Sunday, August 31, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: August 31st

Recovery Meditations: August 31st


"The ideal friendship is between good people,
and people who share the same virtues.
Leading a good life for the sake of friends,
is the utmost of friendship itself."


When I first came into recovery I had no idea how to be a friend. I thought that people liked me because of what I did for them, what I gave them, and how nice I was to them. It never occurred to me that being a friend could mean taking care of myself. I didn’t realize that friendship also consists of holding fast to my program no matter what, being gently honest to others in all things, being loyal to my group, and being true to my program and to myself. But the part that escaped me the most was that there were those who counted me as a friend just because I am me.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will be a friend by being loyal to myself, my program and my ideals.

~ Judy N.


Each Day a New Beginning
Tears are like rain. They loosen up our soil so we can grow in different directions.
  —Virginia Casey

Full self-expression softens our being, while self-reservation makes us brittle. Our wholeness is enhanced each time we openly acknowledge our feelings and share our many secrets. The tears that often accompany self-disclosure, self-assessment, or the frustration of being "stuck" seem to shift whatever blocks we have put in our paths.

At each stage of our lives, we are preparing for yet another stage. Our growth patterns will vary, first in one direction, and then another. It's not easy to switch directions, but it's necessary. We can become vulnerable, accept the spiritual guidance offered by others and found within, and the transition from stage to stage will be smooth.

Tears shed on the rocky places of our lives can make tiny pebbles out of the boulders that block our paths. But we also need to let those tears wash away the blinders covering our eyes. Tears can help us see anew if we're willing to look straight ahead--clearly, openly, and with expectation of a better view.

Tears nurture the inner me. They soften my rootedness to old behavior. They lesson my resistance to new growth.

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


Food for Thought
Accepting Guidelines

Some of us have gone through life thinking that we did not need to follow any guidelines. Somehow, we got the idea that special circumstances placed us above the rules. We looked for shortcuts and rebelled against the tedium of discipline. Considering ourselves exceptional, we decided to make our own guidelines. These were usually based on doing what we felt like when we felt like it.

When we get to OA, we may spend a short or a long time experimenting with the program, adjusting it to suit ourselves. Sooner or later, we discover that our adjustments do not work. The OA program works, provided we follow the rules and work it as it is, not as we might like it to be.

Once we accept the rules at a gut level, they lead us out of negative restraint into positive freedom. By following a few simple guidelines, we become free from slavery to compulsive overeating and self-centered confusion.

Thank You for Your guidelines.

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


The Language of Letting Go

I've been recovering many years. I've used denial many times. It has been a defense, a survival device, a coping behavior, and, at times, almost my undoing. It has been both a friend and an enemy.

When I was a child, I used denial to protect my family and myself. I protected myself from seeing things too painful to see and feelings too overwhelming to feel. Denial got me safely through many traumatic situations, when I had no other resources for survival.

The negative aspect of using denial was that I lost touch with my feelings and myself. I became able to participate in harmful situations without even knowing I was hurting. I was able to tolerate a great deal of pain and abuse without the foggiest notion it was abnormal.

I learned to participate in my own abuse.

Denial protected me from pain, but it also rendered me blind to my feelings, my needs, and myself. It was like a thick blanket that covered and smothered me.

Eventually, I began to recover. I had a glimpse of awareness about my pain, my feelings, and my behaviors. I began to see myself, and the world, as we were. There was so much denial from my past that had the blanket been entirely ripped from me, I would have died from the shock of exposure. I needed to embrace insights, remembrances, awareness, and healing gently, gradually.

Life participated in this process with me. It is a gentle teacher. As I recovered, I was brought to the incidents and people I needed in order to remind me of what I was still denying, to tell me where I required more healing from my past, as I could handle these insights.

I still use, and break through, denial--as needed. When the winds of change blow through, upsetting a familiar structure and preparing me for the new, I pick up my blanket and hide, for a while. Sometimes, when someone I love has a problem, I hide under the blanket, momentarily. Memories emerge of things denied, memories that need to be remembered, felt, and accepted so I can continue to become healed - strong and healthy.

Sometimes, I feel ashamed about how long it takes me to struggle through to acceptance of reality. I feel embarrassed when I find myself again clouded by the fog of denial.

Then something happens, and I see that I am moving forward. The experience was necessary, connected, not at all a mistake, but an important part of healing.

It's an exciting process, this journey called recovery, but I understand I may sometimes use denial to help me get through the rough spots. I'm also aware that denial is a friend, and an enemy. I'm on the alert for danger signs: those cloudy, confused feelings . . . sluggish energy . . . feeling compulsive . . . running too fast or hard . . . avoiding support mechanisms.

I've gained a healthy respect for our need to use denial as a blanket to wrap ourselves in when we become too cold. It isn't my job to run around ripping people's blankets off or shaming others for using the blanket. Shaming makes them colder, makes them wrap themselves more tightly in the blanket. Yanking their blanket away is dangerous. They could die of exposure, the same way I could have.

I've learned the best thing I can do around people who are wrapped in this blanket is to make them feel warm and safe. The warmer and safer they feel, the more able they are to drop their blanket. I don't have to support or encourage their denial. I can be direct. If others are in denial about a particular thing, and their activity is harmful to me, I don't have to be around them. I can wish them well and take care of myself. You see, if I stand too long around someone who is harming me, I will inevitably pick up my blanket again.

