Thursday, October 31, 2013

Recovery Meditations: October 31st


“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.”"
Shirley Chisholm

Midway through my first fourth step someone asked me to sponsor her. I was thrilled and eager to share my experience, strength and hope. As my work with my sponsee progressed, something began to happen in my own program. All that I had learned and was sharing with my sponsee reminded me of where I came from and how far I had progressed. I found that my recovery was strengthened through this process of giving away my experiences in program. This service allowed me to keep what I had received.

It is vital for me that I serve the program of OA in all different manners: as a sponsor; as a leader of a step meeting; as treasurer of a local meeting; and by reaching out to newcomers, people in relapse, and others in the OA fellowship. The more I give, the more I receive.

One day at a time...
I will give service to the OA fellowship so that I may remain in recovery.

~ Cindi L.

It's true........we can't keep what we have unless we give it away. Once I became involved with like-minded people who share my disease of compulsive overeating, I was finally on the road to recovery, after many failed attempts in the past.  Only by giving BACK can I keep my own recovery intact.

Giving service replenishes the soul.  Giving service keeps me out of my own head, and thereby, out of the food/addictive behavior.  Compulsive eating is a disease of isolation, where we live inside of our heads and become obsessed with ego. There is a whole wide world that exists OUTSIDE of ourselves, and it's vital to join the human race instead of to isolate and stay self-absorbed.

Coaching others has been a gift to me, unlike any other.  Sharing my experience, strength & hope with others who suffer is priceless. It enables me to keep MY program intact while encouraging others to find their OWN strength and hope.

For today, I will give service so that I may remain in recovery.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Food for Thought: October 30th

Accent on the Present

When we were obsessed with food, we were often obsessed with the past as well. We would rehash old hurts and resentments, old fears and desires. Our dreams, along with our waking hours, may have been filled with people from our past. Such preoccupation with the past prevented us from focusing on the present.

By realizing that compulsive overeating is a nonstop trip back to the hurts of the past, we become more determined to maintain abstinence. If we are to be alive in the present, we need to let go of the past. What is over is over and cannot be replayed except in our minds.

What we can do is turn our memories over to our Higher Power for healing. The creative Spirit, which is not bound by time, can take away old hurts and resentments. Then we are free to deal with the present and concentrate on doing God's will for us now, today. Living in the present keeps us in touch with the Power, which restores us to sanity.

May I remember that You are always now. 

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recovery Meditations: October 29th

Trial and Error

“Anything worth doing at all is worth doing poorly.”
Joachim de Posada

Imagine my shock the first time I heard this statement, which happened to be in a Twelve Step (OA) meeting. I had been reared in an environment in which anything worth doing at all was worth doing well. In fact, in my world this concept was practiced as if it had religious authority. It was perfectionism given flesh and bones.

Perhaps the idea that “anything worth doing at all is worth doing well” worked for some folks. For me, it was paralyzing. There were many things that I needed to do that I simply could not do well. These included things like trimming the hedge, praying, and making good investment choices. So how did my sick, obsessive-compulsive self respond? Predictably, of course: I just didn't do those things I felt I couldn’t do well. I was rarely willing to take the chance of acting and being wrong, so I did not act at all. Soon I was living a very restricted life -- a life hemmed in by the fear of messing up. I needed to be perfect or just not be at all.

Then I found the program. There I learned that I am human and that making mistakes is part of being human. I even learned that making mistakes is a good thing, because in doing so I have acted. This is a program of action. I learn by acting and by making mistakes. How liberating! How freeing. I can't tell you how much my constricted, warped life began to open up. I acted and did things poorly, and people responded warmly and in a helpful manner. I took their advice and I joined the human race. I now consider this simple concept -- act, even if it means doing a thing poorly -- as one of the greatest gifts of the program. My life is really my life now. Perfectionism occasionally rears its ugly head, but when it does, I simply remember where I came from and then I go ahead and make a mistake and set myself free again.

One day at a time...
Today I will do what I need to do, and I will do it as well as I can. When I make a mistake I will not conclude that I am a mistake. I will accept that I am human and I will ask for help. Perfection has never been a goal of this program and it is not a goal for my life.

~ Pete M.

I had to make an awful lot of mistakes before I became willing to surrender and accept the terms of abstinence. My mistakes, however, brought me to my knees, to rock bottom, which is exactly where I need to BE in order to finally give UP.  Once I gave UP, that is when I stopped giving IN.

I am not perfect with my abstinence, by any means. But I don't use that as an excuse to stop working my program, either. There is a fine line between agreeing to be 'imperfect' and not working my program at all. The only thing I have to do every day is agree to stay committed to my Food Plan. When I put abstinence on the TOP of my priority list is when I thrive.  Everything good in life flows FROM the abstinence, when IT is #1.

While I am not perfect by any means, I AM committed to working my Food Plan and avoiding sugar & white flour entirely. Whatever other imperfections exist within me, they are long as I am adherent to the one major non-negotiable rule in my life: abstinence.

For today, I will do what I need to do, and I will do it as well as I can. When I make a mistake, I will not conclude that I am a mistake. I am a child of God and as such, I am a perfect soul.  While my goal in life is not to do everything perfectly, it IS my goal to put abstinence FIRST.  Recovery is just THAT important.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Food for Thought: October 28th

Food Is Not Home

Breaking abstinence may be an attempt to go home emotionally. Since we associate food, and especially certain foods, with early experience, we may turn to food when we crave the emotional support of home.

Perhaps our early home life did not provide the emotional support and security we needed, causing us to attach a false significance to the food, which we were given. The habit of turning to food and eating as a substitute for love, acceptance, and security may be deeply ingrained in our psyche. We may have come to depend on food instead of people to satisfy our emotional needs.

The problem is, of course, that food is not a satisfactory substitute for love and acceptance. However much we eat, the emotional satisfaction will be only temporary and soon disintegrate into despair and self-hatred. The home we crave can best be built here and now by working the OA program and loving the people our Higher Power gives us to love today.

May I realize that food is not home.

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

New level of courage

It is comfortable to stay where you are. But soon, that comfort will turn into boredom, frustration and regret.

It is uncomfortable to take on a challenge and to venture along a new path. Yet that is precisely what makes you stronger, more interesting, more capable and more fully alive.

Go ahead and do what makes you feel slightly apprehensive. That is also what makes you grow.

Feel the fear and apprehension. Learn from it all and let it prepare you.

Then, step boldly forward. Experience the new level of courage you have just attained.

Make good, purposeful use of that courage so that it grows ever stronger. And let it lead you forward into the true greatness that is your destiny.

Ralph Marston - The Daily Motivator

Each Day a New Beginning
The most elusive knowledge of all is self-knowledge.
  —Mirra Komarovsky

Discovering who we are is an adventure, one that will thrill and sometimes trouble us and will frequently occupy our thoughtful reflections. We are growing and changing as a result of our commitment to the program. And it's that process of commitment that heightens our self-awareness.

We learn who we are by listening to others, by sensing their perceptions of us, by taking an honest, careful inventory of our own behavior. The inner conversations that haunt us while we're interacting with others are poignant guidelines to self-knowledge, self-definition. Just when we think we've figured out who we are and how to handle our flaws, a new challenge will enter our realm of experiences, shaking up all the understandings that have given us guidance heretofore.

It is not an easy task to discover who we really are. It's an even harder job to love and accept the woman we discover. But too many years went by while we avoided or denied or, worse yet, denounced the only person we knew how to be. The program offers us the way to learn about and love fully the person within. Nor will we find the way easy every day. But there's time enough to let the process ease our investigation.

I will be soft and deliberate today as I listen to others and myself. 

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



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Today's Thought from Hazelden: October 27th

Today's thought from Hazelden is:

It's easy to look at all the tasks and unsolved problems and feel so pressured that we get paralyzed and don't get anything done. It takes discipline to gather in our scattered forces and focus on one thing, one day, one step, and sometimes one hour – even when taking only that one step can seem so trivial in the face of all that looms.

