Friday, February 28, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: February 28th

Recovery Meditations: February 28th


The people who get on in the world are the people
who get up and look for the circumstances they want.

George Bernard Shaw

There was a time, not so long ago, that my life was much different than it is right now. My weight was skyrocketing because my eating compulsion was out of control. I couldn't walk very far without huffing and puffing. My lower back hurt because my stomach pulled my spine out of alignment. My feet and ankles were swollen, my knees hurt, just standing was painful. I was hot all the time because my fat acted as insulation, keeping my body temperature high. My wife was hounding me about losing the weight, my doctor was taking her side, and even the kids at my son's daycare were asking me why I was so big.

I didn't start the recovery process (and it IS a process!) until I got to the point where I was so uncomfortable with myself that I had to do something. It wasn't just that I was physically uncomfortable. I had to get past the comfort zone I had mentally and emotionally set up for myself; I had to get uncomfortable. I had to jump into the unknown, which was the most frightening thing I'd ever done.

Sitting around, moaning about my circumstances and suffering the physical consequences of my weight, didn't get me anywhere. It was only when I became ready to see my life change, mentally, emotionally AND physically, that I began the footwork of this Program. That was the key to the beginning of my recovery, the getting up and actually doing something about it. When I took that first Step, the miracle began.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will take the necessary steps to maintain my
recovery from compulsive eating.

~ JAR ~


Each Day a New Beginning
The weariest night, the longest day, sooner or later must perforce come to an end.
  —Baroness Orczy

The difficult spells in our lives come to an end. And no matter the depth of our disturbance, we will survive. We forget that the depths teach us how to better appreciate the heights.

Sorrow heightens joy. Depression heightens laughter. We wouldn't know the joys and laughter were it not for the sorrows. In them we learn to be patient, waiting for the wisdom which will light our way. In them we learn to listen for the guidance that beckons us forth.

We must reflect on the troubling experiences we've passed through of late. They made us wiser; they gave us strength. They changed us, moving us ever closer to the women, whole and happy, we desire to be.

Difficulties often precede enlightenment. They pull us inward, perhaps push us to search for our connectedness to God, a connectedness that is at home in our hearts. The paradox is that these painful periods strengthen our oneness with the Spirit.

If the day looks bleak, I will accept it as a hand reaching toward me, to pull me forward, to secure my place in the spiritual family.

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


Food for Thought
Conserving Resources

In this fight against compulsive overeating, we need all the strength we can muster. We can learn to conserve our energy for what is important, rather than wasting it on non-essential activities.

An extra hour of sleep may do more for our program than an hour spent reading a novel or watching television. We have to guard against compulsive over-activity as well as overeating. Often, we tend to push too hard to complete something which can just as well wait until tomorrow. If we are tired, we are less able to resist temptation.

Choosing the foods, which will provide us with necessary proteins, vitamins, and minerals, is a vital part of maintaining energy. To take care of our bodies is to nurture the most valuable physical resource we have.

Conserving our resources often means saying no to people and activities, which drain them unnecessarily. Only we ourselves, with the guidance of our Higher Power, can decide how best to use the strength and energy we have.

Teach me to conserve the resources You have given me. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Letting Go of Denial

We are slow to believe that which, if believed, would hurt our feelings.

Most of us in recovery have engaged in denial from time to time. Some of us relied on this tool.

We may have denied events or feelings from our past. We may have denied other people's problems; we may have denied our own problems, feelings, thoughts, wants, or needs. We denied the truth.

Denial means we didn't let ourselves face reality, usually because facing that particular reality would hurt. It would be a loss of something: trust, love, family, perhaps a marriage, a friendship, or a dream. And it hurts to lose something or someone.

Denial is a protective device, a shock absorber for the soul. It prevents us from acknowledging reality until we feel prepared to cope with that particular reality. People can shout and scream the truth at us, but we will not see or hear it until we are ready.

We are sturdy yet fragile beings. Sometimes, we need time to get prepared, time to ready ourselves to cope. We do not let go of our need to deny by beating ourselves into acceptance; we let go of our need to deny by allowing ourselves to become safe and strong enough to cope with the truth.

We will do this, when the time is right. We do not need to punish ourselves for having denied reality; we need only love ourselves into safety and strength so that each day we are better equipped to face and deal with the truth. We will face and deal with reality - on our own time schedule, when we are ready, and in our Higher Power's timing. We do not have to accept chastisement from anyone, including ourselves, for this schedule.

We will know what we need to know, when it's time to know it.

Today, I will concentrate on making myself feel safe and confident. I will let myself have my awarenesses on my own time schedule. 

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


 Today's thought from Hazelden is:

I'm slipping when I begin to dislike the company and conversation of the Program.

There is a reason why a lamb gets separated from a flock. The flock will be eating on a particular pasture and a lamb will take a fancy to graze just off to the edge of the field. So the lamb takes a little nibble of this grass. Then he moves just ever so slightly further from the edge and takes another little nibble, then just a bit further and another nibble.

Each little nibble of grass takes the lamb further and further from the flock. After awhile, having eaten enough grass, the lamb pokes his head up and notices that the flock has left him. B-A-A-A-A-A! The lamb wails. How could his flock have left him?

I will begin slipping when I stop paying attention to my flock. My group will not leave me: I will leave my group. I will leave like the lamb, just one conversation, and one meeting at a time. After awhile I, too, could end up wailing for help just like the little lamb.

You are reading from the book:

Easy Does It by Anonymous

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: February 27th

Recovery Meditations: February 27th


And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone ...

The Big Book, page 84

When one goes through life at full speed ahead as I have done, it's hard to really step back and look at one's life. Everything is happening too fast and each day seems to blend into the next and, before you know it, the next segment of life seems to take over.

When I began my Twelve Step recovery program, I found myself slowing down ... examining my life ... observing those around me ... and reflecting on my past. I began to know who I was and I didn't like one of the things I discovered: I was a fighter. I didn't accept people, places or things unless and until they met my expectations of what they should be. I tried to control situations that I should have walked away from. I clung to people I should have distanced myself from. I tried to manipulate things that were toxic to me, and make them un-toxic ... and, in the process, did myself great harm.

When I first read those words from the AABB, "We have ceased fighting anything or anyone," I felt it didn't apply to me ... because at that point, I hadn't categorized myself as a fighter. It took living and working the Steps to realize that. And it took living and working the Steps to take the action necessary to stop being a fighter.

