Friday, January 31, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: January 31st

Recovery Meditations: January 31st


Do not be anxious for tomorrow;
for tomorrow will care for itself.

The Bible, book of Matthew

I've spent too much of my life worrying about the future. This was especially true with every diet I was ever on. I was always concerned about how much weight I was going to be able to lose in a certain amount of time. I always thought about tomorrow and what tomorrow would bring instead of staying in the present.

Today, my Higher Power is teaching me to keep my eyes on Him instead of on the calendar. I am more successful and more at peace when I remain in the present and follow my Higher Power's will.

One day at a time . . .
I will keep my thoughts in the present, for my Higher Power will take care of tomorrow.



Each Day a New Beginning
Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.
  —Margaret Sanger

Our desire to grow, to make a place for ourselves in the world of our friends, to know that we have counted in the lives of others, is healthy and necessary to our existence as whole women. The inner urging to move ahead, to try a new approach to an old problem, to go after a new job, to learn a new skill, is evidence of God's eternal Spirit within.

Our meaning in this life is found through following the guidance that beckons us toward these new horizons, perhaps new friends, even new locations. We can trust the urge. We can reverence the urge. It will not lead us astray, provided we do not try to lead it. We each have a special gift to express in this life among those to whom we've been led.

For years, many of us quelled the inner urge out of fear; but, fortunately, it didn't desert us. To be human is to have a constant desire to be more than we are. The fears still come, but as we move through them, with the support of other women, other friends, the program gives us the thrill of achievement. We know there is meaning in our existence.

The need to grow, to change, to affect the world around us is part of God's plan for each of us. I will trust the urge; I will let it guide my steps.

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


Food for Thought
Don't Be a Garbage Can

A garbage can is round and unprotesting as it accepts the leftovers which are stuffed into it. How many times have you treated yourself as a garbage can? As we stood up at the sink scraping what was left on the plates into ourselves, we rationalized that we just couldn't bear to waste good food. Why did we not remember the harm we were doing to our own bodies? "Is not the body more than food?" Certainly, it is more than a garbage can.

One way to eliminate waste is to prepare only what is needed for the meal. Sometimes we compulsive overeaters catch ourselves unconsciously overestimating quantities just so there will be something left to tempt us! Another way to avoid throwing out useable food is to keep a bowl in the refrigerator or freezer for scraps which can later be made into soup. We all know how to store complete servings for later use. It is the little bits here and there that get us into trouble.

If there is nothing that can be done with what is left in the bottom of the pan, then throw it away. Better to waste a small amount of food than to break abstinence, which is the most important thing in our lives.

Teach me to value my body more than food.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Asking for What We Need
One evening, I was alone, weary, and exhausted. I was in the midst of extensive traveling, disconnected from friends and family. I had flown home for the evening, but it seemed like nobody noticed. People were used to me being gone.

It was late at night, and I began arguing with God.

"I'm out there working hard. I'm lonely. I need to know someone cares. You've told me to tell you what I need and tonight, God, I particularly need the presence of male energy. I need a friend, someone I can trust to care about me in a nonsexual, nonexploitive way. I need to be held. Now, where are you?"

I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes. I was too tired to do anything but let go.

The telephone rang minutes later. It was a former colleague who had since become my friend. "Hey, kid," he said. "You sound really tired and needy. Stay right where you are. I'm going to drive out and give you a foot rub. It sounds exactly like what you need."

Half an hour later, he knocked on my door. He brought a small bottle of oil with him, and gently massaged my feet, gave me a hug, told me how much he cared about me, then left.

I smiled. I had received exactly what I asked for.

It is safe to trust God.

Today, I will remember God cares about what I need, especially if I do.

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


 Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Perfection is expressing God's will enthusiastically.

Sponsors tell us that this is a simple program we are prone to complicate. Reflecting on our lives, we probably would agree. Because we doubt that God will tell us how to handle the circumstances facing us, we aggressively move ahead, making decisions that are often not in sync with God's will and certainly not in our long-term best interests. We complicate our lives unnecessarily.

Before we came into the Twelve Step program, most of us wanted to be perfect. We worked hard and oftentimes were overachievers because we needed the praises of others. Sadly, because we too often relied solely on ourselves, we missed the mark. Now we are learning to let God direct us. Each time we fulfill God's will, we'll experience the perfection and the praises we'd sought for so long. This is a much simpler way to live.

Today I will use the Third Step every time I have a question about my life.

You are reading from the book:

A Life of My Own by Karen Casey

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: January 30th

Recovery Meditations: January 30th


...To dry my eyes and laugh at a fall, and baffled, get up and start again...
Robert Browning
(1812– 1889) British poet and playwright

When things didn't go my way, I would stamp my feet, lose my temper, and walk away. I was the world's greatest quitter!

The Twelve Step program of recovery teaches me that when I trip over something, I can pick myself up, dust myself off, and start over at any time. I can turn whatever I stumble over into an opportunity for growing and learning.

One Day at a Time . . .
When confronted by roadblocks to my recovery, I can humble myself and ask my Higher Power, "What do YOU want for me to learn from this?" I can turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones and move on in my recovery journey.

~ Linda K. ~


Each Day a New Beginning
Fortunately [psycho]analysis is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts. Life itself still remains a very effective therapist.
  —Karen Horney

The passage of time, coupled with an openness to the messages gleaned from our conversations with others, can provide answers we need for the way out of painful situations. Life is ebb and flow, peaks and valleys, struggles and sweet times. What we fail to realize, all too often, is that the struggles make possible the times that are sweet.

