Friday, August 31, 2012

Food for Thought: August 31st

Accepting Guidelines

Some of us have gone through life thinking that we did not need to follow any guidelines. Somehow, we got the idea that special circumstances placed us above the rules. We looked for shortcuts and rebelled against the tedium of discipline. Considering ourselves exceptional, we decided to make our own guidelines. These were usually based on doing what we felt like when we felt like it.

When we get to OA, we may spend a short or a long time experimenting with the program, adjusting it to suit ourselves. Sooner or later, we discover that our adjustments do not work. The OA program works, provided we follow the rules and work it as it is, not as we might like it to be.

Once we accept the rules at a gut level, they lead us out of negative restraint into positive freedom. By following a few simple guidelines, we become free from slavery to compulsive overeating and self-centered confusion.

Thank You for Your guidelines.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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Structure Prevents Chaos.  In the days when I was in charge of running the world, I did what I wanted, when I wanted to. And look where it GOT me! Fat and sickly and drunk, too!  Since I was so 'exceptional', I didn't have to follow any stupid rules! Nope.  
By doing things MY way, I wound up enslaving myself to food & booze.  Giving UP and surrendering MY way has given me freedom.
Today, I wonder how I functioned WITHOUT rules! And then I remember: I didn't.

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Food for Thought: August 30th

Getting Honest with Ourselves

The day we realize that we are and always will be compulsive overeaters and that we can permit ourselves no deviousness when it comes to food - that is the day when we begin to take the OA program seriously. Half measures do not work. Lingering exceptions in the back of our minds will defeat us. Beginning the program with the idea of quitting when we have lost a certain number of pounds will not bring success.

Nothing short of an honest, wholehearted commitment to abstinence and the OA program will give us the ability to stop eating compulsively. If we think we can get away with small deviations here and there, we are deluding ourselves. Our disease is progressive, and unless we take the steps outlined in the program, it will eventually destroy us.

If we are not honest with ourselves, we are divided, weak, and sick. Getting honest means getting strong and well.

May I be directed by the truth.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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The day I realized I am and always will be a compulsive overeater is the day I found freedom from the disease. It's the day I accepted the fact that I had to stick to a structured Food Plan for life, and not treat it like a 'diet'.  Diets are temporary, and diets cause my disease to progress even further.  For every new diet I try, I wind up putting on even more weight than I had on me before the diet!  I 'behave' myself for X amount of time, give up, and go back to having binges that are worse than ever.  This is the definition of 'progression.'  How does eating a slice of cake turn into eating a whole cake?  By temporary dieting and treating my disease in a cavalier manner.  

When I insist that I, too, can be a 'normal' eater, like the rest of the world (HA!), that is when I am deceiving myself BIG time.  When I am not honest with myself is when I am weak, sick & miserable.  Getting honest with myself means that I treat my disease with ALL the seriousness it requires, and when I quit thinking I can CON my Food Plan.

I can't con my program AND find abstinence. Without abstinence, I AM my disease. 

With my Food Plan in place, I am peaceful & free, without the burdens of obsession & obesity weighing me down physically, mentally & spiritually.

For today, may I always be honest with myself. May I be directed by truth & humility. Cockiness will lead to my destruction.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Today's Thought from Hazelden: August 29th

There is always a "but" in this imperfect world.
--Helen Keller

Often there is not a day that goes by without some tragic or upsetting news story. An act of terrorism, a natural disaster, or a school shooting can dominate the air waves and make it seem as if all there is in the world are tragedy, loss, and immeasurable sorrow. At those times when the world seems to be crashing down around you, you may be tempted to look at your addiction from a different perspective.

You may consider, for instance, how minor your addiction is compared to everything else that is going on. So you might tell yourself, "Okay, I think I have a problem with alcohol, But maybe my problem isn't so bad after all." Or you may think, "But all I did was just knock over a trash can when I was drunk. It's not as if I killed someone."

Maintaining sobriety can be an extremely difficult task. But you make it more difficult whenever you spend more time trying to find excuses than doing what it is you need to do in your recovery. While it is true that sometimes there is too much tragedy and negative news, such things should not be taken as reasons for you to take a break from your recovery.

Today I will not excuse myself from my recovery.

You are reading from the book: Morning Light by Amy E. Dean


"But all I did was just knock over a trash can when I was drunk. It's not as if I killed someone."  Boy, what flimsy & addictive thinking THIS statement is!!!!!!!!!  Do I wait TO kill someone while drunk driving to take my addiction seriously? Or, do I wait until I'm 500 lbs and cooking on a hot plate next to my bed before I recognize the need to change????

Sometimes the answer to those questions is Yes.  Sometimes, we don't hit 'rock bottom' until tragedy has struck.  A tragedy at our own hands, not a natural disaster that could not be averted. 

When I spend time making excuses for why I 'can't' stay sober from food or booze is when I truly struggle. My thoughts have taken over, and I've forgotten my Spirit by focusing on my body & mind instead.  

If I choose to take a 'break' from Recovery, then I have chosen to go back to the total INSANITY of compulsive behavior, and the sheer HELL of addiction!!!!!! I might as well poke my vein with a needle full of heroin instead of taking that first compulsive bite, or that first 'sip' of a cocktail.

For today, I will not excuse myself from my recovery.  I will not invent lame excuses for why I 'deserve' a break, or worse yet, to behave as if I were 'normal'. For today, I will thank God FOR my food plan and the Steps of Recovery that KEEP me sane & balanced.  

For today, I will continue to carve out my 'normal', and not confuse my disease with something small & irrelevant.  For today, I will get down on my knees and thank my HP for leading me to sanity. I will not risk it for anything! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Recovery Meditations: August 28th


"First you need only look."
Anne Hillman

My disease of compulsive overeating is fueled by my regrets of the past and my fears of the future. The more I try to rewrite the past, (which of course I cannot do); the more I try to devise a future plan, (which usually does not come to pass), the less I am present for my life.

I learn much from my three-year-old son. Sometimes when running to get a ball, he suddenly stops to look at an unusual insect he sees on the ground. His life flows and he abides by this pattern. He follows his heart and is "there" for life.

When I consciously stay present for life -- when I savor each moment and stay with my feelings -- I am alive and living. In the present there is no worry, no fear, no regrets.

One Day at a Time . . .
I ask my Higher Power to help me to stay present for my life, to stay with whatever is happening at any given moment. I feel feelings. I am spontaneous and life is exciting and inspired.

~ Melissa S. ~
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 When I stay rooted in the past or the future, I miss out on the beauty of the NOW.

Life is rich and full. Your life. My life. Even when the day feels flat or hollow, there's a richness to it that escapes our attention. We see only what we choose to see. We hear selectively, too. Our prejudgment precludes our getting the full effects of any experience. Some days we hear only the drum of the humdrum.

But the greater our faith in the program and a loving God, the clearer our perceptions become. We miss less of the day's events; we grow in our understanding of our unfolding, and we perceive with clarity the role others are playing in our lives.

