Sunday, June 30, 2013

Recovery Meditations: June 30th


“How does a project get to be a year behind schedule?
One day at a time.”
Fred Brooks

I have been given many talents, and I count them as gifts from my Maker. Throughout life I have discovered that there was virtually nothing that I could not make, bake, say or do with the help of my Higher Power. At the age of three years I learned to crochet and read. I learned to draw, paint, write poetry and quilt. The fact that I was not afraid of failing had a great influence on my ability to tackle any task.

Surprisingly, when I felt that I was "grown" and needed to leave home and start a life of my own, I found that finishing anything was almost impossible. I could start anything -- but I seemed to complete nothing. Much to my dismay I had developed the art of procrastination. Just waiting to finish anything tomorrow puts me one day behind. Day by day, the project gets put on the back burner and forgotten. One day at a time I eventually find that I am years into finishing some things.

Thanks to this program and its wonderful steps and tools, I have found that by working "one day at a time" I can be -- and am -- a person who starts and finishes things. This is who God created me to be...not the person who continually puts things off. It took a lot of reading and prayer and meditating on God's Word for me to get where I am today...a person who takes action on the tasks before me. I am far from perfect, but I am making progress.

One day at a time...
Just for today I will take action and not put off until tomorrow what I can do today.

~ Annie K.

When I live life in smaller chunks, I feel less overwhelmed & better equipped to tackle what's put in front of me. If I have to declutter and organize a giant closet, that may put me off if I felt the need to do the entire thing at one time.  But, if I do it in increments, I can accomplish that task and feel the satisfaction of a job well done.  I can bring in 3 or 4 large bags, fill them up with donations, place those bags in the trunk of my car and drive them to Goodwill. I can tackle ANY project that way.........without feeling the need to do it perfectly or entirely in one day.

For today, I will not let things pile up while they're left unattended.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Recovery Meditations: June 29th


When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound
to that person or condition by an emotional link that is
stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to
dissolve that link and get free.
Catherine Ponder

I once had a situation in which someone I was acquainted with said unkind things about my weight and verbally attacked my spouse in front of my daughter. I worried and revisited the situation over and over for many years until the anger turned to resentment and became a major, entrenched grudge. Because so many of my eating issues stem from emotional ones, this would drive me to eat in an effort to dull, numb and forget my anger. That didn't work ~ the eating didn't stop that anger from turning into resentment.

When I would complain about this situation to a friend, she told me that I had to stop allowing that person to "rent space in my mind." I came to realize that I had allowed -- and even nurtured -- a negative energetic link to that person and situation. I couldn't let go of resentment until I was willing to take the needed steps in program and to forgive. Forgiving doesn't mean I didn't learn anything from the situation, and I haven't forgotten the unkind words. But I learned that I needed to be more cautious in my dealings with this type of individual. I learned I can't surround myself with people who are overly-negative and say poisonous things without accepting any accountability for their actions. I have learned that I can be accountable for mine, and that I no longer have to allow myself to be bound by an emotional link to the situation.

One day at a time...
I will ask my Higher Power to help me to learn to forgive and forget. With the help of my Higher Power, I will let go of unnecessary baggage that causes resentment.

~ Deb B.

Unfortunately, I have to deal with people who are overly-negative and say poisonous things...........what I don't have to do is accept accountability for THEIR actions! I set boundaries with toxic tessies, and I minimize my exposure to them. I set the rules about the visits, when they will be, how long they will last, and what's on the menu to eat.  Otherwise, I open up a Pandora's Box and compromise MYSELF and my abstinence by trusting THEM to feed ME properly. Not. Gonna. Happen.  So I take responsibility for it instead.

I wish I could say that I've figured out a way to 'forgive & forget' all the nonsense............but I haven't. I try not to dwell on it, and I've gotten pretty good at not eating over it..............but the resentment I feel is a very real thing. I love but I don't necessarily like.................and I acknowledge that and accept it. Sigh.

One day at a time, I will do the best I can to let go of my resentment & anger towards the toxic people in my life. I will give it to God and let Him handle it!

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: June 28th

When Things Don't Work

Frequently, when faced with a problem, we may attempt to solve it in a particular way. When that way doesn't work, we may continue trying to solve the problem in that same way.

We may get frustrated, try harder, get more frustrated, and then exert more energy and influence into forcing the same solution that we have already tried and that didn't work.

That approach makes us crazy. It tends to get us stuck and trapped. It is the stuff that unmanageability is made of.

We can get caught in this same difficult pattern in relationships, in tasks, in any area of our life. We initiate something, it doesn't work, doesn't flow, we feel badly, then try the same approach harder, even though it's not working and flowing.

Sometimes, it's appropriate not to give up and to try harder. Sometimes, it's more appropriate to let go, detach, and stop trying so hard.

If it doesn't work, if it doesn't flow, maybe life is trying to tell us something. Life is a gentle teacher. She doesn't always send neon road signs to guide us. Sometimes, the signs are more subtle. Something not working may be a sign!

Let go. If we have become frustrated by repeated efforts that aren't producing desired results, we may be trying to force ourselves down the wrong path. Sometimes, a different solution is appropriate. Sometimes, a different path opens up. Often, the answer will emerge more clearly in the quietness of letting go than it will in the urgency, frustration, and desperation of pushing harder.

Learn to recognize when something isn't working or isn't flowing. Step back and wait for clear guidance.

Today, I will not make myself crazy by repeatedly trying solutions that have proven themselves unsuccessful. If something isn't working, I will step back and wait for guidance. 

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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: June 27th

Achieving Harmony

When a pianist learns a new piece of music, he or she does not sit down and instantly play it perfectly. A pianist often needs to practice each hand's work separately to learn the feel, to learn the sound. One hand picks out a part until there is a rhythm and ease in playing what is difficult. Then, the musician practices with the other hand, picking through the notes, one by one, until that hand learns its tasks. When each hand has learned its part - the sound, the feel, the rhythm, and the tones - then both hands can play together.

During the time of practice, the music may not sound like much. It may sound disconnected, not particularly beautiful. But when both hands are ready to play together, music is created - a whole piece comes together in harmony and beauty.

When we begin recovery, it may feel like we spend months, even years, practicing individual, seemingly disconnected behaviors in the separate parts of our life.

We take our new skills into our work, our career, and begin to apply them slowly, making our work relationships healthier for us. We take our skills into our relationships, sometimes one relationship at a time. We struggle through our new behaviors in our love relationships.

One part at a time, we practice our new music note by note.

We work on our relationship with our Higher Power - our spirituality. We work at loving ourselves. We work at believing we deserve the best. We work on our finances. On our recreation. Sometimes on our appearance. Sometimes on our home.

We work on feelings. On beliefs. On behaviors. Letting go of the old, acquiring the new. We work and work and work. We practice. We struggle through. We go from one extreme to the other, and sometimes back through the course again. We make a little progress, go backward, and then go forward again.

It may all seem disconnected. It may not sound like a harmonious, beautiful piece of music - just isolated notes. Then one day, something happens. We become ready to play with both hands, to put the music together.

What we have been working toward, note by note, becomes a song. That song is a whole life, a complete life, and a life in harmony.

The music will come together in our life if we keep practicing the parts.