Our conflicts are our special lessons in life. We can learn to flow with them, move through them, trust their value to us as growing, changing women. How good it feels to have found security with one another and that power greater than ourselves who can, when we are willing, show us the path to resolution.

Life will never be free of conflict--nor should it be. Our lessons move us to higher planes of awareness. We can experience the joy hidden within the conflict. We can help one another remember that the sweetness of a moment is tied to the pain of a former, forgotten moment.

All events, all experiences, are connected. The path I travel, alone and with others, is bringing me brighter days. I will trust my path. It's right for me.

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


Food for Thought
Eat Less, Enjoy More

Before we joined OA, we were eating more and enjoying it less. The more we ate, the more fat we had to lug around, and the harder it was to do anything, much less enjoy doing it. Feeling stuffed and guilty, we often did not even enjoy what it was that we were eating.

When our bodies are not overloaded with too much food and fat, we have energy for new activities. Our minds are sharper when they are not drugged with refined carbohydrates. Our emotions are more serene and positive when we are not full of despair and self-hatred.

Freed from the terrible compulsion to eat more and more, we have time and energy to spend learning a new sport, reading a story to a child, writing a poem. Whatever we choose to do, we enjoy it more when we are not overeating.

When we abstain, we feel good about ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves, we feel good about life.

May I understand that for me, less food means more enjoyment.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Religious Freedom

"...a Power greater than ourselves...." "God as we understood Him." These words introduce spirituality in the Twelve Steps. They are the first two references to God, and they are worded that way for a reason.

We each have the freedom to define, and understand, our Higher Power - God - as we choose.

That means we do not bring our religious affiliation into our recovery groups. It means that we do not try to impose our religious beliefs, or our understanding of God, on anyone else. We do not use our groups or meetings as a soapbox to gain religious converts. We do not try to force the particulars of our religious beliefs on others.

We give each person, the right to a personal understanding of a Higher Power and ourselves.

Today, I will respect other people's understanding of God, as well as my own. I will not allow others' judgment of my beliefs to cause me anxiety and distress. I will seek to grow spiritually in recovery, with or without the assistance of a particular religion or denomination.

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


Today's thoughts from Hazelden are:
Higher Power, help me stop expecting so much from myself.
I set unrealistic standards, and when they are not met, unhappiness follows.
Help me be true to myself and only expect what I am capable of doing. As I grow in recovery and do my assignments every day, I am able to do more.
Your will provides realistic goals. Your will provides what I need to succeed.
You are reading from the book:


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: January 29th

Recovery Meditations: January 29th


Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.
Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.
Thankfulness may consist merely of words.
Gratitude is shown in acts.

David O. McKay

All the good I have ever been given in life, both before recovery and in recovery, has come from God. Even the ability to learn lessons from the bad has been one of His many gifts to me. I make gratitude lists and offer prayers of thanksgiving, but that is only the beginning. I only express true gratitude by sharing with others. I share it as experience, strength and hope at meetings. I share it by reaching out my hand to the compulsive overeater behind me and sponsoring them or befriending them. I share it by living a life that shows evidence of the realization of all that God has given me. I can only truly express my gratitude through action.

One day at a time... I will show my true gratitude by giving away to others what God has so freely given to me.

~ Vicki B. ~


Each Day a New Beginning
"I can't help it" . . . that's what we all say when we don't want to exert ourselves.
  —Eva Lathbury

Irresponsible behavior is not unfamiliar to us. Passivity is equally familiar. In the past, excusing ourselves of all responsibility prevented us from being blamed. We have learned that it also prevented us from feeling worthy, from fulfilling our potential, from feeling the excitement that comes with achievement.

Our fear of failure helped us to be irresponsible. We may still fear failure, but the program offers us an antidote. We can't fail if we have turned our lives over to our higher power. We will be shown the way to proceed. Our fellow travelers have messages for us that will smooth our path.

I have chosen recovery. I have already said, "I can help it." I will celebrate that I am taking responsibility for my life today.

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


Food for Thought
Love Has No Calories

Moving through the Twelve Steps develops new ability to love. When pride and guilt are reduced, we can relate more genuinely to those we care about. OA gives us tools, which we may use to escape the prison of self.

Our false defenses begin to crumble. As we learn to accept and love ourselves by the grace of God, we can reach out to others and give to them. Overeating destroys us; loving makes us strong. Growing in the program, we love more and give more. In return, we are given new joy and satisfaction.

Loving more may begin with the simple act of writing down the phone number of a fellow OA member and calling sometime during the week. It may mean taking five minutes to fully concentrate on what a child or a friend is trying to say. Food is no substitute for interpersonal relationships. We need to nurture the ones we have and build new ones as we become less dependent on eating and more committed to loving.

Teach me Your love, dear God.

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

The Language of Letting Go
Going to Meetings

I am still amazed, after years of recovering, at how easily I can begin to talk myself out of attending meetings. I am also still amazed at how good I feel when I go.

We don't have to stay stuck in our misery and discomfort. An immediate option is available that will help us feel better: go to a meeting, a Twelve Step support group.

Why resist what can help us feel better? Why sit in our obsession or depression when attending a meeting - even if that means an extra meeting - would help us feel better?

Too busy?
There are 168 hours in each week. Taking one or two hours a week for a meeting can maximize the potential of the remaining 166 hours. If we get into our "codependent stuff," we can easily spend a majority of our waking hours obsessing, sitting and doing nothing, lying in bed and feeling depressed, or chasing after other people's needs. Not taking those two hours for a meeting can cause us to waste the remaining hours.

Too tired?
There is nothing as invigorating as getting back on track. Going to a meeting can accomplish that.

Today, I will remember that going to meetings helps.

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

 Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Although the act of nurturing another's spiritual growth has the effect of nurturing one's own, a major characteristic of genuine love is that the distinction between oneself and the other is always maintained and preserved.
--M. Scott Peck. M.D.

Those we love must be free to love us in return, or leave us. The honest evidence of our love is our commitment to encouraging another's full development. We are interdependent personalities who need one another's presence in order to fulfill our destiny. And yet, we are also separate individuals. We must come to terms with our struggles alone.

One gift of life available to each of us is security, the sense that accompanies the recognition of our spiritual center. Helping someone else discover their spiritual gifts strengthens our own. Nothing is too difficult when we act in unison as separate entities, relying on the spiritual core that strengthens us to meet any situation.

My own spiritual center will be strengthened if I help someone.

You are reading from the book:

The Promise of a New Day by Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: January 28th

Recovery Meditations: January 28th


Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill
(1874 – 1965) a highly decorated British politician who served as Prime Minister of the U.K.

My life before program consisted of one failure after the next. I could never master success with my eating, much less with my life in general.

Once I came into these rooms and started working the Twelve Steps, with a God of my understanding and the knowledge that God is in control of all in my life, I began to realize that life is NOT a series of failures, only slow successes.

One Day at a Time . . .
I am a success if I keep on trying regardless of the outcome, because it is truly God's will for me.

~ Linda K. ~


Each Day a New Beginning
I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.
  —Billie Jean King

Champions are made. How lucky we are to have the Steps to guide us to become champions. The program promises us self-awareness, but we have to put forth the effort. And the process isn't always easy. We have liabilities, all of us, and it's generally easier to see them than our assets. Self-awareness is recognizing both. To become a champion, whether as an athlete, a homemaker, a teacher, a secretary, or an attorney, is to maximize the assets and minimize the liabilities, but to accept the existence of both. The program that we share offers us daily opportunities to know ourselves, to help other women know themselves, and to strengthen our assets along the way. We can feel our assets growing, and it feels good. We can see our liabilities diminish, and it feels good. The program offers us a

I can strengthen my assets, first by knowing them, and then by emphasizing them repeatedly. I'll focus on one today.

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


Food for Thought
Blessed Are the Hungry

When we are sated and overly full of food, there is no room left for the spirit. We feel like taking a nap, rather than working productively or playing enjoyably. During our overeating careers, how many hours have we wasted in bed, sleeping off the effects of a binge?

To eat no more than is necessary is to maintain our minds and bodies in a state of alertness and readiness for action. To say no to the sugars and starches which throw our blood sugar out of balance is to keep our energy level on an even keel.

As we lose excess weight and get rid of debilitating fat, we will probably experience some periods of hunger. There is nothing wrong with being hungry. Often it is when we are hungry that we are most humble and ready to listen to our Higher Power.

To accept physical hunger with serenity is to be spiritually strong.

I pray that my hunger may bring me closer to You, Lord.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Staying in the Present Moment

Often, one of our biggest questions is "What's going to happen?" We may ask this about our relationships, our career, our recovery, and our life. It is easy to tangle us up in worrisome thoughts.

Worrying about what's going to happen blocks us from functioning effectively today. It keeps us from doing our best now. It blocks us from learning and mastering today's lessons. Staying in the now, doing our best, and participating fully today are all we need to do to assure ourselves that what's going to happen tomorrow will be for the best.

Worrying about what's going to happen is a negative contribution to our future. Living in the here and now is ultimately the best thing we can do, not only for today, but also for tomorrow. It helps our relationships, our career, our recovery, and our life.

Things will work out, if we let them. If we must focus on the future other than to plan, all we need to do is affirm that it will be good.

I pray for faith that my future will be good if I live today well, and in peace. I will remember that staying in the present is the best thing I can do for my future. I will focus on what's happening now instead of what's going to happen tomorrow.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:
A spiritual life is natural

Conscious Contact. Coming into what is clearly a spiritual program, we may have been fearful that our own unworthiness would hold us back. We may have believed that a spiritual life and a "conscious contact" with God are reserved for a few people with saintly qualities.

What we must know is that the spiritual life is every person's right. It includes the human qualities that have brought our greatest progress. "The spirit of the thing" is an ordinary phrase, but it expresses the presence of a Higher Power in our lives.

What's most useful to know is that we can contact our Higher Power at any time, in any place. This can be extremely important when we are in very bad situations. We always have a Higher Power to pull us through and to set things right in our lives. That's our birthright as human beings.

I'll turn to my Higher Power frequently throughout the day, if only for a few moments each time. This will keep me on the right path.

You are reading from the book:


Monday, January 27, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: January 27th

Recovery Meditations: January 27th


We can try to avoid making choices by doing nothing ...
but even that is a decision.
Gary Collins, PhD.
Clinical psychologist and well-known author in the field of counseling

I can't recall if I ever learned that I had choices. I think it's something a person learns as they grow up, but in my home, it was pretty much Mom's way or the highway, and she had us all so scared of the highway that even THAT wasn't much of a choice!

Imagine my utter shock when I came into the Twelve Step rooms and heard I had choices! I was a married woman by that time, one who had gone along with what everyone else said about anything and everything, and the only choice I seemed to make was how much I'd binge that day, if I'd purge, or if I'd be anorexic. Even that choice wasn't in my hands, but in the hands of my disease.

In these recovery rooms I slowly learned about making choices and the responsibility that went with them. It's been a freedom. It's also allowed me to feel like an adult. As a young child I was put in the position of doing things only adults should be doing. So on one hand, I knew I had done things way before "my time." Yet I still felt immature and naive. Learning to make my own choices and decisions has helped me to feel more mature and confident.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will not fear making difficult decisions. I will remember I can use the principles of the program to help me make the proper choice.

~ Rhonda ~

Each Day a New Beginning
Surviving meant being born over and over.
—Erica Jong

We have decided to live. And each day we make the decision anew. Each time we call a friend, work a Step, or go to a meeting, we are renewing our contract with life. We are being reborn. Before coming to this program we died, emotionally and spiritually, many times. Some of us nearly died physically. But here we are, starting a new day, looking for guidance from one another. We are the survivors. And survival is there for the taking.

We will have days when we struggle with our decision to live. We will want to throw in the towel. We will want to give in or give up. But we've learned from one another about choices. And the choice to survive, knowing we never have to do it alone, gets easier with time.

I am one of the survivors. Today is my day for celebration.

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


Food for Thought
Enough Is a Feast

The frantic search for more and more has characterized many of our lives. We believed that if only we had more money, more clothes, more sex, more food, and more things - we would be happy and satisfied.

The more we consume, the more miserable we become. No amount of material things will satisfy our emotional and spiritual hunger. We learn to know our Higher Power, and we learn that He satisfies our need, not our greed. He feeds our hearts and our spirits with the abundance of His love, and when we are strengthened spiritually, physical control is possible.

Our measured food plan fills our bodily needs. The measured amount is enough. We accept it and become comfortable with it. More than that, we learn the truth of the ancient Zen saying that "Enough is a feast."

May I be content with enough instead of grasping for more.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Needing People

We can find the balance between needing people too much and not letting ourselves need anyone at all.

Many of us have unmet dependency needs lingering from the past. While we want others to fulfill our desire to be loved unconditionally, we may have chosen people who cannot, or will not, be there for us. Some of us are so needy from not being loved that we drive people away by needing them too much.

Some of us go to the other extreme. We may have become used to people not being there for us, so we push them away. We fight off our feelings of neediness by becoming overly independent, not allowing ourselves to need anyone. Some of us won't let people be there for us.

Either way, we are living out unfinished business. We deserve better. When we change, our circumstances will change.

If we are too needy, we respond to that by accepting the needy part of us. We let ourselves heal from the pain of past needs going unmet. We stop telling ourselves we're unlovable because we haven't been loved the way we wanted and needed.

If we have shut off the part of us that needs people, we become willing to open up, be vulnerable, and let ourselves be loved. We let ourselves have needs.

We will get the love we need and desire when we begin to believe we're lovable, and when we allow that to happen.

Today, I will strive for the balance between being too needy and not allowing myself to need people. I will let myself receive the law that is there for me.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

In three words I can sum up everything
I've learned about life:
It goes on.
--Robert Frost

Most of us are afraid of anything we can't control. Life is one of these things. During our drinking and drugging days, we had checked out of life. We were sitting on the sidelines, pretending we could get back into it whenever we wanted. But life went on without us. Friends built careers and loving families, and we fell behind. Friends built deeper intimate relationships. They became skillful at living a life of values and communicating with their Higher Power. We fell behind.

Working the Steps requires us to get working. Ours is a program of action. At times we will want to stop and sit on the side of the road again. But we must go on! Go and be of service. Go talk to a friend. Go to an extra meeting. We got sober to have a life, not to sit on the sidelines. We must be recovery in motion, living a program of action.

Prayer for the Day

Place me in the middle of life, Higher Power.
Help me be a person of action. When fear says, "Stop!"
Please whisper in my ear, "Go on, go on!"

Today's Action

Today I will be active and involved in my program and in life. I will be a doer not a watcher.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: January 26th

Recovery Meditations: January 26th

~ HOPE ~

In the hour of adversity be not without hope,
For crystal rain falls from black clouds.

Persian poem

When I was a child, I lived in a fantasy world and dreamed of all the wonderful things that would happen to me when I grew up. I would have a wonderful husband, beautiful children, a fulfilling job and, of course, I would be thin. Unfortunately the fantasy never materialized, and even when I did lose weight my life wasn't the perfect life that I had envisioned. I would lose weight and then promptly regain it. Life in general seemed so empty and futile. No matter how hard I tried, nothing seemed to work. I hated myself and my life; it often seemed pointless to go on.

When I walked into the doors of the first meeting I ever attended, there was something on the faces of the people I met there. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I saw something that I wanted. It wasn't that they were all thin, because many of them were not. So what was it that these people had that I didn't? What they had was the hope of recovery. If they were willing to reach out to a Higher Power of their understanding, and if they would work the program one day at a time, then this would guarantee them recovery.

I didn't know what recovery meant then. Because all I wanted was to lose weight, and because I wanted what they had, I was prepared to do what they were doing. I realized then that it wasn't only about the weight, although that does play a part. These people were learning how to live their life sanely, and even when they struggled with life, as we do from time to time, there was always the hope that they could get through those difficult times by using the tools and reaching out to others in the fellowship.

One Day at a Time . . .
Even when I am going through difficult times and the future looks gloomy, I have hope that it will get better if I'm willing to work a simple program.

~ Sharon S. ~


Each Day a New Beginning
You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face, And show the world all the love in your heart,
Then people gonna treat you better.
You're gonna find, yes, you will,
That you're beautiful, as you feel.
—Carole King

"Act as if." There's magic in behaving the way we want to be, even though we don't yet feel it. The behavior seems to lead the way. The attitude, the mental state, follows.

Many days we may not get up with love in our hearts for our family, our friends, our co-workers. We may, in fact, want them to show their love for us first. But if we reach out, give love unconditionally; focus on another's needs, love will return tenfold. And the act of loving them will lift our own spirits. We will know love; we will feel love for ourselves and the many other persons close to us.

The attitude we cultivate, whether one of love or selfishness, inferiority or superiority, will determine how the events of our lives affect us. The principle is so simple. If we meet life with love, with a smile, we'll find love and something to smile about.

My attitude will make this day what it becomes. Meeting it head-on, with love, will assure me of a lovely day.


Food for Thought

There is a saying in our group to the effect that if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. If we do not have a food plan each day, we leave ourselves vulnerable to the attack of impulse and old habit.

Most of us find that we need to write down our three measured meals. Many of us continue to call them in to a food sponsor, even after the initial twenty-one days of abstinence. We can then go about the activities of the day without worrying about what we will eat. We become free to live without being obsessed with food.

Our pride often balks at the thought of calling another person and asking for help. We do not like to be committed to an eating plan. Let's remember that we tried to go it alone our own way, and that old way did not work. Let's be willing to try a new way that has worked for hundreds of OA members who are now at normal weight.

By Thy Grace, Lord, may I follow my food plan today.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Off The Hook

We can learn not to get hooked into unhealthy, self-defeating behaviors in relationships - behaviors such as caretaking, controlling, discounting ourselves, and believing lies.

We can learn to watch for and identify hooks, and choose not to allow ourselves to be hooked.

Often, people do things consciously or without thinking that pulls us into a series of our self-defeating behaviors we call codependency. More often than not, these hooks can be almost deliberate, and the results predictable.

Someone may stand before us and hint or sigh about a problem, knowing or hoping that hint or sigh will hook us into taking care of him or her. That is manipulation.

When people stand around us and hint and sigh about something, then coyly say, "Oh, never mind, that's not for you to worry about," that's a game. We need to recognize it. We're about to get sucked in, if we allow that to happen.

We can learn to insist that people ask us directly for what they want and need.

What are the words, the signs, the looks, the hints, and the cues that hook us into a predictable and often self-defeating behavior?

What makes you feel sympathy? Guilt? Responsible for another?

Our strong point is that we care so much. Our weak point is that we often underestimate the people with whom we're dealing. They know what they're doing. It is time we give up our naive assumption that people don't follow agendas of their own in their best interest, and not necessarily in ours.

We also want to check ourselves out. Do we give out hooks, looks, hints, hoping to hook another? We need to insist that we behave in a direct and honest manner with others, instead of expecting them to rescue us.

If someone wants something from us, insist that the person ask us directly for it. Require the same from us. If someone baits the hook, we don't have to bite it.

Today, I will be aware of the hooks that snag me into the caretaking acts that leave me feeling victimized. I will ignore the hints, looks, and words that hook me, and wait for the directness and honesty others, and I deserve.

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


 Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Being able to be wrong

We had to compete with everyone, sometimes subtly, sometimes less subtly. We always had to be right, to be wrong seemed unbearable. We could never seem to bring ourselves to say simply, "I was wrong." We were afraid of what would happen to us if we did. Our egos were very fragile; we were never as strong as we had led ourselves to believe.

We came to discover, however, that real strength comes from being able to be wrong and from being willing to change our ways of thinking and living.

Can I face being wrong and learn from it?

Higher Power, help me realize each day that it is okay to be wrong, that real communication with other people depends on my being willing to see other points of view, and that being teachable is a divine quality.

You are reading from the book:

Day by Day - Second Edition by Anonymous

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: January 25th

Recovery Meditations: January 25th


Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind.
Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time.

Eileen Caddy

As a child, teen, and young adult, I was sexually, emotionally, mentally and physically abused. I was neglected as well. By the time I was a young woman, the "abuse" was history, and I was left dealing with a very sick family. But I could not let go of my abused past!

The abuse became the topic of every conversation I had. Anything I saw on TV or read in a book or newspaper brought to mind the past. I awoke in the middle of the night to relive my childhood nightmares for a few hours before crying myself back to sleep. I spent entire days staring at the television, eating to numb myself from my pain and anger.

Eventually, I wanted more from my life. I became disgusted with myself and what my life had become. I was led to a Twelve Step group. There I learned how to let go of the past, to work through it, to make amends for my part in things, and to forgive those who abused me.

Today, when I discuss the abuse I suffered, which is seldom, I can do so without the anger and pain bubbling up. I can help others with my story, and then I can let it go. It is my history, but it's no longer ruling my present.

Like Thomas Raddall said, "Don't brood on what's past, but never forget it either."

One Day at a Time . . .
I will make amends and forgive others, not for them, but for me. I pray to live in today, to make it the best day I can.

~ Rhonda ~


 Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Being true

We believe we can become beautiful people, free of addiction. With belief in a Power greater than ourselves, our Twelve Step program, and the fellowship, we don't have to stay where we were. Our purpose in life is to stay sober and clean.

Our Higher Power knows our true purpose in life and will help us. Our Higher Power knows what we are capable of becoming, although others may misjudge us.

Am I staying true to my purpose?

I pray that I may see the good within me and remain true to my purpose.

You are reading from the book:

Day by Day - Second Edition by Anonymous


Each Day a New Beginning
The time of discipline began. Each of us the pupil of whichever one of us could best teach what each of us needed to learn.
—Maria Isabel Barreno

"When the pupil is ready, the teacher appears." Life's lessons often come unexpectedly. They come, nevertheless, and they come according to a time frame that is Divine. As we grow emotionally and spiritually, we are readied for further lessons for which teachers will appear. Perhaps the teacher will be a loving relationship, a difficult loss, or a truant child. The time of learning is seldom free from pain and questioning. But from these experiences and what they can teach us, we are ready to learn. As we are ready, they come.

