we assume the responsibility for our own actions, instead of trying to shift it somewhere else. Many of us come to believe that we would be compulsive overeaters no matter what the circumstances of our lives. As we recover, we see that the why of our illness is unanswerable and unimportant. What counts is how we control it.

We do not continue to berate ourselves for having this illness, or consider ourselves physically, morally, or spiritually inferior for having contracted it. Blaming ourselves is as useless as blaming someone else. We accept the fact that through no one's fault we have the disease of compulsive overeating. Then we get on with the business of learning to control this illness with the help of our Higher Power and the OA program.

I blame no one for my illness.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

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While I don't blame myself or anyone else for being a compulsive overeater, I do feel it's important to know why I have eaten this way for the past 50 years.  Becoming truthful with myself, and not hiding that truth inside of a pile of food is important for my recovery.  I need to know my triggers so I can have a plan of action in place to deal with them when they appear.  Yes, my Food Plan prevails, always...........but I have had my bad moments where I've overeaten in spite of it.

COE is cunning & powerful.............but the 'why's' of it ARE answerable, at least for me.  Once the food coma dissipates, thanks to compliance with the Food Plan, the 'why's' become a whole lot clearer.  I see that I've used my illness to hide and to isolate.........to push out fear and feelings of unworthiness.  I see how abandonment issues were never dealt with properly, and instead, stuffed DOWN with excess food.

For me, the 'why's' are just as important as controlling the disease with the Food Plan. 

For today, I blame no one for my illness, least of all myself.........but I continue to work on the 'why's' and on discovering who I really AM, inside.  With the help of my Higher Power, I can achieve all of my goals, one day at a time, one abstinent meal at a time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Each Day a New Beginning: December 19th



My singing is very therapeutic. For three hours I have no troubles--I know how it's all going to come out.
—Beverly Sills


Have we each found an activity that takes us outside of ourselves? An activity that gives us a place to focus our attention? Being self-centered and focused on ourselves accompanies the illness we're struggling to recover from. The decision to quit preoccupying on ourselves, our own struggles with life, is not easy to maintain. But when we have an activity that excites us, on which we periodically concentrate our attention, we are strengthened. And the more we get outside of ourselves, the more aware we become that "all is well."

It seems our struggles are intensified as women. So often we face difficult situations at work and with children, alone. The preoccupation with our problems exaggerates them. And the vicious cycle entraps us. However, we don't have to stay trapped. We can pursue a hobby. We can take a class, join a health club. We can dare to follow whatever our desire - to try something new. We need to experience freedom from the inner turmoil in order to know that we deserve even more freedom.

Emotional health is just around the corner. I will turn my attention to the world outside myself.

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.

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To stay self-absorbed is to stay rooted in the disease of compulsive overeating. Those who struggle the most are those who cannot see past the tips of their own nose.

If I want to be free of my disease & to stay in recovery, I will focus my attention AWAY from myself. I will develop a hobby or pursue an interest that enables me to give back..........to get out of my own way and to occupy my time without self-indulgence.

If I stay imprisoned in my own mind, I stay sick.  For today, I will turn my attention to the world outside myself.

For today, I will stay in Recovery.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Recovery Meditations: December 18th



ACTION

"You learn to speak by speaking,
to study by studying,
to run by running,
to work by working;
in just the same way,
you learn to love by loving."

St. Francis De Sales
(1567 - 1622)
(in French, St Fran├žois de Sales)
Bishop of Geneva, Switzerland and a Roman Catholic saint.


St. Francis de Sales lived from 1567 to 1622. Isn't it amazing that a man who lived over 300 years before the birth of our recovery program could encapsulate its meaning in the above quote? Put another way, what St. Francis was saying was, "You work the program by working the program."

I've met so many people who had theoretical knowledge of recovery, but no practical experience. They don't work the program; they just talk the talk without walking the walk. I'm not proud to admit that I've been one of those people myself.

It's a wonderful feeling to actually work the program, to take the Steps, and to trust in the God of my understanding to keep me working it. Paying lip service to the program doesn't bring recovery; only working it does. Anything else is a waste of time and energy.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will work the program by working the program; today, I'll take action to bring about my recovery.

Jeff

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"Theoretical knowledge"......................ah yes............all the 'knowledge' in the world doesn't equate to successful recovery.  All the books and graphs, and charts aren't worth a penny either.  How many diet books do we have? How many diet programs have we followed over the years, looking for the magical quick fix?

It's vital to find/develop a Food Plan for abstinence, and to then FOLLOW that Food Plan to FIND abstinence.

You work the program by working the program.  There are no shortcuts; no easy ways, no magical cures.  There is only hard work and commitment to following the Food Plan and the 12 Steps.

The only way out is through. 

For today, I am putting away all of my Theoretical Knowledge for Action.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: December 17th



Nurturing Ourselves

Many of us have been so deprived of nurturing that we think it's silly or self-indulgent. Nurturing is neither silly nor self-indulgent; it's how we show love for ourselves. That's what we're striving for in recovery - a loving relationship with ourselves that works, so we can have loving relationships with others that work.

When we hurt, we ask ourselves what we need to help us feel better. When we feel alone, we reach out to someone safe. Without feeling that we are a burden, we allow that person to be there for us.