Today, I will practice my recovery behaviors through the individual parts of my life. I trust that, one day, things will come together in a full, complete song. 

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

Boy howdy does this reading hit home or what? We are works in progress, those of us who have chosen Recovery, despite feeling like 'failures' half of the time because we're not perfect.  Recovery comes along in drips &'s never immediately cohesive or according to OUR schedule! We sometimes take one step forward & two steps back.

Recovery is not always a beautiful or harmonious thing, either. It's filled with raw emotion and plenty of ugliness, as we rehash old hurts and make amends to those who we owe an apology to.  The only way OUT is THROUGH, and that road can often be quite rocky & treacherous!

When we agree to stop running the world and allow God *or our Higher Power* to run the show, THEN we begin to glimpse the beauty of freedom.  We agree to let go of what's haunting us from the past, and what may or may not happen in the future.........and we commit to living in the present.  For addicts, this can feel like an impossible endeavor.  It's not impossible, though, it just takes TIME.  And we are a terribly impatient lot!!!! I read somewhere that the only way to learn patience is to PRACTICE being patient. How true, too. We tend to want what we want right this minute, but a big part of Recovery is learning to wait it out.  The bad feelings, and the cravings, DO pass, eventually, and we empower ourselves when we sit it out instead of impulsively acting upon our every whim.

For today, I accept myself AS IS.  I will not put unreasonable expectations on my Recovery, and I will accept what comes along.  It's all in God's hands anyway.  Man plans & God laughs. Ha!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: June 26th

Surviving Slumps

A slump can go on for days. We feel sluggish, unfocused, and sometimes overwhelmed with feelings we can't sort out. We may not understand what is going on with us. Even our attempts to practice recovery behaviors may not appear to work. We still don't feel emotionally, mentally, and spiritually as good as we would like.

In a slump, we may find ourselves reverting instinctively to old patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, even when we know better. We may find ourselves obsessing, even when we know that what we're doing is obsessing and that it doesn't work.

We may find ourselves looking frantically for other people to make us feel better, the whole time knowing our happiness and well being does not lay with others.

We may begin taking things personally that are not our issues, and reacting in ways we've learned all to well do not work.

We're in a slump. It won't last forever. These periods are normal, even necessary. These are the days to get through. These are the days to focus on recovery behaviors, whether or not the rewards occur immediately. These are sometimes the days to let ourselves be and love ourselves as much as we can.

We don't have to be ashamed, no matter how long we've been recovering. We don't have to unreasonably expect "more" from ourselves. We don't ever have to expect ourselves to live life perfectly.

Get through the slump. It will end. Sometimes, a slump can go on for days and then, in the course of an hour, we see ourselves pull out of it and feel better. Sometimes it can last a little longer.

Practice one recovery behavior in one small area, and begin to climb uphill. Soon, the slump will disappear. We can never judge where we will be tomorrow by where we are today.

Today, I will focus on practicing one recovery behavior on one of my issues, trusting that this practice will move me forward. I will remember that acceptance, gratitude, and detachment are a good place to begin. 

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.
A slump is temporary............but as compulsive overeaters, we worry it will last 'forever' and we will 'never' feel better without excess food or using another drug of choice. That's the lie. The truth is, continued abstinence is what propels us OUT of the temporary slump and back into experiencing the joy of life!

Without abstinence, there IS no joy, because we won't allow it. When we are overeating, everything ELSE in life is 'off.'  To feel good, we must FIRST commit to abstinence, and all joy stems from IT.

I don't have to fall into the old trap of thinking my sad feelings are permanent. All I have to do is put one foot in front of the other and practice recovery behavior in one small area. All I need is faith in my Food Plan, faith in my Higher Power, and faith in the recovery tools of OA. 

I know in my heart that this too shall pass. For today, I will ALLOW it to pass without overeating to comfort myself.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Food for Thought: June 25th

Accepting Change

One day my mother and I were working together in the garden. We were transplanting some plant for the third time. Grown from seed in a small container, the plants had been transferred to a larger container; then transplanted into the garden. Now, because I was moving, we were transplanting them again.

Inexperienced as a gardener, I turned to my green-thumbed mother. "Isn't this bad for them?" I asked, as we dug them up and shook the dirt from their roots. "Won't it hurt these plants, being uprooted and transplanted so many times?"

"Oh, no," my mother replied. "Transplanting doesn't hurt them. In fact, it's good for the ones that survive. That's how their roots grow strong. Their roots will grow deep, and they'll make strong plants."

Often, I've felt like those small plants - uprooted and turned upside down. Sometimes, I've endured the change willingly, sometimes reluctantly, but usually my reaction has been a combination.

Won't this be hard on me? I ask. Wouldn't it be better if things remained the same? That's when I remember my mother's words - that's how the roots grow deep and strong.

Today, God, help me remember that during times of transition, my faith and my self are being strengthened.

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

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

Change can be disturbing, as humans are creatures of habits. But without change, there is no growth.  When we look at all events as being gifts, then we stop labeling them 'good' or 'bad' and instead, we accept these events with graciousness. We become aware of the fact that each event is an opportunity for absorb something new into our lives and to learn.

For today, I welcome change. If I am to be uprooted, I will accept that event as a blessing to learn from. For today, I will be on the lookout for 'coincidences', knowing that God puts people & events into my life for a purpose. It is my job to discover and figure out what that purpose is, and how it can enhance my life.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: June 24th


Detachment doesn't come naturally for many of us. But once we realize the value of this recovery principle, we understand how vital detachment is. The following story illustrates how a woman came to understand detachment.

"The first time I practiced detachment was when I let go of my alcoholic husband. He had been drinking for seven years -since I had married him. For that long, I had been denying his alcoholism and trying to make him stop drinking.

"I did outrageous things to make him stop drinking, to make him see the light, to make him realize how much he was hurting me. I really thought I was doing things right by trying to control him.

"One night, I saw things clearly. I realized that my attempts to control him would never solve the problem. I also saw that my life was unmanageable. I couldn't make him do anything he didn't want to do. His alcoholism was controlling me, even though I wasn't drinking.

"I set him free, to do as he chose. The truth is, he did as he pleased anyway. Things changed the night I detached. He could feel it, and so could I. When I set him free, I set myself free to live my own life.

"I've had to practice the principle of detachment many times since then. I've had to detach from unhealthy people and healthy people. It's never failed. Detachment works."

Detachment is a gift. It will be given to us when we're ready for it. When we set the other person free, we are set free.

Today, wherever possible, I will detach in love. 

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


 Needing people in our lives is healthy, human and natural. Needing a single person to love at a very deep level, is also soothing to the soul's well-being. Love and attachment are not synonymous, however. They are close to being opposites. If we "attach" ourselves to others, our movements as separate individuals are hampered. Attachment means dependency; it means letting our movements be controlled by the one we are "hooked" to.

Dependency on mood-altering chemicals, on food, on people, means unmanageability in our individual lives. Many of us in this recovery program, though abstinent, still struggle with our dependency on a certain person or a certain friend.

The tools we are learning apply in all cases of dependency. It is healthy independence we are striving for-taking responsibility for our own lives-making choices appropriate for our personal selves. Loving others means letting them make their own choices unhampered by our "attachment."