We all enjoy the easy times when the sailing is smooth, when all is well, when we are feeling no pain. And these periods serve a purpose. They shore us up for the lessons which carry us to a stronger recovery, to a stronger sense of ourselves. To understand that all is well, throughout the learning process, is the basic lesson we need to learn. All is well. The teacher is the guide up the next rung of the ladder.

Let me be grateful for my lessons today and know that all is well.

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


Food for Thought
Sharpening Our Tools

What we do each day is not as important as how we do it. If we are abstaining, working the program, and staying in touch with the Higher Power, then whatever we do during the day will go as it should.

When we get careless and sloppy with abstinence, neglect to use the tools of OA recovery, forget the Twelve Steps, then we may expect trouble. When we are out of touch with our Higher Power and our OA friends, then nothing seems to go as it should.

If you feel yourself becoming careless, then make that neglected phone call, read and re-read the literature, go to a meeting today. Listen within yourself for the quiet voice God uses to give you enthusiasm and direction.

We may each become God's tool if we keep ourselves in good working order through this program.

Make me an effective tool to do Your will.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Step One

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  —Step One of Al-Anon

There are many different versions of the First Step for recovering codependents. Some of us admit powerlessness over alcohol or another's alcoholism. Some of us admit powerlessness over people; some over the impact of growing up in an alcoholic family.

One of the most significant words in the First Step is the word we. We come together because of a common problem, and, in the coming together, we find a common solution.

Through the fellowship of Twelve Step programs, many of us discover that although we may have felt alone in our pain, others have experienced a similar suffering. And now many are joining hands in a similar recovery.

We. A significant part of recovery. A shared experience. A shared strength, stronger for the sharing. A shared hope - for better lives and relationships.

Today, I will be grateful for the many people across the world who call themselves "recovering codependents." Help me know that each time one of us takes a step forward, we pull the entire group forward.

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

Friday, January 24, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: January 24th

Recovery Meditations: January 24th


Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money,
than circumstances, than what people do or say.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.

Charles Swindoll

I can't remember ever having a consistently good attitude. When I was younger, I usually wore a mask of a good attitude, so many people were attracted to the mask but not to the real me, and I knew it. It didn't help my attitude grow more positive.

Coming into the Twelve Step program, my attitude was all negative. My theory was that if I expected the worst from everyone and everything, if by chance I got something better, I could be pleasantly surprised. This makes me laugh now. With that attitude, would ANYTHING ever be considered good enough to "pleasantly surprise" me? No, and it didn't. I ignored the many good things that happened--or I created a dark side to them.

In a meeting, I once heard that positives attract positives, and negatives attract negatives. This has stuck with me for years. It might be a scientific thing, but for me it refers to attitude. When I make the choice to be in a bad mood, I struggle through the day. Nothing seems to go right, and if it does, I don't notice it or appreciate it. When I make the simple choice to be in a good mood despite whatever problems I'm facing, good things happen to me. People smile back, elevating my mood. I can find humor in things around me. The sun is shining even on a rainy day. It's all up to me.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will make the choice to be happy for just today. I will look for the good in myself, in others and in the situations around me. I will keep my attitude positive.

~ Rhonda ~


Each Day a New Beginning
I look in the mirror through the eyes of the child that was me.
—Judy Collins

The child within each of us is fragile, but very much alive, and she interprets our experiences before we are even conscious of them. It is our child who may fear new places, unfamiliar people, strange situations. Our child needs nurturing, the kind she may not have received in the past. We can take her hand, coax her along, let her know she won't be abandoned. No new place, unfamiliar person, or strange situation need overwhelm her.

It's quite amazing the strength that comes to us when we nurture ourselves, when we acknowledge the scared child within and hold her, making her secure. We face nothing alone. Together, we can face anything.

I will take care of my child today and won't abandon her to face, alone, any of the experiences the day may bring.

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


Food for Thought

It is the suffering we experience as a result of overeating compulsively, which eventually makes us humble enough to admit that we are powerless over food. Until we have the necessary humility, recovery is impossible. As long as we think we can successfully control and direct our lives by ourselves, we shall continue to fail.

Some of us hit bottom sooner than others. If we are lucky, we can see where the disease is leading us and what the inevitable result will be if we do not find help from a source outside ourselves. Whether we hit a high bottom or a low bottom, when we finally reach it the only way to go is up. When we are humble enough to seek help by turning over our will, we shall find the help we need.

Maintaining an attitude of humility is essential for our recovery. If we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of pride and egotism, we are headed for a slip. Understanding our weakness and dependence on God is the beginning of strength.

May I be granted humility.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Clearing the Slate

One of the greatest gifts we can give is an open, loving heart. And holding on to negative feelings from past relationships is our greatest barrier to that gift.

Most of us have had relationships that have ended. When we examine these relationships, we need to clear the emotional slate. Are we holding on to anger or resentments? Are we still feeling victimized? Are we living with the self-defeating beliefs that may be attached to these relationships - Women can't be trusted.... Bosses use people.... There is no such thing as a good relationship....

Let go of all that may be blocking your relationships today. With great certainty, we can know that old feelings and self-defeating beliefs will block us today from giving and getting the love we desire. We can clear the slate of the past. It begins with awareness, honesty, and openness. The process is complete when we reach a state of acceptance and peace toward all from our past.