Life is calmer now. Relationships are smoother. I sometimes miss the excitement of going through like as though I were on a roller coaster ... but I won't go back there. Serenity means too much to me. Fighting is something I have put away forever.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will direct my thinking and doing to those things in my life which will contribute to a meaningful and pleasant journey.

~ Mari ~

Each Day a New Beginning
Being alone and feeling vulnerable. Like two separate themes, these two parts of myself unite in my being and sow the seeds of my longing for unconditional love.
  —Mary Casey

How easily we slip into self-doubt, fearing we're incapable or unlovable, perhaps both. How common for us to look into the faces of our friends and lovers in search of affirmation and love.

Our alienation from ourselves, from one another, from God's Spirit which exists everywhere causes our discontent. It is our discontent. When souls touch, love is born, love of self and love of the other. Our aloneness exists when we create barriers that keep us separate from our friends, our family. Only we can reach over or around the barriers to offer love, to receive love.

Recovery offers us the tools for loving, but we must dare to pick them up. Listening to others and sharing ourselves begins the process of loving. Risking to offer love before receiving it will free us from the continual search for love in the faces of others.

I won't wait to be loved today. I will love someone else, fully. I won't doubt that I, too, am loved. I will feel it. I will find unconditional love.

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


Food for Thought
No Standing Still

Life is movement, and to be alive is to change. There is no standing still. Either we are making progress in the control of our disease, or we are getting worse.

Progress forward is an upward climb. To look back with longing at a time which in retrospect seems easier, or to think about the so-called pleasure we once got from food, is to invite disaster. We have long passed the point of being satisfied with a small amount of uncontrolled eating. Now, a small amount will inevitably become a large amount, and instead of pleasure we will eventually feel much physical and emotional pain.

If we are making progress, let's keep at it and not be deluded into going backwards. If we are losing control and slipping, let's recognize that we are on a downward course and that our disease is getting worse. Let's stop rationalizing and making excuses. Right now we can turn around and start climbing.

May I keep climbing. 

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


The Language of Letting Go

Have you ever been around people-pleasers? They tend to be displeasing. Being around someone who is turned inside out to please another is often irritating and anxiety- producing.

People-pleasing is a behavior we may have adapted to survive in our family. We may not have been able to get the love and attention we deserved. We may not have been given permission to please ourselves, to trust ourselves, and to choose a course of action that demonstrated self-trust.

People-pleasing can be overt or covert. We may run around fussing over others, chattering a mile a minute when what we are really saying is, "I hope I'm pleasing you." Or, we may be more covert, quietly going through life making important decisions based on pleasing others.

Taking other people's wants and needs into consideration is an important part of our relationships. We have responsibilities to friends and family and employers. We have a strong inner responsibility to be loving and caring. But, people-pleasing backfires. Not only do others get annoyed with us, we often get annoyed when our efforts to please do not work as we planned. The most comfortable people to be around are those who are considerate of others but ultimately please themselves.

Help me, God, work through my fears and begin to please myself. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:
Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit – and man is his own gardener.

--John Leonard

Evil thoughts and destructive attitudes are not forced on us by fate. They are choices we make as we act and react to events in our lives.

Before the Program, when negative things happened, our first reaction was to choose to react negatively: "Life's not fair." "Why did that have to happen to me?" "I hate them for doing that." "I'm going to get even if it's the last thing I do." It is easy to react positively when good things happen. But we have often chosen to react negatively to even good events.

Good can be found in even the worst situations if we look for it. Bankruptcy can provide a fresh start. Defeat can allow rebuilding in a new and better way. Evil teaches us what is good. Death brings new life. Admitting our powerlessness finally gave us the freedom to make choices.

By choosing good thoughts and attitudes, the garden of my soul will thrive. By choosing bad ones, it will shrivel and die.

You are reading from the book:


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: February 26th

Recovery Meditations: February 26th


Some memories are realities ...
and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.

Willa Cather

When one is young, the world is large and the thought of exploring it is exciting. Each year that we live we add to our memory chest ... and by middle age those memories are substantial. I have found as I have grown older that I remember more of the good things that have happened in my life than the bad. The good things seem to become sharper as time goes by ... and the bad seem less so. It's almost as though the memory has turned into a "feeling" rather than a specific event.

When I work on the fourth and the eighth Steps, my life flashes before me and, like one of those calendars from an old movie, time whizzes by and people who have been part of my life hurtle through space ... each triggering a memory.

Memories aren't made more poignant by time. One might think that a decade of recurring events might be remembered with more clarity than a year ... but I have found in the case of my own memories that it is the quality and intensity of time that produces the kind of memories Willa Cather talks about. A year or two or three, given the right circumstances, can produce the feelings we love our memories to trigger, more than those experienced during a lifetime. And a lifetime of memories can be dwindled into just moments.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will cherish my memories ~ Because I may never experience the reality of some of them again.

~ Mari ~


Each Day a New Beginning
Happiness is a byproduct of an effort to make someone else happy.
  —Gretta Brooker Palmer

We have striven for happiness, generally in self-centered ways. We expected others to favor us with their attention, for example. Or we waited for invitations or gifts. We have probably tried to buy happiness with the purchase of a new dress or shoes. Fleeting moments of happiness were gained, that's all. And soon we were discontent once again. And the search was begun anew.

But things have changed for some of us. We are learning, maybe slowly, how to find a more permanent happiness. And we know the happiness that comes from "getting" is elusive. Giving to others, giving attention, sharing hope, sharing our own stories, listening to theirs, is the key to finding the happiness for which we've searched so long. We must get outside of ourselves and focus on another's joy or sorrow. Only then do we get a clear perspective on who we are and the necessary role we play in the lives of others who need our attention and who have a message we also need to hear.

The creative power stirring in me needs recognition. Looking deeply into another person, listening intently to the stirring will elicit joy. I will feel in touch with my own creative power, a lasting thrill, not a fleeting moment of happiness.

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


Food for Thought
Eating Slowly

We compulsive overeaters are inclined to devour our meals in a great rush. Mealtime often finds us anxious and tense, and sometimes we are just plain greedy! While others at the table are interested in conversation and socializing, we may be narrowly focused on food and preoccupied with trying to satisfy a ravenous appetite.