We can see life as a concert in progress when we transcend our own narrow scope and appreciate the variety of people and situations all directed toward the same finale. The more we're in tune with the spiritual activity surrounding us; the more harmoniously we will be able to perform our parts.

I will listen to the music of today. I will get in tune, in rhythm. I am needed for the concert's beauty.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Food for Thought: August 27th

Accepting Reality

Failure, death, divorce, disease, and betrayal - these are all part of the world we live in. We agonizingly search our minds to figure out why, but are unable to come up with any satisfying answers. We pray for the serenity to accept the reality of life.

Previously, we tried to deny reality by overeating. What that did was make reality worse for us. Abstaining from compulsive overeating and working the steps of the OA program give us the strength to cope with reality and accept the things we cannot change. We often feel as though we are on a long uphill climb. Let's not forget that if it were not for abstinence and our Higher Power, we would be rapidly sliding downhill.

Whatever our situation, it is better to face it squarely than to delude ourselves with excess food. None of us escapes pain and suffering. By turning them over to our Higher Power, we are strengthened by our hardships, rather than destroyed.

May we have the courage and strength to accept life as it is.

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


At some point, I thought I had to escape reality & the pain of life at any cost.  I wound up overeating & drinking to mask that pain. What happened was, I wound up avoiding pain and joy in the process.

Life can be tough. Using addiction as a coping mechanism is probably THE worst way TO cope with life, however.  I wound up fat & drunk, and still, the problems continued. Temporarily hiding from them did NOT change their outcome, except perhaps to make them even worse.  Not being present to deal with life's situations is not a grown-up way to live.

Today, I can face any problem that comes up in my life because I have my Recovery program intact. The only way out is through.  I empower myself by staying abstinent and relying on my Higher Power for guidance instead of food or drink.  When I treat my life with Acceptance is when I strengthen myself to do ANYTHING, one day at a time.

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.

For today, may I have the courage and strength to accept life on life's terms.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Each Day a New Beginning: August 26th

A woman who has no way of expressing herself and of realizing herself as a full human has nothing else to turn to but the owning of material things.
—Enriqueta Longeaux y Vasquez

Each of us struggling with these Twelve Steps is finding self-expression and self-definition. Introspection, coupled with self-revelation through sharing with others, affords us the awareness of how like others we are. How human we are. And what we receive from others who respond to our vulnerability diminishes our need for "things" to fill our lives.

The love that we receive freely from a trusting, caring friend or group fills up the empty places in our souls, the places we used to try filling up with alcohol or cookies or sex. New clothes maybe even a new home or a different job served their terms as void fillers too. Nothing succeeded for long, and then the program found us.

The program is the filler for all times. Of this we can be certain. Time will alleviate any doubts we may have. All that is asked of us is openness, honesty, and attention to others' needs as well as our own.

I can share our likenesses and relish whatever differences may surface. The chain of friendship I've created makes me the proud owner of my wholeness. I am a succeeding woman who is moving forward with courage and self-awareness on this, my road of life.

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation
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In recovery circles, looking to fill that inner void with material things or a change of environment is known as taking a "geographical cure."  After moving out of my parents' home as a young woman, I moved another 22 times.  Things would be 'better' in Florida, or New York, or Connecticut, or Colorado, or Timbuktu.  Trouble was, I took myself with me wherever I went.  If I didn't like me, moving away wasn't likely to change that fact.
I found myself in a place where I had every material thing money could buy. I traveled, staying in opulent hotels in exotic locations.  I had a home with furnishings that my friends compared to the Palace of Versailles.  I drove a Range Rover & had a closet filled with designer clothing & shoes.    
But I still wasn't happy or whole as a human being. "Stuff" can never fill a hole in a person's soul caused by ignorance of who she really IS at the core. The program opened my eyes, to some degree, and helped me to see myself as more than a Body or a House or a collection of Stuff.  The program taught me to reach within myself to locate my Soul, instead.

A spiritual awakening starts out as a seedling which grows into a mighty oak, with proper nurturing & care.  As it develops, the need for material 'things' & drugs begin to dissipate.  The obsession lessens as the desire for spiritual growth increases.

For today, I will use God and my program as the 'filler' for the empty space in my Soul.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Food for Thought: August 25th

Being Available

In our search for security, we turned to food in times of stress. Now we are growing in reliance on our Higher Power instead of food. We do not, however, "use" the Higher Power the way we tried to use food. We do not use God; He uses us.

What we do is make ourselves available to the Higher Power, and open to light and guidance. We pray each day that we may do His will, not ours. Often this means a more flexible schedule than we may have had in the past. Since the Higher Power is ever creative and new, we cannot cling to our old routines and habits. To insist on our time, our way, our plan is to block out God's guidance.

Sometimes we may be called on to perform a service, which means giving up our plan for the day. When the prompting comes from deep within, following it will further our growth in the program.

Today I will be available for Your use.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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I often repeat the 5th Step prayer throughout the day:

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
Thy power
Thy glory
And Thy way of life.
May I do Thy wilt always.
The intent of this prayer is to find willingness to give up MY will and to seek out God's guidance FOR me.  When I am relieved of the 'bondage of self' I am better able to do His will.  I ask that God speak THROUGH me when I am talking with other compulsive overeaters and sharing my experience, strength & hope with them.
When I leave myself open & available to receive God's guidance, it comes often.
For today, may I leave myself open at all times to receiving the Divine messages that come my way.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Food for Thought: August 24th


We are made to be physically active. When we were loaded down with food and fat, we probably moved around as little as possible. Now that we eat for health, we have the necessary energy to exercise our bodies.

Taking the stairs rather than the elevator, walking instead of riding, a few simple calisthenics when we need a break from work, a jump rope - there are many ways to begin an exercise program in easy stages. We do not need to train to become Olympic athletes, but we do need to keep our bodies in good working order.

Each day we also need mental, emotional, and spiritual exercise. Reading something worthwhile, refraining from criticism, performing a service for someone anonymously, taking time for prayer and meditation --these are actions which develop our minds, hearts, and spirits. Our growth in the program depends on overcoming resistance and inertia each day and taking concrete steps to improvement.

By Your power, may I overcome laziness.


When I first began to exercise, I'd jog for 2 minutes.........up & down the hardwood hallway in my house! After 2 minutes, I was dripping with sweat & physically exhausted.  But it was yet another baby step in my journey to find ME lurking under all that fat!!

Little by little, and very S L O W L Y, I added to my exercise routine as my body became a bit more cooperative.  I never pushed myself; I stayed aware of the extreme nature of my disease, and the excuses I'd make if I DID exercise too much.  I'd wind up rationalizing the 'need' to eat more calories if I expended 'too many'............know what I mean?

Incorporating movement into my daily life was a blessing to me, and still is. I take the stairs at work instead of the elevator, every single day. I walk instead of ride, and park far away from the entrance of the places I go. I have a routine I follow in the evenings, which keeps me physically fit but not over-worked.

I keep myself mentally, emotionally & spiritually fit by reading books that help me develop my spirituality which, in turn, helps me know mySELF a whole lot better.  I spend time reaching out to others which helps ME keep MY program intact. I always find time for prayer and meditation which helps me develop my relationship with God.