Are my relationships attachments or are they based on love? I will take an inventory of them today.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: June 23rd

Letting Go of Old Beliefs

Try harder. Do better. Be perfect.

These messages are tricks that people have played on us. No matter how hard we try, we think we have to do better. Perfection always eludes us and keeps us unhappy with the good we've done.

Messages of perfectionism are tricks because we can never achieve their goal. We cannot feel good about ourselves or what we have done while these messages are driving us. We will never be good enough until we change the messages and tell ourselves we are good enough now.

We can start approving of and accepting ourselves. Who we are is good enough. Our best yesterday was good enough; our best today is plenty good too.

We can be who we are, and do it the way we do it - today. That is the essence of avoiding perfection.

God, help me let go of the messages that drive me into the crazies. I will give myself permission to be who I am and let that be good enough. 

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


When I insist on 'perfection', then I am setting myself up to fail. Perfection is unattainable, and I know this, so I am actually giving myself permission to eat by expecting perfection! I can't live up to it, so why not eat?

I've learned to love myself, as is, warts and all, and to stop putting unrealistic expectations on myself. Doing the best I can IS good enough, and I am good enough too. In fact, I am better than 'good enough'........I am a child of God and as such, I am beautiful.

For today, I am allowed to be do things the way I do them. For today, I pray to let go of the messages that drive me into the crazies.  I will give myself permission to be ME!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Recovery Meditations: June 21st

A Person of Worth

“It is funny about life:
if you refuse to accept anything but the very best
you will very often get it.”
W. Somerset Maugham

Upon entering recovery, I found it ironic, even strange, that I was so very good at taking care of others and helping them secure the help that they needed, yet often in my life I have not done this for myself. I would grow depressed and very frozen in anger, grief, and fear. Why wasn’t I ever able to care properly for myself? At what point did I begin to expect the worst as my own allotment in life?

It is possible that I dreamed of a “rescue” or an intervention of some kind that would “save me.” It is likely that my Higher Power knew of my tendencies for magical thinking. He caught my attention by the introduction of someone who knew of a program that would point me in a realistic direction. In this program, I would be taught to take small actions -- “One day at a time” -- that would encourage and re-build my shattered self-esteem. I now am in possession of a wonderful program that has given me tools for recovery and change so that I can learn to treat myself as well as I treat others.

One day at a time...
I no longer accept anything but the best, as it will indirectly affect my recovery. This is my new mindset: that I am a person of worth.

~ January K.


 If we think of discipline in terms of punishment, we miss the more constructive meanings of the word. Discipline is order, training, practice, and study. Without it, our lives are ineffective and full of chaos. Before we came to OA, our eating patterns were probably chaotic. We may have been short of order in other areas, too.

Discipline is a tool, which produces self-respect and a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. When we discipline ourselves to stick to a structured Food Plan, we achieve physical and emotional results, which make our spirits, sing! The discipline of the OA program liberates us from the tyranny of self-will and self-indulgence.

As we develop trust in our Higher Power, we begin to see that the hardships and difficulties we face are means to spiritual development. Through them, we acquire self-discipline and strength. Our lives become ordered according to God's plan.

For today, I pray to accept the discipline of an ordered life. I am worth it!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Food for Thought: June 20th

Head Hunger

Those of us who overeat are responding to distorted signals. When we consume food that harms rather than helps our bodies, we are eating in response to some irrational demand in our head rather than because of legitimate physical hunger. The mental obsession with food is an illusion, but one to which we cling with great tenacity.

When we feel "hungry," we need to stop and evaluate the signal. Is it coming from our stomach or from our head? Often, it is after a meal that we most strongly crave something more to eat. This is either because we ate so fast that our stomach has not had time to register satisfaction or because eating has awakened a giant, insatiable appetite for more. It is frequently our mind that wants more, even after our body has had quite enough.

Emotions such as fear, anger, and anxiety can trigger "head hunger." We need perception and insight to know whether the hunger comes from our body or our mind.

May I learn to respond to the legitimate needs of my body.

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

Head hunger is never satisfied because it does not originate from a real need to eat, one that comes from the body.  When the mind is hungry, ain't no amount of food on earth gonna satisfy it! Which is precisely why the binge itself is never satisfying, and why they get larger & larger and LARGER. If we were eating to satisfy our stomach hunger only, then a moderate meal would suffice.  When the mind is compelling us to eat, there is no shut off valve that says ENOUGH.

I always struggle after eating a meal.........that's when my appetite wakes UP and demands I continue eating. If it weren't for my Food Plan, I'd eat myself into oblivion every night and STILL not feel satisfied. I'd wind up obese and miserable, and STILL going back for more.  Compulsion is a nasty thing, driving me to addictive behavior that never makes me feel happy or good about myself.  Only abstinence allows me to feel joy in my life.

For today, my Food Plan prevails, with good reason. For today, I will not feed the head hunger that insists it's dying of malnutrition. The only way to arrest addiction is to STARVE it, not feed it!!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: June 19th

Making Life Easier

Life doesn't have to be hard.

Yes, there are times we need to endure, struggle through, and rely on our survival skills. But we don't have to make life, growth, recovery, change, or our day-to-day affairs that hard all the time.

Having life be that hard is a remnant of our martyrdom, a leftover from old ways of thinking, feeling, and believing. We are worthy, even when life isn't that hard. Our value and worth are not determined by how hard we struggle.

If we're making it that hard, we may be making it harder than it needs to be, said one woman. Learn to let things happen easily and naturally. Learn to let events, and our participation in them, fall into place. It can be easy now. Easier than it has been. We can go with the flow, take the world off our shoulders, and let our Higher Power ease us into where we need to be.

Today, I will stop struggling so hard. I will let go of my belief that life and recovery have to be hard. I will replace it with a belief that I can walk this journey in ease and peace. And sometimes, it can actually be fun.

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


If I insist that recovery is 'too difficult', then I am setting myself up to fail. If I tell myself I 'can't do it', then I will put an obstacle in my path, preventing me from doing it! Our thoughts become our reality.  If life is so darn 'hard', then I feel justified and entitled to practice addictive behaviors.

We tend to create drama for ourselves, especially when there IS none.  We have trouble just 'being'.......we want to be doing, running, escaping, causing chaos and looking for some excitement to drum up.  The more bedlam we cause, the better reasons we have to overeat. Boredom is insufferable for a compulsive overeater..........we simply can't stand the 'down time' and MUST create entertainment for ourselves. In the past, overeating was the entertainment.  Shopping, cooking, having a binge.......running out to the store to stock up on junk food and then figuring out how to hide it so nobody could witness our gluttony. 

When we engage in the dance of addiction, we lose a bit more of our soul every time. We forget, or purposely ignore, who we ARE on the inside, while we pursue our drug of choice.

For today, I realize I have nothing to endure or struggle through.  I don't have to utilize my survival skills just to get through the I did when I was a child.  Life is not that hard and for today, I choose to make it as simple and carefree as possible.

Positive effect

Though life on this day is already good, you can improve it. Though there is immense value in this world at this time, you can make more.

The way to most fully enjoy life's beauty is to add to it. The way to intensely experience life's richness is to make it even richer.

Your strengths and skills grow stronger the more you use them. Your knowledge is transformed into wisdom by putting it to meaningful, beneficial use.