Inventory Focus:
Are you creating unnecessary fear and drama by taking on more than you handle? Are you willing to trade in the I'm-out-of-control-and-overwhelmed feeling for a sense of manageability? Do you have any history with deliberately living life one day or one step at a time? How did that work?

Plans, goals, and dreams are good, but the only way to get there is one day at a time.

You are reading from the book:

52 Weeks of Conscious Contact by Melody Beattie

Creating unnecessary fear & drama............are we not professionals at doing just that? Then, of course, we must run to the kitchen to EAT as a way to calm down from the drama that we have CREATED.  Many of live as reactionaries...........victims of whatever is going on at the moment, reacting TO the situation instead of accepting it as it. We react to an event, assign blame, pass judgment, cluck our tongues, and eat.  We have all the answers to someone else's problems, we think, yet we can't manage 5 minutes of our OWN lives. 

We insist on being perfectionists. "If I can't do it PERFECTLY, why bother?" That's known as an excuse............we set ourselves up for failure before we even BEGIN by forcing something to be done 'perfectly.'  We may live in a cluttered mess of a house, because we're too overwhelmed with the hoard to even know where to begin.

Many of us thrive in the I'm-out-of-control-and-overwhelmed mentality. We've created the drama and now we're too overwhelmed to tackle what lies ahead. A vicious cycle.

Pick ONE thing to do today, and devote a certain amount of time to it, say 1/2 an hour or an hour.  Or even 15 minutes, if that's all you feel capable of committing to.  For X amount of time, devote yourself 100% to the task at hand, and then STOP.  Repeat the action tomorrow.  Eventually, the job will be completed, because you've devised a PLAN to tackle it.  Furthermore, you will build your self-esteem that way, by DOING what you SAY you're GOING to do.  Good actions create good thoughts.

When I began to exercise, I did so for 2 minutes. I'd set the timer on the microwave, and when it went off, I was done with exercise for the day.  I felt I was being pro-active in taking my life back, and I made great progress with that plan.  I now work out at Ballys with a personal trainer 2x a week, because I'm in decent enough shape to do so.

It all BEGAN with a commitment to take that first baby step. 

I'm de-cluttering my basement exactly the same way. By devoting X amount of time to it every weekend, and that's it. 

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you force yourself to eat it all at once, you will choke to death. 

Take life one day at a time, one project at a time, one moment at a time. Don't set yourself up to fail by overwhelming yourself with unrealistic goals. You CAN do this, you just need a PLAN.

Fail to plan & plan to fail.

For today, I will live the next 24 hours to the best of my ability, without projecting the future or lamenting the past.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Food for Thought: October 26th

Food Is Not Fun

We have used eating as a form of recreation and have looked for excitement in food. For years, we have associated food with fun. What we need to remember constantly is that uncontrolled eating is no longer fun for us, but a trip into anguish.

All of us have unpleasant memories of painful binges, which began as attempts to experience pleasure through a small indulgence. We need to put these memories to work for us by associating them with the first compulsive bite. The idea that more and better food will bring us fun and pleasure is an illusion. We know this in our heads, but we need to feel it in our guts.

Food is nourishment for our bodies - nothing more. To experience pleasure with our minds and hearts and bodies, we open ourselves to richer interpersonal relationships, to aesthetic experiences, to sports and hobbies and work well done. Abstinence from compulsive overeating liberates us to enjoy the activities, which are fun.

Thank You for the fun and joy that abstinence brings.

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: October 25th

Letting Go of the Past

... in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them.
—Ps. 139:16

Some people believe that each of our days were planned, Divinely Ordered, before we were born. God knew, they say, and planned exactly what was to transpire.

Others suggest we chose, we participated in planning our life - the events, the people, the circumstances that were to take place, in order to work through our issues and learn the lessons we needed to master.

Whatever our philosophy, our interpretation can be similar: Our past is neither an accident nor a mistake. We have been where we needed to be, with the necessary people. We can embrace our history, with its pain, its imperfections, and its mistakes, even its tragedies. It is uniquely ours; it was intended just for us.

Today, we are right where we need to be. Our present circumstances are exactly as they need to be - for now.

Today, I will let go of my guilt and fear about my past and present circumstances. I will trust that where I have been and where I am now are right for me.

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


I subscribe to the latter of the beliefs, that we created our lives, the events, people and circumstances that were to take place in order to work through our issues & learn the lessons we needed to master.  With either belief system in place,  however, how can we lament our past or the 'mistakes' we've made in order to reach the place we are at now?  By the time I reach the end of my physical journey on earth, I hope to have learned everything I came here to learn!

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

If we view each 'coincidence' and each 'mistake' as a blessing, we choose to be students of life.  We choose to learn and to grow spiritually from each & every event that takes place in our life. Had I not experienced all the 'trials & tribulations' in my 56 year existence on Earth, how would I have progressed into the person I am today? Not that I don't still have lessons to learn, or that I am exactly where I need to be...........I'm not.......but I am also not the same person I was yesterday.  The people I've interacted with yesterday helped to develop & enhance my life's experience........even the negative people who give me 'grief'.  If life was nothing but sunshine & roses, how would we ever learn a single thing? 

We learn through scar tissues. The 'bad' experiences tend to shape our characters a whole lot better than the 'good' ones!

For today, I know that I am right where I need to be.  My present circumstances are exactly as they need to be--for now.  I don't project the future & worry about its outcome, because I know that whatever comes to pass is what I need in my life at that particular time.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recovery Meditations: October 24th


"Fear is not created by the world around us,
but in the mind, by what we think is going to happen."
Elizabeth Gawain

There are different kinds of fear. Certain fears are good, because they help preserve our lives. Babies, for example, have a fear of falling. It just seems to be a natural instinct. Any fear that protects us from harming ourselves is a good fear.

However, when fear becomes an obsession, it is getting out of hand. Why do we go looking for trouble? There is a saying, "Don't let clouds of fear of the morrow hide today's sunshine." We can get so anxious about what's going to happen in the future that we don't enjoy living today.

Life is a precious gift to be lived one day at a time, and is to be shared with others.

One Day at a Time . . .
This is how I will live my life: One day at a time, one moment at a time, sharing my precious gift with another through Twelve Step giving.


I was tutored in Fear as a child, by a mother who was tutored in Fear by her mother.  When it rained, they were herded into the cellar to hide out in fear while they waited for the storm to pass. Such a cycle of dysfunction is passed on through the generations until one day, someone says ENOUGH.

I said ENOUGH when I was old enough to form my own thought patterns. I was able to SEE, thank God, the dysfunction of fear, and to avoid buying into it. I couldn't open my bedroom window at night to let some air in, because 'someone would sneak in and kill me' during the night. We had no a/c, so every night I would sweat bullets rather than take the 'risk' of opening my window a crack. I knew darn well no boogie man was going to kill me, but I had to obey the rules, no matter how ridiculous they were.

Everyone was 'jealous' of me and out to 'get me'.  There were no such thing as 'friends'............ONLY family cared about me and loved me, everyone else had ulterior motives.  I was tutored to distrust everyone, and to be suspicious of them, no matter HOW 'nice' they were to me.

I remember my mother hiding in the closet when she was stressed out, which was often.  Fear prevented her from functioning, and that was a sad thing, for HER and for me.  As an only child, I felt the need to make her happy, which was an exercise in futility.

It's taken me 5 decades to break the cycle within myself, and 3 decades to break the Fear cycle with my kids. When my kids were born, I vowed to never make them afraid.  I allowed them to grow up in an environment of peace, instead. Not that I was the perfect mother..........I wasn't, by any stretch of the imagination, since I was dealing with addictions & demons of my own the entire time.  But what I DID give my kids was the gift of independence and the faith that they COULD rely on themselves, no matter what. They are both thriving young adults today, living on their own, and functioning beautifully, thank God.