For today, I will fight my urge to be lazy, if it should pop up, and I will stick to my normal routine instead.

Structure prevents chaos.  For today, I am grateful for the structure in my life!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Food for Thought: August 23rd


When my inside looked at your outside, I overate. Envy of what others seemed to be and of the possessions they had was a prime trigger for overeating, turning to food to compensate for an apparent lack. No amount of food can satisfy envy.

Why is it that the other person seems so much more fortunate, or talented, or happier than we? We are painfully aware of our own inadequacies and quick to envy whoever appears to "have it together." Looking at the outside image or mask is deceptive, however, and prevents us from seeing that underneath is a fellow human being beset with problems and difficulties just as we are.

Who we are, where we are, and what we have is God's gift to us. What we do with ourselves is our gift to God. The more we seek to do His will, the less we envy our neighbor's abilities and possessions. The peace of mind we receive through this program fills us with such gratitude that there is increasingly less room for envy.

Take away my envy, I pray.

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


I don't know of a single compulsive overeater who doesn't compare herself or himself to another.  We look to compare OUR flaws with THEIR talents!  I look at a co-worker who is 5'10" tall with legs that go on forever. Then I look down at my short legs, and feel like I am inadequate?

Envy is a waste of time and a dangerous pre-occupation that threatens my peace of mind. No amount of food can satisfy envy, just as no amount of food can fill ANY void within. Comparing my insides to your outsides is a recipe for disaster!

For today, I myself have it 'together'. I do not need to look for happiness outside of my OWN soul; it's already there inside of me, and I am not afraid to let it OUT!

For today, my gift to God is to love MYSELF and to treat myself with respect and acceptance. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: August 22nd

Responsibility for Family Members

I can still remember my mother clutching her heart, threatening to have a heart attack and die, and blaming it on me.

For some of us, the idea that we were responsible for other people's feelings had its roots in childhood and was established by members of our nuclear family. We may have been told that we made our mother or father miserable, leading directly to the idea that we were also responsible for making them happy. The idea that we are responsible for our parents' happiness or misery can instill exaggerated feelings of power and guilt in us.

We do not have this kind of power over our parents - over their feelings, or over the course of their lives. We do not have to allow them to have this kind of power over us.

Our parents did the best they could. But we still do not have to accept one belief from them that is not a healthy belief. They may be our parents, but they are not always right. They may be our parents, but their beliefs and behaviors are not always healthy and in our best interest.

We are free to examine and choose our beliefs.

Let go of guilt. Let go of excessive and inappropriate feelings of responsibility toward parents and other family members. We do not have to allow their destructive beliefs to control our feelings, our behaviors, our life, or us.

Today, I will begin the process of setting myself free from any self-defeating beliefs my parents passed on to me. I will strive for appropriate ideas and boundaries concerning how much power and how much responsibility I can actually have in my relationship with my parents.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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This reading resonates strongly with me. I've carried the burden of trying to make my parents happy for the past half-a-century. I always fall short of that goal........I almost get there, and then WHAM! Another failure.  
Awhile ago, I finally gave up thinking it was my responsibility to make them happy. I am not responsible for their feelings, nor have I been appointed The Entertainment Committee.  I do not have this power nor do I deserve to suffer guilt over not being the perfect daughter.
Destructive & dysfunctional beliefs have indeed been passed down to me, but it is MY responsibility to set myself free from that thinking!

How does all of this have anything to do with compulsive overeating? Every time I am in my parents' presence, it's all I can do not to run down to the crack-house grocery store and buy me a big ole bag of junk food to 'comfort' myself. Nobody on earth has the power to make me feel badly about myself like my folks.  Then, when I get to feeling that way, why not punish my 'bad self' with garbage?

I've taken my mother grocery shopping and found myself holding onto a bag of junk food, just for the feeling of security it gave me!

For today, I will strive to set boundaries my with parents; I will continue the process of setting myself free from self-defeating beliefs and negative thought processes that were passed along to me. 

For today, I will trust God to guide me accordingly. And I will trust my Food Plan to keep me on the straight & be my security blanket in times of stress.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Food for Thought: August 21st

Fake Gods

Our Higher Power is that which we can turn to in times of stress. In the past, we turned to food, thus making it in fact our Higher Power, even though we may not have realized what we were doing. Food is not capable of being a Higher Power for anyone; food is a thing. By turning to food in stressful situations, we cheated ourselves with a false god.

Lurking in the back of our mind, there may still be some false gods. We may think that more money or an exciting love affair would give us permanent security and happiness. The desire for popularity may be deluding us into thinking that we can please everyone if we try hard enough.

The beauty of the OA program is that it shows us, day by day, the Higher Power who will not let us down. As we see our false gods for what they are, we grow in truth. Daily communion with God as each of us understands Him gives us an intimate relationship with the One to whom we can turn in times of stress.

Thank You for revealing my false gods.


To be enslaved to food is to worship IT instead of God. Emotional eating creates more stress than it cures & I wind up cheating myself by stuffing down my feelings instead of experiencing them!

During my lifetime, I have gone from rags to riches & back down to rags again. What I've learned is that money isn't really important. As long as I have enough to pay my bills, I'm good to go.  The old Beatles song, "Money Can't Buy Me Love" is spot on. 

An exciting love affair would only be temporarily make an impulsive decision like that would risk my marriage & set me up to hate myself for acting immorally. 

Desires are not needs. Desires lead me to never feeling satisfied, no matter what. 

For today, may I remember that I have everything I need. Whatever isn't a need is a want, and I pray to be relieved of such desires.

For today, may I remember that God is my Higher Power, not food. He can give me exactly what I need, exactly when I need it. May I trust in Him and follow the intuitive guidance that He provides.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Recovery Meditations: August 20th

~ I AM ~

"I yam what I yam."

Popeye, the Sailor Man

When did I start believing that being myself was bad? Was it the first time I did something 'wrong' in the eyes of an adult? Do I remember the day I went from being a bright-eyed child to a shadow of a being? Whenever it occurred, as time progressed, I began to trust that being myself was somehow shameful.

It's hardly a wonder that I turned to food and other addictions. After all, food never spoke badly of me, yet it did darken my spirit. Every compulsive bite dampened my light.

Thank God for this program! It has taught me that those people of my past, however well-meaning, were wrong. Being me is good. In fact, it's better than good. It's wonderful! Without me, this world would be a little darker, a little more lost. That is why I am here, why God created me, to be a light for the world.

One Day at a Time . . .
I realize that it is through God and this fellowship that I am able to shine.

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I do remember the first time I started believing that being myself was bad. It was when I was told I was adopted, at the age of 5 years old. That knowledge tore my world apart, and left me feeling alienated and belonging to nothing and nobody. Alone in the Universe.
If my own mother 'didn't want' me, abandoning me after my birth, how could I possibly be worth anything?
I would spend the next several decades asking that question and seeking an answer.