We rest when we're tired; eat when we're hungry; have fun or relax when our spirits need a lift. Nurturing means giving ourselves gifts - a trip to the beauty salon or barbershop, a massage, a book, a new jacket, or a new suit or dress. It means a long, hot bath to forget about our problems and the world for a few moments when that would feel good.

We learn to be gentle with ourselves and to open up to the nurturing that others have to offer us.

As part of nurturing ourselves, we allow ourselves to give and receive positive touch - touch that feels appropriate to us, touch that is safe. We reject touch that doesn't feel good or safe and is not positive.

We learn to give ourselves what we need in a gentle, loving, compassionate way. We do this with the understanding it will not make us lazy, spoiled, self centered, or narcissistic. Nurtured people are effective in their work and in their relationships.

We will learn to feel loved by ourselves so much that we can truly love others and let them love us.

Today, I will nurture myself. I will also be open to the nurturing that I can give to others and receive from them.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

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When I was eating compulsively, I didn't nurture myself...........I didn't feel like I DESERVED to nurture or love myself.  I had a skewed vision of life...........thinking it was 'self'indulgent' to nurture myself, but NOT 'self-indulgent' to overeat 24/7?  Just another bit of chaotic thinking, thanks to the disease that keeps on giving...............and giving..............and giving...............until WE say ENOUGH.

Once I committed myself to an abstinent lifestyle, so many things became clear, as the food fog was lifted.  When I was consumed and obsessed with food & drink 24/7, there was no room for anything else....................the 'hungers' that consumed me had nothing to DO with food or drink.  So when I tried to satisfy the emotional hunger with calories, I never felt full or satisfied.

Nowadays, I eat only enough calories to sustain my body.  My mental health & well-being is not contingent upon food at all.  Whenever I think 'how nice' it would be to have a binge, or to eat that chocolate which would taste so good, I remind myself what it would COST me to indulge.  It would cost me my abstinence, peace of mind, clear thinking, serenity..........the list goes on and on.  A two minute or two hour 'indulgence' could easily set me down the road to destruction, as it has in the past.

Some mistakes are NEVER worth repeating. 

For today, I pray to USE the tools in my toolbox, and to avoid taking that first compulsive bite.  Today, I choose to preserve my program,thereby preserving my SANITY and SERENITY.

For today, I choose to nurture myself in a healthy fashion.  Today, I AM WORTH IT!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Food for Thought: December 16th


Getting Well

Our recovery is always in process; it is never completed. If we think for a minute that we have conquered our disease and no longer have to consider it that is the time when we are in danger of slipping. Getting well is what we will be doing for the rest of our lives. Fortunately, we have guidelines and a fellowship to support us.

We are not required to think about our disease twenty-four hours a day. We do need to remember it when thoughts of food and eating arise. We also need to remember it when we find ourselves thinking the kind of thoughts or feeling the moods, which led to binges in the past.

Getting well is an adventure. We have moved out of the repetitious rut of past habits and are reaching into the unknown. There are times when we are anxious and fearful that we will not be able to make it. We are not alone. There is a Higher Power that guides us and an organization of friends who sustain us. The process of getting well is a privilege and a gift.

Thank You for the process of getting well.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

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I shudder when I hear someone say, "Oh I've GOT this," when it comes to weight management & compulsive overeating.  I've managed my weight for the past 4 years, but I still haven't 'conquered' the disease & never will.

Cockiness leads to lax behavior.............the 'one can't possibly hurt' mentality...........which leads to a binge which leads back to the pit of despair & hopelessness.

Nowadays, when I want to eat candy or chocolate or some other food that will make me sick, I remind myself it's just a WANT and not a NEED.  I can go ahead and eat the poison, but then I will suffer the consequences.  I will lose my abstinence and I may not get it back.

How many 'sobering up's' do I have left in me?  I do not want to find out.

For today, I will continue to get well.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: December 15th



Feelings

It's okay to have and feel our feelings - all of them.

Years into recovery, we may still be battling with ourselves about this issue. Of all the prohibitions we've lived with, this one is potentially the most damaging and the most long-lived.

Many of us needed to shut down the emotional part of ourselves to survive certain situations. We shut down the part of us that feels anger, sadness, fear, joy, and love. We may have turned off our sexual or sensual feelings too. Many of us lived in systems with people who refused to tolerate our emotions. We were shamed or reprimanded for expressing feelings, usually by people who were taught to repress their own.

But times have changed. It is okay now for us to acknowledge and accept our emotions. We don't need to allow our emotions to control us; neither do we need to allow our emotions to control us; neither do we need to rigidly repress our feelings. Our emotional center is a valuable part of us. It's connected to our physical well being, our thinking, and our spirituality.

Our feelings are also connected to that great gift, instinct. They enable us to give and receive love.

We are neither weak nor deficient for indulging in our feelings. It means we're becoming healthy and whole.

Today, I will allow myself to recognize and accept whatever feelings pass through me. Without shame, I will tune in to the emotional part of myself.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

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Compulsive overeating forced me to shut down ALL of my feelings & emotions.........the painful emotions as well as the joyous ones.  Shutting down prevents me from living a full life, as the addiction takes over.

I couldn't lose weight & keep it off until I became willing *and felt safe enough* to express my emotions & to feel the pain of them.  The 12 Steps helped me identify what was happening, and abstinence cleared the mind fog and allowed me to SEE things in the light of honesty.