For today, I will life my life one day at a time, one moment at a time, sharing my precious gift with others through 12-Step giving.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Food for Thought: October 23rd

Tomorrow Is Another Day

As compulsive overeaters; we can be tormented by the urge to finish everything right now, today. That was the way we used to eat, and it may still be the way we try to operate in other areas of behavior. It is possible to exchange our addiction to food for an addiction to work or perfection.

Trying to do everything today is just another example of self will run riot. We are not super people and we cannot perform miracles. It is our Higher Power who makes possible our accomplishments, and His work is done slowly and gradually. God never expects more of us than we are able to deliver. It is our own pride that entices us to tackle the impossible.

As long as we are alive, our work will not be finished. Each day we are given new tasks to do and new experiences to enjoy. What we do not complete today can be continued tomorrow, according to the will of our Higher Power.

I leave tomorrow's tasks for tomorrow.

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

Compulsive means we do EVERYTHING compulsively! I once thought my only problem was food........that I ate too much and all I'd have to do is STOP eating so much & I'd be fine. Turns out I'm compulsive in ALL aspects of my life & my behavior. OCD, the gift that keeps on giving. Sigh.

I want everything done yesterday, not today. If some is good, more is better. I'm scattered beyond belief, and tend to do 12 things at once.......which means I'm lucky if ANYTHING gets done properly! My husband looks at me with a smirk on his face, and shakes his head. What? "Chris, you are a scatterbrain" is what he tells me.  Really? Who knew?

The main reason I overate was to shut DOWN my overactive, scatter-brained mind. So many thoughts course through my head at any given time, that it drives me crazy. It took me decades to learn how to meditate to calm down, and even now, I have a long way to go with that practice. Sigh.

When I was running the world, I was in charge of doing everything and being everything to everybody. I was Super-Woman, looking for perfection within myself and always falling short of the mark.  I was setting myself UP for failure by insisting on perfection, and then 'soothing' myself with excess food & booze.'s not just a river in Egypt.

If I try to tackle the impossible, I WILL fall short of that goal every single time. Instead of running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I will relax & smell the roses along the path of life.  It's not my job to run the world, or tackle 100 different projects at, for today, I realize that what I do not complete can be continued tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Recovery Meditations: October 22nd


“Dwelling on the negative
simply contributes to its power.”
Shirley MacLaine

I’ve lived most of my life filled with bitterness towards people, God and myself. My mind, soul, and body were consumed by hatred, self-pity, pain, hopelessness, and a complete sense of powerlessness. I focused my energy on reviewing my scars. I counted them, checked them, nurtured them, and flaunted them. They were proof of all the wrongs I’d endured. They were my source of energy. They were my identity. They were my badge of sorrow.

As I work my recovery, I am beginning to see everything from a new perspective. Gradually my head is lifted and my eyes are turned away from my once-beloved scars. The more I allow myself to accept that my powerlessness is not a prison of doom, the more I discover that it is my doorway to faith, surrender, and serenity.

My scars are still here. There is no magic potion to remove them. What is magical, however, is that I see them so differently. I find that I have a choice to make every day: I can cherish my scars as proof of the pain I have suffered, or I can be thankful for them as evidence of things I have survived. Scar tissue forms and creates a stronger, thicker skin in its place. I can either pick at it and make it bleed, or I can welcome the lessons and endurance it has built into my life.

One day at a time...
I will choose to see my scars as proof of the difficulties I have survived. I will choose to appreciate them as evidence that God has brought me through suffering and has used all things to strengthen my faith in Him, my hope for tomorrow, and my serenity for today.

~ Lisa

I saw Marianne Williamson at a local venue last month, and after she spoke, she took questions from the audience. One young woman stood up & announced that she was very ill with an incurable disease and was intent on letting Marianne know that her life was essentially over, because of this illness. After she'd gone on for a full 5 minutes, MW interrupted her and said, "Snap OUT of it!"  The woman was shocked to hear those words. MW went on to explain to her that she'd BECOME her disease.  That she'd lost sight of who she IS on the inside; her soul & her spirit, NOT her disease.  This woman wore her battle scars like a badge of honor for the entire world to see.

Oftentimes, we lose our identity along with lots of weight. We become our bodies, losing sight of who we are on the inside.

My ID Said: FAT GIRL (Blog, 5/9/12)
After losing a lot of weight, I had my identity stolen.

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

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

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

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

And perception becomes one’s reality.

My Perception. My self-image, my Ego, dictated who I thought I WAS: The Fat Girl image superimposed itself over all of my other qualities, and took on a life of its own.  I over-compensated for my weight by bending over backwards to please others, oftentimes at my own expense
Because I was worthless, after all, wasn’t I? I had to make people LIKE me, somehow……didn’t I? They would scoff at me for my body size, so my personality would have to shine to make up for it. Or, I’d have to do something extra special for you, even if I didn’t like you……even if I didn’t feel like it, to prove my worth.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Spirit wanted to come up & STAY up. Without a lot of ‘stuff’ to anchor me down, without a Fat Suit to protect me from life, with no fancy house or large bank account to define Me, all I had left was my Spirit.
I’d try to tamp It DOWN, like I would a beach ball in the ocean, but UP it would pop. It would be held down no longer.

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

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

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

My Spirit is Who I Am.

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

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

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

Recovery Meditations: October 21st


“If we wait for the moment when everything,
absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.”

Ivan Turgenev

This was one of my biggest obstacles in recovery: I wanted everything to be perfect. This type of thinking kept me stuck for many years in the disease. Instead of my program being One Day At A Time, it was always "one day later and I will do your will God."

Now I know that today is all I have. I have no guarantees for tomorrow. So I let go and let God, and do the best I can. I have discovered that I do not have to work a perfect program. Not everything has to be just “right.”

One day at a time...
One day at a time I do the footwork that is required of me and leave the results to God.

~ Terri


There is no perfect day to begin a Food Plan of abstinence. I can wait until "Monday", but that's just an excuse to eat 'in peace' (as if there IS such a thing!) today.

I have more broken Monday's & New Years Resolutions under my belt than you can possibly imagine.

All I have that is real is today. And for today, I will remain abstinent instead of making excuses about why I 'deserve' to eat today & being 'fresh' tomorrow.

Today is a day that will NOT be wasted with empty promises about tomorrow.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: October 20th

Detaching with Love

Sometimes people we love do things we don't like or approve of. We react. They react. Before long, we're all reacting to each other, and the problem escalates.

When do we detach? When we're hooked into a reaction of anger, fear, guilt, or shame. When we get hooked into a power play - an attempt to control or force others to do something they don't want to do. When the way we're reacting isn't helping the other person or solving the problem. When the way we're reacting is hurting us.

Often, it's time to detach when detachment appears to be the least likely, or possible, thing to do.

The first step toward detachment is understanding that reacting and controlling don't help. The next step is getting peaceful - getting centered and restoring our balance.

Take a walk. Leave the room. Go to a meeting. Take a long, hot bath. Call a friend. Call on God. Breathe deeply. Find peace. From that place of peace and centering will emerge an answer, a solution.

Today, I will surrender and trust that the answer is near.

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


In the case of dealing with my elderly parents, I find myself with the need to 'detach with love' continuously. My mother makes a gigantic federal case out of the simplest of decisions, turning a small matter into a 3-ring circus. I can't control HER, nor is it my job to force her to do the 'right' thing. In the end, it's HER body, HER life, and HER decisions entirely.  Unfortunately, I am the one who has to 'pick up the pieces' of those poor decisions, by schlepping her around to the various doctors for 'second opinions', etc.  Instead of jumping at each opportunity to drive her around, I allow her to take the apartment mini-bus to some of her appointments. I make myself available one day a week to drive her wherever she'd like to go, and the rest of the time (except for emergencies), she's on her own.