Excess food helped me cope with my 'shame' and 'unworthiness.'  Food helped me cope with being different. Food helped me stuff down that which could not be processed, as a small child.  Unfortunately, food also squashed down my spirit & dampened my light.
I am a child of God, created by Him to be a light for the world.  I am unique and lovable, a member of the human race and I am NEVER alone in the Universe.  
For today, and for every other day of my life, I am good enough.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Recovery Meditations: August 19th


“If you have behaved badly, repent;
make what amends you can and address yourself to the task
of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your
wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best
way of getting clean.”

Aldous Huxley

I grew up with high expectations of perfection and a constant feeling of failure. I seldom recognized truly bad behavior in myself, but instead I apologized for the things I had taken on as my responsibility that were not under my control. I apologized when the weather spoiled plans. I apologized for an adult family member’s poor behavior. I felt intense shame when I accidentally slipped and fell, sure that I'd embarrassed the people with me. Yet I was oblivious to how I snapped at people simply because I was in a HALTS (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Sick) place. My temper was quick to rise and explode, but I always told myself I had a “good” excuse or cause.

On the other hand, I could feel so mortified over my behavior that it haunted me night and day for weeks, and even months, after the incident; long after any witness could recall it. Years later a phrase would bring the memory back to the forefront and shame me all over again as though it had happened mere minutes before.

I couldn’t seem to find a truthful middle ground until I began working the Twelve Steps. In studying the Steps I learned how to uncover and acknowledge the wrongs for which I am sincerely responsible, how to make proper amends, and how to let go and move on.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember that I am responsible only for my own behavior and actions. With the help of my Higher Power, I will acknowledge my wrongdoings quickly and make loving amends.

~ Rhonda H.
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  Shame is that dark, powerful feeling that holds us back. Yes, shame can stop us from acting inappropriately. But many of us have learned to attach shame to healthy behaviors that are in our best interest.

In dysfunctional families, shame can be tagged to healthy behaviors such as talking about feelings, making choices, taking care of ourselves, having fun, being successful, or even feeling good about ourselves.

Shame may have been attached to asking for what we want and need, to communicating directly and honestly, and to giving and receiving love.

Sometimes shame disguises itself as fear, rage, indifference, or a need to run and hide, wrote Stephanie E. But if it feels dark and makes us feel bad about being who we are, it's probably shame.

In recovery, we are learning to identify shame. When we can recognize it, we can begin to let go of it. We can love and accept ourselves - starting now.

We have a right to be, to be here, and to be who we are. And we don't ever have to let shame tell us any differently.

Today, I will attack and conquer the shame in my life.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Food for Thought: August 18th


When we were overeating, we did not have much self-respect. Because we felt guilty about the quantity of food we were consuming and the way we looked, we had a very poor self-image. Since we did not respect ourselves, we did not act in a way which evoked respect from others. We put ourselves down and allowed other people to use us.

Abstinence and the OA program produce a change, which is often astonishing. Our self-respect grows in direct proportion to the control we acquire. When we stop overeating and begin to live in accordance with the will of our Higher Power, we can accept and respect ourselves. Those around us respond to us differently as our own attitude improves.

What we realize is that self-respect and inner acceptance are more important than any external approval or disapproval. Instead of living for the admiration of others, we seek each day to follow the will of our Higher Power.

I am grateful for the self-respect OA has given me.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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When I am at peace with myself is when I realize the enormity of Abstinence. Without it, I dwell in self-hatred, guilt, and poor self-image. I allow others to take advantage of me, since I see myself as 'less than'. I compare myself to others, and I always come up SHORT! What a waste of precious time all THAT nonsense is!!!!!!!
Today, I choose to stay Abstinent & to live in the present moment. God has a plan for me, and I recognize that I am exactly where I NEED to be right now.  I will feel my emotions without eating or drinking them away.  Numbing myself to life prevents me from living a full and joyous life.  I no longer care to stuff down that which feels 'uncomfortable.'  Discomfort has a lesson in it..........and coming through that unease without 'using' empowers me to do it again. And again.
For today, I will treat myself with the same respect and kindness I use for others.  For today, I accept myself as a child of God and a worthy human being. 

For today, I will place Abstinence on the TOP of my priority list. Without it, I fall back down into the abyss of misery.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Food For Thought: August 17th

Food for Thought

Punishing Ourselves

Most of us have been carrying around a load of guilt. We felt guilty about overeating and periodically used dieting as a form of self-punishment. We felt guilty about not being perfect, and we felt guilty unless we said yes to everything that everyone expected of us.

In this program, we learn to accept the fact that we are human and not perfect. Through the Steps, we are able to get rid of unnecessary guilt and make a fresh start each day. We do not need to continue to punish ourselves for past mistakes, either by overeating or by denying our legitimate rights as individuals.

Abstinence gives us freedom from compulsive overeating and freedom from self-punishment. We give our bodies what they need, and we also nourish our minds, hearts, and spirits. In our fellowship and in our contact with God as we understand Him, we experience the Power of love which wipes out guilt.

I am glad to learn that self-punishment is no longer necessary.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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Dieting IS a form of punishment, and so is binging. Guilt had me by the throat and led me down the road to yo-yo dieting for 40 years. My quest for perfection had me either starving or compulsively overeating.....what I call the 'all or nothing' mentality.
 Today I choose to stop punishing myself & to think healing thoughts.

When you feel anger or resentment, ask God to help you feel it, learn from it, and then release it. Ask Him to bless those who you feel anger toward. Ask Him to bless you too.

When you feel fear, ask Him to take it from you. When you feel misery, force gratitude. When you feel deprived, know that there is enough.

When you feel ashamed, reassure yourself that who you are is okay. You are good enough.

When you doubt your timing or your present position in life, assure yourself that all is well; you are right where you're meant to be.

When you ponder the future, tell yourself that it will be good. When you look back at the past, relinquish regrets.

When you notice problems, affirm there will be a timely solution and a gift coming FROM the problem.

When you resist feelings or thoughts, practice acceptance. When you feel discomfort, know it will pass. When you identify a want or a need, tell yourself it will be met.

When you worry about those you love, ask God to protect and care for them. When you worry about yourself, ask Him to do the same.

When you think about others, think love. When you think about yourself, think love.

Then watch your thoughts transform reality.

"Change your thoughts and you change your world." ~Norman Vincent Peale

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thought from Hazelden: August 16th

Imagine living in your head, untrue to your heart.
Imagine the pain of separation.
Imagine the depth of the longing for peace.
--G. Carol

Before finding recovery as a way of life, many of us barely hung on from one pain-filled moment to another. We incessantly tried to figure out what was wrong with our lives. We feared everything: our coworkers, our neighbors, the long days, the new experiences, the many strangers who crossed our paths. Miraculously, we were led to this program.

We can experience the joy of peace each time we remember to turn our will and lives over to the care of our loving God. To receive this goodness, we need only an open heart and a willingness to listen for the guidance of God. This guidance may come to us through a special passage in a book, the words of a friend, or in other ways. If we believe that the guidance will come, we will hear it.