We need to break out of our self-centeredness. Rather than being completely absorbed with satisfying our own appetite (which we can never do), we can learn to focus some of our attention on the concerns of those around us. When we eat more slowly, we have more time for others and we feel less deprived. Our enjoyment, of both the company and the food, is greatly increased.

Even when we eat a meal alone, we should remember that we do not receive all of our nourishment from physical food. When we eat more slowly, we become more relaxed and refreshed both physically and spiritually. When we are aware of our Higher Power and thankful for all of His blessings, the meal is more satisfying.

Help me to slow down and appreciate Your gifts. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Twelve Step Programs

I was furious when I found myself at my first Al-Anon meeting. It seemed so unfair that he had the problem and I had to go to a meeting. But by that time, I had nowhere left in the world to go with my pain. Now, I'm grateful for Al-Anon and my codependency recovery. Al-Anon keeps me on track; recovery has given me a life.

There are many Twelve Step programs for codependents: Al-Anon, Adult Children of Alcoholics, CoDa, Families Anonymous, Nar-Anon, and more. We have many choices about which kind of group is right for us and which particular group in that category meets our needs. Twelve Step groups for codependents are free, anonymous, and available in most communities. If there is not one that is right for us, we can start one.

Twelve Step groups for codependents are not about how we can help the other person; they're about how we can help ourselves grow and change. They can help us accept and deal with the ways codependency has affected us. They can help us get on track and stay there.

There is magic in Twelve Step programs. There is healing power in connecting with other recovering people. We access this healing power by working the Steps and by allowing them to work on us. The Twelve Steps are a formula for healing.

How long do we have to go to meetings? We go until we "get the program." We go until the program "gets us." Then we keep on going and growing.

Selecting a group and then attending regularly are important ways we can begin and continue to take care of ourselves. Actively participating in our recovery program by working the Steps is another.

I will be open to the healing power available to me from the Twelve Steps and a recovery program. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:
Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere.

We addicts need to be very careful when we feel worried because it can lead to relapse. So how can we stop worrying? We can take some clear steps.

First, we need to determine the root of our worry. If necessary, it may help to write down our problem. Second, we should answer these questions: How likely is it that this problem will actually happen? How serious is the problem? How much control do we have over it? Third, we need to make a plan. What could we do about the problem? What would this action solve? Sometimes the best thing we can do is let go. Fourth, we should talk it all over with our sponsor, someone who has faced worry and stays sober.

When we take these steps, we usually learn one of two things; there is a smarter way to handle the problem, or there is nothing we can do about it.

Prayer for the Day

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Today's Action

If I have a worry, I will follow the steps above. If I am not worried today, I will call my sponsor and talk about how the Serenity Prayer helps me avoid worry.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: February 25th

Recovery Meditations: February 25th


Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist,
but in the ability to start over.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Before coming into this program I was, and probably still am to a certain extent, a perfectionist, so one of the things I really struggled with is being able make mistakes without feeling bad about myself. So when I came into the program, I decided that I was going to do this program perfectly, and proceeded to do just that. I followed a meal plan, lost weight and worked the steps, and I really thought I had it made. But I hadn't counted on the fact that this is a disease, and it is both cunning, baffling and powerful. So when I had my first slip, I was devastated and felt a real failure.

Fortunately for me, with the help of many loving sponsors over the years, I have realised that I am not a failure if I slip, but I am only one if I fail to get up. This program has enabled me to learn that when I make a mistake, I am not that mistake, and that all I need to do is to pick myself up and start over. In the old days if I failed at a diet, I would never have been able to pick myself up so soon, and it would always be an excuse to carry on eating and start the diet again on Monday. Now I know that my abstinence can even start at the end of the day, rather than waiting till tomorrow, next week or even next month. I am slowly starting to let go of the guilt I feel when I slip, and am also learning to love myself even when I do flounder, because with the love and support I am given in this program, I know I can always start over.

One day at a time...
I will remember that I can start afresh any time I like, and don't need to feel as if I have failed.

~ Sharon ~


Food for Thought
A New Place
After a slip, we do not go back and start again in the same place where we were before. Through the experience of making a mistake, we have reached a new place. Out of error, we can gain new knowledge and insight.

Often we find that wrong thinking got us into trouble. Perhaps we fell back into the old perception of ourself as the center of the universe. Perhaps we forgot to turn over whatever was troubling us and instead began to overeat. Perhaps we tried to depend on our own inadequate strength to get us through the day. Undoubtedly, we forgot that abstinence is the most important thing in our lives without exception.

Whatever the mistake, we can profit from it by growing in understanding and insight. We can mark a pitfall to be avoided in the future. We start again a few steps farther ahead, in a new place.

May I not be discouraged by mistakes. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Accepting Imperfection

"Why do I do this to myself?" asked a woman who wanted to lose weight. "I went to my support group feeling so guilty and ashamed because I ate half a cookie that wasn't on the diet. I found out that everyone cheats a little, and some people cheat a lot. I felt so ashamed before I came to the group, as though I were the only one not doing my diet perfectly. Now I know that I'm dieting as well as most, and better than some."

Why do we do this to ourselves? I'm not talking strictly about dieting, I'm talking about life. Why do we punish ourselves by thinking that we're inferior while believing that others are perfect - whether in relationships, recovery, or a specific task?

Whether we're judging others or ourselves it's two sides of the same coin: perfection. Neither expectation is valid.

It is far more accurate and beneficial to tell ourselves that who we are is okay and what we are doing is good enough. That doesn't mean we won't make mistakes that need correcting; doesn't mean we won't get off track from time to time; doesn't mean we can't improve. It means with all our mistakes and wandering, we're basically on course. Encouraging and approving of ourselves is how we help ourselves stay on track.

Today, I will love and encourage myself. I will tell myself that what I'm doing is good enough, and I'll let myself enjoy that feeling. 

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


 Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Our awesome responsibility to ourselves, to our children, and to the future is to create ourselves in the image of goodness, because the future depends on the nobility of our imaginings.
--Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

The world we live in depends on the responsible contributions each of us makes. And this world is just as good as are the many talents we commit ourselves to developing and offering. None of us is without obligation to offer our best to our family, friends, or strangers, if our hope is to live in a good world. The world can only be as good as each of us makes it.

Individually and collectively our power to mold the outer circumstances of our lives is profound. Our personal responses to one another and our reactions to events that touch us combine with the actions of others to create a changed environment that affects us. No action, no thought goes unnoticed, unfelt, in this interdependent system of humanity. We share this universe. We are the force behind all that the universe offers.