(From Recovery Meditations) I love the idea of helping people. Seeing the other person shine after my input gives me a great feeling. The flip side of this peak experience is the sadness and bleakness I feel when the person I am helping does not succeed. When it is all about me, I have to accept responsibility for everything: the good and the bad.

Thank You, God, that it is not really me who is the source of all help, it is You. I can point the way and make suggestions, but I cannot make someone change for the better. What causes people to change is something for which no person can take credit. It is simply divine!

The real question is whether or not the person I want to help will turn to his or her Higher Power and use the help that is offered. I cannot actually take these steps for others. I can pretend to do that, and perhaps offer some temporary relief, but lasting recovery will come only to those who make a quality decision to take the necessary steps on their own.

One day at a time...
I will realize the limitations of my help. I will not try to do for others what only they can and should do for themselves.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: October 19th

Our Good Points

What's a codependent? The answer's easy. They're some of the most loving, caring people I know.
—Beyond Codependency

We don't need to limit an inventory of ourselves to the negatives. Focusing only on what's wrong is a core issue in our codependency.

Honestly, fearlessly, ask: "What's right with me? What are my good points?"

"Am I a loving, caring, nurturing person?" We may have neglected to love ourselves in the process of caring for others, but nurturing is an asset.

"Is there something I do particularly well?" "Do I have a strong faith?" "Am I good at being there for others?" "Am I good as part of a team, or as a leader?" "Do I have a way with words or with emotions?"

"Do I have a sense of humor?" "Do I brighten people up?" "Am I good at comforting others?" "Do I have an ability to make something good out of barely nothing at all?" "Do I see the best in people?"

These are character assets. We may have gone to an extreme with these, but that's okay. We are now on our way to finding balance.

Recovery is not about eliminating our personality. Recovery aims at changing, accepting, working around, or transforming our negatives, and building on our positives. We all have assets; we only need to focus on them, empower them, and draw them out in ourselves.

Codependents are some of the most loving, caring people around. Now, we're learning to give some of that concern and nurturing to ourselves.

Today, I will focus on what's right about me. I will give myself some of the caring I've extended to the world.

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: October 18th

Throwing Out the Rule Book

Many of us feel like we need a rulebook, a microscope, and a warranty to get through life. We feel uncertain, frightened. We want the security of knowing what's going to happen, and how we shall act.

We don't trust life or ourselves.

We don't trust the Plan.

We want to be in control.

"I've made terrible mistakes about my choices, mistakes that nearly destroyed me. Life has really shocked me. How can I trust myself? How can I trust life, and my instincts, after where I've been?" asked one woman.

It is understandable that we fear being crushed again, considering the way many of us were when we bottomed out on our codependency. We don't have to be fearful. We can trust our self, our path, and our instincts.

Yes, we want to avoid making the same mistakes again. We are not the same people we were yesterday or last year. We've learned, grown, changed. We did what we needed to do then. If we made a mistake, we cannot let that stop us from living and fully experiencing today.

We have arrived at the understanding that we needed our experiences - even our mistakes - to get to where we are today. Do we know that we needed our life to unfold exactly as it did to find ourselves, our Higher Power, and this new way of life? Or is part of us still calling our past a mistake?

We can let go of our past and trust ourselves now. We do not have to punish ourselves with our past. We don't need a rulebook, a microscope, a warranty. All we really need is a mirror. We can look into the mirror and say, "I trust you. No matter what happens, you can take care of yourself. And what happens will continue to be good, better than you think."

Today, I will stop clinging to the painful lessons of the past. I will open myself to the positive lessons today and tomorrow hold for me. I trust that I can and will take care of myself now. I trust that the Plan is good, even when I don't know what it is. 

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


As compulsive overeaters, we relied on food to pick us up, calm us down, console us, excite us, help us, and sustain us. Since food was inadequate to do all of these things, we had to eat more and more until we became physically and emotionally addicted.

Recovery from our disease requires that dependency on food be replaced by dependency on a Higher Power. Only God, as each of us understands Him, is capable of supporting us at all times and in all situations. Food simply will not work. If we are not controlled by our Higher Power, we will be controlled by our addiction to compulsive overeating.

At first, we find it difficult to rely on a Power we cannot see. Our materialistic orientation makes us distrustful of the things that are of the spirit. Gradually, we come to believe as we witness the work of God through OA. We see evidence of His activity in our own lives, and we sense the peace and security that He gives. Reliance on God is our strength.

As a compulsive overeater I was always looking outside of myself for love, yet I was terrified of letting it in. “What if it hurts me once I let it in?” I was just as afraid of giving out love. “What if I lost myself or was taken advantage of?” My life was ruled by fear, and at a very young age I discovered the false security of food. I used food as a source of companionship and as a way to numb out my pain. It became a substitute for love.

As the disease gained control, the more I ate and the more shut down I became. I built huge walls around myself. As the weight came on, I was convinced that this was the reason people didn’t love me the way that I wanted to be loved. I believed that “if only I was thin enough” I would get what I wanted. It never occurred to me that I was already so full of the food that there was no room inside to receive anything else.

When I came into program and began to put down the food, I slowly discovered that this love that I was searching for was within me all along. My Higher Power is love and dwells within and all around me. In recovery I am graced with the freedom to act out of love and therefore be with my Higher Power.

For today, I will not micro-manage my life nor will I examine my 'mistakes' under a microscope. All the events of my past unfolded exactly as they have so I could arrive where I am today: in Recovery and glad to be alive.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Each Day a New Beginning: October 17th

Pride, we are told, my children, "goeth before a fall" and oh, the pride was there, and so the fall was not far away.
—Wilhelmina Kemp Johnstone

Requesting help. Admitting we are wrong. Owning our mistake in either a big or small matter. Asking for another chance or someone's love. All very difficult to do, and yet necessary if we are to grow. The difficulty is our pride, the big ego. We think, "We need to always be right. If we're wrong, then others may think less of us, look down on us, and question our worth." Perfectionism versus worthlessness.

If we are not perfect (and of course we never are), then we must be worthless. In between these two points on the scale is "being human." Our emotional growth, as women, is equal to how readily we accept our humanness, how able we are to be wrong. With humility comes a softness that smooths our every experience, our every relationship. Pride makes us hard, keeps us hard, keeps others away, and sets us up for the fall.

I will let myself be human today. It will soften my vision of life.

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


When my Ego is in charge, I feel the need to run the world and to always be right. If I am wrong, then I am imperfect and worthless. Learning to say "I don't know" is a difficult thing, because it makes me feel 'less than.'  In reality, it is not my job TO know everything! I release the need to always be right, and I will not allow myself to feel worthless in the process.

As a human being, I am not supposed to be perfect.  I am supposed to be open minded and eager to learn, and to grow, and to maximize my experience during my lifetime. Everyone I run into is a teacher, offering me something of value to learn.

My mistakes are not 'mistakes' as much as learning experiences.....blessings, given to me to enhance my life experience.  I learn most during the hard times, not the easy ones.

For today, I give up my need for 'perfection', within myself, within others, and with events in general. I surrender my pride and put my Ego on the back burner, where it belongs. Only through humility can I learn and grow.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Food for Thought: October 16th

Admitting Wrongs

Step Ten reminds us to continue to take daily inventory and to promptly admit when we are wrong. By admitting our mistake out loud to the person we have harmed, we clear away bad feelings and guilt. The relationship is healed, and we are able to put the error behind us. Admitting that we are wrong helps us even more than the person we have injured.

Since it usually takes two people to disrupt a relationship, the entire blame may not be ours. Admitting our share of wrong, however, relieves us of guilt and opens the way to reconciliation.

Being able to apologize simply and sincerely means that we are not bound by pride and egotism. We do not always have to be right. By accepting our human fallibility, we are free to be ourselves, to make mistakes, to correct them, and to make amends.

Admitting wrongs keeps us honest with ourselves, with others, and with our Higher Power. We stay anchored in the real world and we practice healthy humility.