Do something good for life today, and the next day, and the next. Get in the habit of looking for ways to make a difference and of following through on those opportunities.

You are an essential part of all of life. Discover and delight in how very much you matter by using your time and energy to make life better.

Have a positive effect on life. And enjoy the beautiful positive effect it has on you.

Ralph Marston - The Daily Motivator

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Food for Thought: June 18th


There are certain foods, which we will always associate with home and which make us nostalgic to recapture the past. No matter how much we eat, we cannot go back home and again be the babies and little children we were. No food will satisfy our longing for the love, care, and safety most of us associate with home. Even (and especially) if our dependency needs were not met when we were young, eating unnecessary food now will not help.

As we grow in relationship with our Higher Power, we begin to believe that home lies ahead, rather than behind us. We begin to see that our homesickness is for a spiritual state instead of a physical place. Wherever we are, we are pilgrims and travelers, not sure of our final destination but drawn toward something more than what we know in this world. We sense that though we are in the world, we are not of it, that we are homesick for a spiritual fulfillment.

May our homesickness bring us closer to You.

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


I think that I was fed on guilt from the minute I was knee-high to a grasshopper. My mother's favorite saying was, "After all I've done for you..." I'd immediately feel guilty because of all that I perceived my mother had given up for me. As a result, I was given the message that love had to be earned and that as far as my mother was concerned, I had to do something to be worthy of her love. I felt like I had to be the perfect daughter my mother wanted. No matter what I did, it never seemed to be good enough. My guilt grew even more.

Of course I know now that I didn't deserve that guilt and that I chose to take it on ~ but as a child I didn't know that. Thank goodness for the program which is enabling me to see what I deserve -- and what doesn't belong to me. I am realizing that most of the time it's other people's stuff and that I don't have to take that on.

One day at a time...
I will remember to only take on what is rightfully mine and I don't need to feel guilty if I don't deserve to.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Recovery Meditations: June 17th


"It has been my experience that folks who
have no vices have very few virtues."
Abraham Lincoln

In doing a tenth step daily, I am faced with my character defects -- and yes, even vices. While I may not be compulsively eating, I may over-indulge in any number of other things like talking, whining, or frenetic busy-ness. I have been told that in life I must learn to "take my foot off the gas." I have also been told that I am "too intense" or just "too much." I guess this means I am not moderate in all things (by a mile.)

This thought comforts me in all of this: at least I am in the game. If someone asks for my opinion, he or she will get it ~ straight from the heart or the hip, as they say. If someone needs a favor, I am apt to be excessive in performing it. If someone needs a friend, he or she often gets much more than a casual acquaintance in me. In essence, my being "too much in general" has its good side -- at least I am not asleep at the wheel. I am fully engaged in life.

One day at a time...
I will not forget that my zest for overindulging and overdoing-it-in-general has its counterpart in my zest for goodness and service. I am alive and kicking. I will not hate myself for being fully alive.

~ Q

"Moderation" is an unfamiliar word to a compulsive person. We are all-or-nothing sorts, either throwing ourselves in 1000% or sitting on the sidelines, watching.  Frenetically moving about, or laying around on the couch like potatoes. Loving or hating, laughing or crying, giving of ourselves fully or turning our cheek.

Many of us have been given the message that we are 'too much'.......but we can take comfort in knowing that there is a good side to 'too much.'  In a world where more is thought to be better, we are definitely MORE!

For today, I will love and accept myself as is.  I will not strive to become someone I'm not, but work on being who I AM and accepting that woman with love.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Food for Thought: June 16th

Satisfaction Comes from Inside

Why do we continually expect to be satisfied by taking in and possessing things from the outside? Amassing material goods and possessions more often than not stimulates rather than satisfies our appetite. What we do and contribute satisfies us more than what we have and consume.

When we are at peace within ourselves and in contact with our Higher Power, we make fewer demands on the outside world. When we are able to use our abilities in productive work and can give of our emotional and spiritual strength to other people, we feel replete.

Nothing from the outside can bring us happiness if we are at war with ourselves. Chronic dissatisfaction indicates that we have not turned our will and our lives over to God's care, but are still trying to run the show egotistically. Complete surrender opens the way to satisfaction.

I want to surrender to the inner needs of my spirit.

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


Compulsive appetites do not relate to food only. We have an appetite, it seems, for Stuff too........for staying compulsively busy and out of touch with our feelings.........for over-thinking........for shopping...........for acquiring things to make us 'feel better'.  Those 'things' just get lost or's the thrill of the purchase we seek, not using the actual item. Sigh.

When I am at war with myself, NOTHING makes me happy. Not a truckload of food, not a truckload of stuff, nothing. Chronic dissatisfaction and restlessness indicate that I'm unhappy on the INSIDE, where food and stuff doesn't matter.  Only connection with God will relieve the restlessness that drives me to satisfy an appetite that never GETS sastisfied.

For today, I will surrender everything to God, and get my internal house in order.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: June 15th

Competition Between Martyrs

"Yes, I know your spouse is an alcoholic, but my son is an alcoholic, and that's different. That's worse!"

My pain is greater than yours!

What an easy trap that can be for us. We are out to show others how victimized we have been, how much we hurt, how unfair life is, and what tremendous martyrs we are. And we won't be happy until we do!

We don't need to prove our pain and suffering to anyone. We know we have been in pain. We know we have suffered. Most of us have been legitimately victimized. Many of us have had difficult, painful lessons to learn.

The goal in recovery is not to show others how much we hurt or have hurt. The goal is to stop our pain, and to share that solution with others.

If someone begins trying to prove to us how much he or she hurts, we can say simply, "It sounds like you've been hurt." Maybe all that person is looking for is validation of his or her pain.

If we find ourselves trying to prove to someone how much we've been hurt or if we try to top someone else's pain, we may want to stop and figure out what's going on. Do we need to recognize how much we've hurt or are hurting?

There is no particular award or reward for suffering, as many of us tricked ourselves into believing in the height of our codependency. The reward is learning to stop the pain and move into joy, peace, and fulfillment.

That is the gift of recovery, and it is equally available to each of us, even if our pain was greater, or less, than someone else's.

God, help me be grateful for all my lessons, even the ones that caused me the most pain and suffering. Help me learn what I need to learn, so I can stop the pain in my life. Help me focus on the goal of recovery, rather than the pain that motivated me into it. 

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


 Make life fun

Instead of looking for reasons to complain, look for ways to laugh. If you run out of things to do, try smiling.

Have fun, laugh out loud, figure out what you enjoy the most and get yourself involved in doing it. Challenge yourself to put more fun into whatever you're doing.

Do you want to be encouraged, motivated, inspired, enthusiastic and full of energy? Then spend your time doing what you enjoy and enjoying what you do.

It's not really that difficult to transform a dismal, frustrating, disappointing day into a delightful one. Just stop focusing so much on the bad stuff and make the choice to make life fun.

No, it's not irresponsible or disrespectful to have fun. What's truly irresponsible is to go through life with your joy buried so deep that nobody ever benefits from it.

So go ahead, let the joy flow out from you as you give your energy and awareness to what really matters. Make life great by making life fun.