Nowadays, I realize that my emotions will not kill me, but obesity & compulsive overeating WILL.

I am posting a blog here that I wrote a while ago, it was an epiphany of sorts:

My ID Said: FAT GIRL

After losing a lot of weight, I had my identity stolen.

In this particular case, however, I couldn’t call the police to report the theft, because I myself was the responsible party.

Isn’t that what happens, literally, when a person loses a large amount of weight, transforming from the Fat Girl into the Thin Girl?

I suffered an identity crisis of epic proportions is what really happened after losing 100 lbs.


I thought of myself as the Fat Girl, and my mind identified with that image…..for 40 years I was fat, it was who I was. I was a size 2X. I was 225 lbs. I was the out-of-control woman who was judged by others for her size, primarily. Whether others really DID judge me for my size, I don’t know, but that was MY perception of how it was.

And perception becomes one’s reality.

My Perception. My self-image, my Ego, dictated who I thought I WAS: The Fat Girl image superimposed itself over all of my other qualities, and took on a life of its own. I over-compensated for my weight by bending over backwards to please others, oftentimes at my own expense.

Because I was worthless, after all, wasn’t I? I had to make people LIKE me, somehow……didn’t I? They would scoff at me for my body size, so my personality would have to shine to make up for it. Or, I’d have to do something extra special for you, even if I didn’t like you……even if I didn’t feel like it, to prove my worth.

As The Fat Girl, I was a combination of every quality I THOUGHT I SHOULD be. I viewed myself as I was viewed by OTHERS. Ok, if YOU think I’m funny & charming, then I must BE! If you think I’m kind hearted for going out of my way for you, then I MUST BE! Phew! Thank you for helping me figure out who I Am.

What about all the OTHER things I was besides Fat? Those qualities fell by the wayside, because all I could see was my Body. I’d neglected my soul, my spirit, and my light…..squashing it down with excess food, not recognizing it at ALL.

When I transformed into a person who appeared to be different on the outside, I’d get overcome with a ‘feeling’ that I wasn’t able to pinpoint, or put a name to. What was it? I blogged about ‘the feeling’ a few times last April, seeking an answer from my fellow travelers. One gal who’d searched high & low for an answer to ‘the feeling’ but never found one, in spite of extensive therapy, described it as ‘trying to hold a beach ball under water’. Whatever ‘the feeling’ was, it wanted desperately to come UP, but every time it tried, I became frightened. Fear of the unknown….what on earth IS it?? I couldn’t identify ‘the feeling’, so it would scare me, leading me back down the road to regain. Every time I’ve lost weight, this ‘feeling’ came up, and every time it did, I’d head back to my old ways.

It’s taken me over a year after writing that blog to finally identify ‘the feeling.’ It’s been my Spirit trying, and trying and trying to come UP, to be acknowledged & accepted. The Real Me, in other words. I never knew her before, so how could I recognize her when she came knocking?

When I’d lose weight & lose my identity in the process, I was never able to figure out WHO I was…….how could I form a NEW identity? Before, it was easy to know who I was; even though I didn’t LIKE it, it was familiar. But now……….jeez……..now what?

It took me 1 full year to see myself as I truly WAS when I looked in the mirror. Why? Because my MIND had developed a certain identity FOR me: the Fat Girl. Even though I wasn’t fat anymore, I still SAW fat because that’s what my mind TOLD me to see.

I had changed, but my perception of myself did NOT. My ego…….the way my Mind viewed things, still saw me as The Fat Girl.

The human mind desperately wants to attach labels and find identities. My neighbor ties herself to her Corvette; that’s what establishes her image. Those who hoard attach THEMSELVES to their stuff………it establishes their identity. Who would I be without my Stuff? (((Shivers))))

When I had a gigantic house & drove a Range Rover, I was The Wife Of A Big Business Executive. Albeit a FAT one, but somehow, my ego could overlook the Fat part a tiny bit MORE. Strip me of my gigantic house & Range Rover, and all that’s left is a Fat Girl.

Strip me of my Fat Girl identity, and THEN WHAT??????????????

Once my ego (my Sense of Self) shattered into so many little pieces, all that remained was my Soul; unfamiliar to me in every way.

Who was I at the core? My energy? My light? My Being……my Essence? I had no idea, but I was about to find out. Unless I wanted to go back to the old identity of The Fat Girl.

But staying true to my food plan forced me to see things clearly; the illusions no longer prevailed.

My Spirit wanted to come up & STAY up. Without a lot of ‘stuff’ to anchor me down, without a Fat Suit to protect me from life, with no fancy house or large bank account to define Me, all I had left was my Spirit.

I’d try to tamp It DOWN, like I would a beach ball in the ocean, but UP it would pop. It would be held down no longer.

It was sink or swim time for me, and I chose to swim.

Many times in the past, I’d choose to sink, because I didn’t know WHAT was happening.

Now I do. I am not My Stuff. I am not My Body. I am not even My Thoughts and I’m certainly not defined by who Others THINK I am! I am My Soul, the life force that sustains me, even when my body ultimately breaks down with age & eventual illness.

My Spirit is Who I Am.

And it’s been an awfully long journey trying to find It.