May I not be too proud to admit I am wrong.

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

Pride & ego always threaten to stand in the way of my recovery. When I am reluctant to admit my wrongs is when I am ripe to fall.  Putting my Ego in charge of my life prevents me from surrender, and leads me to believe MY way is the only way.  In reality, God is in charge of my life and His way is the only way.  My ego is self-will gone berserk..........being a control freak only hurts me, in the long run.  My 'self-will' brought me to my knees at 225 lbs and will bring me to my knees again & again. 

For an addict, the only way to live is with humility, putting Ego to rest and relying on God to take over & guide us. My program tells me to immediately admit my wrongs & to apologize for them, so that I am not harboring guilt and a heavy heart. Apologies keep me humble and free of self-righteous pride.  Keeping humility intact allows me to let God into my heart & soul, and to let go of my controlling ways.

For today, I am staying anchored in the real world, where my Ego plays second fiddle & I practice the fine art of humility.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Each Day a New Beginning: October 15th

Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades.
—Jacqueline Bisset

How common it is for us to be overly concerned with our looks. The culture encourages it through our families, our friends, and the media. Many of us anguished over our looks in years past, and the pain of fading youth haunts some even now.

Perhaps it's time for us to take special note of the women we admire for their achievements. We should emulate them, honor them, and celebrate their particular beauty - a beauty generally enhanced by dignity, perseverance, and courage.

We can cultivate our special interests. They'll contribute to our achievements, which will add depth to our soul - the home of true beauty. Mature persons who acknowledge this true beauty are those we wish to attract into our lives. How fickle is the beautiful face! And even more fickle is the one who can see no deeper.

Youth and its beauty are fleeting. Not so the beauty of the developing character; time strengthens it. The program makes character development not only possible but also simple. Every Step, any Step, offers us an opportunity to take charge of our lives, right now.

I will remember, it's who I am inside that truly counts in the lives of others.

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


With any weight loss journey, we tend to focus on our outside appearance more-so than our inside condition. Naturally, we DO want to look better on the outside, but we must also work on our insides if we are to make some permanent, long-lasting changes.

Oftentimes, we lose X amount of weight and find ourselves STILL unhappy and/or unfulfilled. This is usually due to the fact that ALL of our problems did NOT stem from our body-size, but from our spiritual impoverishment. When we work on gaining spiritual growth, then we are better able to accept the changes in our body.

If we are just here to lose weight & look good, then it's likely to be a temporary change we achieve.

At 56 years old, I have lost much of my youthful beauty.  It has been replaced with wrinkles and sagging skin, which is a sign of wisdom rather than ugliness! There is more beauty to be found in scar tissue, methinks, than in a perfect outside appearance.

For today, I acknowledge that beauty & youth are fleeting, but the development of my integrity and character are timeless.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Each Day a New Beginning: October 14th

The balance between mind and spirit comes hard for me. The eternal split. Two entities, perfectly aware and yet perfectly unwilling to cooperate.
—Mary Casey

The program directs our spiritual growth, a human aspect that had atrophied, if ever it had existed, for most of us before abstinence. And the process of developing our spiritual nature is painstaking. Living by our wits, or the fervent application of "situational analysis" had been our survival tools for months or years.

To return repeatedly to the old tools for quick solutions to serious situations is second nature. Learning to rely on spiritual guidance for solutions and to use it to sharpen our analytical focus takes patience and continual effort.

Within our spiritual realm we find our connection to God. We have been given the wisdom; all the knowledge we need is at our fingertips. The confidence to move ahead and offer our special talent to others comes from our Spirit. We are all that we need to be. Our mind and our Spirits, in concert, can tackle any challenge and succeed.

My mind and my Spirit can become compatible entities with the development of my trust in each. Knowledge plus courage can move mountains. I have been given both.

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


To return to the old coping tools of overeating and/or drinking is instinctual, after decades of continued practice. The FIRST thought I have when confronted with a stressful or emotional situation is "What can I eat?"  I can't change my instincts but I CAN change my response to those instincts. I now have a whole set of tools in my toolbox to draw upon when I want to overeat.  First and foremost is prayer.  When I ask God to help me through a difficult situation, He does. Every time, not just once in a while. I must be willing to ask for help, however, and to stop relying on only myself. 

When I work on my spiritual nourishment is when I am able to stay the course with my Food Plan.  IT is what keeps me centered & focused, and God is available to help me 24/7.

For today, I will not revert to my old coping mechanisms to deal with stress.  For today, I will rely on God and on my Food Plan instead.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: October 13th

Substance over Form

I'm learning that for a variety of reasons, I've spent much of my life focusing on form rather than substance. My focus has been on having my hair done perfectly, wearing the right clothes, having my makeup applied perfectly, living in the right place, furnishing it with the right furniture, working at the right job, and having the right man. Form, rather than substance, has controlled my behavior in many areas of my life. Now, I'm finally getting to the truth. It's substance that counts.

There is nothing wrong in wanting to look our best. Whether we are striving to create a self, a relationship, or a life, we need to have some solid ideas about what we want that to look like.

Form gives us a place to begin. But for many of us, form has been a substitute for substance. We may have focused on form to compensate for feeling afraid or feeling inferior. We may have focused on form because we didn't know how to focus on substance.

Form is the outline; substance is what fills it in. We fill in the outline of ourselves by being authentic; we fill in the outline of our life by showing up for life and participating to the best of our ability.

Now, in recovery, we're learning to pay attention to how things work and feel, not just to what they look like.
Today, I will focus on substance in my life. I will fill in the lines of myself with a real person - me. I will concentrate on the substance of my relationships, rather than what they look like. I will focus on the real working of my life, instead of the trappings.

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


I was taught that life is all about 'the show'. Never let anyone see the 'real' me, and put a false face on everything. I didn't even know what it meant to be 'authentic' until I reached middle-age. In fact, I didn't know who the 'real me' even WAS!  Living with a mask on all the time is exhausting, and prevents me from discovering who I really am, in the inside.  If I behave like a chameleon, changing my opinions to suit someone else, then I am living a lie. 

Money is good for nothing but keeping a roof over my head & simple food on my table. "Stuff" just needs dusting all the time, and doesn't compensate for lack of substance within ME.  When I began to find the real ME lurking out under all the STUFF, only THEN did I begin to truly live my life the way God intended me TO live.

For today, I will focus on substance in my life. I will fill in the lines of myself with a real person: ME. I will concentrate on the substance of my relationships, rather than what they look like. I will focus on the real working of my life, instead of the trappings.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Recovery Meditations: October 12th


“To spare oneself from grief at all cost
can be achieved only at the price of a total detachment,
which excludes the ability to experience happiness.”

Erich Fromm

In the years before program I lived in a bland state of non-feeling and I ran away from all painful emotions, especially loss and grief. Of course my drug of choice was always there to keep the painful emotions at bay. Whenever I experienced any kind of loss, I was always able to focus my attention on other things. Instead of feeling my own emotions, I focused on being strong for someone else whose loss I perceived to be greater than mine. For some strange reason I didn’t think I had the right to grieve.

After losing a beloved cat recently, I was overwhelmed by all the painful emotions of loss and grief. It was almost as though all of my previous losses were combined into this latest loss, but instead of running from my feelings, I allowed myself the luxury of grieving for my cat who was so special to me. This time I didn’t need to run away into my addiction. Of course it was hard and painful, but I know that allowing myself to feel even uncomfortable feelings like this is part of being alive and that means allowing myself to feel both the positive emotions and the negative ones.

One day at a time...
I will allow myself to feel both the good emotions and the bad ones. Because I have a program, I don’t need to blot them out with addictive behavior.

~ Sharon S.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: October 11th


How easy it is to blame our problems on others. "Look at what he's doing." . . . "Look how long I've waited." . . . "Why doesn't she call?" . . . "If only he'd change then I'd be happy." . . .

