Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Recovery Meditations: July 31st


“Condemn the fault and not the actor of it.”
William Shakespeare

How many times do we beat ourselves because we have failed to attain the goals we have set? We are human and we suffer from a disease that renders us helpless and out of control. Is it any wonder that we fail in trying to conquer such an unforgiving beast?

It is not ourselves we should be angry with, but the disease and how it affects our actions and reactions. Our inability – or unwillingness -- to realize that we cannot achieve recovery alone is our only true failure. We need help. Without it we are weak and defenseless. This disease would have us believe we are failures ~ but in reality, all we have done is open the doors to our enemy. These doors can be closed again. Our disease not only manifests itself in the form of uncontrollable eating, but also in our negative thoughts and actions towards ourselves and towards the people around us.

It takes no more time to think positively than it does to think negatively. Our only job is to remember that we have a disease. We can choose to forget it, we can choose to beat ourselves up when we leave the door ajar, or we can choose to forgive ourselves and begin again.

One day at a time...
I will work on forgiving myself.
I am worth forgiving.
You are too.

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How do I close the doors on my disease of compulsive overeating? By staying true to an abstinent food plan.  If I leave that door ajar, my disease comes rushing back IN, leaving me feeling defeated & like a failure as a human being.  This is the vicious cycle that makes it impossible for me to control the disease alone, and without support.  Once the negative thinking sets in, I see nothing clearly, and I am once again dancing with the enemy.
I try to examine the facts intellectually, avoiding emotional reactions which cause drama & chaos.  Intellectually, I know what I must do to maintain my sanity, balance, and to maintain my weight in a normal range.  I need to make abstinence my #1 priority in life.  When my food intake is under control, the rest of my LIFE is under control.  When I open the door to my disease by making exceptions, 'just this once', I INVITE chaos & misery back into my life.  It's just that simple.  Yet I make unwise choices from time to time, and I always suffer the consequences.  I don't delude myself into thinking I'm 'cured', or that I can somehow morph into a 'normal eater'..........but I DO make mistakes, knowing full well that I'm opening a door that I may NOT be able to close again.
At some point, I don't know when, I will cross over a line that I can't recover from.  I will go back to compulsive overeating on a full time basis, jumping back into the dark abyss, abandoning my hopes & dreams to a disease that is cunning, baffling & powerful.  How can I avoid crossing over that line? By staying abstinent, surrendering my life & my control over to God, by staying connected to my fellow COEs by sharing my experience, strength & hope, and by recognizing the seriousness of the situation.    
I will not beat myself up over a mistake, nor will I take a cavalier attitude, sloughing it off as no big deal.  Instead, I will live for Today, handing my troubles over to my Higher Power, asking Him to guide me every step of the way.  I have the tools to stay the course. Am I using them? For today, yes I am.  Yesterday is gone & tomorrow isn't here yet.  For right now, I am gratefully abstinent.
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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Food for Thought: July 30th

Focus on Living

Before we found this program, we were obsessed with food and preoccupied with eating. Instead of concentrating our energies on love and work and play, we were side tracked into the unsatisfactory substitute of overeating.

Abstinence gives us a new lease on life. We can develop more satisfying relationships with our family and friends. Since it has been our habit to withdraw and please ourselves with food, it takes time and effort to learn to relate more closely to those we love. It also takes courage and the willingness to be open and vulnerable.

In our work, we have renewed energy and greater ability to concentrate. Where before we may have avoided difficult tasks, we now have the strength and confidence to attempt them.

When we give up eating as a favorite form of recreation, we can find other activities to enjoy. Being released from bondage to food and fat opens the door to all sorts of new possibilities. Less eating means much more living.

We are grateful for new life.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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I thought I didn't have a life because I was fat; turns out, I was fat because I didn't have a life.  For as long as I can remember, I have withdrawn from life, pleasing myself with food.  It somehow felt easier to isolate myself, bury my feelings, and sidetrack my emotions by anesthetizing myself with food.  I didn't have a life.........because I'd turned food INTO my life!
When I finally became abstinent, I found myself with lots of time on my hands.  Funny how much time it takes to keep an obsession alive, isn't it? Shopping for food, cooking it, reading recipes, watching The Food Network for 'ideas', and of course, the act of overeating itself took up ALL of my time. If I wasn't eating, I was planning a secret binge.  Obsession is a full time job.  
At first, I had to keep myself busy at all times. I didn't know how to stop Doing and just start Being. I was uncomfortable with my Self and my emotions, unable to identify them as they came UP.  I was so used to squashing them DOWN, they felt peculiar and unwelcome when I allowed them to come up.  Who was I? I'd lost my Self in a mountain of fat & food, but I was willing to find out WHO it was inside of me.
It's been an amazing journey to date. Much of who I Am I really like, other facets of me, not so much. I am a work in progress, however. I am never 'finished' making discoveries, or working on myself, from the inside out.  When my insides are at peace, my outsides are looking fine.  If I don't like who I am at the core, it doesn't matter much what my body looks like.........because it's only temporary. I WILL go back to the safety zone of obesity unless I love my Self unconditionally. 
One day at a time, I am grateful for my new life, free from obsession, abstinent, and willing to feel ALL of my emotions.  I realize that my emotions WON'T kill me, but obesity & compulsive overeating WILL.
For today, I thank God for my program of recovery, which releases me from bondage to food.  Today I am free to explore all sorts of new possibilities, keeping my heart and my mind OPEN to change.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: July 29th

Have Some Fun

Have some fun. Loosen up a bit. Enjoy life!

We do not have to be so somber and serious. We do not have to be so reflective, so critical, so bound up within the rigid parameters and ourselves others, and often ourselves, have placed around us.

This is life, not a funeral service. Have some fun with it. Enter into it. Participate. Experiment. Take a risk. Be spontaneous. Do not always be so concerned about doing it right, doing the appropriate thing.

Do not always be so concerned about what others will think or say. What they think and say are their issues not ours. Do not be so afraid of making a mistake. Do not be so fearful and proper. Do not inhibit yourself so much.

God did not intend us to be so inhibited, so restricted, so controlled. These repressive parameters are what other people have imposed on us, what we have allowed to be done to us.

We were created fully human. We were given emotions, desires, hopes, dreams, and feelings. There is an alive, excited, fun loving child in us somewhere! Let it come out! Let it come alive! Let it have some fun - not just for two hours on Saturday evening. Bring it with us. Let it help us enjoy this gift of being alive, being fully human, and being who we are!

So many rules. So much shame we've lived with. It simply isn't necessary. We have been brainwashed. It is time now to free ourselves, let ourselves go, and enter fully human into a full life.