I want to know God's will for me today. I will be attentive every moment.

You are reading from the book:
A Woman's Spirit by Karen Casey


Fear & misery was my norm; it's what I expected of life & of myself.  Recovery taught me the error of my ways.

 Many of us have developed the belief that depriving ourselves, not taking care of ourselves, being a victim, and suffering needlessly will get us what we want.

It is our job to notice our abilities, our strengths, and take care of ourselves by developing and acting on them.

It is our job to notice our pain and weariness and appropriately take care of ourselves.

It is our job to notice our deprivation, too, and begin to take steps to give ourselves abundance. It begins inside of us, by changing what we believe we deserve, by giving up our deprivation and treating ourselves the way we deserve to be treated.

Life is hard, but we don't have to make it more difficult by neglecting ourselves. There is no glory in suffering, only suffering. Our pain will not stop when a rescuer comes, but when we take responsibility for ourselves and stop our own pain.

Today, I will be my own rescuer. I will stop waiting for someone else to work through my issues and solve my problems for me.

For today, with God's help, I will take responsibility for myself & my life.  Happiness & serenity is available for the taking.  How much do I want it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Food for Thought: August 15th

Inner Tigers

What we fear facing and dealing with is often inside. We may transfer our fear and irritation to external circumstances and the people around us, when what we need to do is look inside. Usually, we are our own worst enemy.

Our fears go back to a time when we were very young and relatively helpless. We may still be afraid of rejection, of being inferior, of being hurt with no one to take care of us. We may have an irrational fear of economic insecurity, which comes from a time when we were aware of financial problems but were too young to understand them.

Whether our inner tigers are real or made out of paper, we need to face them instead of eating to appease them. As we recover from compulsive overeating, many of the fears, which we had tried to bury with food, come to consciousness. With the Power greater than ourselves, we are able to tame the inner tigers.

Secure in Your care, may I not fear self-discovery.

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


What compulsive overeater doesn't know about eating to appease the inner fears that run wild within us?  Excess food gives the illusion of 'comfort' when in fact, it creates more problems than it cures. Such is the nature of addiction.

If I am suffering from financial instability, will excess food put money in my wallet?  If I am suffering from insecurity or fear within my marriage, will excess food give me courage or a guarantee of security?

No.  In reality, eating excess food will worsen my fears & render me incapable of dealing with the problems that face me.  Living in a food coma blurs reality, and shrouds it in fear & illusion.  In order to make some permanent changes, I have to straighten up my thoughts & start facing the reality of the situation.  Through prayer & meditation I can hand my worries over to God and allow Him to bear them for me. 

Through abstinence, I clear up my muddled thinking so I can ditch the fear & start doing the footwork to change, from the inside out.

For today, I will not dwell in fear, no matter how worrisome my life situation appears to be. For today, I will have faith that God is behind me, every step of the way, and whatever adversity I seem to be facing, He has my back.  All I have to do is the footwork, allowing Him to do the rest.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recovery Meditations: August 14th


“Love conquers all things.
Let us, too, surrender to love.”

Learning to love myself has been one of the hardest lessons I've had to learn. I had to discover my capacity for self-care. I had to listen to the way I talked to myself and to learn to speak in more affirming ways. Learning to smile -- and then laugh -- when I made a mistake helped me to be less self-centered and more able to just have fun.

Life is a great experience when I surrender myself to the love around me. Expressing my love to others increases its quantity and quality inside of me. We all need to know that someone loves us and that we are lovable. Everyone needs to know that they are sufficient. I've discovered that as I give love to others, it is returned to me many times over.

One day at a time...
I will work at expressing unconditional love.

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I've always had the capacity to love others, but myself? Not so much. I was fat, after all, and why did I deserve to love myself? I spoke to myself in harsh tones, with no understanding or forgiveness, considering myself 'weak' and 'worthless' as a human being.
No wonder I overeat and drank to cope! 
I am lovable. I have the capacity TO love and to BE loved! I am sufficient, in spite of my mistakes & imperfections.  I do not have to work my program 'perfectly' in order to be worthy of self-love.  I love myself NO MATTER WHAT!

If I am struggling with abstinence, I can look at the situation with honesty instead of beating myself to a pulp.  I can tighten UP my program, and work the Steps rather than immediately resort to self-loathing.  
I am a child of God, a mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a co-worker & a business woman. I am not 'perfect' in ANY of these roles, but I AM good enough!
For today, I will love myself unconditionally, no matter WHAT! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Food for Thought: August 13th

Be Prepared

We need to be prepared for times when we will be tempted to eat the wrong kind of food. This may mean eating our planned meal before going to an event where the right food may not be available. It may mean adjusting our meal schedule so that we can wait to eat until after an event where the wrong kind of food is served.

In the past, we may have used the excuse of not hurting someone's feelings in order to rationalize a deviation from our food plan. No hostess should expect a guest to consume food to which he or she is allergic. We alone are responsible for what goes into our mouths. If we are faced with food, which will activate our illness, it is better to be hungry than to eat what makes us sick.

When we are willing to go to any lengths to maintain abstinence, we can find a way to deal with dangerous food situations. "No, thank you" is a very useful tool.

May I be prepared for times of temptation.

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


Abstinence is hard work. Probably THE hardest work I've EVER had to do in my life. But what is the alternative?

The alternative is to go back into the clutches of compulsive overeating where EVERY facet of life is compromised. There is no joy in this disease; there is only fear & misery & self-loathing.

When self-pity sets in, as it ALWAYS does, we have to remember what this disease strips us of.  It strips us of dignity, of self-love, of pure joy in the day-to-day beauty of LIFE.  FOR WHAT? For the temporary 'comfort' of eating some FOOD?????????? 

People, it is SO NOT WORTH IT. Step back & think BEFORE you take that first compulsive bite. Take EVERY precaution to AVOID it.  Make abstinence your NUMBER ONE PRIORITY in life, otherwise, you risk falling back into the darkness where excess prevails, and snuffs OUT everything that is beautiful in life.

The disease will have you believe that nobody loves you; that you are worthless and under appreciated. That you have nothing to offer and you should isolate & hide.  This is the nature of food addiction, which I believe to be STRONGER and even MORE powerful than drug addiction.  Drug addicts get clean, once and for all, and their addiction goes into remission and sleeps like a baby. Oh sure, they entertain the thought of using now & then, but it's a lot easier to slough off those thoughts than it is for compulsive overeaters.  COEs think there is no real harm in having a small taste of this or that, after all........EVERYBODY is eating, why can't I?

I can't have a small taste of this or that because for ME, that first bite is my ticket back to HELL.

In the end, it is far easier to say No Thank You than it is to invite the devil out to play.  It's one helluva job getting him to go back HOME once he's out.

For today, I am putting Abstinence on the TOP of my priority list.  No if's, and's or but's about it. I involve myself with compulsive overeaters ALL day long and what I see breaks my heart into pieces. I see the disease taking OVER, and making people FORGET the beauty of life in Recovery.