Often, our accusations are justified. We probably are feeling hurt and frustrated. In those moments, we may begin to believe that the solution to our pain and frustration is getting the other person to do what we want, or having the outcome we desire. But these self-defeating illusions put the power and control of our life in other people's hands. We call this codependency.

The solution to our pain and frustration, however valid is to acknowledge our own feelings. We feel the anger, the grief; then we let go of the feelings and find peace - within ourselves. We know our happiness isn't controlled by another person, even though we may have convinced ourselves it is. We call this acceptance.

Then we decide that although we'd like our situation to be different, maybe our life is happening this way for a reason. Maybe there is a higher purpose and plan in play, one that's better than we could have orchestrated. We call this faith.

Then we decide what we need to do, what is within our power to do to take care of ourselves. That's called recovery.

It's easy to point our finger at another, but it's more rewarding to gently point it at ourselves.

Today, I will live with my pain and frustration by dealing with my own feelings. 

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

If I'm pointing the finger outward, at someone else, then I don't have to point it inward, at myself. I won't examine my own behavior to see what's wrong because I'm too busy dwelling on why YOU are making ME unhappy! That's denial and co-dependency at its worst. 

For me, acceptance is the key to everything. When I agree to accept what IS, then I'm not fighting or trying to change my situation. I am a compulsive overeater: when I accept that fact, then I become willing to deal with my disease by staying true to my Food Plan.  If I fight the fact, then I'm manipulating my program, pretending that 'just one bite' won't hurt me, or that I've somehow transformed into a 'normal eater' and can now handle my drug of choice *sugar* with no problems.  If I get into that mindset, then I relapse FAST, jumping back into the dark pit without a ladder, wondering if I can claw my way back OUT. 

When I feel my emotions & acknowledge them is when I'm honestly working the OA program and thriving. Feeling my emotions won't kill me, but obesity & COE WILL. 

For today, I will live with Faith, putting my life in God's hands. I will do the footwork by staying true to my Food Plan, and I won't expect God to take care of that FOR me..........I do my part FIRST, then He does His.

For today, I will not be pointing fingers anywhere but inward.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Language of Letting Go: October 10th

Payoffs from Destructive Relationships

Sometimes it helps to understand that we may be receiving a payoff from relationships that cause us distress.

The relationship may be feeding into our helplessness or our martyr role.

Maybe the relationships feeds our need to be needed, enhancing our self-esteem by allowing us to feel in control or morally superior to the other person.

Some of us feel alleviated from financial or other kinds of responsibility by staying in a particular relationship.

"My father sexually abused me when I was a child," said one woman. "I went on to spend the next twenty years blackmailing him emotionally and financially on this. I could get money from him whenever I wanted, and I never had to take financial responsibility for myself."

Realizing that we may have gotten a codependent payoff from a relationship is not a cause for shame. It means we are searching out the blocks in ourselves that may be stopping our growth.

We can take responsibility for the part we may have played in keeping ourselves victimized. When we are willing to look honestly and fearlessly at the payoff and let it go, we will find the healing we've been seeking. We'll also be ready to receive the positive, healthy payoffs available in relationships, the payoffs we really want and need.

Today, I will be open to looking at the payoffs I may have received from staying in unhealthy relationships, or from keeping destructive systems operating. I will become ready to let go of my need to stay in unhealthy systems; I am ready to face myself.

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

I stayed in a dysfunctional marriage for 22 years because of financial security, and because I didn't believe I could make it on my own.  I also kept myself drunk & compulsively overeating to 'cope' with an unbearable situation.  I managed to get sober for 9 years during that marriage, but made a conscious decision to go back to drinking one day. I'd also manage to lose lots of weight, thinking that perhaps my marriage would improve if I would look better, but it never did. So I'd go back to overeating since those efforts never 'paid off'.  I punished myself for being 'not good enough' when in reality, it wasn't about ME at all. It was about the fact that we were oil & water, the two of us, and no matter what I did, he was mentally ill and refused to deal with it.

In 2002, I filed for divorce, frightened by the thought of making it on my own, but more frightened to stay married & spend another 22 years miserable.  I decided to go from riches to rags, and it turned out to be the best decision of my life.

Doing anything in life just for financial reward is never rewarding at all.

I take full responsibility for the role I played in keeping myself victimized in that relationship. When I became willing to look honestly & fearlessly at the payoff & let it go, I began to find the healing I'd been seeking my whole life. When I became ready to face myself is when I became willing to stand on my own 2 feet and to strike out on my own, come what may.

Nowadays, I may never be 'rich' financially, but I am rich from a recovery standpoint. I am responsible for myself and my actions, and grateful for the opportunity.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Recovery Meditations: October 9th


"It is amazing what you can accomplish if
you do not care who gets the credit."
Harry S. Truman

Before I came to OA, I kept an emotional account of all my positive actions. I didn't really do that many good things, but the few I did were meant to show how great and kind I was. I even wrote down smiles, talking politely, giving a hand in the house, or filling in at work. I expected a great reward one day for all of my good actions ~ especially considering all of the things I put up with. I wanted people to speak well of me. I wanted people to grieve in great sorrow at my funeral for losing the fantastic person I was. Because I felt I never got back half of what I had put into this balance sheet, my resentments started to block me from acting nicely. Why help out, when nobody ever does anything for me? I didn't have an honest focus on reality. I felt worn out, bitter, used and angry. Why was I never paid what I deserved?

I learned in OA that I have a terminal disease which will kill me sooner or later -- if I do not change my thinking and acting. I am powerless over this disease. The only thing I can do is to admit I'm powerless and surrender. As I see it, this disease is the primary reason I have gotten into trouble all my life. I am self-centered, bitter, immature and insecure. Before I entered these rooms, I didn't know how to have a real friend, or brush my teeth on a daily basis. In this program, I learned that I am worthy, loveable, and an ordinary woman -- with my positive and negative sides -- just like everyone else. When I am accountable today to God as I understand him, I do not need an emotional balance sheet. I do not need to grow bitter or hate other people.

One day at a time...
Because I have so generously been given a new life in this program, I choose to give service to my home group and to give time and patience to my sponsees. I choose to give of myself, for that does not have a price, in money or in diplomas. I no longer need the credit for what I give.

~ Trine

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Food for Thought: October 8th

Learning from Mistakes

We can learn from our mistakes so that we do not have to make the same ones over and over again. If a particular attitude or situation consistently makes it difficult for us to follow our food plan, then that attitude or situation needs to be changed. Slips do not just happen. They indicate that something is wrong with our program and that we have not yet learned what we need to know about ourselves.

Being aware of the circumstances, which make us vulnerable to overeating, helps us to be prepared for temptation and to find ways to avoid it wherever possible. If there are certain foods, which we cannot resist, then we should not have those foods available. If trying to do too much makes us tired and emotionally upset, then we need to be less ambitious and learn to delegate responsibility. Compulsive overeating or emotional bingeing indicates that we are not living in a way, which satisfies our basic needs.

Lord, may we learn from our mistakes.

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


Abstinence requires that we go to any & all lengths to preserve it.  How far am I willing to go to make sure I stay on track with my Food Plan? I will avoid people places & situations that threaten my abstinence.  If that means I stay home from a function in order to avoid potential harm, then I will stay home.

Being aware of the circumstances that make me vulnerable to overeating helps me to stay vigilant. I can't bury my head in the sand and put myself in front of temptation all the time and then wonder why I 'slip'.  In my world, there are no 'slips'.........just intentional eating.  A food is either on my food plan or it's not. If I eat a food that is not on my plan, then I am not 'slipping' I am intentionally jumping off the cliff and into the pit without a ladder.  Will I be able to climb back out of that pit? Who knows.

For today, I will go to any length necessary to avoid foods that I cannot resist. I will not buy them, look at them, or have them lurking inside my home.