Don't worry. We will learn our lessons when necessary. We have learned discipline. We will not go awry. What will happen is that we will begin enjoying life. We will begin enjoying and experiencing our whole self. We can trust ourselves. We have boundaries now. We have our program for a foundation. We can afford to experiment and experience. We are in touch with our Higher Power and ourselves. We are being guided, but a frozen, inanimate object cannot be guided. it cannot even be moved.

Have some fun. Loosen up a bit. Break a few rules. God won't punish us. We do not have to allow people to punish us. And we can stop punishing ourselves. As long as we're here and alive, let's begin to live.

Today, I will let myself have some fun with life. I will loosen up a bit, knowing I won't crack and break. God, help me let go of my need to be so inhibited, proper, and repressed. Help me inject a big dose of life into myself by letting myself be fully alive and human. 

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


I tend to get SO caught up in the seriousness of life that I forget to have fun. Not everything has to be treated SO seriously!  Yes, I treat my food plan seriously, because that's a necessity.  Abstinence is what allows all the rest of the good things in life to come about. Without abstinence, I can't possibly allow myself to have fun because the food obsession is in control OF me.  So is the shame and the regret and the despair.  Without abstinence, all the negativity stays in charge, and there is no time or opportunity to relax.

That being said, I allow myself to be childlike when it comes to having fun. It's ok to loosen up and let go! It's ok to act silly & goofy; there is no 'appearance' I must keep up anymore.  I don't have to look perfect, either, I can throw on a pair of shorts & a floppy hat, forget about the make-up and hair, and rush out the door to go play! 

During the work week, when stress abounds & I feel trapped inside of a place I don't want to BE, I can still take time to appreciate the beauty of life.  Otherwise, I'm wasting 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, living for Friday afternoons and wishing my entire life away.  I go outside of the office for lunch every day, get out into the fresh air & sunshine, and I get away from the toxicity of the environment I'm otherwise surrounded by.  When I treat the situation with Acceptance, I am able to make the best of a bad situation.

For today, I intend to enjoy life.  I intend to trust myself fully, to let go of the need to be inhibited, proper and repressed.  There's little joy in worrying over being "politically correct." 

For today, I will just be ME!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: July 28th


One day, I decided to try something new. I took my ten-year-old son out on the St. Croix River on a Waverunner. A Waverunner is a small boating vehicle resembling a motorcycle.

We donned life jackets and embarked on an experience that turned out to be both exhilarating and frightening; exhilarating when I let myself enjoy it; frightening when I thought too much about what I was doing and all the terrible things that could happen.

Midway though our ride, my worst fear came true. We took a spill. We were floundering in thirty feet of water. The Waverunner was bobbing on the waves in front of me, like a motorized turtle on it back.

"Don't panic," my son said calmly.

"What if we drown?" I objected.

"We can't," he said. "We have life jackets on. See! We're floating."

"The machine is upside down," I said. "How are we going to turn it over?"

"Just like the man said," my son answered. "The arrow points this way."

With an easy gesture, we turned the machine right side up. "What if we can't climb back on?" I asked.

"We can," my son replied. "That's what Waverunners were made for: climbing on in the water."

I relaxed and as we drove off, I wondered why I had become so frightened. I thought maybe it's because I don't trust my ability to solve problems. Maybe it's because once I almost drowned when I wasn't wearing a life jacket.

But you didn't drown then either; a small voice inside reassured me. You survived.

Don't panic.

Problems were made to be solved. Life was made to be lived. Although sometimes we may be in over our heads - yes, we may even go under for a few moments and gulp a few mouthfuls of water, we won't drown. We're wearing - and always have been wearing - a life jacket. That support jacket is called "God."

Today, I will remember to take care of myself. When I get in over my head, God is there supporting me - even when my fears try to make me forget.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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All the 'What If's' keep me focused on the future instead of the present.  The future is nothing but a hallucination, because it isn't here yet.  When I worry about what might happen down the road, I lose sight of what's happening NOW, and fail to appreciate the beauty & wonder of the moment.  
When I predict the future, I imagine the negative outcome of various situations. I wind up trying to cope with events that do not exist. Living in a state of worry & fear leads me to the refrigerator to cope with the drama of fantasy that I have created!  Why on earth would I want to create drama for myself?  As an excuse to soothe myself with addictive behavior?  

 What if my daughter's plane crashes coming home from the west coast? Shall I plan what I'll wear to her funeral & how gut wrenchingly horrible I will feel?  Or, shall I live in the NOW and enjoy each moment of my life, as is, without trying to change it in any way?

For today, I will not create hype & chaos by worrying about the future.  I will not create drama & fear by dwelling on the past, either.  I will not re-examine every mistake I've ever made, chewing on those mistakes like a bone, lamenting about 'what if.'  Had I NOT lived my life precisely the way I DID, I wouldn't be here today, in recovery, living a happy, joyous and free lifestyle.

For today, I am celebrating what IS, grateful for it, and happy to be exactly where I am right now.  I wear God as my life jacket, and never leave home without it.  I need not worry, because He has MY back.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: July 27th

Letting Go

Stop trying so hard to control things. It is not our job to control people, outcomes, circumstances, and life. Maybe in the past we couldn't trust and let things happen. But we can now. The way life is unfolding is good. Let it unfold.

Stop trying so hard to do better, be better, and be more. Who we are and the way we do things is good enough for today.

Who we were and the way we did things yesterday was good enough for that day.

Ease up on ourselves. Let go. Stop trying so hard.

Today, I will let go. I will stop trying to control everything. I will stop trying to make myself be and do better, and I will let myself be.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
My Health Coach Website
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To "let go" does not mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else.
To "let go"is not to cut myself off, it's the realization I can't control another.

To "let go" is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To "let go" is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another, it's to make the most of myself.

To "let go" is not to care for, but to care about.

To "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To "let go" is not to be in the middle arranging the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To "let go" is not to be protective, it's to permit another to face reality.

To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept.

To "let go" is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings, and correct them.

To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.

To "let go" is not to criticize and regulate anybody but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future. To "let go" is to fear less, and to love more.

 What a wonderful idea, to think that who I am and the way I do things is good enough for today! I will ease up on myself, let go, and stop trying so hard. For today, I will just be ME and doggone it, that IS good enough!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: July 26th

Owning Our Power

Don't you see? We do not have to be so victimized by life, by people, by situations, by work, by our friends, by our love relationships, by our family, by our feelings, our thoughts, our circumstances, and ourselves.

We are not victims. We do not have to be victims. That is the whole point!

Yes, admitting and accepting powerlessness is important. But that is the first step, an introduction to this business of recovery. Later, comes owning our power. Changing what we can. This is as important as admitting and accepting powerlessness. And there is so much we can change.