Ralph Marston - The Daily Motivator

Friday, June 14, 2013

Recovery Meditations: June 14th


"Shooting stars come out of the darkness."
Unknown Author

Today I am wading through guilt and shame as I try to step into the Light. My ankles are mired in unfulfilled visions and lost dreams. Childhood voices scream at me of my Potential. What are you doing? You're smart, talented, and beautiful. What are you doing with your life? You have the capacity for a great job, why do you loll in mediocrity? You're close to thinness, why can't you eat less? You could be beautiful, why don't you take more time with your hair, makeup, have manicures or plastic surgery? Why do you hover around "good enough"?

I remember when I had all these things, I wanted different things. The voices remind me I am not perfect, only a perfectionist. My goals remind me of what I lack. My tears remind me I am not what I preach. My Higher Power reminds me I am still on the easel, and grateful for my journey. My darkness reminds me I live in the Light.

One day at a time...
I seek the light of recovery that is seeking me.

~ Dodee

"I remember when I had all these things, I wanted different things." How true is THAT statement? When we live in the past, the present moment is lost on us. We give up the pleasure and joy of TODAY while we bask in the memories of yesterday, or the hope for tomorrow.

Compulsive overeaters are never satisfied. It could have been more; it could have been better; I should be thinner, I used to be prettier. I remember when................

If I refuse to stay in the present moment, I do not allow myself to be happy with who I am right now.  I insist on living in illusion instead, and therefore, I will NEVER be happy! Living in fantasy isn't real...........I'm waiting for a knight in shining armor to whisk me away, so how can I appreciate what I have today?

Life wasn't perfect at 225 lbs and life isn't perfect at 125 lbs.  At 140  lbs, life SEEMED perfect at 125 lbs, so I strive to get back there, dwelling on how it felt.  What I'm doing is living in the past, refusing to experience joy today because I am not at the 'proper' weight.  I am sending myself the old message of "You are not good enough."  But was I 'good enough' at 125 lbs?

When I learn to love myself no matter WHAT the scale says, then I agree to being 'good enough' ALL the time, no matter what.

For today, the voices in my head are liars. I am good enough. For today, I choose to live in the Light of the present moment, and keep my eyes open to all the beauty of life that surrounds me.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Food for Thought: June 13th


In OA meetings, we sometimes hear reports of "research" done by a member who breaks abstinence in order to find out whether he or she is still a compulsive overeater. The experiment invariably proves that once a compulsive overeater, always a compulsive overeater. Among the results are remorse, regained weight, and weakened control.

It has been said that we are like someone who has lost a leg. We do not grow a new one. We can, nevertheless, learn to live with our disability if we are willing to abstain and follow the OA program. Most of us find that we cannot go back to eating binge foods moderately, but we can avoid them. We are like the alcoholic who can lead a normal, satisfying life as long as he or she stays away from alcohol.

Further research is not necessary. By accepting our need for a disciplined eating plan, we can benefit from the experience of those who have been in the program longer than we.

May I remember that further research is unnecessary. 

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


I've done so much research over the years, that I've named it Yo Yo Dieting. Every time I conduct an experiment to see if I'm STILL a compulsive overeater, I let the tiger out of his cage & have one helluva time getting him back INSIDE!

The results are always the same: Yes, I'm still a compulsive overeater.  Yes, I will always BE a compulsive overeater, period. I don't test whether or not I'm still an alcoholic by taking a drink, because I know the answer to that question. Yes, I'm STILL an alcoholic.  Why, then, do I sometimes feel the need to test the waters with junk food?

In the end, it's a whole lot easier and less insane to avoid junk food than it is to try to strike up a relationship with it.  "Moderation" is not a word that exists in this girls' vocabulary, when it pertains to my drugs of choice, so who am I kidding by testing the waters?

For today, I do not feel the need to conduct 'further research.'  For today, I accept the fact that I am an addict and I will DO what I need to DO to stay in recovery.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Language of Letting Go

Spontaneity and Fun

Practice being spontaneous. Practice having fun.

The joy of recovery is that we finally get to experiment. We get to learn new behaviors, and we don't have to do them perfectly. We only need to find a way that works for us. We even have fun experimenting, learning what we like, and how to do what we like.

Many of us have gotten into a rut with rigidity, martyrdom, and deprivation. One of the "normal" experiences many of us have been deprived of is having fun. Another one is being spontaneous. We may not have the foggiest notion what we would like to do for fun. And we may hold ourselves in check so tightly that we wouldn't allow ourselves to try something fun anyway.

We can let ourselves go a little now and then. We can loosen up a bit. We don't have to be so stiff and rigid, so frightened about being who we are. Take some risks. Try some new activities. What would we like to do? What might we enjoy doing? Then, take another risk. Pick out a movie we'd like to see; call a friend, and invite him or her to go along. If that person says no, try someone else, or try again another time.

Decide to try something, and then go through with it. Go once. Go twice. Practice having fun until fun becomes fun.

Today, I will do something just for fun. I will practice having fun until I actually enjoy it

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

As compulsive overeaters, we tend to take ourselves very seriously. We're serious about food; eating it, preparing it, thinking about it, shopping for it, watching TV shows about general, devoting our entire LIFE to it.  That leaves little room for fun. When the only 'fun' we experience is with regard to food, we are living a very narrow lifestyle.   When we aren't eating, we are busy judging others, placing expectations on everyONE and everyTHING, and worrying. COE is an all consuming disease, and one that strips us of the ability or the willingness to have fun or to be spontaneous.  Before we decide to DO something entertaining, we must first determine whether our drug(s) of choice will be plentiful enough to warrant the event.

It's time to let go a little. It's time to start living a full life, without the burden of addiction weighing down our every decision. That's what recovery means: agreeing to LIVE.

For today, I will try something new and actually go through with doing it! I will step OUT of my comfort zone and INTO the throes of Recovery, instead of wallowing in self-pity and addiction.

For today, I do not 'need' excess food to have fun. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Recovery Meditations: June 11th


"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit
must break, that its heart may stand in the sun,
so must you know pain."
Kahlil Gibran

There was much to be unhappy about in my childhood. There was also a lot of unhappiness in my adult life. Until I found The Recovery Group online, that unhappiness was the driving force in my life. That force robbed me of the ability to see and enjoy the many wonderful things that I had experienced. I wore a cloak of sadness, bitterness and resentment ~ I had been short-changed. It was the old glass-half-empty, glass-half-full story....poor me.

Being able to share the pain and unhappiness I have known has freed me from the power it had over me. Clearing away the wreckage is enabling me to see my part in some of the unhappiness I've known. It has enabled me to see more clearly that there is so much for which I can be grateful. It has enabled me to see that I truly AM the person of value which I had represented myself to be towards others. I am integrating that person into the "unacceptable" being I carried within. I have seen others here endure challenge, pain and hardships with so much grace. I have learned that pain is, indeed, inevitable. I have the choice whether to dwell on the pain morbidly, or to instead focus on the joy of this day.

One day at a time...
I will live in the joy of this day and I will strive to share this wonderful gift of self-acceptance to others in program.


When Your Mother Says She’s Fat

This is an excerpt from Dear Mum, a collection of letters from Australian sporting stars, musicians, models, cooks and authors revealing what they would like to say to their mothers before it's too late, or would have said if only they'd had the chance.