We come to a place like OA, wanting to lose some weight, to change our appearance from what we consider ‘ugly’ into something we consider ‘beautiful.’ We tend to think it’s all about food. The consumption of excess food is the SYMPTOM of the underlying condition that brought many of us TO obesity: not acknowledging or understanding the Essence of who we ARE. Our Spirit is buried, way down deep, under mountains of food and layers of protective armor, but it’s still alive & well, thriving in SPITE of our ‘failures’ and our ‘shortcomings’.

In reality, this journey hasn’t been about my Body at ALL. It’s been about my Soul.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: December 14th



Clear Thinking

Strive for clear thinking. Many of us have had our thinking clouded by denial. Some of us have even lost faith in ourselves because we've spent a degree of time in denial. But losing faith in our thinking isn't going to help us. What we need to lose faith in is denial.

We didn't resort to denial - either of someone else's problem or our own - because we were deficient. Denial, the shock absorber for the soul, protects us until we are equipped to cope with reality.

Clear thinking and recovery don't mean we will never resort to denial. Denial is the first step toward acceptance, and for most of our life, we will be striving to accept something.

Clear thinking means we don't allow ourselves to become immersed in negativity or unrealistic expectations. We stay connected to other recovering people. We go to our meetings, where peace of mind and realistic support are available. We work the Steps, pray, and meditate.

We keep our thinking on track by asking our Higher Power to help us think clearly - not by expecting Him, or someone else, to do our thinking for us.

Today, I will strive for balanced, clear thought in all areas of my life.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

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Denial: The shock absorber for the soul..............what a great analogy!

I couldn't lose weight or change my life until I felt safe enough to do so.  I lived in survival mode for SO long, that denial was the only way I could function.  Deep down, I knew I was avoiding the truth...........but we do what we MUST do to survive, I suppose.

When I found abstinence and the food fog lifted, I began to think clearly, finally, and became willing to accept myself.  As a compulsive overeater/alcoholic/addict in general, acceptance is the key to living in recovery.

Today, I strive for balance & clear thought in all areas of my life. I am a work in progress, however, and do not place unrealistic expectations of perfection on myself or others.  When I find myself pointing the finger at someone else, I KNOW it's time to look at myself and my own life.

For today, I will keep my thinking on track by asking God to help me think clearly.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Food for Thought: December 13th


Accepting Emptiness

There will always be times when we feel empty physically empty, emotionally empty, and spiritually empty. Before we found our Higher Power, these periods of emptiness terrified us, and we had to try to fill ourselves up with something, whether it was food, noise, other people, work, or something else.

We probably still do not like to feel empty, and yet, through the OA program, we are learning that emptiness can be a good thing. When we are empty of the refined sugars and carbohydrates, which poisoned us, we are full of energy. When we are empty of anger and resentment, we have room for positive feelings of love, joy, and peace. When we are empty of pride and egotism, God can fill us with His power.

Our Higher Power is not ours to command. There is no way that we can receive instant consolation and gratification. By accepting our periods of emptiness, however, we open ourselves to growth and to the spirit that fills us according to His purposes.

May I be empty of self so that I may be filled with You.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

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As addicts, it's difficult to just sit there and BE; without doing anything, without fixing anything, without running around.  To sit THROUGH a feeling can be tough.  We expect instant gratification, and to never feel uncomfortable.  Part of our recovery hinges on allowing the discomfort to happen...........and not to eat our way through it.

Emptiness is a part of life for everyone.  When we try to fill that emotional void with food, there isn't enough on earth to actually DO that.........so we never feel full, and the binges get bigger and bigger.  And still we go for MORE.

When we agree to maintain abstinence, we eat to fill a physical need, not an emotional one.  We learn to satisfy our basic nutritional needs and to stop using food for comfort or entertainment.

For today, I repeat the 3rd Step prayer:

God, I offer myself to Thee
To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness
To those I would help of Thy power;
Thy love;
And Thy way of life.
May I do Thy will always.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Food for Thought: December 12th


Meal by Meal

We abstain from compulsive overeating day-by-day and meal-by-meal. After breakfast, we do not worry about how we will feel at dinnertime. After breakfast we know that we have had an abstinent meal and that we can forget about food until it is time for lunch. If we allow ourselves to start thinking about what we will have for the next meal, and the meal after that, we turn on our obsession.

The beauty of abstinence is that it permits us to get from one meal to the next without being constantly preoccupied with food. By abstaining from refined sugars and carbohydrates and our individual binge foods, we no longer have to fight the craving for more. By working the Twelve Steps, we fill our minds with nourishing thoughts, which drive out our former obsession with food.

This meal, which I have planned, is the only one that concerns me now. I do not need to think about other meals or other foods. I will enjoy this meal, and then I will walk away from food into the rest of my life.

Keep me abstinent, meal-by-meal.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

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This reading outlines the simplicity of the program: meal by meal, day by day, one day at a time, we find abstinence from compulsive overeating when we follow the steps of OA.

Before finding this marvelous program, my preoccupation with food was all consuming. An obsession of this nature can only be relieved by practicing the rules of abstinence on a daily basis. I need not worry about my next meal; only the one I am eating right now.  Yesterday is gone & tomorrow isn't here yet, so I only have to focus on today, NOW.

I turn my life over to God and ask Him to guide me, every step of the way.  I do the footwork by staying abstinent, and trust Him to do the rest.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Food for Thought


Setting Realistic Goals

Part of growing up is learning to set realistic goals for ourselves. Our grandiose egos used to dare us into dreaming great dreams, which led to feelings of failure when the dreams did not materialize. If we expect the impossible of ourselves, we are bound to be disappointed.