We can own our power, wherever we are, wherever we go, whomever we are with. We do not have to stand there with our hands tied, groveling helplessly, submitting to whatever comes along. There are things we can do. We can speak up. Solve the problem. Use the problem to motivate ourselves to do something good for ourselves.

We can make ourselves feel good. We can walk away. We can come back on our terms. We can stand up for ourselves. We can refuse to let others control and manipulate us.

We can do what we need to do to take care of our selves. That is the beauty, the reward, the crown of victory we are given in this process called recovery. It is what it is all about!

If we can't do anything about the circumstance, we can change our attitude. We can do the work within: courageously face our issues so we are not victimized. We have been given a miraculous key to life.

We are victims no more unless we want to be.

Freedom and joy are ours for the taking, for the feeling, for the hard work we have done.

Today, I will remind myself as often as necessary that I am not a victim, and I do not need to be victimized by whatever comes my way. I will work hard to remove myself as a victim, whether that means setting and enforcing a boundary, walking away, dealing with my feelings, or giving myself what I need. God, help me let go of my need to feel victimized.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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Refusing to play the victim prevents me from feeling entitled to be miserable. And, if I don't feel entitled to misery, what's my excuse to overeat?  I don't have one.  
I am responsible for myself and my behavior AND my thought patterns.  I am not a slave to my brain, and it's up to ME to recognize when my thoughts are leading me astray.  When my thoughts threaten to deceive me into negativity, I meditate and tune into my Spirit instead of my brain.
There are many things I can do to avoid feeling victimized. Am I sure I WANT to stop playing that role?  
Do I really WANT freedom & joy, or, is it easier to roll over and play dead?  
I can choose the Poor-Me routine, or I can own my adulthood by standing up for my SELF and owning my own power.
For today, I do not choose to play the victim role.  For today, I choose to do whatever I NEED to do to avoid it. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: July 25th

Keep at It

Keep practicing your recovery behaviors, even when they feel awkward, even when they haven't quite taken yet, even if you don't get it yet.

Sometimes it takes years for a recovery concept to move from our mind into our heart and soul. We need to work at recovery behaviors with the diligence, effort, and repeated practice we applied to codependent behaviors. We need to force ourselves to do things even when they don't feel natural. We need to tell ourselves we care about ourselves and can take care of ourselves even when we don't believe what we're saying.

We need to do it, and do it, and do it - day after day, year after year.

It is unreasonable to expect this new way of life to sink in overnight. We may have to "act as if" for months, years, before recovery behaviors become ingrained and natural.

Even after years, we may find ourselves, in times of stress or duress, reverting to old ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

We may have layers of feelings we aren't ready to acknowledge until years into our recovery. That's okay! When it's time, we will.

Do not give up! It takes time to get self-love into the core of us. It takes repeated practice. Time and experience. Lessons, lessons, and more lessons.

Then, just when we think we've arrived, we find we have more to learn.

That's the joy of recovery. We get to keep learning and growing all of our life!

Keep on taking care of yourself, no matter what. Keep on plugging away at recovery behaviors, one day at a time. Keep on loving yourself, even when it doesn't feel natural. Act as if for as long as necessary, even if that time period feels longer than necessary.

One day, it will happen. You will wake up, and find that what you've been struggling with and working so hard at and forcing yourself to do, finally feels comfortable. It has hit our soul.

Then, you go on to learn something new and better.

Today, I will plug away at my recovery behaviors, even if they don't feel natural. I will force myself to go through the motions even if that feels awkward. I will work at loving myself until I really do.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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Sometimes I have to 'Fake it Till I Feel It'..............which is what this reading is all about. I do it whether I feel like it or not, and eventually, the new habits start feeling natural.
Good actions create good thoughts, not the other way around. I can think about doing something till the cows come home, but it's in the actual DOING that I begin to FEEL the positive changes taking place.
It's easy to revert to old habits in times of stress, since they are never erased from my memory, no matter HOW long I'm in recovery.  They lurk in the background, waiting for an opportunity to come rushing back.  Bad habits & addictions love stress and negativity, but they have a hard time thriving in positivity and love. When I love myself ENOUGH is when I stay committed to my program of recovery.
When I first began my program, I literally had to force myself to go through the motions that felt unnatural. That's called commitment, no matter WHAT.  In time, the new habits started feeling comfortable and became my new normal.  I carved OUT my normal, from the ruination & rubble of compulsive overeating and addiction.  

Without my food plan, I am lost, once again, within the chaos of the disease.  With my food plan in place, I am at peace, accepting myself and my life situation for what it IS.  That's not to say I never have moments of despair, worry or doubt, but my worst moment today is far better than my best moment once was.  
For today, I thank God for the miracle of recovery. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recovery Meditations: July 24th


“Resolve to be thyself:
And know that he who finds himself loses his misery.”
Matthew Arnold

Life before recovery was a theatrical production in which I played all parts to all audiences. I gave a performance which aimed to satisfy everyone's requirements but my own. I proffered whatever I felt others wanted, giving no thought to my own needs. Some may say that's a worthy attitude, but it was influenced by a desire to be accepted -- not for who I am -- but for whom I thought everyone wanted me to be. I used my performance to control situations and to avoid any nasty surprises. I furnished more than I could afford, often lavishing what wasn't mine to give. Frequently I didn't feel that I had gained the acceptance I so fervently sought, and this yielded feelings of incompetence.

To be everything to all people took time and sapped considerable quantities of energy physically, spiritually and emotionally. Often I found I couldn't keep up with this self-inflicted regimen of people-pleasing. I began to resent the performance and gained no satisfaction from the results.

Through my recovery I realized that I had never been happy with the results of my role-playing. It had been a compulsion to seek the approval from others because I couldn't grant myself the authorization to be me. The only person I can be is me. The only person I have a right to be is me.

One day at a time ...
I give myself permission to be who I truly am: ME!

~ Sue G.
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Living as a performer in a show is not really living authentically. Attempting to please others, often at my own expense, gets me feeling resentful and sorry for myself. Not everyone is going to like me, and that's ok.  I have to learn to like myself, that's the most important thing.

If I stay buried in the fog of excess food & drink, how do I know who I truly am?  I bury my self by practicing addictive behavior, preventing my spirit from coming into the light.  I busy myself with doing, and forget how to just be.

Today, I am free to be myself.  I can speak my mind without worrying about who isn't going to like what I have to say.  When I treat myself with respect, allowing my authenticity to shine through, I am at peace.  I don't have to put on a show to gain an audience and for that, I am extremely grateful.

I am as God intended me to be and for today, that's exactly where I need to be.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Food for Thought: July 24th

Food: Servant or Master?

Food used to be our master. The mental obsession with food and the craving for more controlled our life. As we recover, we begin to see just how much we were in slavery to food and our appetite. We know that no matter how long we abstain and recover from our disease, we will always be powerless over food. The idea that we will one day be able to eat spontaneously is the most dangerous delusion we can entertain.