I tend to be attracted to warm people. When I'm around warm people, I don't need to use my blanket.

I've gained respect for creating warm environments, where blankets are not needed, or at least not needed for long. I've gained trust in the way people heal from and deal with life.

God, help me be open to and trust the process that is healing me from all I have denied from my past. Help me strive for awareness and acceptance, but also help me practice gentleness and compassion for myself--and others--for those times I have used denial.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

. . . with no hidden cutting edge.

The respect and dignity a couple shows each other set the table from which they are nourished for all other activities in their lives. Any feeling can be expressed in respectful or disrespectful ways. Anger is one of the most difficult to express respectfully. Everyone feels frustrated and angry at times. The crucial thing to learn is how to be angry and still be respectful – how to deal with our impatience without blame or put-downs. Many of us have to learn how to love without being possessive, how to be playful in a lighthearted way with no hidden cutting edge. When we treat our partner with disrespect, we pour poison into our own well. It may feel satisfying at first, but the long-term consequences are not good to live with.

When we are committed to respect in our relationship, we continue to learn at even deeper levels what respect truly means. We find that simply listening to each other – and letting in our differences – is a form of respect that nourishes us.

Name a difference between you and your mate that you respect.

You are reading from the book:


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: August 30th

Recovery Meditations: August 30th


“Ask not what your country can do for you
but what you can do for your country.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

At one of the first program functions I ever attended, there were a large number of pots and pans that needed to be washed in the kitchen. My sponsor told me that we were going to go in there and wash all those dirty pans. When I asked why, she said, “Because this stuff keeps us abstinent.” That was good enough for me. Service is essential to my recovery. As our primary purpose states, “we carry the message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers.” The essence of my program is that of committing to service.

Since then my service in program has been of paramount importance to me, so I sponsor and serve at the group and Intergroup levels, I attend all events I can, and I am in service at most of the meetings I attend. I encourage sponsees to serve their fellow sufferers also and ask them to sponsor newcomers as soon as they have worked Steps One through Three. This action gets them working on Step Four as well.

One of my favorite ways to give service is to be available to talk to newcomers by telephone. As our responsibility pledge states, “Always to lend the heart and hand to all who share my compulsion, for this I am responsible.” A commitment to service is as vital to my recovery as are my commitments to abstinence, working the Steps and a daily food plan. These components mesh together and give me purpose I never had before.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will find a way to be helpful
to others in program.

~ Jill C.


Each Day a New Beginning
I like my friend for what is in her heart, not for the way she does things.
  —Sandra K. Lamberson

We find good in situations, experiences and people when we look for it. Generally we find just what we expect to find. The power attaching to our attitudes is awesome. Often it is immobilizing; too seldom is it positive.

We each create the personal environment that our soul calls home, which means that at any moment we have the power to change our perspective on life, our response to any particular experience and most of all, our feelings about ourselves. Just as we will find good in others when we decide to look for it, we'll find good in ourselves.

We are such special women, all of us. And in our hearts we want joy. What the program offers is the awareness that we are the creators of the joy in our hearts. We can relinquish the past and its sorrows, and we can leave the future in the hands of our higher power. The present is singular in its importance to our lives, now.

Behavior generally reveals attitudes, which are of the mind and frequently in conflict with the heart. I will strive for congruence. I will let my heart lead the way. It will not only find the good in others, it will imitate it.

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


Food for Thought
Getting Honest with Ourselves

The day we realize that we are and always will be compulsive overeaters and that we can permit ourselves no deviousness when it comes to food - that is the day when we begin to take the OA program seriously. Half measures do not work. Lingering exceptions in the back of our minds will defeat us. Beginning the program with the idea of quitting when we have lost a certain number of pounds will not bring success.

Nothing short of an honest, wholehearted commitment to abstinence and the OA program will give us the ability to stop eating compulsively. If we think we can get away with small deviations here and there, we are deluding ourselves. Our disease is progressive, and unless we take the steps outlined in the program, it will eventually destroy us.

If we are not honest with ourselves, we are divided, weak, and sick. Getting honest means getting strong and well.

May I be directed by the truth.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Accepting Our Best

We don't have to do it any better than we can - ever.

Do our best for the moment, and then let it go. If we have to redo it, we can do our best in another moment, later.

We can never do more or better than we are able to do at the moment. We punish ourselves and make ourselves feel crazy by expecting more than our reasonable best for now.

Striving for excellence is a positive quality.

Striving for perfection is self-defeating.

Did someone tell us or expect us to do or give or be more? Did someone always withhold approval?

There comes a time when we feel we have done our best. When that time comes, let it go.

There are days when our best is less than we hoped for. Let those times go too. Start over tomorrow. Work things through, until our best becomes better.

Empowering and complimenting ourselves will not make us lazy. It will nurture us and enable us to give, do, and be our best.

Today, I will do my best, and then let it go. God, help me stop criticizing myself so I can start appreciating how far I've come.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Defeat may serve as well as victory
To shake the soul and let the glory out.