Those of us who come into OA with many pounds to lose need to be realistic about the amount of time we allow for achieving the weight loss. We also need to be realistic about the fact that we may never look like fashion models. If we expect all other problems to vanish upon the attainment of a weight goal, we are not being realistic.

Maintaining abstinence, working the Twelve Steps, and attending meetings regularly keeps us in touch with the reality of our disease. The goals we set for ourselves are determined by where we are in actuality right now. Some of us have farther to go than others. The goals we set should challenge us rather than defeat us before we begin.

Show me the goals that are realistic for me today.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

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I once had huge, unrealistic dreams..........not achievable dreams, actually........but I never associated those dreams with a grandiose ego.  I've learned so much in OA, especially about ego versus humility.

The goals I once set for myself were so unrealistic, that I was defeated before I even began.

I strive to be reasonable & realistic with myself nowadays, to stay in touch with my disease & recognize the various manifestations of it. When I keep abstinence as my #1 priority, I have my disease in remission and my entire life on the right track.

For today, my realistic goal is to stay abstinent, to exercise my body, and to do a few chores around my house that need attention.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Food for Thought: December 10th

 
One Day At A Time

We can only work this program one day at a time. Tomorrow's abstinence will take care of itself if we are abstinent today. It is when we look too far ahead that we become troubled and lose our confidence. Whatever happens, we can cope with it one day at a time.

Worrying about the possibility of being hungry next week destroys today's serenity. Projecting ourselves into future tasks produces unnecessary tension. Wondering how someone may react to something we may say tomorrow causes needless anxiety and robs us of the here and now.

Our Higher Power is with us now, today. By learning to know Him in the present, we grow in faith that He will be with us in the future. He gives us the strength to maintain our abstinence today, and that is the best thing we can possibly do for ourselves. One day at a time, we walk out of darkness into light.

Thank You for this day. 

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

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Learning to live in the NOW is quite difficult for addicts............we're either dwelling in the past or worrying about the future.  What overweight woman doesn't project about how 'perfect' life will be when she's at goal?  Then she gets to goal, sees that nothing much has changed, feels restless, and goes back to the old eating habits.  The vicious cycle of yo yo dieting.

OA ends the vicious cycle by teaching us to live an abstinent lifestyle, one day at a time. By working the 12 Steps, we commit to changing ourselves from the INSIDE, so the body is no longer the ONLY thing that matters.  When the body is the only point of focus, we can never feel satisfied.  We age, we develop wrinkles, gray hair, saggy skin..............and we constantly look for ways to 'fix' our bodies.  When we learn to love ourselves on the INSIDE, the body image loses its importance as we focus on our SOUL instead.

My Soul is unflappable.  While my body continues to age & break down, my Soul continues to get stronger & even more beautiful every day.  When my body dies, it's my Soul that will continue to thrive eternally.

For today, I pray to focus on what's TRULY important in my life.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: December 9th



Asking for Help

It's okay to ask for help.

One of the most absurd things we do to ourselves is not asking for the help we need from a friend, a family member, our Higher Power, or the appropriate resource.

We don't have to struggle through feelings and problems alone. We can ask for help from our Higher Power and for support and encouragement from our friends.

Whether what we need is information, encouragement, a hand, a word, a hug, someone who will listen, or a ride, we can ask. We can ask people for what we need from them. We can ask God for what we need from God.

It is self-defeating to not ask for the help we need. It keeps us stuck. If we ask long and hard enough, if we direct our request to the right source, we'll get the help we need.

There is a difference between asking someone to rescue us and asking someone in a direct manner for the help we need from him or her. We can be straightforward and let others choose whether to help us or not. If the answer is no, we can deal with that.

It is self-defeating to hint, whine, manipulate, or coerce help out of people. It is annoying to go to people as a victim and expect them to rescue us. It is healthy to ask for help when help is what we need.

"My problem is shame," said one woman. "I wanted to ask for help in dealing with it, but I was to ashamed. Isn't that crazy?"

We who are eager to help others can learn to allow ourselves to receive help. We can learn to make clean contracts about asking for and receiving the help we want and need.

Today, I will ask for help if I need it - from people and my Higher Power. I will not be a victim, helplessly waiting to be rescued. I will make my request for help specific, to the point, and I will leave room for the person to choose whether or not to help me. I will not be a martyr any longer by refusing to get the help I deserve in life - the help that makes life simpler. God, help me let go of my need to do everything alone. Help me use the vast Universe of resources available to me.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

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I was taught to hint, whine, manipulate & coerce help out of people..........I watch my mother doing this EXACT thing every single day.  I was taught that to ask for help is a sign of weakness, and that loved ones should be able to read our minds & KNOW exactly what we need, and then provide it!!!

There is no shame in directly asking for help.  Asking for help makes me human, and allows me to be a part of humanity instead of separate FROM it!

When I ask for help, sometimes the answer is no.  Take my husband for instance. He'll ask me what I need; I tell him, and then he gets all aggravated about it & shuts me out.  Just because HE has poor communication skills does not mean that I will stop asking for help!  And when he acts like a big baby about it, I call him out on THAT, too!