By abstaining from compulsive overeating every day of our life, we make food our servant rather than our master. We eat what we need to nourish our body, but we do not permit eating for comfort, excitement, or any other emotional reason. Whatever it takes to remain abstinent is what we are willing to do each day.

Never forgetting that we are always one mouthful away from a binge ensures that food will remain our servant.

Today and every day, may I serve You instead of food. 

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


Being a slave to food is a terrible thing. I once thought food was more important than anything or anybody on earth, even God. Admitting powerlessness over food is a liberating thing.

Nowadays, 4 years into recovery, I am still powerless over food and still liberated because of that powerlessness. To think I can eat spontaneously, and in 'moderation', is a dangerous delusion indeed!

I no longer live to eat, I eat to live. Food serves the purpose of fueling my body to keep it alive; not to entertain or comfort me.  Whatever it takes to remain abstinent is what I will DO. The knowledge that I am always but one bite away from relapse keeps me on track and willing to stay vigilant with my food plan.

For today, I thank God for this program and commit myself TO it.  For today, I choose not to make food my master.  For today, I refuse to be a slave to my imaginary appetite.  I will be grateful to eat 6 small meals, knowing that it's plenty of nourishment for 24 hours.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Recovery Meditations: July 18th


“Pleased to meet you ...
hope you guess my name.”
Mick Jagger

I am a compulsive overeater. When I first returned to program after years of relapse, that was all I was. I was a tortured body filled with sugar and fat; anger and hatred. I was a compulsive overeater who was out of control, obese and unhealthy. I was a compulsive overeater dying a slow, horrible and deliberate death. I was on my way to shutting myself off from the world, my family, my husband and myself. I was a compulsive overeater who was losing her grip on the will to live.

Then I came back to program, reached out again, and said simply, “Help me.” I found support, love, acceptance and friendship from people who had never seen me or known me. But the fact that I was a stranger to them did not matter. They cared about one thing only: I was a human being reaching out for help. That was all that mattered to them.

After about a month of recovery something changed in me. I became a compulsive overeater in recovery. I was on a fantastic journey towards a new, healthy and brighter life. I was a compulsive overeater with a future, although I did not -- and still do not -- know what that future is. Most importantly, I was a compulsive overeater who realized it's okay to not know what lies ahead. In fact, there is no choice in the matter; it was out of my control. I never had control in the first place. It was all an illusion. When I realized that many things are simply out of my control, I surrendered my useless struggling and accepted the help offered by my new program family and my Higher Power.

I am still a compulsive overeater in recovery and I always will be. But I am so very much more than that. I am one of those people who is reaching out to others in the hope that I can be of help to people who suffer from this disease. I am a person of faith. I am a wildlife biologist and an intern in criminalistics. I am a movie buff, a wife, and a woman trying to become a mother. I am a friend. Without this recovery program, all of those parts of me were fading away, consumed by my obsession; but with this program, I am BACK.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will celebrate the fact that I am on the journey to becoming a whole person again.

~ Claire ~
My Health Coach Website
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If my disease is in control, my entire life is out of control. Food takes precedence over everything else, and I lose my self in the disease; I give up everything for it, and I fall into the dark despair known as addiction.  
Finding abstinence allows me to recover, one day at a time, with support from others who are in the same boat.  In order to enjoy the miracle of recovery, all I have to do is commit to abstinence.  That seems a very small 'price' to pay for the joy of living without the burden of compulsive overeating!  I don't delude myself that I can be a 'normal eater' or break abstinence 'just this once.'  
 When we have achieved a significant period of abstinence from compulsive overeating, it is as though we have slowly climbed many flights of stairs all the way up to the top floor of a skyscraper. Telling ourselves that we will make a small exception and break abstinence just one time is like saying we will jump out a window on the top floor of the skyscraper and fall down only as far as the next floor.
The nature of our disease is such that one small compulsive bite inevitably leads to eventual disaster. We may be able to postpone the binge for a day or a week or even longer, but once we give up our control, we put ourselves in a pattern of downward descent.

All we need do in order to stay on the top floor of the skyscraper is to maintain our abstinence. A small price to pay for such a magnificent view!

Protect me from a fatal jump.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Food for Thought: July 17th

The Narrow Path

Abstinence is the narrow path that leads out of the swamp of compulsive overeating. If we allow ourselves to deviate from the path, we immediately put ourselves on slippery ground and run the risk of falling into a bog of quicksand.

The longer we maintain firm abstinence, the more sure our steps become as we walk away from the crippling effects of our disease. It is so much easier to stay on the narrow path than to slip off and have to find it again. Without abstinence, we compulsive overeaters are lost.

If abstinence is not the most important thing in our lives, then food becomes our number one priority, and we gradually destroy ourselves.

Guide my steps, I pray, on the narrow path of abstinence. 

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


SLIP=Sobriety Lost It's Priority

I put abstinence #1 in my life. If I don't, I run the risk of falling into a bog of quicksand.  Aka: falling headfirst into a chocolate cake.  If that happens, I begin to gradually destroy myself.

The "one is too many and a million is not enough" mentality kicks in. Taking that FIRST compulsive bite is when I step off the road of sanity, and into the chaos of my disease.

Make no mistake: compulsive overeating IS a chaotic disease; one that can and will destroy a person in short order.  Making food the #1 priority is total insanity, and it prevents me from living LIFE.  COE affects every area of my life, also.

If I am not abstinent, I am not exercising, cleaning, or keeping order ANYWHERE else in my life. My outlook is affected, and negativity begins to prevail everywhere.  I don't want to get dressed and look good........I'd rather stay in bed and watch TV, hiding out from life, with the covers pulled up over my head.

When I watch these TV shows about 900 lb people who don't leave their beds, and cook meals on hot-plates on their nightstand, I think to myself, "I GET IT."  There but for the grace of God go I.
Compulsive overeating has destroyed THEIR life, why can't it destroy MY life?

It can and it will, if I choose to treat my disease casually.

For today, I pray to stay on the narrow path of abstinence, one day at a time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Food for Thought: July 16th

Hard Right or Easy Wrong?

We are constantly faced with choices, and often we are tempted to follow the way of least resistance. In our dealings with others and ourselves it is usually easier to say yes than no, but yes is not always the best answer. If we are too permissive, we become lax and ineffective.

The problem with taking the easy way is that it usually ends up being harder in the long run. If we do not control our eating, we will have all of the problems of obesity. If we do not limit our spending, we will eventually lack funds for what we need. If we do not follow moral and ethical principles, our lives become chaotic and we live in constant fear and tension.

Although choosing the hard right is difficult, it is by exercising our ethical muscles that we become strong and gain self-respect.