--Edwin Markham

So life has given us some dents. So what? Dents are necessary, besides being unavoidable and painful. Each dent is a part of the process that enables us to embrace life as a creative experience and to see the world in a new way, a way of compassion and understanding. Recovery is not a matter of escaping further blows or of disguising the dents we already have. It's a matter of understanding what the dents mean and how we can work with them.

Dents are neither soft spots in our characters that should make us ashamed nor saber scars that should make us proud. They are simply evidence that we have been alive for a while. Recovery offers us the chance to learn from our dents, to accept them as new spaces for growth. When we decide to see our dents as opportunities gained rather than opportunities lost, we stand much taller in our own eyes and in the eyes of others.

Today, I will look on my difficult life experiences in a new light. Today, I will plant some seeds.

You are reading from the book:


Friday, August 29, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: August 29th

"First you need only look."
Anne Hillman

My disease of compulsive overeating is fueled by my regrets of the past and my fears of the future. The more I try to rewrite the past, (which of course I cannot do); the more I try to devise a future plan, (which usually does not come to pass), the less I am present for my life.

I learn much from my three-year-old son. Sometimes when running to get a ball, he suddenly stops to look at an unusual insect he sees on the ground. His life flows and he abides by this pattern. He follows his heart and is "there" for life.

When I consciously stay present for life -- when I savor each moment and stay with my feelings -- I am alive and living. In the present there is no worry, no fear, no regrets.

One Day at a Time . . .
I ask my Higher Power to help me to stay present for my life, to stay with whatever is happening at any given moment. I feel feelings. I am spontaneous and life is exciting and inspired.

~ Melissa S. ~ 


Each Day a New Beginning
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
  —Helen Keller

The next 24 hours are guaranteed to excite us, to lift us to new levels of understanding, to move us into situations with others where we can offer our unique contributions. All that is asked of us is a willingness to trust that we will be given just what we need at each moment.

We can dare to live, fully, just for today. We can appreciate the extraordinariness of every breath we take, every challenge we encounter. Within each experience is the invitation for us to grow, to reach out to others in caring ways, to discover more fully the women we are capable of being. We must not let a single moment go by unnoticed.

When we withdraw from life, we stunt our growth. We need involvement with others, involvement that perturbs us, humors us, and even stresses us. We tap our internal resources only when we have been pushed to our limits, and our participation in life gifts us, daily, with that push. How necessary the push!

None of us will pass this way again. What we see and feel and say today are gone forever. We have so much to regret when we let things slip away, unnoticed or unappreciated.

A special series of events has been planned for me today. I shall not miss it.

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


Food for Thought
Love God and Work the Program

How clear everything becomes when we put abstaining and recovering from compulsive eating first in our lives! As we recover, we grow in love for the Higher Power, which makes possible our new life. Loving God and working the program becomes our main purpose every day. From this, all else follows.

When we are confused and harried by conflicting demands on our time and attention, we need to withdraw for a moment and get back in touch with the God within. As long as we are sincerely trying to do His will, we do not have to be upset by negative responses from other people, whether their disapproval is real or imagined.

As our Higher Power provides a focus for our love, working the program provides a focus for our energies and ambitions. Whatever our situation, we are each capable of growing along spiritual lines, and it is this growth and progress which gives us deep, lasting satisfaction.

Accept my love and work.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Owning Our Energy

Learn to keep your energy inside.
  —From Women, Sex, and Addiction, Charlotte Davis Kasl, Ph.D.

For many reasons, we may have mastered the art of giving away our energy. We may have learned it when we were young because the feelings we had were too overwhelming to feel, and we did not know how to process them.

Much of our obsessing, our intense focus on others, is done to facilitate this "out of body" experience we call codependency.

We obsess, we babble, we become anxious. We try to control, care take, and fuss over others. Our energy spills out of us on to whomever.

Our energy is our energy. Our feelings, thoughts, issues, love, sexuality; our mental, physical, spiritual, sexual, creative, and emotional energy is ours.

We can learn to have healthy boundaries - healthy parameters - around our energy and ourselves. We can learn to keep our energy within ourselves and deal with our issues.

If we are trying to escape from our body, if our energy is spilling out of us in unhealthy ways, we can ask ourselves what is going on, what is hurting us, what we are avoiding, what we need to face, what we need to deal with.

Then, we can do that. We can come back home to live - in ourselves.

Today, I will keep my energy in my body. I will stay focused and within my boundaries. God, help me let go of my need to escape myself. Help me face my issues so I am comfortable living in my body.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Love at first sight is easy to understand. It's when two people have been looking at each other for years that it becomes a miracle.
--Sam Levenson

True intimacy introduces us to ourselves. A loving relationship is the greatest therapy. When we first fall in love, we are filled with optimism and the greatest hopes for fulfillment of our dreams. We cling to all the best qualities of the person we fall in love with and we look past those things we don't like. But living in an intimate partnership takes us beyond the edge of what we have learned. It is truly an adult developmental challenge.

Most of us fall in love and soon find ourselves in over our heads. We haven't had experience as adults in sustaining the openness and vulnerability we have walked into. We may gradually begin to feel too vulnerable and exposed. The relationship tests our ability to trust someone who has this much access to our inner self. We are tempted to become cranky, edgy, or overly sensitive. We may test our partner's love by asking, If you love me, will you do such and such? We begin to try to control our partner so we don't feel so vulnerable. All these temptations are holdover behaviors from our less mature selves. So we must reach for our more mature selves, breathe deeply, and trust that we can survive while being so close and vulnerable.