Today, I will begin the process of letting go of all self-defeating feelings and beliefs connected to past relationships. I will clear my slate so I am free to love and be loved.

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

Today's thought from Hazelden is:
Example is the lesson that all men can read.
-- Gilbert West

Patterning our lives after others is familiar. Maybe as kids we emulated "toughies" or the teacher's pet. As we grew, the criteria changed, but we sought role models, nonetheless. The career we chose and the family relationships we developed may have been inspired by the example of another. Today may be no different. Seeing our friends and acquaintances pursue paths unlike our own gives us ideas to explore. How lucky we are that teaching is never done and learning is merely a decision.

The only thing that has actually changed is our age. The opportunities for growth continue to flow. Our purpose for being here remains the same. Our responsibility to ourselves never abates. It's comforting to count on these things. It makes our choices simpler.

There's always the right step to take, the right response to make, the right attitude to foster. But if ever we're in doubt, the impulse to forgive and to love will never be wrong.

My action today may be an important example for a friend. I pray to choose my steps and words wisely.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Today's Thought from Hazelden: January 23rd

Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Focusing on Solutions

If we are to learn to cope with our illness and our life, we must begin focusing on solutions, not just on our problems.

But this means we must change our attitude and outlook. We can no longer live as if there are only problems in our lives. We can no longer consider ourselves victims and hold on to the attitude that our life will never change. Nor can we continue to be consumed by self-pity. If so, we will fail to take responsibility for finding solutions. We will continue to live within what we have grown to know so well: our problems.

Do I let my problems define me today or do I seek solutions?

Thought for the Day

For every problem there is a solution.


Why people self-sabotage their happiness

Confession time: For many years I used to be what I call an “enterpainer.” I loved to entertain friends with my pain, sharing amusing stories full of woes and miffed-ness.

One day I discovered a psychological concept which really woke me up—and motivated me to change my “enterpaining ways.” I’m excited to share this concept with you, because I believe it might motivate you as well.

The concept? “Masochistic equilibrium.”

When I first heard these words, I immediately wondered what they meant. I found out they represent a truly important psychological theory—one which clearly explains how and why sometimes a person’s comfort zone might actually be to stay in discomfort.

It’s like this: As a child you learned habits on love and happiness from your parents. If you learned that love comes with yelling and insults, then being in a relationship with too much peace and too many compliments might actually inspire anxiety. Snagging an abundance of joy might also trigger you to self-sabotage your happiness in order to maintain that “masochistic equilibrium” which you learned in your childhood. Or you might simply choose scenarios from the get-go which bring you lower levels of love and bliss.

Basically, you grew up in your childhood learning to feel comfy with only a certain level of happiness. Maybe you grew up used to eighty percent happiness. Or only seventy-five percent. Or seventeen percent. When this concentration shifts—even if it’s upwards—you will then start to feel twitchy, because this new zone feels so unfamiliar. As a result you might instinctively want to do something self-sabotaging, so you can shift your happiness concentration back down, down, down, down, down to your familiar zone—your “masochistic equilibrium.” Or, as mentioned above, you might simply choose situations right from the start which bring you a familiar level of pain, so as to match the “masochistic equilibrium” you grew up with.

How do you break free from the shackles of “masochistic equilibrium”?

You must one hundred percent accept that you do a lot of the goofier things you do because of negative childhood brainwashing—what I call “brain dirtying”—because your lens to the world gets dirtied with negative beliefs that you must wipe clean. Then, and only then, can you clearly see new paths to getting the life you desire and deserve.

One of the best ways to wipe your braindirtied lens clean is to seek alternate positive lessons in past pain. I call this possessing “pain-a-ramic” vision: You see the problems of your past with a full 180-degree positive perspective.


A) Relax your mind. Breathe deeply. Enter a meditative state.

B) Dare to think about your most painful incidents.

C) Force yourself to answer the following: What is a positive and/or lucky way to learn from the past and thereby attain some gain in my pain? List five positive lessons—so you can start to forgive your past—and move forward in a more positive direction.

After you get done blaming your past for present pain, you must also accept some responsibility. After all, you’ve been an adult (or adult-ish) (and maybe even just plain ol’ doltish) for a while now. Although your troublemaking subconscious has gotten you into some painful relationships and challenging situations, the time has come for you to show your cerebrum who’s boss and stop allowing those painful misadventures.


A) Next time you’re tempted to settle for a pattern of pain, repeat the following mantra: “I am not my past behavior. I am not my past failures. I am not how others have at one time treated me. I am only who I think I am right now in this moment. I am only what I do right now in this moment.”

B) Find examples of consistently happy, loving couples, and truly happy people. Spend as much time as possible with them so you can start to shift your belief system to what “normal love” and “normal happiness” are. Over time, you will begin to view highly positive situations as examples for your new normal. The more you witness positive examples of love and joy, the more opportunity you will have to change your belief system about life—and thereby start to change your “masochistic equilibrium.”

C) Talk with any family members you feel that you can be open with about this concept. You’ll find that the more you can be honest about repressed feelings and share them, the less troublemaking your subconscious will need to be.

D) Recognize that you have triggers that remind you of past pain and might thereby create a downward spiral of negative thinking and behavior. Clear your life of these depressing triggers. For example, you might want to remove items from your home that your ex-spouse has given you.  Instead, get “trigger happy” and focus on positive triggers that remind you of all your happy relationships. For example, you might want to put up photos in your home that represent happy times, happy people, or happy philosophies you want to live by.

