Sunday, September 30, 2012

Each Day a New Beginning: September 30th

Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?
—Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

We choose the lives we lead. We choose sadness or happiness; success for failure; dread or excited anticipation. Whether or not we are conscious of our choices, we are making them every moment.

Accepting full responsibility for our actions is one of the requirements of maturity. Not always the easiest thing to do, but necessary to our further development. An unexpected benefit of accepting our responsibility is that it heightens our awareness of personal power. Our well being is within our power. Happiness is within our power. Our attitude about any condition, present or future, is within our power, if we take it.

Life is "doing unto us" only what we allow. And it will favor us with whatever we choose. If we look for excitement, we'll find it. We can search out the positive in any experience. All situations present seeds of new understanding, if we are open to them. Our responses to the events around us determine whatever meaning life offers. We are in control of our outlook. And our outlook decides our future.

This day is mine, fully, to delight in - or to dread. The decision is always mine.

From Each Day a New Beginning: Daily Meditations for Women by Karen Casey © 1982, 1991 by Hazelden Foundation.
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Living the 'victim' mentality is a choice......however, not a choice that will keep me sober & at a healthy weight.  If I feel self pity that I can't have my cake & eat it too, then I will go back to overeating & drinking myself into a stupor.  If I choose sadness, failure & dread, I will justify why I 'need' to practice my addictions to stay happy.

If I do not change everything about my life, and actively seek OUT new people, places & things, I will not keep myself in recovery status. I will continue feeling sorry for myself that addiction has 'ruined' my life.  It hasn't 'ruined' my's been a huge blessing in many ways.  Had I not developed addictions, I never would have found Recovery and learned a new & BETTER way to live! I would have remained stuck in my own head, thinking the same thoughts over & over & OVER again, insisting that life was 'no good' without booze & food.  I never would have seen that I was enslaved to food & drink, having NO freedom to Be all that God intended me TO be.

Developing a new lifestyle is crucial to long term recovery.  If I want to stay sober, I will not surround myself with people who drink.  If I want to maintain a healthy body weight through abstinence from compulsive overeating, I will not cook elaborate meals in the kitchen, nor surround myself with delicious foods that I can't eat AND maintain abstinence at the same time.  I will not tempt myself unnecessarily. Tempting myself gives me license to feel self-pity.  Instead, I will give myself permission TO be happy, addiction free & living in the light instead of the darkness.

The only thing that has to change is EVERYTHING, if I am to maintain Recovery.  I know that I will have bad days, where life feels terrible. I will recognize this as a part OF Recovery, without believing the bad day will last forever. I will actively seek out new ways to re-direct my thinking towards healthful & useful pursuits.  

There are many tools I use to maintain my abstinence, but none of them is as important to me as service. I do a lot of service, but it’s not for fame or glory: I do service in order to keep my program strong.
For today, I will get out of my own head & give service to someone in need.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 29th


“Take my hand, and no matter how dark the night,
the light of day will come, and we will share the tomorrow.”

Ken Grant

When we first walk into our recovery rooms, we are all afraid: afraid of more rejection, afraid of more failure, and afraid of more loneliness. Once we sit and listen, we realize that we are not much different than the other people there. We ease up, start sharing, begin trusting our Higher Power and ourselves more.

Our darkness of the past is drawn out by our sharing with other addicts. We realize our deep, dark secrets are not as bad as we thought.

We are not alone! Then hand-in-hand, we begin climbing the ladder of recovery and the light of day begins to shine brighter and brighter.

One Day at a Time . . .
When we let our guard down and let Higher Power
and other people in, we learn that at the end of a
dark day is the light of our next today. We learn
that together we can do what we can never do alone.

~ Jeanette
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We are not alone anymore! We have found others who share our struggles & who 'get it'.  We are no longer the odd-man out in a world composed of normal weight individuals and/or normal eaters, although those statistics seem to be dwindling constantly! "Normal" eating has degenerated into fast food and candy bars, with children unable to recognize fruits & vegetables.  
With an abstinent lifestyle, we learn to CREATE 'normal' FOR ourselves, by following a structured food plan.  We draw together with other addicts, realizing our deep dark secrets are not as bad as we thought; that we ALL share them.
We stop isolating and feeling lost inside of our own compulsive thinking, as we reach out & share our experience, strength & hope with others who suffer.
We no longer worry about rejection, failure & loneliness.  We have found a better way, together, one day at a time. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Food for Thought: September 28th

My Own Body

My body is where I live. Its size and shape is a matter between my Higher Power and me. No one else is responsible for my body. In the past, I may have permitted other people to influence what I ate and how much I weighed, but I now take full responsibility.

Other people may think that I am too fat or too thin, but that is their problem, not mine. I am learning what my body needs in order to operate at peak efficiency. I am learning to avoid the foods, which I do not handle well. What and how much I eat depends on my own preference and the requirements of my metabolism.

My body is a gift to me from my Higher Power. Maintaining it in the best possible condition is my response to God's gift. No one else can tell me how best to maintain my body, since no one else is living in it or receives its inner signals. If I honestly interpret the signals, which come from my body, I will stay abstinent and healthy.

Thank You for my body.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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Other people's opinion of me is none of my business. I take full responsibility for the food that goes into my mouth every day, and nobody can influence my decision.  

As I shrunk in body size, I heard all sorts of silly comments. I was 'anorexic', I didn't eat, I was too thin, I ate like a bird, I should have 'just one bite it won't kill me', I'm too strict, I don't have fun......the list goes on and on.  Even now, after 4 years of abstinence and maintaining a normal weight, my mother says "Oh you poor thing you can't even eat."  

I don't expect non-addicts to understand MY food addiction, nor do I expect them to tell me how to best maintain my body size.  My body is where I live, and only I know how to properly fuel it & keep it running efficiently.  Only I know how important my Program is, and I don't lose sight of that fact for any reason. 

What & how much I eat is my business ONLY.  For today, I will not allow others to influence MY food choices.  That's a matter between God & me!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Food for Thought: September 27th

We Admit

Three of the Twelve Steps have to do with admitting. We admit that we are powerless over food and cannot manage our own lives; we admit our wrongs to God, ourselves, and another person; we continue to take inventory and admit when we are wrong.

Out of honest admission of our weakness comes strength. We are able to see ourselves realistically and with clarity. When we are humble enough to admit our wrongs, we get rid of the false front we had tried to maintain. This frees us to be who we are, without pretense.

When we admit our faults, we are cleansed. We no longer have to try to hide and cover up our weaknesses and mistakes. Instead of pretending to be perfect, we can be human and satisfied with progress.

We admit that we have a progressive disease, and we learn how to control it. We do not pretend to ourselves or others that we can eat like everyone else, because we are compulsive overeaters. We cannot manage our own lives, but there is One who can.

I admit that I am powerless, and I am grateful for Your Power in my life.

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


I've heard many say that 4th Step work is negative.........that it's meant to keep us dwelling on our mistakes & imperfections.  In reality, as this reading discusses, admission of weakness brings strength. When we get rid of the false front we've been trying to maintain for so long, we're freed to become who we truly are, without pretense.