Today I will turn to my Higher Power for guidance in going forward, in trust while being vulnerable.

You are reading from the book:


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: August 28th

Recovery Meditations: August 28th


“… the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.
We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience.
That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.”
The Big Book, p.85

These words, read every morning during prayer time, teach me to live as I am meant to live. Sanely and peacefully. Laid back. Patient and forgiving of myself. I am no longer a part of the war of the worlds. Anger can be dealt with or walked away from. Eating over it is no longer an option. Compulsive overeating is a problem I can live without, just for today.

One day at a time...
I will remember where I came from and how I got here so long as I keep in fit spiritual condition.

~ Jo


Each Day a New Beginning
There are sounds to seasons. There are sounds to places, and there are sounds to every time in one's life.
  —Alison Wyrley Birch

Live is rich and full. Your life. My life. Even when the day feels flat or hollow, there's a richness to it that escapes our attention. We see only what we choose to see. We hear selectively, too. Our prejudgment precludes our getting the full effects of any experience. Some days we hear only the drum of the humdrum.

But the greater our faith in the program and a loving God, the clearer our perceptions become. We miss less of the day's events; we grow in our understanding of our unfolding, and we perceive with clarity the role others are playing in our lives.

We can see life as a concert in progress when we transcend our own narrow scope and appreciate the variety of people and situations all directed toward the same finale. The more we're in tune with the spiritual activity surrounding us; the more harmoniously we will be able to perform our parts.

I will listen to the music of today. I will get in tune, in rhythm. I am needed for the concert's beauty.

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


Food for Thought

When we were overeating, we were negative and fearful. We alternated between avoiding work and feeling responsible for everybody and everything. An important part of our recovery is willingness: we become willing to change, willing to abstain, willing to learn. As we work the program, we become willing to allow our Higher Power to remove our character defects.

All of this does not happen overnight. When we get discouraged and make mistakes, we are willing to try again. We are willing to follow the lead of our Higher Power. As we see evidence of His care, we begin to trust that He will not require of us more than we are capable of doing.

To be willing is to hold ourselves ready and available for God's direction. We do not jump into situations prematurely, and we do not close our minds in refusal to change. We are willing to grow and serve and, especially, willing to believe.

Increase my willingness.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Taking Care of Ourselves on the Job

It's okay to take care of ourselves on the job. It is not only okay - it is necessary.

Taking care of ourselves on the job means we deal with feelings appropriately; we take responsibility for ourselves. We detach, when detachment is called for. We set boundaries, when we need to do that.

We negotiate conflicts; we try to separate our issues from the other person's issues, and we don't expect perfection from others or ourselves.

We let go of our need to control that which we cannot control. Instead, we strive for peace and manageability, owning our power to be who we are and to take care of ourselves.

We do not tolerate abuse, nor do we abuse or mistreat anyone else. We work at letting go of our fear and developing appropriate confidence. We try to learn from our mistakes, but we forgive ourselves when we make them.

We try to not set ourselves up by taking jobs that couldn't possibly work out, or jobs that aren't right for us. If we find ourselves in one of those circumstances, we address the issue responsibly.

We figure out what our responsibilities are, and we generally stick to those, unless another agreement is made. We leave room for great days, and not so great days.

We are gentle and loving with people whenever possible, but we are assertive and firm when that is called for. We accept our strengths and build on them. We accept our weaknesses and limitations, including the limitations of our power.

We strive to stop trying to control and change what is not our business to change. We focus on what is our responsibility and what we can change.

We set reasonable goals. We take ourselves into account. We strive for balance.

Sometimes, we give ourselves a good gripe session to let it all out, but we do that appropriately, in a way meant to take care of ourselves and release our feelings, not to sabotage ourselves. We strive to avoid malicious gossip and other self-defeating behaviors.

We avoid competition; strive for cooperation and a loving spirit. We understand that we may like some people we work with and dislike others, but strive to find harmony and balance with everyone. We do not deny how we feel about a certain person, but we strive to maintain good working relationships wherever possible.

When we don't know, we say we don't know. When we need help, we ask for it directly. When panic sets in, we address the panic as a separate issue and try not to let our work and behavior be controlled by panic.

We strive to take responsible care of ourselves by appropriately asking for what we need at work, while not neglecting ourselves.

If we are part of a team, we strive for healthy teamwork as an opportunity to learn how to work in cooperation with others.

If something gets or feels crazy, if we find ourselves working with a person who is addicted or has some kind of dysfunction that is troublesome, we do not make ourselves crazier by denying the problem. We accept it and strive in peace to figure out what we need to do to take care of ourselves.

We let go of our need to be martyrs or rescuers at work. We know we do not have to stay in situations that make us miserable. Instead of sabotaging a system or ourselves, we plan a positive solution, understanding we need to take responsibility for ourselves along the way.

We remove ourselves as victims, and we work at believing we deserve the best. We practice acceptance, gratitude, and faith.

One day at a time, we strive to enjoy what is good, solve the problems that are ours to solve, and give the gift of ourselves at work.