By Your grace, may I make the right choices.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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Sometimes it feels easier to take the easy way out, to say Yes, and to forget about abstinence entirely.  It's easy to say OK, "just this once," promising to get back to business "tomorrow."  Trouble with tomorrow, is that it may never come.
I promised myself I'd start behaving myself "Monday" countless times over the years.  Monday turned into Tuesday which turned into next month & next year.  All the Mondays that came & went, because I deceived myself by saying 'tomorrow.'

The program taught me that all I have is Today, NOW, this minute.  Yesterday is gone & tomorrow isn't here yet. I can choose to be abstinent & sober today, without worrying about any other moment in time.  If I choose the easy way, I will pay for it in the end.  I will run the risk of not being able to get back to my food plan, and finding myself back to obesity once again. 

What I tell my kids is to always use character & integrity; to be able to look at themselves in the mirror every morning, with self-respect, knowing they've done right by others, God & themselves.
Yet, do I use double standards with regard to myself? Thinking it's ok to ditch MY moral & ethical principles, just this once?

"Just this once" leads to encore performances.  

Just this once, for the next 24 hours, I will remain abstinent & sober. I will exercise my ethical muscles to gain strength & self-respect. 

For today, I will take the Hard Right road & empower myself, instead of the Easy Wrong road, which leads to self-loathing & recrimination.

Dear God,I pray to be relieved of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recovery Meditations: July 15th


"The wise man, the true friend the finished character
we seek everywhere and only find in fragments."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Like a spider, perfectionism builds its web through every fiber of my life. My perfectionism leads me to a host of other character defects. When I expect people to be perfect, I can be plagued with self-absorption. When I think of myself as "better than them," I practice being judgmental towards others ~ especially when I see behaviors that I'd never do. It also leads to my defects of self-criticism and self-loathing. I begin to hate myself for all the things that I can't do perfectly. I'm afraid to try things for fear of not doing them perfectly and looking like a failure.

Perfectionism leads me to procrastination and sometimes paralysis. This obsession for my wanting something to be just right -- or put in just the right place -- causes all sorts of feelings that can overwhelm me. Mostly it's a fear of what another might think of me if I owned this thing or put it in that illogical place. I learned as a child that being perfect meant that I was validated as a human; therefore my perfectionism is hard for me to be willing to let God remove.

One day at a time...
I will become willing to let God remove my defect of perfectionism. I will forgive myself and others for not being perfect. I will focus on a person's best moment instead of zeroing in on a person's defects.

~ Pam
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perfectionism  (pəˈfɛkʃəˌnɪzəm):

The demand for the highest standard of excellence 
 When I demand the highest standard of excellence, I set myself up for disappointment every single time!!!

Demanding perfection prevents me from letting go & accepting life on life's terms.

Demanding perfection allows me to judge others and cluck my tongue at their shortcomings, preventing me from looking within, at my own shortcomings.

Demanding perfection prevents me from getting anything accomplished, out of fear that I won't do it perfectly.  Why bother starting something?

Demanding the highest standard of excellence paralyzes me, is what it really does.  It gives me an excuse to feel overwhelmed, incapable, and "less than".

Perfectionism makes me unduly concerned about how others perceive me.  It makes me incapable of forgiveness and overly critical of everything.  Nothing is EVER right, tsk-tsk.

For today, I pray to be relieved of my tendency toward perfectionism.  For today, I will live my life to the best of my ability and recognize it as GOOD ENOUGH.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: July 14th

We Are Lovable

Even if the most important person in your world rejects you, you are still real, and you are still okay.
  —Codependent No More

Do you ever find yourself thinking: How could anyone possibly love me? For many of us, this is a deeply ingrained belief that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thinking we are unlovable can sabotage our relationships with co-workers, friends, family members, and other loved ones. This belief can cause us to choose, or stay in, relationships that are less than we deserve because we don't believe we deserve better. We may become desperate and cling as if a particular person was our last chance at love. We may become defensive and push people away. We may withdraw or constantly overreact.

While growing up, many of us did not receive the unconditional love we deserved. Many of us were abandoned or neglected by important people in our life. We may have concluded that the reason we weren't loved was because we were unlovable. Blaming ourselves is an understandable reaction, but an inappropriate one. If others couldn't love us, or love us in ways that worked, that's not our fault. In recovery, we're learning to separate ourselves from the behavior of others. And we're learning to take responsibility for our healing, regardless of the people around us.

Just as we may have believed that we're unlovable, we can become skilled at practicing the belief that we are lovable. This new belief will improve the quality of our relationships. It will improve our most important relationship: our relationship with our self. We will be able to let others love us and become open to the love and friendship we deserve.

Today, God, help me be aware of and release any self-defeating beliefs I have about being unlovable. Help me begin, today, to tell myself that I am lovable. Help me practice this belief until it gets into my core and manifests itself in my relationships. 

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


Why do we think of ourselves as 'unlovable'? Because we are fat or drunk or addicted? If I insist that I'm unlovable & unworthy, don't I keep myself in the victim mentality, allowing myself to feel despair for no good reason? Feeling victimized enables me to justify my addiction.

When I allow myself to feel loved and valued as a member of the human race, I don't need to hold ON to addictive behaviors anymore.  Instead, I allow myself to heal and to love and to embrace life with joy instead of dread.

I am a worthwhile member of society. I am lovable because God loves me. I have much to offer my fellowman and for that reason I am worthy, lovable, and precious.

For today, I will work on ridding myself of deeply ingrained beliefs. I will recognize my error in thinking, and I will make a point of loving MYSELF unconditionally, as God loves me.

For today, I am lovable, and I believe it!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Voices of Recovery: July 13th

Once we compulsive overeaters truly take the Third Step, we cannot fail to recover.

Some mornings I awaken earlier than usual, my mind alive with frantic thoughts. The fear has returned. I will not get something that I want; things will not turn out well; my live has been reduced to keeping my disease at bay. These are the products of my self-centered fear: negativity, anxiety, living in a future not yet formed with an ungrateful heart. I see only what my disease has taken from me--everything that I "deserved."

I take my quiet time and begin to see new possibilities. I surrender the need to know how it will all turn out. I realize that I am getting well, a day at a time. I am learning how to trust. We who have been deeply affected by this disease band together to teach each other how to live without resorting to compulsive eating. I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. When I take my fear to God, He gives me the ability and the desire to see my life more clearly. My faith leads me to everything I need to surmount my difficulties if I am open to receiving the gift. I trust that God will take care of me.

12 Steps

1. We admitted that we were powerless over food - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

We of Overeaters Anonymous have made a discovery. At the very first meeting we attended, we learned that we were in the clutches of a dangerous illness, and that willpower, emotional health and self-confidence, which some of us had once possessed, were no defense against it.