For today, let's ALL remember what FREEDOM feels like and looks like. It feels like heaven and it looks like Abstinence.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Food for Thought: August 12th

The Beacon

There are times when we get tired and depressed or elated and confused. We are mentally uncomfortable, knowing that something is wrong but unable to pinpoint the trouble. Our first thought may be to reach for food, but we know that way leads to disaster.

We compulsive overeaters have a beacon light for our dark and confused moments. It is our commitment to abstinence. No matter how confused we may be, we can remember that abstinence is the most important thing in our life without exception. Whatever happens, we will not be lost if we hold fast to our abstinence. From the commitment, everything else follows. As long as we do not overeat, we will be able to find our way out of a difficult situation.

Our Higher Power gives us the beacon light of abstinence, and with it He gives guidance out of our perplexities. Patiently waiting until we clearly see His will keeps us from getting lost in the darkness of self-will.

Thank You for the beacon light of abstinence.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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I often find myself 'mentally uncomfortable', although I can't always pinpoint exactly why.  It's taken me SO long to identify my emotions, that sometimes I get confused trying to figure out WHAT it is I am actually feeling!!!  My first thought turns to food when I feel mentally uncomfortable.  When I'm alone in the house, my first thought turns to food too, since I have always been a closet eater. 
"Gee, why is she so fat when she never eats?"  Uh, because I eat when nobody's looking, that's why.
Anyway, my point is this: There are many, many times when my instincts turn to overeating. My food plan of Abstinence is what keeps those thoughts from turning into reality.  If I didn't have Abstinence to rely on, I'd be eating my way through dozens of uncomfortable situations every day!  Living in a food coma is NOT how I want to live! I want to live free from the burden of addiction, and I want to feel ALL of my emotions as they come up.  
My emotions will NOT kill me, but obesity & compulsive overeating WILL!
My commitment to Abstinence IS my beacon of light for my dark & confused moments. Excess food NEVER 'helps' me out of those kinds of moods................excess food NEVER 'comforts' me, although the disease tries to lie & trick me into thinking it WILL.

It won't. It never did, it never does, and it never will.
The only thing that helps me through emotional turmoil is Abstinence & God.
For today, I pray not to lose myself or compromise my program for ANYTHING or ANYONE.  No food on earth is worth the sacrifice.  To ditch my program IS to sacrifice my peace of mind & well being.

To forget my program 'just this once' is to get lost in the darkness of self-will.

For today, may I keep Abstinence #1 in my list of priorities.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Food for Thought: August 11th

Sloppy Thinking

If we begin to entertain thoughts of slight deviations from our food plan, thoughts of former binge foods, thoughts that maybe once in a while we could eat "normally," we put ourselves on shaky ground. Our disease is never cured, and sloppy thinking can lead to a weakening or loss of control.

"Normal" eating for us is abstinence. Our food plan is what saves us from bizarre eating behavior. There is no such thing as taking a vacation from abstinence.

The less we think about food, the better off we are. To remember the so-called pleasure we once associated with certain foods may cause us to forget the inevitable pain and anguish which eating them eventually produced. We do not want to ever return to the misery of compulsive overeating.

Giving our minds to our Higher Power ensures positive, healthy thinking.

Take my thoughts, Lord, and straighten them out.

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

Since I can never be a 'normal eater', I created normal for myself through abstinence.  My food plan provides me with all of the necessary nutrients & calories my body needs to stay alive. If I begin to entertain thoughts of deviating from my food plan, I know I'm on shaky ground!!!  It means I am considering my Wants instead of my Needs.  And, with the Disease of More, there is NO such thing as Enough, so why get started down that road to begin with?  No amount of binge food is going to 'satisfy' me, so there is no point in taking 'just one' bite.

I can be an observer to my thoughts, instead of a slave to my thoughts. When stinkin thinkin first crops up, I can sit back & recognize it for what it IS rather than succumb.  When my Mind is working in overdrive, I must go inside of myself, to my Spirit, to quiet my mind and to find peace. Deep breathing exercises help me find my focus & squash the negative thought processes.

For today, I will stick to my basic & boring food plan, which prevents me from using food for entertainment. I will not obsess about food today, because I KNOW the parameters of my menu and it's all laid out FOR me.  There is no 'guilty pleasure' associated with food-------it is merely fuel to keep my energy up.  For today, I pray that God helps me remember that, so I don't forget the pain & misery that overeating produces.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Food for Thought: August 10th

No Compromises

Where abstinence is concerned, there can be no compromising. In order to control our illness, we are willing to go to any lengths to maintain abstinence. Nothing else is as important to us.

If we are eating in a restaurant where the right kind of vegetable is not available, we can order two salads or do without a vegetable for one meal, rather than substitute a starch which will activate our disease. We learn what we can handle and what is not for us, and then we act on that knowledge in every situation. To compromise "just this once" is an invitation to trouble.

Just as we have a certain way of eating for the maintenance of our recovery, so we have a way of living based on the principle of rigorous honesty. Honesty in all of our activities is what makes us strong and effective. Where the core principles of our program are concerned, we do not compromise.

By Your grace, may I maintain my integrity in all situations. 

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


Dancing With Gorillas
“The desire to stop suffering
is not the same thing as the desire to stop the behavior
we are doing which causes us to suffer.”
~Dr. James Golden

I may want the monkey off of my back, but the question is: do I want to stop the behavior that put the monkey on my back to begin with?

Some of us call ourselves ‘foodies’………we love food, we love to eat, we love to prepare food, dine out, etc. etc.  Isn’t this the very behavior that caused us so many problems in the first place?  

If we want to relieve ourselves of food obsession, then we have to take the necessary steps to relieve ourselves of it, do we not?

As an alcoholic, I wouldn’t work or hang out in a bar environment for obvious reasons. Yet, as a person with a chronic weight problem, do I apply the same rules to my food environment???  Do I sit around watching Diners Drive-In’s & Dives, salivating at the sight of all that greasy & fattening food?  Do I thumb through cookbooks, looking for new & tasty recipes to try out ‘on my family?’  The family who could care less about new & exciting dishes………versus me, who would wind up waiting until everyone else was asleep & then pig out on the leftovers?  I don’t eat a lot in front of others………I reserve that behavior for when I’m alone & nobody is watching.

I didn’t get fat by accident………..I ate & drank my way TO it, one binge at a time, and one bite at a time. And, for the most part, in secret.

If I insist on staying a foodie, I condemn myself to getting fat again.  I can still ENJOY food, and dining out occasionally, but I can’t allow food to be the central focus of my life anymore.  I’ve had to ditch that way of thinking when I embraced abstinence, much as I didn’t think I wanted to…..I knew I needed to.

If I start taking bites, licks & tastes of off plan foods, I’m likely to get back into the foodie mentality & have a full-fledged binge.

When you dance with a gorilla, it is the gorilla who decides when to stop.