Today, I will pay attention to what recovery behavior I could practice that would improve my work life. I will take care of myself on the job. God, help me let go of my need to be victimized by work. Help me be open to all the good stuff that is available to me through work.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Success can only be measured in terms of distance traveled.
--Mavis Gallant

We are forever moving from one experience to another, one challenge to another, and one relationship to another. Our ability to handle confidently all encounters is a gift of the program, and one that accompanies us throughout every day, providing we humbly express gratitude for it. Success is ours when we are grateful.

We are not standing still. No matter how uneventful our lives may seem, we are traveling toward our destiny, and all the thrills and tears, joys and sorrows, are contributing to the success of our trip. Every day, every step, we are succeeding.

We can reflect on yesterday, better yet, on last week or even last year. What were our problems? It's doubtful we can even remember them. We have put distance between them and us. They were handled in some manner. We have succeeded in getting free of them. We have succeeded in moving beyond them.

How far we have come! And we will keep right on traveling forward. As long as we rely on the program, we are assured of success.

I can do whatever I need to do today, with success, when I humbly accept the program's gifts.
You are reading from the book:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: August 27th

 Recovery Meditations: August 27th


“People throw away what they could have
by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have,
and lookin
g for it where they will never find it.

Edith Schaeffer

Time and time again I have felt like I was suspended from two ropes, being flogged for my imperfections. The tragic fact of that vision was that I was the person wielding the whip!

Before my heart and mind were opened by the Twelve Steps and Traditions, I sought perfection in everything I attempted. A simple letter would be written and rewritten until I was satisfied that perfection had been achieved and the letter could be sent. Frequently the goal was not reached and I would abandon the project in frustration and bitter disappointment with myself. Events that I organized had to be executed with the utmost precision. If, God forbid, a mistake was made, I would berate myself for days until sheer mental and emotional exhaustion prevailed.

Ironically, I never sought perfection in others and accepted that it was okay for them to be human. However, seeking perfection from myself became an obsession tangled with the search for self-acceptance. Needless to say, a rainbow cannot be seen through closed eyes, and I never found that which I sought. Through the teachings of the Twelve Steps I have come to appreciate that the beauty within myself is that I am not perfect. I can grow through my mistakes, and in my imperfections I can find serenity and release from the struggle.

One Day at a Time ...
I will accept that I am perfectly imperfect.

~ Sue G.


Each Day a New Beginning
Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgment of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you're going to do about it.
  —Kathleen Casey Theisen

Recovery offers us courage to make choices about the events of our lives. Passive compliance with whatever is occurring need no longer dominate our pattern of behavior. Powerlessly watching our lives go by was common for many of us, and our feelings of powerlessness escalated the more idle we were.

Today, action is called for, thoughtful action in response to the situations begging for our attention. Recovery's greatest gift is the courage to take action, to make decisions that will benefit us as well as the people who are close to us. Courage is the byproduct of our spiritual progress, courage to accept what we cannot change, believing that all will be well, courage to change in ourselves what we do have control over.

An exhilaration about life accompanies the taking of action. The spell that idleness casts over us is broken, and subsequent actions are even easier to take. Clearly, making a choice and acting on it is healthful. The program has given us the tools to do both.

Decisions will be called for today. I will be patient with myself, and thoughtful. I will listen closely to the guidance that comes from those around me.

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


Food for Thought
Accepting Reality

Failure, death, divorce, disease, and betrayal - these are all part of the world we live in. We agonizingly search our minds to figure out why, but are unable to come up with any satisfying answers. We pray for the serenity to accept the reality of life.

Previously, we tried to deny reality by overeating. What that did was make reality worse for us. Abstaining from compulsive overeating and working the steps of the OA program give us the strength to cope with reality and accept the things we cannot change. We often feel as though we are on a long uphill climb. Let's not forget that if it were not for abstinence and our Higher Power, we would be rapidly sliding downhill.

Whatever our situation, it is better to face it squarely than to delude ourselves with excess food. None of us escapes pain and suffering. By turning them over to our Higher Power, we are strengthened by our hardships, rather than destroyed.

May we have the courage and strength to accept life as it is.

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


The Language of Letting Go

Procrastination - not acting when the time is right - is a self-defeating behavior. It produces anxiety, guilt, disharmony, and a nagging consciousness of the task that life is telling us it's time to do.

We are not always procrastinating when we put off doing something. Sometimes, doing a thing before the time is right can be as self-defeating as waiting too long.

We can learn to discern the difference. Listen to yourself. Listen to the Universe. What is past due and creating anxiety and prodding within you?

Is there something in your life you are avoiding because you don't want to face it? Is there a building anxiety from putting this off?

Sometimes anger, fear, or feeling helpless can motivate procrastination. Sometimes, procrastination has simply become habitual.

Trust and listen to yourself, your Higher Power, and the Universe. Watch for signs and signals. If it is time to do something, do it now. If it is not yet time, wait until the time is right.

God, help me learn to be on time and in harmony with my life. Help me tune in to and trust Divine Timing and Order.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.
--Anne Frank

Anne Frank had good reason to be unhappy, full of fear, and deeply discouraged. Years of her life were spent in a small apartment hiding from the Nazis who wanted to destroy her and her family.