For today, I will not be a victim, helplessly waiting to be rescued.  I will make my request for help specific & to the point.  And, I will allow the outcome of my request to BE.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Food for Thought: December 7th



A Permanent Disability

Compulsive overeating is a permanent disability. We do not look forward to becoming normal eaters at some point in the future. Until we accept the fact that our illness is irreversible, we do not learn how to control it.

We have all tried innumerable methods of regaining the ability to eat normally and spontaneously. Perhaps the most common delusion was believing that once we were thin enough we would be able to eat whatever and however we pleased. We may have thought that if only we could straighten out our interpersonal relationships and arrange circumstances to suit us, then we would no longer be plagued by compulsive overeating.

When I accept the fact that I am and always will be a compulsive overeater, no matter what my weight or how ideal my situation, I accept reality. I will have to live with this disease and control it, with the help of my Higher Power and OA, for the rest of my life. Abstinence is not a temporary cure for my illness, but a permanent method of control.

May I understand the full extent of my disability.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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When we agree to live an abstinent lifestyle, we CREATE 'normal'..........we carve it out from the insanity of compulsive overeating, and that's how we live, one day at a time.

I accept the fact that I am and always will be a COE, no matter what my weight or how ideal my situation, I accept reality.  I will have to live with this disease & control it, for the rest of my life, with the help of OA & my Higher Power. 

The key is not to take that FIRST compulsive bite of food..........and to allow the Food Plant to prevail. 

For today, I pray for the willingness to put my Food Plan & my HP in charge of my life

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: December 6th



Letting Go of Shame

Many of us were victimized, sometimes more than once. We may have been physically abused, sexually abused, or exploited by the addictions of another.

Understand that if another person has abused us, it is not cause for us to feel shame. The guilt for the act of abuse belongs to the perpetrator, not the victim.

Even if in recovery we fall prey to being victimized, that is not cause for shame.

The goal of recovery is learning self-care, learning to free ourselves from victimization, and not to blame ourselves for past experiences. The goal is to arm ourselves so we do not continue to be victimized due to the shame and unresolved feelings from the original victimization.

We each have our own work, our issues, and our recovery tasks. One of those tasks is to stop pointing our finger at the perpetrator, because it distracts us. Although we hold each person responsible and accountable for his or her behavior, we learn compassion for the perpetrator. We understand that many forces have come into play in that person's life. At the same time, we do not hold on to shame.

We learn to understand the role we played in our victimization, how we fell into that role and did not rescue ourselves. But that is information to arm us so that it need not happen again.

Let go of victim shame. We have issues and tasks, but our issue is not to feel guilty and wrong because we have been victimized.

Today, I will set myself free from any victim shame I may be harboring or hanging on to.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Food For Thought: December 5th

Challenges

When we were overeating compulsively, we accepted few challenges other than how much food we could cram into our stomachs without getting sick. As our disease progressed, outside interests narrowed and we "got by" with minimum accomplishment instead of being inspired to do our best.

Life is a challenge. None of us has an easy, free ride. The problems and difficulties we overcome are what ensure our continual growth. Without obstacles and tension, we would stagnate. By overeating, we kept ourselves too doped up and lethargic to respond to many of the challenges life presented.

Abstinence is a challenge. It requires our devotion, determination, and dedication. There are some days when maintaining abstinence is all the challenge we can handle. As we progress in the program, we are increasingly capable of responding to the challenges that come to us through our families, jobs, leisure activities, and community involvements.

Today, I will be challenged to become what You intend. 

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

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Compulsive overeating was a full time job, taking all of my time, energy & devotion.  I was inspired to do nothing but eat, drink, and be merry.  All that 'merriment', however, led to my spiritual impoverishment.

When my disease brought me to my knees, yet again, I knew it was finally time to change. Embracing an abstinent lifestyle means the only thing that needs to change is everything

For today, I may be able to handle no other challenge but staying abstinent.  Doing so may require my full & undivided attention.........but an abstinent day is more productive than the busiest day of my past life, which was devoted to Me Me Me. 

For today, I will step out of my own way & give back to someone else.  I can't keep the joy I've found through program unless I share it with someone else.

Today, I will be challenged to become what You intend.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

For Today


Don't fight your problem. Know that there is a solution.
Joseph Murphy
When I fight, or resist, a problem, I am actually giving it strength and weakening my chances of finding a solution.

If I think constructively about a problem, a course of action will present itself. Constructive thinking is to know that a Power greater than myself is directing me, and that this Power already has the answer.

In asking God's help with a problem, I take whatever action is possible, knowing that every step brings me closer to the solution.

For Today: There is no problem I cannot take to God, and none for which God does not have a solution.
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Inward peace is not common amongst those of us with obesity problems nor is it easy to come by. Stuffing down anxiety & fear with food gives us the illusion of calm, but food as an anesthetic has THE shortest lifespan of all the addictive substances. We eat an off plan food b/c we just can't STAND the stress, what our mother said to us, that the kids are screaming, that the job is boring, etc. etc. It feels good for the moment, tastes great, then we're faced with the consequences: the scale, the self-remorse, the crash. The best way to achieve a state of inner peace is to stay OP thru all the ups & downs of life. In the end, the battle is much easier when the choice to go off plan isn't an option.