Admitting our faults is cleansing, and that is the purpose of much of the Step work. We no longer feel the need to hide & cover up our weaknesses & mistakes.  Instead of pretending to be perfect, we admit to being human & satisfied with progress rather than perfection.

Admitting we have a progressive disease allows us to become willing to control it.  We stop pretending to ourselves or others that we can eat 'normally', like everyone else does, because we understand & accept ourselves as compulsive overeaters. 

What a great way to look at the usefulness & purpose of Step work!  Once I rid myself of all the baggage I've carried around from past mistakes, only THEN am I free to wake up every morning with a clean slate & to live in the moment!

For today, I thank God for guiding me to Recovery, and for urging me to take an honest look within myself to figure out what brought me to addictive behaviors.  And, more importantly, what it takes to bring me OUT.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 26th


“We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Joseph Campbell

It’s hard to give up old habits. Although my former solutions to dealing with stress, anger, and emotional and physical pain had never worked and only made the problems worse, they were familiar. I had high hopes the results would be different each time. I wasn’t too surprised when it didn’t happen because this was familiar ground.

Then I heard about this program, half-heartedly joined and began working the Twelve Steps. It was scary! Things began happening to me that I’d never dreamed possible. I was given abstinence! I had not planned for that to happen. How could I, when I had no idea what abstinence would really be like?

At first I felt very anxious, sure the abstinence would be snatched from me just as I was beginning to feel comfortable with it. While I enjoyed abstinence and not having to focus on my eating disorder's requirements, I often felt like I was in foreign territory without a map. I couldn't plan my life like I had before because my life was busy evolving in ways I couldn't imagine.

But the longer I worked the program, the happier my life became. To my utter shock I’ve recently discovered that I, a control freak and ultimate planner of everything, have begun to enjoy the unpredictability that my Higher Power has so graciously put in my life.

Before the program I never appreciated spontaneity; I couldn’t. Now, a day without plans is an opportunity.

One day at a time...
I will pray to let go of my will
and instead to be open to my Higher Power's will for me.

~ Rhonda
My Health Coach Website
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Expectations breed resentments. When I was in charge of running the world & planned every minute of my life, nothing ever worked out 'right'.  I was constantly aggravated as a result.
When I give UP is when I stop giving IN! I surrender my powerlessness over food & alcohol every single day, and every single day, the need to 'use' is removed, and I am blessed with abstinence.  Since I no longer have to play God, I can leave that role to Him and just be an ordinary human being.  What a relief!
I like this statement; "While I enjoyed abstinence & not having to focus on my eating disorder's requirements, I often felt like I was in a foreign territory without a map." My eating disorder's requirements.............boy oh boy.........those were SOME requirements, too!!!!!! Living a life focused on what I 'had to' eat next was wasting the beauty OF that precious life! The requirements of compulsive overeating are absolutely ENDLESS! What to eat, how to hide it, where to buy it, how to prepare it, how to get rid of the evidence, cooking shows, eating out............holy cow, what a colossal waste of time & my God-given talents!!!!!
Only through abstinence have I been able to SEE the insanity of compulsive overeating, and to want to be RID of the symptoms.  I will go to ANY length required to maintain my sanity through recovery.
For today, I am grateful for a day without too many plans, especially plans for getting my next fix.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Food for Thought: September 25th

Don't Hang On

As long as we are alive, we will experience times of joy and times of sadness. Trying to hang on to the periods of elation and avoid the inevitable depression which each of us feels from time to time causes us to seek artificial stimulation. Using food to try to stay on cloud nine did not work, and neither does anything else.

By turning over our lives, we become willing to let go and move through the periods of joy and sadness as we come to them. Trying to hang on arrests our progress. Nothing is certain in this life except change, and when we stop overeating we are better able to deal with the variations in our feelings and circumstances.

Whatever our current mood or situation, we can remain abstinent. Abstinence gives our lives stability and order, in spite of changes. Being centered in the Power greater than ourselves keeps us from being overly affected by either elation or depression.

By focusing on You, may I move calmly through the times of joy and the times of sadness.

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

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I was always on a roller-coaster ride, reacting to everything & everybody, never knowing HOW I'd react, but knowing for a fact that I would OVER-react! Then I'd reach for food and/or booze to calm down from the emotional cycle!  I guess I'd call that the definition of a Vicious Cycle!!!
Somewhere along the line, I decided I had to be happy at all times, that it was my birthright. I felt it necessary to keep myself stimulated & not bored or sad or depressed. So I sought out artificial stimulation as a means of coping with the inner pain I had, but didn't know how to cope with otherwise.  On an episode of Intervention last night, they called it 'early childhood trauma.'  I'd spend most of my life trying to cope with this trauma by abusing food & alcohol. But hey, at least I never lit up a crack pipe or injected my veins with poison.  It's all the same disease, however, whether I'm overeating or hoarding or drinking to excess.
The Disease of More............where too much is never Enough.
Recovery teaches us that there is no joy in addictive behavior.  To blot out Pain by 'using' is to also blot out Joy.  In recovery, we learn to embrace ALL of our feelings & to allow them to surface and to pass without event.  I no longer 'have to' use my drugs of choice to 'get through' an emotional situation.
For today, I have my Higher Power to guide me through ALL of life's events.  I have a structured Food Plan to keep me on track, and a whole new set of tools in my toolbox to cope with whatever change life throws at me.  
For today, I may be an Addict, but I do NOT have to act like one.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 24th

~ The Future ~

When I look into the future, it's so bright it burns my eyes.

Oprah Winfrey

I receive the gift of abstinence one day at a time. I am relieved from the obsession to eat one day at a time. With the help of my Higher Power, I can live life on life's terms... one day at a time.

As my recovery builds and builds, I start to imagine all the possibilities for my life. Things I never had the confidence or emotional stability to pursue are options for me. Now that I am free from the despair and self-destruction of overeating, there is space to actualize new adventures. But before I become overwhelmed or grandiose in my thinking, the Program gently reminds me that it is STILL just one day a time.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will work my program so that I have a future.

~ Christine S. ~
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"One day at a time" is not just a bunch of empty means that I literally have to live my life in 24 hour increments.  If I dwell in the past, or project into the future, then I am not living in the NOW and I lose sight of my recovery.
When I want to eat something that's not part of my food plan, I tell myself I will eat that food 'tomorrow'.  My brain is immediately relieved of obsession and I no longer feel the need to break my abstinence.  By the time 'tomorrow' comes, I have forgotten all about the junk food I wanted to eat yesterday.
Abstinence has allowed me to LIVE my life out loud, instead of wishing & hoping to.  Now that I am free from the despair & self-destruction of overeating, there is NO LIMIT to what I can accomplish in my life!  That is a great feeling.........and one that I don't want to lose sight of, especially not for a piece of FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!
One day at a time, I will work my program so that I HAVE a future! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: September 23rd


Practice tolerance.

Tolerate our quirks, our feelings, our reactions, our peculiarities, and our humanness. Tolerate our ups and downs, our resistance to change, and our struggling and sometimes awkward nature.

Tolerate our fears, our mistakes, our natural tendency to duck from problems, and pain. Tolerate our hesitancy to get close, expose ourselves, and be vulnerable.