For today, I will be responsible for my abstinence.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Food for Thought: October 7th

Old Anxieties

The causes of our past anxieties may no longer be operative. Compulsive eating behavior, however, brings back these anxieties in full force. Our weight may be normal, but we are never safe from the danger of personality disintegration brought on by a return, however slight, to compulsive overeating habits.

If we are to maintain our sanity and our sobriety, we must continue to abstain completely from all patterns of thinking and behavior associated with overeating. We have become new people. Daily we grow stronger and freer from old fears and anxieties. The new behavior, which gives us this new freedom, is abstinence. Without abstinence, we will again be overwhelmed and incapacitated by irrational fear and anxiety.

To be alive is to experience a certain amount of anxiety. We will never be completely rid of all fear. As long as we are abstaining, however, and relying on our Higher Power instead of ourselves, we will be given the confidence and serenity we need.

I turn over to You my anxieties.

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


For me, abstinence isn't about a number on the scale, but a state of mind. At goal for nearly 5 years now, my Food Plan prevails and I don't eat 'extras' based on what my weight is. I'm never safe from the danger of personality disintegration brought on by a return, however slight, to compulsive overeating habits.

If I am to maintain my sanity & sobriety, I must continue to abstain completely from all patterns of thinking & behavior associated with overeating. I avoid sugar completely, 100%.  Every day that I avoid sugar I strengthen my commitment to ME and to keeping myself in recovery status. If I relapse into old habits, I am filled with anxiety & fear which takes over my life.

The purpose of my Food Plan is to keep me sane & balanced. 

For today, I will adhere to my Food Plan of abstinence & leave the rest of my life to God

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Recovery Meditations: October 6th


"The great question - which I have not been able
to answer - is, 'What does a woman want?'"
 Sigmund Freud

All my life I have been searching for what I "really want". I tried sports, different jobs, friends, lovers and traveling. I even tried therapy. None of these ever worked. Once I had what I thought I wanted, I didn't want it anymore. The urge to want -- to long for the best things -- was an inner, unsatisfied hunger. Excessive food became my sedating drug. When using food, I was numb to my longings. I felt it was impossible to fill this void. It seemed I would never know or receive what I wanted.

The 12 step program of recovery taught me that I could have anything I wanted -- if God gave it to me. When I stopped wanting everything so badly, and I surrendered to be His child and employee, I learned that what I'd thought of as "wanting", was actually what I was "missing". I missed everything important in my life, so I wanted everything. It was never enough ~ never the right thing or the right person. I felt that even I was "wrong" because I was without love, patience, tolerance or companionship. In OA I found all of that. With God's help, I now have those things in my life every day when I ask for it and accept it as part of me today.

One day at a time...
I no longer want so much, and I am thankful for what I receive. I am receiving more than I have ever dreamed of.

~ Trine


"Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won't have to hunt for happiness." - William E. Gladstone  

Being Happy With What You Have

The world's concept of happiness is getting what we want.
All merchandising is based on this concept.
People today see this life as a pleasure jaunt.
When the Smith's fell behind the Jones's, they wept!

As I grew up I watched commercials and read the ads.
I pursued the latest fashions and was suckered into the latest fads.
I had to have the latest gizmo and the most fancy doodads.
I bought the line that mine had to be better than other guys' pads.

Like everyone else, "I must be rich," I thought.
To be happy is owning more than others own.
I thought it was all in what I'd bought.
I didn't have a clue as to what makes a good home.

Then I read this great poem called Desiderata
Which has in it much excellent advice.
It began by saying silence has its place in life's strata.
As I read it I began to think twice.

Be considerate of all as much as you can;
And listen to the story of every one.
Advice I did not at first take in hand,
But since I have, more friends I have won.

Desiderata discouraged comparison to others.
Just be yourself and enjoy your achievements.
I began to decide that if I had my druthers
I would focus on what I have without bereavements.

Enjoy what you have and look for the good.
There is good in this life all around us.
Being on guard for trickery is understood,
And do not be the one who starts a fuss.

Listen to the older, wiser ones.
Don't be immature when you are grown.
Maintain your self-respect and stick to your guns.
Make excessive pride or pity in you unknown.

Be humble and gentle and do not worry.
Hold to peace within yourself always.
Do not be, as others, in such a hurry,
But calmly go through all your days.

Now I fully appreciate what I already have.
I now experience new joys in life.
Love for all is a soothing salve
That gets you over the pointless competitive strife.

With all our failings this world is still beautiful.
I now don't find consideration for others sappy.
Now without desire for more my life is full.
This poem has shown me how to be cheerful and happy!


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Recovery Meditations: October 5th


”A habit cannot be tossed out the window;
it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.”
Mark Twain

How grateful I was when I read that quote – even though I had to translate it a bit. It has always been difficult for me to start good habits. I've heard all kinds of things about that – that it takes 21 days, 40 days, or an x-number of weeks to start a habit. It always made me feel bad and different because I swear for me, it probably takes at least two years. Until then I’d be biting my nails, knowing that even if I did practice good habits, they might disappear at any time. It was supposed to be so much faster, so much easier! A few weeks of eating healthy, and magically I would be cured! Well, that never happened.

Now I can look at good habits – like eating healthy, exercising, meditating, paying my bills on time – as tender, shy little animals that need a long time before they can be coaxed up the stairs of my life. They need patience, a lot of quiet time, and a willingness to be understood and studied. How do I feed, nurture and care for this habit?

I cannot do it alone. I do not have the patience, the willingness, nor the nurturing to do this by myself. I need the help of the fellowship and the help of my Higher Power. This help is freely given to me ~ all I need to do is accept it, and together we can make my habits more and more comfortable in the house of my life.

One day at a time...
With the help of my Higher Power and the program, I can patiently learn to practice healthy habits.

~ Isabella

Friday, October 4, 2013

Food for Thought: October 4th


Through this program, we learn that we have choices. Not only can we choose what we will eat and what we will do, but also we can choose our friends. As we become honest, unaddicted people, we are able to relate to each other on a level of mutuality and admiration rather than out of dependency and fear. We gain the self-confidence to choose those with whom we enjoy spending time and sharing, rather than slavishly catering to anyone who will notice us.

Friends in OA have a special bond, since we share a common problem and a common solution. By putting principles before personalities, we avoid dependency and childish demands. Though we love and support each other, we do not cling together, since we are each dependent on a Higher Power. Our friends give us the gift of themselves, which shows us who we are.

Thank You for friendship.

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

What strikes me in this reading is, "We gain the self-confidence to choose those with whom we enjoy spending time and sharing, rather than slavishly catering to anyone who will notice us."  During my days of compulsive overeating, I was a huge people-pleaser. I put on a facade all the time, telling people exactly what they wanted to hear so they would like me.  I was fat, after all, and considered myself 'unworthy' of love.  So I bent over backwards to be liked & accepted......but it was all based on lies. I couldn't let the 'real me' out because then nobody would like me! I refused to accept myself, so I morphed into whoever I felt I needed to be at the moment. I had no knowledge of who I really WAS, so I changed into whoever others wanted me to be. I didn't have my own principles and integrity to rely on, no baseline for my behavior.......I was just a chameleon putting on a different color based on the situation at hand.

Fear ruled my life, in other words.  When I got into Recovery, I knew I'd have to replace Fear with Faith if I was to heal what was broken within me.  I learned to rely on God to guide me, and to like myself as is.........period. When the Steps taught me to put principles & integrity FIRST, then everything else began falling into place, one day at a time.

Today, I know who I am. I am a child of God, beautiful & perfect exactly as I am.  I have established morals & standards for myself & my behavior.  I am who I am and it IS perfectly good enough. I don't have to jump through hoops in an effort to make people like me............because I like me. 