Dear Mum,

I was seven when I discovered that you were fat, ugly and horrible. Up until that point I had believed that you were beautiful - in every sense of the word. I remember flicking through old photo albums and staring at pictures of you standing on the deck of a boat. Your white strapless bathing suit looked so glamorous, just like a movie star. Whenever I had the chance I'd pull out that wondrous white bathing suit hidden in your bottom drawer and imagine a time when I'd be big enough to wear it; when I'd be like you.

But all of that changed when, one night, we were dressed up for a party and you said to me, ''Look at you, so thin, beautiful and lovely. And look at me, fat, ugly and horrible.''

At first I didn't understand what you meant.

''You're not fat,'' I said earnestly and innocently, and you replied, ''Yes I am, darling. I've always been fat; even as a child.''

In the days that followed I had some painful revelations that have shaped my whole life. I learned that:

1. You must be fat because mothers don't lie.
2. Fat is ugly and horrible.
3. When I grow up I'll look like you and therefore I will be fat, ugly and horrible too.

Years later, I looked back on this conversation and the hundreds that followed and cursed you for feeling so unattractive, insecure and unworthy. Because, as my first and most influential role model, you taught me to believe the same thing about myself.

With every grimace at your reflection in the mirror, every new wonder diet that was going to change your life, and every guilty spoon of ''Oh-I-really-shouldn't'', I learned that women must be thin to be valid and worthy. Girls must go without because their greatest contribution to the world is their physical beauty.

Just like you, I have spent my whole life feeling fat. When did fat become a feeling anyway? And because I believed I was fat, I knew I was no good.

But now that I am older, and a mother myself, I know that blaming you for my body hatred is unhelpful and unfair. I now understand that you too are a product of a long and rich lineage of women who were taught to loathe themselves.

Look at the example Nanna set for you. Despite being what could only be described as famine-victim chic, she dieted every day of her life until the day she died at 79 years of age. She used to put on make-up to walk to the letterbox for fear that somebody might see her unpainted face.

I remember her ''compassionate'' response when you announced that Dad had left you for another woman. Her first comment was, ''I don't understand why he'd leave you. You look after yourself, you wear lipstick. You're overweight - but not that much.''

Before Dad left, he provided no balm for your body-image torment either.

''Jesus, Jan,'' I overheard him say to you. ''It's not that hard. Energy in versus energy out. If you want to lose weight you just have to eat less.''

That night at dinner I watched you implement Dad's ''Energy In, Energy Out: Jesus, Jan, Just Eat Less'' weight-loss cure. You served up chow mein for dinner. (Remember how in 1980s Australian suburbia, a combination of mince, cabbage, and soy sauce was considered the height of exotic gourmet?) Everyone else's food was on a dinner plate except yours. You served your chow mein on a tiny bread-and-butter plate.

As you sat in front of that pathetic scoop of mince, silent tears streamed down your face. I said nothing. Not even when your shoulders started heaving from your distress. We all ate our dinner in silence. Nobody comforted you. Nobody told you to stop being ridiculous and get a proper plate. Nobody told you that you were already loved and already good enough. Your achievements and your worth - as a teacher of children with special needs and a devoted mother of three of your own - paled into insignificance when compared with the centimetres you couldn't lose from your waist.

It broke my heart to witness your despair and I'm sorry that I didn't rush to your defence. I'd already learned that it was your fault that you were fat. I'd even heard Dad describe losing weight as a ''simple'' process - yet one that you still couldn't come to grips with. The lesson: you didn't deserve any food and you certainly didn't deserve any sympathy.

But I was wrong, Mum. Now I understand what it's like to grow up in a society that tells women that their beauty matters most, and at the same time defines a standard of beauty that is perpetually out of our reach. I also know the pain of internalising these messages. We have become our own jailors and we inflict our own punishments for failing to measure up. No one is crueller to us than we are to ourselves.

But this madness has to stop, Mum. It stops with you, it stops with me and it stops now. We deserve better - better than to have our days brought to ruin by bad body thoughts, wishing we were otherwise.

And it's not just about you and me any more. It's also about Violet. Your granddaughter is only 3 and I do not want body hatred to take root inside her and strangle her happiness, her confidence and her potential. I don't want Violet to believe that her beauty is her most important asset; that it will define her worth in the world. When Violet looks to us to learn how to be a woman, we need to be the best role models we can. We need to show her with our words and our actions that women are good enough just the way they are. And for her to believe us, we need to believe it ourselves.

The older we get, the more loved ones we lose to accidents and illness. Their passing is always tragic and far too soon. I sometimes think about what these friends - and the people who love them - wouldn't give for more time in a body that was healthy. A body that would allow them to live just a little longer. The size of that body's thighs or the lines on its face wouldn't matter. It would be alive and therefore it would be perfect.

Your body is perfect too. It allows you to disarm a room with your smile and infect everyone with your laugh. It gives you arms to wrap around Violet and squeeze her until she giggles. Every moment we spend worrying about our physical ''flaws'' is a moment wasted, a precious slice of life that we will never get back.

Let us honour and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives, let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs. When I looked at that photo of you in the white bathing suit all those years ago, my innocent young eyes saw the truth. I saw unconditional love, beauty and wisdom. I saw my Mum.

Love, Kasey xx

Monday, June 10, 2013

Food for Thought: June 10th


This is a particularly dangerous habit for compulsive overeaters, since when we put off unpleasant or difficult tasks, we may revert back to our old escape route - eating. The result is that the unpleasant situation is still with us, and we are less able to deal with it. The longer we procrastinate, the larger the difficulty looms. Even small responsibilities left undone weaken our self-respect.

Often we procrastinate because of fear that we are inadequate for the job to be done. Sometimes we are simply rebelling against doing something we do not want to do. If we are taking a daily inventory, we will examine our motives and use the subsequent self-knowledge for constructive action.

Whatever it is that we are putting off, it will rarely become easier to do later. This is especially true if we are procrastinating about our abstinence! The time is now.

Since today is all I have, may I use it wisely.

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

It all boils down to what I'm willing to do to maintain self-respect. Am I willing to stick to my Food Plan? Am I willing to stop procrastinating, and to tackle my responsibilities head on rather than avoiding them? Do I want to feel good about myself when I wake up in the morning, or soaked in self disgust for yet ANOTHER day that I put off doing what's necessary for recovery?

For today, I will put nothing off. I will not try to find an easier, softer way.  I will put my abstinence on the top of my priority list and perform the tasks ahead of me with dignity, grace and ACCEPTANCE.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Food for Thought: June 9th

Greedy Thinking, Greedy Eating

Contentment comes from being satisfied with what we have. Since "bread" is a symbol for material things, it is easy to use food as a substitute for the money and possessions we may avidly desire. Overeating can be a form of compensation for the enticing worldly wealth, which seems so attractive, yet is out of our grasp.

When we desire abstinence more than we desire material things, we are able to maintain it. When we allow material cares and concerns to obscure our spiritual goals, then our abstinence is in danger! Each of us is confronted with the choice of striving to satisfy physical cravings or working toward spiritual ideals. We cannot serve two masters.