Whether I acknowledge the depth of my contribution is irrelevant. It is still profound and making an impact every moment and eternally.

You are reading from the book:

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

Monday, February 24, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: February 24th

Recovery Meditations: February 24th


For perhaps if the truth were known, we’re all a little blind,
a little deaf, a little handicapped, a little lonely, a little less than perfect.
And if we can learn to appreciate and utilize the dog’s full potential,
we will, together, make it in this life on earth.

Charlotte Schwartz

So many times it feels that what we are being asked is too great. We can barely care for ourselves so how can we possibly reach out our hand to another? How many times have we cried out for someone else to please “handle it” because we just weren't able?

There are so many lessons that come by working with animals. They know nothing of dishonesty. They can't lie. They force us to be honest with ourselves. They depend on us completely, even when we feel we have nothing to give. And our reward? Unconditional love. There is something extra special about a rescued animal. It is as though they know that their life was in darkest peril and they have been saved. The gratitude shows in their eyes, their kisses of devotion, their entire being. Any kindness shown is rewarded. I think this is no different than a member of OA, especially the new members. Any kindness, and the gratitude flows. These newbies know they too have been saved. So perhaps the next time you feel you have nothing to offer, and that what you have been asked is too great, take a moment to reflect on the moment you were ‘saved’. How did you feel the first time someone reached out to you?

One day at a time...
I can use the memory of my first encounters with OA to find the strength to reach out one more time. I know the rewards will be infinite.

~ Mary W. ~


Each Day a New Beginning
The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.
  —Virginia Woolf

Anguish is undoubtedly more familiar to us than is the beauty of laughter. We feel anguish over our failings; we feel anguish over our losses; we feel anguish over the attempts to succeed that beckon to us.

Anguish comes of fear. And we so hope to avoid it. However, it seasons us as women; it enriches us even while it momentarily diminishes us. It is a major contributor to the sum and substance of our lives. The anguish we experience prepares us to help others experience their own particular anguish.

Our laughter, too, must be savored and shared. And laughter builds more laughter. Laughter lends a perspective on our anguish. Life is made richer, fuller, by the ebb and flow, the laughter and the anguish in concert.

If only we could remember, when the anguish is present, that it is making our Spirits whole. That it, along with laughter, is a healer of the soul. That it lifts our load at the same time that it burdens us. That it prepares us to better receive life's other gifts.

I can help someone else face anguish. It brings us together. It softens me. And it makes way for the laughter soon to come.

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


Food for Thought

What do I value most? What is number one in my life? What is at the center?

When I was overeating, I was the center. I was the biggest thing in my universe, and all else revolved around me - a frightening state of affairs, since egotism does not bring peace of mind or security. Self was most important to me, and that egotism was my downfall. When I fell off my high horse and hit bottom, I had nowhere to go except to something outside of myself.

As we compulsive overeaters take Step Two and come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity, then we begin to shift the center of our consciousness from ourselves to God. This is our only hope. As long as our weak selves are at the center, we cannot make real progress, either in controlling our addiction or in living useful lives.

When we hit bottom, we are humbled. When we are humbled, we are able to perceive and acknowledge that God is primary and that abstinence is our most important task. Values are sorted out and order brings inner peace and security.

You, Lord, are the center of my life. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Recognizing Feelings

Experiencing feelings can be a challenge if we've had no previous experience or permission to do that. Learning to identify what we're feeling is a challenge we can meet, but we will not become experts overnight. Nor do we have to deal with our feelings perfectly.

Here are some ideas that might be helpful as you learn to recognize and deal with feelings:

Take out a sheet of paper. On the top of it write, "If it was okay to feel whatever I'm feeling, and I wouldn't be judged as bad or wrong, what would I be feeling?" Then write whatever comes to mind. You can also use the favorite standby of many people in discovering their feelings: writing or journaling. You can keep a diary, write letters you don't intend to send, or just scribble thoughts onto a note pad.

Watch and listen to yourself as an objective third person might. Listen to your tone of voice and the words you use. What do you hear? Sadness, fear, anger, happiness?

What is your body telling you? Is it tense and rigid with anger? Running with fear? Heavy with sadness and grief? Dancing with joy?

Talking to people in recovery helps too. Going to meetings helps. Once we feel safe, many of us find that we open up naturally and with ease to our feelings.

We are on a continual treasure hunt in recovery. One of the treasures we're seeking is the emotional part of ourselves. We don't have to do it perfectly. We need only be honest, open, and willing to try. Our emotions are there, waiting to share themselves with us.

Today, I will watch myself and listen to myself as I go through my day. I will not judge myself for what I'm feeling; I will accept myself. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:
Our Higher Power is in charge.

It's such a relief to give up our obsession to control, once we learn how. As we do to establish any new routine, we have to practice. In this case, we practice turning people and circumstances over to God. Our first reaction will be the familiar one, always. For so long we thought we had to be in charge. It's no wonder we felt crazy at times. We were trying to assure other people did the right thing, based on our perspective. Usually God, or they, had something else in mind.

Letting God hold the reins gives us a lot of extra time. We can narrow our focus to what we need to do today. And we can use our extra time to pray for the well-being of other people. Our payoff is feeling sane, peaceful, and rested at the end of each day.

I will enjoy the sanity of letting God take care of other people today. I'll just take care of myself.

You are reading from the book:


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: February 23rd

Recovery Meditations: February 23rd


To the humble man, and to the humble man alone,
the sun is really a sun;
to the humble man, and to the humble man alone,
the sea is really a sea.
G.K. Chesterton

Before I started recovery, lack of clarity was all around me and within me. There was too much fear. I was unable to acknowledge: This is who I am, and this is what's going on, no more, and no less. I was afraid to name my husband's abusive behaviour. I was afraid to name my complicity in it. I was afraid to name who I was and what I wanted and needed, and I was afraid to name the behaviour of those around me who wanted me to fit into their mould. My husband was scared silly that one day the world would find out that we weren't the perfect family.

So I was not humble. I kept nurturing the fog that covered what was really going on. And boy, was I good at it. I kind of had an inkling that something wasn't right, so, semi-consciously, I made sure that my denial was watertight. I knew that if we pretended that we were a 100% perfect family, there might be suspicions. So I made sure I'd slip in a little problem here and there.