What makes me think I can stop that behavior, once I involve myself with it? Once I wake up my taste-buds, who’s to say if and when they’re going back to sleep? Reminds me of the druggie who says he can stop ‘any time he wants to’, refusing to believe he has a problem to begin with.
I have a lifetime of vigilance on my hands here.  I can’t say Oh I’m Thin Now & My Troubles Are All Behind Me, because that’s a lie.  Weight management is a full-time thing…… requires my attention, my commitment & my perseverance.  It requires me to make healthy food choices on a daily basis, and to look for reasons to eat right rather than excuses not to.  

An excuse is nothing more than a thin skin stretched over a bald faced lie.

When I’m stressed out, excess food won’t fix it.  When my husband & I have an argument, excess food won’t fix it.  When I’m faced with the task of managing my elderly parents’ final years, excess food won’t help me one little bit.

When I’m stressed out, I exercise. When my husband & I have an argument, I talk it out with him.  When I’m traumatized from watching the deterioration of two people I love, I cry.  I feel my emotions rather than eat them.  I face my stuff rather than stuff my face.  When I’m having a bad day, I realize it’s just a moment in time……..not a ‘bad life’.

When I deal with myself & my life honestly, with positivity, I feel that I can make it.  When I start looking at things with negativity, I feel like I will never make it. 

After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, I’ve learned a few things, thank God. 

Wisdom is knowledge you learn after you know it all.

I am not saying I’ll never make a mistake or eat something I shouldn’t…………I just know that I have a food plan & a life plan in place, which keeps me focused…moving toward a healthier me instead of away from it. That’s all any of us can do………….create a plan & stick to it.  Because, without a plan, we’re likely to fall off track and stay off track, like we’ve done so many times before.
Figure out YOUR plan today, dear ones, and then stick to it. Let nothing & nobody stand in the way of your success.

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.
~Henry Ford

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: August 9th

Asking for What We Need

Decide what it is you want and need, and then go to the person you need it from and ask for it.

Sometimes, it takes hard work and much energy to get what we want and need. We have to go through the pains of identifying what we want, then struggle to believe that we deserve it. Then, we may have to experience the disappointment of asking someone, having the person refuse us, and figuring out what to do next.

Sometimes in life, getting what we want and need is not so difficult. Sometimes, all we need to do is ask.

We can go to another person, or our Higher Power, and ask for what we need.

But because of how difficult it can be, at times, to get what we want and need, we may get trapped in the mind set of believing it will always be that difficult. Sometimes, not wanting to go through the hassle, dreading the struggle, or out of fear, we may make getting what we want and need much more difficult than it needs to be.

We may get angry before we ask, deciding that we'll never get what we want, or anticipating the "fight" we'll have to endure. By the time we talk to someone about what we want, we may be so angry that we're demanding, not asking; thus our anger triggers a power play that didn't exist except in our mind.

Or we may get so worked up that we don't ask--or we waste far more energy than necessary fighting with ourselves, only to find out that the other person, or our Higher Power, is happy to give us what we want.

Sometimes, we have to fight and work and wait for what we want and need. Sometimes, we can get it just by asking or stating that this is what we want. Ask. If the answer is no, or not what we want, then we can decide what to do next.

Today, I will not set up a difficult situation that doesn't exist with other people, or my Higher Power, about getting what I want and need. If there is something I need from someone, I will ask first, before I struggle. 

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


I'm exhausted just reading this!  As a compulsive overeater/compulsive person in general, I tend to live inside my HEAD.  Inside of my head, I tend to set up all SORTS of possibilities and outcomes for all SORTS of situations that do not even exist. 

The "What If's".  If I play out ENOUGH scenes in my head, surely I'll hit on the ONE possible outcome!

When I do that, I work myself up into a lather, for no good reason.  I wind up wasting ALL of my energy on Anticipation!

The "What If'" scenario constitutes living in the Future.  I prevent Spontaneity and stuff DOWN my intuitions by trying to determine the outcome of something BEFORE it actually happens!  When I allow God to run the show, I don't HAVE TO know the outcome beforehand. 

If I want something, or need something, I will ask for it.  I will not run my brain into overdrive worrying about what the answer will be.  I will keep in mind that I have very few real 'needs', and most of them are already taken care of! 

If my Wants outnumber my Needs, I'll never wind up being happy with what I have.

For today, I will be straightforward and truthful when expressing myself. If I need something, I will ask for it, especially if it's help from someone else.  I will not expect YOU to read MY mind and be able to magically meet all of MY needs. 

For today, I will not project the future by imagining the outcome of any situation.  I will live in the NOW and enjoy each moment as it appears.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Language of Letting Go

Saying Yes

Yesterday we talked about learning to say no. Today, let's discuss another important word: Yes.

We can learn to say yes to things that feel good, to what we want - for others and ourselves.

We can learn to say yes to fun. Yes to meetings, to calling a friend, asking for help.

We can learn to say yes to healthy relationships, to people and activities that are good for us.

We can learn to say yes to ourselves, what we want and need, our instincts, and the leading of our Higher Power.

We can learn to say yes when it feels right to help someone. We can learn to say yes to our feelings. We can learn to identify when we need to take a walk, take a nap, have our back rubbed, or buy ourselves flowers.

We can learn to say yes to work that is right for us.

We can learn to say yes to all that will nurture and nourish us. We can learn to say yes to the best life and love has to offer.

Today, I will say yes to all that feels good and right.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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When I was eating & drinking compulsively, my biggest 'need' was FOOD/BOOZE, or so I thought. Recovery is teaching me to identify what it is I REALLY need, and most often, food and booze is not it.  
Sometimes I need a hug, a word of support, fun, exercise, a back rub or a bunch of frivolous flowers.  Other times I need to just BE, without compulsive activity or racing thoughts scrambling up my mind.  Giving myself permission to relax & STOP thinking is the best thing I can do for myself.

In the days before Recovery, I was so estranged from my Self that I didn't know WHAT I wanted or needed..........I was just THAT out of touch with ME.

Today I know WHO I am and what I NEED to thrive. If I forget for a moment, I allow myself some quiet time to reconnect with God. I allow HIM to guide me toward finding the answer. 

For today, I say YES to all that will nurture & nourish me.  I say YES to the best life and love has to offer. YES to healthy relationships, people and activities that are good for me. 

For today, I say yes to my God-given instincts, and recognize them as my Higher Power working THROUGH me.

For today, I will say YES to all that feels good & right.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: August 7th

Saying No

For many of us, the most difficult word to say is one of the shortest and easiest in the vocabulary: No. Go ahead, say it aloud: No.

No - simple to pronounce, hard to say. We're afraid people won't like us, or we feel guilty. We may believe that a "good" employee, child, parent, spouse, or Christian never says no.

The problem is, if we don't learn to say no, we stop liking ourselves and the people we always try to please. We may even punish others out of resentment.

When do we say no? When no is what we really mean.

When we learn to say no, we stop lying. People can trust us, and we can trust ourselves. All sorts of good things happen when we start saying what we mean.

If we're scared to say no, we can buy some time. We can take a break, rehearse the word, and go back and say no. We don't have to offer long explanations for our decisions.

When we can say no, we can say yes to the good. Our no's and our yes's begin to be taken seriously. We gain control of ourselves. And we learn a secret: "No" isn't really that hard to say.