We may have thought that we could get rid of our greed for food and continue to indulge our greed for other material things. Our Higher Power does not work that way. He demands nothing less than complete allegiance.

May I serve You without reservations. 

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

Ever notice how you tend to become a 'shopaholic' after you take on a weight loss program? We try to substitute the comfort of over-eating with another type of comfort, usually shopping. We may lose 50 lbs and acquire 5,000 new 'treasures' during the process.

Substituting one addiction for another is not 'Recovery'.  Recovery means we turn inward to find the source of the pain that leads us to addictive behavior. We turn towards God, seeking spiritual fulfillment for the empty void that lies within.  With a spiritual void in the soul, there is NO amount of 'stuff' on earth that's going to fill it!  Which is why "One is too many & one million is not enough."

When we seek to fill our souls with stuff, we come up short. When we agree to fill our souls with God, we are fulfilled beyond our wildest dreams.  "Stuff" suddenly takes a backseat to LIFE, and to JOY, and to feeling WHOLE again!

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Until we take that Step, we are looking for a needle in a haystack..........seeking comfort through food/drugs/alcohol/shopping/gambling.  We will invent reasons to feel miserable so we can Use.  We will be like hamsters on a wheel, running & running but never quite 'arriving' anywhere.

For today, may I get OFF of the wheel that leads nowhere, and ONTO the path of spiritual fulfillment.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Food for Thought: June 8th

Trick or Treat

Our devious minds have a way of enticing us with visions of sugar plum "goodies" which can trick us into forgetting that we are compulsive overeaters. What may once have been a treat is now, for us, poison. The so-called treat can trick us into taking the first compulsive bite, which we know is always our downfall.

We need to change our thinking so that we no longer consider refined sugars and starches and former binge foods to be treats. Eating them has caused us great unhappiness in the past, and we will not be deluded into thinking that another time will be different.

Through the OA program, we are gaining the self-knowledge which arms us against the assaults of temptation. Our enemy is clever. We need the protection of our Higher Power and the strength that comes from working the Twelve Steps.

Protect me, Lord.

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

 Thought for the Day

Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. We always get worse, never better. We are never cured. Our alcoholism can only be arrested. No matter how long we have been sober, if we try liquor again, we're as bad or worse than we ever were. There is no exception to this rule in the whole history of A.A. We can never recapture the good times of the past. They are gone forever. Will I try to recapture them?

I thought I would post the AA Thought for The Day today, since it is SO applicable to food addiction. No matter how long we have been sober, if we try sugar again, we are as bad or WORSE than we ever were. Once a food addict, always a food addict, no matter how much weight we've lost. We are never cured. Our food addiction can only be arrested, one day at a time, by sticking to a Food Plan of abstinence which contains NO trigger foods. We can never recapture the good times of the past. They are gone forever. Will I try to recapture them?

For today, I pray to treat my food addiction as seriously as I treat my alcohol addiction.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: June 7th

Into Orbit

It doesn't matter if they're hurting themselves. It doesn't matter that we could help them if they'd only listen to, and cooperate with, us. IT DOESN'T MATTER, DOESN'T MATTER, DOESN'T MATTER, DOESN'T MATTER.
  —Codependent No More

I think I can change him. Nobody's ever really loved him and appreciated him before. I'll be the one to do that, and then he'll change. . . . She's never been with anybody trustworthy before. I'll prove how trustworthy I am, and then she'll be able to love. . . . Nobody's been able to get to her, to conquer her, before. I'll be the one to do that. . . . Nobody's ever really given him a chance. . . . Nobody's ever really believed in him before. . . .

These are warning signs. Red lights. Red flags. In fact, if we're thinking these thoughts, they need to be stop signs.

If we have gotten hooked into believing that somehow we will be the one who will make the difference in someone's life, if we are trying to prove how good we can be for someone, we may be in trouble.

This is a game. A deception. It won't work. It'll make us crazy. We can trust that. We're not seeing things clearly. Something's going on with us. t will be self-defeating.

We may be "the one" all right - the one to wind up victimized.

The whole thought pattern reeks of codependency, of not being responsible for oneself, and of victimization. Each person needs to do his or her own work.

Nobody in the past has really understood him. . . . Nobody has seen what I see in her. . . . It's a set up. It sets us up to stop paying attention to ourselves while we focus too much on the other person. It takes us away from our path and often puts us in orbit.

Nobody has appreciated him enough. . . . Nobody has been good enough to her, or done for her what I can do. . . . It's a rescue. It's a game move, a game we don't have to play. We don't have to prove we're the one. If we're out to show people we're the best thing that ever happened to them, it may be time to see if they're the best thing that ever happened to us.

We have not been appointed as guardian angel, godmother, godfather, or "the one who will."

The help, support, and encouragement that truly benefits others and ourselves emerges naturally. Let it.

God, help me let go of my need to meet dysfunctional challenges in my relationships. 

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

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: June 6th

The Gift of Readiness

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  —Step Six of Al-Anon

We progress to the Sixth Step by working diligently, to the best of our ability, on the first Five Steps. This work readies us for a change of heart, openness to becoming changed by a Power greater than ourselves - God.

The path to this willingness can be long and hard. Many of us have to struggle with a behavior or feeling before we become ready to let it go. We need to see, over and over again, that the coping device that once protected us is no longer useful.

The defects of character referred to in Step Six are old survival behaviors that once helped us cope with people, life, and ourselves. But now they are getting in our way, and it is time to be willing to have them removed.

Trust in this time. Trust that you are being readied to let go of that which is no longer useful. Trust that a change of heart is being worked out in you.

God, help me become ready to let go of my defects of character. Help me know, in my mind and soul, that I am ready to let go of my self defeating behaviors, the blocks and barriers to my life. 

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

At first glance, Step 6 sounds like a no-brainer; "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." Who wouldn't want their character defects removed?

However...........we've found comfort and escape in compulsive eating, and, to some degree, joy.  We shut DOWN when we eat, and that is blessed nothingness which is hard to achieve elsewhere. We developed compulsive overeating habits for a a coping device to protect ourselves.  The behavior has served a useful purpose over the years, but is now causing more distress than it is curing. Old habits, however, die hard.  In fact, they don't want to die off at ALL most of the time.  And worse yet, our instincts keep telling us to eat eat eat when we are feeling distress. first glance, Step 6 sounds like a no-brainer. But it isn't.  Step 6 is probably THE most difficult step of all, in fact.  I am not always willing to be rid of this character defect.............truth be told, and that's what leads me to relapse.  Sometimes I feel like I derive MORE comfort from overeating than joy from NOT overeating!

God, help me become ready to let go of the behaviors that no longer serve me.  Help me see that character defects are in my way, and no longer serve me.  Help me see that I no longer need protection, because I have You to guide and protect me.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Food for Thought: June 5th

Good Spirits

Many of us find that we need to avoid alcohol as well as refined sugars and starches if we are to maintain abstinence. The resemblance between compulsive overeating and alcoholism is striking. Frequently, alcoholics are compulsive overeaters and vice versa.

Both alcohol and sugar induce an artificial high which, in order to be maintained, requires increasing quantities of the addictive substance. Both food and drink may be used as escapes from the unpleasant realities of living, and the abuse of both involves similar character defects.