Yet even in this little hiding place she had happiness. It was something she had inside which did not depend on what happened around her. She had riches of the heart. She had faith that kept her going. She had love and concern for her family and others, which made even a restricted life very rich with feelings. It is tempting to believe that we will be happy when we have something outside ourselves, which will make us happy. But happiness is not something we have to find outside; the seeds are in our hearts already.

What happiness can I find in my latest setback?
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: August 26th

Recovery Meditations: August 26th


"When you love you should not say,
"God is in my heart," but rather,
"I am in the heart of God."
Kahlil Gibran

What is love? And what does it mean to love myself? I’ve found from my experience that it is easier to describe what love is not. Through many failures -- and with my Higher Power’s help -- I have discovered that to love myself means choosing to not hurt myself by overeating. Self-love means choosing to no longer ignore my inner-child who sometimes screams to be heard and must have a tantrum to get my attention. Self-love means not isolating or allowing the hurtful, grieving, angry, fearful thoughts to possess my mind to the degree that the disease overtakes any sanity I may have. This list could go on -- focusing on the failures and the negative -- but my Higher Power has given me the desire, strength and power to feel, express and give love. Our Higher Power offers the freedom and joy of self-love to each of us who are willing to receive and practice it.

The more I am able to receive the love of others, the more I am able to love myself. And conversely, the more I love myself, the more I am able to receive love from others. As I work this Twelve Step program to the best of my ability each 24 hours, I am shown love through meetings, my sponsor, meditating, journaling, spending time with my Higher Power, and sharing my experience, strength and hope with another person. Some days, “the best of my ability” may be to just get out of bed and say the Third Step prayer. Other days, “the best of my ability” will seem like I'm working the program close to perfection. Regardless of my ability on any particular day, I’ve found that love can be gleaned from each day.

As the quote above states, "I am in the heart of God." I experience this when I am willing to surrender daily to the will of my Higher Power and to be completely and absolutely surrounded and protected by the heart of God.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will seek to see love in as many moments as possible by looking to my Higher Power and then reaching out to others.

~ Ohitika

The Third Step Prayer

from page 63 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!


Each Day a New Beginning
A woman who has no way of expressing herself and of realizing herself as a full human has nothing else to turn to but the owning of material things.
  —Enriqueta Longeaux y Vasquez

Each of us struggling with these Twelve Steps is finding self-expression and self-definition. Introspection, coupled with self-revelation through sharing with others, affords us the awareness of how like others we are. How human we are. And what we receive from others who respond to our vulnerability diminishes our need for "things" to fill our lives.

The love that we receive freely from a trusting, caring friend or group fills up the empty places in our souls, the places we used to try filling up with alcohol or cookies or sex. New clothes maybe even a new home or a different job served their terms as void fillers too. Nothing succeeded for long, and then the program found us.

The program is the filler for all times. Of this we can be certain. Time will alleviate any doubts we may have. All that is asked of us is openness, honesty, and attention to others' needs as well as our own.

I can share our likenesses and relish whatever differences may surface. The chain of friendship I've created makes me the proud owner of my wholeness. I am a succeeding woman who is moving forward with courage and self-awareness on this, my road of life.

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


Food for Thought
A Living Program

The Twelve Steps are a program for living and they are also a living program. Taking them is not something we do once and for all, but something we repeat over and over in greater depth. They are our guidelines for each day.

Our program develops as our understanding matures. When we first join OA, physical abstinence from compulsive overeating may be all we can handle. As we learn from fellow members and are increasingly exposed to the power of the group, our program comes to include more emotional and spiritual elements. The possibilities for development are limitless.

One thing leads to another. The creative force that guides OA directs our individual efforts. When we are open to the challenges and willing to give up self-will, we make progress, which gratifies and astounds us. This program not only works as we work it; it also grows as we grow.

We thank You for Your creative spirit.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Making Amends

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  —Step Nine of Al-Anon

When we make amends we need to be clear about what we're apologizing for and the best way to say we're sorry. What we are really doing with our amends is taking responsibility for our behavior. We need to be sure that the process itself will not be self-defeating or hurtful.

Sometimes, we need to directly apologize for a particular thing we have done or our part in a problem.

Other times, instead of saying "I'm sorry," what we need to do is work on changing our behavior with a person.

There are times when bringing up what we have done and apologizing for it will make matters worse.

We need to trust timing, intuition, and guidance in this process of making amends. Once we become willing, we can let go and tackle our amends in a peaceful, consistent, harmonious way. If nothing feels right or appropriate, if it feels as if what we are about to do will cause a crisis or havoc, we need to trust that feeling.

Attitude, honesty, openness, and willingness count here. In peace and harmony, we can strive to clear up our relationships.

We deserve to be at peace with others and ourselves.

Today, I will be open to making any amends I need to make with people. I will wait for Divine Guidance in the process of making any amends that are not clear to me. I will act, when led. God, help me let go of my fear about facing people and taking responsibility for my behaviors. Help me know I am not diminishing my self-esteem by doing this; I am improving it.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

Mile by mile, life's a trial.
Yard by yard, it's not so hard.
Inch by inch, it's a cinch.