At one point, luckily, I allowed the bubble to burst. I started naming things, loud and clear. I named them to the police, I named them to my friends and family, I named them in my poetry. I started playing with another 12-step program.

But it took me another twelve years to name that I was an overeater. In those years I gained another 70 pounds (with some yoyo dieting thrown in, of course). Humbly admitting that, yes, really, I was an overeater, was the best thing I've done since ridding my family of my abusive spouse. I humbly admitted that I had been abusing myself with my eating behaviours. Now I can see clearly. (I can also see more clearly how wounded my ex spouse is, making it easier for me to work on forgiving him).

One day at a time ... I accept the gift of humility. I am not afraid anymore to look reality in the eye - and what I see is as right as the sun and the sea.

~ I.M.


Each Day a New Beginning
I want to dance always, to be good and not evil, and, when it is all over, not to have the feeling that I might have done better.
  —Ruth St. Denis

Our wants in life may be simple, or they may be complex. They may yet be confused in our minds, but the clarity will come if we're patient. God has a way of giving us an "inner tug" when a certain direction beckons. Our responsibility is to follow that tug and trust it, fully. Too often we look back on our lives with regret. What is done, is done. We learned lessons from those mistakes. Every day is a new beginning. And we can close every day with no regrets when we have followed our consciences, that "inner tug" that beckons.

The opportunities will come today. Opportunities to be good or evil. Opportunities for making choices over which we will feel good or full of regret at the day's close. Many of our choices will bring us closer to the satisfaction, the contentment with life that we all search for as women, as human beings. We need not fear coming to life's close, wishing we had done more or better. Living each day in good conscience, waiting for the tug and following it, will ensure a life well lived.

My ego can block out the tug, if I let it. Or I can trust.

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


Food for Thought

In the past, we used excess food as a crutch, and we developed a false dependency on it. We turned to unnecessary food to calm us down, to cheer us up, and to avoid facing our problems. As a cure-all, food let us down. Rather than solving our problems, overeating multiplied them.

As human beings, there are many times when we are weak and dependent. If we say we can go it alone, we are whistling in the dark and deluding ourselves. We need to rely on a Power greater than ourselves, but food is not that Power. What we need to find is the Power strong enough to sustain our dependency.

Accepting the fact that we are dependent, that we cannot manage our lives by ourselves--this is the beginning of recovery. We need to be humble, open, and willing to be led by those who have replaced their false dependency on food with a healthy dependency on God.

Lord, may I not be too proud to be dependent on You. 

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


The Language of Letting Go

We don't always have to be strong.  Sometimes, our strength is expressed in being vulnerable. Sometimes, we need to fall apart to regroup and stay on track.

We all have days when we cannot push any harder, cannot hold back self-doubt, cannot stop focusing on fear, cannot be strong.

There are days when we cannot focus on being responsible. Occasionally we don't want to get out of our pajamas. Sometimes, we cry in front of people. We expose our tiredness, irritability, or anger.

Those days are okay. They are just okay.

Part of taking care of ourselves means we give ourselves permission to "fall apart" when we need to. We do not have to be perpetual towers of strength. We are strong. We have proven that. Our strength will continue if we allow ourselves the courage to feel scared, weak, and vulnerable when we need to experience those feelings.

Today, God, help me to know that it is okay to allow myself to be human. Help me not to feel guilty or punish myself when I need to "fall apart." 

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

Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Say when it's time to stop coping.

In her book Recovering from the Loss of a Child, author Katherine Fair Donnelly writes of a man whose infant daughter, Robyn, died from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). The child had died in the stroller, while the mother was out walking her. The father had stopped to get a haircut that day and was given a number for his turn.

"It was something he never did again in future years," Donnelly wrote. "He would never take a number at the barber's and always came home first to make sure everything was all right. Then he would go and get a haircut. It became one of the ways he found of coping."

I hate coping. It's not living. It's not being free. It reeks of surviving.

But sometimes it's the best we can do, for a while.

Eight years after my son died, I was signing the papers to purchase a home. It was the first home I had bought since his death. The night before he died, I had also signed papers to buy a new home. I didn't know that I had begun to associate buying a home with his death, until I noticed my hand trembling and my heart pounding as I finished signing the purchase agreement. For eight years, I had simply avoiding buying a home, renting one less-than-desirable place after another and complaining about the travails of being a renter. I only knew then that I was "never going to buy another house again." I didn't understand that I was coping.

Many of us find ways of coping. As children, we may have become very angry with our parents. Having no recourse, we may have said to ourselves, "I'll show them, I'm never going to do well at music, or sports, or studies again." As adults, we may deal with a loss, or death, by saying, "I'm always going to be nice to people and make them happy. Then they won't go away." Or we may deal with a betrayal by saying, "I'm never going to open my heart to a woman, or man, again."

Coping often includes making an incorrect connection between an event and our behavior. It may help us survive., but at some point our coping behaviors usually get in our way. They become habits and take on a life of their own. And although we think we're protecting ourselves or someone we love, we aren't.

Robyn didn't die because her father took a number and waited to get his hair cut.

My son didn't die because I brought a new house.

Are you keeping yourself from doing something that you really want to do as a means of coping with something that happened to you a long time ago? Cope if you must, if it helps save your life. But maybe today is the day you could set yourself free.

God, show me if I'm limiting myself and my life in some way by using an outdated coping behavior. Help me know that I'm safe and strong enough now to let that survival behavior go.

You are reading from the book: More Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: February 22nd

Recovery Meditations: February 22nd


Anxiety is the rust of life,
destroying its brightness and weakening its power.
A childlike and abiding trust in Providence
is its best preventive and remedy.

Tyron Edwards

Like so many of us in OA, I grew up as a little adult. My parents didn't know better - treating me like an adult seemed a good way to them of both showing love to me and making their difficult post-war life easier. Providence was something that intervened once in a while, and in ways that were weighty and important. God was there - but God had to attend to serious matters.

There was little room in God's and my parents' life for the seemingly unimportant details of a child's world. I had no trouble internalizing that message. I learned very soon that no-one was going to take care of my "little" problems and anxieties, that I had to shove them out of the way, and that I could do that very well by daydreaming, by making sure I was the little adult my parents were so proud of - and by eating.

The trouble was that there were times when these coping mechanisms didn't work seamlessly and those anxieties would break through. Panic attacks were the result, and dogged attempts to do more of the insanity: more retreating from the world, more "adult" behavior, more eating.