Today, I will say no if that is what I mean.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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Saying No is vital for recovery.  Another good thing to say No to is over-complicating our food plan.
  Complicated food plans and complicated lives work against us in this program. We compulsive overeaters have a hard time making decisions about food, and the more simple our menus, the better. We also tend to overextend ourselves in other areas, dissipating energy, which we need for working our program.

Our three meals a day can be nourishing and attractive without being elaborate. If we spend too much time and energy planning and preparing our food, we run the risk of reactivating our obsession. Too much thinking about food usually leads to overeating and invariably produces mental turmoil.
Just say NO to complicated food plans!

For our peace of mind and emotional serenity, we need to keep the mechanics of our lives as simple as possible. If the spirit is to be free, it cannot be shackled by over concern with material things.
Saying No empowers us to take our rightful place in the world, and stop worrying about what people think of us.  

Saying No means saying Yes to Recovery.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Recovery Meditations: August 6th


“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

I always used to feel “less than” everyone else, so I’d eat and feel even worse.

Without true love for myself I was dead in the water. I would compare the facts I knew about myself against the impression I had of you. I never seemed to measure up. Without self-love, I was unable to ask for, expect or accept love from others.

When I love myself and treat myself lovingly, it doesn’t matter what others think of me; what matters is that I do not think less of myself.

One day at a time ...
I ask my Higher Power to show me little ways
to act lovingly toward myself and to know deep within
that I am worthy of being loved by others.

~ Melissa S.
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"Don't Compare Your Insides to Somebody Else's Outsides."
When I began my journey, I wasn't sure how to love myself.  I wasn't sure how to stop comparing my insides to someone else's outsides. I knew I was a pretty good person, I just didn't like myself very much.  When everything was quiet & I was alone, I doubted my worth as a human being. I'd proven to myself, over & over again, that I was incapable of real change, so why should I try again to reel my addictive behavior back in? 
But I had proven to myself that I could make some important changes in my life. I divorced a husband, giving up financial security for personal joy. I went back into the workforce, after a 22 year hiatus, and I was managing on my own quite well. I wasn't making any real money, but I was finally free & happy.
I'd found my birth family, after 45 years of wondering who I was & where I came from. I found 6 half-siblings that welcomed me with open arms, and loved me as if I were someone special. Me! Someone special! What a novel thought!
But I was still overeating & drinking to excess. I was still holding onto crutches that I'd needed in the past, just to survive.  My obesity AND my alcoholism did serve a useful purpose, but now that I'd made changes, those addictions were no longer serving me.  Yet I didn't think I could give them up.
I knew it was time to start loving myself & treating myself accordingly. And so I did. I stopped overeating & I stopped drinking, 4+ years ago, and that is how I ultimately started learning to love myself. By practicing good behaviors.

I am worth all the trouble. I am worthy of being loved by others, but especially, I am worthy of self-love.  Through abstinence I found myself & the ability to treat myself with self-love & self-respect.

For today, it doesn’t matter what others think of me; what matters is that I do not think less of myself.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Food for Thought: August 5th

Future Phobia

Irrational worry about the future may have triggered eating binges before we found the OA program. Learning to live one day at a time is a necessary part of controlling our disease. Our instinct for security must not be allowed to run riot any more than the other instincts we are learning to control.

Trusting our Higher Power today ensures that we will trust Him tomorrow also. We do not know what the future holds for us, but we are assured of God's continuing care and support. To entertain irrational worries about what might or might not happen is to doubt the Power, which is restoring us to sanity. When we take Step Three without reservations, we give up our crippling anxieties.

We do not expect that life will be a rose garden in the future, any more than it is right now. There are problems and disappointments and pains to deal with. What we do expect is the strength to cope with whatever our Higher Power gives us, realizing that the difficult experiences are often the ones from which we learn the most.

May faith in You blot out fear.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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Step 3 We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.

When I began working the steps actively is when I began to find recovery.  Until that time, however, I couldn't think myself into new behaviors.  Only through action does the recovery process begin.

Step 1: Admitted we were powerless over food (alcohol) and our lives had become unmanageable.

What is the definition of unmanageable?  Difficult or impossible to control, use, or manipulate.

Yes indeed, my life had become quite unmanageable. I could no longer control, use or manipulate food & alcohol to achieve a better state of mind.  My addictions were controlling me, which is what ultimately happens to all addicts.  The substances that once brought comfort & relief from thinking, soon bring pain & numbness that create more trouble than they cure.

The Steps taught me how to do the footwork, by committing to abstinence from overeating and total abstinence from drinking, and to allow God to do the rest.  When I trust Him to catch me when I fall, and to have my back, I am able to live my life as He intended me to live it.  Free from the burden of addiction, and allowing love, joy & faith to prevail instead.

If I allow my addictions to cause chaos & run riot, I cannot allow God to take over & show me a better way.

When I live for today, I do not project fear & worry about the future.  No, I don't know what tomorrow may bring, nor must I dwell on the possibilities.  Tomorrow may be rife with unsettling news, or it may hold untold joys & opportunities.  I think I will allow tomorrow to get here after today has passed.  I will not borrow trouble & worry about the 'what if's' of a future that does not exist right NOW.

For today, may I live in the moment, with God's help, and abstinence as my #1 priority.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Recovery Meditations: August 4th


"In the deepest part of a compulsive eater's soul ...
is the realization that recovery begins when we find one another."

Growing up in the deep South in the 1950's, I witnessed things I never dreamed could happen. It taught me lessons I have never forgotten. Little did I think that someone like me could ever be discriminated against. After all, I was the right color, the right size, the right religion and lived on the right side of town.

Messages began to be taped early on in that little girl's brain ... into the psyche of that teenager who worked so hard to achieve ... and into the young woman who had the world by the tail. In adulthood those messages began to play ... and food made the messages easier to hear. So began the life of a compulsive eater. So began discrimination because of my weight.

Years later I would be grateful for my life as an overweight adult. I would look back and see that the God of my understanding was preparing me to see discrimination as a disease of the soul. But what happened to give me serenity and peace and contentment? I found another compulsive eater. And then I found another ... and another. And recovery began.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will overwrite those taped messages;
I will not regret the past;
And I will cherish my fellows forever.

~ Mari
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It's hard to imagine being grateful for a disease, especially one like compulsive overeating. The tendency is to feel more self-pity than appreciation.  "Why me?" 
Nothing worth having comes easy. It took me 40 years of addiction to finally put my ego aside so I could be shown freedom.  A structured food plan IS freedom, despite the fact that many consider it bondage. 

The TRUE bondage is a life of slavery to addiction.
If I hadn't suffered the indignities of obesity, how would God have been able to prepare me to see discrimination? How would He have prepared me to share MY story with others who suffer and enable them to see the way OUT of their self-imposed misery?
For today, I AM grateful for my disease, because it has opened my eyes to the purpose of life: to pay my blessings forward; to share my struggles and vulnerabilities with the intent of lessening someone else's load.
For today, I thank God for ALL the lessons that come my way.