 As the holidays approach, may we all have the strength & determination to get through them without making food our focus. Let's all say NO to the food-pushers who are hell-bent on getting us to 'just try' this or that, oh come ON, it's Christmas after all. Christmas is Christ's birthday so let's all keep that in mind when the temptations rear their ugly heads.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Food for Thought: December 3rd

Insanity

The longer we maintain abstinence from compulsive overeating, the more we realize how insane we were before we found OA. Our withdrawal from people and reality into eating to excess was definitely not a sane way to live. As we work the Steps of this program, we see that many of our thoughts and attitudes were as insane as our destructive behavior.

It is our Higher Power who restores us to sanity, but He requires our surrender and cooperation. We can actively seek out the people and experiences which are life enhancing rather than detrimental to our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. The activities and associations, which went along with our compulsive overeating in the past, may have to be eliminated if we are to enjoy a sane, sober life in the present and future.

Continuing to beat our heads against the brick walls of past failures is insanity. We have a new life to live, provided we relinquish the attitudes and behavior, which we now know to be insane.

Preserve us from old insanities. 

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.

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Insanity is doing the same thing over & over again, expecting different results.  I yo yo dieted for 40 years expecting different results, and all I did was progress my disease of compulsive overeating.  My thoughts & attitude were just as bad as my destructive behavior.

Surrendering to God, and cooperating with His intent FOR me, restores me to sanity. If surrender/cooperation means that I have to change what I do, hang out with different people, and find new activities, then that's what I must DO.

For today, I pray to live with sanity & structure in my life.  To insure that I do, I stick to my Food Plan of abstinence & put my life in God's hands.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Food for Thought: December 2nd



Guilt


It was often a feeling of guilt, which led us to overeat, and the more we overate, the guiltier we felt. A Fourth Step inventory can pinpoint the reasons for the guilt that we still experience, and by taking the Fifth Step we are able to express and release this guilt.

Some of our guilt feelings are unnecessary. We may experience a sense of guilt when we say no to requests and demands, which infringe on our legitimate rights. We may feel guilty when we do not live up to the expectations of someone close to us. We need to develop a strong sense of self worth so that we do not suffer from guilt at not conforming to someone else's image of who we should be.

Working our program relieves us of unnecessary guilt. When we make amends to those we have in fact injured, we are freed from a heavy burden of real guilt. When we experience confirmation of who we are through contact with our Higher Power, we are liberated from the constraint of imagined guilt.

Show us how to deal with guilt.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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The vicious cycle of guilt & overeating! I eat something & feel guilty for it, which leads me to go back & eat MORE to stuff down the guilt, which creates MORE guilt! On & on the cycle goes as the insanity grows along with the body size.
 
Sticking to my Food Plan prevents me from feeling guilty........it's the EATING that leads to guilt, not my behavior.  The Steps have taught me to make amends when necessary, and to do so immediately. Of course, I don't like it if I'm not living up to someone's expectations of me, but I don't feel 'guilty' about it, either.  As long as I am living up to my own, and God's expectations of me, then I'm golden.
 
For today, I will do nothing to create guilty feelings.  I will stick to my Food Plan & leave the rest of my life in His hands. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: December 1st



Letting People Be There for Us

Sometimes, we need nurturing. Sometimes, we need people to support us.

Many of us have been deprived of support and nurturing for so long we may not realize it's something we want and need. Many of us have learned to block or stop ourselves from getting what we want and need.

We may not reach out to have our needs met. We may be in relationships with people who cannot or will not be available to meet our needs. Or we may be in relationships with people who would be happy to respond to a direct request from us.

We may have to give up something to do this. We may have to let go of our martyr or victim role. If we ask for what we want and need, and get those needs met, we will not be able to punish people, or push them away later on, for disappointing us.

We may have to let go of our fears enough to experience the intimacy that will occur when we allow someone to love and support us. We may even have to learn, one day at a time, how to be happy and content.

Learn to let others be there for us.

Today, I will be open to identifying what I need from people, and I will ask for what I want directly. I will let others be there for me.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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I have a step-daughter who displays co-dependent behavior such as this ALL the time.  She will never directly ask for something, but she will take round-about ways to place guilt and obligation on her Dad to get what she wants.  She refuses to be direct and ask for help.  Maintaining a 'victim' mentality at all times prevents her from accepting her role as an adult who is willing to bear the responsibility of behaving an adult.  

Agreeing to be happy & content is a choice; agreeing to live in the victim mode is another choice.  Part of growing up at ANY age is agreeing to ask for help and support when we need it.  Running the world alone & by oneself is an impossible task.  

For today, I pray to be relieved of my tendency toward fierce independence, and for the willingness to ask for help when I need it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Language of Letting Go



Detachment


One day, my son brought a gerbil home to live with us. We put it in a cage. Some time later, the gerbil escaped. For the next six months, the animal ran frightened and wild through the house. So did we - chasing it.

"There it is. Get it!" we'd scream, each time someone spotted the gerbil. I, or my son, would throw down whatever we were working on, race across the house, and lunge at the animal hoping to catch it.

I worried about it, even when we didn't see it. "This isn't right," I'd think. "I can't have a gerbil running loose in the house. We've got to catch it. We've got to do something."

A small animal, the size of a mouse had the entire household in a tizzy.

One day, while sitting in the living room, I watched the animal scurry across the hallway. In frenzy, I started to lunge at it, as I usually did, then I stopped myself.