Tolerate our need to occasionally feel superior, to sometimes feel ashamed, and to occasionally share love as an equal. Tolerate the way we progress - a few steps forward, and a couple back.

Tolerate our instinctive desire to control and how we reluctantly learn to practice detachment. Tolerate the way we say we want love, and then sometimes push others away. Tolerate our tendency to get obsessive, forget to trust God, and occasionally get stuck.

Some things we do not tolerate. Do not tolerate abusive or destructive behaviors toward others or ourselves.

Practice healthy, loving tolerance of ourselves, said one man. When we do, we'll learn tolerance for others. Then, take it one step further; learn that all the humanness we're tolerating is what makes ourselves and others beautiful.

Today, I will be tolerant of myself. From that, I will learn appropriate tolerance of others.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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Tolerance, to me, means acceptance. When I find myself aggravated, I have to ask what it is I'm refusing to accept? Then I pray for guidance, as I surrender MY control over running the world & everyone in it!
There are situations that truly ARE intolerable, however.  When someone is treating me with disrespect, I do not have to 'accept' it OR tolerate it!  When someone has crossed the boundary line with me, then I give myself permission to speak up about it, or to withdraw from the situation without feeling guilty about doing so.
For today, I will practice tolerance of myself & others.  For today, I will tolerate my imperfections without dwelling on them or making a mountain out of a molehill. 
For today, I will accept my humanity.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 22nd


"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed
in the world as what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Dissatisfaction has been part of my disease and it played a significant role in bringing me to recovery. It is the human condition to dislike where we are. Like many of us, I used to think that only some mystical, non-existent person, place, thing or situation would make me happy. If only my spouse loved me as I want to be loved; if only the boss would see and appreciate my contributions; or if only my house and children were perfect. I sat year after year speculating and fantasizing my life away.

The Serenity Prayer tells me to ask God for the wisdom to know His will for me. I lived in darkness and despair until I learned that my Higher Power is here. He is in charge. I must, through prayer and meditation, seek God's will and do the next right thing. I need to cooperate with my Higher Power to change my attitude. To that end, I do the footwork just for today.

One day at a time...
I will seek and accept God's will for my life.

~ Danny
My Health Coach Website
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Addiction is the disease of "If Only".  When I am chronically dissatisfied, I am blaming outside sources for my unhappiness, instead of looking within for a remedy.  

Acceptance is the key to finding serenity.  When I refuse to Accept life on life's terms, I fight against abstinence, giving the disease a lot more power.  When I find myself complaining & finger pointing, I know it's time for an attitude check.  Before I point my finger at another, I'd better point it at myself first.

No person place or thing can make me 'happy.'  I recognize that happiness comes from within & from changing my focus from fantasy to reality.  Living in the present moment prevents me from fantasizing my life away, waiting for the 'better life' that will present itself 'down the road.' 

My 'better life' is available to me RIGHT NOW, in this very moment, and for today, I plan to accept that fact & make it my reality.  For today, I will do the footwork required to keep me abstinent and on track. 

For today, God is in charge. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 21st

~ New Worlds ~

Each friend represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

Anais Nin

Most of us are so compulsive at almost everything we do, that allowing people in to know our garbage of the past and present is unheard of.

You go to a meeting, find a new recovery friend and that friend opens a new door. You and that friend step through and WOW ... the world in that room looks great! Later at another meeting, you meet another recovery friend and another door is opened. You and your two new friends step through and you find an even better world view. This continues to happen meeting after meeting, step after step, room after room and your personal lives begins to look much brighter and more beautiful, like there really is hope.

Funny how it's still the same world but friends, recovery and Higher Power make it a much better worldly view.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will never end this beautiful cycle of finding new worlds as long as I never lose sight of my Higher Power, my recovery friends and my recovery program.

~ Jeanette ~
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Compulsive overeating tends to be a disease of isolation. Why do we refuse to open up & let others into our lives? Since we could not trust ourselves where food was concerned, we had trouble trusting ourselves (or others)  in all aspects of life. We became divided internally and unsure of what we thought or how we felt or how we should act. We may have depended on other people to tell us what we liked, what to do, and how to do it.  And then we may have become resentful because of it!

Shame over our eating habits may also drive us into isolation, making us feel all alone in the world.

Recovery opens a new door, showing us that we are NOT all alone in the world.  We begin to realize that it is safe to open up at a meeting and to share our pain with another.  We see similarities in our stories, and that terrible feeling of uniqueness begins to dissipate, slowly but surely, as we come out of our shell & begin to share ourselves with others. That cloak of secrecy we've shrouded ourselves in suddenly feels unnecessary as we recognize how harmful that behavior has been to us.  We are only as sick as the secrets we keep.

When we give up 'our way' to finally embrace abstinence, we find a whole new world out there waiting for us.  We begin to trust our own instincts & to develop our own viewpoints and then OWN them. The Steps show us how to treat each situation that arises, putting integrity & honesty in the forefront.  We no longer depend on others to tell us what to like or how to feel or how to act.  We begin to trust ourselves again and in doing so, we begin to trust others a little bit more.

For today, I vow to never end this beautiful cycle of finding new worlds to explore.  For today, I will get out of my own head, and not repeat the same cycle of old thoughts that keep me a prisoner.  For today, I will keep an open, receptive mind, allowing that new world to become a better reality.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: September 20th


In recovery, we're learning to let ourselves go! We're learning to be spontaneous.

Spontaneity may frighten some of us. We may be afraid of the loss of control involved with spontaneity. We may still be operating under the codependent rules that prohibit spontaneity: be good; be right; be perfect; be strong; don't have fun; and always be in control.

We may associate spontaneity with acting out in an addictive, compulsive, self destructive, or irresponsible manner.

That's not what we're talking about in recovery. Positive spontaneity involves freely expressing who we are - in a way that is fun, healthy, doesn't hurt us, and doesn't infringe on the right of others.

We learn to be spontaneous and free as we grow in self-awareness and self esteem. Spontaneity emerges as our confidence and trust in ourselves increase, and we become more secure in our ability to maintain healthy boundaries.

Being spontaneous is connected to our ability to play and achieve intimacy. For all those desirable acts, we need to be able to let go of our need to control others and ourselves and fully and freely enter into the present moment.

Let go of your tight rein on yourself. So what if you make a mistake? So what if you're wrong? Relish your imperfections. Let yourself be a little needy, a little vulnerable. Take a risk!

We can be spontaneous without hurting ourselves, or others. In fact, everyone will benefit by our spontaneity.

Today, I will throw out the rulebook and enjoy being who I am. I will have some fun with the gift of life, others, and myself.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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 " good; be right; be perfect; be strong; don't have fun; and always be in control." I wonder exactly when I adopted this mentality??????  Putting up a front that I needed to be this perfectly perfect creature who was always right, always strong, and always in control.  Knowing, deep down inside, that I WASN'T this perfect person led me to overeat & drink myself into a stupor.  If I want recovery, I must look inward & admit the truth.
Before recovery, I saw myself as the center of my world and devoted my energies to protecting and building up my fragile ego. I was all alone in an unfriendly world. Now, I see myself as God's creation, subject to His purpose and plan. As I yield to His authority and accept His love, I find strength, security, and peace. By losing myself, I find myself.
I have the ability & desire to be childlike once again; to let go of the 'rules' and to have FUN! I can live and laugh and find joy in the freedom of being spontaneous!  So what if I'm wrong? So what if I make a mistake?  I no longer have to be a perfect person, and there is great freedom in that statement.
For today, I will be a little needy & vulnerable, without worrying about how others perceive me.  Today I will be all that God has intended me TO be!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: September 19th


Sometimes, we act in a manner with which we are less than comfortable. That's human. That's why we have the words: "I'm sorry." They heal and bridge the gap. But we don't have to say, "I'm sorry" if we didn't do anything wrong. A sense of shame can keep us apologizing for everything we do, every word we say, for being alive and being who we are.