Do you eat when you're not hungry?
Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason?
Do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating?
Do you give too much time and thought for food?
Do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone?
Do you plan these secret binges ahead of time?
Do you eat sensibly before others and make up for it alone?
Is your weight affecting the way you live your life?
Have you tried to diet for a week (or longer), only to fall short of your goal?
Do you resent others telling you to "use a little willpower" to stop overeating?
Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet "on your own" whenever you wish?
Do you crave food at a definite time, day or night, other than mealtime?
Do you eat to escape from worries or trouble?
Have you ever been treated for obesity or a food-related condition?
Does your eating behavior make you or others unhappy?

Have you answered yes to three or more of these questions? If so, it is probable that you have, or are well on your way to having, a compulsive eating problem. We have found that the way to arrest this progressive disease is to practice the Twelve-Step recovery program of Overeaters Anonymous.


 When I am abstinent, I do not wake up in fear every morning. I do not feel the need to rehash yesterday or project into tomorrow.  When I am abstinent, I am able to live in the NOW, one day at a time, with God by my side & with joy in my heart.  The day is filled with hope & wonder, instead of fear & anxiety.

Physically, I am energized & feeling alive.  Spiritually, I am relying on God to guide me, and feeling Him in my heart & soul.  Emotionally, I am strong & calm.

If I am not abstinent, nothing feels right; the entire world is a bit off, and I am spiritually, emotionally & physically hurting.  God has faded into the background, and my fear keeps me dwelling on yesterday & tomorrow. Self-pity may prevail, but normally, it's self-hatred instead.

I may be an addict/compulsive overeater, but I do NOT have to act like one! The steps give me a blueprint to sanity, if I choose to work them to the best of my ability.

Why, then, would I choose any other path?  Why, then, would I take that first compulsive bite, knowing where it will lead? 

For today, I won't.  For today, I will rejoice in the simplicity of my life, thanks to my structured food plan, and I will be grateful for it.

Today, I will allow God to run my life, and resign my post as CEO.  God is way more qualified to play that role than I am. 

I can't; He can; I think I'll let Him.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: July 12th

Letting Go of Fear of Abandonment

"Where are you, God? Where did you go?"

So many people have gone away. We may have felt so alone so much. In the midst of our struggles and lessons, we may wonder if God has gone away too.

There are wondrous days when we feel God's protection and presence, leading and guiding each step and event. There are gray, dry days of spiritual barrenness when we wonder if anything in our life is guided or planned. Wondering if God knows or cares.

Seek quiet times on the gray days. Force discipline and obedience until the answer comes, because it will.

"I have not gone away child. I am here, always. Rest in me, in confidence. All in your life is being guided and planned, each detail. I know, and I care. Things are being worked out as quickly as possible for your highest good. Trust and be grateful. I am right here. Soon you will see, and know."

Today, I will remember that God has not abandoned me. I can trust that God is leading, guiding, directing, and planning in love each detail of my life.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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Connecting the Dots: The Long Road to Recovery
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell
that encloses your understanding.”
Kahlil Gibran

My husband has the most extensive collection of music I’ve ever seen. When we go to garage sales on Saturdays, he picks up CDs for a buck or less to add to his already enormous collection of all types of music.  A few months ago, he bought a copy of Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits which he put in my car, since he knows I like their music.

I popped the disc into the CD player while I was driving to work one day, humming along to The Sounds of Silence & A Most Peculiar Man.  Then, I Am A Rock came on & it hit me with such an impact, I felt my scalp start to tingle.  I hadn’t heard this song in many many years & really, I’d forgotten all about it.

I Am A Rock was ‘my song’ when I was a teenager.  When I got to work, I googled the lyrics & I’ve been reading them, over & over again, in an effort to recall what on earth I was feeling way back then, when I felt that song had been written for me & me alone. I didn’t relate to the song from a ‘lost love’ perspective, like every other teenager on earth did, I related to it from another angle:

“I build walls, a fortress deep & mighty; that none may penetrate….”
“I have my books
And my poetry to protect me.
I am shielded in my armor.
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one & no one touches me.
I am a rock; I am an island.”

If they’d added ‘food’ into those lyrics along with books & poetry, the song would have been perfect.  As a teenager, I was self absorbed in my own little world which I had created to shield me from pain. I could read books & poetry all day long, lose myself in the words, and come up for air only to feed myself with candy & junk food. 

I lived for 48 years allowing no one to penetrate those walls I had constructed around myself. My kids were able to, from time to time, because I allowed them to melt my otherwise ‘independent, fiercely self-sufficient, capable & sensible’ heart.

I was quite proud to tell myself that no one could touch me because I wouldn’t allow it. I had built a wall of protection around myself that nobody was permitted to penetrate. While I kept a smile plastered on my face for appearances sake, it was just a façade.  On the inside, I was a Rock & I was an Island. Not to mention, an emotional mess.

But, what happened to me that would’ve created this closed-off personality where I felt I had to avoid pain & discomfort at all costs & at all times?

A perceived trauma at age 5 is ‘what happened’; I found out I was adopted.  I couldn’t discern what reality was; everything I knew & believed in up to that age was an illusion. Even my name was changed.  So, I created a fantasy-land for myself; a place where things were as I wanted them to be instead of how they really were. I retreated into that make-believe place when I needed to escape a reality I couldn’t handle, and I used food to help me cope & to stuff back the feelings that tried to surface.  My Cardinal Rule of Life, back then was: Things are not as they appear to be. 

I wound up staying stuck at 5 years old, when the trauma occurred, and I never developed emotionally or spiritually from that age, only physically. And, of course, a 5 year old has to have her way all the time & never, ever be allowed to feel pain or discomfort.

Somewhere along the line, I heard a very powerful message that would stay with me for decades.  What I heard was, “Love is Conditional”. I told myself I needed to be The Perfect Person in order to be deserving of love. I heard that message from my parents when they said, “You are so pretty but you’d be so much prettier if you’d lose some weight.”  I heard that message in Catholic elementary school when the nuns told me that God would only love me & accept me into Heaven if I toed the line & followed the rules of the Church.  I heard that message from the first man I ever loved, when he’d beat me & tell me it was my fault for setting off his bad temper. I heard that message on a daily basis from my ex husband of 22 years when he’d tell me ‘if only’ I treated him properly, we could have a much better marriage. Whether these messages were true or not is irrelevant; I perceived them to be truthful, and that’s all that matters.