For today, I will show my true colors to everyone I meet. I will not hide behind the facade of false pretenses and fake smiles, pandering to anyone. I will honor myself & God by being ME, knowing that I AM good enough!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Recovery Meditations: October 3rd


"The truth will set you free,
but first it will make you miserable."
James A. Garfield

After years of therapy, I thought I knew myself fairly well. I prided myself on my integrity, honesty and responsible nature; however, my morbid obesity and compulsive overeating reflected the exact opposite of these values. After breaking many resolutions to myself, starting and stopping countless diets, and continuing to have no control over my eating, I began to doubt my integrity. How could I keep a commitment to everyone I knew and yet break my promises to myself over and over again? It wasn't until in a moment of frustrated clarity I blurted out, "I'm acting like an addict!" Finally I experienced my own truth.

I am an addict. I am addicted to food. I use food to fill the gaping black hole within me. I use food to anesthetize my pain. As a compulsive overeater, I stuff my face rather than face my stuff.

Working the Steps allowed me to see that even though I thought I valued honesty, I was constantly lying to myself about my compulsive eating. Becoming abstinent from compulsive eating removed the veils of delusion and dishonesty that I had over my eyes. Living this program, one day at a time, freed me from compulsive lying to myself as well as compulsive eating. Telling the truth, while sometimes very difficult, has let me live happy, joyously, and free.

One day at a time...
I will work the Steps honestly, tell the truth about my life, and be the person of integrity my Higher Power always intended for me to be.

~ Bernadette B.


My Name Is Chris & I'm A Food Addict, Blog 4/2/13

21 years ago I sat at my first AA meeting, thinking to myself, gee, I don’t belong here! I’m not as bad as these people. I am the wife of an important business executive……….I pray  there’s nobody I KNOW here………..or that knows ME! What if the wife of my husband’s tax partner is here? Well……..I guess if SHE’S here, then ME being here shouldn’t be all that big a deal, right? We’ll just look one another in the eye and shuffle our feet uncomfortably, as one would do in a crowded elevator…………..just look down or away……….smile politely and pray for that car to STOP and open the damn door already.

I didn’t know anybody at the meeting, nobody knew me, and there was no elevator. It was a shabby old house built in the 20’s, and the meeting was held in what was once the living room.

I did belong there, as it turned out, with about 20 other drunks, male & female, young & old, rich & poor, smart & simple.  Addiction knows no status, you see, it offers  equal opportunity to all.  It was just my Ego telling me I didn’t belong…….that I wasn’t ‘as bad’ as the others. Humility is what I learned in those rooms, all those years ago, and how necessary it is for recovery. Because hey, if my Ego gets in the way, it might start saying You’ve GOT This! Just Have One Drink, You’ll Be Fine. And then I wouldn’t be fine at all. I’d be off the wagon and back on my knees, enslaved once again to something that was bigger than me: addiction.

Some people on this website, and in the rest of life, dislike the word ‘surrender’ because to them it means ‘giving up’. Waving the white flag, historically, meaning one side concedes and admits defeat.  Yes, that IS what surrender means in all walks of life.  I give UP my control over booze and I admit defeat………yep, it’s stronger than I am, and I am weaker than IT.  Again……….the word humility pops up.  My ego tells me NOTHING and NOBODY is stronger than ME! Humility tells me otherwise. It speaks the truth by letting me know that I am powerless over certain things and that hey, it’s OKAY to admit that. Admitting this powerlessness is the first step to healing.

When I first got sober 21 years ago, I was still smoking cigarettes and overeating. I tackled the drinking, and once I got a handle on IT, I tackled the eating (for the umpteenth time) and then the smoking.  About 18 years ago, I had a handle on ALL of my addictive behaviors: overeating, smoking and drinking; what I refer to as the Unholy Trinity.  At that time, I was inspired to put together a sobriety reminder: a clear plastic zippered bag containing 1 cigarette, 1 candy bar, and one vodka shooter. Oddly enough, Bloody Mary’s were my drink of choice back then, so a vodka shooter was right at home with a Kit Kat and a Marlboro Lite. A piece of paper with The Serenity Prayer typed on it was also placed into that bag. When the urge to drink, eat sugar, or smoke cigarettes came on me, I’d visit that little bag in my dresser to remind me of just HOW hard it had been to get those 3 bad-boys corralled up and put to rest. I took that bag, and my Recovery, very very seriously back then.

I lost my sobriety again in 2000, when I found my birth-family and a nervous breakdown was threatening me mightily. By then, I’d started smoking again and eating sugar, too, but the final ‘failure’ was falling off the wagon. The smoking and sugar addiction I could sort of deal with, the drinking relapse was another matter. I’d let myself down BIG time, back then, and I was not in a good place, emotionally or spiritually. I went back to ALL of my drugs of choice and the little clear plastic zippered bag was disseminated one night when I really, really needed to smoke a stale cigarette that had been sitting around for years.  The candy bar had been devoured long before, in a weak moment, when I just ‘didn’t care’ about my weight or anything else for that matter.

It took me EIGHT more years to find sobriety and abstinence from sugar once again.  In June of 2008 is when I took on the 5/1, quit drinking cold turkey, and quit eating sugar in the same manner.  I was still smoking, though, up until December 4th of this year, when I quit, for GOOD, one day at a time (of course).  After quitting that nasty little habit, I re-awakened the sugar addiction & gained 14 lbs, as I blogged about recently.  Keeping all THREE under lock and key seems to be something I struggle with, historically.
Not long ago I went to Walgreens and bought a clear plastic zippered bag. I sat at my desk and typed The Serenity Prayer in size 16 font, printed it out, and cut it down to size to fit into the clear plastic zippered bag.

I’m getting all THREE addictions BACK into remission and I’m KEEPING them there nowadays. When I get tempted to eat sugar, smoke or drink, I can bring out my clear plastic zippered bag to remind me of why I DON’T want to succumb this time.  

Because, if I succumb again THIS TIME, it may take me ANOTHER EIGHTEEN YEARS to get these dreadful, hideous, miserably hateful addictions BACK INTO REMISSION and boy howdy folks, I will be 73 years old by then.  And I can tell you this for certain: I DO NOT have another ‘sobering up’ left in me. This old gal is DONE playing THIS game for GOOD.

I will live out my remaining years WITHOUT smoking, drinking or eating sugar. I will do it one day at a time by surrendering, YES SURRENDERING, my powerlessness over these three foul substances.  I will treat the Unholy Trinity with utmost respect and deathly seriousness.  I will never again utter the words, “What’s The Big Deal?” or “WHAT do you MEAN ‘trigger foods’?”  I will never again scoff at someone who says No Thank You to a luscious looking dessert or goes running away from a smoker, treating him as if he has leprosy.  I will never again delude myself that I can ‘handle’ A Drink, A Cigarette, or A Candy Bar.
I know better. Been there, done that, not going back to The Pit again (thank you Lifeisgood Cathi, my dear friend) Because the pit is dark and black……’s bottomless and it has no heart or soul. It just wants to swallow a person WHOLE and suck him down into its belly, never to be seen or heard from again.  And I’m not goin’ there, not this time.

So, if there is anyone out there that snickers at food addiction, insisting it’s not ‘real’ or ‘valid’, or certainly NOT such a bad thing like drugs or drinking or smoking, THINK AGAIN! I am here to tell you you’re right: It ISN’T as bad as drugs or drinking or smoking!

It’s far, far WORSE.

Not that the drinking & smoking albatrosses are ‘good’……they’re not…….but once they’re locked up, they’re out of sight AND out of mind.  Sugar is NEVER out of sight, and only occasionally out of mind, since our society deems it necessary to force it UPON us at every turn.  We can never be ‘rid’ of it entirely, at least whilst out of our own homes, but we CAN be done with it permanently nevertheless. That’s where I’m at right now; done bargaining with a substance that, to me, is poison.  

So, for today, I am grateful for abstinence from sugar, cigarettes & alcohol. I like to wake up every morning feeling GOOD about myself instead of miserable & hopeless. And if I suddenly feel the need to get into one of those addictive behaviors again, I’m going to visit my clear zippered bag to remember why I CANNOT.