We don't have to apologize for taking care of ourselves, dealing with feelings, seeking boundaries, having fun, or getting healthy.

We never have to change our course, if it is in our best interest, but sometimes a general apology acknowledges other feelings and can be useful when the issues of a circumstance or relationship are not clear. We might say: "I'm sorry for the fuss we had. I'm sorry if what I needed to do to take care of myself hurt you; it was not intended that way."

Once we make an apology, we don't have to keep repeating it. If someone wants to keep on extricating an apology from us for the same incident, that is the person's issue, and we don't have to get hooked.

We can learn to take our apologies seriously and not hand them out when they're not valid. When we feel good about ourselves, we know when it's time to say we're sorry and when it's not.

Today, I will try to be clear and healthy in my apologies, taking responsibility for my actions and nobody else's. God, help me figure out what I need to apologize for and what is not my responsibility.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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When I was overeating & drinking to excess, I felt worthless. Feeling like I had no value led me to keep apologizing to others.  I was apologizing for being ME!  My sense of personal shame kept me apologizing for everything I did, every word I said, for being alive and for being who I was at the time.
How sad is that?  Never feeling good enough, or worthy of love & attention from others............I'm not sure I felt connected to the human race! I'd isolate and shrink back, feeling SO badly about myself that I was literally depressed.
I am not responsible for running the world & making sure YOU are happy.  I am no longer willing to apologize for events I'm not responsible for. I refuse to apologize for taking care of ME.  I no longer say I'm Sorry for not eating the special dessert put out by the hostess, or for making healthy food choices, or for BEING me! I like me nowadays, and have no reason to apologize unless I've done something wrong.
For today, I pray to own my actions & nobody else's.  For today, I pray for clarity about what warrants an apology & what does not.   

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Food for Thought: September 18th

Bad Days

There are some days when we wake up in the morning knowing with a sixth sense that the day is going to be a hard one. These are the days when it is difficult to get out of bed, when we would prefer not to face whatever awaits us. There is no way around these days; we must get through them the best way we can.

Our most useful tool for coping with a bad day is abstinence. Nothing is impossible when we are abstaining from compulsive overeating. Often our problem lies not in the external events of the day but in recognizing a part of ourselves that has been hidden and repressed. We resist facing honestly what our Higher Power is revealing to us about our inner life.

When we are determined not to escape into food, we will come out of a bad day stronger than we were before. We reinforce our new way of living, which is to turn difficult situations over to our Higher Power and then act as He guides us, step by step.

May I be closer to You during the bad days.

From Food for Thought: Daily Meditations for Overeaters by Elisabeth L. ©1980, 1992 by Hazelden Foundation.
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As a compulsive person, I tend to think in terms of Never & Forever.  If something is going wrong, it will NEVER get better.  If I'm in pain, emotional or otherwise, it will last FOREVER. Intellectually, I know that's nonsense, but emotionally, it is another matter entirely.
The best tool I have for coping with hard times is Abstinence.  If I choose to overeat as a way to cope, then I perpetuate the pain & discomfort, convincing myself it WILL last Forever. 
The only way out of a tough situation is to go through it, abstinent & faithful, and come out the other side stronger & lots more empowered to KNOW that I CAN survive whatever life throws at me. I have God in my back pocket, and I can call on Him for guidance any time I need to. 
As I learn & grow in this program, I pray to be open & willing to recognize a part of myself that has been hidden & repressed.  I pray to stop resisting change, or to avoid the truth by throwing myself into a binge.  Numbing myself just prevents me from growing into the person I am intended to be.
For today, may I rely on God when I'm feeling overwhelmed and frightened.  May I rely on my Food Plan & use it as my calm amidst the storm of life.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 17th


“We turn, not older with years,
but newer every day.”

Emily Dickinson

Until I found Program, I used to think that being young was good and that being old was undignified. But working the 12 Steps helped me find the natural wisdom that comes from living over time without practicing addiction.

Now that I’m middle-aged, I feel a power, wisdom and dignity I've never felt before. Youth was good. This is good, too. For me, in fact, it’s better. I know myself at last. I have so many more resources inside me. I am grateful to be in my middle years.

As I get older, I seem to be getting more innocent. I no longer need to fit in, please others, or do things just because everyone else is doing them.

Somehow this has cleared my vision and it is easier for me to see and appreciate things the way they really are.

In the end, it is easier every day to see myself for who I really am and to accept and love myself.

One day at a time...
I am willing to be innocent and new; to go wherever my Higher Power leads me next.

~ Juno V.
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
Age brought with it the ability to feel comfortable in my own skin; acceptance of who I Am, and recognition of how far I've come in the past 55 years.  Youth was a difficult time, when I struggled & fought to find myself, but never quite DID.  I looked to others to fulfill me & to define who I was, and was left wondering & questioning.  I didn't realize that I was searching in the wrong place........that who I Am emanates from within ME.  Seeking validation & purpose from outside sources prevents me from knowing myself at a spiritual level.
I viewed myself as a Body instead of a Soul. I could never lose weight & keep it off because I was never satisfied with my appearance, no matter WHAT.  I always could have been thinner, prettier, funnier, smarter.  So losing weight changed my appearance, but it was never enough.  I'd get thin and find myself asking, "Now what?"  Nothing much changed except for how I looked, which still left me feeling empty inside.  As I grew older, I finally realized that I was unhappy & unconnected with who I Am at the core, and THAT prevented me from loving myself.
It's taken 50+ years to arrive at a point where I do love myself & know who I truly Am. I am willing to continue to grow, and to leave my life in God's hands, and to go wherever He leads me next.    
For today, I see myself for who I really Am.  I accept & love myself as a child of God and loving human being.  For that I am grateful.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: September 16th


No matter how long we've been recovering, no matter how solid our spiritual ground, we may still feel an overwhelming desire at times to punish, or get even, with another person.

We want revenge.

We want to see the other person hurt the way he or she has hurt us. We want to see life deal that person just rewards. In fact, we would like to help life out.

Those are normal feelings, but we do not have to act on them. These feelings are part of our anger but it's not our job to deal justice.

We can allow ourselves to feel the anger. It is helpful to go one step deeper and let ourselves feel the other feelings - the hurt, the pain, the anguish. But our goal is to release the feelings, and be finished with them.

We can hold the other person accountable. We can hold the other person responsible. But it is not our responsibility to be judge and jury. Actively seeking revenge will not help us. It will block us and hold us back.

Walk away. Stop playing the game. Unhook. Learn your lesson. Thank the other person for having taught you something valuable. And be finished with it. Put it behind, with the lesson intact.