-- Proverb

An important key to progress on the path is to take it one step at a time. Just as investing a little on a regular basis builds long-term wealth, the little gains we make each day pay off in spiritual dividends. As a successful musical group explained, "We spent years preparing for our overnight success."

Taking it one step at a time means living in the present moment, letting life gradually reveal itself to us. Some people get nervous and want to know the final outcome. But how can we know an outcome that hasn't yet occurred? Trust in the process, and the perfect result will occur.

When our faith wavers, we often get ahead of ourselves and try to figure out what is going to happen. This "future tripping" removes us from our source of guidance in the present. Sometimes we try to hit it big in a hurry. But there is no fooling the Universe. Sooner or later we will have to go back and retrace the steps that we skipped. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.

Whatever the goal or desire, approach it one step at a time. Small measures consistently taken guarantee progress. Eventually you will emerge victorious, having attained a reward that you have truly earned.

You are reading from the book:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: August 25th

Recovery Meditations: August 25th

~ Patience ~

There is no fruit which is not bitter
before it is ripe.

Publilius Syrus

There are some things in life you simply cannot rush. In the early stages of my disease, I went through life like a steam roller ... impatiently starting one project after another. If there was something in my life that depended on the actions of another for resolution, it was excruciating while waiting on the decision. As a result, sometimes decisions were forced. I have made many bad decisions because of lack of patience.

I have learned that sometimes we have to turn decisions over to others ... we have to let go and let others take control. We must wait it out and hope that our decision to let go was a good one. Many times it is. Sometimes it isn't.

I have become a very patient person ... and sometimes that is to my detriment. It can be hard to find a middle ground in the decision making process. Snap decisions aren't good. Neither are those we sit on forever.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will patiently wait on my Higher Power
to direct me ... to guide me ...
and to help me with the decisions I must make.

~ Mari ~


Each Day a New Beginning
In soloing--as in other activities--it is far easier to start something than it is to finish it.
  —Amelia Earhart

Procrastination plagues us all, at one time or another. But any activity that is worthy of our effort should be tackled by bits and pieces, one day at a time. We are too easily overwhelmed when we set our sights only on the accomplished goal. We need to focus, instead, on the individual elements and then on just one element at a time. A book is written word-by-word. A house is built timber-by-timber. A college degree is attained course-by-course.

By the time we got to this program, most of us had accumulated a checkered past, much of which we wanted to deny or forget. And the weight of our past can stand in the way of the many possibilities in the present.

Our past need not determine what we set out to do today. However, we must be realistic: We can't change a behavior pattern overnight. But we can begin the process. We can decide on a reasonable, manageable objective for this 24-hour period. Enough days committed to the completion of enough small objectives will bring us to the attainment of any goal, large or small.

I can finish any task I set my sights on, when I take it one day at a time. Today is before me. I can move forward in a small way.

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


Food for Thought
Being Available

In our search for security, we turned to food in times of stress. Now we are growing in reliance on our Higher Power instead of food. We do not, however, "use" the Higher Power the way we tried to use food. We do not use God; He uses us.

What we do is make ourselves available to the Higher Power, and open to light and guidance. We pray each day that we may do His will, not ours. Often this means a more flexible schedule than we may have had in the past. Since the Higher Power is ever creative and new, we cannot cling to our old routines and habits. To insist on our time, our way, our plan is to block out God's guidance.

Sometimes we may be called on to perform a service, which means giving up our plan for the day. When the prompting comes from deep within, following it will further our growth in the program.

Today I will be available for Your use.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Willing to Make Amends

The Eighth Step is talking about a change of heart, a healing change.

This attitude can begin a great chain of repair and healing in our relationships with others and ourselves. It means we become willing to let go of our hard heartedness - one of the greatest blocks to our ability to give and receive love.

In the Eighth Step, we make a list of all people we have harmed, and we allow ourselves to experience a healing attitude toward them. It is an attitude of love.

We do not, in this Step, dash madly about and begin yelling, "Sorry!" We make our list, not to feel guilty, but to facilitate healing. Before we actually make amends or begin to consider appropriate amends, we allow ourselves to change our attitude. That is where healing begins - within us.

It can change the energy. It can change the dynamics. It can begin the process, before we ever open our mouths and say sorry.

It opens the door to love. It opens the door to the energy of love and healing. It enables us to release negative feelings and energy, and opens the door to positive feelings and energy.

That energy can be felt around the world, and it starts inside us.

How often have we, after we have been hurt, wished that the person would simply recognize our pain and say, "I'm sorry?" How often have we wished that the person would simply see us, hear us, and turn the energy of love our way? How often have we longed for at least a change of heart, a small dose of reconciliation, in relationships tainted by unfinished business and bad feelings? Often.

Others do too. It is no secret. The energy of healing begins with us. Our willingness to make amends may or may not benefit the other person; he or she may or may not be willing to put matters to rest.

But we become healed. We become capable of love.

Today, I will work on a change of heart if hard heartedness, defensiveness, guilt, or bitterness are present. I will become willing to let go of those feelings and have them replaced by the healing energy of love.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

If you don't have any loyalty to what you are doing, you ought not be doing it.
-- Tom Harding

We understand loyalty to friends and family members, but does loyalty to an activity imply the same thing? To be loyal to an activity means to stick with it even when we hit the inherent snags. Let's consider a hobby for instance. Are we so frustrated when we can't track down a particular stamp or seem unable to complete the 5000 piece puzzle that we consider quitting the activity in disgust? If so, we probably lack the loyalty that Tom alludes to.