So I set out on a mission to be The Perfect Person; the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect employee & so on. I could never reach that impossible ideal, naturally, so instead of being The Perfect Person, I became the Unworthy, Useless Person Who Could Never Manage to Do Anything Right.  That fact was quite obvious in my weight, which was the badge of dishonor I wore for all the world to see. Even if I managed to get a handle on my weight, it would only be for a short period of time before I went back to food to soothe my wounded, imperfect & abandoned soul. Even God couldn’t love me, I thought, since I was so perfectly imperfect. Sheesh, if my own birth mother didn’t love me, how on earth could anyone else? No wonder I ate to excess…what a burden I’d put onto my shoulders: the driving need be Perfect! 

I found my birth-family in 2000 & that’s when I really started my journey to find myself in the ashes of all the rubble. The fantasy became a reality, and a very, very ugly one at that. I finally heard the truth & I could perpetuate my fantasy-land no longer.  I filed for divorce from my husband of 22 years in 2002 & that was the next leg of the journey for me; striking out on my own for the very first time in my life.

When I met my husband at a party on August 20, 2005, I knew instantly that he was the person who could break down my walls, once and for all. I don’t know how I knew, but I did. I fell in love with him on the spot…..love at first sight I guess you’d call it. I knew in my heart that he was my soulmate & that with him, I’d finally be able to be me. I was ready to see those walls come down, a bit frightened at the prospect, but ready nevertheless.

Little by little, he chipped down my walls because finally, I allowed someone to do it.
As long as I had a wall around myself, I lived in my own world where others weren’t really allowed. What I did let in was excessive & self-indulgent behavior. I thought everything had to be done my way, and if it wasn’t, then I was entitled to eat to soothe myself. Nothing allows denial to thrive quite like self-righteous pride methinks. If I was always right & had all the answers, then obviously everyone else was wrong.

Until recently, I wasn’t even able to identify whether or not I had walls of protection around me. But oh yeah, I did, and to some degree, I still do.
These walls prevented me from seeing the truth, they kept me in denial & practicing selfish, self-indulgent & childish behaviors.

Who’d a thunk a song would be so revealing? It wasn’t really the song itself that did it….it was a combination of soul-searching, asking God to guide me to an answer, and hearing that song, decoding it, and finally putting the whole story together. The journey of self-discovery that initially began in 2000, climaxed in 2011 with a bunch of revelations that have finally opened my eyes & made sense out of what appeared to be nonsense.

It’s taken me 3 years of not using food for emotional reasons to finally hone in on what happened….what led me down the road to compulsive overeating. For some reason, I didn’t realize that I’d created my own Never-Neverland until recently. Oh, I knew the circumstances of my life, but I was never able to connect the dots. I haven’t been able to put all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together & come up with ‘the reason’ I’ve abused food for so long.

Since I’ve been having a bit of a struggle with my program these days, I was forced to look within myself to find out why. Something was wrong & that means I wasn’t being 100% honest with myself somewhere. I had to figure it out or I’d be in danger of backsliding instead of continuing forward with my journey.

Someone told me that the 3rd year of maintenance is the hardest; when the arrogance tends to set in, when we think we ‘have this’, see that we really don’t, and we either hit the wall, go back to the old habits, or figure out the why’s of it all.

Now I have to recall the old feelings & purge them, maybe discuss them further, maybe even beat them out of my system on a punching bag…..but they have got to go.  What used to be is no longer.
The illusions have been replaced with reality. I am healthy enough, emotionally, spiritually & physically, to deal with my life as it is and as it needs to be.

And it’s funny, but ever since these revelations have appeared, my desire to overeat has vanished.
Maybe now, finally, I can change the Cardinal Rule of life to read: things are what they appear to be.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
I am not a rock & I am not an island. I am a soon-to-be 54 year old woman who wants to stay in recovery & who will stay in recovery, one day at a time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Food for Thought: July 11th

Goals and Ends

Most of us came into this program with a specific weight goal in mind. We thought that if only we could weigh an ideal number of pounds, all of our other troubles would miraculously vanish.

When we reach goal weight, we discover that we still have to live with ourselves and deal with our problems. If we have been developing a strong program as we have been losing weight, we have a basis on which to work for further emotional and spiritual growth.

Our emotional and spiritual goals are not static. Since we never achieve perfection, there is always opportunity for further progress. The beauty of the OA program is that it is a program for life; its possibilities are limitless. To know and do the will of our Higher Power is our ultimate goal as well as our immediate one.

May I remember that You are my goal today and always.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation
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Goal is not the 'end' of the weight loss journey; in many ways, it is just the beginning. 

"Dieting" suggests a beginning & an end........that once the diet is finished, I get to eat again, Yayyyyyyy!!!!   And so, I am furiously starving myself for a period of time so I can achieve my goal and go back to my old ways.

The yo-yo diet mentality: I will use 'willpower' for X amount of time, until I can't stand another second of agony, and then I'm done.

I've dieted chronically for 40-some years, beginning with Weight Watchers at age 12. The one thing I was never able to do was change my eating habits permanently, so I could ditch the dieting and maintain a healthy weight.

I'd fix myself temporarily, on the outside, but I wouldn't work on WHY I was fat to begin with! Spiritually & emotionally, I stayed sick and so, any weight loss was a fleeting thing.

When I decided to embrace abstinence again 4 years ago, I committed myself to doing so permanently, and to work on my insides instead of just my outsides. I am a work in progress, still, and I will never be 'finished' with the process.  Since I will never be perfect, I always have room for growth.

 When I tune into my Spirit is when the desire to overeat miraculously disappears. 
For today, my goal is to get to know my true Self better, to remain abstinent & to allow God to direct my life.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Food for Thought: July 10th

A Progressive Illness

It is the experience of recovering compulsive overeaters that the illness is progressive. The disease does not get better; it gets worse. Even while we abstain, the illness progresses. If we were to break our abstinence, we would find that we had even less control over our eating than before.

Continued abstinence is our only means of health and sanity. We well remember the misery and despair that we felt when we were overeating, and we do not want to feel that way again. Abstaining from one compulsive bite is a small price to pay for health and sanity.

When we find ourselves thinking thoughts, which in the past have preceded loss of control, we need to realize the great danger that lies in a relapse. The OA program has saved us from the destruction of compulsive overeating, but our disease is still alive. Our program needs to be foremost in our minds every day if we are to continue recovering.

Do not let me forget my illness.


I can vouch for the fact that compulsive overeating is a progressive illness. Every time I take that first compulsive bite, I wind up eating MORE than I did the last time I broke abstinence. There is no such thing as 'enough' and frankly, it's frightening. 

What got me sober was the knowledge that no matter HOW much I drank, it was never enough........so why get started? That's the question I'd ask myself every time I wanted to take a drink, in the early days.

I find myself asking the same question now, with regard to food: Why get started overeating when you KNOW there is no such thing as enough? What. Is. The. Point?