One of the things I'm learning in recovery is that paradoxically, in order to really grow up, I need to risk the vulnerability of being more childlike. I need to learn that my Higher Power is not too busy worrying about world peace to listen and deeply care about my little booboos. I need to, I WANT to develop an abiding trust that I am safe with and cared for by my Higher Power, like a baby in a mother's arms.

One day at a time ... I let go of the rust of anxiety so that like a child, I may marvel at and participate in the brightness and wonder of God's world.

~ Isabella ~


Each Day a New Beginning
Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind.
  —Helen Keller

Facing conditions we would like to change, letting go of people we wish were different, takes growth, patience, tolerance. We're so easily enticed into thinking we'd be happier, "If only he'd change," or "If I had a better job," or "If the kids would settle down." Yet we carry the seed of happiness within us every moment. Learning tolerance for all conditions will nurture that seed.

Intolerance, impatience, depression, in fact, any negative attitude is habit-forming. Many of us in this recovery program continue to struggle with the habits we've formed. Bad habits must be replaced with new, good habits. We can develop a new behavior, one that pleases us, like smiling at every stranger in a checkout line. We can repeat it in every line. It becomes a habit and a good one.

Toleration of others opens many doors, for them and for us. It nurtures the soul, ours and theirs. It breeds happiness. Those of us sharing these Steps are truly blessed. We're learning about love, how to give it and how to receive it.

There are so many eyes I'll look into today that don't know love. I will give some away with unconditional tolerance. It's a gift -- to myself and others.

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


Food for Thought

Ours is a program for living spiritually as well as physically. We have found that without daily spiritual nourishment we feel an emptiness, which no amount of material things can fill. We have also found that when we were overeating and were physically glutted, we were less receptive to spiritual food.

In Step Eleven, we seek to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand Him. We do this through daily prayer and meditation. Our contact with our Higher Power is most effective and satisfying when we are carrying out the physical part of the program by maintaining abstinence.

When we came into OA, most of us wanted to eat less in order to lose weight. As we grow through the Twelve Steps, we gradually learn that eating less physical food enables us to make more spiritual progress. The rewards of working the OA program are far greater than we had imagined! The spiritual food, which we receive from our Higher Power, begins to satisfy the emptiness which we had foolishly tried to fill with excess calories. Not only do we maintain abstinence in order to control our weight, but we also maintain it in order to grow in spirituality.

May I remember to seek spiritual food. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Solving Problems

I ask that You might help me work through all my problems, to Your Glory and Honor.
—Alcoholics Anonymous

Many of us lived in situations where it wasn't okay to identify, have, or talk about problems. Denial became a way of life - our way of dealing with problems

In recovery, many of us still fear problems. We may spend more time reacting to a problem than we do to solving it. We miss the point; we miss the lesson; we miss the gift.  Problems are a part of life. So are solutions.

A problem doesn't mean life is negative or horrible. Having a problem doesn't mean a person is deficient. All people have problems to work through.

In recovery, we learn to focus on solving our problems. First, we make certain the problem is our problem. If it isn't, our problem is establishing boundaries. Then we seek the best solution. This may mean setting a goal, asking for help, gathering more information, taking an action, or letting go.

Recovery does not mean immunity or exemption from problems; recovery means learning to face and solve problems, knowing they will appear regularly. We can trust our ability to solve problems, and know we're not doing it alone. Having problems does not mean our Higher Power is picking on us. Some problems are part of life; others are ours to solve, and we'll grow in necessary ways in the process.

Face and solve today's problems. Don't worry needlessly about tomorrow's problems, because when they appear, we'll have the resources necessary to solve them.

Facing and solving problems, working through problems with help from a Higher Power, means we're living and growing and reaping benefits.

God, help me face and solve my problems today. Help me do my part and let the rest go. I can learn to be a problem solver. 

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

Today's thought from Hazelden is:

A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth.

Imagine yourself with a pile of dirt in front of you and building plans for a one-story structure. It would be easy to think, "Oh, this is impossible - it will never get done."

But the architect hires people to help. A foundation is built, and then the frame. From there, step by step, the rest is filled in. We have all watched a building take shape and become a finished product.

Building plans are like the goals we all have. We want to be a better person or friend, a better artist or athlete. Reaching a goal is like putting up a building. Once we have a goal, we need a strong foundation to support us. All of us need the help of others to reach our goals.

You are reading from the book:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: February 21st

Recovery Meditations: February 21st


" ... I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy."

Marie Curie

I have always been the queen of quick fix, so if I wanted something to happen, it had to happen today if not yesterday. So coming into the program was very hard for me, in that for the first time I have had to realise that recovery is not an overnight thing. For a perfectionist like me, that has been a very hard lesson to learn, in that I don't have to have perfect recovery. My journey in this program has been an up and down one, with many slips along the way, and every time I have slipped, I have had to remember that I may think I'm a failure, but I'm only a failure if I fail to pick myself up. In the past if I made a mistake, I was a total and utter failure, but I know now that all I have to do each time is to pick myself up, dust myself off and start over.

The other thing I've learned in the program is that I also always need to remember where I came from, and when I look back, I can see the progress I have made. My self esteem is growing, and even though I still seem to slip back into the old character defects from time to time, they are nowhere near as bad as in the past. I am able to forgive people whom I thought I would never be able to forgive, and I make amends whenever the need arises, and as a result my relationships with people have improved dramatically.

One Day at a Time . . .
May I remember that in this program, it is always progress and not perfection that counts.

~ Sharon ~


Each Day a New Beginning
We can never go back again, that much is certain.
  —Daphne DuMaurier

Yesterday is gone, but its experiences will be reflected in those of today. We learned from both the good and the bad situations of yesterday. Where we travel today, likewise, will influence our direction tomorrow. We can't do over what has gone before, but we can positively incorporate all that life is offering us from this moment forth.

We are moving toward greater understanding of life's mysteries with each experience. As today unfolds, we can be moved by the adventures. What we experience is ours alone and will contribute to the unfolding of our special destiny. We move forward, only forward. The doors behind us are closed forever.

Facing what comes to us, with strength, is a gift from this program we share. Letting go of the yesterdays and the last years is another gift offered by this program. And trust that what we face along with what we let go will weave the pattern of our rightful unfolding--that is the ultimate gift given to us by this program.

I need never go back again. I am spared that. My destiny lies in the future. And I can be certain it will bring me all that I desire, and more.