No, I said, I'm all done. If that animal wants to live in the nooks and crannies of this house, I'm going to let it. I'm done worrying about it. I'm done chasing it. It's an irregular circumstance, but that's just the way it's going to have to be.

I let the gerbil run past without reacting. I felt slightly uncomfortable with my new reaction - not reacting - but I stuck to it anyway.

I got more comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. Before long, I became downright peaceful with the situation. I had stopped fighting the gerbil. One afternoon, only weeks after I started practicing my new attitude, the gerbil ran by me, as it had so many times, and I barely glanced at it. The animal stopped in its tracks, turned around, and looked at me. I started to lunge at it. It started to run away. I relaxed.

"Fine," I said. "Do what you want." And I meant it.

One hour later, the gerbil came and stood by me, and waited. I gently picked it up and placed it in its cage, where it has lived happily ever since. The moral of the story? Don't lunge at the gerbil. He's already frightened, and chasing him just scares him more and makes us crazy.

Detachment works.

Today, I will be comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. I will feel at peace.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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What a great analogy! The more I 'lunge at the gerbil' the further I am from peace of mind & serenity!
 
While in the midst of my disease of compulsive overeating, I am one big ball of REACTION.  If all I am able to do is REact, then I am paralyzed to take ACTION.  When I live with emotions ruling me, I can't  look at life rationally........I just lunge from one over-blown, hysterical reaction to another.  I create drama for myself, then justify why I 'have to' eat to relax myself.  
 
For today, I choose abstinence & peace; I choose structure over chaos; I choose to set boundaries with loved ones & to rely on my Higher Power to guide me.
 
For today, I will trust my instincts. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Food for Thought: November 29th



Flexibility

If we examine our behavior patterns when we were eating compulsively, we usually find that they were quite rigid. Our mental obsession and physical addiction kept us bound in repetitious behavior, which permitted very little spontaneity. With so much time and energy tied up in eating, we had very little flexibility. Most of our free time was used to support our addiction in one way or another.

As we recover, we may find ourselves threatened by unstructured time or by impromptu changes in schedule. An unexpected holiday can bring on feelings of emptiness or boredom. Changed plans can leave us feeling confused and unsettled. Without a firm routine, we may become uneasy.

Remembering that abstinence is the most important thing in our life without exception can provide an anchor when we are required to be flexible. As long as we remain abstinent, we are free to alter schedules and plans according to preference and convenience. Flexibility and spontaneity are possible when abstinence is firm.

Show me how to be flexible.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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I practiced my addiction(s) "to the exclusion of all else."  I had no time for anything or anybody but my addiction; it took up all of my time and mental capacity.  My free time was consumed with obsession; what to eat, when to eat it, how to shop for the food, how to cook it; etc.  My mind was closed........I was unteachable..........inflexible, and living inside of my own head. Very little existed outside of that narrow field of vision: Me Me Me.  Addiction could be described as the ultimate selfishness, the way I see it.  There's no room for anyone or anything else but Me Myself & I.

The greatest gift I've been given is one of Routine.  My days are structured, my food intake is pre-planned & pre-measured, and the routine is what keeps me feeling safe & secure within the limits of my fenced-in Recovery yard.  So yes, a change in that routine CAN bring on feelings of fear or boredom; changed plans can leave me feeling out of sorts completely.  It took me several years of sobriety before I was able to feel comfortable with change.  And, to this day, I am still not 100% ok with it.  I function much better within the parameters of what's known........what's unknown can't be 100% managed.  During those times of change is when I really need to rely on faith in my Higher Power. 

When I keep abstinence & sobriety at the tippy TOP of my priority list is when I CAN function in any situation I find myself in.  If my schedule changes, I don't need to freak out and question my ability to stay the course.  I CAN trust myself to manage my program no matter what.  With God in my back pocket, and abstinence #1, how can I go wrong?

For today, I agree to be mentally flexible, teachable, and open to new ideas.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Recovery Meditations: November 28th


~ GOODNESS ~

Above all, let us never forget that an act of goodness
is in itself an act of happiness.

Count Maurice Maeterlinck


While in the disease, most of the goodness I tried to do was for ulterior motives. It was only in recovery that I learned to give unselfishly and without strings to help another. In doing so, I have found happiness beyond measure. I can create my own happiness in the service of my Higher Power and other compulsive overeaters. I can make the promise of a "new happiness and a new freedom" come true.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will do acts of goodness.

~ Judy N. ~
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"While in the disease"...............no matter WHAT I tried to do while in the disease was done for the wrong reasons!

Before taking on the 12 Steps, I lived selfishly, trying to please others so they would like me, which is also selfishly driven. I didn't know what true happiness felt like, inside, so I pursued finding it in all the wrong places: through excess food & drink, shopping, and by shutting my thoughts DOWN instead of feeling them.
 
Through abstinence, and reconnecting with my Higher Power, I was able to find the happiness that had eluded me for most of my life.  My negative thinking has been replaced with a positive, hopeful attitude instead.  By letting go, I found freedom.
 
By far and away, the best source of Recovery I've found is giving back to others, expecting nothing in return.  The 'no strings attached' approach to giving service is amazingly rewarding.  The more I give of myself, the stronger my program becomes.
 
For today, I will do acts of goodness, feel good about ME, and strengthen my sense of inner peace & happiness.