The spirits found in alcohol and sugar let us down. They are no substitute for faith in a Higher Power and the peace and joy, which that faith brings. Alcohol distorts our perception of reality and eventually acts as a depressant. God's Spirit in our hearts clarifies our understanding and gives us enthusiasm and deep joy.

I need Your Spirit, Lord.

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


I can vouch for this fact, that there is a striking resemblance between compulsive overeating & alcoholism......because I am both, an alcoholic and a compulsive overeater. Sugar is my drug of choice, and when I was drinking it, I wasn't eating it. When I stopped drinking sugar, I craved it in junk food form.  Still do, as a matter of fact............and the only thing that prevents craving sugar is avoiding it.  The only way to put an addiction into remission is to starve it...........once we feed it, it's out of control and ruling our life.

Compulsive behaviors are shame-based.

Shame can hold us back, hold us down, and keep us staring at our feet.

Watch out for shame.

Many systems and people reek of shame. They are controlled by shame and may want us to play their game with them. They may be hoping to hook us and control us through shame.

We don't have to fall into their shame. Instead, we'll take the good feelings - self-acceptance, love, and nurturing.

Compulsive behaviors, sexually addictive behaviors, overeating, chemical abuse, and addictive gambling are shame-based behaviors. If we participate in them, we will feel ashamed. It's inevitable. We need to watch out for addictive and other compulsive behaviors because those will immerse us in shame.

Our past, and the brainwashing we may have had that imposed "original shame" upon us, may try to put shame on us. This can happen when we're all alone, walking through the grocery store or just quietly going about living our life. Don't think . . . Don't feel . . . Don't grow or change . . .Don't be alive . . . Don't live life . . . Be ashamed!

Be done with shame. Attack shame. Go to war with it. Learn to recognize it and avoid it like the plague.

Today, I will deliberately refuse to get caught up in the shame floating around in the world. If I cannot resist it, I will feel it, accept it, and then be done with it as quickly as possible. God, help me know that it's okay to love myself and help me to refuse to submit to shame. If I get off course, help me learn to change shame into guilt, correct the behavior, and move forward with my life in immediate self-love. 

For today, I will avoid sugar in ALL its forms.  For today, I refuse to feel shame about my behaviors or about myself.  For today, I will love myself because I am practicing healthy habits.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Food for Thought: June 4th

Avoiding Extremes

The Greek ideal of the golden mean is a concept, which we would do well to ponder. Most of us are extremists, as evidenced by our compulsiveness. We are all or nothing people, and our histories are full of times when we "couldn't believe we ate the whole thing."

Before coming to OA, many of us alternated between starving and bingeing. Either we attempted a diet so limited and stringent that it was impossible to follow for very long, or we indulged our appetites by eating everything that did not move.

OA endorses the practice of moderation. Learning it is difficult for most of us and something, which we have been unable to do by ourselves. The members who maintain their abstinence and have a strong program serve as guides and sponsors for those of us who are beginners. Old and new, all of us rely every day on our Higher Power to lead us in the way of moderation.

May I avoid extremes and learn moderation.

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


The "All-Or-Nothing" Mentality Is The Killer  (My blog)

 The ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality kills us every single time we try to lose weight or to embrace a lifestyle change, doesn’t it?  We tell ourselves we either have to be perfect or we won’t do anything at all. We’re either fat or desperately trying to lose weight overnight. We want it yesterday & we won’t take no for an answer. Are you nodding your heads here? 

We’re going to throw ourselves into a back-breaking exercise routine that we can’t possibly keep up with on a daily basis or else we’re hopeless couch potatoes unwilling to move a muscle. We’re either starving ourselves mercilessly or eating like animals. We’re either 100% obsessed with counting every piece of gum that goes into our mouths or we’re eating an entire cake straight from the box. This is the ‘all-or-nothing’ mentality I’m referring to. I’d venture to guess we’re all guilty of this behavior or we have been at some point in our endless battle with food & weight control.  I myself have had this mentality my whole life & it’s just recently I’ve come to the conclusion that it must end. Now

If I get a flat tire, I have it fixed...........I don't slash the other 3.

The all or nothing mentality killed me in maintenance countless times over the years. If I ‘blew’ the diet, I’d continue to blow it & ditch my whole program. Cuz hey, I blew so I’m finished. How ridiculous is that way of thinking?? If I have a bad day now, I get right back on plan & minimize the damage…I don’t continue that crazy eating behavior & throw in the towel! That’s why I’m successful this time in maintenance but never before! That’s it in a nutshell.

We have people here who insist on perfection at all times…..insist that it’s vital to stay 100% on plan 100% of the time in order to be a true ‘success’. We have others who insist it’s perfectly fine to go off plan from time to time & still be a ‘success’. Whatever your strategy is isn’t the issue here. There are people who stay 100% on plan all the time  & wind up gaining every pound back they lost & more. There are people who go off plan once in awhile & still get to goal & keep the weight off. I truly don’t think staying on plan or going off plan during weight loss is an accurate indicator of how you will handle yourself in maintenance, I really don’t. What I do think is vital for long term success is finding a way to ditch that all or nothing mentality & come to terms with the fact that weight management is an ongoing process. You will spend the rest of your life being aware of what you eat & avoiding your trigger foods if you want to keep the weight off, let’s face it. Does an off plan eating event mean you’re finished with the process? Of course not!!! 

I’ve been pretty darn vigilant in maintenance  but yeah, I have had my moments of eating too much…believe me. What do I do when that happens? I get right back on plan & into my usual routine immediately & act like nothing happened. That’s not to say I’m unaware of what I did….I just don’t let it get me down or totally off track…that’s the difference. 

I jog in place for 15 minutes every day. I walk 4 flights of stairs 4 times per day 5 days per week, and I do some floor exercises & 10 minutes on the Crazy Fit. I’m better off exercising a little every day than I am forcing a grueling workout on myself. I don’t respond well to backbreaking exercise. I’m liable to feel sorry for myself if I do that & I may feel ‘entitled’ to eat more as a result. So I don’t do it. I have figured out what works for me & I do it.

I’m not sure there is any ‘right or wrong’ when it comes to making a lifestyle change except for one: that all or nothing mentality is wrong. It will kill you every single time & prevent you from getting to goal or keeping the weight off. Ditch it. Don’t dwell on making yourself into a perfect creature, it ain’t gonna happen. 99% or more of us will fall off plan at some point. We will relapse. Period. That’s not a figment of my imagination, that is reality. How will we handle that relapse is what I’m asking you to ask yourself. What is your plan of action to rebound after you eat too much? What is your plan to get back on track after you fall off? One bite does not have to lead to another unless we allow it to. And if we do allow it to, then we pick ourselves up & get back to the routine we’ve developed that will allow us to get where we’re going & to stay there. 

I’ll end by saying yes, it’s a good idea to stay on plan all the time so you can allow those new eating habits to sink in. Remember one thing though: those old eating habits won’t get erased from your memory….you can call on them any time & they’ll be happy to come out & play. Those bad habits will, however, stay in remission while you stay on plan. Make it your goal to accomplish 2 things here: to stay abstinent every day and to ditch the all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to food.

For today, I am not going to starve or binge.  For today, I am not going to kill myself exercising or act like a couch potato.

For today, I am going to live in moderation.