E) Finally, there’s an added sneaky reason why painful patterns form: a theory à la Carl Jung. He believed that our lives need meaning and purpose. If we don’t have meaning and purpose, we acquire a bad habit in order to create drama and excitement—so we feel like there’s something interesting and entertaining happening in our life—even if it’s a bad exciting thing.  Jung’s name for these patterns of “enterpaining” situations was “low-level spiritual quests.”

The good news: You can more readily dump negative patterns of “low-level spiritual quests” by developing “high-level spiritual quests”—a driving positive force that drives you forward. For example, it’s easier to dump negative patterns in love (which give you drama and “enterpaining stories” to tell) , if you develop a  exciting hobby or passion-project to serve as your “high-level spiritual quest” (which then gives you excitement and happy entertaining stories to tell).

Personally, I discovered lots of reading and writing of books, which then filled my life with  far more entertaining things to talk about, and lessened my need for “enterpainment.”  However, “high-level spiritual quests” can show up in a variety of forms. You might consider taking up cycling, skydiving, painting, scuba diving, or international cooking. You might start training for a marathon. Or plan a trip to some place exotic.

Who knows? Maybe in the process you’ll meet an incredibly wonderful person (or people), and you’ll have some of your most entertaining stories ever told to share!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: January 22nd

Recovery Meditations: January 22nd


The only ones among you who will be really happy
are those who will have sought and found how to serve.

Albert Schweitzer

In my first few 12 step meetings, I was so angry. On one hand, I didn't think I needed to be there, although deep inside, I knew I did. People were nice enough, greeted me, made me feel welcome, but I kept myself apart with my anger. I was angry that there seemed to be a small core group of members who attended weekly and obviously knew each other well. I didn't think they'd let me in their inner group; I didn't get invited.

Next, I tried to get the program without working the Steps. That inner group talked about the Steps all the time. I'd show them how good I was; I'd get the program, get the recovery they'd gotten, by taking a shorter route. The Steps were for dummies, and I wasn't dumb. I quickly found out the Steps are the only way to get the 12 step program, hence its name.

I struggled for a long time. Then I started giving service to my group. It started off by simply straightening up the room because I always got there early. I asked for a key so I could put out the books. I started greeting newcomers, who usually showed up early. When the person who'd signed on to do the topic didn't make it one week, I agreed to lead the meeting.

To my shock, I was giving service. In looking back at my first weeks in the program, I realized that the "inner core" of my home group had become my very good friends. When had I been asked in? Never. I joined when I began to give service and became one of them, the service-givers to the group. I learned why they seemed to have such effortless growth-- it came from giving service. With service I always get back much more than I put in.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will remember to give of myself. I will remember that giving service in the program gives me so many gifts in return.

~ Rhonda ~


Each Day a New Beginning
One cannot have wisdom without living life.
—Dorothy McCall

Living life means responding, wholly, to our joys and our pitfalls. It means not avoiding the experiences or activities that we fear we can't handle. Only through our survival of them do we come to know who we really are; we come to understand the strength available to us at every moment. And that is wisdom.

When we approach life tentatively, we reap only a portion of its gifts. It's like watching a movie in black and white that's supposed to be in Technicolor. Our lives are in color, but we must have courage to let the colors emerge, to feel them, absorb them, be changed by them. Within our depths, we find our true selves. The complexities of life teach us wisdom. And becoming wise eases the many pitfalls in our path.

Living life is much more than just being alive. I can choose to jump in with both feet. Wisdom awaits me in the depths.

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


Food for Thought
There Is No Such Thing as "Have To"

The serenity and insight, which we gain from this program, help us realize that we do not have to do anything. There is always a choice. We may even choose not to live.

Our lives are gifts from our Higher Power, and the choice of what to do with them is ours. We can continue to overeat and watch our illness get progressively worse. We can isolate ourselves from other people and console ourselves with food. We can do as little as possible each day just in order to survive.

We do not have to follow the program; we also do not have to overeat. We do not have to turn our lives over to God; we also do not have to continue to bear the burden of self and self-will. It is a proven fact of experience for countless people that the most satisfying thing to do with the life given to each of us is to give it back to our Higher Power to use as He wills.

Thank You for my freedom, Lord.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Appreciating Our Past

It is easy to be negative about past mistakes and unhappiness. But it is much more healing to look at ourselves and our past in the light of experience, acceptance, and growth. Our past is a series of lessons that advance us to higher levels of living and loving.

The relationships we entered, stayed in, or ended taught us necessary lessons. Some of us have emerged from the most painful circumstances with strong insights about who we are and what we want.

Our mistakes? Necessary. Our frustrations, failures, and sometimes-stumbling attempts at growth and progress? Necessary too.

Each step of the way, we learned. We went through exactly the experiences we needed to, to become who we are today.  Each step of the way, we progressed.

Is our past a mistake? No. The only mistake we can make is mistaking that for the truth.

Today, God, help me let go of negative thoughts I may be harboring about my past circumstances or relationships. I can accept, with gratitude, all that has brought me to today.

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


 Today's thought from Hazelden is:

A crisis is an opportunity to rely on our Higher Power.

When we came to this program, we were told right away that a Higher Power is watching out for us and that we can look to that Power whenever we want guidance or peacefulness. Let's not resist this invitation.

Most of us had daily crises before turning to this program for help. Our attempts to control other people caused many of these crises. So did our reactions to the natural ebb and flow of human existence. Now we have to take the plunge and begin to rely on our God, however we understand God, to show us the way to handle every experience that's part of our Divine unfolding.

I will look to God today, and every experience will make sense in the whole of my existence.

You are reading from the book:

A Life of My Own by Karen Casey