Acceptance helps. So does forgiveness - not the kind that invites that person to use us again, but a forgiveness that releases the other person and sets him or her free to walk a separate path, while releasing our anger and resentments. That sets us free to walk our own path.

Today, I will be as angry as I need to be, with a goal of finishing my business with others. Once I have released my hurt and anger, I will strive for healthy forgiveness - forgiveness with boundaries. I understand that boundaries, coupled with forgiveness and compassion, will move me forward.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
Sometimes I feel I 'shouldn't' ever be angry.  Then I remind myself how normal it IS to FEEL anger! What's 'wrong' about feeling anger is acting to it by seeking revenge.  Or to allow the anger to fester inside of me, which makes me want to EAT to stuff DOWN all the negative feelings!
It's my behavior that leads me TO the refrigerator, not my 'insatiable appetite' or my 'lack of willpower.'  Working the 12 Steps helps me to identify the destructive behaviors that I possess, and to change them, bit by bit.
I have times where I feel anger & injustice.  If someone treats me badly, I have a choice as to how I react.  First & foremost, I am entitled to speak MY mind to the person, in a respectful & honest fashion. I won't fly off the handle MYSELF, otherwise, I put myself in a position to have to make amends! :)  Not the result I'm looking for here............
First, I ask myself if the offender is speaking the truth.  If I'm accused of doing something wrong, HAVE I actually DONE something wrong? If I have, then I will admit to it, apologize, and see about fixing it. I DO make mistakes and I'm willing to admit that, in every single instance.
If the person is not speaking the truth, & accusing me of something I'm NOT guilty for, then I can recognize that, too.  Why should I internalize something that isn't even REAL?  The best thing I can do is speak MY truth to the person, letting him know that what he said has hurt my feelings.  That helps ME release MY anger & move on, instead of internalizing the matter & obsessing over it for days.
For today, I will release my hurt & anger by striving for healthy forgiveness & ACCEPTANCE of all that IS.  I understand that boundaries, coupled with forgiveness & compassion, will move me FORWARD in my recovery.
For today, I will do NOTHING to impede my growth in the program.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 15th


The Spiritual lift, the nearness to our Creator
that is experienced from humble invocation of His help,
and our willingness to be freed from old willfull thoughts and habits
are essential to successful attainment of these steps.

The Little Red Book

I am a compulsive overeater. I eat three moderate meals each day without exception. In between, I have nothing except sugar-free gum, water, diet soda, and black coffee. Today I am working hard to allow my Higher Power to remove my imperfections. The focus is on the removal of blame, resentment, fear, and self-pity. I want to blame. I do resent. I have a lot of fear, but with surrender it is not paralyzing. I easily feel sorry for myself and cry about it. All of this threatens my abstinence, which is about sanity. The weight loss is an extra reward. The ability to approach responsibilities and feelings is the life force which I cannot take for granted.

When food was my higher power it was hell. I take my disease and recovery seriously. It's choosing life over slow, torturous death. All my problems are the same, yet somehow they are livable. Continually asking for removal of my defects results in a decrease of anxiety. I believe fully that my Higher Power will remove my problems in a time and way which I have no control over, as long as I remain willing. Today I am completely willing. I am grateful to have been chosen for recovery.

One day at a time...
I can eat three weighed, measured and committed meals without exception. I enjoy my meals and feel satisfied by them.

~ Ellen ~
My Health Coach Website
My Blog

As a compulsive overeater, I need to have a strict Food Plan in place, without exception, if I am to maintain peace of MIND.  Ellen's food plan of of eating 3 moderate meals a day with nothing in between is one of many that work.  By sticking to a Food Plan, we allow ourselves to see the Truth instead of living in Denial.  We stop beating ourselves UP for our lack of self-discipline, and we finally begin to live in Joy & Freedom instead of Fear & Resentment. 

Self-pity threatens my abstinence, as does blame, fear & resentment. When I practice integrity is when I am able to STOP living with those emotions that threaten my Recovery.  The Steps are a blueprint to finding & embracing integrity every single day.  My Food Plan allows me to thrive as a 'normal eater' instead of obsessing over food all day long.
The following reading from Food For Thought really says it ALL:

Our mental obsession with food gave us little peace. The refined sugars and carbohydrates, which we craved, left us jangled and over stimulated. Our guilt and self-hate kept us in a state of fear and turmoil. We raced about frantically in our minds trying to think of a way out of our misery.

Abstaining from refined sugar and carbohydrates gives us physical peace. Our body is no longer in an uproar; it is functioning calmly and efficiently. The Twelve Steps of recovery free us from the mental obsession with food and bring about emotional and spiritual peace. The more control we relinquish to our Higher Power, the more peace He gives us.

The peace, which comes through working our program, is not stagnant - it is rich and creative. It is the peace, which results from an ordered life and confidence in God. Instead of going in circles, both physically and mentally, we move in measured progress along the path, which our Higher Power shows us step by step each day.

Thank You for peace.
What is peace WORTH? To me, it's worth staying away from refined sugars & carbohydrates. A small price to pay for a life of gratitude & happiness.
For today, I will stick to my Food Plan of abstinence without over-thinking it or micro-managing it. In turn, I will enjoy Peace & Self-Esteem. It's really just that simple. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 14th


“He who does not use his endeavors to heal himself
is brother to him who commits suicide.”

Rather than a regular, sudden suicide, I have subtly entertained the idea of slow suicide. I have neglected myself: my health, my vision and my gifts. I have either taken actions that have harmed me, or I have neglected to take actions that would have helped me to live a longer and more productive life. I have stuffed my face with garbage, accepting that as my fate.

Today I have a program that teaches me that I can’t take care of myself alone and that I can, and will, receive help. I accept that help with humility, taking the Steps I am shown and using the tools I am offered. I begin to see that I have something to offer others and my life takes on new meaning and purpose.

One day at a time...
I pray that I will say “yes” to my own life today, and take actions which represent that “yes.”

~ Q
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
This reading today reminds me of the old AA slogan: "I spent a lifetime in hell and it only took twelve steps to get to heaven."  

When we were overeating, we felt empty inside no matter how much we ate. Now that we are abstaining, we may still experience periods of feeling empty. This emptiness is especially likely to occur after an occasion to which we have looked forward with much anticipation.

Perhaps we expect too much from a person or an event and feel let down when reality falls short of our anticipation. Perhaps we find ourselves with a group of people whose conversation is superficial and relationships are phony. Putting on a mask and keeping it in place for any length of time leaves us feeling drained and empty.

Without honest, meaningful contact with other people, we are emotionally undernourished. In order to have the mutually nurturing relationships we need, our false fronts have to be abandoned. Through this program, we learn to seek out the kinds of people and activities that fill us and to avoid those that leave us empty
~Food for Thought

When I feel like breaking abstinence, I remember that no matter HOW much I eat, I will NOT be able to fill that emptiness inside.  My binge will be huge, and I will still go back for more.  When I am emotionally undernourished is when I need to have conscious contact with God again; go within to find what's lacking, instead of stuffing my body with empty calories.  That's what the program has taught me, and it was a lesson well worth learning.

For today, I will be myself...........I don't need a phony smile and a mask to hide the real me behind. If someone doesn't like me for who I am, that's ok.  I will not emotionally drain MYself in an effort to please somebody else! I will not risky MY program for anyone or anything, not for today.

For today, I will not commit slow suicide by stuffing my body or damaging my health. 

For today, I will be ME and that IS good enough!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 13th


“It’s a funny thing about life.
If you refuse to settle for anything less than the best,
that’s what it will give you.”

W. Somerset Maugham

When I first came to program, I was in the diet mentality. After a few “slips” I had to face the facts: I was in relapse, and I had never really surrendered. With the help of the program, I gained an increasing awareness of this progressive disease. Did I really want to recover? Was I really willing to go to any lengths to find relief from compulsive eating?

When I finally surrendered the food and began working the Steps, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that food could no longer be the answer. With seven months’ abstinence, I now know that I have a long way to go in my recovery. However, one day at a time, I am willing to find my answers in the Steps instead of in the food. Thank you, Higher Power!

One day at a time...
I choose abstinence and will listen for God’s calling in my life. God’s will for me is the safest and most loving place I can be, and I know God wants me to live a life free from the compulsion to eat.

~ Christine S.
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
The 'diet mentality' is sets us up to feel deprived & tempted to binge! When I first got abstinent, I used to remind myself that no matter HOW much junk food I ate, it would NEVER be enough, so what was the point in starting?
If I have a slip, I must remind myself: SLIP=Sobriety Lost Its Priority
If I want to stay in recovery & avoid having my disease progress, then I must put Abstinence on the top of my priority list!

If I'm slipping & sliding left & right, then I have relapsed.  Only when I surrender my powerlessness on a daily basis do I FIND the light of recovery & the joy of abstinence.
For today, I am willing to do whatever is necessary to maintain my program.  What lengths will I go to? I will go to any length to find relief from compulsive overeating.
For today, I will stick to my food plan because structure prevents chaos. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 12th


“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.
You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

Lucille Ball

It took me a long time to learn what love truly means. I thought love included pleasing others, saying “yes” when I meant “no,” swallowing my true feelings and putting myself last. What I didn’t know is that I was practicing resentment, anger, fear, jealousy and everything but love. I could not love others because I did not love myself.

Then I decided to take care of myself first. I considered no one but me, took care of myself, (or so I thought) while actually alienating myself from those close to me. I ate compulsively to tame the self-loathing I felt inside. And I loathed myself because I did not treat myself with real love and kindness.

Today I know that loving myself must come first. If I love myself, I am better able to love everyone in my life because I do things from a place of honesty. If I treat myself with respect, I treat others with respect. Everyone wins when I love myself enough to accept myself, flaws and all.

One day at a time ...
I will ask my Higher Power for the
ability to accept and love myself for where I
am this day, knowing I am a work in progress like a
tree that grows from self-care and nurturing.

~ Melissa
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
It was a novel idea for me to practice self-love, after loathing myself for such a long time. It's been a slow healing process, this thing called recovery, as well as a time of amazing self-discovery.
 We should learn not to grow impatient with the slow healing process of time. We should discipline ourselves to recognize that there are many steps to be taken along the highway leading from sorrow to renewed serenity... We should anticipate these stages in our emotional convalescence: unbearable pain, poignant grief, empty days, resistance to consolation, disinterestedness in life, gradually giving way . . . to the new weaving of a pattern of action and the acceptance of the irresistible challenge of life.
—Joshua Loth Liebman
Not every day is 'easy', in fact, some days are unbearably difficult.  Sometimes, loving myself seems nearly impossible, because of my imperfections.  What I have discovered in recovery is that my imperfections make me who I Am.  And who I Am is perfectly wonderful! I am a child of God and a work in progress.

"Emotional convalescence" is a great way to look at this journey.  I'm progressing along the path from child to adult, and that path is strewn with rocks & ruts.  If I don't expect to pass through the stages of recovery, then how can I expect TO recover?

For today, I will treat myself with love & respect.  For today, I accept myself AS IS, flaws & all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Recovery Meditations: September 11th

The Present

“Real generosity towards the future
consists in giving all to what is present.”

Albert Camus

Fear ruled my life until two years ago. I was paralyzed with fear about the future and what would happen when “they” discovered how bad I really was and how little they could trust me. I was terrified that the past would catch up with me and I’d be found out. The guilt and shame of my last binge came along for the ride as I replayed the scene compulsively and beat myself up for screwing up yet again. This made it impossible for me to stay in the present.

In program I learned that I wasn’t really paralyzed by the past nor the future; rather, I was paralyzed by fear of losing control. The only way to release that fear was to admit, every hour of every day, that I was powerless over people, the past, the future and the food. When I wrote it down and put it in my God box, I could live in the present time. It was hard at first, and I'd grab it back when the fear crept in. But I'd let it go a little more each time, allowing me to be free of fear and enjoy moments of the day. The moments turned into hours and soon I was experiencing a full day without fear. The fear of the past and the future held less sway over me as I worked the Steps, surrendered my fears, and did service.

Service is the most important tool for me. The more service I do, the more I am fully alive in the present and I worry less about the past and the future. The peace and serenity that replaced the fear are blessed gifts allowing me to explore more of the present day. With them, I can honestly share myself with others and rebuild relationships. I now know the freedom of “giving all to what is present” and I pray for the willingness to stay in the present and be generous toward my future.

One day at a time...
I live fully in the present, easily and effortlessly surrendering the past and the future to my Higher Power.

~ Anne L.
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
One of the most important things I've learned in Recovery is to live in the NOW.  Yesterday is gone & tomorrow isn't here yet.  If I live in the past, I dwell in regret & 'could-have-been's'  If I live in the future, then I play out all the possible outcomes of a situation, trying to cope with something that isn't even real!
 No wonder I turned to food & booze for comfort!  
If I find myself feeling fearful, that means I am projecting too far into the future.  I can empower myself NOW by staying committed to my Food Plan and using the tools of Recovery that are available to me.  If I make a mistake, I don't beat myself down because I 'screwed up.'  I take it as a necessary part of my growth and I immediately make amends.  If I made a mistake at work, I promptly admit it & go about fixing it.  I listen to people ALL DAY LONG who insist they DO NOT make mistakes!  I shake my head in wonder at those statements.  I DO make mistakes & I am happy to admit that I am a human being!
If I've hurt someone's feelings, I promptly issue an apology. Otherwise, I hang onto the knowledge that I've done something wrong, and it festers inside me like a boil.  Nothing leads me to the refrigerator faster than carrying around guilt & regret.
For today, I choose to let go of fear & trust that God has my best interest in mind with His plan for me.  
For today, I will give OF myself in service to those who still suffer. Getting out of my OWN head keeps ME balanced & on track.  
For today, I will live fully in the present, surrendering the past & the future to my Higher Power.  All I need concern myself with is NOW!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: September 10th


Most of us want to be liked. We want other people to think of us as nice, friendly, kind, and loving. Most of us want the approval of others.

Since childhood, some of us have been trying to get approval, trying to get people to like us and think highly of us. We may be afraid people will leave us if they disapprove of our actions. We may look for approval from people who have none to give. We may not know that we're lovable now and can learn to approve of ourselves.

In order to live happily, to live consistently with the way our Higher Power wants us to live, and to tap into a way of life that is in harmony with the universe, we need to let go of our extreme need for approval. These unmet needs for approval and love from our past give others control over us today. These needs can prevent us from acting in our best interest and being true to ourselves.

We can approve of ourselves. In the end, that's the only approval that counts.

Today, I will let go of my need for approval and my need to be liked. I will replace them with a need to like and approve of myself. I will enjoy the surprise I find when I do this. The people who count, including myself, will respect me when I am true to myself.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
Out of all the daily OA based readings, The Language of Letting Go has been speaking volumes to me lately, which is why I've been choosing them for this blog.

As an overweight person, I've always felt inferior as a human being. I felt I had to win the approval of others, by going out of my way to get them to like me, to make up for my shameful body size.  I've spent the past 55 years, in fact, trying to win approval from my folks............and several years ago, I came to the conclusion that it would never happen. I will always be 'not quite enough' in their eyes. I jumped through fiery hoops over & over & over again, to no avail, in an attempt to win approval from people who have none to give.

I am lovable as I am, which makes me perfectly good enough! I approve of myself, and that's what really counts. Working the steps for years has taught me to live with high integrity & character; to stop making bad decisions and then dwelling in guilt because of it.  When I put my program first, I am living to the best of my ability & therefore, have nothing to 'disapprove' of in myself.

Sure, I'd like everyone on earth to love me & think highly of me, who wouldn't? But it's no longer my goal to worry about who's going to leave me if I'm not all they would like me to be! I am me.  I am a child of God, and I approve of myself and God approves of me also!

For today, I will let go of my need for approval & my need to be liked.  For today, I will respect myself because I am living a clean, sober and useful life.

For today, I Am Good Enough.  And boy does it feel good to SAY that & to BELIEVE it! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: September 9th


Too often, we try to gain a clear perspective before it is time.

That will make us crazy.

We do not always know why things are happening the way they are. We do not always know how a particular relationship will work out. We do not always understand the source of our feelings, why we've been led down a particular path, what is being worked out in us, what we are learning, why we needed to recycle, why we had to wait, why we needed to go through a time of discipline, or why a door closed. How our present circumstances will work into the larger scheme of events is not always clear to us. That is how it needs to be.

Perspective will come in retrospect.

We could strain for hours today for the meaning of something that may come in an instant next year.

Let it go. We can let go of our need to figure things out, to feel in control.

Now is the time to be. To feel. To go through it. To allow things to happen. To learn. To let whatever is being worked out in us take its course.

In hindsight, we will know. It will become clear. For today, being is enough. We have been told that all things shall work out for good in our life. We can trust that to happen, even if we cannot see the place today's events will hold in the larger picture.

Today, I will let things happen without trying to figure everything out. If clarity is not available to me today, I will trust it to come later, in retrospect. I will put simple trust in the truth that all is well, events are unfolding as they should, and all will work out for good in my life - better than I can imagine.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
When I make a choice to Surrender my life, that means I've agreed to stop running the world.  I am no longer Large & In Charge, God is.  I must be willing to stop controlling everything & everybody, especially myself.
One of the most difficult things for a compulsive overeater to do is to just BE.  We tend to want to run, hide, eat, numb ourselves, stay SO busy that we have no time to be alone with our thoughts. Thoughts scare us, because they may conjure up memories of wrong-doings and thereby, bring out FEAR.  
The only way OUT of anything is THROUGH it.  

If I want to find recovery & maintain it, I must learn how to 'be' sit in a chair & allow time to pass without 'doing' anything at all.  I pray and then I clear my head, allowing God's guidance to come through, with NO interference from ME.  It is not my job to figure everything out. It IS my job to have faith that all is well and that I'm exactly where I NEED to be right now.
For today, I pray to stop micro-managing my life & the lives of my loved ones.  May I be reminded that I am not God.  God is God and I am me.   

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: September 8th

Stopping Our Pain

Some of my feelings have been stored so long they have freezer burn.
—Beyond Codependency

There are many sources of pain in our life. Those of us recovering from adult children and codependency issues frequently have a cesspool of unresolved pain from the past. We have feelings, sometimes from early childhood to the present, that either hurt too much to feel or that we had no support and permission to deal with.

There are other inevitable sources of pain in our life too. There is the sadness and grief that comes when we experience change, even good change, as we let go of one part of our life, and begin our journey into the new.

There is pain in recovery, as we begin allowing ourselves to feel while dropping our protective shield of denial.

There is the pain that leads and guides us into better choices for our future.

We have many choices about how to stop this pain. We may have experimented with different options. Compulsive and addictive behaviors stop pain - temporarily. We may have used alcohol, other drugs, relationships, or sex to stop our pain.

We may talk compulsively or compulsively focus on other people and their needs as a way to avoid or stop our pain.

We may use religion to avoid our feelings.

We may resort to denial of how we are feeling to stop our pain.

We may stay so busy that we don't have time to feel. We may use money, exercise, or food to stop our pain.

We have many choices. To survive, we may have used some of these options, only to find that these were Band Aids - temporary pain relievers that did not solve the problem. They did not really stop our pain; they postponed it.

In recovery, there is a better choice about how we may stop pain. We can face it and feel it. When we are ready, with our Higher Power's help, we can summon the courage to feel the pain, let it go, and let the pain move forward - into a new decision, a better life.

We can stop the behaviors we are doing that cause pain, if that's appropriate. We can make a decision to remove ourselves from situations that cause repeated, similar pain. We can learn the lesson our pain is trying to teach us.

If we are being pelted by pain, there is a lesson. Trust that idea. Something is being worked out in us. The answer will not come from addictive or other compulsive behaviors; we will receive the answer when we feel our feelings.

It takes courage to be willing to stand still and feel what we must feel. Sometimes, we have what seems like endless layers of pain inside us. Pain hurts. Grief hurts. Sadness hurts. It does not feel good. But neither does denying what is already there; neither does living a lifetime with old and new pockets of pain packed, stored, and stacked within.

It will only hurt for a while, no longer than necessary, to heal us. We can trust that if we must feel pain, it is part of healing, and it is good. We can become willing to surrender to and accept the inevitable painful feelings that are a good part of recovery.

Go with the flow, even when the flow takes us through uncomfortable feelings. Release, freedom, healing, and good feelings are on the other side.

Today, I am open and willing to feel what I need to feel. I am willing to stop my compulsive behaviors. I am willing to let go of my denial. I am willing to feel what I need to feel to be healed, healthy, and whole.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
  " We have feelings, sometimes from early childhood to the present, that either hurt too much to feel or that we had no support and permission to deal with."  As a child, I had no support or permission to deal with the pain & trauma of my adoption.  I wasn't allowed to discuss it, or to ask questions, or to feel any pain.  If I let on that I was upset, I was made to feel guilty & selfish for not appreciating the wonderful thing that my adoptive parents had done for me. I was forced to pretend 'as if' everything was perfect, and to never, ever, under any circumstances, feel otherwise.

As a result, I withdrew into myself and became quiet & isolated. I was THE only person on earth; connected to nobody, unworthy of love, and literally lost, with nobody to talk to and nobody who understood me.  At 5 years old is when my compulsive overeating was born, as a coping mechanism & a source of comfort for a troubled & sad little girl who'd had to pretend everything was perfect all the time, when that was far from true.

I learned to stuff my feelings BACK & keep them buried.  When they came UP, I was angry & resentful, which scared me something awful, because I didn't know HOW to process such feelings.  Since I had no outlet TO discuss my feelings, they stayed bottled up for a long time, and forced into the background with excess food. "Using" kept me functioning, and therefore, served a useful & important purpose in my life. I'm grateful FOR my compulsive kept me sane in a household of insanity.  When my mother drove out of the garage, on one of her many tirades, threatening to drive the car off the bridge & kill herself, I could hide in her bedroom & eat myself into some level of comfort.  

Had I NOT had this coping mechanism, who knows what might have happened.  Yes, addiction normally DOES serve a useful purpose.  In some cases, it means Survival.

It no longer does, however.  As a grown woman with a family of my own, it is my responsibility to process my own emotions and to FEEL them.  I had to wait until I felt 'safe' before I could embrace recovery, however.  As long as I felt threatened, I had no other choice but to stay INSIDE of my own head & process my feelings 'safely.'  

I found recovery first in 1992, when I decided to stop drinking. I went to church & prayed.  Being raised Catholic and active in the church, I'd abandoned God for a long time after getting out of parochial school. I went back to my early training, though, and got on my knees & asked God to help me figure out how to get sober.  He sent me to my first AA meeting, shaking like a leaf, and wondering how on earth I'd managed to foul my life up THAT badly.

My first AA meeting was my wake-up call to the freedom & peace that recovery brings through abstinence. 

I stayed sober for 9 years, attending AA meetings frequently, and joining OA at the same time. I tackled both of my addictions at once,and I was successful for 9 years.

Then I decided to hire a private investigator to find my birth certificate so I could find out who I was, once and for all.

And that's when the chit hit the fan, so to speak.  I'd opened a Pandora's Box that could never be closed back up.  The truth of who I really was threw me into a nightmare, or so I had perceived it at the time.  What it was, in reality, was a huge lesson that I'd HAD to learn; a lesson that helped shape me into the person I was intended to BE all along.

I fell off the wagon, hard.  I stayed off the wagon for 7 years, eating & drinking once again, as a coping mechanism to deal with a huge amount of emotions I'd been unable to process.

But I had a background in Recovery; I knew the Steps and the program was there FOR me, I'd just been unable to embrace it once again.  In June of 2008, it was time.

I've been back in Recovery for a little over 4 years now, and I'm holding ON to it with all of my might, one day at a time.

I've managed to drop 100 lbs & stay 100% sober for 39 months now, with God's help, and the support of the fellowship.  I am allowed to process my feelings now. I have allowed MYSELF that luxury, and so has my family.  The times I DO struggle is when I have to deal with my mother & all of her histrionics and dysfunction.  She brings up those old memories again, where I was hiding in fear & licking salt if there was no other food available.

For today, I remember who I was & who I am NOW.  I pray to let go of all the resentments of the past, and to live in peace & freedom TODAY, and every day, one day at a time.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: September 7th

Powerless over Others

Stop making excuses for other people.

Stop making excuses for ourselves.

While it is our goal to develop compassion and achieve forgiveness, acceptance, and love, it is also our goal to accept reality and hold people accountable for their behavior. We can also hold ourselves accountable for our own behavior and, at the same time, have compassion and understanding for ourselves.

When we claim powerlessness, we are not claiming irresponsibility. We have no power to control others, what they do, what they did, or what they might do. We're stating that we are willing to end an ineffective life based on willpower and control. And we're beginning a spiritual, mental, and emotional journey in which we take responsibility for ourselves.

We are not victims. We are not helpless. Accepting powerlessness when that is appropriate enables us to begin owning our true power to take care of ourselves.

Today, I will avoid making excuses for my own or someone else's behavior. I will let consequences and responsibility fall where they belong.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
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When I admit powerlessness, I STOP struggling with will..........I give UP and as a result, I stop giving IN.  I am a compulsive overeater & do not have the luxury of snacking or eating anything that is not pre-planned or pre-measured.  I have no excuse to do otherwise.  I am responsible and accountable for my own behavior.
I don't rely on 'willpower', I rely on commitment & SKILLpower! OA has taught me the SKILLS I need to stay in recovery, and the TOOLS to use to stay abstinent.  For many years, I thought I was a loser because I had none of that elusive 'willpower' that my dad told me I SHOULD have.  Well, I don't have ANY of it, but I sure as heck DO have skillpower!
For today, I will avoid making excuses for my own or someone else's inappropriate behavior.  I will let consequences & responsibility fall where they should.  For today, I will NOT pretend to be a helpless victim.
For today, I will EMPOWER myself by using the tools of this program to stay in charge of myself and my program.
For today, I choose to live free from obsession.  I am grateful to God for the gifts of this program. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Language of Letting Go: September 6th

The Good in Step Ten

Step Ten says: "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." It does not suggest that we ignore what is right in our life. It says we continue to take a personal inventory and keep a focus on ourselves.

When we take an inventory, we will want to look for many things. We can search out feelings that need our attention. We can look for low self-esteem creeping back in. We can look for old ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. We can look for mistakes that need correcting.

But a critical part of our inventory can focus on what we're doing right and on all that is good around us.

Part of our codependency is an obsessive focus on what's wrong and what we might be doing wrong - real or imagined. In recovery we're learning to focus on what's right.

Look fearlessly, with a loving, positive eye. What did you do right today? Did you behave differently today than you would have a year ago? Did you reach out to someone and allow yourself to be vulnerable? You can compliment yourself for that.

Did you have a bad day but dealt effectively with it? Did you practice gratitude or acceptance? Did you take a risk, own your power, or set a boundary? Did you take responsibility for yourself in a way that you might not have before?

Did you take time for prayer or meditation? Did you trust God? Did you let someone do something for you?

Even on our worst days, we can find one thing we did right. We can find something to feel hopeful about. We can find something to look forward to. We can focus realistically on visions of what can be.

God, help me let go of my need to stay immersed in negativity. I can change the energy in my environment and myself from negative to positive. I will affirm the good until it sinks in and feels real. I will also strive to find one quality that I like about someone else who's important to me, and I will take the risk of telling him or her that.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
My Health Coach Website
My Blog
It's so easy for me to pick myself apart, looking for things I've done wrong that I need to examine. How about all the things I've done right?  If my abstinence is not 100% perfect, I tend to berate myself for chewing some extra gum, for petesake.  

I'm so quick to condemn & so slow to praise myself.  Even my worst day of recovery is SO much better than my best day of compulsive overeating!  When I am abstinent, the periods of utter JOY I feel get larger and larger.  An inner peace washes over me that is incomparable.  

For THIS reason I stay true to my Food Plan: for inner peace & the ability to feel GOOD about ME!
Weight loss or weight maintenance is just the BONUS!

For today, I will change the energy in my environment, affirming the good and eliminating the negative.

For today, I will continue to like myself, appreciate my good qualities and pay myself compliments!