This knowledge is what prevents me from taking that first 'extra' bite; knowing a binge will ensue, and it will be a whole lot worse than any I've had previously.  My disease is progressive, and I know that for an absolute fact.

Abstinence = sanity.  I am capable of redirecting the thoughts that lead to relapse..........they are only THOUGHTS which DO NOT have to turn into actions.  When I find myself thinking about food, I utter the following prayer:

Dear God, please feed my hunger & restore my right mind.

"God can."  God CAN do for me what I cannot do for myself. 

For today, I will keep abstinence on the very TOP of my priority list.  For today, I will avoid tempting situations and remind myself that I WILL lose control if I take that first compulsive bite.

For today, I choose NOT to.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Food for Thought: July 9th

Tension or Hunger?

How often have we eaten because of tension, rather than hunger? Accepting our need for three measured meals a day with nothing in between establishes a sensible pattern, which satisfies our need for nourishment. When we are tense, we can find ways of relaxing which do not harm our body by making it fat.

Learning to relax the stomach muscles helps get rid of tension hunger. Often when we have eaten too fast because of tension, our stomach continues to send hunger signals after the meal. There has not been enough time for the digestive process to register satisfaction. We can consciously relax the muscles so that the feeling of emptiness will go away.

The best cure for tension is a growing faith in our Higher Power. If we are willing to trust Him in the little things of each day, as well as the big events of our life, we will be able to relax and cultivate serenity.

Dissolve my tension and feed my hunger, I pray.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation
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Using food for relaxation and stress control made me fat & miserable. Using food for nourishment & fuel purposes helped me get thin & healthy.  
Emotional overeating is one of the hardest habits to break.......reaching for a snack to calm down tends to be an automatic reflex which takes a lot of work to change.  Abstinence makes it doable, one day at a time.
I tend to wolf my food down without even tasting it; another habit that's been tough to break, unfortunately.  When I do eat too fast, I ALWAYS feel 'hungry' afterward, or in the mood to snack. I haven't allowed my digestive system to register satisfaction when I eat too fast, and it becomes yet another trigger to keep ON eating.
For today, I will eat slowly and savor my meals. I will rely on my Higher Power to fill me up, rather than excess food.

For today, my prime goal is to feel the serenity that comes along with following a strict eating routine.  I will rely on God to dissolve my tension, feed my hunger, and restore my right mind. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Food for Thought: July 8th

Stronger or Weaker?

Every time I say no to the craving for just one small, extra bite, I become stronger. Every time I give in, I weaken myself and make it harder to say no the next time.

Abstinence from compulsive overeating is made up of many small decisions. We gradually acquire the knowledge of what we can handle and what we should avoid. This knowledge applies to situations and attitudes as well as food. As we work our program and make the right decisions, we gain strength.

Since none of us is perfect, we do not need to become discouraged when we make mistakes. We are learning how to live, and our failures teach us more than our successes. Growth is slow, but if we keep coming back to OA and the program, we will see results beyond our wildest expectations. OA gives us the strength to become new people.

For growing stronger, we thank You.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation
My Health Coach Website
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Saying "No Thank You" to foods that hurt me is THE most empowering thing I can do for myself! Every time I get through a tough situation without caving, I strengthen my commitment to abstinence and to myself.
A few years ago, on a trip to Cancun, I ate from buffets 3x a day and wound up losing 2.5 lbs that week! That was when I KNEW I could stay abstinent through ANY situation life threw at me.
During a trip to Italy in 2010, I came home to a 1 lb weight loss, and I was overcome with joy that I'd gone on a 2 week honeymoon, to a country that's all about FOOD, and I kept my sobriety!  No glass of wine or plate of food on earth is more important than MY state of mind!
I have not been 'perfect' in my journey the past 4 years. But I HAVE been learning how to live, and how recognize harmful situations, and how to bounce BACK from mistakes when I DO make them.
I have seen results beyond my wildest expectations, and for that I am supremely grateful.
For today, I will stay strong-like-bull by saying No Thank You to foods that are not part of my plan.  For today, I will make the right decisions & EMPOWER myself to move forward, in spiritual growth, because I AM worth it!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: July 7th

Getting It All Out

Let yourself have a good gripe session.
From: " Woman, Sex, and Addiction"
—Charlotte Davis Kasl, Ph.D.

Get it out. Go ahead. Get it all out. Once we begin recovery, we may feel like it's not okay to gripe and complain. We may tell ourselves that if we were really working a good program, we wouldn't need to complain.

What does that mean? We won't have feelings? We won't feel overwhelmed? We won't need to blow off steam or work through some not so pleasant, not so perfect, and not so pretty parts of life?

We can let ourselves get our feelings out, take risks, and be vulnerable with others. We don't have to be all put together, all the time. That sounds more like codependency than recovery.

Getting it all out doesn't mean we need to be victims. It doesn't mean we need to revel in our misery, finding status in our martyrdom. It doesn't mean we won't go on to set boundaries. It doesn't mean we won't take care of ourselves.

Sometimes, getting it all out is an essential part of taking care of ourselves. We reach a point of surrender so we can move forward.

Self-disclosure does not mean only quietly reporting our feelings. It means we occasionally take the risk to share our human side-the side with fears, sadness, hurt, rage, unreasonable anger, weariness, or lack of faith.

We can let our humanity show. In the process, we give others permission to be human too. "Together" people have their not so together moments. Sometimes, falling apart - getting it all out - is how we get put back together.

Today, I will let it all out if I need a release.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
Embracing recovery does not mean life becomes 'perfect'.  It does not mean there will never be bad moments or reasons to gripe & complain.  Far from it.
Sometimes, embracing recovery is THE most difficult thing in the world to accomplish. Lots of negative feelings come to the surface, after years of bottling them up inside.  It can be difficult to identify the feelings, since they've been squashed for so long, pushed back with food or alcohol or other addictive substances/behaviors.
It's okay to feel............it's okay to allow ALL the feelings to come up and be validated.  Negative as well as positive feelings are bound to show up and demand to be released.  If I dwell in self-pity and feel victimized when the bad times hit, I am not working my program properly.  I am not a victim, nor should I dwell in misery or find relief in martyrdom.  
When the griping and complaining need release, I vent those feelings. I seek support from my family and friends, as I share my fears with them. I do not portray myself as the perfect, 'put-together' woman who never struggles.  That would be a lie and to do so is to shun recovery.
As a human being, I have my flaws & vulnerabilities. Recovery has taught me that it's okay to have such flaws and vulnerabilities, it's just not okay to stuff them back, pretending my life is all rainbows & unicorns. 
Accepting the truth and surrendering my life to my Higher Power is the key to everything.  For today, I give myself permission to be human.  Falling apart is how I get put back together, one day at a time.

Should you shield the valleys from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their canyons.
--Elisabeth Kubler-Ross