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

Food for Thought

Serenity comes when we are tuned in to our Higher Power. Serenity enables us to take external circumstances in stride, even the most difficult ones. Serenity is a gift, which we are each free to receive daily.

Turning our will and our lives over to God, as we understand Him encourages serenity. Staying in contact with our Higher Power as we go about our daily activities produces serenity. Practicing abstinence from compulsive overeating maintains serenity.

In meeting after meeting, we hear people testify to the change that has come over them since they began the OA program. Circumstances which once would have sent them into a tailspin and into the refrigerator are now manageable. By the grace of God, they have been granted the serenity to accept the things they cannot change.

May I grow in serenity.

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

The Language of Letting Go
Living in the Present

The present moment is all we have. Yes, we have plans and goals, a vision for tomorrow. But now is the only time we possess. And it is enough.

We can clear our mind of the residue of yesterday. We can clear our mind of fears of tomorrow. We can be present, now. We can make ourselves available to this moment, this day. It is by being fully present now that we reach the fullness of tomorrow.

Have no fear, child, a voice whispers. Have no regrets. Relinquish your resentments. Let Me take your pain. All you have is the present moment. Be still. Be here Trust.

All you have is now. It is enough.

Today, I will affirm that all is well around me, when all is well within. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money.
--Pablo Picasso

Some of us were taught not to place a lot of value on money. After all, it's only money, and money can't buy happiness. True enough. While many of us don't place much value on money, we manage to value the possessions that money can buy. The result is that we treat money frivolously and spend it recklessly.

We know it's true that love and the quality of our relationships are far more valuable than money. We also know we can't put a price tag on good health. We begin, however, to appreciate and to value money for what it is — a means to an end and a responsibility. When we value money, we're less likely to spend it carelessly or frivolously. We're more likely to save it and to put it to good use.

Today I give my cash the same value I place on my most treasured material possessions.

You are reading from the book: Letting Go of Debt by Karen Casanova

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: February 20th

Recovery Meditations: February 20th


There were deep secrets hidden in my heart,
never said for fear others would scoff or sneer.
At last I can reveal my sufferings,
for the strength I once felt in silence has lost all its power.

Deidra Sarault

I've heard it said in program that we are only a sick as the secrets we keep. If that is the case, then I was very sick when desperation forced me through the doors of ths wonderful fellowship.

Not one of my friends or family knew what I was doing around food, as most of it was done in secret, and I was always careful to remove all the evidence. I couldn't believe that anyone would love me if they knew what I was doing around food, and felt that I was either really bad or totally crazy, or both. But for the first time ever, I was able to come clean about what I was doing around food, and I wasn't judged or frowned upon. The love and acceptance I have received here has been totally overwhelming, but in addition I found out that others had done the same or similar things to what I had done, and so for the first time ever, I felt that I wasn't alone. Not only have I been able to talk freely about my food and what I had been doing, as well as what it was doing to me, but in the fourth and fifth step, I was finally able to share with another person my darkest deepest secrets, that for years I'd thought had made me this terrible person. It was in fact in sharing all the things that I'd thought of as so bad, that I came to realise that it was only my magnifying mind that had made them appear so, and that in fact they really weren't bad at all. I would never have found that out, had I not been in this program, and I'm so grateful for the relief that sharing all these things has given me.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will learn to get honest and share with my sponsor and others in this program, all the things that are bothering me, whether it be food or other issues, so I can be relieved of the pain that all my secrets are causing me.

~ Sharon


Each Day a New Beginning
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
  —Eleanor Roosevelt

How can we ever do that which seems impossible? Taking a class, quitting a job, leaving a destructive relationship behind, asking for help; none of these can we do alone or with ease. All of these we can handle when we rely on the help offered by the program, the help of one another, the help promised by our higher power. Tackling with God's help that which seems impossible, reduces it to manageable size. It also deflates the power our fears have given it.

That which we fear grows in proportion to our obsession with it. The more we fear a thing, the bigger it becomes, which in turn increases our fear. How lucky we are that God awaits our call for the strength, the companionship that is guaranteed us! We are in partnership, all the way, every day, if we'd only recognize it. We can move toward and through anything. And the added benefit is that we come to trust our partnership. We soon know that all situations can be met. All experiences can be survived. Avoidance is no longer our technique for survival.

A deep breath invites the inner strength to move through me. I will feel the exhilaration of God's power. And I will know the excitement of growth and peace.

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

Food for Thought
A Selfish Program

We call our program a selfish one. It is something, which we want more than anything else, not only for weight loss but also for peace of mind. We do not join OA to please anyone else; our primary purpose is to do what is best for ourselves.

Starting the program where we are, we take the aspects of it which apply to each current situation. We give to and share with our group, but we also remember that the best thing we can do for any other compulsive overeater is to practice our own abstinence.

We have found that putting ourselves down does no good, either to ourselves or to anyone else. If for someone else we do something, which we sincerely believe is wrong for us, then our resentment is bound to come out sooner or later.

When we were overeating compulsively, we often tried to hold down our resentment with food. Instead of honestly facing anger and hostility, we tried to make it go away by eating.

The OA program gives us a better way to deal with negative emotions, and for selfish reasons we need this program!

May I not be afraid to recognize my needs. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Setting Our Own Course

We are powerless over other people's expectations of us. We cannot control what others want, what they expect, or what they want us to do and be.

We can control how we respond to other people's expectations.

During the course of any day, people may make demands on our time, talents, energy, money, and emotions. We do not have to say yes to every request. We do not have to feel guilty if we say no. And we do not have to allow the barrage of demands to control the course of our life.

We do not have to spend our life reacting to others and to the course they would prefer we took with our life.

We can set boundaries, firm limits on how far we shall go with others. We can trust and listen to ourselves. We can set goals and direction for our life. We can place value on ourselves.

We can own our power with people.

Buy some time. Think about what you want. Consider how responding to another's needs will affect the course of your life. We live or own life by not letting other people, their expectations, and their demands control the course of our life. We can let them have their demands and expectations; we can allow them to have their feelings. We can own our power to choose the path that is right for us.

Today, God, help me own my power by detaching and peacefully choosing the course of action that is right for me. Help me know I can detach from the expectations and wants of others. Help me stop pleasing other people and start pleasing myself. 

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


 Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014
Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Aging is not easy, but what's our alternative?

-- Helen Casey

The kind of attitude we developed over our lives determined how we saw every detail of each experience. Even now our attitude holds us hostage. The misunderstanding that many of us have is that we think we can't really change how we see our world. Nothing is further from the truth. We can make a large or small shift in our perceptions instantly. The outcome is that everything about our lives changes from that moment forward. Thus, how we perceive the aging process is controlled by our willingness to look at it again.

Helen has aged gracefully. At 86, she still finds time for making new friends, three bridge clubs a week, daily mass and frequent communication with her children and relatives. She carries a positive, hopeful attitude with her wherever she goes, which inspires others, young and old.

It wouldn't appear that aging has been hard on Helen. But the truth of the matter is that she has suffered many losses. What she has managed to hold onto, though, is her faith in God and her willingness to see every "glass as half full."

How lucky we are that we can "tinker" with our attitude for as long as we're alive, and if we aren't completely happy, we have work to do. As Helen says, there is no alternative to aging, except death. What happens now is up to us.

I am only as old as I decide to feel today.

From the book:
Keepers of the Wisdom, by Karen Casey

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: February 19th

Recovery Meditations: February 19th


We're our own dragons as well as our own heroes
and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.

Tom Robbins

I always tried to do my best in everything I did. Studies, school, and managing my own family are some good examples. Being in control made it seem as though I always did as I was told, but I had a very difficult time Being on my own and thinking for myself. The talent I was born with gave me a good start at being an artist, but I couldn't seem to make a successful career out of it. I was scared and shy and didn't dare be on the forefront of making this talent into what I wanted it to be.

When I started on my path to Recovery, I found that I was being too much of a perfectionist. I was always told to do things perfectly and I tried and tried but never seemed to satisfy my parents or the god of my childhood. So when I grew up I was so hard on myself that I lost the creativity I was born with. Creativity can't thrive in a hostile environment.

One day while reading an author I liked, I read that I had to "get out of my own way". I was a dragon trying to do something creative and it didn't work. I have to learn to "rescue myself from myself" so I can do my art with the talents that are God-given.

One day at a time ... I realize that if I want to see myself as I really am,I cannot stand in my own shadow.

~ Myrlene ~

Each Day a New Beginning
No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.
  —Agnes DeMille

The day ahead offers us choices of many kinds - some big ones, many that will affect other persons close to us, a few that will have profound effects on our destiny. But no choice, no decision we make, will be wrong. A particular decision may lead us slightly astray. Down a dead-end path perhaps - but we can always turn back and choose again.

We are seldom aware of the gravity of a particular choice at the time of making it. Only hindsight reveals the wisdom of an important choice. Nevertheless, no choice is without importance in the overall picture of our lives. And at the same time, no choice is all-powerful regarding our destiny. We are offered chances again and again for making the right choices, the ones that will most contribute to the bigger plan for our lives.

I need not worry about today's opportunities for decision-making. I will listen to those around me. I will seek guidance in the messages coming to me. I will make the choices I need to, today.

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


Food for Thought
Responsibility for Whom?

Before we came to OA, some of us felt responsible for seeing that others did what we thought they should do. By the time we took the Fourth Step, and often long before, we began to realize how manipulative we had tried to be. We may not have thought we could run the whole world, but we sometimes felt that we should maintain control over our little corner, at least.

Through this program, we are learning that we can only be responsible for ourselves. We cannot change anyone else. We can only work on ourselves. No matter how good our advice is, it is useful to someone else only if that person desires and requests it.

Learning that we are responsible to our Higher Power for ourselves alone lifts a heavy weight from our weak shoulders. We stop trying to decide what others should do and how they will react to what we do. We do the best we can, seeking guidance and direction from God, and then we leave the results to Him.

Show me my area of responsibility, Lord. 

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


The Language of Letting Go
Our Path

I just spent several hours with someone from my group, and I feel like I'm losing my mind. This woman insisted that the only way I would make progress in my program was to go to her church and succumb to her religious rules. She pushed and insisted, and insisted and pushed. She's been in the program so much longer than I have. I kept thinking that she must know what she's talking about. But it didn't feel right. And now I feel crazy, afraid, guilty, and ashamed.

The spiritual path and growth promised to us by the Twelve Steps does not depend on any religious belief. They are not contingent upon any denomination or sect. They are not, as the traditions of Twelve Step programs state, affiliated with any religious denomination or organization.

We do not have to allow anyone to badger us about religion in recovery. We do not have to allow people to make us feel ashamed, afraid, or less than because we do not subscribe to their beliefs about religion.

We do not have to let them do it to us in the name of God, love, or recovery.

The spiritual experience we will find as a result of recovery and the Twelve Steps will be our own spiritual experience. It will be a relationship with God, a Higher Power, as we understand God.

Each of us must find our own spiritual path. Each of us must build our own relationship with God, as we understand God. Each of us needs a Power greater than ourselves. These concepts are critical to recovery.

So is the freedom to choose how to do that.

Higher Power, help me know that I don't have to allow anyone to shame or badger me into religious beliefs. If they confuse that with the spirituality available in recovery, help me give their issue back to them. Help me discover and develop my own spirituality, a path that works for me. Guide me, with Divine Wisdom, as I grow spiritually. 

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Every day is a different day. You never know what it will bring. That's the exciting thing about getting up every morning.
--Alpha English

No doubt we have all hit spells when we didn't feel the urge to get the day going. Pulling the covers up around us seemed far more inviting. There's nothing wrong with occasionally resisting the next twenty-four hours. We do need variety in our lives. Even a healthy, fun routine is still a routine. Shaking it up is good for us. But if we make a habit of avoiding whatever plans we've made, we need to take an inventory of our feelings. Depression isn't foreign to most of us. Chronic depression needs to be addressed, however.

If we begin to feel blue about our lives, let's make sure we are expressing our feelings to a friend. Generally, there is a simple solution. Maybe we have forgotten to pray and meditate regularly. Perhaps we have become self-absorbed. Being appreciative of others generally changes how we see every aspect of our lives. Recounting with a confidant or in a journal all the blessings and achievements we've accumulated over these many decades often pushes us out of the doldrums.

Let's remember that most days surprised us with their outcomes. We never got exactly what we expected. This is one certainty about life that we can always count on.

Today is bound to surprise me in how it unfolds. I'll appreciate what comes my way.

You are reading from the book:

Keepers of the Wisdom by Karen Casey