Each of us has to consider for ourselves whether or not we value this kind of loyalty when it comes to the "extracurriculars" in our lives. We're not failures if we decide to drop some hobby for another one. Sometimes we can't see that some interest doesn't fit us all that well until we get deep into it. What's more important is that we remain loyal to our values, whatever they are. When some activity loses its appeal, for any reason, and we continue to stay with it out of shame or embarrassment, we're not being loyal to that which is most important — ourselves.

Today, I'll ask myself if my hobbies suit my true interests.
You are reading from the book:


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Daily Recovery Readings: August 24th

Recovery Meditations: August 24th


The greatest happiness you can have
is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.

William Saroyan

How many times during my life have I said that all I want is "just to be happy." We are told early on that our legacy is "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Did you notice that our forefathers used the word "pursuit?" How very wise they were.

Happiness is not automatic. Life is difficult and it's supposed to be that way. If we expect happiness and we expect life to be easy, at some point in time we are going to be very disappointed. I thought eating food made me happy and it did ... for a short time. There were other temporary compulsions in my life that made me think I was happy ~ but again for only a short time.

As I began to work the Steps, I began to desire something other than happiness. I found myself yearning for serenity ... and I found it. The way I found it was by not expecting the world and everyone in it to make me happy. I learned that life was more of an adventure than a bowl of cherries. I learned that the more I expected from people, places and things, the more disappointed I was ... and the more disappointed I became, the less happy I was.

One Day at a Time . . .
I will not require happiness. But when I least expect it .... happiness will find me.

~ Mari ~


Each Day a New Beginning
There were many ways of breaking a heart. Stories were full of hearts broken by love, but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream - whatever that dream might be.
  —Pearl S. Buck

No new door is opened without the inner urge for growth. Dreams guide us, encourage us, stretch us to new heights — and leave us momentarily empty when they are dashed.

Recovery has given us resilience and a multitude of reasons for living. We have come to understand that when one dream serves us no longer, it is making way for an even better one. Our dreams are our teachers. When the student is ready, a new one comes into focus.

Dreams in our earlier years often come to nought. They couldn't compete for our attention as effectively as the self-pity. The direction they offered was lost. Each day that we look forward with positive anticipation, we put the wreckage of the past farther from our minds.

Our dreams are like the rest areas on a cross-country trip. They refresh us, help us to gauge the distance we've come, and give us a chance to consider our destination.

Today's dreams and experiences are points on the road map of my life. I won't let them pass, unnoticed.

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


Food for Thought

We are made to be physically active. When we were loaded down with food and fat, we probably moved around as little as possible. Now that we eat for health, we have the necessary energy to exercise our bodies.

Taking the stairs rather than the elevator, walking instead of riding, a few simple calisthenics when we need a break from work, a jump rope - there are many ways to begin an exercise program in easy stages. We do not need to train to become Olympic athletes, but we do need to keep our bodies in good working order.

Each day we also need mental, emotional, and spiritual exercise. Reading something worthwhile, refraining from criticism, performing a service for someone anonymously, taking time for prayer and meditation --these are actions which develop our minds, hearts, and spirits. Our growth in the program depends on overcoming resistance and inertia each day and taking concrete steps to improvement.

By Your power, may I overcome laziness.

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


The Language of Letting Go
Step Eight

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  —Step Eight of Al-Anon

The Eighth Step is not meant to punish us; it is meant to set us free from guilt, anxiety, and discord.

We begin by making a list of everyone we have harmed on our journey, as we have struggled to survive. We have probably done more damage to ourselves than to anyone else, so we put ourselves first on the list.

Often, our tendency is to feel guilty about everything we've ever done, everyone we've come in contract with. That is unearned guilt. Writing helps us clarify whether or not we are punishing ourselves for no reason. But we need to be open to guidance as we work this Step, getting everything out of us and on to paper, so we can be healed.

Once we have made the list, we strive to become willing to make amends to everyone on it because that is how we heal. Making amends does not mean feeling guilty and ashamed and punishing ourselves; it means swallowing our pride and defenses, and doing what we can to take care of ourselves. We become ready to improve our self-esteem by taking responsibility for our behaviors. We become willing to have our relationships with ourselves, others, and our Higher Power restored.

Today, I will open myself to an honest understanding of the people I have harmed. God, help me let go of my defenses and pride. Help me become willing to make amends to those I have harmed, so that I can improve my relationships with others and myself.

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


Today's thought from Hazelden is:

The smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness.
--Henry David Thoreau

Life's crises seem terrifying and endless when they are happening. As we reflect on these stressful periods, we begin to realize that they provide a chance for change and growth. We get a feeling of hope when we think back to past problems that seemed like mountains of despair at the time. Today, many of our mountains of fear are behind us. We have been able to climb these mountains in our lives even though we may have had to take different paths than we had planned.

Now we know that, with faith, we can meet every challenge — that we are given no obstacle we can't turn into an opportunity.

Today let me be willing to let my Higher Power lead me in an orderly direction.

You are reading from the book: